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.

De Bass

Read "De Bass" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: When a pianist and bassist argue over chord changes, who's usually right? —Believing Either Bass Or Piano Dear BEBOP: Does it matter? It's purely ritualistic behavior, as inborn and inescapable as bucks tangling antlers in the spring. But the feuding still establishes dominance, and that has far-reaching effects: When the rhythm section gets lost, the submissive will take the blame even if it's clearly the dominant's fault. ...

Disgruntled Masters

Read "Disgruntled Masters" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: Is it okay to grunt or hum while playing the piano? I'm looking for a career in jazz but don't have any musical talent, but I'm pretty sure I could figure out a way to remaster the great tunes from the likes of Oscar and Erroll to exclude the annoying 'hum' from their recordings.  --Peter from Poughkeepsie Dear Peter: What few people realize about grunters like Oscar and Erroll ...

Bits and Bytes

Read "Bits and Bytes" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: On the bandstand, in the middle of a tune, is it okay to move your lips while you're counting? —Patient Percussionist Dear PP: Of course--if you don't, you'll sound really strange. Dear Mr. P.C.: I saw someone post on Facebook, just before a gig: “Hurry down--we're selling out!" My question is, are they selling out of seats, or selling out musically?

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 ...

Ouch!

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 ...

Ba-dum-tss!

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 ...


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