New York City jazz musicians who are a part of the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign are pushing to get city jazz clubs to contribute to a pension fund or unemployment benefits pleaded their case to the New York City Council on Wednesday, saying they are left to retire in poverty, the Daily News reports.
“Jazz musicians need pensions – they need to enjoy the same benefits received by their brother and sister musicians on Broadway and in the symphonic field,” said jazz trumpeter Jimmy Ownes. “The need is real.”
Clubs have resisted the union’s push, saying the musicians are independent contractors.
Bass player Bob Crenshaw said, after years of giving their life to music and providing entertainment for others, he and many of his friends end up broke: “I have seen countless musicians in crisis,” he said. “People who were highly respected, incredibly talented people but who failed to prepare for their retirement due to a lack of benefits available to them.”