[Dixielandjazz] Re: Little played songs

Barbonestreet@earthlink.net Barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Fri, 07 Jun 2002 12:46:56 -0700

Must pass on a "little played" song story. Last night at our regular brew pub gig (young audience that has stayed with us 4 years now) a young fan came up at the first break and asked for "Things Ain't What They Used To Be." 

It is not in our repetoire, no one in the band had ever played it except the trumpet player, one time in the last 10 years.

But, he is a fine musician, member of the Philly Pops led by Peter Nero etc., and he, the guitar player and I could hum the tune and felt we could play it..

We decided to do it in Bb after humming it to each other for several minutes while on break.

Started the second set with it. Led into it with a story about how this band of oldsters averaging 70 years, was going to play a tune about "things". "What" hollered the guitar player, well, you get the picture as I talked about the historical perspective of "things" finally announcing that as we knew, "Things Ain't What They Used To Be."

The head went perfectly, then we developed it as a medium tempo blues while the rhythm section got into a funky Basie mode.

Got to tell you, it was a rare moment and the tune just took off by itself. Great jazz, great crowd reaction, band members all said we need to play that more, and I gained a new appreciation for why Thelonious Monk used to play his tunes for the sidemen, asking them to hear them, rather than giving them the music.

Some great jazz occurs in tunes you may not know that well, the first time you play them.

Steve Barbone