Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 54
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi,
    Ive been thinking about this quite a bit recently and wondered if I could get some thoughts?
    So say you've got your playing together, you have a large repertoire of tunes, your comfortable at all tempos and tunes in every key. You have nice arrangements of the heads and have been practicing for years.
    with all this sorted I can still see gigs not going to well and I think it's more about presentation. Even with nice arrangements for intros and songs that have been re imagined I still find sometimes that the audience and their reaction can be flat.
    I think in jazz that there isn't enough interaction between the audience and the band. In other genres such as rock, reggae, folk, world music there is a lot of dialogue between the band and the audience. The bands and musicians talk to the audience and make it known that it's appreciated that they have made the effort to turn up.
    i hardly ever see this in jazz. I went to a scofield gig and he said one sentence to the audience throughout the whole gig. I came away knowing that I'd seen some amazing playing but felt that it wouldn't have made any difference regarding the audience.
    ive never spoken to the audience on a gig, sometimes it's not important if it's a wedding gig or background music but on some occasions it's been to a captive audience and I think that's when it's important.
    we actually got told off once by a lady. She thought we were rude and unprofessional not to talk to the audience. I tried to explain that as jazz musicians we were all to preoccupied with developing our skills and don't have the extra time to think about these things, but I feel she was right.
    so what can we talk about?
    Tunes and their composers, tunes that have been in films, when a tune was written, tunes that had a key impact on the genre and brought about a new style? What else?
    i can't help thinking this is why jazz suffers. Unless your in a hip city like New York where the audience just gets it.
    From my experience most people go to gigs so they can react to the music, they can cheer and let the band know they are present, they can dance, they can sing along ect but at a jazz gig people feel uncomfortable because they don't know how to react.
    what ideas have you guys got? I saw a good video of Clark terry doing a performance workshop and he spoke to the audience a lot as it was more of a workshop but the audience really got engaged and seemed to really be enjoying themselves.
    dianne reeves is a good example of talking to the audience as is Nina Simone even when she gets distracted. Maybe it's a singer thing as I don't see it elsewhere.
    anyway just thought I'd post and see what others think, cheers

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I agree this is an issue, but not just in jazz. Classical and other genres suffers from this too.

    If you want to appeal to more than just niche musicians, you need to engage with the audience and directly open up your personality.

    Tommy Emmanuel came to mind when i read your post because he is a virtuoso musician but also engages with the audience brilliantly. I can take my (non-musician) wife to a concert by Tommy, but few other virtuoso musicians.


  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I think it’s always worth pointing out that jazz’s evolution has been consistently away from external focussed showbiz and towards a internalised preoccupation with process.

    Many commentators have blamed education, but I honestly feel that this was a natural social vector; jazz moving first of all away from the dancehall, to the jazz clubs, and increasingly the music schools (setting aside the NYC tourist industry) as a feedback loop with the music’s evolution and the increasing availability of jazz education product, and post Covid now I feel jazz may primarily be focussed online... it’s personally interesting to me study why this was the case and how exactly things have changed.

    Anyway, I think very often people seek a return to that suited and booted, super sharp and professional presentation of 50’s jazz, where it was certainly a show, but also very much not the showbiz entertainment of the swing era. So the Young Lions thing was the first recapitulation of a style fo respectable presentation that keeps coming up over and over. It can feel a bit like a museum sometimes....

    In fact I think it possible to have an interest in the audience, present your music engagingly and not be a 1950s throwback. Trends in pop music seem to moved towards the initiate, informal gig for instance.

