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Penn & Teller’s piano player shares some tough love for aspiring professional artists


Every magician worth their loaded dice knows how important it is to set the scene for your act. Some performers do it with their wardrobe or with elaborately painted sets. Some do it with music. In the case of the renowned Penn and Teller, that music is all the work of Mike Jones. He first teamed up with the magic world’s top duo act when Penn Jillette was struck by Jones’ piano playing in a bar. He’s been with them for about 16 years.

Jones joined the Rick Keene Music Scene podcast for a lengthy conversation about his music and magic. The second of the three-part chat was recently published, and he’s got lots to say about the state of the music industry in particular. Jones shares his insights about the uphill battle to continue landing gigs, stability, and the future of jazz. It’s not easy to make it in any performance field, whether your passion is jazz piano or card magic. This interview is a reminder of both the challenges any full-time performer faces and the tenacity it takes to make it.

Listen to both posted parts here.