[Dixielandjazz] A Gig stranger yet!
Mon, 12 Aug 2002 06:55:04 -0400
Bob et al:
I found it hard to begin with the strange gig line -- but this one sticks
in my mind as one of the gigs that caused to me to consider putting a hit
out on a certain cornet player.
The phone rang one Friday, and a cornet player "friend" wanted me to sub
for him on a gig even farther north of me, half way to the Canadian border.
A major crisis in his family he said, and he needed a sub bad. "Don't worry,
it's a great gig at a big ski resort center, the piano man and drummer are
top players and the rest of the band good players too.." He rattled off a
large $$ amount the gig would pay. Since, like most of us, helping out a
fellow player in a jam brings out the "brotherhood" instincts, so I agreed
to take the gig.
On arriving the other shoe dropped. What was supposed to be just a plain
dance gig turned out to be one of the biggest nightmare nights in many years
of nightmare nights. A new championship level nightmare night was
Turns out we were playing for the National Federation of Russian Clubs.As
part of our music we were to play one of their Russian folk tunes every
third number and we had a large book to use to "read" the tunes they wanted
played. In concert, of course, so transposing was called for. Bad enough for
the B flat horns, but the alto man was in toxic shock when he found out.
(For those not knowing of such things, a tune in concert key of C would be D
for the trumpet (2 sharps)and A for the Alto (three sharps).
Now, most tunes were in sharp keys in concert to begin with, such as G, D,
A, etc. To make things even more interesting, the Key signatures didn't tell
the whole story, as most tunes were in fact in minor mode so a tune with the
A key signature became an F sharp minor.
Beyond the key things, there were the time markers.
Things like the usual dance tempos of 3/4, 4/4, etc. were rare, we found
tempo markings of 12/16,, 10/2, and so forth ad absurdum.
Somehow we fumbled out way through the night (certain never to be hired
back in the future). It was then, on the two hour drive home, ducking deer
on the roadway and adding raccoons to the blacktop surface, that I began to
wonder what the going price for a hit man was these days!
For the record, I had later calls from the same cornet player asking if I
could sub. My answer, with the smile of an evil man on my face as I
responded, was no, no NO!!
Every time. Ever since.