    How one shapes a performance is also a dialectic; how much do you seek to shape your music into a show consciously, or allow the music to shape itself? I have to say I hate the idea of the audience getting bored, and I’m pleased to say by and large they have a greater tolerance for improvised mucking about than I think I do.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Hi, B,
    Depends on the gig. When I played with Jazz/Rock show bands/R@B Bands in the past, we did schtick all the time and interacted with the audience. It's part of the entertainment. However, the only time I talk on a solo gig(exclusively now) is if I'm giving a Classical guitar concert and briefly tell the audience about the piece, and its composer. However, playing a restaurant/wedding/private event, I don't do it since you're just background music, curtains on the wall and 99% don't know or care if you're there. However, there are always a few who want to talk between sets and I'm always very gracious and thank them for their kind praise. And, many times, my tip jar equals my negotiated performance fee at the end of the night.
    Finally, in regards to the disappointed "lady," I've never had that experience. Sometimes that happens when you mix music and booze. Play live . . . Marinero

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    if I'm giving a Classical guitar concert and briefly tell the audience about the piece, and its composer.
    It's not traditional to do this in a recital, but I think it is such a good idea. People want to connect with the person playing.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Even in classical music many people now make an effort to directly communicate with the audience.

    I found that for one thing the set list matters a lot. When I saw Scofield, I had a feeling that he played the same thing over and over again. Do a fast number, then a slow, throw in a Latin thing. Say hello when you get on the bandstand. Introduce the tunes.

    And be yourself. If you‘re the introvert and the drummer is the clown, let him do the talking by all means.


    Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Setting vocalists aside - most of the musicians I see/saw did/do talk to the audience, even classical guitarists.

    Miles didn't, but he was not the gregarious type.

    But Dexter Gordon, Phil Woods, Joe Pass), Barney Kessell, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Christian McBride, Freddie Cole, Jeff Hamilton... heck even Scofield a couple of weeks ago at the Blue Note, and there wasn't anyone there!

    And Dex, Joe, Chick, John, Larry, Frisell all use/used a little humor too. And why not? Jazz is a party music.

  9. #8
    Hi thanks for the comments it's much appreciated
    i don't drink at all when I play live but most guys I play with tend to have at least a pint but it never helped me.
    I listen to lots of styles of music and whenever I'm at a gig I always look around to check the audience and their reaction.
    Ive been to electronica type gigs like Aphex twin and kraftwerk and the audience just stands rigid still with their phones out recording a pretty much empty stage and light show. In my early teens I saw a few death metal bands with mosh pits, stage diving ect. A lot of fun . My friend at the time got his two front teeth knocked out at a napalm death concert, said it was the best gig he'd ever been too!
    i don't want to be controversial but could it have something to do with class? I've been to reggae gigs in the rough areas of Manchester and Leeds in the uk and the atmosphere was electric, but pay £40 to go and see something at a higher end venue and all the audience is sat down and it doesn't feel the same.
    I saw benson at a seated venue and he did his pop repertoire and it didn't seem all that good although the band were superb.
    getting back to interaction, I know it happens when it's a top flight player and ensemble playing in a big city, I saw Branford marsellis though and he didn't talk at all but there was a couple of people dancing. I saw Al green and he had the audience praying which got lots of cheers.
    Its just I have some gigs coming up and they will be my gigs and not be me as a side man as is usually the case. I will be doing standards and some original material and really want it to be a success. I'm not used to public speaking but I think it needs to be done in order to make the audience feel welcome and appreciated.
    on the flip side if you went to a Peter tosh gig in the 80s you'd get a 40 minute lecture on politics so I think balance is necessary.
    i also think the length of the performance is an issue. An hour and a half without talking to the audience is a long time especially if everyone is seated.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Setting vocalists aside - most of the musicians I see/saw did/do talk to the audience, even classical guitarists.

    Miles didn't, but he was not the gregarious type.
    Miles 100% presented his music though, the clothes, the attitude on stage etc

