[Dixielandjazz] The Jazz Trio

Robert Ringwald rsr at ringwald.com
Thu Mar 5 18:19:18 PST 2009

A jazz trio is playing a gig at an upscale nightclub. They play a classic
bebop tune at a fleet tempo with grace and ease. Then comes a Wayne Shorter
filled with mysterious  harmonies, poignant melodies and daring
improvisations. Next
they present a medley of lesser known Harold Arlen songs  that only a
would recognize, again played with elegant styling and exquisite taste. The
evening    has been one dazzling performance after another.
Though the trio is playing background music and not a formal concert , the
can sense that the musical display they are witnessing is of such a high
that the musicians should be allowed to perform as they please without

Then a well-dressed middle-aged man approaches the bandstand and asks the
"Can you play Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago?" The pianist tells the man that
are jazz musicians and that they usually don't take requests of that sort.
The man
reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out three one hundred dollar bills
which he
lays out on the piano.

The pianist looks at the bass player and drummer and says "Laura's Theme in
They play the tune in the fashion of the original version, the pianist
the Balalaika textures with a delicate upper register tremolo. The song
does not present the same level of difficulty that the trio is accustomed to

As the pianist plays, he absent-mindedly gazes at the soundboard of his
ebony Steinway
B and wonders about the grain in the wood."How would the tonal
characteristics be
altered if the grain of the soundboard ran perpendicular to the strings
rather than
parallel", he silently asks himself.

The bass player amuses himself with an assortment of well-placed
double-stops and
harmonics. He daydreams as he looks at the top of his mid-nineteenth century
bass made by French master, Paul Claudot, and wonders "How many times has
the top
been varnished? How did the varnish of past years differ from today's?  How
the resonance properties be affected if there were no varnish at all?"

The drummer gazes down onto the single ply, medium weight
head of his 1950's vintage black oyster pearl snare drum and thinks to
himself "One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three...."

 --Bob Ringwald K6YBV
rsr at ringwald.com
916/806-9551 Cell
Fulton Street Jazz Band

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