[Dixielandjazz] Why musicians don't talk to fans - and/or listen to other bands

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 13 19:06:22 PST 2004

Arnie and others have noticed that some musicians are very accessible to
fans, while others are not. Here is one musician's view.

Some of us, like Sutton, Hedges, and in my NYC days, Parker, Krupa, and a
whole bunch of others are extroverted, or just plain enjoy talking to
others. And some of us are painfully shy, or introverted and do not enjoy
talking to anybody we don't know very well. And on gigs, we are "into" the
music and ordinary conversation may be a bit difficult. When I was a kid in
NYC playing, all the joints had band rooms where we went to chill out
between sets. That's a hard habit to break.

And sometimes, we get bored to tears by fans who wish to impress us with
their knowledge of jazz. Heck, we live and breathe it every day and might
very well enjoy talking about something else instead, once the gig is over.

And as we age, we get physically worn out from gigs, especially if we're on
the second half of a double. So we get cranky, our feet hurt (which is why
we wear comfortable shoes that may not be sartorially splendid) and we just
want to chill out for 20 minutes before we have to be "on" again.

We mean no disrespect to fans, groupies or just plain folks who hear what we
have to say when we play. We are all different, but not too different from a
group of regular people in similar circumstance.

On my gigs, I try to be accommodating, schmooze with the audience. Visit
each table for a short time etc. But that also means I have to cut some
people short too. And I always want at least 5 minutes alone between sets to
gather my musical thoughts.


Why do many of us not listen to other bands at festivals or gigs? Well,
we've just finished listening to each other. And if the other bands are not
what we perceive as "extra" special, we may just rather chill out. Kinda
like as a clarinet player, I'd jump at the chance to see Tony Scott, Buddy
DeFranco or Kenny Davern. But, I am not going to extend myself to hear too
many others. 

If we are playing 10 sets at a festival in two days, or in a club, we'd
rather hear silence, except for what we personally think are extraordinary
players, and or musicians/bands doing something that is unique.

We all listen in different ways. As we see on the DJML, some musos still
spend a lot of time listening to Baby Dodds, or King Oliver, or even Louis.
While others (like me) would rather explore the Goldberg Variations by Glenn
Gould one more time or listen to "Monksieland"

March 30-April 3 MONKSIELAND  - At The IRIDIUM in NYC
Featuring Roswell Rudd, Don Byron, Dave Douglas

What is that? Roswell Rudd's sense of humor describing "his" music, a cross
between Nicksieland (NYC Dixieland) of the 50s, and Thelonious Monk.

Rudd went from Dixieland Trombone circa 1954 in Prep School, then to Yale,
with Eli's Chosen Six, then in NYC with Jack Fine and I at the Cinderella
Club and then to Free Jazz Trombone with Cecil Taylor et al and then to very
far out. He has played some very modern jazz, and other esoteric music
recently, but still with the slides and smears of Kid Ory. This, and an old
friendship is something I will drive 250 miles round trip and brave NYC
traffic to hear.

Steve Barbone 

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