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hey bopper
    Hi thanks for the comments it's much appreciated
    i don't drink at all when I play live but most guys I play with tend to have at least a pint but it never helped me.
    I listen to lots of styles of music and whenever I'm at a gig I always look around to check the audience and their reaction.
    Ive been to electronica type gigs like Aphex twin and kraftwerk and the audience just stands rigid still with their phones out recording a pretty much empty stage and light show. In my early teens I saw a few death metal bands with mosh pits, stage diving ect. A lot of fun . My friend at the time got his two front teeth knocked out at a napalm death concert, said it was the best gig he'd ever been too!
    i don't want to be controversial but could it have something to do with class? I've been to reggae gigs in the rough areas of Manchester and Leeds in the uk and the atmosphere was electric, but pay £40 to go and see something at a higher end venue and all the audience is sat down and it doesn't feel the same.
    I saw benson at a seated venue and he did his pop repertoire and it didn't seem all that good although the band were superb.
    getting back to interaction, I know it happens when it's a top flight player and ensemble playing in a big city, I saw Branford marsellis though and he didn't talk at all but there was a couple of people dancing. I saw Al green and he had the audience praying which got lots of cheers.
    Its just I have some gigs coming up and they will be my gigs and not be me as a side man as is usually the case. I will be doing standards and some original material and really want it to be a success. I'm not used to public speaking but I think it needs to be done in order to make the audience feel welcome and appreciated.
    on the flip side if you went to a Peter tosh gig in the 80s you'd get a 40 minute lecture on politics so I think balance is necessary.
    i also think the length of the performance is an issue. An hour and a half without talking to the audience is a long time especially if everyone is seated.
    TBH when I was young I went to jazz gigs despite the audience and the atmosphere rather than because of them.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Yea... kind of a two part answer. Yes, I've always believed and still believe part of our job as jazz musician(s) is to bring the audience into the performance. Different gigs and audiences require different technique.

    The other part is.... too many musicians performing jazz just don't have their thing together.
    They're either staring at their instrument, (most of the playing vids on this forum are examples). And if gig has book or charts...most just don't sight read well enough to get away from chart etc...

    This year.... I mean gigs are basically still toast. And the live on line thing sucks. The agents I work for have been trying to promote going in this direction, but it's really just trying to make $. Will be interesting to watch how this plays out. Sorry to go off discussion...yea, you need to be able to walk and chew gum.... perform music and interact with audience. Part of playing jazz is watching the audience and being able to recognize what pushes their buttons, getting reactions etc... Don't know who hey bopper is a cover for, but use to be a good topic.

  13. #12
    That's a good point actually. Playing without charts definitely registers with me. I still use my iPad even though I know the tunes and have been playing them for years a few years ago I never used charts but have slipped back into using them again. I don't need them for the heads it's just a comfort thing having the changes in front of you if you get distracted or lost in the moment.
    I think as well I used to play sitting down and if I had a chart in front of me that would block the audiences view of my fretboard so they couldn't actually see me playing.
    i play standing up now but still have the charts.
    that said I've seen breaker use charts although he steps away from it when improvising. I don't think I've ever seen metheney use charts or scofield, kriesberg in fact I don't think I've seen any pro guitarist use charts. Maybe is because we are all crap readers and have to have everything internalised

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hey bopper
    T I don't think I've ever seen metheney use charts or scofield, kriesberg in fact I don't think I've seen any pro guitarist use charts. Maybe is because we are all crap readers and have to have everything internalised
    I'm getting a little confused - but that's no surprise Is it the case that Guitarists aren't good enough readers to use charts, but the complaint is that we rely too much on charts? I was even more confused when Reg said 'most just don't sight read well enough to get away from chart etc...'

    Surely its a case of musicians of that calibre not playing a tune until they know it inside out. If however they were involved in an impromptu jam playing a tune with which they weren't familiar, I would be surprised if Kreisberg et al weren't able to read a chart and might very well welcome a quick peek at one.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Miles 100% presented his music though, the clothes, the attitude on stage etc
    Indeed, saw him live - once. Hair and clothes were crazy. His band looked goofy as hell too.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hey bopper
    That's a good point actually. Playing without charts definitely registers with me. I still use my iPad even though I know the tunes and have been playing them for years a few years ago I never used charts but have slipped back into using them again. I don't need them for the heads it's just a comfort thing having the changes in front of you if you get distracted or lost in the moment.
    I think as well I used to play sitting down and if I had a chart in front of me that would block the audiences view of my fretboard so they couldn't actually see me playing.
    i play standing up now but still have the charts.
    that said I've seen breaker use charts although he steps away from it when improvising. I don't think I've ever seen metheney use charts or scofield, kriesberg in fact I don't think I've seen any pro guitarist use charts. Maybe is because we are all crap readers and have to have everything internalised
    You can keep it simple.

