I'm currently 65 and live and play So. Florida. I make my living as an accompanist for singers and variety acts who tour or do one-nighters in the area. I'm employed by local theatrical agents who use me and several other qualified pianists. The work is seasonal and we usually have to scuffle during the summer here. Most musicians always will have to pay dues at one time or another!
After leaving North Texas State Univ. in 1965, I moved to L.A. where, after a short time, I started getting better and more influential gigs--both as a player and as an arranger. I took a gig conducting and arranging for Frankie Avalon in the early 70's and was lucky enouth to be noticed in that part of the business. I left Frank after twelve years and started working with Debbie Reynolds with whom I also stayed a long time. In between gigs with her, I was able to accept gigs with other famous and not-so-famous singers for many more years. However, during all that time, I still managed to keep up my jazz chops as much as I could. After all, I didn't want that North Texas State education to go to waste. I learned so much there and played such good jazz, that I needed to keep up my chops.
When time allows, I have a trio here that I really think makes very good music, and, we are recognized by our peers as a trio to listen to. Alas, local jazz groups here, and I suspect around the country, find it difficult to make a living from playing jazz