[Dixielandjazz] A Proper Band Musician Introduction

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 19 06:40:38 PST 2004

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the members of tonight's
band...( in fact, any band).
"On piano____________: But first a few words about pianists in general, they
are intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and
composition in college, but are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually
bald and grow a beard. They should have big hands, but often don't. They
were social rejects as adolescents. They go home after the gig and play with
toy soldiers. Pianists have a special love-hate relationship with singers.
If you talk to the piano player during a break, he will condescend.
"On bass we have _____________ Bassists are not terribly smart. The best
bassists come to terms with their limitations by playing simple lines and
rarely soloing. During the better musical moments, a bassist will pull his
strings hard and grunt like an animal. Bass players are built big, with paws
for hands, and they are always bent over awkwardly. If you talk to the
bassist, you will not be able to tell whether or not he's listening.
"On drums____________ Drummers are intense. Specific personalities vary, but
are always extreme. A drummer might be the funniest person in the world, or
the most psychotic, or the smelliest. Drummers are uneasy because of the
many jokes about them, most of which stem from the fact that they aren't
really musicians. Most drummers are highly excitable and when excited, they
play louder. If you decide to talk to the drummer during a break, always be
careful not to sneak up on him.
"On clarinet______________ Clarinetists think they are the most important
players on stage. Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They
know all the Shaw and Goodman licks but have their own sound, a mixture of
Shaw and Goodman. They take exceptionally long solos, which peak half way
through. They practice audibly while other people are trying to play.
Clarinetists sleep with their instruments, or anything else that is handy,
forget to shower, are mangy and often have an STD. If you talk to a
Clarinetist, you will hear a lot of excuses about reeds.
"On trumpet_______________ Trumpet players are image-conscious and walk with
a swagger. Trumpet players are very attractive to women, despite the strange
indentation on their lips. Many of them sing; like either Louis Armstrong or
Chet Baker depending whether they're black or white. Arrive at the session
early, and you may get to witness the special trumpet game. The rules are:
play as loud and as high as possible. The winner is the one who plays
loudest and highest. If you talk to a trumpet player, he might confess that
his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, the merciless God of loud-high
"On guitar_________________ Jazz guitarists are unhappy. Deep inside they
want to be rock stars, but they're old and overweight. In protest they prowl
for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud. Guitarists hate piano players
because they can hit ten notes at once, but guitarists make up for it by
turning up the amp. Then the drummer starts to play harder, and the
trumpeter dips into his loud/high arsenal. Suddenly, the clarinetist's
universe crumbles, because he is no longer the most important player on
stage. He packs up his horn and storms out of the room. If you talk to a
guitarist he'll ask intimate questions about your 14-year-old daughter.
"Our vocalist is the lovely _____________ Vocalists are whimsical creations
of the all-powerful jazz gods. Their raison d'etre is to test musicians'
capacity for suffering. They are not of the jazz world, but enter it
surreptitiously. Example: A young woman is playing minor roles in college
musical theater. One day, a campus newspaper critic describes her singing as
"...jazzy." A star is born! She learns "Blue Moon" "Summertime," and "Route
66." and embarks on a campaign of musical terrorism. The vocalist will try
to seduce you by making eye contact and acknowledging your presence, DO NOT
FALL INTO THIS TRAP! Look away, make your distaste obvious. If you talk to a
vocalist, she will introduce you to her "manager."
"On trombone___________________ The trombone is known for its pleading,
voice-like quality. "Please," it seems to say, "Hire me for a gig."
Trombonists like to play fast, because their notes become indistinguishable
and thus immune to criticism. Most trombonists played trumpet in their early
years, then decided they didn't want to walk around with a strange
indentation on their lips. Now they hate trumpet players, who somehow get
all the women despite this disfigurement. Trombonists are usually tall and
lean, with forlorn faces. They don't eat much. They have to be very
friendly, because nobody really needs a trombonist. Talk to a trombonist and
he'll ask for a gig, try to sell you insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.

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