Here are a few tips for bandstand solo etiquette and on gaining acceptance among the established players.
- When it's your turn to solo, wait until your first chorus begins and the previous soloist or the ensemble has finished. Did you ever notice that the oldtimers take their time getting to the microphone when it's their turn? The chorus might be into its 2nd or 3rd measure before they play the first note. Whatever you do, don't start playing a busy and obtrusive intro to your solo during the last measure of the previous chorus, particularly if the other guy it still playing. It's rude to step on his finish, and it signals that you are not a veteran jazz player.
- Begin your solo with simple, understated lines. Don't show everything you've got in the first three measures. Make the first chorus an easygoing one as if you are feeling your way into the tune. Build on that in the subsequent choruses of your solo.
- Don't take more choruses than the player ahead of you. Don't take more choruses than what you have to say.
- End your solo with subdued tones and lines the same way you started it. Don't go for the big Vegas ending. Don't do something flashy that the next guy has to follow. If he's hip, he'll start out quietly, and the contrast will make you look foolish.
- Don't noodle, practice the tune, or play accompaniment during someone else's solo. That's why they call it a "solo."
- Don't carry on a conversation with the rest of the band while someone is soloing. Pay attention respectfully to the other players' solos.