Bill Anschell's Notes from the Lobby

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

Bill Anschell periodically self-publishes purely self-indulgent vignettes based on his life in the jazz world. These stories are essential reading for any aspiring musician who might unwittingly enter the field without a sense of humor or a passion for the bizarre.

Jazz Jam Sessions: A First-Timer's Guide

Read "Jazz Jam Sessions:  A First-Timer's Guide" reviewed by Bill Anschell

Ready to check out your first jam session? There's much more to jazz music--and to the “session" in particular--than meets the eye. This primer will help you better appreciate the intense psychodrama being played out on stage. Special “Insider's Hints" ("IH“) highlighted throughout the text will help you make the most of your maiden voyage. IH: Although your food and drink dollars are the lifeblood of the jazz economy, remember that to the musicians, you're irrelevant. Don't make ...

Careers in Jazz

Read "Careers in Jazz" reviewed by Bill Anschell

Every year, university programs spit out thousands of highly trained jazz musicians sporting hard-earned diplomas and high hopes. But when these graduates hit the first formal rite of jazz passage--a desperate trip to the local pawn shop--they learn that the diploma is literally not worth the paper it's printed on. Entering school, their dream was simple: To perform music they love for attentive audiences in jazz clubs, concert halls, and festivals, and to earn a fair wage for their efforts1. ...

Notes from the Lobby

Read "Notes from the Lobby" reviewed by Bill Anschell

The light is unsettling; too bright, by far, for the dark business at hand. My fingers work tirelessly. Visible beneath them, a workspace painful to the glance; brilliant, aching white. Should I look away, bury my gaze instead in the teeming masses before me? They transact ceaselessly, without apology. Harshly lit, the greedy faces are easily identified, yet there is mystery about them.Shouldn't it be nighttime? Shouldn't we be in a darkened restaurant, or a seamy, ill-lit bar? ...

Jazz Math

Read "Jazz Math" reviewed by Bill Anschell

If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp. # (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed). 4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + (4 + or--.667) + 4 + (x, where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading ...


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