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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Bill Anschell's Notes from the Lobby

Bill Anschell periodically self-publishes purely self-indulgent vignettes based on his life in the jazz world. These stories are essential reading for any aspiring musician who might unwittingly enter the field without a sense of humor or a passion for the bizarre.


June 28, 2012

Jazz Jam Sessions: A First-Timer's Guide

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By BILL ANSCHELL

Ready to check out your first jam session? There's much more to jazz music--and to the “session" in particular--than meets the eye. This primer will help you better appreciate the intense psychodrama being played out on stage. Special “Insider's Hints" ("IH“) highlighted throughout the text will help you make the most of your maiden voyage. IH: Although your food and drink dollars are the lifeblood of the jazz economy, remember that to the musicians, you're irrelevant. Don't make requests. Don't start dancing. And don't try to sing along. The last thing the session needs is another ego. Things ...

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June 17, 2012

Careers in Jazz

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By BILL ANSCHELL

Every year, university programs spit out thousands of highly trained jazz musicians sporting hard-earned diplomas and high hopes. But when these graduates hit the first formal rite of jazz passage--a desperate trip to the local pawn shop--they learn that the diploma is literally not worth the paper it's printed on. Entering school, their dream was simple: To perform music they love for attentive audiences in jazz clubs, concert halls, and festivals, and to earn a fair wage for their efforts1. But set loose from the nurturing womb of the campus, they quickly experience the shock of an indifferent and often ...

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April 30, 2006

Notes from the Lobby

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By BILL ANSCHELL

The light is unsettling; too bright, by far, for the dark business at hand. My fingers work tirelessly. Visible beneath them, a workspace painful to the glance; brilliant, aching white. Should I look away, bury my gaze instead in the teeming masses before me? They transact ceaselessly, without apology. Harshly lit, the greedy faces are easily identified, yet there is mystery about them.Shouldn't it be nighttime? Shouldn't we be in a darkened restaurant, or a seamy, ill-lit bar? Underground, hidden, dank. Then, would this dirty work--theirs and mine--begin, somehow, to make sense?There is never silence. Their ...

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November 19, 2004

Jazz Math

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By BILL ANSCHELL

If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp. # (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed). 4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + (4 + or--.667) + 4 + (x, where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading with drummer. (2 + 5 + 1) (# of freshman college jazz students, internationally) = annual income of ...

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