A spate of nice gigs followed by stress
Posted by keithosaunders on April 25, 2016
Being a jazz musician requires paying a great deal of dues. For a pianist it means playing the majority of your gigs in noisy bars on inferior instruments for [often] indifferent audiences. The word, ‘audience,’ I use loosely since it would be more accurate to describe them as patrons of the bar – customers.
Last week I had a couple of nice gigs with great musicians that were artistically, as well as monetarily rewarding. On Thursday night I played a concert with saxophonist, Mel Martin, at SF Jazz. We performed a tribute to the late, great saxophonist Joe Henderson’s 1966 album, Mode For Joe. The music is challenging, containing thorny, angular chord progressions over catchy, inventive melodies.
On Saturday I played with another great sax player, Ernie Krivda, who lives in Cleveland and was on the west coast playing a few gigs. We played at a concert series in Fort Bragg, which is just north of Mendocino, about 160 miles north of San Francisco. The promoters put us up in a quaint hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
I spent a rare Saturday afternoon relaxing in my hotel room as well as going for a run on the beach, taking in the spectacular scenery. The gig, at the Tap Room of the North Coast Brewery, consisted of one 90 minute set and was over by 9pm.
Both venues gave me marvelous, in-tune pianos to play, had outstanding sound systems, and provided a delicious dinner. Rarely do a pair of such ideal gigs happen in a three month period, let alone three days!
I have returned, however, to the grind. I came home to discover a malfunctioning key on my keyboard which I’m going to need by Saturday for a gig. Unlike cars, keyboards rarely get fixed in one day. You must bring them to fusty, temperamental repair men, prostrate yourself before them and pray for expedited (and costly) service. And why do things always break on the weekend?