Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the members of tonight's
On piano____________. But first a few words about pianists in general, they are
intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and
in college. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually bald.
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.
have a special love-hate relationship with singers. If you talk to
player during a break, he will condescend.
On bass we have _____________. Bassists are not terribly smart. The best bassists come to terms
their limitations by playing simple lines and rarely soloing. During
better musical moments, a bassist will pull his strings hard and
an animal. Bass players are built big, with paws for hands, and they
always bent over awkwardly. If you talk to the bassist during a
will not be able to tell whether or not he's listening.
On drums____________. Drummers are radical. Specific personalities vary, but are always
extreme. A drummer might be the funniest person in the world, or the
psychotic, or the smelliest. Drummers are uneasy because of the many
about them, most of which stem from the fact that they aren't really
musicians. Pianists are particularly successful at making drummers
Most drummers are highly excitable; when excited, they play louder.
decide to talk to the drummer during a break, always be careful not
up on him.
On saxophone______________. Saxophonists think they are the most important players on stage.
Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They know all
Coltrane and Bird licks but have their own sound, a mixture of
Bird. They take exceptionally long solos, which reach a peak half
through and then just don't stop. They practice quietly but audibly
other people are trying to play. They are obsessed. Saxophonists
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
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.
them sing; misguided critics then compare them to either Louis
Chet Baker depending whether they're black or white. Arrive at the
early, and you may get to witness the special trumpet game. The
play as loud and as high as possible. The winner is the one who
loudest and highest. If you talk to a trumpet player during a break,
might confess that his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, the
god of loud-high trumpeting.
On guitar_________________. Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep inside they want to be
stars, but they're old and overweight. In protest, they wear their
long, prowl for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud. Guitarists
players because they can hit ten notes at once, but guitarists make
it by playing as fast as they can. The more a guitarist drinks, the
he turns his amp. Then the drummer starts to play harder, and the
dips into his loud/high arsenal. Suddenly, the saxophonist's
crumbles, because he is no longer the most important player on stage.
packs up his horn, nicks his best reed in haste, and storms out of
The pianist struggles to suppress a laugh. If you talk to a
the break he'll ask intimate questions about your 14-year-old
Our feature vocalist is the lovely _____________. Vocalists are whimsical creations of the all-powerful jazz gods.
are placed in sessions to test musicians' capacity for suffering.
not of the jazz world, but enter it surreptitiously. Example: A
is playing minor roles in college musical theater. One day, a
campus newspaper critic describes her singing as "...jazzy."Voila!
Quickly she learns "My Funny Valentine," "Summertime," and "Route
training complete, she embarks on a campaign of musical terrorism.
Musicians flee from the bandstand as she approaches. Those who must
feel the full fury of the jazz universe. The vocalist will try to
you--and the rest of the audience--by making eye contact,
presence, even talking to you between tunes. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS
Look away, make your distaste obvious. Otherwise the musicians will
you during their breaks. Incidentally, if you talk to a vocalist
a break, she will introduce you to her "manager."
On trombone___________________. The trombone is known for its pleading, voice-like quality.
seems to say in the male tenor range, "Why won't anybody hire me for
Trombonists like to play fast, because their notes become
and thus immune to criticism. Most trombonists played trumpet in
years, then decided they didn't want to walk around with a strange
indentation on their lips. Now they hate trumpet players, who
all the women despite this disfigurement. Trombonists are usually
lean, with forlorn faces. They don't eat much. They have to be very
friendly, because nobody really needs a trombonist. Talk to a
during a break and he'll ask you for a gig, try to sell you
insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.