    When I saw Christian McBride's trio at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola he thanked the audience for coming out to see live music as opposed to staying at home and spending time on the internet or streaming, watching TV etc. We all applauded.

    Dexter Gordon always liked to say something - the title and maybe even a line from the song - when it was a classic or a ballad. I don't think he did that on every tune but I don't remember perfectly. I think that helps a lot because many/most people listen to vocal music and get lost listening to a jazz instrumental performance of a song. So you can give them a litte context about mood, etc. I think women in particular appreciate it because many of them get dragged to jazz concerts by the men in their lives, and don't listen to jazz on their own time.


    Good luck.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Indeed, saw him live - once. Hair and clothes were crazy. His band looked goofy as hell too.
    ’80s?

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    You can keep it simple.

    When I saw Christian McBride's trio at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola he thanked the audience for coming out to see live music as opposed to staying at home and spending time on the internet or streaming, watching TV etc. We all applauded.

    Dexter Gordon always liked to say something - the title and maybe even a line from the song - when it was a classic or a ballad. I don't think he did that on every tune but I don't remember perfectly. I think that helps a lot because many/most people listen to vocal music and get lost listening to a jazz instrumental performance of a song. So you can give them a litte context about mood, etc. I think women in particular appreciate it because many of them get dragged to jazz concerts by the men in their lives, and don't listen to jazz on their own time.


    Good luck.
    mood is a good thing to focus on.

    Barry Harris is great at all of this BTW.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irishmuso
    I'm getting a little confused - but that's no surprise Is it the case that Guitarists aren't good enough readers to use charts, but the complaint is that we rely too much on charts? I was even more confused when Reg said 'most just don't sight read well enough to get away from chart etc...'

    Surely its a case of musicians of that calibre not playing a tune until they know it inside out. If however they were involved in an impromptu jam playing a tune with which they weren't familiar, I would be surprised if Kreisberg et al weren't able to read a chart and might very well welcome a quick peek at one.
    It varies. If you are playing original music you might need a chart. If you are playing a standard.... well that’s a whole other thread!

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Pandemic issues aside for the nonce, engaging the audience is crucial if you want to do this on a regular basis. Speak to them in a conversational and friendly manner. Thank them for coming. In my shows I almost always introduced the song I was about to perform with its title and author and perhaps a brief anecdote connected with it (accent on brief). Just a little something to connect with, inspire a little interest. Of course the music has to be engaging, as well - clearly audible, but not overbearing, well mixed and appropriately scaled to the room. Avoid politics, sports, and religion (but I repeat myself). Try not to offend them. We once lost a long-standing gig by one of us jokingly bragging that the football team from our town had just beaten the team from their town and that was that. Two years of regular gigs and at least that many forseeable down the drain. Live and learn.

    TLDR: Be friendly and informative without being condescending. Act like you are enjoying yourself. They can smell fear.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 09-27-2020 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Capitalization

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I think there are some variables here. Miles had a very strong image and it didn't require saying much to the audience.

    I've seen a lot of shows where I wished the performer would talk more. That's especially true when the music is challenging. If you're listening to a 90 minute show of music you've never heard, presented in ear twisting ways, the performer talking is a kind of relief.

    I've also seen shows where the performers seemed afraid to relax with the audience, so their talk was stiff and, frankly, uncomfortable. It's more fun for me, as an audience member, if they're obviously relaxed.

    If the music has great groove, that makes it easier. If I can't stop moving in my seat or I feel like dancing, I'm less likely to wish the band leader would say something.

    This may sound a little abstract, but one way of thinking about it is that the band, particularly the spokesperson, creates a containing environment for the audience. The audience needs to feel connected and taken care of. There isn't just one way to do that, but it usually requires some projection of personality.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Barry Harris is great at all of this BTW.
    really, really great. most of Barry's nights at the Vanguard I've seen have concluded with a singalong.

    I'm reminded of Jimmy Raney's essay on this stuff:

    There were a lot of talented young musicians, and they all played bebop. They didn't get paid for it though. Nobody liked bebop. Not the jazz fans, not the older musicians, not even the Downbeat writers. We mostly played for free in a B-Girl joint on South State Street called the "Say When." They didn't like bebop either, but they let us play there to make the place look like a real club, instead of a clip-joint that rolled drunks who were looking for some action.

