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Bebop Spoken There

James Carter: "We played around with 'Nuages' and FUNKED it up, basically." - (DownBeat, September 2019).

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Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Monday August 19

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see centre column).

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

?????

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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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance