Part 1 of 2: Casinos, Jazz & Brubeck – what do they have in common?

I think the gambling industry is fascinating. My intentions for this blog were simple – try to highlight our New England gambling properties and all they have to offer. With the addition of Massachusetts gaming, and may be New Hampshire, this little area of the country could offer a lot for tourists all over the U.S. – or even the world. Consider all that is New England – fall foliage, seafaring history, over 400 years of history captured from Connecticut to Maine, and much, much more! The possibilities seem endless if it all works together.

However, as I research for my daily info, I am concerned that instead of continuing to work to make New England a tourist attraction that includes a variety of gaming options, competition will work against that dream. Instead, the greed of the “almighty buck” will keep tourists away with a gaming market of over saturation, continued layoffs instead of an increased job market, small business interests brushed aside, and an atmosphere enabling tourists, gamblers, and our own NE neighbors and friends to look elsewhere for entertainment, gaming, and employment. Let’s face it, only the stoutest of us in New England stay for our weather – “if ya don’t like the weatha, just wait a minute!”

What does all this have to do with Jazz performance? Let me try to tie this together.

The jazz community lost a legend this week with the death of Dave Brubeck. I still remember hearing the album that brought jazz to the masses – “Time Out.” The minute I heard “Take 5,” the first jazz record in the United States to achieve mainstream significance and reaching #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, I knew I had to learn it. As a pianist, Mr. Brubeck was one of many pianists I followed and learned from, but the best thing I learned from all of them was that playing jazz was a metaphor for life.

Basically when a jazz musician interacts and plays with other jazz musicians (let’s say a quartet), the approach to the song is simple but so meaningful. Everyone starts together in harmony, then everyone takes their turn to say what they want to say musically (embellishing each other instead of out-doing each other), then returning together, respectfully ending as the same group in harmony. Generally, everyone is happy with what was said, how the song evolved, and how the participants respect each other’s accomplishments toward the end result. When this happens, the listener also is equally satisfied.

However, if another quartet shows up, the now “octet” must consider time of the song for the audience interest, pay is cut in half at the end of the night, and everyone’s interaction has to be more sensitive – making sure the integrity of the song is intact and the listener still enjoys the end result. If all this is taken in consideration, the end result is the same – harmony.

By now, I hope you have seen the parallel I am drawing – even if it seems incredibly oversimplified. Consider this:

  • CT casinos have seen a drop in revenue due to NY racinos and slot parlors.
  • RI has seen a slight increase and hopes to get its table games up and running to get a larger base customer, taking away from CT as well, before MA casinos are built
  • MA is adding three, if not four, casinos within three years to take MA customers going to RI & CT
  • NH wants to keep their citizens at home so they are considering legalizing gambling
  • ME has two casinos, one of which is considering hotel expansion
  • And lest we forget that AC is still feeling the pull of customers from PA, NY and DEL, and recently New Jersey considered legalizing statewide gambling.


So, as gaming in New England grows, I hope serious consideration is given to the people who live here and for all those outside New England who might be able to experience our wonderful little “nook” in this great country we live in.

In part 2, I will rant on the watering down of the gambling experience all over for the sake of the “Resort Destination Experience.”

That’s all for now. May all your flushes be royal.



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