[Dixielandjazz] Dixieland--Who's Our Audience?

James Kashishian kash at ran.es
Wed Apr 9 19:53:51 PDT 2003

Dan wrote:
> (A lot of musicians don't bother clapping after each solo, and i'm
wondering how many of us >care whether they do or not.)

You also mentioned, Dan, people clapping to the off-beat & after solos.
You may be in the "middle of Texas", but I'm in the middle of
Spain....which, believe me, is even further from the "I feel swing"

All it takes is for one table to applaud a solo, and soon you will have
the complete joint doing the same.  We generally like it, but it can be
a drag after every single solo....even the bad ones!
In fact, if you goof a solo, but have had good body language during the
same solo, you are guaranteed a round of applause.  Drag!  If that
happens, one of us nearby will confer to the one guilty by saying
"mierda pura, chico" or something like that!  A sheepish smile will be
the reaction from the guilty party!  You KNOW if you done good, and
applause is not necessary, but pleasant.

Overall, we prefer a reaction to a good solo over nothing.  Even a nod
of a head from a listener is nice, particularly if you yourself happened
to think it was pretty good.  Also, a collective ensemble might get
applauded before the solos even begin, which is pleasant if the
inter-reaction had really been good between the musicians & someone
recognized that.   

One sure way to get applause for YOUR solo?  Make sure you finish as the
pianist is starting!  Yep, the folks notice the drop in level and will
generally applaud.  Mistake is if you think it's YOU they're applauding!
:>  Also, I don't approve of someone ending a solo with a grandiose lick
just to stir up applause.  The applause should come naturally after a
"good" solo.  What's a good solo?  Aha!  Might be a well executed, well
thought out solo, with a start, a build, a climax, etc.  However, that
could be just all mentally done, and if there's no heart in it, then it
ain't that good, in my opinion.  I would prefer the one that is executed
from the heart, using whatever talent the player possessed & could use
at the moment.  Yep, there's the answer for me....putting his/her ALL
into it.

Dan continues:
 >   So.  What i'm wondering about (inter alia) is this: a) selection of
songs, b) number and >excellence of solos.  For coffee houses and
restaurants, should we even expect people to >know the songs we play, or
to care about the solos we take?

Dan, I would suggest tossing in a few well-known tunes for your low
understanding crowds:  Hello Dolly, Mr. Sandman....gobs of others you
can do.  We never bother explaining the history of the songs, etc. (ala
folk singers in coffee houses from the 1950's), but maybe 'cause we play
to an audience that is basically Spanish & recognize Julio Iglesias long
before knowing who Fats Waller was, understandably.  

My suggestion is to watch your audience reaction & do your set
accordingly.  You might have a set list if you prefer, but be willing to
swap or add tunes as the feeling occurs.  And, HAVE FUN.  Then, your
audience will, too.

A quote from an article in a newspaper about the Canal Street Jazz Band
says:  "With the CSJB it is impossible to be bored or consider that jazz
is intellectual and for a minority crowd".    That is done by having
fun.  Easy enough!


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