[Dixielandjazz] What to play?

texasjazzlover texasjazzlover at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 13 18:10:49 PDT 2003

I think you have to consider that you have all types
in your audience just as a preacher would if he were
talking to a congregation.  He might have VISITORS who
know nothing about what he is preaching, or some who
come only once or twice a year, or the faithful few. 
There has to be SOMETHING for everyone.

I have noticed that there is a very small percentage
of people at festivals that really "get it" when
something special is happening on stage.  It does not
necessarily have to be a solo, it might be the
interplay that is a once in a lifetime thing.  BUT

I would think that it is up to the musician(s) to
create the best he/she can EVERYTIME.  Be sure to
include some songs in your list that most people have
heard at one time or another ("Way Down Upon the
Swanie River", etc.) but even those oldies should have
some "meat" for the Moldy Figs!


Rebecca Thompson
Flower Mound, TX

Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 08:22:01 -0500
From: Dan Augustine <>
To: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List 

Neither type of audience seems to exhibit the kind of
that other dixieland musicians do when listening to
bands: tapping their 
feet or hands OFF the beat, nodding their heads up and
down or side to 
side, watching the soloists intently, shaking their
heads when a soloist 
does something technically difficult or stylistically
(quoting another song, or playing a particularly nice
phrase).  (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.)
    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?  Most of them don't seem
to know when 
someone plays a nice solo, and maybe they can't even
hear them, what with so 
much ambient noise and talking going on.  At concerts
and festivals, 
people seem to be a lot more knowledgeable, but even
then not many of 
them seem to be impressed when a soloist plays
something incredible that 
would leave a musician shaking his head in awe.
    So who are we really playing for anyway? 
Ourselves?  If we played 
more songs the audiences know, would that increase the
sizes of the 
audience and/or their pleasure at hearing us?  I know
a lot depends on the 
nature and experience of the audience, how much of
this style of music 
they're heard before (and liked), plus advertising,
venues, etc.  I 
can't do anything about a lot of that, but i could
perhaps play more tunes 
they know (if i could figure out what they know, yes),
and make them 
shorter or longer or more danceable.
    What do y'all think?

** Dan Augustine - ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu       
** Office of Admissions, University of Texas; Austin,
Texas **

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