[Dixielandjazz] Audience etiquette

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 20 06:32:42 PST 2004

 Arnold Day <arnieday at optonline.net> wrote
> That all makes perfect sense to me, Charles. I would add that those who go to
> restaurants to talk loudly, laugh, sing "Happy Birthday" etc, should choose a
> restaurant that doesn't feature jazz that evening. I have been to Shanghai
> Jazz in NJ many times when the likes of Kenny Davern, Mark Shane, John Bunch
> and even Marian McPartland (earlier this year) were drowned out by noisy
> diners.
> Arnie

The main point is a good one. That some listeners prefer to listen in
silence. However, other listeners prefer to listen to the music as
"background", not the main attraction. And/or they want to get involved with
the band. The dilemma? To please both, not to send half of them home and
loose the underlying $ support for the gig entirely.

If Kenny Davern was drowned out by anything less than a 6 piece guitar Rock
& Roll Band with amps on full power, he must have been sick or otherwise not
feeling well. ;-) VBG. Having heard him a year or so ago in a very crowded
venue with lots of background noise, he had no trouble increasing his own
volume above it.

When he and I were still youngsters, I remember his volume as being many
decibels above the rest of the band's. Not only that, but he would have no
problem in grabbing a microphone (he never used one for the horn) and
shouting "Shut the hell up, or leave", if the spirit moved him in the
"listening" venues as opposed to the "dining" venues. :-) VBG

Nick's, where he cut his playing teeth in the 1950s, was a "noisy dining
venue". Even the "sizzling steaks" made a lot of noise. It also supplied
some of the best OKOM in NYC, if not the world, with musos like Spargo,
Mole, Davern, Traeger, Butterfield, Maxted, Duncan, Hackett, Haggart,
Lawson, Sutton et al.

If musos know going in that we are "background" music we expect to be just
that and it does not bother most of us. Dinnertime crowds are usually going
to be noisy. The after dinner crowd usually quiets down and the band gets to
stretch out.

If the audience wants to laugh, sing or shout out Happy Birthday, heck, we
join the celebration. We'll play "Happy Birthday" for them, or "Who's Sorry
Now" if it is a wedding anniversary or "It A Sin To Tell A Lie" if it is an
engagement party or "Salty Dog" if a bachelorette party etc. For us, that's
half the fun.

Steve Barbone

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