Lee Mergner of the happily resuscitated JazzTimes recently published (and A Blog Supreme mentioned) a list of “jazz-related things to do before you die (or Keith Jarrett kills you)”–an unfair jab, really, as it’s been years since Keith has murdered anyone, unless you count the fatwa he ordered after Umbria.
Anyway, the list had a few I’ve done:
- “visit the Village Vanguard and soak up the history” (I think that was history I found on my shoes);
- “walk on hallowed ground at Congo Square in New Orleans” (actually it was more like stumbling–3 hurricanes will do that to you);
- “memorize at least one solo from a famous jazz record and hum it for someone who might actually recognize it” (welcome to my college social life); and
- “Buy the CD of a local jazz musician playing a gig where no one pays attention to the music, ever” (That was me. I bought 1000 of them. Most are still in my garage).
Following JT’s lead, I came up with a few more musician-centric suggestions of my own:
- Make a waiter call his boss at 1am to get the band paid
- Be told by a relative he only likes “real jazz, like Al Hirt and Kenny G”
- Take out thousands of dollars in loans to prepare for a career which pays tips and sometimes beer
- Listen to Trane’s first recording and feel ecstatic joy at how crappy he sounds
- Get a request for “Summertime,” within 5 minutes of finishing playing “Summertime”
- Consider renaming your band “[Your Name]’s [Exotic-sounding word]” to get more gigs
- Consider hiring a DJ, tubist, theremin player, hog-caller, and bearded lady to appeal to the indie crowd
- Get shredded at a jam session by some kid from Lithuania who looks 14 years old
- Get asked by a club to play something “jazzier”
- Get into a physical fight about straight-8ths odd-meter jazz
- Practice Bird tunes in all 12 keys on a NYC rooftop, get yelled at by neighbors
- Quit music in heat of passion and then come crawling back
- Buy 20 copies of my CD and use them as coasters, doorstops, cat toys, or pizza cutters
There were also a few good suggestions from Twitter’s peanut gallery, including the notorious Jazzfamoose (“Realize that Del’s Frozen Lemonade is so much better than who’s on the mainstage at the Newport Jazz Festival,” “Get berated by Lorraine Gordon at the Vanguard” (done that!), “Have your CD get reviewed by @natechinen & still sell less than 500 copies in 2010″), and improviz (“Contact Mingus by Ouija board”–I wouldn’t recommend that, I think he can still punch you from beyond the grave). Got your own? Throw ’em in the comments.