[Dixielandjazz] [TPIN] The Day the Christmas Music Died

Bob Romans cellblk7 at comcast.net
Mon Dec 29 10:36:14 PST 2003

Hi DJML'ers...this was too funny. I had to pass it on to you all! Two
trumpet players discussing their Christmas gigs...


So how was your Christmas Eve gig? Mine was uneventful in spite of only

having one rehearsal because our trombone player's car kept dying! Our tuba

player had to drive 40 minutes out of the way to pick him up and get him to

the gig. <sigh!>

Just in case you think YOUR Christmas Eve gig didn't go quite as smoothly as

you had hoped... a very good friend of mine put things in perspective for


Well, the Christmas Eve service?  It was not fine. It

was not even close to fine. It was definitely something that starts with an

"f," however.

First, the piano chick starts "O Holy Night" with this

single-digit-metronome-setting, too slow for a freakin' dirge, and I'm

figuring, "Okay, I have to write off seeing the kids open their presents

tomorrow, but maybe I'll still make the New Years' party." Then the sound

guy starts screwing around with her levels, and I suddenly can't hear any

tempo at all. Amazingly enough, I manage to get in at approximately the

right time, which isn't all that amazing now that I think about it, since

each measure is roughly 12 minutes long.

So I play about 8 bars, all the while with the drummer showing off his wind

chimes and nifty sound FX, when suddenly WHAM! It sounds like the piano

chick has dropped dead and her head has fallen on the keyboard. There is

this chord from h#ll, loud, that would have made Schoenberg sit up and say,

"Now THAT'S dissonant." I learned later that she'd screwed up photocopying.

>From the way it sounded, she'd inserted a page from "Mein Kampf."

Now, I'm on my own. The drummer's still happily dragging sticks across his

wind chimes and doing mallet rolls on his cymbals, and the bass part hasn't

started yet, and there's still no piano because she's busy flipping so many

pages in the air, it looks like a freakin' ticker-tape parade over the

Kurzweil. Meanwhile, I'm belting out the lead virtually a capella, brain

going 9,000 mph, thinking, "Should I jazz this thing up and pretend we meant

to do this?" when suddenly, Mr. Nerves jumps in and says, "Hi, Scotty!

Forget the improv ... how's the blood pressure?" and I promptly cuff a note

but GOOD. No big deal, I figure, but just in case someone wasn't quite

sure what happened I reflexively flail my right hand in disgust and mouth a

very bad word not normally part of a Christmas Eve service, although if you

think about it, Joseph and Mary probably had to deal with lots of it, being

in a stable with a bunch of cows and all.

Just about that time, an old adage apparently occurs to the bass player:

"when in Rome ..." and he decides to add to the meltdown in progress by

hitting strings at random while pretending the neck is a snow-covered slope

and his left hand is a slalom skier. "I got a little lost," he admitted

later, which is somewhat akin to a Johnstown flood survivor saying, "I got a

little wet."

Now it's my turn again, and as I'm marveling at the disaster, hearing old

newsreels in my head ("Oh, the humanity!"), I remember that I'm still

driving this runaway, and should probably pay attention to my own part.

Unfortunately, it occurs to me a split second too late, like when you let go

of the car door a split-second before you remember the keys are in the

ignition, and I promptly cuff a second note, complete with sign language for

the fortunate hearing-impaired.

Somehow, days later, we get to the big finish, and I wind up for my big high

D which is no big deal at all, and I just can't wait to nail it and get out

of there before the communion bread and little shot-glasses start flying at

our heads, when suddenly, I get a little tickle in the back of my throat -

just enough to break up the air and firmly plant a C-natural solidly in the

path of the D, completely overshadowing the fact that I wrenched a gut and

finally pushed it back up where it belongs.

Needless to say we brought down the house. As always, it feels good to

impact people in a way that moves them to action in their daily lives, and

I'm proud to say that as a result, 23 people have converted to Buddhism, 11

have become agnostics, and the rest have become Jehovah's Witnesses in an

attempt to fill the void in their lives that was left The Day the Christmas

Music Died.

Until someone buys it on eBay, I remain your friend packing a loaded horn,



Have a Happy New Year TPIN!


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