Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum

Inspired by the cutting edge advice of Abigail Van Buren, the storied bass playing of Paul Chambers, and the need for a Politically Correct doctrine for navigating the minefields of jazz etiquette, I humbly offer my services.


It's About Time

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Dear Mr. P.C.: When a member of your band has a history of showing up late for your gigs, is it morally wrong to give them a “start time" an hour early to be safe? FWIW, this is a bassist with a tendency to drag, so if I alienate him it's not the end of the world. —Anonymous, Jacksonville Dear Anonymous: Time is fluid and irrepressible. Time won't start and stop at ...


Vote P.C.!

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Dear Mr. P.C.: Will being in a swing state improve my swing playing? --J.P., Atlanta Dear J.P.: On the surface, at least, this is pretty obvious. Right now I'm in a writing state, so I'm writing. Tonight I'll be in a reading state, so I'll read. If I were in a swing state, would I play swing? You bet! When else would I swing better? And for the same reason, if I ...


CD Phobia, Italian Sunrise and The Dating Game

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CD PhobiaDear Mr. P.C.: Whenever I listen to an old recording of myself and I sound good, it depresses me. Because in all the years I've spent practicing since I recorded it, have I even gotten better? As for my last few CDs, I haven't even listened, because I'd probably be devastated. And I can't listen to the radio, because what if one of my tracks starts playing? What if I hated it without even realizing ...


Strange Guitarists, Entitled Musicians and Fictional Managers

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Strange GuitaristsDear Mr. P.C.: Is it possible to maintain inner peace while playing “Misty" or “Autumn Leaves"? Why are guitarists strange? --Jack Dear Jack: That's quite a puzzle you've created there! I think you're suggesting that guitarists are strange either because they can maintain inner peace playing those songs, or because they can't. I can't tell which, and it doesn't matter. Here's the thing: Guitar players have so ...


The Lick, The Uniform, and All That Jazz

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The LickDear Mr. P.C.: I'm afraid that someday as I'm getting ready to solo on a song, I may forget my lick. If that happens, what am I supposed to do? Out Of Lick Dear OOL: At that point it's a little late to try to come up with a new lick, isn't it? So, unfortunately, you'll to have to try to improvise. It won't be fun or easy, but maybe in ...


A Marvelous Night, Self-ish

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A Marvelous Night Dear Mr. P.C.: I went to a jazz club to hear a jazz band. When I shouted out a request between songs, the musicians just looked at one another, shook their heads, then ignored me. The song was “Moondance," which I happen to know is jazzy. I even asked the people at the tables around me, and they agreed it's jazzy. So what kind of so-called “jazz" band in a so-called “jazz" club can't even ...


Food, Guts, Pop

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FoodDear Mr. P.C.: I just played a wedding gig where I briefly felt lucky to be given a place setting and served the same food the guests ate. My question is: If I'm not satisfied with the dish, is it inappropriate for me to send my plate back to the kitchen and ask for something better? —Running On Empty Dear ROE: You were indeed lucky to be served the same food the ...


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