What you learn/learn't from gigging

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mike Crumpton, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Buried in the off-topic is Chris Fitz's gig spam that included a list of great gigs he was lined up to play. I took the oportunity to ask him what he was picking up from these great gigs and out came this detailed informative reply:

    What I hoped to capture from Chris was a contemporaneous account of what was happening to a growing player (especially in Chris's case, one who was an educator and communicator). This is hard to beat - it sure shut me up, but - as they say - how was it for you?

    Since it is a cheek to hide behind others my own view in my very humble experience is: if I don't acheive the Zenlike state (as above) no matter what or how simple the gig, I rarely play well - say 20% on a good day. But like public speaking, there is only so much training you can do or books you can read - if you don't put it regularly into practise you won't cross that barrier that allows you to play that way at will. (Horrible mixed metaphor - puh-lease Mr Parker!)

    edited to change open vessel to empty vessel (Chris's post below refers) MC
  2. "...if you can suspend any critical judgement until later when you are no longer playing, you have a good chance to have some very special musical experiences."

    When I read this it hit me like a ton of bricks. Funny how you can do something so many times and not know why it was a good night or a bad one. But I do know that being critical before the night was out has killed many a great gig for me. Hehe, my head is still spinning. I think I'm gonna print that out and read it before I head to gigs. Thanks.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks guys, glad you found that stuff useful. After reading it, it still seems to make sense (other than the fact that it should probably read "empty vessel" rather than "open vessel" :rolleyes: ), which is something I can't say about too many things that I write. Musta been drinking the good coffee that day...

    I thought I'd share a Sanskrit poem that Harry is fond of quoting as a reminder to live in the moment:

    I think that what I was really trying to say before can be summed up by substituting the word "moment" for the word "day" in the poem above. Now that's jazz!
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Yeah Durrl!

    Ed Fuqua once said a similar thing which stuck with me, talking about 'playing with the band that's actually on the stand with you instead of playing along with the record of the song playing in your mind.' (Forgive me for the poor paraphrase, Ed.)

    'Cause you never know when somebody whom you least "expect to" is gonna play something that will just knock you over, or lead you to places you would not have gotten to by yourself. I learn things from my 14-year-old tenor-playing son all the time.

    Take that "gigging" notion broadly, too. Most of my musical interactions occur in private.
  5. WOW! This is a great post, the kind of stuff that gets overlooked. I've gone into MANY musical situations with the negative head Chris describes above and all of my negative thoughts just get confirmed. Lately I've been aiming for a more "empty vessel" mind set and have had better experiences, even my practice is more positive as a result.

    Why is it that in jazz education and among jazz musicians this topic isn't discussed more?
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Probably because it's a generic problem, part of the human condition. The concept that Chris describes can be applied to any situation that involves people being present, in the moment and cooperative. Your head space plays a huge role in how you will sound and what you will play, how you react to your mistakes and how you react to the mistakes of others.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I don't know, but I have a couple of guesses:

    1) Because this kind of thing isn't "cool"...i.e., you can't look bored with life, jaded, and act as if nothing ever surprises or moves you while you talk about living each moment fully - it just don't work. That's pu**y **** if you're hip, dig?

    2) Because it's a hell of a lot easier to memorize a bunch of lame change-running doubletime licks and insert them over every II-V while looking jaded and bored with life than it is to really look inward and examine your outlook on life and put in the 24/7 work it takes to change it to an optimistic and positive one that allows moments of real beauty to happen.

    Just my opinion, of course. :)
  8. Chris, I hope you're not pulling my chain with your last post I'm about to start a religion that uses those words as scripture.

    Seriously though, this is some great stuff for me to read right now, I was begining to feel uninspired thinking that jazz was all about playing the right licks and looking bored doing it.

    Thank you :hyper:
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    My favorite line is from Joe Sample when asked what advice he had for young pianists hoping to enter the club gig scene - "Hold cold drinks in your left hand."
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    CF -- saw Ben Monder on the street yesterday. Had a nice talk. I told him that you were still talking about the gig, and he sheepishly said, "Wow, that was a while ago. Do all you guys from The South hang out or something?"

    I explained that Toledo is on the north coast of the US, but I didn't get into the concept of neutral states (Civil War). Sigh -- those native New Yorkers.....
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Ben's a great guy, and often sheepish (except when he's playing!). I hope he understood that the gig was only being brought up because the subject of "the last time I really got my *ss kicked on a gig" came up. Other than that, I'm over it. :)

    Technically, I don't think KY is really in "The South" either, but native Yankees seem to think that everybody south of Camden wears overalls 6 days a week, speaks in a thick drawl, and has a bad sunburn on the back of their neck. :eyebrow:
  12. That's what they tell us in school. :D