Well, it finally happened. After all my years of playing jazz gigs, someone in the audience finally managed to intimidate me into sucking it up.
I played a wedding gig in a beautiful old home in Bayfield last night as part of a great little accoustic quartet. During the middle of the second set, a couple guys were standing in the doorway of the room, pretty close to me, one telling the other how jazz worked and what we were (supposedly) doing. I was close enough to hear him pretty clearly outlining the chord structure of the songs we were playing and telling his friend how we had put in years of diciplined practice (ummm…) to master the ability to chose a note to include in our solo line by glancing at the chart, reading the chord symbol, creating the chord, expanding it to a scale, changing it to reflect the dominant voicing from the rhythm section, and making sure it leads into the next notes from the next scales.
Holy crap! I do all that while I’m playing? Here I thought I just showed up and let ‘er rip.
So of course I start getting self-conscious about what I’m doing and worrying about making a bad choice, and of course that leads to making bad choices, and before you can say “fuck!” I’m lost in the form and sounding like Sun Ra on a bad day.
But that was only for about three songs or so. The first set was awesome. We jelled as a group immediately and sounded really great. The beginning and end of the second set was pretty tight, too. I guess we wound up following the musicians’ golden rule: Start strong; Finish strong.