Feb
22

Jazz World Confronting Health Care Concerns

This article appeared recently in The New York Times and was written by Nate Chinen. It demonstrates well how working as a musician, often for money in a tip jar, does not even offer the kind of minimum wage you can be guaranteed to earn working at McDonald’s flipping burgers, let alone provide the amount of money you need to pay for health care.

The results for all Americans not covered is tragic and especially for high percentages of those extremely talented artists who are subjected to low wages or no paying gigs simply because they chose a profession in the arts.

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Not quite a month ago the alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo had a major seizure while driving his elderly landlady to a store in Brooklyn. “I was convulsing all over the place,” he later wrote on his blog, “grabbing onto the steering wheel violently, biting my tongue and basically acting crazy.”

Fortunately, the driver behind him recognized what was happening, and after quite a bit more drama — in the ambulance, Mr. D’Angelo apparently tore through the straps of his gurney and tried to strangle an emergency medical technician — he underwent testing that revealed a large tumor on his brain.

Within days he was scheduled for surgery and had started writing about the experience at andrewdangelo.com. He was clear about the fact that he had no health insurance.

The health of jazz, as a topic of conversation, has long inspired a lot of hand wringing among sympathetic parties. (To read the rest of the article click here.)

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