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I guess I'm getting old...

superpapaben

Member
Messages
45
So, this weekend my family I went to a restaurant with two other families. We went to the restaurant early so that our children could make some noise without disturbing anyone else. In fact, we were the only table there at the time.

Just as we were getting ready to leave a jazz band started setting up. Even though it wasn't a 'proper' jazz club, these young jazz-uns were sharply dressed. Good on them, I thought. Too many jazz players these days are so casual in their presentation. I really appreciated their presentation effort.

My two year old immediately got interested in their music. My son is really interested in music and immediately stopped playing with the other kids to focus on their music. They hadn't even started their set yet. They were just setting up and noodling around a bit. So I went up to them with my son to ask if they could play him a tune. My son wanted Wheels on the Bus, but it didn't matter what they played, he was just wanting something.

So the drummer just laughed us off and said they didn't know it and the other two just turned away and didn't even acknowledge us. They didn't suggest another tune that they could do instead; they just weren't interested. So we walked away and then left.

I just don't get it. I guess these guys are just so far away from having kids that they had no interest whatsoever in mine, which is fine. But it got me thinking. Did they not know any nursery rhymes? Or where they just too cool to play them? Its not like they were in the middle of their set. I wasn't being that guy who interrupts their performance with an oddball request.

So it struck me after they left that they would be laughing afterwards about that mid-aged guy who had the nerve to ask them to play a nursery rhyme. And what they will never know is that I've been gigging jazz for about as long as they've been alive (hopefully slight exaggeration here) and will now cross them off my list of hire-able players. Now that's not that big of a deal - I'm no heavy or anything. I'm sure they'll go on and have great careers without ever crossing paths with me again. But I did leave thinking that they hadn't learned the lesson that each gig you play is an audition for your next.

I hope they enjoyed playing to their empty room.

Super
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I'm sure they'll go on and have great careers without ever crossing paths with me again.
I'm guessing not if they always treat people like that. They could have asked the kid to sing it and played it back to him.
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Ben,
Could it be that they did not know your request and were embarrassed by that lack of knowledge. Bit like asking a CoE organist to play "Honky Tonk Woman" as the closing voluntary. They possibly could but would prefer to improvise around one of their more familiar charts. The fear of a loss of face is one of homo sapiens' prime problems and has led to feuds and wars, so be sympathetic as they are embarking on a career in a chancy profession.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,286
It is possible that they didn't know any nursery rhymes off the top of heads or didn't want to be bothered,although i don't do it so much now i used to put in an occasional nursery rhyme into my improvisation especially if there were kids present.

You also got me thinking about dress code, most of the time it is casual dress,but every now and then if its a posh place we wear smart trousers and shirt,if its really posh then we have been asked to play in black tie and evening suits,but i much prefer the casual look for gigging.

Brian
 

superpapaben

Member
Messages
45
Ben,
Could it be that they did not know your request and were embarrassed by that lack of knowledge. Bit like asking a CoE organist to play "Honky Tonk Woman" as the closing voluntary. They possibly could but would prefer to improvise around one of their more familiar charts. The fear of a loss of face is one of homo sapiens' prime problems and has led to feuds and wars, so be sympathetic as they are embarking on a career in a chancy profession.
Yes, it is entirely possible that they didn't know it. And that is fine. But if they could play it and didn't because it wasn't in their playbook is even worse in my opinion. We are just talking about a 2 year old wanting something played for him. It really could have been anything from their list.

I'm afraid that they will not get my sympathy; not right now anyway. (I am completely open to them maturing as people and as players and therefor changing my opinion of them in the future.)
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,082
Ah to be young and only be able to play what you've rehearsed. Wear a suit and play loud. They'll think we know what we're doing and for God's sake keep straight face. Might just be nerves bringing out the pompous bravado attitude. You know the one. Bothered. Face ...
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,625
Fat45's horn section have recently taken to playing a New Orleans' street band style version of 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' in soundchecks... works amazingly well as a second-line jam track......
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Rude is rude in my book, and nerves are no excuse. When I get nervous, I don't laugh in people's faces or refuse to speak to them.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
I agree -rude is rude.... but I wouldn't rule out nerves either. Hopefully they'll mellow and learn to go with the flow a bit.

I'm a firm believer in exposing youngsters to live music (... no - music - not the mains. Just thought I'd make that clear >:)). People really don't encounter it enough and as musicians of any level of achievement, we should take every opportunity we can to bring music to people.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Yes, it is entirely possible that they didn't know it. And that is fine. But if they could play it and didn't because it wasn't in their playbook is even worse in my opinion. We are just talking about a 2 year old wanting something played for him. It really could have been anything from their list.

I'm afraid that they will not get my sympathy; not right now anyway. (I am completely open to them maturing as people and as players and therefor changing my opinion of them in the future.)
Good on you my friend. Even just doing a little three or four note warm up diddly just to make the kid smile might have been enough. I am a young, well early 30's young, beginner and I will admit I avoid playing those tunes like the plague while learning, but I would still try something for the kid. I guess I just don't see where it's worth being rude just to cover for nerves, or not knowing a song. I always thought part of live music was the audience?
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Hi S. There does seem to be a slight elitist attitude among certain bands. I witnessed an incident on the occasion of my friends 70th, he is a jazz fan and hired a local group to play at his celebration.

His wife asked the band would you be so kind as to play `Happy Birthday` when the cake is brought out. The leader (Tenor sax.) refused saying that they do not do Happy Birthdays. At first I thought he was joking but in fact he was adamant in his refusal.