    Jimmy is clearly having some fun here, but it's also clear that this music has never really been all that popular. Sure, there are clubs that have jazz every night and they are packed with people having a great time, no doubt. But it's never been just because of the music alone.

    Personally, I try to read the room and present accordingly. If it's a club where people are mostly drinking and talking, I won't say much. But if it's a concert situation, I'll usually say something before every tune, and do some kind of participatory thing to draw the audience in

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    When I saw Robert Glasper at the Blue Note last year, part of the show turned into an audience singalong to Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time.

    He also engaged the audience by having the fourth member of the band be a computer operator. I don't know what to call it. He "played" a laptop, triggering sounds and spoken word clips which were political in nature. I never heard anything like it and it was great.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    ’80s?
    yep

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    First time I saw Kreisberg at the Bar Next Door, he sat near the entrance during breaks, so you were forced to pass him on the way in or out. He engaged everyone and really made you feel special for coming along and catching a set. He was very appreciative. It made a big impression on me of how down to earth he was and a real people person. Found Peter Mazza exactly the same, he went around to every table and thanked everyone for making the effort to come out. Same wth Pasquale at Mezzrow, walked around and greeted and thanked everyone. I’ve made it a point to emulate these examples and talk to people and thank them for coming along. Easier to do in small clubs of course. Especially now, You can’t take anything for granted during these troubled times.Also helped break some stereotypes regarding no matter how hard it can be at times living or making a living in NYC, you don’t have to be an asshole about it. Strangely enough this is the impression I get from a lot of local musicians where I live. They are very asocial and don’t seem to have any people skills, they promote an attitude of aloofness, that you are somehow lucky to be able to have the chance to hear them. Particularly amusing as a lot of them couldn’t swing from a vine. LOL

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It's not traditional to do this in a recital, but I think it is such a good idea. People want to connect with the person playing.

    A common practice here in the States, C, unless there are multiple performers as is sometimes the case with GFA convention concerts. The only one who never did it was Segovia who I had a pleasure to hear live and unamplified in a concert in Miami in the late Seventies. The last live concert I attended was by Chicago guitarist Brian Torosian in 2018(?), a very chatty performer and an interpreter of the music of Johann Kaspar Mertz playing a contraguitar built by Illinois luthier Richard Brune. Play live . . . Marinero



  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    I front a blues band, so that obviously requires audience interaction. I also do occasional jazz gigs (pre-pandemic, mainly guitar duet, since then a couple of online solo things). Whether the music is all instrumental or has vocals, I talk to the audience (unless it's a true background music kind of thing). Introduce the the other musicians, say the names of the songs, tell something about some of the songs, maybe a personal anecdote, a little humor. People like it. When I go to performances, I like it. I've been to a handful of classical performances where the performer stops and talks about the music, and I think it really improves the experience. I wish that happened much more often.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 09-29-2020 at 04:20 PM.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    I think it's very important to talk to the audience. In my band we play 95% original music. I always tell a story about the song we're about to play. Why I wrote it or some story behind it. What it means to me and how it came to be. My songs always have a stories and a purposes. It helps create a bridge for the audience. Then there's often someone who comes up and tells me about that song we played about war or marriage or that soccer player.

    I'm less concerned, perhaps than I should be, about putting on a show. I played with an original pop band many years ago with a lead singer who had amazing stage presence. He told me I didn't have to dance and carrying on. That's not what he called stage presence. He said, "all you have to do is be aware that you're on stage and people are looking at you. That's all." LOL. He was right I think.

    And I think jazz HAS suffered from it's own introversion and self possessiveness. Few people want to go and SEE a gig with people who are looking at their navels with an instrument. Now if it's Miles or Scofield, yeah. That's OK. Even cool. But Joe Bloggs at the local bar? Not really.

