[Dixielandjazz] amplified!

James Kashishian jim at kashprod.com
Wed Nov 24 10:58:42 PST 2004

This is not the first time the "natural sound vs. amplified sound" thing has
gone around here.  There are staunch believers on both sides, and never seem
to agree on anything in particular.

One thing that must be agreed is that there is a time and place for
everything.  The time (being 2004), and the place (depends on the gig).

2004...when everything else is heavily amplified, a jazz band can come out
on the poor side if not amplified.  To clarify:  our regular Tues nite gig
is a very fancy after dinner drinks club (that means after Spanish dinner,
which starts at 10pm!).  The "audience" is a wheeling/dealing crowd who are
normally in noisy conversation.  The recorded music before our 1st set &
before our 2nd set is LOUD, in spite of my talking to the dj about it.  

So, if we pop up on stage after Ricky Martin has been blasting his lungs out
at 100+ dB and try to play at a decent level, we won't be heard by anyone.

You can argue that the crowd must be educated to these lower levels, but
then this crowd is not necessarily there for the band.  Some are, but not
most.  So, what am I supposed to do;  yell at 'em and tell them to be quiet,
or not blow the gig (it's EVERY Tues & well paid!)?

To continue on with the second half of my argument (which is really already
covered in the above explanation)....

The place:  tomorrow nite we are inaugurating a new disco opening by the
same people as our Tuesday niter.  Went around today to see the joint.  Had
to climb over carpenters to get in (I hate inaugurations!).  The place is
HUGE!  There are speakers all over the place...4 monitors & 12 mikes on

Well, since it is an inauguration cocktail party, we will keep our levels
down (one mic for the winds & voice, and bass & keyboards direct to the
mixer, nothing on the drums, unless we need a stereo pair to blend him in a
bit) to just a bit above the chatter.  I hope to only use the speakers on
each side of the bandstand, and not the ones all over the room.  I like the
music to "come from" the band, rather than have someone think we're playing
behind the speaker on the back wall!   :>

Most of our gigs are heavily amplified.  That's just the way everything is
in Spain....one of the loudest countries in the world!  Concerts, in concert
halls are a different thing, and I quite often announce direct with no mic,
keeping the mic for vocals and working the trumpet & bone for effects such
as mutes.

Note:  I love using a mic as an extension of the horn.  The trumpeter & I
get very close to the mic & play very softly in unison on things like Jive
at Five or Don't Get Around Much Anymore.....standing back & projecting on
That's a Plenty & Doctor Jazz.  

Which brings me back where I started....a time & place for all of it!


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