Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette...

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

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.

Faking Bad

Read "Faking Bad" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: I'm in a band with a bassist who wants to rehearse every week. Considering that all we do when we have a gig is fake standards, isn't he being a little OCD? —Kevin A., Raleigh Dear Kevin: The hardest thing about faking standards is that there too many directions you can take. It can be overwhelming. When you rehearse faking a standard, anything you play is automatically ...


Read "Ouch!" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: Should jazz musicians marry one another? --J.S. Dear JS: Here's something that may surprise you: Tone deafness is a dominant gene, which means the ability to carry a tune is recessive. Since most jazz artists—when forced to—can carry a tune, the ability to play jazz is probably also recessive. Genetics tells us that if jazz musicianship is recessive, two jazz musicians who marry and procreate have a ...


Read "Ba-dum-tss!" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: What is it with young horn players at jam sessions who take their solo on a song and don't even hang around to play the head out? --C.S. Dear C.S.: The youngsters are looking to you for guidance. If you yell “head out," what do you expect them to do? Dear Mr. P.C.: I recently played my first Jewish wedding. There were yarmulkes laid out ...

Sucking While Blowing, Door Gig Blues

Read "Sucking While Blowing, Door Gig Blues" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Sucking While Blowing Dear Mr. P.C.: Semantic inquiry: When someone has a ton of chops and still utterly sucks to play with, would his or her chops/suck ratio be convergent or divergent? --Getting Older And Testier, Gaming Out Tactics To Enervate Neophytes Dear GOAT GOTTEN: To answer your question, we need to ask another: If this chop-laden person gets even more chops, heading toward infinite chops, will the sucking keep pace, moving ...

Drum and Drummer 2

Read "Drum and Drummer 2" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: If I can tell where a drummer is during his whole solo, does that mean he's good or bad? --Confused Bassist   Dear Confused: Neither: it just means you're listening too closely. There's nothing inherently “wrong" with paying attention to the musicians around you, but it puts undue pressure on them to pay attention to you in return, something they'd probably rather not do. In a sense, ...

Old Folks, Countdown

Read "Old Folks, Countdown" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Old Folks Dear Mr. P.C.: When people in the audience are talking, it goes without saying they're not listening to the band. But for the rest of the audience, how do you know when they're actually listening as opposed to just thinking about something else altogether? --Unheard in Utah Dear Unheard: Any jazz musician used to scanning the audience will tell you that there's an identifiable “active listening" posture: Eyes closed, face ...


Read "Provocalists" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: I just played a gig with a vocalist who chose to open the set with “Misty." He announced it to the audience by saying “Here's a song that needs no introduction." My question is, how were we supposed to start it? --I Can't Get Started Dear ICGS: Here's the thing: His announcement itself was an introduction, a miraculous bit of self-fulfilling irony. So at that point if “Misty" ...


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