I used to get all the calls in town when someone needed a bassist. Now I don't get any, and the weird thing is that I've only been getting better. I still practice all the time and can tell I'm improving. So why would I suddenly disappear? I'm not in the clubs anymore, and apparently I'm not in anyone's book either.
When the phone isn't ringing, how can you be so sure that it's other musicians not calling you? It could be anyone, right? Telemarketers, collection agencies, local law enforcement...any of them might not be calling you, and that's a very good thing!
I don't know why you have to be so negative, but that might explain why nobody wants you in their band.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
I have heard the song "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," and have several questions:
Does the word "ain't" have a place in such a musical masterpiece?
Why would a composer write such double negatives?
What does it mean if it Does Have That Swing?
Stuck Wondering If Negatives Groove
Although Ellington has received plenty of recognition as a composer and pianist, he's deeply underrated as an existential philosopher. When he says "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," he's telling us that a musician who isn't swingingor perhaps even a swinging musician when he's off the bandstandis plunged into meaninglessness.
"What Am I Here For?" Duke asked, but a part of him knew that there was music, and nothing more. That explains how terribly prolific he was, shadowed by the fear that the moment he put down his pen or took his hands off the keys, a life well-lived would come to nothing.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
I'm a young jazz cat trying to enter the scene, but I really don't like old musicians. Unfortunately, they seem to have a lock on the decent-paying gigs. How can I play with people my age and still make money?
Here's what you don't get: Old musicians get paid more because they need the money more. Why? Because they've been playing jazz longer!
Ask yourself, Sam: Is it worth a lifetime of scuffling just to get some decent-paying pity gigs on death's doorstep? If you can't answer yes, I urge you to get out of the business while you still have all your plasma.
All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz since 1995, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
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.