The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘jazz musicians’

The jazz woo

Posted by keithosaunders on March 7, 2017

Alcoa presents: The Jazz Ethicist…with Keitho!

Dear J.E. When is the proper time to employ the jazz ‘woo?’

Curious Yellow

Dear CY,

Good question! First of all, whatever you do, do not use it on the bandstand. Horn players, when they are not soling, should effect an insouciance with head cocked at 45 degree angles, looking passively into the audience, occasionally snapping on the 2 and/or the 4.

NOW. During the break you will be talking about great musicians with your fellow band members. For example, someone one will say, “Herbie was killing it on Speak Like a Child!”

Now is your chance.

With a barely audible, yet excited 2 second falsetto, you proclaim, “Ooooh!”

Note: The W in ‘woo’ is silent – if you say ‘woo’ you’ve blown it and will be instantly ostracized from the herd.

I hope this helps.

Posted in jazz, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The jazz militia

Posted by keithosaunders on January 4, 2016

SPIn Oregon a group a militia has exercised their 2nd amendment rights by taking over a federal building in support of a man who protested a $1.50 cattle tax by committing arson.  Strangely enough the U.S. government does not consider this terrorism and thus a standoff has ensued.

Why can’t us jazz musicians have militias? Imagine going into a gig with a black valore open-carry holster and a nice jacket. (because it is a gig, after all) Then on the break, when the waiter snidely tells you to order from the band menu, you look at him with your Clint Eastwood slits for eyes and calmly inform him, “We’re taking over this restaurant. Give me a steak unless you’d like to experience the ass end of the 2nd amendment.”

 

Posted in jazz, life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Waiting for the ball to drop

Posted by keithosaunders on January 1, 2016

Earlier this week I told my friend that I wouldn’t be hate posting re New Years Eve because it was too obvious. Consider that to be my last broken promise of 2015.

Just how much of a moron do you have to be to schlep out to Times Square, stake out a 2 square foot patch of concrete, and wait hours in sub-freezing temperatures to watch a plastic ball drop a few feet?

It’s bad enough that you’re standing in the asshole of New York City. It’s a cesspool of capitalistic corporate, kitsch, and you have willingly planted yourself there amidst the drunk Long Island and Jersey Broncos and Broncettes, not to mention the pickpockets and Aqualung-style dirty old perverts. And to do it for no good reason?!

It boggles the mind that people would do this on the most cynical, contrived holiday there is. Don’t feign irony now. DON’T PLAY THAT. It’s a corny holiday. At least us musicians get paid for going out on 12/31. I don’t care if I play the Chicken Dance & a 40 minute conga line song. At the end of the night I’m driving home with fat stacks of cash! We don’t need an excuse to drink; it can be go time on Jan 2nd, what do we care?

NPR weighed in this afternoon with a hard-hitting feature on the guy who is in charge of organizing throwing the confetti from the Times Square buildings. With Paul Simon-esque acoustic guitar music playing in the background this nimrod breathlessly described the minute planning and intricacy that goes into confetti-throwing. “…and when it’s 20 seconds to midnight I speak into my walkie-talkie: Go confetti, go confetti, go confetti!

Happy fucking New Years everyone.

Posted in life, New York City, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The 2010 Randy Moss tour continues

Posted by keithosaunders on November 1, 2010

If you look up the term ‘team player’ in the dictionary you will see a picture of Randy Moss inside of a circle with a big X drawn through it.  What NFL city will Moss grace his presence with next?  Historically he would be a good fit for the Raiders, who have thrived on providing second chances to the miscreants of the league, but there’s always the dysfunctional Washington Redskins — he’d fit in perfectly there. 

Moss, in a surprise move, was released by the Minnesota Vikings this afternoon.  The team has not yet provided an explanation, but it doesn’t take much imagination to figure it out.  He showed up for yesterday’s post-game news conference in a Boston cap.  This after a game vs the New England Patriots,a game in which he was seen quitting on plays (as is his wont) and generally appearing to be disinterested. 