  29. #28
    Well they call it SHOW BUSSINESS which to me means you make the paying crowd feel welcome and that you are not too HIP to speak to them.Psychology shows that musicians who use body language are perceived to be better musicians by the average crowd in studies.I know in the club biz the old saying if the cash register is ringing than the band is swinging is true.The room ,level of listener awareness,style of music are all important variables. In a room so dead we players have to say lets put our hands together and try and contact the living! some friendly patter might help! I would say players should remember why people are paying them their hard earned money! When I saw Jeff Beck Group with Mahavishnu opening , Jeff said Thank you and God bless and that was enough.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    A little informational chat goes a long way towards making friends for jazz, or even classical recitals. Julian Bream was a great story-teller, and his brief, informative, often funny interludes were important in creating his success. I can suggest that those of you who want to try talking to the audience do two things specifically: play first (that's really what they came for), and have some sort of relevant story prepared (not memorized, but researched). Keep it short and light, and don't do it for every tune; pick your spots, such as originals or a story of how you discovered the tune or something along those lines.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    A little informational chat goes a long way towards making friends for jazz, or even classical recitals. Julian Bream was a great story-teller, and his brief, informative, often funny interludes were important in creating his success. I can suggest that those of you who want to try talking to the audience do two things specifically: play first (that's really what they came for), and have some sort of relevant story prepared (not memorized, but researched). Keep it short and light, and don't do it for every tune; pick your spots, such as originals or a story of how you discovered the tune or something along those lines.

    Hi, RJ,
    I agree with your above remarks from a practical perspective in enhancing/promoting a performer's career. I did it for years in every show playing popular music(Jazz/Rock;R@B). However, there is the nagging question that still poses conflict,(IMO) for the "artist"-- Am I an artist or an entertainer? And, is there a difference? I often think: would Horowitz's or Rubenstein's concerts been more meaningful with dialogue? Did Segovia need to schmooze his audience between pieces? Would the Zen poet Takahashi need to give background information before reading a poem? Would Gauguin's paintings have more meaning with explanation? And, closer to home, why did Miles turn his back to the audience for years? I think it revolves around being a purist or not. I think when a musician, painter, or poet/novelist reaches a certain level, his/her Art should be enough. Period. However, I don't believe there are many here at that level, myself included, so for us it becomes a question of personal taste. If it gets me another gig without being obnoxious, O.K. But for my exclusively solo work, I do my PR between sets, one on one, and I think it is much more successful in the long term. Play live . . . Marinero
    Last edited by Marinero; 09-30-2020 at 03:02 PM. Reason: spelling

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Another issue is whether we're talking about a concert or some other kind of gig.

    I'd rather play for a party than an audience in rows of chairs facing the band and feeling like they're supposed to be quiet.

    When I'm in the audience listening to instrumental music for 90 minutes ... I'm hoping for something familiar for at least some of the time.

    My favorite shows are those where the music was accessible and played at a really high level. Also, shows where I knew the performer's records really well, so that I was looking forward to how they did the same tunes live. And, even then, after 20 or 25 minutes of solid instrumental music, I'm ready for a break. The best performers understand that, IMO.

    I saw Joey D'Francesco at Dizzy's. He played organ, he sang, he played trumpet and he talked to the audience. "Anybody know the name of that tune?" (It was Sentimental Journey). Artist and entertainer. Trio Da Paz, same club. Came in with the trio, plus a singer, Maucha, Harry Allen and Claudio Roditi. It was art and entertainment.

    I recall a show by Gerald Albright at Yoshi's in SF. He's known as a smooth jazz saxophonist, but he can play anything, including burning bop. He put on a show. Great music great personality.

    I also played in a band where the leader, a music teacher, had the idea that he wanted a completely attentive audience for two sets. Like the way people attend the symphony. His only engagement with the audience was to announce tunes in a somber tone. No humor, no smiling, nothing emotional to attach to. I thought that was terrible, partly, because that band wasn't good enough to command that kind of attention. As it turned out, most of the people from his school wouldn't show up.

    Come to think of it, I saw Duke Ellington in 1964 at the World's Fair, and he did this fingersnapping spoken bit that was pure entertainment. He made a point of featuring Sam Woodyard playing with his hands. If Ellington could put on a show, is that really beneath the band I was in?

