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Residencies are a good idea for musicians and listeners / Buffalo News

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An artist-in-residency program, as it applies to the fine arts, is meant to allow artists time and space away from their regular existence in order to create freely in an unfettered environment. Why not apply a similar concept to the music world? Why not offer musicians a steady gig in a consistent space, that they might dig into their art away from the hustle and bustle and demands of maintaining a career as an independent musician in Buffalo? The benefits to both the musician and the listener would be plentiful.

The idea is not new; a handful of local artists are in residencies, which in the music world, tend to consist of weekly appearances at a club or concert venue. Two notable ones are Kelly Bucheger's bi-weekly Monday jazz workshops at Stamps the Bar in Tonawanda, and more recently, the Wazmopolitans' Wednesday "In Residence" series at Lucky Day Whiskey Bar on Pearl Street. The Sportsmen's Tavern, long a progressive-minded venue in terms of booking, has been offering a weekly lunch-hour residency featuring the Joe Baudo Quartet for years.

In the jazz world, residencies have had an immeasurable effect on the development of the music. Venues such as the Village Vanguard, the Five Spot Cafe, the Half Note and Birdland became a combination of workshop and playground for some of history's greatest musicians – from John Coltrane to Charles Mingus to Miles Davis to Bill Frisell, all of whom used residencies to break in new bands, woodshed new ideas, debut material, and explore the limits of their own artistry.