I want to be a Jazz Musician!!!
This month's letter comes from K. Kringle of East St Kilda ........
Dear Poppa Chris
"I am a twenty-four year old freelance session jazz drummer and
would appreciate a few pointers on the different ways to be cool in
front of my jazz friends.
I nearly but not quite made the various Jazz courses on offer
around Melbourne. Can you help?"
Dear K. Kringle
For a start, your age is incredibly inhibitive, 24 is far too young to
be a mature jazz musician; grow a goatee, wear a roll neck sweater
(even in summer) and pass yourself off as 42 .... this will help for
the smarmy musak jazz so often heard in cute dressed down
restaurants, if however you want to go for the "young turk" look,
shave your head keep the goatee and listen to Eric Dolphy a lot. The
downside to this is that you won't get the jazz band out of the piano
player's lounge room, unless you wear loud clothes, call it art and
land a grant!
It is a pity you didn't get into any Jazz courses. The trick
here is to not play at all a week before the audition so everything
you play is just that little sloppy, don't quite get on to where one is
and then act like you meant it by ruefully pulling on your goatee as
you smugly smirk at the auditioners. This would have done the trick.
One more thing, you mention three swear words in the first
sentence; freelance, session and jazz. If a drummer says these words
they're fucked royal from the beginning!!!
To really be "in the scene" you have to immediately learn the true
meaning of these three dangerous words ........
FREELANCE means you can't get into a band, usually because of
SESSION means you are a bull-shit artist, there are no more session
drummers unless your dick is a drum-machine. It is better to call
JAZZ means you cannot keep a straight beat, and then after that
you do a fill-in! Give up Coltrane, play along with Midnight Oil
albums and ring me in 12 months.
So, Kringle, I hope this helps you on your quest as a full-time
musician who is not on the dole and avoids teaching. The path
ahead for you is a hard one, but we can all take solace with some
wise words given to me by a wise muso with many years experience
"Man, this scene's fucked!"