Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the members of tonight's 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. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are
usually bald. 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 during a break, you will not be able to tell whether or not he's
On drums____________. Drummers are radical. 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. Pianists are particularly successful at making drummers
feel bad. Most drummers are highly excitable; 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 saxophone______________. Saxophonists think they are the most important
players on stage. Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They
know all the Coltrane and Bird licks but have their own sound, a mixture of
Coltrane and Bird. They take exceptionally long solos, which reach a peak
half way through and then just don't stop. They practice quietly but audibly
while other people are trying to play. They are obsessed. Saxophonists sleep
with their instruments, forget to shower, and are mangy. If you talk to a
saxophonist during a break, you will hear a lot of excuses about his reeds.
On trumpet_______________. Trumpet players are image-conscious and walk with
a swagger. They are often former college linebackers. Trumpet players are
very attractive to women, despite the strange indentation on their
lips. Many of them sing; misguided critics then compare them to 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 during a break,
he might confess that his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, the merciless
god of loud-high trumpeting.
On guitar_________________. Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep
inside they want to be rock stars, but they're old and overweight. In
protest, they wear their hair long, 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 playing as fast as they can.
The more a guitarist drinks, the higher he turns his amp. Then the drummer
starts to play harder, and the trumpeter dips into his loud/high arsenal.
Suddenly, the saxophonist's universe crumbles, because he is no longer the
most important player on stage. He packs up his horn, nicks his best reed in
haste, and storms out of the room. The pianist struggles to suppress a
laugh. If you talk to a guitarist during the break he'll ask intimate
questions about your 14-year-old sister.
Our feature vocalist is the lovely _____________. Vocalists are whimsical
creations of the all-powerful jazz gods. They are placed in sessions 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 misguided campus newspaper critic
describes her singing as '...jazzy.'Voila! A star is born! Quickly she
learns 'My Funny Valentine,' 'Summertime,' and 'Route 66.' Her training
complete, she embarks on a campaign of musical terrorism. Musicians flee
from the bandstand as she approaches. Those who must remain feel the full
fury of the jazz universe. The vocalist will try to seduce you--and the rest
of the audience--by making eye contact, acknowledging your presence, even
talking to you between tunes. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! Look away, make
your distaste obvious. Ot herwise the musicians will avoid you during their
breaks. Incidentally, if you talk to a vocalist during a break, she will
introduce you to her 'manager.'
On trombone___________________. The trombone is known for its pleading,
voice-like quality. 'Listen,' it seems to say in the male tenor range, 'Why
won't anybody 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 during a break and he'll ask you for a gig,
try to sell you insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.