In the sports world as long as you have talent there is a gig for you.  Not so in the jazz world.  There is a basic supply and demand premise that comes into play.  When I lived in New York there were a handful of great jazz musicians who hardly worked.  They played at an extremely high level guys and they were at the equal, if not better than their peers.  Yet, for one reason or another they had a hard time getting hired.  This was because there are so many great musicians and not all that much demand for them.  When gigs are in limited supply it becomes more important that they go smoothly, which means very low tolerance for being excessively late or getting drunk and high during the performance. 

I’m not implying that Randy Moss’s talent supersedes that of a jazz musician.  There are exponentially more people who can do what Moss does than what a first-rate jazz musician can do. There is, however, such an enormous demand for a player of Moss’s ability that he can get away with almost anything short of shooting himself in the leg.  Even at 3 + million dollars a game.  It’s remarkable, sad, and unfortunately, true.  

 

 

Posted in football, jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

It’s gigging season

Posted by keithosaunders on June 14, 2010

This is the storm before the calm — my final busy period in New York before the approaching gig-drought in my new home, San Francisco.  I am so busy now that I even have doubles on Monday and Tuesday.  My only day off this week is Wednesday and this is the way I like it.  I would gladly work a 50 hour week if those 50 hours were gigs. 

This is the busiest it’s been in quite a while.  Last year the economy was in the tank so nobody was that busy.  I’m getting the feeling that things are beginning to loosen up and there are more gigs happening.  At any rate it feels great to be this busy and I can’t help wondering if I’ll ever be this busy again.

I played a couple of parties this weekend and ended up eating as if I was going to the electric chair.  At Saturday’s gig, a 50th birthday party, we were invited to partake of the crab meat and jumbo shrimp before the music even started.  Let me give some advice to prospective party hosts:  Don’t invite musicians to eat shrimp and crab meat unless you have an enormous supply. 

As it turned out this host had an enormous supply.  We could have spent the entire evening by the crab bowl if it weren’t for the appearance of…roasted pig!!  Believe me when I tell you that you have yet to taste a more tender, succulent entre.  It was a real party enhancer, if I do say so myself.

With all of this it’s hard to imagine that we actually managed to get in four sets of music.  By the end of the night we were happily exhausted.  Then came the moment of indecision inherent in  such gigs:  Overtime?   

The bass player and I had each had a previous gig so we were not in the mood to stay any longer.  But you never say no to overtime since you can always use the extra cash.   We were beginning to pack up when along came our host who proceeded to bellow “YOU CAN’T LEAVE!  STAY!  HAVE A DRINK!  CMON, WE’RE HAVING FUN!” 

I thought about staying, but I had a 30 mile drive home and I knew that if I stayed I was going to drink, and I didn’t want to risk being pulled over.  At some point the host and his friend said they would make it “worth our while.”  This is great on its face, but it really means nothing to us.  Someone, either the host, or the leader of the band, had to say “We’ll play for another hour for X amount of dollars.”  Otherwise we can find ourselves in a situation in which a four-hour gig turns into a 6-hour gig for not that much more money.

I know what you’re thinking:  These guys ate and drank like kings — how can they be so ungrateful?!  That’s fair if, in fact, we were personal friends of the host.  The truth is that we are going to play the gig whether we eat or not.  It is wonderful when the host is generous, such as the other night, but that still can’t detract from our professionalism, and the bottom line is that we must be fairly compensated for our service.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a grey area.  We are constantly balancing our business sense with our desire to ‘do the right thing.’  In the end we could have stayed, but we didn’t.  Our host had received more than a fair price and we played for an ample amount of time.

And everything turned out alright.  There was a guest who was a rock/folk guitarist who ended up entertaining the remaining folks, and I’m sure it was a nice contrast to the jazz standards that we had played. 

Our leader was in a tough position because he was a personal friend of the host.  I can understand why he wouldn’t want to ask for more money, while at the same time respecting our need to get home.  It all worked out well, however, and it was a good night. 

Since these gigs are among my last in New York I have a feeling that they will tend to be a little more resonant to me.a t least for the time being.  I”m going to try to keep documenting them and to let you know what the experience is like.  The chances of me leaving another city in which I have resided for 26 years is extremely remote.  This is a huge time for me.

Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »