Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lean Back and Blow!

A lot of cruise ship musicians, especially horn players, are jazz refugees. It's one of the only places that Joe Jazzhead can be paid to play. A lot of them come straight out of college and don't have much "show biz" experience.

We had the 5th Dimension on for a couple of weeks on one the the cruise ships I played on. They brought their keyboard player and drummer, and used the rest of us as the band. There was one sax solo in the whole show. It was four bars in "One Less Bell to Answer."After the first show we did, we were sitting around on our break and the sax player said, "I can't figure out what to play on that solo." I had noticed that he was trying to craft some kind of "jazz statement."

I said, "This is show biz, not jazz. Pick the second highest note that fits, get to it in a hurry, then halfway through lean back as far as you can and still be on the mic, get to the highest note and let it rip for the last two bars." The horn players laughed at me.

Just then, their piano player came in. He said, "Gordon, on that solo, just pick the highest note that fits and lean back and let it rip. This is show biz."

That was the last time the horn guys questioned my show biz wisdom.

I am the little speck over the right shoulder of the guy in the middle. He's dead now.

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