[JPL] Programming/Musicians

Ron Gill ron_gill at verizon.net
Tue Aug 1 17:49:31 EDT 2006


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From: Jae Sinnett <jaejazz at yahoo.com>
Date: 2006/08/01 Tue PM 01:29:56 CDT
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Subject: [JPL] Programming/Musicians

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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......

Jaes's comments in the past posts are interesting, especially as it applies to what we are doing in radio.
At this moment in time all of this means to be considered. Those of you who are not performing musicians or singers, need to sit back and take another look at what is being discussed here. It's all about what is important in building jazz audiences and keeping them engaged. Because I am a performer/singer/jazz host (and events outside of the station as well, ) I always make a point of talking directly with the audience, and get feedback from them as listeners to WGBH. Engage them and you gain listeners.
This is basically what Jae is addressing. Tell your audience what you are doing/playing, tell them stories that you may be privy to; they like hearing those stories and like hearing them from you because they expect you to be in the know. I KNOW this works for us at 'GBH. We ALL do it. 
I had a conversation on another on-line group with musicians about the same point about engaging their audience. Do not expect your audiences to be aware of what you are playing. You tell them about it and engage them and that gives them an insight on how you prepare what you are about to play..in person, or on the radio.
Ron Gill
WGBH 89.7 FM
Boston, MA

   
  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. 
   
  Jae Sinnett   



 		
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This week's sponsor: Sunnyside Records - Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra

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MTO Volume 1 is the debut album from Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra.  The nine-piece outfit features some of Gotham's most original musical voices, wicked and well-traveled improvisers who tear into and savor Bernstein's arrangements like the tangiest Kansas City barbecue. The selection of tunes includes classic '20s fare (Charlie Johnson's ''Boy in the Boat,'' Bennie Moten's ''Toby'') and the kind of contemporary pop and R&B hits (Prince's ''Darling Nikki,'' Stevie Wonder's ''Signed, Sealed, Delivered'') that have long been part of Bernstein's repertoire. The vibrancy of the playing, the wit and sass of the arrangements, uncovers the genetic code that makes Bennie Moten and Prince funk-soul brothers of the first order. All this, without once conjuring the snoot of academe or dreaded notions of ''post-modern jazz.''

The Millennial Territory Orchestra is:  Steven Bernstein (trumpet, slide trumpet), Ben Allison (bass) Peter Apfelbaum (tenor) Charlie Burnham (violin) Clark Gayton (trombone), Erik Lawrence (baritone, soprano) Matt Munisteri (guitar, banjo, vocal), Ben Perowsky (drums) Doug Wieselman (clarinet, tenor saxophone) and special guest Doug Wamble (guitar, vocal) on ''Signed, Sealed & Delivered''

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Ron Gill


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