More Musician Jokes? Spare Me!
Musical musings by celebrities, friends, and wannabes.
You decide which is which.



I'm Your Mailman (aka "The Mailman Song")
Sung to the tune of "Bye Bye Blackbird"

Make you happy, make you gay,
Twice I come, twice a day.
I'm your mailman.

Knock your knockers, ring your bell,
Gee I really think you're swell,
I'm your mailman.

I can come in any kind of weather,
Because you know my bag is made of leather.
I don't mess with keys or locks,
I'll just stick it in your box, cuz
I'm your mailman.

When I'm walking down the road
Gee, I'd like to drop my load.
I'm your mailman.

When I'm walking down the lane,
Each one says please come again.
I'm your mailman.

Each one says she wants me to deliver
Each one wants the thing that I can give her.
If you're feeling sad and blue,
I've got something good for you.
I'm your mailman.













Hal is relentless.
He used to be a high school band director.
Worst of all, he has a soprano saxophone.
And plays it.

He says, "Not so fast. I do keep it locked up."

    So a high school band director is walking in the desert. Finds a lamp... you know what happens next. Rub. Genie. A wish to be granted.

    So our guy says, peace in the middle east.

    I've been asleep a thousand years, the genie says, what's going on?

    So our guy pulls up a map and news feed on his phone.

    Genie studies it for a while.

    Beats me, he says, finally, you get a substitute wish.

    Okay, says the band director, a soprano saxophone playing in tune.

    Let me see that map one more time, says the genie.



And then there's drummer Steve Snyder.
He complains of drum failure excuses:

  • "Oh I have a headache, I can't play," or
  • "Oh my I have to go to Chicago for the Western Fir Growers Convention."
  • "Oh I'll be at The Blue Note From Now until the end." Or the best one is...
  • "Quit calling me, I am playing with Gordon Lightfoot these days."





Lest you suspect all my music-jokesters are male, here's Lezak.
She sings in The San Francisco Bach Choir. But that's no excuse.



Some people just don't know when to quit. This is from Hal Richards. He's one of those.

What do a box of saxophone reeds and a room filled with 100 professional saxophonists have in common?
-- Both only have one that actually works.

What do you call the first twenty minutes of a tenor solo?
-- The beginning.

What's the difference between a unicorn and a professional saxophonist who actually plays the horn they endorse?
-- You're more likely to run into a unicorn.

What's the difference between a college saxophone player's solo and an airplane bathroom?
-- The airplane bathroom has more space.

Which historical villain who answered to the name, "Adolf" ... err ... I should probably stop here...

What's the first thing you should do if you accidentally swallow Liquid Drano?
-- Locate the nearest recording of two soprano saxes playing in unison.

What’s the difference between a jazz saxophonist and a salad bar?
-- The salad bar pays more attention to the rhythm section.

What's the difference between a Selmer Mark VI and printer ink?
-- Printer ink is a better value for the money.

What's the difference between a classical saxophone sound and a sine wave?
-- A sine wave has more complexity and richness in terms of ratio of overtones to fundamental.

Who was it that first said, "the saxophone is the instrument that sounds closest to the human voice"?
-- Fran Drescher



























Tritones Are Fascinating



Our friend Fred Weed amuses himself and occasionally others: "Made it muh self."




About playing the trumpet (which he doesn't) our friend Rich Young (who is neither) quotes:

"Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."
-- Dizzy Gillespie









Name that tune.
The composer signed it.





























































































Ahem... We resemble this remark.























Flowchart for "Let It Be"



And a small correction...

























Alternate universe...







Our friend Rich Young describes our friend Reid Whatley (right), "Drummer, bassist, singer, entertainer, and descended from a (real) show-biz family."

Reid describes his friend Sam Ulano who created The Art of Show Drumming. Reid writes, "Have fun! It's both entertaining and informative! From June 23, 2005, one of the happiest moments of my life! Take 20 minutes and listen to How to play a show if you are the drummer."









Be sure to pronounce "chocolate" as "chaw-klit".





And if you couldn't identify the key of A
(or F sharp minor),
scroll down to the Circle of Fifths and review!



Inside a double bass















Claire (gawd-help-us) the violist tells us this hybrid violist/conductor joke:

The orchestra goes on a world tour. Just before the first concert, the conductor falls ill. The orchestra management hunts high and low for a replacement but to no avail. The violist sitting on the last stand mentions that he can conduct. In desperation, they give him a try. He is very successful! Even the critics agree. So he is retained for the rest of the tour which proceeds to yield much acclaim.

Home again, at the first rehearsal, the violist returns to his regular seat. His stand partner turns to him and says, where have you been?

Rich, another reprobate musician friend, writes:

Was Barry White? Was Clint Black? Was George Strait? Was Marvin Gaye?

Sure makes Stevie Wonder!

And he doesn't quit...

Professional Interior Decorating Tip:

When wallpapering, play Justin Bieber or Kenny G music in the background...

The wallpaper will hang itself!





Don Hurst of Friends of the Red Banjo (a long-defunct but fondly-remembered night club in Rome, Italy) writes:

"I always thought this band was hiding something."



Pete McBride, another Friend of the Red Banjo reveals his profound grasp of the beloved instrument.







The relentless Rich Young sends us yet another groaner...

"My music is best understood by animals and children."

-- Igor Stravinsky (1961)


Over two millennia earlier, Aristotle had counseled in The Politics that young men ought to attain a musical sophistication with "a capacity for enjoying noble melodies and rhythms and not merely that general effect of music which is enjoyed by some of the lower animals, as well as by a number of slaves and children."

Ok, Rich, if you say so.



Rich Young (who is neither) just doesn't give up. Today he assaults us with this one...

HUMILITY (for drummers)

A letter arrives at Gene Krupa's house. It's addressed to THE WORLD'S BEST DRUMMER.

He forwards it to Louie Bellson who refuses to open it.

It goes around to all the great drummers until it reaches Buddy Rich who says, "This is for me" and opens it.

The letter begins:

Dear Ringo...



Doggerel man Rich continues not holding his tongue.

On Fri, 31 Aug 2018 he writes:

When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars,
It is the dawning of the rage of aquaducts.

Oncet upon atime, I took up with a banjo but the banjo was just too clever for me.
Evry time I tuned that 5th string, some other string would nefariously slide one way or another.
I became the laughingstock of the string band. Eventually, the banjo eloped with a unituned ukelele.
I was kicked out of the band and have been harmonicaless ever since.

~~ Hapless in Seattle





Rich Kalman (who attended our par-tay and crooned thereat)
subsequently penned and punned:
Alas in haste i do declare no time
To birth  clever lyrics to tell
My throat constricted by tuxedo tie, a teardrop fell
From my blinking eye my brain a fog of blaring cowbell,
My mouth too dry to form doggerel.

Tis a pity a fancy event to attend
When lyrical brilliance refuses to lend
A helping spark of irreverent palaver,
Leaving me to mumble and blather.

Perhaps 'tis why i scat and swoon,
Hoping pyrotechniques will sway the room
That was filled with stellar personas and more.
When time to leave, I lost the door.

This verse may run at least til Tuesday.
When all is said and done,
It may still be too much bad news day.
So smile and hum to your self in place,
Then play it an octave below on your bass......

~~Notreddy Forprhymetime

Later, he added this:

dear dan keller man,
you are a fine feller, man.

tis with regret i failed to appear
at your specs event with tidings that endear..

have no excuse beyond compare,
 i fell asleep in my easy chair
too late to on time be there;

i have no doubt you famously played
and Valeriana sang to people happy made

by your musical collaboration more toes to tap,
i missed you and the lady who likes my lap.

alas anon and soon beware,
i'll poke my face from this jealous chair.

~~Noshakes Peer

I replied:

Ho Noshakes!

Next Specs is 'tember the Tooth.
Be there, be square, be couth!

Your pen is irrepressible.
Mine is just a messable.




Pianist extraordinaire John Groves
-- well anyway hot aire -- writes:
"Well, I might take a train, I might take a plane;
nah, on second thought,
I think I'll skip Kansas City."





Kawai's new piano for rap composers



Early recording session of the Byrds



Required reading for aspiring trombonists.



Name that tune! Hint: Yabba-dabba-doo!









The promo for one of my gigs...

Jazz at Specs
12 William Saroyan Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94133

The families of the Titanic musicians were billed for their uniforms.

One second-class passenger described the last moments of their lives, saying, "Many brave things were done that night, but none was more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly into the sea."

A familiar feeling? Come sink with us! Find new depths! Heck, we don't even HAVE uniforms.





Fred Weed's business card used to say "piano" on it. But at Choro Roda #12 session, he wielded a 'net (clarinet, for all you uninitiated slobs) with some profusion. I mean collusion. No, I mean intrusion. No, that would be competence. None here. Who knew.

And do you know what choros are? You would love them if you did... "Choro is considered the first... Brazilian... pop music." See

Anyway, the choro sessions are inflicted -- I mean organized -- by Laura Boytz. She blames -- I mean credits -- Michael McMorrow. We read the tunes from Ron Galen's fine book.

Brazilian musicians can count only to two. Unlike jazz musicians, who can make it all the way to four.



And now the joke. (Thanks, Fred. I think.)

Fred asked, "Why did the accordion player fall down the stairs?"

"I pushed him."







Remember Bob Hope?


ON TURNING 70: 'I still chase women, but only downhill.'

ON TURNING 80: 'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

ON TURNING 90: 'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

ON TURNING 100: 'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING: 'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR: 'Welcome to the Academy Awards, or as it's called at my home, 'Passover.'

ON GOLF: 'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

ON PRESIDENTS: 'I have performed for 12 presidents but entertained only six.'

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER: 'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.'

ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL: 'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY: 'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS: 'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES: 'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the stuff the audience threw at me.'

ON GOING TO HEAVEN: 'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality.'





Struggling musicians flailing at Specs. Big fun. As you can plainly see.



More struggling musicians. Laurel and Hardy are "working the street."

They are accosted by a woman.

Woman: "How much money do you boys average a street?"
Ollie: "I would say about fifty cents a street."
Woman: "Here's a dollar. Move down a couple of streets."

-- Below Zero, (1930)






Another gem from Prof. Wampler. He's been there and done that.



Child Psychology and Jazz

Phases of child development

  1. Parallel play --

    An early stage in child development, characterized by egocentric behavior and the inability to decenter and coordinate with the activities of playmates.

    High school jam sessions are like this. Each player has his own idea and everyone is playing at the same time.

    Bad gigs are like this.

  2. Next, there is social play --

    Playing and sharing together.

    At least, everyone is playing the same tune, but there is no exchange of ideas among the players.

    Most gigs are like this.

  3. The highest stage is cooperative play --

    Different complementary roles and shared purpose.

    Each player is listening to the others and picking up on what they are doing. Jazzers call it "big ears."

    The best gigs are like this.



Carl Resnikoff
-- yeah, him again --
sends us this.



Roberta Donnay sends us this.



Beginning band -- only two minutes because the clarinets always rush.



I love playing for my fans.



These are some guys I play music with. We took a break for coffee.

And posted this photo on Facebook with a plea for band name suggestions. Wow! We got:

The Caffiends
Big n Little
The Peetshop Boys
Get Shorty
The Mug Shots?
Peedros Cafe y Te
Heros & Devils
Los Cafesitos
Los Tragos Misteriosos
Buzz Killers
I Caffoni
Java Jazz
Ginch Monkeys
The Drinking Weirdos
OMPR (Old Men Playing Rock)
quattro locos huomos
Depth Chargers
Harmonically Wired
Java Jive Quartet
The Brews Brothers
Major Dickason's Blend
Two Shades Fours Shots
I Babbini
60 is the new 30

Giampiero waxed effusive:

As I lay awake, pondering the writings of what could be the most brilliant mind of the 21st century (possibly of all time), Sarah Palin, I couldn't help but be taken by the complexity of the image before us. To the untrained eye this could seem like a snapshot taken with a cell phone, perhaps even by a passerby but, it is only upon careful examination that one realizes the sheer genius and months of preparation and planning in executing such a brilliant shot. Note how the cups perfectly outline a V shape - an homage to the Parthenon? Such shape also symbolizes the dynamics of a typical jazz tune: intro/head, solo (climax), head out, end/fade.

Note also how, at the climax point, the hand of the musician in the middle is gesturing "yeah, I nailed!" - or...could be gesturing something totally different... that solo was a total jerkoff - and how Dan's thumb is perfectly aligned with the column behind, as in saying "the bass player's thumb *is* the pillar of the rhythm section" - astute is also the juxtaposing of the upward smile (Dan's) with the downward enigmatic expression of the guy on the opposite side. They also continue to challenge us with the almost identical mustache/goatee combination present in two of the musician in the center. And just when you think you might have it all figured out they surprise you again by placing the shades on a guy with the beard and one without it. There is no predictability here, as in a Sun Ra or Roland Kirk solo. And why is one guy holding two cups? The obvious answer would be "he's the drummer" as only a drummer could be holding two cups and still use his feet to play. But, is he?

Perhaps the answer is that there is no answer and that is what they are presenting here, giving the viewer a small insight on the musical journey that awaits all who attend their performance. Be that as it may, it is clear they wanted to place the cups in the foreground, as the centerpiece of the composition. Why? We don't know. As we don't really know what's in them though we could assume it's coffee. But, as we have seen nothing can be taken for granted, nothing can be assumed because nothing is what is seems with those guys. For that, I must reaffirm my earlier suggestion of Los Tragos Misteriosos.



Our bony friend Prof. Wampler educates us on
trombones as a central theme in 20th century art.

Further, they have another, less well known feature.
"Fastidiously manipulated, they can be forced to emit sounds."
I swear he almost said that.



Doggerel man Rich regrets he will not be in attendance at our gig at Specs.

On 3/18/2017 1:51 PM, Rich Kalman wrote:

You're an ace. You play bass.
You can solo all over the place.
Play notes beyond outer space.
With a soulful smile on your face.

Now I'm hip, I'm not square.
If I weren't giggin then, I'd be there.
But our dates don't jive, it ain't fair.
So some one else will fill my chair.

Say hi to the cats in the band
And to Lady Valerie, give her a hand.
You know I won't be taking a nap,
She'll get to sit in another choice lap.
I know she'll wow the room with her hippest sound
I'll catch up with you on some soon come rebound.

~~ Berkeley Frishberg Fan









Bona Lisa



How the polite musician says "Shut up!"



Another one from Dave Wampler.
Yep, a trombonist. Picking on bassists?
We're strong. We can handle it. We can even ski.



If you can't beat 'em...



September, 2016: Singer/arranger Rich Kalman, who continues to remind us of the child in us all -- and not the polite child -- (we quoted him back in June, 2014 -- see below... way below...) pens the following...
Well Dan, Mr. Bassman. I am sending you some lettres d'inspiration that I toiled deep into the night to compose whilst my piano was in the shop getting a new radiator. It is my fervid humble aspiration that you and your fans enjoy some portion of these morsels torn from my savage heart... if you discover any sense, meaning, or reverberation in any of these bon mots then my purpose on earth will be fulfilled.

Simfonia tanto bella

O che cosa malinconia! La ricerca di melodie sinfoniche canonizzati
Da maestri della musica e orchestrazione con armonie euphonious.
(Lo scrittore sbaglia in modo irregolare.)

In the recording studio in my mind bearded bards render chamber quartets
In style Stradivarius.
Aurally harmonious viola da gamba e viola d'amore sing with
Contrabassori e basso profondo.

A heavenly symphony is playing
Populated by harp, lyre, lute and cither,
Cithara, theorbo, vina, and zither,
Samisen, didgeridoo, ringing balalaika,
Gittern, cittern, mandola,... Mandela.
Forte piano, claviforte, mezzoforte harpsichorde.

Si se puede oir la musica y mira los colores de son,
Sera una milagro merveilloso.
~~~Dreadlox N. Bagalls

Indeed, sir, in dread you pose I suppose questions questing
Crusty credible answers carried by anxious ants
Dispelling confusion contained in Confucian parables,
Rhymes and rhetorical raids on secret sanctuaries where
Residing resonances reverberate risque' riddles
Categorically covered by koans now and zen
Clinking tinkling cackling lingering lounging
Languishing loudly laughing
Descending to the depths of derision
And after ascending aerodynamically
To recap the cadence with a crispy coda
Worthy of versatile variance...
In a homily, home again in harmony.
The answer was borned when the question was formed.
~~~Dane Gling

Take it, take another little piece of my heart now bebe.
~~~Janis Joplin

That's all fur now, folks.

Of course, I (Dan) could not help but reply... thusly:

Oh Rich, Rich, Rich,
You forgot to name the stritch.*
And also, my fine fellow,
Omit not the manzello,*
Too, from your menagerie
Of exotic instrumentary.

Consider, please, Camille Saint-Saens
Who went to equal pains
"...With Saxophone and fife
To glorify other forms of life."**
And making glorious sounds
At your gigs we exclaim, "Zounds!"
Or worse,
In verse.

Your poesy is joyous,
Your music is divine.
Your persona is flamboyous
And you know how to rine.
I mean rhyme.

* Both played by Rahsaan Roland Kirk
** Unabashedly plagiarized from Ogden Nash



Banjo storage



Now we know why they cover their ears and scream.



Still the best Venn diagram...


We owe this one to Dave Wampler. Yep, a trombonist. Classy!


You can thank John Grounds for this one... Yeah, thanks a lot, John.   

Worse yet, Carl Resnikoff knows where to buy strings for it.


Tipple player Higgy (Mark Higuera) has a fabulous collection of classic Americana.

The lady has a big hassock.


Another groaner from Rich Young... who makes us poor and old... aaagh...

C, E-flat, and G go into a bar.

The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them.

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished, and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me; I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.



Truth in Advertising


Some things run in families.                      


Jon Appleton was my favorite professor
(electronic music) at Dartmouth College.
Here he delivers
Russian Prodigy Piano Instruction




Forgotten all that music theory you studied?
This song will bring it all back...


The Nutty Promoters



What started World War II



This is AnnaMarie the Drummer. A good drummer. She often knows where "one" is.

All that rhythm, she says, makes her a sex cymbal (bah-dah-boom). And I'm all about that bass (drum), 'bout that bass (drum), etc..." Go ahead, click it to hear the song. Or the postmodern jukebox European tour version.

Yes, that's a military uniform. Don't ask, don't tell, ok?

And here she is, forty years earlier.

Their heads have gotten smaller since then. Must be a drummer thing... All that pounding...


Jeff Johnson (who claims to be a beginner) writes, "Re: John Cage's arrangement of Silent Night -- I think I could play this version."

He adds, "BTW: Charlie Keagle pointed out that the John Cage version is four bars too long." Purist.

Next he has to push the piano off the stage. Oh, wait, wrong Cage composition.


Musician extraordinaire Richard Chon (who knows this from direct personal experience) explains how to tell when the stage is level:
"The viola player drools out of both sides of his mouth!"

Well, look at what's in his hand. It's a shrunken viola. That's what happens when the drool evaporates.



You're a musician. You may need to look up "offal".

Actually, it's kind of what it sounds like. Don't tell Wampler.


How I love my bass. It has f-holes. They look like this:


On a good day, they look like this:

How I love my bass.



June, 2014: Singer/arranger Rich Kalman, who reminds us of the child in us all, pens the following...

oh dan, poor dan,
you da man dan,
da man wid da bass plan, man,
you go dan man!

i would luv to croon a toon or two
or three or four or more,
as few or as many as
you let me before
you boot me out de door......

i don't know what it is.
some people just unlock the hidden poet in me
and dis stuff just bursteth forth in rhyming harmony.
you one of those lucky or unlucky souls who have the secret keys
so come along for the rhythmic rhyming ride as long as you please!

i look forward to your next specs adventure and to seeing and hearing
the band and chorus of songbirds you bring together again!!!


Musician's Definitions

BANDSTAND: The area furthest away from an electrical outlet.

BIG BAND: Nowadays, an aggregation consisting of two musicians.

BROADWAY PIT JOB: A prison sentence disguised as a gig.

CABARET: A venue where singers do songs from shows that closed out of town.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: God's way of telling you that you've practiced too much.

CATERER: A man whose hatred for musicians is unrivaled.

CLASSICAL COMPOSER: A man ahead of his time and behind in the rent.

CLUBDATER: God's way of telling you that you didn't practice enough.

CRUISE SHIP WORK: A gig that gives a musician two reasons to throw up.

DJ: The guy your son would rather have play for his Bar Mitzvah.

DOUBLE BASS: The instrument the folks footing the bill feel is


DOWNBEAT: The magazine that would have you believe that all jazz

musicians are working.

ELECTRIC PIANO: The instrument that enables its player to pay for the hernia he sustained lifting it.

HOTEL PIANIST: A guy who looks good in a tux.

JAZZ: The only true American art form beloved by Europeans.

JAZZ FESTIVAL: An event attended by folks who think Coltrane is a car on the B&O railroad.

LYRIC: That part of a tune known only by singers and homosexuals.

MELLOPHONE: An instrument best put to use when converted into a lamp.

MOVIE COMPOSER: Someone who can write like anyone except himself.

NEW AGE: A musical substitute for Valium.

NEW YEAR'S EVE: The night of the year when contractors are forced to hire musicians they despise.

ORCHESTRATOR: The musician who enhances a composer's music, only to be chastised for it.

PERCUSSIONIST: A drummer who can't swing.

PERFECT PITCH: The ability to pinpoint any note and still play out of tune.

PIANIST: An archaic term for a keyboard player.

PRODIGY: A kid who has as much chance at a normal childhood as the

Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

RAGA: The official music of New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

RARE VIOLIN: A Stradivarius, not to be confused with a rare violinist,

which is someone over four foot eleven.

SIDEMAN: The appellation that guarantees a musician will never be rich.

STAFF MUSICIAN: Harder to locate than a cavity in the Osmond family.

STEADY ENGAGEMENT: Look up in Webster's Dictionary under the word 'obsolete.'

UNION REP: A guy who thinks big bands are coming back.

VERSE: The part of a tune that's disposable, except to its composer.

WURLITZER: The Ford Pinto of pianos.

YANNI: A man blessed with great hair for music.



Ok, now play Giant Steps.


Bill Duffy, who abandoned us in San Francisco for the, um, tasty treats of the East Coast, made the following claim despite being a gifted pianist...

And here's a true story from a recent gig:

A pianist got a call from a singer/saxophone owner for a 50th wedding anniversary -- a trio hit where they would be joined by a very good 7-string guitarist.

However, the vocals were barely adequate, and the sax playing was atrocious; after 3-1/2 hours, the pianist was losing his mind.

The singer turned and asked him if he knew "Misty".

"Sure, man," he replied. "What key do you almost do this one in?"

In Bill's defense, he urges us to watch the short film The Drummer by Bill Block. One out of two ain't bad.

Well Dan, you know the old joke about the musician who wins the lottery? When asked what he/she is going to do with the fortune, the reply: "Just keep playing gigs 'til the money runs out."

End of an Era
Spring, 2013

Without enough business to support it, The Gold Dust has laid off its house band. Drummer Rich Young writes:

"My calculator says that the Johnny Z and the Camaros band run at The Gold Dust was 4,748 nights in a row, including 3 nights for leap years, without a single missed night. All of the Camaros, past and present, can walk forward with the assurance that we made a lot of people happy with our music."

Alas, now they have bitten the, um, dust...

We have Professor Werdenroad to thank for this one.
Woeful he of the doleful tromboniness.
And you thought we were cruel only to violists.

Subject: Trombone Dictionary

alto trombone - n. A very weak tenor trombone

bass trombone - n. 1-Several mutually exclusive instruments hooked together by an ingenious set of tubes, rotors, levers and valves. Capable of very loud, very rude noises accompanied by a percussive symphony of mechanical clanks, squeaks, squawks and whistles. 2-The lead trumpet of the trombone family.

bass trombonist - n. The one in the section who couldn't develop any high range whatsoever as a young player and is now getting even by drowning everyone else out whenever he gets a chance.

bass trumpet - n. An instrument that combines all the worst features of the trumpet and the trombone.

conductor - n. One who has accepted the fact that he cannot play but has NOT accepted the reasons why.

contractor - n. Someone who cannot play, does not know it, but thinks he knows how OTHER people play.

doodle tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that is too weak.

double tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that is too strong.

embouchure - n. An ad hoc and ephemeral arrangement of the tissues of the face designed to allow a trombonist to play a desired note. Some players claim to have only one. They are the ones who can only play one note.

flexibility - n. A talent best left to gymnasts and contortionists.

fortissimo - adj. A trombonist's mezzo-piano.

free jazz - n. Jazz for which no one will pay any money.

F trigger - abbreviation. Originally used when the first one failed in the middle of a concert and the player was overheard to say "F*!@ing trigger" as he tried to make it work.

gig bag - n. A container designed to collect and hold dents.

high range - n. The range above where you can comfortably play.

jazz club - n. A place where people pay a lot of money not to listen to jazz, most of which does not go to the musicians to whom they are not listening.

jazz festival - n. A place where people pay a lot of money not to listen to music that is not jazz in the first place.

Jazz trombone - n. (also called peashooter, slipstick, small bore horn, and primitive blow stick) Any trombone that sounds bad below middle Bb and shrill above middle C.

lead trombonist - n. (also referred to as principal trombonist) The one in the section w/the worst middle and low range.

Legato - adj. A style of playing midway between glissando and staccato. Rarely achieved on the slide trombone.

low range - n. 1 - The ugly part. 2 - The clumsy part. 3 - The range below where you can comfortably play.

Microphone - n. A mechanical device designed to collect and amplify the least pleasing 5% of the sound of a trombone.

middle range - n. 1 - The range in which you can be sure not to miss notes. Usually less than a minor third. 2 - The range in which you run out of excuses.

mouthpiece - n. A convenient excuse for missed notes.

mute - n. A device designed to render the already largely ignored trombone completely inaudible.

no pressure system - n. A way of playing the trombone that lets lots of air escape from around the rim of the mouthpiece.

orchestral trombone -n. 1 - Originally a medium sized horn used primarily in support of the woodwinds and strings. 2 - In contemporary times, a gigantic horn used primarily to drown out the woodwinds and strings. - Also contemporarily, any trombone that is too large on which to comfortably play the trombone solo in Ravel's "Bolero".

Pianissimo - adj. No definition available in a trombone dictionary.

pitch - n. What all the other instruments do not have.

rubato - adj. What most conductors consider a steady tempo.

second trombonist - n. The one in the section who can play well neither high nor low.

single tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that does not work.

solo - n. Something played by everyone but trombonists

spit valve - n. A device invented to torture people who sit in front of trombonists.

staccato - adj., n. Notes short enough that you can't hear the slide glissando that occurs between them.

string players - n. The ones with the earplugs. (Also saxophonists in jazz big band situations.)

tenor trombone - n. A trombone that is neither capable of being played high enough or low enough to be easily heard.

trombone - n. 1 - A puzzle in the shape of a brass instrument designed to totally defeat whomever is foolish enough to try to solve it. 2 - A brass instrument that is most often used as camouflage and support for bad trumpet and French horn players. 3 - The interior lineman in the game of music.

valve trombone - n. 1 - An oxymoron. 2 - A trombone for people with short arms, a weak tongue, bad pitch and/or little or no hand/eye/ear coordination.

In response to an offer of a Stratocaster --
"Belonged to a friend, widow wants me to help her sell it. Nice guitar, plays well, but the after-market bridge installed with the wang bar removes it from the 'collectibles' list"
-- Darryl Berk replied, "I'd have better chances with my wife if I brought home a leggy blonde than if I showed up with another guitar..."

I (Dan) reply,

"Well, I have gigged with Darryl many a time and wish him luck with the leggy blonde. He'd need it."

Holy Garage Band, Batman!

This is The Prior Associates in 1968.

Dave Wampler -- in white pants -- didn't get the memo about the dress code.

But he was the star nonetheless. He writes,

This should get a laugh -- McBride sent it to me. Taken at a 1968 rehearsal -- I was actually the guitar player but occasionally played a little trombone. Not long after this we took on a sax player. The group became quite famous over the next four or five years. The lead singer was a high school gymnastics champion which he incorporated into the 'James Brown set'; James Brown had nothing on him!

This band was a very popular and well-known R&B territory band. The singer did a whole floor routine during the JB set, his cousin was a pro football player. Gotta laugh at the Rolling Stones-era skinny pants!

The drummer was Steve McBride. The other trombone is Warren Cline. His brother Gary joined shortly after this photo was taken. To the far left is bassist Mike Eley (he died from complications of diabetes about five years ago (57 yrs). Pat Murphy is playing (my) guitar. Fred Orduna is the vocalist. His cousin Joe was the football player. And that is Doug Biggerstaff and his brother Dennis on trumpet. Pretty good for a six-teeth old dude. Mike had three exceedingly beautiful sisters; I tried desperately to get next to the oldest one, Marcia. Got close, but no banana! At least I had the Buddy Holly glasses.

Territory bands were kind of a thing of the great mid-west years ago and the dance halls. There were a number of smallish jazz and dance orchestras based anywhere from Chicago to Kansas City, that traveled all around (road time) playing armories, fairs, dance halls, etc. The PA did much the same, playing dance halls (hardly any exist nowadays), armories, county fairs, state fairs, proms, HS and college functions. We pretty much covered all of Nebraska (considerable), southeastern South Dakota, western Iowa and northeastern Kansas occasionally. We actually made some money, had our own van, PA, and Murphy had his own Hammond B-3 with Leslie. I had the Buddy Holly glasses.

Go Dave! You had the Buddy Holly glasses!



The Musician's Rule of Fives



This gig is a gas.

Update from Rich Young: The Dust is being resurrected!


New Gold Dust Lounge Filled With Old Funkiness...

Yeah, funkiness. We know funkiness.

Yet another update from Rich -- 12/28/12:

Generational progress? As I was returning from looking at progress of the soon-to-be-open Gold Dust Lounge at Fisherman's Wharf this morning, I drove by the iconic Tower Records store at Columbus and Bay streets in San Francisco. The Tower store is now a Walgreens.

So the "Illicit Drugs and Music" cultural destination in the 1960s has become a "Prescription Drugs and Metamucil" destination half a century later. Hmm, there is a comment on society in there somewhere.

Another groaner from Rich Young... who makes us poor and old... aaagh...

So the question from the A&E segment producer, in Italy to cover a music festival, to the Italian piccolo manufacturer was: How do you make the piccolos?

The gentleman, proud to be interviewed for American television, responded:

Well, every year, we have a big harvest festival in the fall. As a part of the festival, we gather all the flutes that have been made that year by local artisans from the rare wood native to this part of Italy. These rare woods produce very fine musical tones when made into flutes. We put them into a huge metal dish (not unlike an Asian wok), fill it half full with the finest Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, light a big wood fire underneath it, and leave it overnight. During that time, the wooden flutes shrink in the hot olive oil. In the morning, they are taken out and dried for three days, until the flutes are a fine amber color. Once they are dried, they are inspected and played by the local symphony flautists, and the best ones every year are chosen to become piccolos.

As the publicity for this event began to reach the news media all over the world, they needed a name to identify the festival.

It has come to be known as the annual Mediterranean Flute Fry.


Jeff Johnson (who never misses an opportunity for a bad pun... or a social cause) tells us to see, in a slum near a city trash-dump in Paraguay, resourceful people who built instruments from recovered trash and created an orchestra. It's the Landfill Harmonic. We love you anyway, Jeff.

"Werdenroad" (who refuses attribution) offers this solution to our political quandary.

Doesn't he know Diz is dead?

In the jazz world we don't let that stop us.

Our own Chris Anthony set the Guinness World Record for the longest drum roll.


Raising money for Multiple Sclerosis research.

And he's a really good drummer, too.

Ok, it's not a musician joke, just a musician accomplishment. Oxymoron?

Rich Young (who is neither) just doesn't give up. Today he assaults us with this one...

This is the short form of a good old musician story, but worth making the rounds again.

A blind rabbit and a blind snake encounter each other in the forest. Neither one is quite sure what to make of the other. So, since they are both blind, they begin talking to discover how to verify that each is what he says he is.

The blind snake says, Well, in order for me to make sure that you are a rabbit, like you say you are, I guess the only way is for me to feel you.

The rabbit says, Ok. So the blind snake feels the rabbit.

He says, Well, you are small, furry, have a pair of long ears, a fuzzy button for a tail, and a twitching nose and whiskers. That feels like a rabbit to me.

Then the rabbit says, Ok. My turn. Let me feel you to make sure you are the snake that you say you are.

The snake replies, Ok. So the blind rabbit feels the snake.

He says, Well, you are long, slimy and slippery. You speak with a forked tongue. And you have no backbone to speak of. You must be a club owner.

Ok, (chuckle) we'll let you slide this time, Rich...


We have trumpeter Beau Davis (yes, that's him in the picture) to thank for this remarkable piece of music history, translated into English from the original document.

Nazi Germany's Dance Band Rules and Regulations During The 3rd Reich
(Courtesy Malcolm Rockwell via the 78-L Lesser)

  1. In the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands, pieces in fox-trot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20%.
  2. In the repertoire of this so-called jazz type, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life ('Kraft durch Freude'), rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics.
  3. As to the tempo, too, preference is to be given to brisk compositions as opposed to slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro commensurate with the Aryan sense for discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) be permitted, or in solo performances (so-called breaks).
  4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at the most 10% syncopation; the remainder must form a natural legato movement devoid of hysterical rhythmic references characteristic of the music of the barbarian races and conducive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called 'riffs').
  5. Strictly forbidden is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (e.g. so-called cowbells, flex-a-tone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of brass-wind instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yell (so-called wa-wa, in hat, etc.).
  6. Prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four quarter beat (except in stylized military marches).
  7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions; plucking of strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality. If a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, let strict care be taken lest the string is allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden.
  8. Provocative rising to one's feet during solo performance is forbidden.
  9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat).
  10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them violin-celli, violas, or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

Baldur von Blodheim
Reichsmusicfuhrer und Oberscharfuhrer SS

Hey! Save the Gold Dust!

Even Lawrence Ferlinghetti says:

Western culture, high and low, the gold dust of the ages, is disappearing down the drain of the electronic revolution. Save the Gold Dust!

Chris Something-or-other adds:

Lawrence Ferlinghetti knows of what he speaks, having gone through a potential eviction during the first Dotcom occupation over a decade ago. To think that we almost lost City Lights until the City's Landmarks Board stepped in and designated it a local landmark. Similar to City Lights, the Gold Dust Lounge is a cultural landmark in San Francisco and we fail to see why it is no less deserving of city landmark status.

The Lick

The lick has gone viral. I guess you have to play these notes if you're a musician.

About that now-infamous Lick (see above) Claire -- yes, her again -- says:

The lick -- I played it for the first time at age 14, in the local youth orchestra. It's part of Stravinski's Firebird. Either he made it up or stole it. The first performance of the Firebird Ballet was in 1910. I wonder if there are any earlier versions...


Ok, Claire. If you say so.

Thank heavens someone is finally fixing
all those broken notes Thelonious Monk wrote
(click to see an Austrian named Groiner "make Monk better"...)

Sodden thought... Playing music for a living is the same as sex turning into prostitution:

At first you do it for fun,
then you do it for a few close friends,
then you end up doing it for money.

Dear Abby,

I am a crack dealer living in Beaumont, Texas. Though I've recently been diagnosed with hepatitis, I'm doing okay, considering.

My parents live in Fort Worth and have recently been arrested for cooking and selling meth and they are out on bail while they are waiting for their trial. Now that they've lost their main livelihood, they are financially dependent on my two sisters, who are prostitutes in Dallas. I'd help out, but I've got to lay low for a while because another drug gang has threatened to kill me if I don't back off.

My two brothers would help, except that one is serving a non-parole life sentence at Huntsville for murder and my other brother is currently in jail awaiting trial for sexual misconduct with a minor. (He just couldn't keep his damn hands to himself while he was taking home the 14-year-old babysitter after a night of drinking.) So, none of us boys can help out Mom and Dad.

The reason I'm writing to you is because I've recently become engaged to a former prostitute who lives in Longview. (Well, not totally former... she's still a part time working girl but I've told her I understand since a person does need to make ends meet and my business is temporarily on hiatus.)

My problem is this. I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family. I want to be totally open and honest with her.

Should I tell her about my cousin who is a jazz musician?

Worried About My Reputation

We were subjected to this one
by that doggone Hal Richards
who got it from Brad Bivens
who got it from Joe McKinley
who got it from Thomas Palmer.
Hey, guys, was it worth the trouble?

Has nothing changed in 135 years?
Excerpt from
G. F. Patton, A Practical Guide to the Arrangement of Band Music
N.Y., John F. Stratton & Co., 1875

Courtesy of SINdy of the Burning Band.
(You call this courtesy?!?)

"It is a fact not to be denied that the existence of a good Brass Band in any town or community is at once an indication of enterprise among its people, and an evidence that a certain spirit of taste and refinement pervades the masses... we recognize the unfailing indication of culture and refinement...

"First comes the selection of men. As a rule, it is well here to avoid taking in fellows who 'play by ear',... Such fellows besides being often dissipated, are most always vain and idle... The most essential requisite is that a man should be patient and teachable...

"Having selected the men, pick out the most intelligent and ambitious of the lot for Cornet players... The next most important place to be filled is that of the Tuba player. He should be a moderately stout fellow... his supply of patience should be practically inexhaustible,...and if a man of profane habits is apt to swear in a disagreeable way at the stupid blunders made by his companions of the Althorns and little private feuds spring up which will eventually undermine the Band. "For the Side instruments and Drums it does not make so much difference...

"If in a new Band there is to be a Baritone or Solo Alto, it is necessary to entrust them to men of intelligence and ambition, just as with the Cornets...

"To Amateurs, the Author has also this piece of advice to offer. Do not let anybody persuade you to bother with Piccolos, Clarinets and Slide Trombones."

PS -- That's me with the bass on the right.
It survived the desert...
Burned without being burned...

A musical director was having a lot of trouble with one drummer. He talked and talked and talked with the drummer, but his performance simply didn't improve.

Finally, before the whole orchestra, he said, "When a musician just can't handle his instrument and doesn't improve when given help, they take away the instrument, and give him two sticks, and make him a drummer."

A stage whisper was heard from the percussion section: "And if he can't handle even that, they take away one of his sticks and make him a conductor."

Jeff Johnson -- ordinarily such a well-behaved young feller -- sent us the following... with the notation:
Subject: Tuba mirum spargens sonum

Maybe this is what Mozart meant. ;-)


When requesting a song from the band just say, "Play my song!" They have chips implanted in their heads with an unlimited database of the favorite tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar and all songs ever recorded, so feel free to be vague. They love the challenge. If they say they really don't remember that tune you want, they're only kidding. A few more hints:
  • Bands actually do know every song ever recorded, so keep humming.
  • Hum harder if need be... it helps jog their memory, or just repeat your request over and over again.
  • If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either forgot they know the tune or they are just putting you on.
  • Try singing a few words for the band. Any words will do.
  • It also helps to scream your request from across the room several times per set followed by the phrases, "AW COME ON!" and, "YOU SUCK!"
  • Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger up.
  • Put-downs are the best way to jog a band's memory. This instantly promotes you to the status of Personal Friend of the Band. You can bet your request will be the next song they play.
  • Entertainers are notorious fakers and jokesters and never really prepare for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive.
  • They don't actually make set lists or rehearse songs. They mostly just wait for you to yell something out, then fake it.
  • An entertainer's job is so easy, even a monkey could do it, so don't let them off the hook easily.
  • Your request is all that matters.
  • Once you've figured out what genre of music the band plays, please make your requests from a totally different genre. The more exaggerated the better. If it's a big band playing, yell for some Metallica or Slayer or Pantera. Likewise, if it's a Latin band, be sure to request Brown-eyed Girl or some Grateful Dead. Musicians need to constantly broaden their musical horizons, and it's your job to see that it happens... immediately.


The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way is at the middle of a song when several band members are singing at the same time. Their hearing is so advanced that they can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around them. And they can converse with you in sign language while singing the song, so don't worry that they're in the middle of the chorus. A few more tips:
  • Musicians are expert lip readers, too. If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, it's because they didn't get a good look at your mouth in order to read your lips. Simply continue to scream your request and be sure to over-emphasize the words with your lips. This helps immensely.
  • Don't be fooled. Singers have the innate ability to answer questions and sing at the same time. If the singer doesn't answer your questions immediately, regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it's because they are purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. They love this.
  • IMPORTANT: When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding their head securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an invitation to a friendly and playful game of tug of war between their head and your hands. Don't give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits. Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in the back, protected by the guitar players. Keyboard players are protected by their instrument, and only play the game when tricked into coming from behind their keyboards. Though difficult to get them to play, it's not impossible, so keep trying. They're especially vulnerable during the break between songs.

On Dec. 8, 2008 (the day of the Immaculate Conception, Rich, how about that, Rich, huh?) drummer Rich Young (he of the Camaros at the Gold Dust) writes:


The Lord is my drummer, I shall not rush,
He maketh me to layout in tasteful places,
He leadeth me beside cool meter changes,
He restoreth my "one."
Yeah, man, though I read through the trickiest of charts,
I will fear no train wrecks,
For You are with it.

Your ride and Your snare they comfort me,
You setteth up a solo for me
In the presence of mine guitarists,
You anointeth my lines with drive,
My groove overfloweth.

Surely good feel and swing will follow me
through all the tunes of each set,
And I will dwell in the pocket the whole gig long.

A trumpet player who prefers to remain nameless (we can see why -- at his age he ought to know better) whimpers:

Baby Boomer Song Titles
It was fun being a baby boomer... until now.
Artists of the 60's are revising their lyrics for aging baby boomers.

Herman's Hermits --- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker
Ringo Starr --- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends
The Bee Gees --- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?
Bobby Darin --- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash
Roberta Flack --- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face
Johnny Nash --- I Can't See Clearly Now!
Paul Simon --- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
The Commodores --- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom
Marvin Gaye --- Heard It Through the Grape Nuts
Procol Harem --- A Whiter Shade of Hair
Leo Sayer--- You Make Me Feel Like Napping
The Temptations --- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone
Abba --- Denture Queen!
Tony Orlando --- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall
Helen Reddy --- I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore!
Leslie Gore --- It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To!
And my favorite: Willie Nelson --- On the Commode Again

     Obsessed as we are with sex, everything becomes a metaphor for it. In music, playful songs about food (Frim Fram Sauce, I Want Some Seafood Mama, etc.), cars (Baby You Can Drive My Car, Mustang Sally, etc.), travel (Slow Boat to China, Fly Me to the Moon), and even colors (Blue Moon, Red Sails in the Sunset) are socially acceptable substitutes for unutterable primal urges. In our repression we delight in double entendres. We can chuckle knowingly without actually speaking forbidden words. Perhaps music itself is ultimately just a substitute for sexual pleasure. What does that say about the sex lives of us musicians?      Gillian McKeith...  food not sex

It's really a viola but we're pretending otherwise... we have a reputation to protect... Claire Callahan Goodman (yes, her) assails -- I mean regales -- us as follows...
"A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves."
-- Herbie Hancock
"To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse.
-- Jack Daney
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
-- Richard Strauss
"God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way."
-- Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player
"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music."
-- Jack Daney
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
-- Aldous Huxley
"In opera, there is always too much singing."
-- Claude Debussy
"Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!"
-- Gioacchino Rossini
"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself."
-- Igor Stravinsky
"Hell is full of musical amateurs."
-- George Bernard Shaw
"The drummer drives. Everybody else rides!"
-- Panama Francis
"Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."
-- Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet
"Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one."
-- Duke Ellington
"Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time."
-- Ornette Coleman
"We never play anything the same way once."
-- Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians
"Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't."
-- Al Cohn's definition of a gentleman
"Music is a very hard instrument."
-- Vido Musso
"The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'"
-- unknown, talking about the Don Ellis band
"If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton."
-- Chet Baker
"I'm too old to pimp and too young to die so I'm just gon' keep playin'."
-- Clark Terry
"Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already."
-- Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.
"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
-- Xavier Cugat
"Musicians talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."
-- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home
"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living."
-- Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer
"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet."
-- Nicolo Paganini
"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."
-- Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan
"If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation."
-- Oscar Wilde
"Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together."
-- Mel Brooks
"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years."
-- William F. Buckley, Jr.
"You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow."
-- Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
-- Mark Twain
"Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently."
-- James Gibbons Hunekar
"If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder."
-- Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland
"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major."
-- Sergei Prokofiev
"I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?"
-- Dimitri Mitropolous
"Already too loud!"
-- Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for their instruments
"I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere."
-- Frederic Chopin
"When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano."
-- Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller
"I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse."
-- Bing Crosby
"A ponderous orchestral absurdity."
-- Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic
"The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We contributed Louis Armstrong."
-- Tony Bennett


Alternate Titles for Tired Standards
  • An Ugly Way to Spend an Evening
  • Black Orifice
  • Body and Soil
  • Buddy and Saul
  • Bruised Thighs
  • Buy Me a Beer Mister Shane
  • Dental Pain (Gentle Rain)
  • Dingy 
  • Don't Get Much Anymore
  • Fry Me a Liver
  • The Furry with the Singe on Top
  • Honey Suck My Nose 
  • I Guess I'd Better Change My Pants 
  • I'm Dreaming of a White Mistress 
  • Isn't It Pedantic 
  • I Only Have Thighs for You
  • I've Thrown a Custard in Her Face 
  • Quaalude for a Kiss 
  • Medication 
  • No Butt for Me (But Not for Me) 
  • Quart-o-Vodka (Corcovado/Quiet Nights) 
  • Shriek of Agony, The (Sheik of Araby) 
  • Stand By the Fan (Tammy Wynette in hot weather)
  • TacoBell's Canon in D Minor 
  • There Never Will Be Another Ewe 
  • Three Little Turds 
  • Trashpants 
  • 'Twas on a Pile of Debris that I Found Her   
  • Two Sleazy People
  • What Are You Doing Molesting My Wife?    

    Some of these
    are "courtesy" of
    Peter Eden.
  • When I Fall in Mud 
  • When Sunny Sniffs Glue 
  • You'd Be So Nice to Come On To 
  • You'll Never Walk Again 
Then, of course, there are the alternate lyrics, e.g.
"The girl with colitis goes by."
(Actual lyric: The girl with kaleidoscope eyes. -- Beatles)
See Brain Candy

Bass saxophonist Hal Richards -- yes him, the guy who put the "ugh" in "ugly" -- thrusts upon us the following.

(CHAPTER VI, vs. 1-30)

  1. "And so the great Leader Nebulon did embark upon a search for suitable Sidemen for his orchestra, and he could find none; for in those days there were not many, and those he could find were already working.

  2. Some worked the Ark with the House of Noah, and some had the house gig at The Walls of Jericho. And many played behind the scat-singing team of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago.

  3. So Nebulon did return to the Lord and saith, "Lord, there are many musicians, but no Sidemen!", and he rent his clothing asunder.

  4. And the Lord did say, "Hast thou looked everywhere? Didst thou call the Union?"

  5. And Nebulon did say, "Lord, I have looked high and low, especially low; and only one or two could I find. What shall I do?"

  6. And the Lord did afflict Nebulon with boils, saying unto him, "Leave Me to think on this!"

  7. And just to buy some time he did also visit a plague of locusts upon Egypt.

  8. And the Lord did summon a league of Angels, and sent them forth over the land, commanding them to find Him some Sidemen.

  9. And the Angels did go to the four corners of the earth, but the only unemployed Sideman they could find was one holy man in India who did play the horn with the slide.

  10. So with great fear the Angels did return to the Lord with the bad news, and filled with wrath He said, "How can this be? At one time the world did teem with Sidemen, as dead oxen do with maggots!"

  11. And the Angels did say, "Lord, many left the business, many have become idiots, and some have even become Leaders, and no Leader will work for another Leader."

  12. So the Lord did cause drought for 40 days while He thought, and at last the answer came unto Him. He did recall that there was a factory, part of his Beasts Of The Field, Inc., division, that was in disuse.

  13. For it had earlier been used to create Golems, for which there had been no great demand, and so He had closed down the operation. And He thought, 'We can retool, and start turning out Sidemen.'

  14. And so it was done, and it came to pass that the Sidemen started rolling off the assembly line.

  15. But somehow a remnant of the Golem program remained, and the Sidemen did come out acting unpredictably.

  16. Some stammered and stuttered, some talked to themselves under their breath, and some would not bathe.

  17. Some refused to shave their beards or to have their hair shorn, and some refused to wear the Gigging Toga.

  18. And some wore the Toga, but left them crumpled in their chariots in between Gigs, or slept in them, or wore Togas from eons past with ruffles.

  19. And some did not believe in maps, and wandered the land aimlessly looking for the Gig, and some did not believe in the use of the hourglass, and arrived at the Gig whenever they chose.

  20. And some loved the wine of dates, and some loved the burning of hemp.

  21. And some were created without ears, and some with knuckles where their eyebrows should be.

  22. And some did worship the gods Mahavishnu, Sun Ra, Trane, Jaco, Ornette, Cecile, and did therefore mock their Leaders at will.

  23. And some did steal food from the buffet line, yea, even before the Guests had dined.

  24. And some did try to lay with the Chick Singers, and some with the Guests, and some with the Little Sisters of these, the Chick Singers and the Guests.

  25. And some did not Read, and some could only Read, but not Blow. And some could only Read one clef and not another. And some could only Blow in certain keys. And some did Blow the same notes no matter what the "Tune."

  26. And some had no social skills, and some had no musical skills. And many of them were Dark, not in pigmentation of the skin, but in the Outlook on Life.

  27. But every once in a while the line did miraculously produce a Perfect Sideman:
    • One who followed orders without question;
    • One who believed in the hourglass;
    • One who wore the Toga;
    • One whose chariot always ran;
    • One who Knew all "Tunes" in any key.

  28. But these Perfect Sidemen were few and far between, and besides their eyes were glazed, and they were shunned by the rest, for they were boring and knew not how to hang.

  29. And soon the land teemed with Sidemen milling about, looking for Gigs, complaining and whining and arguing and occasionally stabbing each other in the back.

  30. And the Lord looked down upon his work, and said, "It will do." This is the word of the Lord. Amen, and amen.
    Announcements: Union prayer meetings - Sundays, 6:00-6:01 am, Union Office. Call early to reserve either chair.

Feigning sympathy for benighted sidemen, Maye Cavallaro subjects us to...

Click to to The Gig.

Yeah, Maye, been there, done that.

Dear Abby,

I think my wife is cheating on me.

I am a working musician and, as you would expect, travel a lot. I have been noticing strange things happening when I get home. Her mobile phone rings and she steps outside to answer it or she says, "I'll call you back later". When I ask her who called she gets evasive. Sometimes she goes out with friends but comes home late, getting dropped off around the corner and walking the rest of the way. I once picked up the extension while she was on the phone and she got very angry.

A buddy of mine plays guitar in a band. He told me that my wife and some guy have been to his gigs. He wanted to borrow my guitar amp. That's when I got the idea to find out for myself what was really happening. I said, "Sure, you can use my amp but I want to hide behind it at the gig and see if she comes into the venue and who she comes in with." He agreed.

Saturday night came and I slipped behind my Marshall JCM800 half stack to get a good view. I could feel the heat coming off the back of the amp. It was at that moment, crouching down behind the amp, that I noticed that one of the tubes was not glowing as brightly as the other three. Is this something I can fix myself or do I need to take it to a technician?

Very Concerned

We were subjected to this one by Seth Augustus Quittner
who got it from Spider Robinson who got it from Rob Bailey.
Hey, guys, was it worth the trouble?

My peeve-of-the-month?
A singer disease: Pathological vibrato.

YOU know what I'm warbling about.

Claire Callahan, a violist (doesn't that say it all?) thrusts upon us the following...

An anthropologist decides to investigate the natives of a far-flung tropical island. He flew there, found a guide with a canoe to take him up the river to the remote site where he would make his collections. About noon on the second day of travel up the river they began to hear drums. Being a city boy by nature, the anthropologist was disturbed by this. He asked the guide, "What are those drums?" The guide turned to him and said "Drums OK, but VERY BAD when they stop."

Then, after some hours, the drums suddenly stopped! This hit the anthropologist like a ton of bricks, and he yelled at the guide, "The drums have stopped, what happens now?"

The guide crouched down, covered his head with his hands and said, "Bass solo".

Drummer Bruce Felter thinks this is funny.

There's this band, and the drummer in this band always drags. The band leader is always on him to pick it up, and get on top of the beat. It never happens, so the band leader has no choice but to fire him. The drummer is so distraught that he goes down to the railway and throws himself behind a train.

Never one to fret over such frivolities as taste or subtlety, Cheri Howard (who is in fact a school teacher) subjects us to these...

Actual answers from students on music exams

The principal singer of nineteenth century opera was called pre-Madonna.

Gregorian chant has no music, just singers singing the same lines.

Sherbet composed the Unfinished Symphony.

All female parts were sung by castrati. We don't know exactly what they sounded like because there are no known descendants.

Young scholars have expressed their rapture for the Bronze Lullaby, the Taco Bell Cannon, Beethoven's Erotica, Tchaikovsky Cracknutter Suite, and Gershwin's Rap City in Blue.

Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel; if they sing without music it is called Acapulco.

A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.

Click to enlarge Contralto is a low sort of music that only ladies sing.

Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

A harp is a nude piano.

Refrain means don't do it. A refrain in music is the part you'd better not try to sing.

I know what a sextet is but I'd rather not say.

My favorite composer was Opus. Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic.

Rock Monanoff was a famous post-romantic composer of piano concerti.

Peter Eden (yes, him again) confesses on my behalf. Thanks a lot, Peter, I'll do my own confessions if you don't mind.

Hi, my name is Dan, and I am a sideman.

I am sending this because at some point in my musical life I had the opportunity to perform with you.

Since that time, I have joined Sidemen Anonymous. This 12-step program helps reforming sidemen deal with their multiple addictions, for example, making disparaging remarks about the talent of the singer, laughing about the singer's inability to sing in time or in tune, and insulting the singer's sad social life...

Part of this 12-step program is admitting to and apologizing for past bad behavior and promising to avoid that behavior in the future. Therefore, I would like you to forgive me for the following:

  1. Calling you a no-talent bum behind your back.
  2. Snickering about your inability to count and rolling my eyes at the pianist on every missed entrance.
  3. Playing musical jokes then laughing with the other sidemen when you don't notice.
  4. Ending every song in an entire gig (including ballads) with the "Blackbird ending".

I promise to make an effort, one day at a time, to refrain from being caustic and cynical about the people that I play with. I promise not to say that with my talent I should be playing with Wayne Shorter not some no-talent lounge singer.

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, (like your inability to sing), courage to change the things we can (I could just try to find other gigs) and the wisdom to know the difference. (Guess I'll just keep playing with you until Wayne calls me to join his tour.)"

Hi, my name is Peter and I am a violist.... But that's the subject of another letter.


Name this tune...

So whaddya think of these?!! Keep Dramamine handy.

Taking no chances of being accused of good taste, Rich Young subjects us to yet another...
Ted Nugent, a heavy metal guitar legend and devoted (bow) hunter, was being interviewed by a French journalist. Eventually, the conversation turned to his love of outdoor pursuits. The journalist asked, "What do you think the last thought is in the head of a deer before you shoot it? Is it, "Are you my friend?" or maybe "Are you the one who killed my brother?"

Nugent replied, "They aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, What am I going to eat next? Who am I going to screw next? and, Can I run fast enough to get away? They are very much like the French in that."

Hasn't everyone already heard this one? Not resting on his laurels (is that what you call them?) he proceeds to the following...
A man walks into a bar with a paper bag.

He sits down and places the bag on the counter.

The bartender asks what's in the bag.

The man reaches into the bag and pulls out a little man, about one foot high and sets him on the counter. He reaches back into the bag and pulls out a small piano and sets it on the counter. He reaches into the bag again and pulls out a tiny piano bench, which he places in front of the piano.

The little man sits down at the piano, and starts playing a beautiful piece by Mozart!

"Where on earth did you get that?" says the bartender.

The man responds by reaching into the paper bag.

This time he pulls out a magic lamp. He hands it to the bartender and says: "Here. Rub it."

So the bartender rubs the lamp, and suddenly there's a gust of smoke and a genie is standing before him. "I will grant you one wish. Just one wish... each person is only allowed one!"

The bartender gets real excited. Without hesitating he says, "I want a million bucks!" A few moments later, a duck walks into the bar. It is soon followed by another duck, then another. Before long, the entire bar is filled with ducks and they keep coming!

The bartender turns to the man and says, "Y'know, I think your genie's a little deaf. I asked for a million bucks, not a million ducks."

"Tell me about it!!" says the man, "do you really think I asked for a 12-inch pianist?"

Then there's...
A group of terrorists hijacked a plane full of bassoonists. They called down to ground control with the list of their demands and threatened that if their demands weren't met, they would release one bassoonist every hour.
Q: What is the main requirement at the International Viola Competition?
A: Hold the viola from memory

Q: What's the difference between a banjo and an onion?
A: Nobody cries when you chop up a banjo.

Q: What's the difference between a jet airplane and a trumpet?
A: About three decibels.

Q: What is another term for trombone?
A: A wind driven, manually operated, pitch approximator.

Q: What's the difference between a SCUD missile and a bad oboist?
A: A bad oboist can kill you.

Q: Why do clarinetists leave their cases on the dashboard?
A: So they can park in the handicapped zones.

Q: What's the difference between an opera singer and a pit bull?
A: Lipstick.

Q: Why do people play trombone?
A: Because they can't move their fingers and read music at the same time.

Q: How do you keep your violin from being stolen?
A: Put it in a viola case.

Q: What's the difference between a saxophone and a chainsaw?
A: You can tune a chainsaw.

Q: What do a viola and a lawsuit have in common?
A: Everyone is relieved when the case is closed.

Q: Why are harps like elderly parents?
A: Both are unforgiving and hard to get into and out of cars.

Q: How many trumpet players does it take to pave a driveway?
A: Seven - if you lay them out correctly.

Q: What's the difference between an oboe and a bassoon?
A: You can hit a baseball further with a bassoon.

Q: How are a banjo player and a blind javelin thrower alike?
A: Both command immediate attention and alarm, and force everyone to move out of range.

Q: What's the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and a baby elephant?
A: Eleven pounds.

Q: What's the difference between alto clef and Greek?
A: Some conductors actually read Greek.

Relative minor: A guitarist's girlfriend.

Vibrato: Used by singers to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch.

Did you hear about the Tenor who was so arrogant the other Tenors noticed?

Q: How do you get two bass players to play in unison?
A: Hand them charts a half-step apart.

Q: What's the difference between a dead chicken in the road, and a dead trombonist in the road?
A: There's a remote chance the chicken was on its way to a gig.

Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?
A: A singer.

Q: Why can't voice majors have colostomies?
A: Because they can't find shoes to match the bag.

Q: What do you do if you see a bleeding drummer running around in your back yard?
A: Stop laughing and shoot again.

Q: How many 2nd violinists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, they can't get up that high !!!!!!

Soprano Solfege: do, re, mi, me, Me, Not You, ME!!

Q: What's the perfect weight of a conductor?
A: Three and one-half pounds, including the urn.

Q: What do all great conductors have in common?
A: They're all dead.

Q: What's the definition of optimism?
A: A bass trombonist with a beeper.

Q: What do you do if you run over a bass player?
A: Back up.

Q: How do you reduce wind-drag on a trombonist's car?
A: Take the Domino's Pizza sign off the roof.

Q: How do you get a clarinetist out of a tree?
A: Cut the noose.

Q: What do you throw a drowning bass player?
A: His amp.

Q: How do you get a three piece horn section to play in tune?
A: Shoot two of them.

Q: How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: None, they have machines for that now.

Q: How do you get a trombonist off of your porch?
A: Pay him for the pizza.

Q: What's the last thing a drummer says before he gets kicked out of a band?
A: "When do we get to play MY songs?"

Q: What's the difference between a tuba and a vacuum cleaner?
A: You have to turn one of them on before it sucks.

Q: What do you call a musician with a college degree?
A: Night manager at McDonalds

Q: Why are violas larger than violins?
A: They aren't. Violists heads are smaller.

Q: How are trumpet players like pirates?
A: They're both murder on the high Cs.

A jazz pianist dies and finds himself in heaven. He runs into an old friend and says, "Bob, you made it too, that's great."
"Yeah, turns out God's a big jazz fan. All of the cats are here, and every day is a non-stop jam session with a never-ending supply of wine, women and food. There's just one drawback."
"What's that?"
"Well, God has a girlfriend, and she's a singer."

But he doesn't stop there, oh no...
Evidently trombonists are an endangered species; no one will reproduce with them.

The Star Spangled Banner
from the Percussionist's Perspective
Oh, say can you BOOM, CRASH By the dawn's early BOOM, CRASH What so proudly we BOOM, CRASH At the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright BOOM,CRASH Through the perilous BOOM, CRASH O'er the ramparts we BOOM, CRASH Were so gallantly streaming? 3 & 1...2...3... 2...2...3... 3...2...3... 4...2...3... 5...2...3... 6...2...3... 7...2...3... 8...2...Oh, BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOOOOMMMM; BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOOOOMMMM; BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

John Calloway has yet to learn his lesson... Defying all wisdom, he writes:
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:50:46 -0700
Subject: Re: [jazzcamp] Three notes walk into a bar...
From: John Calloway
To: Dan Keller

Oh yes! And I went, Oh no, when I saw the joke there. I shall be humbled. J.

Yeah, sure, John, humble, uh huh.
OK, email slap me if you already have seen this one a thousand times. It's my first! Peace... John C.

Three notes walk into a bar...

A C, an E-flat, and a G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve minors." So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat.

An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second."

Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.

Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says, "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development."

This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au natural.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest.

The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

The bartender decides, however, that since he's only had tenors as patrons, and the soprano is out in the bathroom, everything has become altoo much treble; he needs a rest, and closes the bar.

Bill Turlock, who ought to know better, sent us these...

What do you get when you play New Age music backwards?

New Age music.
What's the least-used sentence in the English language?
"Isn't that the banjo player's Porsche?"
Why do bagpipe players walk while they play?
To get away from the noise.
What's a bassoon good for?
Kindling for an accordion fire.
What's the definition of a male quartet?
Three men and a tenor.

On Fri, 21 Nov 2003 07:38:06 -0800, a nameless but extraordinarily handsome fellow who prefers to remain anonymous (gosh, why? we ask ourselves) writes:

Believe me, chicks dig this stuff.

1. "What's your sign?"
2. "Pardon me, I seem to have lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?"
3. "You must be a broom because you're sweeping me off my feet."
4. "Do you have a license? Because you're driving me crazy."
5. "I gotta thirst and baby, you look like my Gatorade."
6. "Are you lost? Because heaven's a long way from here."
7. "Are you religious? Because you're the answer to all my prayers."
8. "Can I take your picture? I want Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas."
9. "Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?"
10. "Well, here I am. What are your other two wishes?"

But what does this have to do with musicians?
Oops, dumb question.

Sally Nielsen (she of the San Francisco Bach Choir) subjects us to this one...

C, E-flat and G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're a minor and the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suite with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental. The judge rules that all contrary motions are bassless.

Conductors' Motivational Words

Courtesy of the, um, irrepressable Phil Glatz.
  • "Please don't use the depth-charge pizzicato."
  • "Pianissimo doesn't mean 'Drop the f*** out.'"
  • "Listen to the tune, and then accompany it in a non-disgraceful fashion."
  • "Let's see if you can pizzicato together in a non-banjo-like way."
  • "It's very hard to raise money for something that sounds like this does."
  • "You know, there's a fine line between artistry and s***. Not that what you're doing is s***, but it's close to it"
  • "Imagine you're getting enough money for what you do."
  • "Not so bright. It sounds like 'Orpheus in His Underwear.'"
  • "Play short, especially if you don't know where you are."
  • "That was a drive-by viola solo."
  • "Horns, imagine that you've had a really ugly breakfast and it's about to come up."
  • "There is a lot of fishing for notes. I wish you would catch some."
  • "Strings, I know what you're thinking: 'With all this racket going on, why am I playing?' Well, sorry, there's no time for existential questions right now."
  • "The place where you will be shot if you come in early is the bar before 26."
  • "You're all wondering what speed it's going to go. Well, so am I."
  • "Play as if you were musicians."
And more from Phil...

Q: What is more romantic than roses on a piano?
A: Tulips on an organ.

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties. She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all. One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea.

As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a cut-glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated, of all things, a condom! When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat.

The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist. "Miss Beatrice," he said, "I wonder if you would tell me about this?" pointing to the bowl.

"Oh, yes," she replied, "Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the Park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease."

            Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007
            From: Phil Glatz
            To: Dan Keller
            Subject: Re: more organ jokes

            Dan Keller wrote:
            > Ok, thanks.
            > I have added them to the musician jokes site...
            > Your immortality grows.

            more like immorality

Q: How many players of a certain instrument does it take to perform a particular rudimentary musical activity?

A: A finite positive integer. One to perform the activity, and the rest to exhibit a crude behavior related to some characteristic of the instrument.

But it's not funny anymore.

Karen Carpenter Jerry Garcia awoke in a fabulously-equipped recording studio, surrounded by instruments.

Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman were tuning their guitars. John Lennon was seated at the piano.

Janis Joplin and Buddy Holly were warming up.

As he plugged into his amp, an awestruck Garcia murmured, "Wow! There really is a rock 'n' roll heaven!"

Elvis Presley said to him, "Heaven?" just as Karen Carpenter sat down at the drums and said, "Okay, people. 'Close To You' in E-flat. One, two, three, four..."

On Jan. 4, 2005, drummer Rich Young (Hey Rich, give it a rest, huh?) writes: "This comes from my buddy Jimmy O'Donnell, great guitarist in NYC. Happy musical New Year to you all!!"

Yeah, Rich. Uh huh, Rich.

Jazz Math by Bill Anschell

  1. If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp.

  2. # (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed).

  3. 4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + (4.667) + 4 + (x, where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading with drummer.

  4. (2 + 5 + 1) x (# of freshman college jazz students, internationally) = annual income of Jamie Aebersold, in dollars.

  5. Infinity = (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) + (3 + 6 + 2 + 5) ...

  6. 5/4 + 7/4 + 11/4 = drummer's gig

  7. If (# of drinks consumed, per musician) > (# of drinks comped by club), then unrest will prevail unless (cost per drink) < 1/20 (pay for gig).

  8. 1 uptempo tune +1 rushing drummer + x (double lattes) = x (fights among horn players to solo first)

  9. 1 ballad + 1 dragging drummer + x (Percocets) = >1 cleared house, where x is proportional to the speed at which the room empties.

  10. 2 (diddles) = paradiddle

  11. Jam session + eighth-note rest = missed opportunity.

  12. Jam session + (quarter-note rest or greater) = band on break.

  13. {(New + York) squared - (NewNew + Yorkyork + Yorknew) + New York + 2 (Ride + Sally) - Sally} divided by (less than five seconds) = medley from hell

  14. (1/vocalist's experience in years) x (# of beats per measure) x 32 = # of unintended modulations + skipped beats, per chorus.

  15. If x = piano's deviance from being in tune, y = volume level of drummer, z = length of gig, and d = number of drinks consumed by pianist on break, then (d ) (xyz /pay of the gig, in dollars), predicts the probability of pianist urinating in his instrument.

  16. "Vow of Poverty" theorem: If # people in audience < # of musicians on bandstand, then pay per musician < one individual cover charge.

  17. "Bass" theorem: A musician's IQ is inversely proportional to the size of his/her instrument, and directly related to the register of the instrument.

  18. "Rule of One" theorem: (Universe of jazz vocalists) v (# of jazz vocalists who sing "Summertime") = 1 = rank of "Summertime" among tunes most despised by instrumentalists.

  19. "Devil's Music" theorem: Smooth Jazz = square root of all evil.

  20. "Two Americas" Buffet theorem: Fresh salmon/flaccid spanakopita + prime rib/limp eggrolls + jumbo shrimp/soggy chicken fingers = high society gig/Elks Club gig

  21. How much should a gig pay, based on the following conditions: drive 90 miles outside of town through pouring rain; set up two hours in advance; load in through slimy kitchen accessed by treacherous outdoor staircase; and play four hours of continuous crappy dance favorites for drunk rich people?

    Would you take it for 1/2 that much? (If yes): Desperation/pride > 1

    After you bid on the above gig for 1/3 your worth, a college student offers to play the same gig for 1/2 as much. You are 12 times as good as him, but 1/2 as good-looking. The client has a tin ear. Who will get the job? Why do you bother practicing?

  22. If a trumpet player counts off a tune in 4/4 at mm = 180, and the drummer slows it down at a constant rate of deceleration over 8 measures to mm = 150, does the pianist still suck?

  23. If a bassist plays a root, a pianist superimposes a major seventh chord built on the fifth, and a saxophonist plays the 13th, will attractive women notice? Will the drummer?

  24. If a successful attorney earns 3x as much as a successful musician, but the musician believes his work is 4x as fulfilling, who actually has larger genitalia?

  25. Your trio is set up in a perfect equilateral triangle. A singer sets up exactly in the middle. Will the three of you be divided against the singer, or against one another?

  26. If (% of Americans who like jazz) (% of Americans who like chainsaw sculptures), what is America's most important indigenous art form?

And yet another "duly noted" variation on the notes-go-into-a-bar... sigh...

In an attempt at self-defense, Rich says:

You can blame it on Dale Ockerman, former Doobie Brothers keyboard guy for the better part of a decade.
Hrrumph. We'll blame it on him for as long as we like, thanks very much.
C, E-flat and G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. The bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're a minor and the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental. The judge rules that all contrary motions are bassless.

Yet another screed from Rich...
Subject: FW: New translation found!!
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006

(A newly discovered translation from the original Sumerian Gig Book)

  1. And so it came to pass, during one evening's performance, that the Sidemen were assailed by Doubts, and Darkness descended upon the Bandstand.

  2. And the Leader turned to his quaking flock, saying "My children, why do you doubt me? Have I not led you through the Valley of the Loading Dock to the Great Land of Long Breaks, Hot Meals, and Overtime? Have I not banished the dreaded Macarena from the Set List, and allowed thee to blow on selected numbers? Do we not play the Correct Changes on the Bridge of Girl From Ipanema, and do we not play Motown selections at the proper Tempi? And do I not pay you all equitably, neither overpaying the Chick Singers nor underpaying the Horn Players? And are there not Charts for the Horns, so that thou needst not Fake Parts?

  3. So why dost thou protest when I call The Willie Nelson Song, or The Jackson 5 Ballad? Are they not preferable to Achey Breaky Heart or anything by Celine Dion? Wouldst thou rather suffer Flung Beverage Containers or Scowls and Hectoring by the Aunts and Uncles?"

  4. And the Sidemen answered him, "But Father, we look out into the Dance Floor, and we see The Maelstrom; We fear the Young Ones with Pierced Body Parts, as well as the Ancient Ones with Canes and Walkers; Also do we fear the Bridesmaids with the Large Hair, and the Groomsmen with Cigars and dishevelled Tuxedos; Also do we fear the Relatives from the Great Southwest, as well as those from California, and from New York; Also do we regard with Fear and Loathing the Party Planner, and the Room Captain; But mostly do we fear the Bride, and Her Mother, who ruleth the Earth, yea, even above you, our Leader."

  5. And the Leader looked and saw that this was true. And he took his Book, and he flung it down into the Buffet Heaters; And he took his Microphone stand, and he broke it over his knee; And he took his Red Bow Tie, and he rent it asunder.

  6. And the Leader turned to the Party Planner, and he said, "Now you have no power over me, Minion of Evil." And he turned to the Room Captain, and he said, "I will leave by the Lobby Entrance". Next he turned to the Bride, and he said "Take thy Whitney Houston CD and place it upon your person where thy Groom may find it during the first night of your Honeymoon". And the Leader spoke unto the Bride's Mother, saying "Thy Daughter is a Spoiled, Bratty Turd. May it come to pass that she will divorce her Callow Husband and return to live with thee, along with her three screaming children for the rest of thy Natural Life".

  7. And finally the Leader spoke unto the Saxophonist, saying "The band is yours, Zoot."

  8. Then the Leader went to his home where he slept deeply and soundly. The next day he awoke smiling, and began Making Calls to find work as a Sideman.

From: "Fred Weed"
To: "Dan Keller"
Subject: Yet another viola joke

Q: What's the difference between a viola player and a prostitute?

A: The prostitute knows more positions!


Happy New Year!


Phil Glatz From: Phil Glatz

A B-flat, a D-flat, and an F walk into a bar.

The bartender says to them, "I'm sorry; we don't serve minors."

The D-flat leaves and the B-flat and the F have an open fifth between them.

From: Phil Glatz

The Long Beach band was doing its best, when someone called the piccolo player a bastard. The leader's baton beat a tattoo on his music stand and the players became silent. He turned to the audience. "Who called my piccolo player a bastard?" he demanded. A voice in the rear of the crowd yelled back: "Who called that bastard a piccolo player?"

Melissa Collard adds the following. And we used to think she was such a nice girl.
Melissa Collard But wait, there's more...

The very next day, a C, an E-flat, and a G-flat walked into the very same bar, and their minor problem had diminished.

But, what happened to the booze?

It went flat!

Later their drinking privileges were suspended.

From "Hollywood Squares"
Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: "If you hold their little heads under water long enough."
Attempting to defend herself, hapless Melissa writes...
From: Melissa Collard
Subject: Re: Use a Bone, Go To Jail
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006
To: Dan Keller

Hi Dan,
Well yes, I guess "funny" was too strong a word. But then it was made by a trombonist. Paul Lynde is always wicked funny.


Linda Wiggins observed that David Koresh was not the first guitar player who thought he was God. Herb Caen (when he was still living and writing, of course) liked that and printed it and gave her credit. And she plays piano, too!

Christina cranks out yet another one... And we do mean crank.
To: JazzCampWest Yahoo Group
From: Christina de Souza
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 17:16:53 -0700 (PDT)


The engineer of a train passing through Poland could see no lights because the power had been knocked out. "We're running out of coal," he said to his fireman, "but I think we're coming to Gdansk or Danzig, or whatever they call it. Let's stop and send the porter out to buy fuel. Can you see the sign on the depot?"

The fireman replied, "It appears to be Danzig in the dark."

And the engineer shouted, "Buy coal, Porter!"

Melissa passes along this one, from Paul Edgerton (reeds). Ok, we get the idea.
Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra on jazz
Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?

Yogi Berra: I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, it's right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong.

I: I don't understand.

Y: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it.

I: Do you understand it?

Y: No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn't know anything about it.

I: Are there any great jazz players alive today?

Y: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it.

I: What is syncopation?

Y: That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds.

I: Now I really don't understand.

Y: I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

Persisting in depravity, Melissa subjects us to the following...
From: "Robert S. Ringwald"
Subject: audition tape for Mel's show
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 13:13:52 -0800

   As most of you know, Gary Church is working with the C&W singer, Mel Tillis. Attached is an audition tape that someone sent to Mel.
-- Bob Ringwald      

Thought you'd like to hear this audition tape that was sent to Tillis. He only shares the really good ones with the band! This guy was born to sing with the Boondockers.

Oh Holy Night... sort of.

Yet more from Cheri Howard... does she never give up?
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 18:31:24 EDT
Subject: Fwd: Fw: FW: Sacaphone Playing

Hi guy,

A) Hope this gets to you

B) Hope you find it amusing

Till whenever,
How To Play The Saxophone

First things first: If you're a white guy, you'll need a stupid hat, the more stupid the better and preferably a beret. Sunglasses are optional, but all the really, really good players wear them, especially indoors.

You'll also need some "gig shirts"-Hawaiians are good, but in a pinch anything with a loud floral pattern is acceptable, as are T-shirts from various jazz clubs and festivals. The good thing about the latter is that you can get them mail order so you don't have to go to all the trouble of actually seeing and hearing live music. And sandals are an absolute must, even in winter.

Once you've assembled the proper attire you can begin practicing. One of the most important things about playing is being able to convey emotion to the audience. This you do through various facial expressions.

The two emotions you'll need to convey are (1) rapture / ecstasy and (2) soul wrenching pain and sadness (i.e., the blues). You may find it useful in the beginning to borrow a page from the method acting school. So, for example, to convey rapture, try thinking of something nice-like puppy dogs or getting a rim job from Uma Thurman while Phil Barone feeds you Armour hot dogs with truffle sauce.

To convey the "blues" try thinking of something really appalling-like ulcerative colitis or Alec Baldwin. You should practice your facial expressions in front of a mirror at least two hours per day. You may feel a tad stupid at first, but you'll never get the chicks if you don't jump around on stage like a monkey-with your face screwed up like there's a rabid wolverine devouring your pancreas. And, bottom line, getting chicks is really what music's all about.

Next, you'll need the correct ligature.

Some people think that the ligature is just a stupid old piece of metal that holds the reed on the mouthpiece. Well, those people are idiots. Besides your beret, the ligature is the single most important piece of musical equipment you will ever buy.

Mine, for example, is 40% platinum and 60% titanium; one screw is rubidium and the other plutonium. It makes me sound exactly like Booker Ervin would if Booker Ervin wasn't (1) dead and/or (2) living on Mars.

You may have to spend years and years and thousands of dollars finding the proper ligature, but in the end it definitely will be worth it.

Now reeds. Optimally, you'll want to move to Cuba, grow and cure your own cane, and carve your own reeds by hand. If you're just a "weekend warrior" however, you can get by with store-bought.

  • First, buy ten boxes of reeds -- 100 in all.
  • Next, open all the boxes and throw away 60 reeds. Those were unplayable.
  • Take the remaining reeds and soak them in a mixture of 27.8% rubbing alcohol and 72.2% pituitary gland extract for a period of 17 weeks.
  • Throw away 20 more reeds. Those were stuffy.
  • Take the remaining 20 reeds and sand each one for exactly 13 seconds with #1200 grade 3M sandpaper.
  • Throw away 14 reeds. Those squeaked.
  • Take the remaining 6 reeds and soak them for another 17 weeks, this time however in a mixture of 27.8% pituitary gland extract and 72.2% rubbing alcohol.
  • Sun dry the 6 remaining reeds for 3 weeks, optimally at an equatorial latitude, and throw away 3 more just on general principles.
  • You now have 3 reeds that will last you several months if you play each one only 20 minutes a day in strict rotation.

Now, you say you just bought a horn. Although you didn't say what kind it is I'd sell it immediately and get a different one. The best one to get would be a Selmer Mark VI made at 4:27 PM on June 14, 1963, serial number 635543.

If you can't get that one though, generally speaking the older and more expensive the better.

The following brands are good: Selmer Paris Mark VI.

The following brands suck: any other Selmer, Yamaha, Conn, Beuscher, Yanigasawa, Cannonball, LA, Jupiter, Elkhart, King, Martin, Keilworth, Boosey and Hawkes, Couf, Silvertone, and Holton. On no account should you play the horn before you buy it: go strictly on reputation and price.

You will also need some accouterments: a flight case capable of withstanding atmospheric pressure of dP = - Dg dz [where D and g are, respectively, the density of air and the acceleration due to gravity at the altitude of the air layer and dz is a horizontal layer of air having unit surface area and infinitesimal thickness]; a metronome; a tuner; a combination alto-tenor-baritone sax stand with pegs for an oboe, bass clarinet, flute, English horn and bassoon; Band in a Box; every Jamie Abersold play-along record ever created; a reed cutter; swabs, cleaners, pad savers, pad dope, pad clamps; a Sennheiser Digital 1092 Wireless Microphone; an effects rig with digital delay and parametric EQ; and a 200 watt (per channel, minimum) amplifier and 18" monitor.

It will be helpful if you listen to lots of sax players. Unfortunately, listening solely to players you like is absolutely the worst thing you can do. To really understand the music and its traditions you have to go back to the beginning and listen to every bit of music ever recorded. I'd start with madrigals and work forward. Once you get to the 20th century, pay particular attention to players like Jimmy Dorsey, Sidney Bechet, and Al Gallodoro who are the foundations of the modern jazz saxophone.

In no time at all, or by 2034-whichever comes first-you'll be able to understand the unique bebop stylings of players like Ace Cannon, Boots Randolph, and Sam Butera.

Finally, to play the sax itself, blow in the small end and move your fingers around ... as quickly as possible.

All right, all right, let's be fair and beat up on bass players, too. This one's from Peter MacDonough. Sheesh.
Pete MacDonough
Yah, yah, pick on the bass players, we're strong, we can handle it.

The nugget of truth in this apocryphum is the comment about
God's wrath being inflicted in the form of the soprano saxophone.

Now THERE'S a pestilence of Biblical proportion.

Hmph! ((:-)))

Dan Keller

At 10:13 AM 7/26/2003 -0700, Peter MacDonough wrote:
The Life and Art of Bass Playing
by Tony Levin

In the beginning there was a bass. It was a Fender, probably a Precision, but it could have been a Jazz - nobody knows. Anyway, it was very old ... Definitely pre-C.B.S.

And God looked down upon it and saw that it was good. He saw that it was very good in fact, and couldn't be improved on at all (though men would later try). And so He let it be and He created a man to play the bass.

And lo the man looked upon the bass, which was a beautiful 'sunburst' red, and he loved it. He played upon the open E string and the note rang through the earth and reverberated throughout the firmaments (thus reverb came to be.) And it was good.

And God heard that it was good and He smiled at His handiwork.

Then in the course of time, the man came to slap upon the bass. And lo it was funky.

And God heard this funkiness and He said, "Go man, go." And it was good.

And more time passed, and, having little else to do, the man came to practice upon the bass. And lo, the man came to have upon him a great set of chops. Andhe did play faster and faster until the notes rippled like a breeze through the heavens.

And God heard this sound which sounded something like the wind, which He had created earlier. It also sounded something like the movement of furniture, which He hadn't even created yet, and He was not so pleased. And He spoke to the man, saying "Don't do that!"

Now the man heard the voice of God, but he was so excited about his new ability that he slapped upon the bass a blizzard of funky notes. And the heavens shook with the sound, and the Angels ran about in confusion. (Some of the Angels started to dance, but that's another story.)

And God heard this - how could He miss it - and lo He became Bugged. And He spoke to the man, and He said, "Listen man, if I wanted Jimi Hendrix I would have created the guitar. Stick to the bass parts."

And the man heard the voice of God, and he knew not to mess with it. But now he had upon him a passion for playing fast and high. The man took the frets off of the bass which God had created. And the man did slide his fingers upon the fretless fingerboard and play melodies high upon the neck. And, in his excitement, the man did forget the commandment of the Lord, and he played a frenzy of high melodies and blindingly fast licks. And the heavens rocked with the assault and the earth shook, rattled and rolled.

Now God's wrath was great. And His voice was thunder as He spoke to the man.

And He said, "O.K. for you, pal. You have not heeded My word. Lo, I shall create a soprano saxophone and it shall play higher than you can even think of."

"And from out of the chaos I shall bring forth the drums. And they shall play so many notes thine head shall ache, and I shall make you to always stand next to the drummer."

"You think you're loud? I shall create a stack of Marshall guitar amps to make thine ears bleed. And I shall send down upon the earth other instruments, and lo, they shall all be able to play higher and faster than the bass."

"And for all the days of man, your curse shall be this; that all the other musicians shall look to you, the bass player, for the low notes. And if you play too high or fast all the other musicians shall say "Wow" but really they shall hate it. And they shall tell you you're ready for your solo career, and find other bass players for their bands. And for all your days if you want to play your fancy licks you shall have to sneak them in like a thief in the night."

"And if you finally do get to play a solo, everyone shall leave the bandstand and go to the bar for a drink."

And it was so.

Clave Police Exposed!
        Courtesy of Professor John Calloway.
Excerpted from the JazzCampWest list server.
Click here to join.
John Calloway The Clave Police started as an informal watchdog group by Mike Spiro in the late 1980s and early 90s that initially attempted to correct and/or align all forms of "crossed clave" playing, be it in parts, melodies, solos and arrangements. They have, however, gotten quite out of hand and caused much fear amongst even the most experienced players, as they seem to show up out of nowhere to try and intimidate people into playing "on clave," even in those styles that are not based on Afro-Cuban music, like Country, R&B, and Classical music. Further, they have become somewhat of a clandestine group, without the identifying hats and shirts. They were most recently seen at Jazzcamp West, showing up out of nowhere during combo rehearsals, in dark shades, almost CIA in nature, proclaiming the music or phrases were out of clave, actually pulling people out of rehearsals to "counsel them" about correct clave playing.

Folks this is serious, and most of you have not yet even seen the East Coast "Rumbero" SIV (Special Investigative Units) for severe cases of clave mismanagement, that bust even the professionals at Afro-Cuban rumbas and jam sessions.

Their opening line to clave offenders is usually, "Step away from the drum."

I will do my best to identify them when I am out there, but beware, some of them (us) are double agents!

J.C. for JCW (for a Just Clave World)

Clave Police Community Outreach

Continuing their traditional role in our community
"To Serve and Protect," the Clave Police here gently
demonstrate to a grateful citizen the correct technique
for distinguishing the two side from the three side
of the clave rhythm.

For these you can thank Fred Weed... Yeah, thanks a whole bunch, Fred.
Q: How many vibraphone players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: What's a vibraphone player?

They teased the poor viola player, saying "you can't even play sixteenth notes!". So she played one.

Q: How many saxophone players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, but he must go through an entire box before he finds one he likes.

Q: What's the difference between a baby and an opera director?
A: A baby sucks his fingers.

Q: Did you hear about the two trombone players who walked past a bar?

Q: What's the difference between a soprano and a Porsche?
A: Most musicians have never been in a Porsche.

Oboe : An ill wind that nobody blows any good.

Q: What's an alto?
A: A soprano who can read music.

Q: What's the difference between an alto and a tenor?
A: Altos have more hair on their backs.

A geek is someone who owns an Eb clarinet.

See also this collection of choral jokes... (You want even more punishment?? ;-)

From Phil Glatz... does he never give up?

Musical Terms

Adagio Formaggio: To play in a slow and cheesy manner.

AnDante: A musical composition that is infernally slow.

Angus Dei: To play with a divine, beefy tone.

Anti-phonal: Referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall.

A Patella: Unaccompanied knee-slapping.

Appologgiatura: A composition, solo or instrument you regret playing.

Approximatura: A series of notes played by a performer, not intended by the composer.

Approximento: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch.

Bar Line: What musicians form after a concert.

Concerto Grossissimo: A really bad performance.

Coral Symphony: (see Beethoven-Caribbean period).

Cornetti Trombosis Disastrous: entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians exit hastily down the stage stairs.

Dill Piccolino: A wind instrument that plays only sour notes.

Fermantra: A note that is held over and over and over and...

Fermoota: A rest of indefinite length and dubious value.

Fog Hornoso: A sound that is heard when the conductor's intentions are not clear.

Frugalhorn: A sensible, inexpensive brass instrument.

Gaul Blatter: A French horn player.

Good Conductor: A person who can give an electrifying performance.

Gregorian Champ: Monk who can hold a note the longest.

Kvetchendo: Gradually getting annoyingly louder.

Mallade: A romantic song that's pretty awful.

Molto bolto: Head straight for the ending.

Opera buffa: Musical stage production by nudists.

Poochini Musical: performance, accompanied by a dog.

Pre-Classical Conservatism: School of thought which fostered the idea, "if it ain't baroque, don't fix it."

Spritzicato: Plucking of a stringed instrument to produce a bright, bubbly sound, usually accompanied by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional).

Tempo Tantrumo: When a young band refuses to keep time with the conductor.

Tincanabulation: The annoying or irritating sounds made by extremely cheap bells.

Vesuvioso: A gradual buildup to a fiery conclusion.

Yet more from Melissa Collard, in the Phil Glatz vein (no improv?)

This year's new definitions:
Obbligato: being forced to practice
Con Moto: yeah baby, I have a car
Allegro: a little car
Metronome: short, city musician who can fit into a Honda Civic
Lento: the days leading up to Easto
Largo: beer brewed in Germany or the Florida Keys
Piu Animato: clean out the cat's litter box
Con Spirito: drunk again
Colla Voce: this shirt is so tight I can't sing
Improvisation: what you do when the music falls down
Prelude: warm-up before the clever stuff
Flats: English apartments
Chords: things organists play with one finger
Discords: thing that organists play with two fingers
Suspended Chords: useful for lynching the vocalist
Time Signatures: things for drummers to ignore
Melody: an ancient, now almost extinct art in songwriting
Klavierstuck: A term used by German furniture movers attempting to get a piano through a narrow doorway.
Music Stand: An intricate device used to hold music. Comes in two sizes- too high or too low: always broken.
Tonic: A medicinal drink consumed in great quantity before a performance, and in greater quantity afterwards.
Dominant: What parents must be if they expect their children to practice.
Concert Hall: A place where large audiences gather, for the sole purpose of removing paper wrappings from candy and gum.
Soto Voce: singing while drunk
Agogic: playing high enough on an oboe to make the eyes bulge.
Cadenza: slapping noise on office furniture
Fandango: grabbing the pull chain on the ceiling fan
Prima Volta: jump start with a battery
Refrain: proper technique for playing bagpipes
Smorzando: with melted chocolate and marshmallow

Keith Jarrett
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 16:32:17 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [jcw] Fwd: [Fwd: Fw: Bandleader - A classic]
From: Christina de Souza

An Old One... Still a Classic

Dear Bandleader:

We look forward to your performance at our daughter's wedding. If you don't mind, we would like to request a few of our favorite songs.

Please play these during the reception:

A Keith Jarrett composition from his solo series. Please arrange it for full ensemble in the key of B but nothing in 4/4 please.

