jaejazz at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 1 14:29:56 EDT 2006
Eric Hines post made me thing about this....... Perhaps it was the shock of him agreeing with me on something that triggered it. Messin with you Eric. Seriously......
My thread about what I view as the core problem with jazz and it's audience stems from my observations as a musician. This is why I say it's all connected. I don't know if this will make sense but imagine programming and being able to see the faces of your audience - while you're programming. Many times on stage I've looked out at the audience to see their physical reactions to the music. It's a study for sure. Many times I've altered or changed the play list on stage based on what I've seen. I've also learned much about the reactions of the listeners in response to various musical expressions.
This past Saturday evening we played a club. I remember playing our arrangement of "Love For Sale" and Allen Farnham playing this killin piano solo. After he finished I looked out at the audience and watched about half of the crowd applaud. The other half looked like they were auditioning for a part in "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" after the pods invaded their body. Then we played a ballad - "Lover Man" - and everyone applauded after the piece - hence the romantism Eric talked about. Then a high energy Brazilian original and the place stood up and gave us love.
Now what I didn't say is that I talked with them before we played that Brazilian number. Explained a little bit about what they were getting ready to hear because it was fairly involved. The expressions were radically different while I was talking with them. A total sense of "listening" vs "hearing." There is a difference. When you listen to something you're more likely to retain. And what' s even more interesting you get the same expressions and sense of "listening" when you start playing the piece you just talked about. Before we played "Love For Sale" I said nothing and for most of the piece a good portion of the crowd looked somewhat un-interested - even considering how much piano Allen was playing. I talked about this in an earlier post about jazz sounding like a foreign language to many of these folk - until you give them a better point of departure - and this is a clear example of that. When you can see the effect you have it can change your perspective.
Now granted this is live performance and the energy level is different but it certainly applies to jazz radio programming in my book and I've learned from it. The next time you're at a live jazz performance check the reaction of the audience when the artists talk to them vs when they don't.
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