In regards to Rhio Hirsch's response "Not too jazzed" I have to speak up as a student of The Nashville Jazz Workshop. As a direct result of NJW and Lori Mechem in particular, I have gone on to bigger and better things. Being a better jazz musician means being a better musician in general and as a result of the education and confidence I got from NJW I went on to play piano for Kenny Chesney, Jo Dee Messina, Laura Bell Bundy, Andy Griggs, Chad Brock, and Steve Holy. I was also band-leader for "The Conway Twitty Musical" and Blake Shelton. I played on master recordings"The Dukes of Hazzard 2" and "Blake Shelton's Barn and Grill". I've played jazz at Sambuca, Fontanella Cafe', what used to be Cafe' 1,2,3. I've played rock and alternative music at all the clubs on Broadway. I could go on but is that enough success to call myself a professional musician? I have a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University that did not prepare me as well to be a pro musician as NJW did. Thanks to Lori and Roger and their school I am the musician I am. In regards to Mr Hirsch's assertion that NJW never uses their students in their professional work I have to say that's wrong too. They have referred me on many gigs, jazz and otherwise. They also hire me on occasion to accompany vocal students at NJW. I would say NJW is more than a "jump-starter for young jazz musicians". It's ALSO a place where a musician of intermediate to advanced levels can become better. Being a better musician means more opportunities. Mr. Rhio also said that, just like the Tennessee school system, NJW has no product. I am their product! Are these really your enemies? Neither is more of an enemy than Mr. Rhio's real battle with his own ignorance.
The SouthComm Set
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