Mahavishu Orchestra, "Dance of the Maya" and please have the guitarist play John McLaughlin's solo from the live performance Nov. 16, 1972 at Chrysler Arena. My wife and I were at that show and we liked his use of polyrhythms.

One of John Coltrane's duets with Pharoah Sanders. Our guests love high register tenor saxes.

We thought a little Stravinsky right after the toast would be nice. So, please play "The Rite of Spring". We like a tempo of about 1/4 note=93 and transpose it down a minor 3rd -- it will be so much more appropriate for this occasion in the slightly lower register.

Then for the candle lighting ceremony, please play Frank Zappa's "The Grand Wazoo". The original key of B flat, would be fine but my cousin Jeannie would like to sing the baritone sax solo in the key of D- she has kind of a high voice.

When my new son-in-law takes off the garter, please just a little of Varese's "Ionization".It's such a funny piece, we think it would go over real well. Much better than the "The Stripper".

And for the bride and groom's first dance, please slow things down a bit by doing Barber's "Adagio for strings". It's so much better than "We've only just begun" or the "Anniversary Waltz".

When my wife and I join in the first dance, could you segue to Thelonius Monk's "Ruby, My Dear." It's in honor of my wife's grandmother whose name was Ruby, it would mean so much to the family.

Thanks for all your help. Depending on the outcome, we'll certainly be happy to recommend your band to our friends. We'll have your check for the fee of $250.00 (minus our expenses in contacting you of $12.50) by the end of next month; we're a little short, as the young lady doing the balloon arch wanted her $1,850 in advance and the DJ had to be paid up front his $2,500 as normal. Our daughter assured us that your love of music was greater than your need for money, and that you would welcome the EXPOSURE you would get from playing this wedding.

Before you leave, please feel free to ask the caterer for a snack sandwich and a soda (the bottles are returnable or you can pay the deposit to the butler). Please use the back entrance to avoid disturbing the guests.

Sincerely yours,

Alice Rockefeller Gates

Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 19:52:41 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [jcw] Fwd: Fw: Stanley Crouch Apologizes?
From:  "Skip Elliott Bowman"
To:  "Ron Steen"

Black and White and Blues All Over

by Stanley Crouch

In the last issue of Jazz Times, I expressed my dismay at white jazz critics hoisting White musicians like Dave Douglas to the top of the jazz pantheon. At the time, I implied that these critics were only doing this as a reaction to their lack of musical talent and resentment of Black artists in general. Envy was the root of this evil, and money from billion dollar media conglomerates like Atavistic, Free Music Productions and Okka Disk.

I've had a change of heart since I wrote those words. I went back and listened to Douglas play on the Masada recordings. And his fusion recordings with trumpeter Cuong Vu. And his Tiny Bell trio recordings. Damn, that brother can play! Sure, it's Balkan music, but did you know "Balkan Music" can be re-arranged to spell "Blak Musician"?

There was something more to Brother Dave than meets the eye. I consulted my avant-garde news clipping collection and it was obvious. In 1993, he participated in a trumpet mouth piece exchange program with Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove and Waddada Leo Smith. Isn't it obvious? Douglas' saliva intermingled with the saliva of the best Black trumpeters of his generation, creating a new multi-ethnic super Trumpet God.

What to do? Should I tell the world about my latest discovery? How will the world deal with a new aesthetic messiah? I decided to consult the previous Trumpet God, Wynton Marsalis, a man who simultaneously invented the Internet and the bossa nova while a freshman at the Julliard School of Music. He would know what to do.

Wynton was taking a well deserved break from this latest project, a multimedia ballet where he composes the music and choreography, plays all the parts in the 19 piece trumpet orchestra and does the dancing. Damn, the brother even does the computer programming for the DVD-ROM release of the ballet. But I digress.

There was no point in delaying, Wynton already knew something was amiss. He emerged from his tanning booth, snapped at me and said: "There is a disturbance in the Force." Wynton wasn't wasting any time:

"Brother Stanley, I know you have been susceptible to White music ever since you discovered you were half-Swedish. I will forgive your transgression this time. Dave has been trained well and it is understandable that you find his music enjoyable. Here are my instructions to you. Do not fail me, for if you do, your free tickets at the Lincoln Center shall be revoked.

"Go out and proclaim the virtues of Dave Douglas. Let the world know of his skill, virtuosity and swing. You may even praise him in your pathetic little Jazz Times column. Then tell the world that I, your one and only Trumpet God Wynton, do hereby challenge Dave Douglas to a cutting contest. On April 25, 2003 at 9 pm, I will meet Dave at the Lennox Lounge in Harlem and we shall do battle. And it shall be terrible. But promise your readers this: only one shall stand swinging at the end and it shall be me, Wynton, the Alpha and the Omega of the Trumpet. Amen. Praise be to me."

Indeed, all praise Wynton.

end text

Ron, before you send this out, take a look at today's date.

These are from Cheri Howard... but we'll forgive her anyway.
A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I'd like to be a musician." She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."
Q: What do you call a beautiful woman on a trombonist's arm?
A: A tattoo.
Q: What do you call a drummer in a three-piece suit?
A: "The Defendant."
Q: What do clarinetists use for birth control?
A: Their personalities.
Q: What did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?
A: Saliva.
Q: What's the similarity between a drummer and a philosopher?
A: They both perceive time as an abstract concept.
Q: What is the difference between a drummer and a vacuum cleaner?
A: You have to plug one of them in before it sucks.
Q: Why do some people have an instant aversion to banjo players?
A: It saves time.
Q: What's the difference between a jet airplane and a trumpet?
A: About three decibels.
Q: What's the latest crime wave in New York City?
A: Drive-by trombone solos.
Q: What's the definition of a minor second interval?
A: Two Soprano Sax players reading off the same part.
Q: What is another term for trombone?
A: A wind driven, manually operated, pitch approximator.
Q: What is the dynamic range of a bass trombone?
A: On or off.
Q: Why do people play trombone?
A: Because they can't move their fingers and read music at the same time.
Q: How many trombonists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, but it's the only thing they won't screw.
Q: How does a violist's brain cell die?
A: Alone.
Q: What do you call a guitar player that only knows two chords?
A: A music critic.
Q: Why did the clarinet player marry the accordion player?
A: Upward mobility.
Q: How do you keep your violin from being stolen?
A: Put it in a viola case.
Q: What will you never say about a banjo player?
A: That's the banjo player's Porsche.
Q: What do a viola and a lawsuit have in common?
A: Everyone is relieved when the case is closed.
Q: There are two tuba players sitting in a car. Who's driving?
A: The policeman
Q: Why are harps like elderly parents?
A: Both are unforgiving and hard to get into and out of cars.
Q: What's the difference between an oboe and a bassoon?
A: You can hit a baseball further with a bassoon.
Tuba Player: "Did you hear my last recital?"
Friend: "I hope so."
Michael Caine walks up to Milton Berle during a party and asks, "What kind of cigar are you smoking there?"
"It's a Lawrence Welk." says Milton.
"What's a Lawrence Welk?" Michael asks.
Milton says, "It's a piece of crap with a band wrapped around it."
Q: How does a young man become a member of a high school chorus?
A: On the first day of school he turns into the wrong classroom.
Female vocalist asks her keyboard player, "I'd like to do 'My Funny Valentine' tonight... but can you think of a way to 'jazz' it up?" Keyboard player replies, "Sure, we can do the first chorus in G minor, then modulate to G#minor for the second chorus in 5/4 time, then modulate to A minor in 3/4 time for the bridge, then cut off the last 3 bars!" She claims, "That might be too complicated to do without a rehearsal!" Keyboard player responds, "Well, that's how you did it last night!"

From Christina de Souza via JazzCampWest

The Sideman's By-Laws

  • Never recommend anyone who plays better than you.
  • Always suck up. (Leaders, bartenders, bride and/or groom, management, etc.)
  • If you don't know it, play harmony.
  • Double book, then choose.
  • Always assume the leader knows nothing.
  • Always degrade types of music you can't play or know nothing about.
  • Always bring your own business cards and solicit during breaks.
  • Never play requests (especially if you know it).
  • Never smile.
  • Always complain.
  • Save all high notes for warming up before and after engagement.
  • Never show up sooner than 30 seconds before an engagement.(One minute if you have equipment to set up.)
  • Never leave a book in order. Whenever possible, write on music in ink.
  • Always play Trane or Parker licks during foxtrots, tangos, waltzes, or anything in D minor.
  • Always open spit valves over music.
  • If the leader is not sure of a tune, always use substitute changes over his vocals or solos.
  • Always worship dead jazz greats.
  • Be negative about anything connected with the job.
  • Always bring drinks back to the band stand.
  • When a break is over, always disappear. If this is not possible, make a phone call.
  • If you're backing up an act, talk when not playing. If it's a comic, don't laugh.
  • Always bum a ride.
  • Always wait until someone else is buying before you get thirsty.
  • Never bring your own cigarettes to an engagement.
  • Avoid tipping at all cost (waitresses, coat room, valet, etc.).
  • Always ask, "When does the band eat", or "Where's our table"?
  • Remember, it's not your gig. Mingle with guests and enjoy yourself.

From Phil Glatz
for your jokes... from my buddy Stu Scharf (

A society wedding band is getting it together on the stand, waiting for the crowd to come in. The leader is taking the time to exercise his authority.

"I'm sick of you guys showing up at the last minute. When I say eight o'clock, I want the music to start at eight. I don't want you walking into the room at eight!"

The drummer gives him a "chigga dum".

"And I also expect you morons to dress like you want to be here. Tuxedo means tuxedo, not the upper half of an old black suit with a bow tie."

The drummer gives him a "chigga dum".

"... and shoes; Not black sneakers!"

"Chigga dum"

"... and a clean shirt and a shave. I don't want any bums on my band!"

"Chigga dum, crash".

"And if I find out who's making that noise, he's fired!"

Also from Phil Glatz (ahem!)

Artist's Revenge Classic

A musician who's spent his entire life trying to get a record deal is feeling extremely depressed. He's been turned down by every record company he's ever contacted. No one seems to recognize his unique genius. So, he decides to top himself and comes up with an ingenious plan to get back at all the record companies who've rejected him all of his life. He books time at a recording studio, and instructs the sound engineer to record everything he says, and every sound he hears, and then copy it all onto 1000 CDs, and send a CD to every record company executive on the list that he hands the engineer. The guy walks into the vocal booth; the red light is on, and he begins...
"This is a message for all you sycophantic, talentless, stupid record company jerks who've ignored me for all these years. I've dedicated my life to writing beautiful, emotive, soul-searching music, and all you bastards do is discard my tapes, never return my 'phone calls, and sign these horrible, no-talent, ridiculous, dumb bands, and these filthy, dirty rappers! Well, you bunch of morons, you parasites, you dumb pricks; I've taken all I can of your puerile, shallow industry, and it's you who have driven me to this! Good-bye you murderers of art!"
With that, he pulls out a gun, puts it to his head and blows his brains out. The sound engineer glances up and says, "Okay, that's fine. I've got a good level. Wanna go for a take?"

From Peter Langston's Fun People mailing list, 1994 (!):

I met her ____________ ____________;  I can still recall _______________ she
               (1)         (2)                                (3)

1  on the highway        2  in September             3  that purple dress
   near Altoona             at McDonald's               that little hat
   outside Fresno           ridin' shotgun              that burlap bra
   in Sheboygan             wrestlin' gators            those training pants
   on probation             all hunched over            the stolen goods
   at a truck stop          poppin' uppers              that plastic nose
   in a nightmare           sort of pregnant            the Stassin pin
   in a jail cell           with jogger                 the neon sign
   in the Stone Age         stoned on oatmeal           that creepy smile
   in a treehouse           with Merv Griffin           the hearing aid
   in a gay bar             dead all over               the orange wig
   incognito                hustlin' Martians           the boxer shorts

wore; She was _____________ _____________,
                   (4)           (5)

4  sobbin' at the toll booth          5  in the twilight
   drinkin' Dr. Pepper                   but I loved her
   weighted down with Twinkies           by the off-ramp
   breakin' out with acne                near Poughkeepsie
   crawlin' through the prairie          with her cobra
   smellin' kind of funny                when she shot me
   crashin' through the guardrail        on her elbows
   chewin' on a hangnail                 with Led-Zeppelin
   talkin' in Swahili                    with Miss Piggy
   drownin' in the quicksand             with a wetback
   quotin' Al Pacino                     screamin' "May Day!"
   slurpin' up linguini                  in her muu-muu

and I knew _____________; _________________ I'd _________________ forever;
              (6)               (7)                   (8)

6                                      7                         8
no guy would ever love her more        I promised her          stay with her
that she would be an easy score        I knew deep down        warp her mind
she'd bought her dentures in a store   She asked me if         swear off
that she would be a crashing bore      I told her shrink       change my sex
I'd never rate her more than "4"       The judge declared      punch her out
they'd hate her guts in Baltimore      My Pooh Bear said       live off her
it was a raven, nothing more           I shrieked in pain      have my rash
we really lost the last World War      The painters knew       stay a dwarf
I'd have to scrape her off the floor   A Klingon said          hate her dog
what strong deodourants were for       My hamster thought      pick my nose
that she was rotten to the core        The blood test showed   play "Go Fish"
that I would upchuck on the floor      Her rabbi said          salivate

She said to me _______________; But who'd have thought she'd ______________
                   (9)                                            (10)

    9  our love would never die                             10  run off
       there was no other guy                                   wind up
       man wasn't meant to fly                                  boogie
       that Nixon didn't lie                                    yodel
       her basset hound was shy                                 sky dive
       that Rolaids made her high                               turn green
       she'd have a swiss on rye                                freak out
       she loved my one blue eye                                blast off
       her brother's name was Hy                                make it
       she liked "Spy vs. Spy"                                  black out
       that birthdays made her cry                              bobsled
       she couldn't stand my tie                                grovel

__________________; ________________________ goodbye.
       (11)                   (12)

11  with my best friend        12  You'd think at least that she'd have said
    in my Edsel                    I never had the chance to say
    on a surfboard                 She told her fat friend Grace to say
    on "The Gong Show"             I now can kiss my credit cards
    with her dentist               I guess I was too smashed to say
    on her "Workmate"              I watched her melt away and sobbed
    with a robot                   She fell beneath the wheels and cried
    with no clothes on             She sent a hired thug to say
    at her health club             She freaked out on the lawn and screamed
    in her Maytag                  I pushed her off the bridge and waved
    with her guru                  But that's the way that pygmies say
    while in labor                 She sealed me in the vault and smirked

From John Calloway
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
-- Hunter Thompson

From the Sunday, June 2, 1996 San Francisco Chronicle

Brian Eno
    From: Peter Langston 
    Date: Tue,  4 Jun 96 15:48:20 -0700
    To: uunet!!Fun_People
    Subject: The "Microsoft Sound"
    Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic
    Forwarded-by: Sean Eric Fagan
    Forwarded-by: Andrew Haley

You know that little arpeggiated chord that starts Windows '95? Well, there's more to it than I thought. I wonder if it's the shortest commissioned composition in musical history?

Q and A With Brian Eno

Joel Selvin

Q: How did you come to compose ``The Microsoft Sound''?

A: The idea came up at a time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, ``Here's a specific problem -- solve it.''

The thing from the agency said, ``We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,'' this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said ``and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.''

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

These are from Alan Gleason
My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer.
        -- Cole Porter
Don't bother to look, I've composed that already.
        -- Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter
I would rather play "Chiquita Banana" and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve.
        -- Xavier Cugat
[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art.
        -- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.
The amount of money one needs is terrifying.
        -- Ludwig van Beethoven
Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living.
        -- Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer
I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet.
        -- Niccolo Paganini
If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation.
        -- Oscar Wilde
Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together.
        -- Mel Brooks
Life can't be all bad when for 10 dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for 10 years.
        -- William F. Buckley Jr.
You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow.
        -- Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket
Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
        -- Mark Twain
I love Beethoven, especially the poems.
        -- Ringo Starr
If a young man at the age of 23 can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder.
        -- Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland
There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major.
        -- Sergei Prokofiev
I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?
        -- Dimitri Mitropoulos
God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way.
        -- Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player
Already too loud!
        -- Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, as the players reached for their instruments
When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.
        -- Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller
Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them.
        -- Richard Strauss
In opera, there is always too much singing.
        -- Claude Debussy
Oh how wonderful, really wonderful, opera would be if there were no singers!
        -- Gioacchino Rossini

This one's from Alvin Stilman

Q: What's the difference between a musician and a large pizza?
A: The pizza can feed a family of four.

This one's from the JazzCampWest mailing list... dunno who first assembled it...
Paul Desmond
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 10:54:22 -0800
Subject: [jcw] Paul Desmond's humor

Some funnies from the witty world of Paul Desmond

"I have won several prizes as the world's slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness."

"I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was."

"I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast."

"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini."

On the secret of his tone: "I honestly don't know! It has something to do with the fact that I play illegally."

When asked by Gene Lees what accounted for the melancholy in his playing he replied, "Wellllll, that I'm not playing better."

He was an English major in college. His reason for not pursuing a literary career, "I could only write at the beach, and I kept getting sand in my typewriter."

"Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can't be taught."

Of writer Jack Kerouac he said, "I hate the way he writes. I kind of love the way he lives, though."

Of Vogue fashion models, he said, "Sometimes they go around with guys who are scuffling -- for a while. But usually they end up marrying some cat with a factory. This is the way the world ends, not with a whim but a banker."

"Sometimes I get the feeling that there are orgies going on all over New York City, and somebody says, `Let's call Desmond,' and somebody else says, 'Why bother? He's probably home reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.'"

His response to the annoying banality of an interviewer, "You're beginning to sound like a cross between David Frost and David Susskind, and that is a cross I cannot bear."

Shortly before the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded, "We're working as if it were going out of style -- which of course it is."