I tried to get round this by saying can you at least play my chum`s favourite number `Impressions` Reply `Sorry not on the playlist.` I have to be unbiased and say that the group were good but unfortunately lacked diplomacy. Regds Coltrane lives at least on some bands playlists. N.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
Hi S. There does seem to be a slight elitist attitude among certain bands. I witnessed an incident on the occasion of my friends 70th, he is a jazz fan and hired a local group to play at his celebration.

His wife asked the band would you be so kind as to play `Happy Birthday` when the cake is brought out. The leader (Tenor sax.) refused saying that they do not do Happy Birthdays. At first I thought he was joking but in fact he was adamant in his refusal.

I tried to get round this by saying can you at least play my chum`s favourite number `Impressions` Reply `Sorry not on the playlist.` I have to be unbiased and say that the group were good but unfortunately lacked diplomacy. Regds Coltrane lives at least on some bands playlists. N.
There's an old saying: he who pays the piper calls the tune.

If you'r doing gigs like birthday parties, weddings etc then you need to expect to deal with such requests. If not, you're going to get conversations like: "Yes, they were quite good, but...." which is not good for future bookings.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
There's an old saying: he who pays the piper calls the tune.
If you'r doing gigs like birthday parties, weddings etc then you need to expect to deal with such requests.
It's the Wifey and mine 30th wedding anniversary next year and i'm looking into hiring a band, a diverse band who can play a mixture of tunes (but mostly Jazz it is my party also) as the age gap will be wide.
I will be applying a request for a certain song, if they can't or won't play it they won't be getting hired........ simples

Any takers ;}
 

What

Member
Messages
314
It's the Wifey and mine 30th wedding anniversary next year and i'm looking into hiring a band, a diverse band who can play a mixture of tunes (but mostly Jazz it is my party also) as the age gap will be wide.
I will be applying a request for a certain song, if they can't or won't play it they won't be getting hired........ simples

Any takers ;}
I'll start swimming now.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Someone I know through his wife started a band, in his mid-forties, with all his mates (common story).

Talk about elitist! They are derogatory about anyone else possibly having any ability (and yes, I have been told I couldn't possibly make the grade musically for anything done in public! Assumptions made that this would be a new thing for me). They only rehearse if they have a gig booked, and then only a couple of times in the two weeks before the gig, if lucky. They are mildly drunk before they go on. They are out of their minds by the end of the first set. Once, the bass players started walking home after the first set because he was convinced they had finished. And ......... frankly I would not hire them for any party of mine even for their musical ability, which is limited, and fragmented. They wonder why they only get about 3-4 gigs per year.

Other friends who are in bands are encouraging, enthusiastic, and will bend over backwards to listen to what you have to say, play for you, play with you, and will rehearse constantly whether together, privately, gig or no gig. They would have happily played for this little boy, and used it as a warm up and sound set up opportunity to boot.

As my gran always said 'nowt queerer than folk'.

I think you did right by just walking away, though it must have been awfully tempting to say something!

Mel
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
There's an old saying: he who pays the piper calls the tune.

If you'r doing gigs like birthday parties, weddings etc then you need to expect to deal with such requests. If not, you're going to get conversations like: "Yes, they were quite good, but...." which is not good for future bookings.
Couldn`t agree more regds N.
 
Messages
46
[FONT=&quot]It's like anything else that's consumer-driven. Those businesses who understand their customers' wants and needs have a much better chance of success, mainly from the combination of repeat business and referrals. There are many choices of musical acts out there, but the ones who will ultimately be successful will attend to the details better than the rest. They provide the consumer an EXPERIENCE that will be memorable, which will pay dividends! Think about it -- say this band did the polite (professional) thing. Get on the mic, and tell the world they have their best, youngest fan in the house and we'd like to do a song just for him. (I once saw a singer do a quick Swing version of Sunny Days, the theme from Sesame Street) It doesn't need to go long, given a child's attention span, but enough to get him to smile and clap. But that's not the end of it, is it? Daddy is thrilled, happy with the band and the venue smart enough to hire such a conscientious band! I don't know of any starting-up band that isn't looking for a regular gig -- doing that kind of outreach impresses venue owners, because it helps keep their customers in their seats, ordering refills and bringing friends next time. You've become a partner with them, mutually beneficial for everyone.

That probably sounds archaic in this day and age, but no one will convince me it's the wrong way to be.
[/FONT]
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
My chamber choir sometimes is asked to sing at weddings, usually by people who have no idea what a choir is or what our repertoire is.

Given our concert commitments, we can only do the odd one now and again, although we have two in the next four weeks (to be fair, the only two of the entire year!). We are very clear and open up front about what we can and can't do.

We usually arrange a face-to-face meeting and make this very clear before accepting the booking. We list what we can and can't do as we don't want to disappoint the couple (for which read bride) and if we are unable to assist we want to ensure that they have plenty of time to make suitable arrangements.

Some of the issues they tend to be unaware of include:


  • there may not be available arrangements of what they want, especially for SATB choir;
  • yes we do need a minimum of 20 singers to be a balanced choir, especially if we are going to be booked under our name, otherwise we risk damaging our brand (we refused a booking earlier this year as they said they could only provide space for 8 singers - there were to be 10 bridesmaids :shocked:);
  • no, I don't think it's realistic to have the organist play the Widor Toccata, Vierne, or Boellman on a tiny village church two manual organ with no pedals and about 6 stops
  • Copyright and Perfroming rights issues (most churches have a licence fortunately...)
  • Organists expect to be paid (don't they come with the church?)
  • Choir expects to be paid a fee (you mean you're not free?)
  • We will be happy to book a soprano etc soloist for you, there will be a fee for them (it's only for 5 minutes, I thought they'd like the opportunity to perform?)
  • and so forth
 
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