Regular readers will be aware by now that I have an occasional tendency towards the grumps. On that I’m unrepentant. My gig, my rules, mate.
I’ve recently discovered a couple of blogs by other similarly minded individuals and I commend them to you. I’d like to clarify that I make no judgements about the vintage of the gentlemen in question, but one of the delights of being a jazz musician is that you can be a curmudgeon regardless of how many miles are on your clock.
Actually, there should probably be a World Weary Cynicism module on jazz courses so that the eager young acolytes will at least be able to fit in when they’re out in the big wide world.
Of course you’ll meet opinionated weary sarcasticists across all musical styles. You get a lot of this attitude in classical orchestras. Don’t believe me? Explore the pubs in the vicinity of any major concert hall and keep your ears open. Some of the earthy things you’ll hear will make your toes curl… And probably put you off Mahler for life.
Nevertheless, certainly in contrast to poppers and rockers, it seems to me that jazzers are rather free from the necessity to affect youthfulness and passion even when brandishing a bus pass.
For the jazz musician it’s rather more a case of “hope I get old before I die”.
In addition, there’s a wonderful degree of impunity that comes from hardly anybody being interested in your music, let alone your opinions on world peace, Japanese knotweed or the market-distorting effects of automated trading systems.
LET’S MEET THE TEAM
…as the wonderful Grumphrey Lyttelton might have said
First up, we have Stephen Howard, a man with years of varied experience under his belt and a highly respected sax doctor. So if you’re suffering a dose of altoitis or tenor madness, look him up for some saxual healing. I particularly recommend his ongoing series on Jazz Etiquette – god, if you reckon I’m sarcastic…
Next to him in the box is another artful exponent of the curly brass pipe – the big version that goes down to your knees, Pete Cook. (No, not that one – although I discern some similarities in attitude.) Again, marvellously forthright. I’m looking forward to reading his book Road Rat’s Tips, the Musician’s Guide to Keeping Comfortable, Safe, Sane and Employed on the Road.
Jazz is a delightfully pointless and thankless endeavour really. I’ve generally found that the better the player, the more they can laugh at the sheer joyous daftitude of it all. It’s usually the ones that take themselves terribly seriously that you have to keep an eye on.