Of yogurt he said, "I don't like it, but Dave is always trying things like that. He's a nutritional masochist. He'll eat anything as long as he figures it's good for him."

Of contact lenses: "Not for me. If I want to tune everybody out, I just take off my glasses and enjoy the haze"

On Ornette Coleman's playing, "It's like living in a house where everything's painted red."

Doug Ramsey wrote that Desmond on seeing Barbara Jones' oil painting of four cats stalking a mouse said, "Ah, the perfect album cover for when I record with the Modern Jazz Quartet."

Ramsey pointed out that the mouse was mechanical and Desmond responded, "In that case, Cannonball will have to make the record."

Desmond's fondness for scotch was well known. So in early 1976 when a physical examination showed lung cancer, he was ironically pleased that his liver was fine. "Pristine, perfect. One of the great livers of our time. Awash in Dewars and full of health."

Children's Answers in Music Education
Source: Missouri School Music Newsletter, collected by Harold Dunn.
From: Phil Glatz
Subject: Fwd: ;) Music from the mouth of babes

The double bass is also called the bass viol, string bass, and bass fiddle. It has so many names because it is so huge.

Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.

Refrain means don't do it. A refrain in music is the part you better not try to sing.

A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.

John Sebastian Bach died from 1750 to the present.

Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was rather large.

Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling him. I guess he could not hear so good. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died from this.

Henry Purcell is a well known composer few people have ever heard of.

Aaron Copland is one of your most famous contemporary composers. It is unusual to be contemporary. Most composers do not live until they are dead.

An opera is a song of bigly size.

In the last scene of Pagliacci, Canio stabs Nedda who is the one he really loves. Pretty soon Silvio also gets stabbed, and they all live happily ever after.

When a singer sings, he stirs up the air and makes it hit any passing eardrums. But if he is good, he knows how to keep it from hurting.

Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel.

I know what a sextet is but I had rather not say.

Caruso was at first an Italian. Then someone heard his voice and said he would go a long way. And so he came to America.

A good orchestra is always ready to play if the conductor steps on the odium.

Morris dancing is a country survival from times when people were happy.

Most authorities agree that music of antiquity was written long ago.

Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.

My very best liked piece of music is the Bronze Lullaby.

My favorite composer is Opus.

A harp is a nude piano.

A tuba is much larger than its name.

Instruments come in many sizes, shapes and orchestras.

You should always say celli when you mean there are two or more cellos.

Another name for kettle drums is timpani. But I think I will just stick with the first name and learn it good.

A trumpet is an instrument when it is not an elephant sound.

While trombones have tubes, trumpets prefer to wear valves.

When electric currents go through them, guitars start making sounds. So would anybody.

Question: What are kettle drums called? Answer: Kettle drums.

Cymbals are round, metal CLANGS!

A bassoon looks like nothing I have ever heard.

Last month I found out how a clarinet works by taking it apart. I both found out and got in trouble.

Question: Is the saxophone a brass or a woodwind instrument? Answer: Yes.

The concertmaster of an orchestra is always the person who sits in the first chair of the first violins. This means that when a person is elected concertmaster, he has to hurry up and learn how to play a violin real good.

For some reason, they always put a treble clef in front of every line of flute music. You just watch.

I can't reach the brakes on this piano!

The main trouble with a French horn is it's too tangled up.

Anyone who can read all the instrument notes at the same time gets to be the conductor.

Instrumentalist is a many-purposed word for many player-types.

The flute is a skinny-high shape-sounded instrument.

The most dangerous part about playing cymbals is near the nose.

A contra-bassoon is like a bassoon, only more so.

Tubas are a bit too much.

Music instrument has a plural known as orchestra.

I would like for you to teach me to play the cello. Would tomorrow or Friday be best?

My favorite instrument is the bassoon. It is so hard to play people seldom play it. That is why I like the bassoon best.

It is easy to teach anyone to play the maracas. Just grip the neck and shake him in rhythm.

Just about any animal skin can be stretched over a frame to make a pleasant sound once the animal is removed.

Mal Sharpe is a scream. Here's his latest screech.
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 19:56:24 EDT
Subject: heard this?
A drummer goes into a music store and tells the clerk that he thinks he can earn more money if he can double on a second instrument. He wanders around the store, then tells the clerk,"I'm not sure which I want -- the red trumpet on the shelf or the accordion leaning against the wall," the clerk says, "I can sell you the fire extinguisher... but the radiator has to stay."

A jazz musician is someone who, when given the alternative of parking his car in a lot or at a parking meter, leaves it in the yellow zone.

From Jason Clark

Kenny G just came out with a new record.

It's called "Straight No Changes".

From: Peter Langston
Subject: Music Quotes
Forwarded-by: "Ford Prefect"


"He'd be better off shoveling snow."
      --Richard Strauss on Arnold Schoenberg.

When told that a soloist would need six fingers to perform his concerto, Arnold Schoenberg replied, "I can wait."

"I would like to hear Elliot Carter's Fourth String Quartet, if only to discover what a cranky prostate does to one's polyphony."
      --James Sellars

"Exit in case of Brahms."
      --Philip Hale's proposed inscription over the doors of Boston Symphony Hall

"Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa-Lobos?"
      --Igor Stravinsky

"His music used to be original. Now it's aboriginal."
      --Sir Ernest Newman on Igor Stravinsky

"If he'd been making shell-cases during the war it might have been better for music."
      --Maurice Ravel on Camille Saint-Saens

"He has an enormously wide repertory. He can conduct anything, provided it's by Beethoven, Brahms or Wagner. He tried Debussy's La Mer once. It came out as Das Merde."
      --Anonymous Orchestra Member on George Szell

Someone commented to Rudolph Bing, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, that George Szell is his own worst enemy. "Not while I'm alive, he isn't!" said Bing.

"Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it."
      --Sir Thomas Beecham to a lady cellist.

"After I die, I shall return to earth as a gatekeeper of a bordello and I won't let any of you enter."
      --Arturo Toscanini to the NBC Orchestra

"We cannot expect you to be with us all the time, but perhaps you could be good enough to keep in touch now and again."
      --Sir Thomas Beecham to a musician during a rehearsal

"Jack Benny played Mendelssohn last night. Mendelssohn lost."

The great German conductor Hans von Buelow detested two members of an orchestra, who were named Schultz and Schmidt. Upon being told that Schmidt had died, von Buelow immediately asked, "Und Schultz?"

"Her voice sounded like an eagle being goosed."
      --Ralph Novak on Yoko Ono

"Parsifal - the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has been going three hours, you look at your watch and it says 6:20."
      --David Randolph

"One can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."
      --Gioacchino Rossini

"I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."
      --Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rakes's Progress

"Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on."
      --Sir Thomas Beecham on an unidentified soprano in Die Walkyre

Gawd... Larry Halpern sent me this particularly merciless trove of viola jokes. (Yes, click it, heh heh!)

Q: How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One. She holds it and the world revolves around her.

Q: How many Deadheads does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 12,001. 1 to screw it in, 2000 to record the event and take pictures of it, and 10,000 to follow it around until it burns out.

Q: How many bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. They let the keyboard player do it with his left hand.

Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?
A: A drummer.

Q: How can you tell that there's a drummer at your front door?
A: The knocking keeps speeding up.

Q: How can you tell that there's a vocalist at your front door?
A: She can't find the key and she doesn't know when to come in.

Q: What is the definition of a gentleman?
A: Someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't.

Q: How do you get two flute players to play the same note?
A: You shoot one of them.

Q: What is the definition of a minor second?
A: Two oboes playing in unison.

Q: What is the difference between a saxophone and a lawnmower?
A: Vibrato.

Q: What do you call 1,000 soprano saxophonists at the bottom of the bay?
A: A good start.

Q: How do you make a trombone really sound like a French horn?
A: Stick your hand in the bell and miss at least half the notes.

Q: How do you make a French horn sound like a trombone?
A: Take your hand out of the bell and play out of tune.

Q: What is the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead conductor in the road?
A: There are usually skid marks in front of the skunk.

Q: You are driving down the road and come across a conductor and a violist. You cannot avoid hitting one of them. Which should it be?
A: Hit the violist first, then the conductor. After all, business before pleasure.

Q: What can you tell when you see a violist drooling out of both corners of his mouth?
A: The stage is level.

Q: What is the definition of a classical string quartet?
A: One good violin, one bad violin, one former violin and one who hates violins.

Q: What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes to jump on a trampoline.

Q: Why do violists leave their cases on the dashboard of their cars?
A: So they can park in the handicapped spaces.

Q: What is the definition of perfect pitch?
A: Tossing a viola into the toilet without hitting the rim.

And the Victor Borge Memorial Joke:
Q: What is the difference between a violin and a viola?
A: The violin burns faster.

From: Marie Eaton

A little guide to proper dress code for musicians.

From: Jim Barrett
Subject: Musical Cross Dressing
... you can't play in C wearing blue jeans, flannel shirt and denim jacket.

Blues jeans are the proper dress for tunes in G, D and A, the open string fiddle tune keys. The musical theory behind this is that when the fiddle players' blue jeans are so tight they can't bend their little fingers, they have to be able to use all the open strings -- G, D, A and E. That's called supply-and-demand music theory. And you can't do that in C.

To play in C -- you can sing in C, the people's key, wearing anything you want to -- but to play in C you have to be wearing a sport coat, or at least loafers with no socks. C and F are, in musicology, what we call the folk-preppie keys, not blue jeans keys. If you have any khaki pants, you might get by with the flannel shirt.

Now if you want to play in B-flat, E-flat or A-flat, that takes a suit. You've got to have matching pants and jacket, white shirt, dark tie and black, tie-up shoes for these keys. You also have to have someone else count the beat for you and tell you when to start in these keys. You cannot count for yourself and keep up with more than one flat at a time. It has never been considered proper to begin a piece in A-flat on your own, without someone else to give the starting signal.

D-flat and all the minor keys are tuxedo music. You have to sit down to play in these keys, and you must look straight ahead while you play in a minor key, and never at a another musician. He already knows he's playing the wrong note, and doesn't need your glance to show everyone else he's the one.

      -- Anon. (Dan Rowles ?)

From: Julie Mangin

I'll tell this one on myself. When I was in music school, I had to take instruction in instruments other than my major (piano). While practicing the bassoon in the band room, the jazz teacher, Bill Potts, walked through, and muttered, "...sounds like a goddam farting bedpost." So, now you know why I'm a librarian today.

From "Jazz Anecdotes" by Bill Crow, Oxford University Press
Johnny Frigo once played a fancy Jewish wedding at the Palmer House in Chicago, doubling on violin and amplified bass. His bass was plugged in and ready to go, lying on the floor next to Barrett Deem's drum set. Just before the ceremony of slicing the Challah, one of the spurs on Barrett's bass drum slipped its moorings, allowing the whole drum set to roll over against the amplified bass strings. Johnny said it sounded like World War Three.

As he reset his drums, Barrett crouched beside his bass drum to adjust the spur. The host announced that the rabbi would now say the traditional prayer over the bread. Barrett didn't notice the microphone beside the bass drum as he muttered directly into it, "Never mind the bread, say a prayer for my drums."

From: Bluegrass music discussion.
From: Chris Stuart

[Chris, quoting from Frank Godbey -psl]
Enjoyment?? Banjos are cranky, loud, obnoxious, hard to get in tune, impossible to keep in tune, hateful beasts. Yeah, I play; used to do it pretty well, too. I'd describe the experience, when it's right, as transcending mere enjoyment; and when it's wrong-- pure agony, but it's still something I have to do, must do, am compelled to do, driven by unseen (evil?) spirits. Who says the fiddle is the devil's *only* box? Banjo playing is not for the faint-hearted...nor is banjo listening.
      -- Frank, having flashbacks to grumpiness 'cause it's more often wrong than right these days (sigh)
Announcing a New Service:

Banjo Exorcism
Ashamed of your affliction? Tired of hiding banjo tabs under your bed? Afraid you'll suddenly say "gum stump" at a socially inopportune moment? For a very low fee I will fly into your hometown and rid you of your compulsion to play banjo. See breakdown of costs below:

Airfare: $800
Lodging at Finest Hotel in Area (2 nights): $300
Limousine to your house: $125
Scientific demonstration of why the banjo *can't* be tuned: $67
Chicken feathers: $14
Extraction of old strings: $223.45
Hypnotism tape: $99
Sledgehammer: $25
Posture correction: $1,356
Ceremonial bending of the finger picks: $220
Frank Sinatra Tapes: $230
Course book: "Women Who Hate Men Who Love the Banjo": $39.95
Special Mantra which turns the syllable "Earl" into meaning "oatmeal": $19
Follow up phone calls: $200
Professional Gratuity: $95.99
From "Jazz Anecdotes" by Bill Crow, Oxford University Press
[A very cool book.  ISBN 0-19-505588-8  -psl]
Some drummers have arrived at a job, opened their trap cases and discovered they failed to pack the snare drums or the cymbals. ... One drummer piled his cases on the scale at an airline counter in New York and said to the clerk, "I'm flying to Los Angeles. I want the square case to go to Denver and the two round ones to go to Seattle."

"I'm sorry, sir, but we can't do that."

"Why not? You did it last time!"

    From: Claire Callahan

Hi Dan,

This was forwarded to me by the usual incestuous chain of email buddies.
How are you?


I'm incestuous, Claire.  Thanks for asking!

Why Regular People Don't Like Classical Music

Why don't regular people like classical music? This is the question that was posed to me recently in a letter from Timothy W. Muffitt, the music director of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, which has gained international acclaim for its rendition of "Achy Breaky Heart."

No, I'm sure it's a fine orchestra that plays a serious program of classical music featuring numerous notes, sharps, flats, clefs, bassoons, deceased audience members, etc.

Anyway, Mr. Muffitt states that he has been asked to conduct a series of concerts for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra next fall; the goal is "to get people into the concert hall other than those who usually come." He asks, "What would get the average Joe into the concert hall? Do you go to classical music concerts? Why or why not?"

Mr. Muffitt, those are important questions, and before I answer them, let me state that I really like saying "Mr. Muffitt." I think "Mr. Muffitt" would be a great title for a Saturday-morning children's cartoon show, wherein Mr. Muffitt is a superhero who, accompanied by sidekicks representing every major minority group and gender, goes around kicking villain butt. I have not worked out the details of the plot, although it would definitely involve a Magic Turret.

I think he means "Tuffet". (cc)

But getting back to Mr. Muffitt's questions: Our first task is to define exactly what we mean by "classical music." When we look in volume "M" of our son's World Book Encyclopedia, we find, on pages 838-9, the following statement: "Mosses grow and reproduce in two phases -- 'sexual' and 'asexual.'" Not only that, but during the "sexual" phase, the moss develops "special organs," and when the time is ripe, "they burst and release hundreds of sperm cells."

Do you believe it? MOSS! Growing organs! Having sex! Probably smoking little one-celled cigarettes afterward! Parents, this could be going on in YOUR COMMUNITY. I think we should alert the Rev. Pat Robertson.

But we also need to define "classical music." A little farther on in the World Book, we come to the section on music, which states: "There are two chief kinds of Western music, classical and popular." Thus we see that "classical music" is defined, technically, as "music that is not popular." This could be one reason why the "average Joe" does not care for it.

I myself am not a big fan. I will go to a classical concert only under very special circumstances, such as that I have been told to make a ransom payment there. But until I got this letter from Mr. Muffitt, I never knew why I felt this way. I've been thinking about it, and I have come up with what I believe are the three main problems with classical music:

  1. IT'S CONFUSING. With "popular" music, you understand what's happening. For example, in the song "Long Tall Sally," when Little Richard sings, "Long Tall Sally, she's built for speed," you can be certain that the next line is going to follow logically ("She got everything that Uncle John need"), and then there will be the chorus, or, as it is known technically, "the 'ooh baby' part." Whereas in classical music, you never know WHAT will happen next. Sometimes the musicians stop completely in the middle of the song, thereby causing the average Joe, who is hoping that the song is over, to start clapping, whereupon the deceased audience members come back to life and give him dirty looks, and he feels like a big dope. It would help if there were an electronic basketball-style clock hanging from the conductor's back, indicating how much time is left in the song. Speaking of which:

  2. IT TAKES TOO LONG. The Shangri-Las, performing "Leader of the Pack," take only about four minutes to tell a dramatic and moving story including a motorcycle crash. A classical orchestra can take five times that long just to sit down. There needs to be more of an emphasis on speed. There could be Symphony Sprints, wherein two orchestras would compete head-to-head to see who could get through a given piece of music the fastest. There could even be defense, wherein for example the trombone players would void their spit valves at the opposing violin section. This would be good, because:

  3. IT NEEDS MORE ACTION. When I was in college, I saw the great blues harmonica player James Cotton give a performance of "Rockin' Robin" wherein he stuck his harmonica into his mouth, held his arms out sideways like an airplane, and toppled headfirst off of an eight-foot stage into the crowd, where he landed safely on a cushion of college students and completed the song in the prone position.
That same year -- I did not see this personally, but I have friends who did -- the great blues guitarist Buddy Guy gave a club performance wherein, while taking a solo, he went into the men's room (he had a long guitar cord), closed the door, apparently relieved himself, flushed, reopened the door and came back out and never stopped playing.

You do not forget musical experiences such as those.

I am not saying that classical musicians should do these things. It would be difficult to get, say, a harp into a restroom stall. I am just saying, Mr. Muffitt, that until the average Joe can expect this level of entertainment from classical music, he is probably going to stay home watching TV, stuck to his sofa like moss on a rock. But with less of a sex life.

        (C) 1994 THE MIAMI HERALD

   + Michael S. Winstandley          3 OP 6                  (415) 506-3376 +
   + Oracle Work in Process                                                 +

From: Peter Langston
Subject: MMJ (More Musician Jokes)
[Here are a few musician jokes that (probably) haven't appeared in Fun_People before. I edited this down by removing jokes that appeared in earlier Fun_People articles ranging from "Banjo Jokes (long posting)" of 10/29/92 to "Viola Jokes" of 1/21/95. -psl]
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic
Forwarded-by: Brad Pardee

Q: What's the definition of a gentleman?
A: One who knows how to play the saxophone, but doesn't.

Q: How do you get 5 oboes in tune?
A: Shoot 4 of them.

Q: What are burning oboes used for?
A: To set bassoons on fire.

Q: How do you make a guitarist play quieter?
A: Put a sheet of music in front of him.

Q: How do you make him stop?
A: Put notes on it!

Q: There's a five pound note on the floor in a room with a bad drummer, a thrash guitarist, and a drummer who keeps good time. Who picks it up?
A: The bad drummer; the other drummer doesn't exist and the thrash guitarist doesn't care about notes anyway.

Q: What happens if you sing country music backwards?
A: Your heart mends, you get out of jail, you get your job or your wife back, and you stop having fun. Oh, did I mention your dog comes back to life?

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding, he sings.

If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum.

A guy walks into a shop.
