segunda-feira, outubro 07, 2013

Economica-lee troubled

me and Lee
In 2006 I brought Lee Konitz to the town where I live in Portugal to play Ohad Talmor arrangements  and originals with the Matosinhos Jazz Orchestra . That concert was part of TVedrasJazz , “my” jazz festival in which  I was artistic director, financial director, manager, executive producer, musician’s driver, concert poster paster, you name it…
I started by contacting  Lee’s manager, an Austrian guy based in New York and we agreed with conditions. Among them was that the fee should  be payed in two instalments the first  being transfered two months before the concert . The rest should be paid in cash, the day of the event and BEFORE the concert. I was warned that if these conditions were not fulfilled the concert would not take place.
Everything went well. A first instalment had been transferred as planned. The contacts with Lee’s manager were going smooth. The concert was on a Saturday.  The day before (Friday) at 5 o’clock in the afternoon a bell rang inside my head and I realized that I did not withdraw from the bank the amount (cash) that I was supposed to be paying to Lee’s representative.  Panic ! It came to my mind what the Austrian guy had told me: No payment before the concert, no concert !. My first move was to call my bank and explain the situation. They were really sorry…. But even if they wanted, the safe would no open cause its inner mechanism  was configured not to open till Monday….It came to my mind that the my bank's branch at Lisbon airport should be opened all weekend….. Nice idea, hmm?
I thought I had the situation under control but…. my bank had no branch at the airport !!. Oh lord I‘m in trouble… we’re talking about getting more than 6.000 euros (a little over 8.000 $USD) in cash during a Saturday with all banks closed. I had to call New York and explain to the Austrian guy (to whom I was a complete strangers) that I had FORGOT to get the money I was supposed to be paying . I made the phone call. His reply  was very direct : you’re in deep shit.
It was clear to me that if  I did not get the money it won’t be any concert. Next step : call Lee's representative in Portugal and try to explain the situation. The band was rehearsing in Porto with the Matosinhos Orchestra. I started by calling one of the orchestra directors who knew me from way back and he was kind enough to give good references for me , so when I got to speak to Lee's man, he took it in a very nice and polite manner although he was really worried about not having the money he needed to pay to soloists and hired musicians at the end of the concert. He seemed to understand the situation and very politly asked me to try to get AT LEAST 5.000 euros in cash……. Well, if I could gather 5.000€ it shouldn’t be hard to get 6.000... But, at the time I didn’t have any idea how to get 50 euros out of a closed bank ...and,  I was not (yet) thinking of robbing one...
For the moment I had nothing else to do other than go home and try to think a way to get out of that mess. That was the first time I was hiring an international name and I was feeling real dumb. Could not eat dinner, I was sweating cold and trying to get out of my mind the vision of Lee Konitz refusing to play .
That night I could not close my eyes and get to sleep. How could I get 6.000 euros in the next 20 hours?  

(to be continued...)
 


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