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Bebop Spoken There

Aubrey Logan: "I chose trombone because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

To clap or not to clap? That is the question

Applause after solos in the mid-performance of a piece has long been a tradition in jazz albeit not a tradition applauded by everyone.
In other forms of music such as grand opera applause is only given at the end of an aria when the rendition has, by general consensus, been sufficiently outstanding to merit the disruption of the show whereas, in jazz, the audience tends to clap irrespective of merit. And, if the audience doesn’t oblige, I know one bandleader that practically orders them to put their hands together and woe betide those who don’t.

The old Alex Welsh band were the first name band I encountered who used similar tactics. After a solo by one of his sidemen, Alex would exhort the crowd to ‘make him happy’ irrespective of how unhappy the player had made the audience feel although, I must confess, that I can’t recall any of the Welsh band making this listener feel unhappy. But the principle is there, after all, you don’t applaud dropped catches in cricket or missed ‘sitters’ in football.

I remember reading in an old Jazz Journal of film star Judy Holliday who, at the time was in a relationship with Gerry Mulligan, standing at the edge of the stage egging-on the audience to applaud a performance by the Mulligan Quartet at a concert in Paris.
Then there are bands who introduce the players before they’ve played a note and expect us to clap even though we have yet to hear what they can do.

And, of course, the listeners themselves fall into a host of different categories when it comes to applauding:
     1) The I can clap louder and longer than you. These are determined to have the last clap even though the rest of the audience has long since ceased to applaud.

    2) The should I or shouldn’t I clap? Terrified of being a voice in the wilderness, they wait until their neighbour takes the lead.

     3) The vocal applauder. Not content with clapping louder and longer than anyone else, this one also yells ‘Yeah man!’ or some other passé expression. This person is most frequently heard after drum solos and stratospheric trumpet choruses but never after bass solos.

     4) The strategic drinker. This one times it so that, at the moment of applause, he just happens to be picking his drink up and is therefore unable to join in the applause whilst having an excuse for not doing so.

      5) The ‘mother’ superior is of either gender and doesn’t applaud until the end of the piece (as we do at symphony concerts) but when the jazz pianist runs out of ideas and sticks in a quote from Way Down Upon the Swanee River he smiles and nods knowingly as if he’s the only person in the room who recognised those few bars.

Mind you applause can, at times, enhance the listener’s pleasure even though it doesn’t always enhance the music. The old JATP recordings wouldn’t be the same without the Rabelaisian crowd seeking blood and pushing the trumpets to play higher, the tenors to honk and squeal, the drummers to do battle. Without the crowd, the excitement would become boring.

So, at the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you applaud or not and whether you do it because the solo is worthy of it or out of common courtesy to save hurting the player’s feelings.
Lance.

1 comment :

Hugh C said...

Great piece, Lance. If there were the facility to "Like" it, I would give it a multitude of Likes!

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