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Gorilla suit or GTFO

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Gorilla suit or GTFO
    Put in a few years with a basic dance band. We did a lot of weddings and functions. We dressed in slacks and frilly shirts. One gig I wore a jacket and snuck in a whole-head gorilla mask (ala Nairobi Trio) and a pair of "Zany Zappers"-a pair of cheap sunglasses with button-activated blinking red lights. Just before my lead break I donned the mask. leader looked over, his jaw dropped visibly, then I hit the zapper switch and the red lights started flashing. Said leader about fell down laughing.

    I was a lot more fun in those days.

    I won't say how long I looked for a full suit. Scarce in these parts.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 09-30-2020 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Spelin

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Shut up and play.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Shut up and play only consistently works for background music. There are many great artists whose spoken interludes didn't detract from their artistic performance and, in fact, may have garnered them new fans who found themselves more comfortable because they had been included in the event and and been both entertained and educated. Why should we be limited to being "artists" at the cost of gaining new fans? It's the 21st century: different technologies, different attention spans, different audience from the 18th and 19th centuries. Dizzy Gillespie: entertainer or artist? A rather pointless and silly question, when one considers that he was a seminal artist who happened to love entertaining his audiences.

    Purists are killing jazz.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    You read a lot into that.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    "Purists are killing jazz." Ronjazz

    Hi, R,
    The dumbing down of our world's populations is killing Jazz as it is for the visual and poetic arts. However, there is truth in what you say, IMO, is that when people stopped dancing to Jazz music as it transitioned to concert music, the large audiences/followers disappeared. Today, Jazz music is extremely esoteric and has been thoroughly trounced by Pop, Rock, Rap and C and W appealing to the LCD--least common denominator. Perhaps we are carrying a torch for all quality music that is soon to be distinguished by all listeners other than aficionados/musicians. I think Jazz is on the same road that quality poetry followed years ago. Perhaps its already arrived.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    "Purists are killing jazz." Ronjazz

    Hi, R,
    The dumbing down of our world's populations is killing Jazz as it is for the visual and poetic arts. However, there is truth in what you say, IMO, is that when people stopped dancing to Jazz music as it transitioned to concert music, the large audiences/followers disappeared. Today, Jazz music is extremely esoteric and has been thoroughly trounced by Pop, Rock, Rap and C and W appealing to the LCD--least common denominator. Perhaps we are carrying a torch for all quality music that is soon to be distinguished by all listeners other than aficionados/musicians. I think Jazz is on the same road that quality poetry followed years ago. Perhaps its already arrived.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    Well said. I'd add one more thing. Jazz is better in NYC than most places. In the NYC clubs you're more likely to hear jazz the way it is supposed to be played, in my view, -- where even the musicians don't know where the song is going to go, and they create the performance on the fly - unplanned. Time feel can be exquisite. Played that way, even unfamiliar tunes without vocals can be compelling. I hear that more in NYC than elsewhere, not that I've been everywhere else.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    You read a lot into that.
    Yep. I tend to think things through.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    I’ll leave you to it.

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Hey bopper
    That's a good point actually. Playing without charts definitely registers with me. I still use my iPad even though I know the tunes and have been playing them for years a few years ago I never used charts but have slipped back into using them again. I don't need them for the heads it's just a comfort thing having the changes in front of you if you get distracted or lost in the moment.
    I think as well I used to play sitting down and if I had a chart in front of me that would block the audiences view of my fretboard so they couldn't actually see me playing.
    i play standing up now but still have the charts.
    that said I've seen breaker use charts although he steps away from it when improvising. I don't think I've ever seen metheney use charts or scofield, kriesberg in fact I don't think I've seen any pro guitarist use charts. Maybe is because we are all crap readers and have to have everything internalised
    When I first saw Chick Coreas Return To Forever in Boston Al Demiola must have just gotten the gig from Bill Conners because he did a lot of reading that night! Must of been many,many notes on those charts! Whatever else he really is a Great Reader!

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    mood is a good thing to focus on.

    Barry Harris is great at all of this BTW.
    Yes, every time I have seen him in performance (as opposed to workshops) he not only chats with the audience but gets them to participate in building a tune or singing along. He’s a showman as well as a shaman!

