8

Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes

Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes
Mr. P.C. By

Sign in to view read count
Dear Mr. P.C.:

When we're playing a "background music" gig and the crowd is so loud there's no way they can hear us, and we can't even hear ourselves, does it matter what we play?

—Invisible Dan


Dear Dan:

Jazz is all about responding, in the moment, to the sounds around you, right? To do otherwise is dishonest and untrue to the art form. So of course it matters what you play; you need to play the music of not being able to hear yourself, music of frustration, rage and—above all—inaudibility.

Liberated from burdens like intonation, note selection, tone quality and time, you can focus instead on creating music that fully deserves not to be heard.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

What happens when you show up for a gig in front of a big crowd, and the leader hands you a chart with fonts so small you can barely read it. Can you refuse to play?

—Squints McGee


Dear Squints:

The size of the font indicates how loud you're supposed to play; it's graphic notation—very post-modern. A tiny font tells you to play so quietly you can barely be heard, just as the notes can barely be seen.

People think that older jazz musicians play louder because they're losing their hearing, but it's actually because they're wearing reading glasses.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

You know how when people are soloing they'll quote some part of a different song that fits over the same chord changes? Well, I'm wondering if it's okay to quote a song over itself. Is that okay, or is it like incest?

—Tommy G., Atlanta


Dear Tommy:

Most people would call that playing "the melody." Obviously "the melody" can be in quotes, while incest is just an improper noun, relatively speaking.

Have a question for Mr. P.C.? Ask him.

Shop

More Articles

Read Solving the Audience Equation, The Fix is On, and It's a Setup! Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Solving the Audience Equation, The Fix is On, and It's...
by Mr. P.C.
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Best of Mr. P.C. 2016 Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Best of Mr. P.C. 2016
by Mr. P.C.
Published: December 10, 2016
Read Easy Swing, Fours and More, Medicinal Jazz Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Easy Swing, Fours and More, Medicinal Jazz
by Mr. P.C.
Published: December 1, 2016
Read Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce
by Mr. P.C.
Published: October 27, 2016
Read Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes
by Mr. P.C.
Published: July 22, 2016
Read Texting on the Bandstand, Practicing, and Playing Each Note as if it's Your Last Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Texting on the Bandstand, Practicing, and Playing Each Note...
by Mr. P.C.
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce
by Mr. P.C.
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Texting on the Bandstand, Practicing, and Playing Each Note as if it's Your Last" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Texting on the Bandstand, Practicing, and Playing Each Note...
by Mr. P.C.
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Easy Swing, Fours and More, Medicinal Jazz" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Easy Swing, Fours and More, Medicinal Jazz
by Mr. P.C.
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Background Gigs, Small Fonts, and Incestuous Quotes
by Mr. P.C.
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Solving the Audience Equation, The Fix is On, and It's a Setup!" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Solving the Audience Equation, The Fix is On, and It's...
by Mr. P.C.
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Best of Mr. P.C. 2016" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Best of Mr. P.C. 2016
by Mr. P.C.
Published: December 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!