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Cursing, Gambling, Drinking and Smoking

Read "Cursing, Gambling, Drinking and Smoking" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

CursingDear Mr. P.C.: Sometimes when a jazz musician is soloing, I hear him groan or even curse when he hits a bad note. But I never hear any squeals of joy from musicians when they play something they like. Why all the negativity? —Pollyanna in Pittsburgh Dear Polly:

Best of 2020

Read "Best of 2020" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: So with the ever-present question of “selling out," my question for you is this: Is it better to alienate your audience by playing complicated original music, or to lift their spirits playing standards you can't stand? --Dave the Dichotomist   Dear Dave: If ...

Inside Out

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Dear Mr. P.C.: I was playing bass on a trio gig along with a guitarist and drummer. I was comping during a drum solo and I suddenly heard “Quit playing!" from across the room. Now I don't always lay it down for drummers, but this guy did not know the form of any of ...

Talking While Playing, Sub Division, and Translating Scat

Read "Talking While Playing, Sub Division, and Translating Scat" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Talking While PlayingDear Mr. P.C.: You are in the middle of an improvised solo, eyes closed, really in the flow, when someone walks up and starts talking to you. What do you do? Sure, I can have a conversation while strumming the chords to a pop song or some repetitive part, but while navigating ...

Bits and Bytes

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

Dear Mr. P.C.: Do you really have to suffer to be a great artist, or is that just Hollywood BS? --Pete L., Chicago Dear Pete: It's absolutely true, and that's why you should always seek out and play with the worst musicians possible. Dear Mr. P.C.: ...

Do the Math

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Dear Mr. P.C.: Here's what I don't get. Say you're the leader on a $400 quartet gig, and the club owner offers you a 50% raise, but “changes his mind" a week later and cuts your pay by 50%. You wind up with less than you started with--$300! ($600 -$300) But then look at ...

Count-Off, Off of My Cloud, Going Off

Read "Count-Off, Off of My Cloud, Going Off" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Count-offDear 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 ...

Sneezing, Spouses and Singers

Read "Sneezing, Spouses and Singers" reviewed by Mr. P.C.

Dear Mr. P.C.: I'm playing solo piano at an old folks home. Suddenly I feel an explosive sneeze coming on, and I can tell it's going to be “productive." I don't want to be responsible for infecting the vulnerable elderly. Where am I supposed to point my problematic proboscis? Do my hands get involved? ...

De Bass

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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, ...

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' ...


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