Count-Off, Off of My Cloud, Going Off

Count-Off, Off of My Cloud, Going Off
Mr. P.C. By

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Dear Mr. P.C.:

I have a question. What's the difference between "counting it off" and "counting it IN" ??? I know it's "counting off the beat" and "counting IN the band," but it's still weird to me.

—K.M., Seattle

Dear K.M.:

Actually, the opposite of counting a song in is counting it out, terminology borrowed from the boxing world. There's no need for a song to be counted out if it can survive the band's assault all the way to the end. But some songs, brutally mauled, are best counted out before they suffer irreparable harm.

Off of My Cloud

Dear Mr. P.C.;

I recently attended a jazz festival where there were bands playing music other than real jazz. I got into an argument with a guy who said jazz can be anything. I told him rock cannot be considered jazz. He called me a dinosaur. Is it possible that rock is jazz? If so, then why don't jazz groups play at rock concerts? Are the Rolling Stones jazz? What the hell is real anymore?

—Fed Up in France

Dear Fed Up:

Rock can't be considered jazz because far too many people like it. At the same time, while the Rolling Stones may not sound much like jazz (unlike the Beatles), their aging audience and past-expiration-date bandmembers give jazz fans plenty to relate to.

Going Off

Dear Mr. P.C.:

If a guy in the audience comes up to me on break and says I sounded great, when I know I sounded terrible, what am I supposed to say? I'm sure he means well, so I don't want to totally go off on him.

—George N.

Dear George:

Obviously this guy needs educating, and you're just the one to teach him. How? By respectfully explaining exactly what was terrible about your playing.

Was it your time? Intonation? Flawed technique? Lack of originality? All of the above? Don't wait for him to hear it from someone else, George—no one knows your shortcomings better than you do!

If you're thorough enough, he'll also learn to dislike artists similar to you; music he may have been naively enjoying. Unfortunately, he could still enjoy an artist with different flaws than yours, assuming there are flaws you don't have.

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