Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum
Antisocial Media, The Lick, The Scuffle Shuffle
Antisocial MediaDear Mr. P.C.:
How much self-promotion is too much? There are people on my Facebook feed who invite me personally to all their gigs; even people I've never met! Then they post triumphant photos from the gigs, along with a barrage of videos and audio recordings. Would it be bad etiquette for me to unfriend them?
You think they're trying to get you to acknowledge their existence, but actually they're validating yours. You matter to them; matter so much, in fact, that they want you to be with them always, in person or online. Really, they can't live without you, which must be a terrible burden for you to bear.
At the same time, without them, you might never feel wanted. These friends are offering you valuable affirmation; unfriending them is really just a way of unfriending yourself.
The LickDear Mr. P.C.:
There's a guitarist in my town who came up with the most amazing lick. I love hearing it, and it seems to work for him on almost every song. I'm just wondering if he would get tired of playing it so much. I hope not!
He doesn't get tired of it; it frees up his mind to focus on what lies aheadfor example, dinner.
The Scuffle ShuffleDear Mr. P.C.:
Dead air, that's what I'm writing about. Specifically, the dead air that happens between our songs at jam sessions. As soon as one tune ends and long before the next one begins, the players start in with the dead air song, variations on a theme:
"What do you want to play?"
"I picked the last one, what do you want to play?"
"We just played a Latin tune. How about 'I Got It Bad'?"
"Greatlet's put them all to sleep."
"Okay then, 'Cherokee'?"
"To remind us how much our drummer drags?"
And so on....
What are we to do, oh revered P.C.?
Peaved About Uncomfortable Stage Silences
If there was no arguing between songs, it might as well be a concert. Concerts are way too PBS; jam sessions are reality TV. Two percent of Americans like jazz, but everyone loves reality shows. Bottom line: That dead air and bandstand scuffling are the only way to grow the audience; every minute of actual playing threatens jazz music's long-term survival.