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    I won tickets to see Kenny Garret at Jazz at Lincoln Center once. I never heard of him before but after his performance I was a fan! I even went out and bought a bunch of cd’s. He had us up and clapping and singing. Definitely one of the more enjoyable shows I have seen. Christian McBride was another gifted performer that can keep an audience engaged.


  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Bflat
    I won tickets to see Kenny Garret at Jazz at Lincoln Center once. I never heard of him before but after his performance I was a fan! I even went out and bought a bunch of cd’s. He had us up and clapping and singing. Definitely one of the more enjoyable shows I have seen. Christian McBride was another gifted performer that can keep an audience engaged.

    He's one of my favorites. His album Songbook is at the top of my list.

  46. #45
    One thing that is hurting modern jazz in my humble opinion is that some play to impress other musicians more than the average listener and some know how to do both like Chick Corea ! I am glad there is artistic freedom but jazz radio and jazz clubs seem to be sparse and dying on the vine.Snarky Puppy seems to do a good job of playing high level music while being entertaining. The times they are a changin with many things. We all seem to be saying the same thing I guess.A performer needs to have a goal and aim for that perhaps. I dont know how to navigate this site well yet, but I was going to mention Will Matthews of the Count Basie Orchestra as a jazz guitarist of distinction! I drove clear across town (KC) in a traffic jam to hear him again one time and there are not that many I would do that for. Im not sure how Big Bands are doing these days but they dont seem to come through town much anymore.I wish they did! How can I play whats high quality and reach a certain number of people is what up and comers have to decide.I see Bobby Broom does not have bookings this year. I guess covid is a big part of it. I wish I had the right answers for a healthier jazz scene but I dont.Maybe some of you do!

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    This biggest difference I see is energy level and downtime. "What should we play next? I dunno, what do you want to play next? Autumn Leaves? Naw, I'm getting bored with that. Mrs. Jones? Ok" That stuff makes me crazy. Raise the bar to at least a crappy classic rock cover band. Have a set list. Have at least 3 interesting transitions that take one song and morph it into the next without stopping.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mittens
    This biggest difference I see is energy level and downtime. "What should we play next? I dunno, what do you want to play next? Autumn Leaves? Naw, I'm getting bored with that. Mrs. Jones? Ok" That stuff makes me crazy. Raise the bar to at least a crappy classic rock cover band. Have a set list. Have at least 3 interesting transitions that take one song and morph it into the next without stopping.

    Hi, M,
    I never played in a band that didn't have a "set" list. I've rarely, if ever(?), heard a performer "wing it" as far as set tunes unless it was a jam session. Even when a performer travels without a group, there is usually some sort of rehearsal beforehand and ,if not, they know the tunes the artist wants to play. I attended concerts at Chicago's Jazz Showcase for almost 40 years and many times Joe Siegel used house bands to accompany traveling artists: Willie Pickens/Lou Levy, piano with assorted drummers and bassists. Never heard that chatter with pros.
    Play live . . . soon??? . . . Marinero

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    To all these who think that communicating with the audience compromises their artistic integrity - read Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography and get a life. He has a LOT to say on this subject. Short version: of course you can neglect the audience if you don't want return bookings.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    To all these who think that communicating with the audience compromises their artistic integrity - read Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography and get a life. He has a LOT to say on this subject. Short version: of course you can neglect the audience if you don't want return bookings.
    Hi, D,
    I agree . . . especially in Jazz. However, in today's world if you're not a "star," many Jazz audiences(?) hardly know you're in the room. I've seen videos on JGF by members playing in a club where the nachos with cheese took higher precedence than the music. A club famous for that, IMO, was Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago. The last time I saw Von Freeman play there was when he was in his 80's and the chic hipsters hardly noticed the certified American treasure that was on the stage. Of course, the conversation of the dumbing down of America is always at the ready and . . . I wholeheartedly agree. Play live . . . Marinero

    Here's a piece on Von before his death. R.I.P., brother! You were one of my early sax idols and the inspiration for generations of other Chicago tenor players. M

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    My music < nachos with cheese

    To be fair:

    Most music < nachos with cheese