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Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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There's a great article on "jazz etiquette" in a recent issue of Chicago Jazz Magazine. Mostly about welcoming other players and being supportive -not intimidating or knocking people down (which you could figure would happen on account of someone's esteem being a little low).

Kind of the good 'ol "Do Unto Others" philosophy.

Have you ever had your head chopped off?
 

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ez_sax said:
Have you ever had your head chopped off?
Yes, and I miss it.:D


I remember back in the 70s jamming with a hammond player at a small jazz club. If he didn't like your playing, he would play a low note on the pedals, and hold it for the rest of the solo, and act like it was an accident.

I was at a 'jazz' camp one summer. The combo 'teacher' that I got was a student of one of the famous guys. We were playing 'Freddy Freeloader'. He stopped me at the first of my solo, asking me what the first chord was. I replied that I knew what the chord was, but had chosen to start my solo on the ninth. He told me I had to start a solo on a chord tone.

I complied, and made sure that after the camp I forgot anything he told me.
 

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I was asked to sit in with a big band to play second alto. When the leader called, I asked if I needed to bring any doubles. He said no. The whole second set, the lead alto player called tunes that needed clarinet. Until, I got fed up and started transposing the clarinet parts on the fly. I have been asked several times to come back to sit in but i refuse to work with someone on a FREE gig who will treat another musician that way.
 

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I read back in the day if you sat in with guys like Stitt they Would call a tune at a lightning tempo in a different key
 

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I think people should be supportive but that doesn't mean no criticism. "You're a **** player" doesn't help anyone. "You need to learn the changes to this tune, man" or "Work on supporting your tone more" are comments that can help you improve. Some people can't take any criticism, constructive or not. IMHO those people shouldn't play in front of others, then - ie. if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. I'm not saying that you have to listen to everyone (like the example with the jazz camp above) but you should honestly listen and examine a comment to see if it has any validity to where you're heading - if it does, take it in, if not, discard it.

-Dan
 

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If you had the guts to sit in with Sonny Stitt then you're only asking for it if you couldn't cut it.

Sonny Stitt was possibly the most intimidating saxophonist of all time in a jam situation. It's been said he had more than a thousand tunes under his fingers in several keys. Besides if you've seen video of the man, he has that cocky look, you could tell by his eyes that he could lay just about anyone to waste.
 

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Watched a Summer School gig where the tutors were invited to "throw a few bars" at the jazz concert. Violin player stood up and made Orange Blossom fit into Autumn Leaves. Drummer didn't like it so played really loud at different tempo. Violin just played on without missing a beat, had everyone in hysterics.
Moral; don't pick on the leader of the State Symphony Orchestra!
nicko
 

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It seems like the really great players I know don't slam the guys that don't play so well. It's the ones that think they are the greeatest that dish out the grief.

Some that desire to sit in are ignorant about the protocol. They walk in with horn in hand, blow more choruses than they have material for and stay on the bandstand long after they've worn out their welcome.

I have a list of 1, 2, 3's on the back of my business card thay I request they look over before sitting in. If they don't agree - find the door. Most are more than willing to abide by the rules.

You gotta let them know expectations.
 

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Some guys will ask to sit in no matter what though even if the band or the music doesn't lend it self to such. I remember gigs where guys in the audience are pains in the *** about sitting in.
I played a standards gig at a country club last summer and these Tools kept asking to play the guitar and sing. They ended up doing "Born to Run" mind you we were playing things like Have You Met Miss Jones just before. The worst version I ever heard , but the other Guests loved it.
Another time some old guy whipped out a clarinet and started playing in the audience while we were playing (I'm pretty sure he was playing a different song)
I always waited until someone asked me to sit in unless it was an open Jam session.
 

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When I was about 14 or so*, I was becoming a regular member of my father's group; rather than just playing one special number on sax and hitting a tambourine for the rest of the show. I'd bring all the horns I could... alto, tenor, bari, soprano and I really thought I was hot playing all of them. No one in my school could touch me and boy did I have a swelled head. Then after one gig, the older, grizzled reed man just looks at me shaking his head and said "Your tone is (excrement)!" Though it floored me at the time, it was the best single advice I'd ever gotten in regard to my playing. From that moment on, focusing on my sound rather than the notes, became my goal. It was probably about 20 years later after a job one night, where the same grizzled reed man told me after a show, "man, you gotta great sound on that horn". Now that meant the world to me and all had come full circle. But that's how I like my criticism; blunt and to the point. Though it might decimate some, others will rise above.





*sorry if I told this one before
 

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Grumps,

That's a good story. Happened to me in college almost everyday. I wish they could hear me now.
 

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I don't know why we always view it as a competition. It's not. It's an opportunity to express what you have to say during a tune. If you don't have anything to say - stay out of it until you do.

I have an old dude in my R&B band that just knocks the socks off any solo - bar none. Guys ask how I can stand up next to him and play all night. I ask them how they can pass up an opportunity to blow next to an incredible player.
 

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heath said:
Sonny Stitt was possibly the most intimidating saxophonist of all time in a jam situation. It's been said he had more than a thousand tunes under his fingers in several keys. Besides if you've seen video of the man, he has that cocky look, you could tell by his eyes that he could lay just about anyone to waste.
This jogged my memory. I once saw Yusef Lateef and Sonny Stitt playing together at Keystone Korner in SF quite a few years ago. I don't remember who's gig it was, but I think it was Sonny's. In which case Yusef was sitting in. Or it might have been the other way around. Anyhow, of course they sounded great together. But at one point when they started trading fours, Sonny tried to start a "cutting contest." He would play, then look at Yusef to see/hear what his response would be. Yusef was having none of it. He traded a few phrases, then dropped out and let Sonny continue on. I don't think Yusef was the least bit intimidated; he just wasn't into cutting contests. At least that was my take on it.

It goes without saying, this was a fantastic night of music. But I said it anyway!
 

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Mikek said:
I have an old dude in my R&B band that just knocks the socks off any solo - bar none. Guys ask how I can stand up next to him and play all night. I ask them how they can pass up an opportunity to blow next to an incredible player.
Man, have you ever got that right! I'd MUCH rather stand up and play with a better player than with a worse player. You can learn something and have a great time playing with better musicians.
 

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hakukani said:
I remember back in the 70s jamming with a hammond player at a small jazz club. If he didn't like your playing, he would play a low note on the pedals, and hold it for the rest of the solo, and act like it was an accident.
That's similar to what Jimmy Smith used to do except he did some kind of "train" sound on the keyboard. But it wasn't necessarily because he didn't like the playing, it was just his cue that the horn player needed to wrap up his solo.
 

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Mikek said:
It seems like the really great players I know don't slam the guys that don't play so well. It's the ones that think they are the greeatest that dish out the grief.
Very true in my experience.
 

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semipro said:
Grumps,

That's a good story. Happened to me in college almost everyday. I wish they could hear me now.
Now, you know we let you play more than tambourine.:D


What's up, Xay?:)
 

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hakukani said:
I replied that I knew what the chord was, but had chosen to start my solo on the ninth. He told me I had to start a solo on a chord tone.
Obviously he hadn't listened to Miles at all.
I love the sound of the ninth. It's one of the prettiest intervals in my mind.
A great ending note, even with a single horn.
It fits major, minor or dominant.
I like to stack a major triad a tone up from the tonic chord
when ending a tune. Like a D major on a C chord.
Sorta C13#11
 
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