"How much is a Marshall Hiwatt AC30 amplificatior thingy and a Gibson StratoBlaster geetar with a Fried Rose tremulo?"
"You're a drummer, aren't you?"
"Yeah. How'd you know?"
"This is a travel agency."

Forwarded-by: George Osner
A couple was having marital difficulties and consulted a marriage counselor. After meeting with them, the counselor told them that their problems could all be traced to a lack of communication. "You two need to talk," he said. "So, I recommend that you go to a jazz club. Just wait until it's time for the bass player to solo. Then you'll be talking just like everyone else."

Nina J. Hodgson
Jazz Now Magazine
From: David Giampietro
I got one for ya!

Q: How many saxophone players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Not possible. They all have their mouths on the mouthpiece and their fingers in their ears!

This one is maybe not so funny...
Forwarded-by: Abraham, Lisanne



By Randy Jeffries/Weekly World News (January 23, 1996)

Bocholt, Germany -- A band musician died of a brain injury when the trombonist behind him jerked the slide of his trombone forward and struck the trumpeter in the back of the head.

Police say the tragedy occurred as the Gratzfeld College band was rehearsing the spirited American jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In.

According to other band members, trombonist Peter Niemeyer, 19, "got carried away" with the music. He started gyrating and thrashing around as he played. At one point, he jerked forward and the rounded metal slide on his instrument hit trumpet player Dolph Mohr, 20, dropping him instantly to the floor.

"Niemeyer was pumping the slide very hard," said medical examiner Dr. Max Krause. "But it wasn't just the force of the blow that killed Mohr. The slide struck him in the worst possible place -- the vulnerable spot just behind and below the left ear. Bone fragments pierced his brain, killing him instantly."

The incident has provoked a storm of controversy over whether or not American jazz should be played in German colleges.

"I believe the music is to blame," said Gratzfeld band director Heinrich Sommer. "I was pressured to play that selection by school administrators. But I've always said jazz is dangerous music. Our musicians can't control themselves when they play it. They move and rock back and forth, creating chaos. If I had my way, American Dixieland would be outlawed in Germany. I've been directing bands for 30 years and I've never heard of anyone dying while playing a German march."

But it appears that Snopes has debunked this story...
We're relieved. Kind of.
We sometimes reflect on the excessive trombonist population.
(Thanks to Mr. Weed for setting us straight. Yes, that's really his name.)

Forwarded-by: Robert A. Lerche Forwarded-by: Marshall Caldwell Forwarded-by: Tracey Lewis
A number of years ago, the Seattle Symphony was doing Beethoven's Ninth under the baton of Milton Katims...

At this point, you must understand two things:

  1. There's a long segment in this symphony where the bass violins don't have a thing to do. Not a single note for page after page.
  2. There used to be a tavern called Dez's 400 right across the street from the Seattle Opera House, rather favored by local musicians.

It had been decided that during this performance, after the bass players had played their parts in the opening of the Ninth, they were to quietly lay down their instruments and leave the stage rather than sit on their stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty minutes.

Well, once they got backstage, someone suggested that they trot across the street and quaff a few brews. After they had downed the first couple rounds, one said, "Shouldn't we be getting back? It'd be awfully embarrassing if we were late."

Another, presumably the one who suggested this excursion in the first place, replied, "Oh, I anticipated we could use a little more time, so I tied a string around the last pages of the conductor's score. When he gets down to there, Milton's going to have to slow the tempo way down while he waves the baton with one hand and fumbles with the string with the other."

So they had another round and finally returned to the Opera House, a little tipsy by now. However, as they came back on stage, one look at their conductor's face told them they were in serious trouble.

Katims was furious! And why not? After all...

It was the bottom of the Ninth, the score was tied, and the basses were loaded.

To: uunet!!Fun_People
Subject: Incident at a Roadside Cafe
Reply-To: uunet!!psl (Peter S. Langston)
[This is one of those recurring musician nightmares..., er, that is, ... you know, recurring nightmares for musicians... -psl]
Forwarded-by: Merlin Shepherd
A viola player was returning from a gig, and, feeling tired, decided to stop at a roadside cafe for a rest and a cup of coffee. Halfway through the cup he remembered he'd left his viola on the passenger's seat of the car. He rushed outside... but it was too late... someone had broken the window and put two more violas on the rear seat!
To: Fun_People
Subject: From the Viola File...
Reply-To: Peter S. Langston
During his first lesson the viola student was given four notes to practice on just the first string. The next week he was given four more notes to practice on just the second string. After that, the student never returned for another lesson. After a year the teacher called him and asked: "Aren't you going to continue with your studies?" "Oh yes, I've been meaning to," the student replied "but I just can't find the time. I've been getting so much work..."
Subject: More Musician Jokes
From: Peter Langston
To: Fun_People

Forwarded-by: David Ward

Q: What do Ginger Baker and 7-11 coffee have in common?
A: They both suck without Cream.

A drummer, tired from being ridiculed by his peers, decides to learn how to play some "real" musical instruments. He goes to a music store, walks in, approaches the store clerk, and says "I'll take that red trumpet over there and that accordion." The store clerk looks at him a bit funny, and replies "OK, you can have the fire extinguisher but the radiator's got to stay".

Q: How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Twenty. One to hold the bulb, and nineteen to drink until the room spins.

Q: What do 4 drum sets sound like at the bottom of the sea?
A: A good idea!

Q: What kind of calendar does a trombonist use for his gigs?
A: Year-at-a-Glance

Q: What do you call a accordionist with a beeper?
A: An optimist.

Q: What's the least used sentence in the English language?
A: "Look at that mandolin player's Cadillac!"

Q: Why don't sax players like playing soprano?
A: There's no place to hide your drugs.

Q: What is the difference between Kenny G and a machine gun?
A: The machine gun repeats only 10 times per second.

Kenny G gets on an elevator and says "Wow! This rocks!"

Q: What's the difference between a bari-sax and a chain saw?
A1: Vibrato.
A2: The exhaust.

You may be a redneck saxophonist if...
...You have an old bass sax up on blocks in your front yard.
...You spell it "saxaphone."
...You think the bell of your instrument is a great place to hold a longneck during a gig.
...The gun rack in your pickup truck holds a couple of old Buesher sopranos.
...You think that Boots Randolph is the greatest Jazz musician who ever lived.

Q: How do you make a double bass play in-tune?
A: Chop it up and make it into a xylophone.

Q: Did you hear about the bass player who locked his keys in the car?
A: He had to break the window to get the drummer out!

Q: Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
A: To get away from the noise.

Q: What's a string quartet?
A: A good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.

Q: What's glissando?
A: A technique adopted by string players for difficult runs.

Q: What does "subito piano" mean:
A: It indicates an opportunity for some obscure orchestra player to become a soloist.

Q: What does "senza sordino" mean:
A: It's a term used to remind the player that he forgot to put his mute on a few measures back.

Q: What's a half step?
A: The pace used by a cellist when carrying his instrument.

From: Peter Langston
To: Fun_People
Subject: Translation Guide to a Recording Session

Translation Guide to a Recording Session

Musician to engineer: "Could we have more band in the phones?"
Translation: "The singer is too f**king loud in the phones!"

Singer to engineer: "I can't hear myself."
Translation: "I don't want to hear anyone but myself."

Musician to guitarist: "Can you hear yourself okay?"
Translation: "You're too f**king loud in the phones!"

Bassist to band: "Can everybody hear the drums?"
Translation: "This band is swinging like a broken record!"

Drummer to bassist: "Can you hear the kick drum?"
Translation: "We're not locking....."

Musician to producer: "Could we have more piano in the phones?"
Translation: "Your artist can't sing in tune."

Musician to writer: "This song has nice changes."
Translation: "It's amazing what you can do with two chords."

Musician to producer or artist: "This song sounds like a hit."
Translation: "This song sounds like another song."

Producer to band: "It's a feel thing."
Translation: "I know the song sucks, but the artist wrote it."

Musician to producer: "I don't think we'll beat the magic of that first take."
Translation: "Please don't make us play this piece of s**t again."

Drummer to band: "Should we speed up the tempo a couple of clicks?"
Translation: "Do you all intend to keep rushing?"

Musician: "Could we listen to one in the control room?"
Translation: "These cheap phones make it sound like Radio Free Europe."

Producer to band: "Let's take a break and come back and try one more."
Translation: "I think I'm having a nervous breakdown."

Musician to producer: "Were we booked for two sessions today?"
Translation: "Another three hours of this and I may have to kill you."

Producer to band: "We're supposed to be done at six, but we've got only one more tune and I was wondering if we could skip our dinner break and work straight through."
Translation: "You'll be done at nine, and you'll be starved."

Artist to producer: "I don't like this song. It really sucks."
Translation: "I didn't write this song."

Producer to artist: "Trust me. It is a good song. Radio will love it."
Translation: "F**k you! I own the publishing on this song. Morons will buy it."

Singer to musician: "Can you play something like (so-and-so) would play?"
Translation: "I really wanted (so-and-so) on this record."

Beyond the Bass Clef: The Life and Art of Bass Playing
by Tony Levin
In the beginning there was a bass. It was a Fender, probably a Precision, but it could have been a Jazz - nobody knows. Anyway, it was very old... definitely pre-C.B.S.

And God looked down upon it and saw that it was good. He saw that it was very good in fact, and couldn't be improved on at all (though men would later try.) And so He let it be and He created a man to play the bass.

And lo the man looked upon the bass, which was a beautiful 'sunburst' red, and he loved it. He played upon the open E string and the note rang through the earth and reverberated throughout the firmaments (thus reverb came to be.) And it was good. And God heard that it was good and He smiled at his handiwork.

Then in the course of time, the man came to slap upon the bass. And lo it was funky.

And God heard this funkiness and He said, "Go man, go." And it was good.

And more time passed, and, having little else to do, the man came to practice upon the bass. And lo, the man came to have upon him a great set of chops. And he did play faster and faster until the notes rippled like a breeze through the heavens.

And God heard this sound which sounded something like the wind, which He had created earlier. It also sounded something like the movement of furniture, which He hadn't even created yet, and He was not so pleased. And He spoke to the man, saying "Don't do that!"

Now the man heard the voice of God, but he was so excited about his new ability that he slapped upon the bass a blizzard of funky notes. And the heavens shook with the sound, and the Angels ran about in confusion. (Some of the Angels started to dance, but that's another story.)

And God heard this - how could He miss it - and lo He became Bugged. And He spoke to the man, and He said, "Listen man, if I wanted Jimi Hendrix I would have created the guitar. Stick to the bass parts."

And the man heard the voice of God, and he knew not to mess with it. But now he had upon him a passion for playing fast and high. The man took the frets off of the bass which God had created. And the man did slide his fingers upon the fretless fingerboard and play melodies high upon the neck. And, in his excitement, the man did forget the commandment of the Lord, and he played a frenzy of high melodies and blindingly fast licks. And the heavens rocked with the assault and the earth shook, rattled, and rolled.

Now God's wrath was great. And His voice was thunder as He spoke to the man.

And He said, "O.K. for you, pal. You have not heeded My word. Lo, I shall create a soprano saxophone and it shall play higher than you can even think of."

"And from out of the chaos I shall bring forth the drums. And they shall play so many notes thine head shall ache, and I shall make you to always stand next to the drummer."

"You think you're loud? I shall create a stack of Marshall guitar amps to make thine ears bleed. And I shall send down upon the earth other instruments, and lo, they shall all be able to play higher and faster than the bass."

"And for all the days of man, your curse shall be this; that all the other musicians shall look to you, the bass player, for the low notes. And if you play too high or fast all the other musicians shall say "Wow" but really they shall hate it. And they shall tell you you're ready for your solo career, and find other bass players for their bands. And for all your days if you want to play your fancy licks you shall have to sneak them in like a thief in the night."

"And if you finally do get to play a solo, everyone shall leave the bandstand and go to the bar for a drink."

Yea, and it was so.

From: Peter Langston
To: Fun_People
Subject: Maestro Eugene Ormandy
Forwarded-by: Jack Doyle
Forwarded-by: Kevin Johnsrude

The Wit of Maestro Eugene Ormandy

Compiled by Gary Berkson

Eugene Ormandy, during his many years as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, was known to blurt out a humorous remark every now and then. The following is a collection of these witticisms collected by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. If anyone knows of others, please send them to me.

[Actually, some of these make perfect sense if you imagine them in the middle of an orchestral rehearsal... -psl]

Congratulations to each and every one of you for the concert last night in New York and vice versa.

Who is sitting in that empty chair?

I'm conducting slowly because I don't know the tempo.

I conduct faster so you can see my beat.

I cannot give it to you, so try to watch me.

I was trying to help you, so I was beating wrong.

I am thinking it right but beating it wrong.

I can conduct better than I count.

I guess you thought I was conducting, but I wasn't.

I purposely didn't do anything, and you were all behind.

Even when you are not playing you are holding me back.

Don't ever follow me, because I am difficult.

It is not as difficult as I thought it was, but it is harder than it is.

The notes are right, but if I listened they would be wrong.

I wrote it the right way, so it was copied the wrong way right. I mean the right way wrong.

At every concert I've sensed a certain insecurity about the tempo. It's clearly marked 80...uh, 69.

Watch me closely. Only one can spoil it.

Someone came in too sooner.

Start beforty-two.

Start three bars before something.

Start at B. No. Yes. No. Yes. No.

Did you play? It sounded very good.

Intonation is important, especially when it's cold.

Beauty is less important than quality.

If you don't have it in your part, leave it out, because there's enough missing already.

Percussion a little louder. ("We don't have anything.") That's right. Play it louder.

More basses, because you are so far away.

I need one more bass less.

There are no woodwinds at number 6. ("We're at number 15.") I know. That is why.

(To a tubist:) Long note? Yes. Make it seem short.

Brass, stay down all summer.

Don't play louder, just give more.

Accelerando means in tempo. Don't rush.

I don't want to repeat this a hundred times. When you see crescendo, it means p.

The tempo remains pp.

It's difficult to remember when you haven't played it before.

We can't hear the balance because the soloist is still on the airplane.

Please follow me because I have to follow him, and he isn't here.

Without him here, it is impossible to know how fast he will play it, approximately.

With us tonight is William Warfield, who is with us tonight.

He is a wonderful man, and so is his wife.

Bizet was a very young man when he wrote this symphony, so play it soft.

Mahler wrote it as the third movement of his Fourth Symphony. I mean the fourth movement of his First Symphony. We play it third. The trumpet solo will be played by our solo trumpet player. It's named Blumine, which has something to do with flowers.

(On the death of David Oistrakh:) I told him he'd have a heart attack a year ago, but unfortunately he lived a year longer.

Serkin was so sick he almost died for three days.

(On William Kapell's death:) Death is a terrible thing. I don't believe in it myself.

This is a very democratic organization, so let's take a vote. All those who disagree with me, raise their hands.

It's all very well to have principles, but when it comes to money, you have to be flexible.

Thank you for your cooperation, and vice versa.

I mean what I meant.

I never say what I mean, but I always manage to say something similar.

I don't mean to make you nervous, but unfortunately I have to.

Relax, don't be nervous. My God, it's the Philadelphia Orchestra.

From: Peter Langston
To: Fun_People
Subject: Happy New Year in Club Gig Land
A band leader books a 10-piece band for a New Years gig... bass, drums, guitar, piano, Hammond organ, horn section, and singers. Unfortunately, in the last days of December, EVERY player bails on him!

He's frantic. He calls everyone he knows, but they're all booked. Finally, in desperation, he starts calling everyone in the union directory, and he finally books... a banjo player and an accordionist.

The gig is a smash!! The club owner books them back for next New Years with a hefty raise. The banjo player turns to the accordionist and says:"Great! We can leave our gear!"

These are courtesy of Michael Schippling...

From: Michael Schippling
To: Dan Keller
Subject: [Fwd: More Musical Humor]

Probably got this too....

-------- Original Message --------
From: Danny Carnahan

25 Things I've Learned about Music in 50 Years

By Jim Harbert, With Apologies to Dave Barry

1. The badness of a musical composition is directly proportional to the number of violas in it.

2. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why instrumental parts are written in transposed pitch. (Especially trumpet parts in E.)

3. People who feel the need to tell you that they have perfect pitch are telling you that their sense of relative pitch is defective.

4. The most valuable function performed by a Wagnerian opera is its ability to drown out a rock concert.

5. You should never say anything to a sideman that even remotely sounds like a compliment unless you are prepared to pay double scale.

6. A string sample saved is worthless.

7. Wynton Marsalis can hold all the Lincoln Center Jazz Concerts he wants. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms will still prefer...Yanni.

8. The most powerful force in the universe is Andrew Lloyd Webber.

9. The one thing that unites all non-musicians, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, they all have below-average musical taste.

10. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your musical talent. That time is age 11.

11. There is a very fine line between "arranging" and "mental illness."

12. People who want you to listen to their music almost never want to listen to yours.

13. There apparently exists, somewhere in Los Angeles, a computer that generates music for television dramas. When TV composers need a new dramatic cue, they turn on this computer; after sorting through millions of possible musical themes, it spits out, "ONE LONG LOW SCARY NOTE ON A SYNTHESIZER, " and this becomes the cue. The next time they need a cue, the computer spits out, "TWO LONG SCARY NOTES ON A SYNTHESIZER." And so on, ad infinitum. We need to locate this computer and destroy it with hammers...along with TV producers and lawyers.

14. No group singer is normal.

15. At least once per year, Bill Conti will become very excited and announce that: (1) His producers loved the first theme he played for them; (2) They loved the second theme even more than the first; (3) He has never composed anything they didn't love.

16. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason composers have not achieved, and never will achieve their full potential, that word would be "copyists."

17. The main accomplishment of Disney Studios was the film "Fantasia" in which they ripped-off Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" by paying his agent $2500, of which Stravinsky received $500.

18. The value of a composer's agent is to convince the producer that using a music-cue library would be cheaper than hiring a composer.

19. If there really is a Devil who is out to destroy the universe by means of vile conspiracies, and if God decides to deliver this message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger...Oliver Stone. But John Williams will write the score.

20. You should not confuse your lack of musical talent with your inferiority complex.

21. A movie producer who is suddenly nice to you is not really a nice person. It means he is thinking about hiring another composer, probably John Williams.

22. No matter what happens at a recording session (for example, the players shout "Bravo" and applaud) somebody will still find something wrong with your music, and the producer will begin to have doubts. Serious doubts.

23. When musical problems in a film arise and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is the producer's brother-in-law. He is a (budding) composer.

24. Your friends love you, even if you are tone-deaf.

25. Nobody cares if you can't compose music well. Just go ahead and compose. You are sure to succeed... if you suck up to the right person.

From: Philip Gordon

Welcome to Jazz Quote-A-Week...In the days unlike our own, jazz purists
issue fiats about what is or isn't valid in jazz...Jazz Quote-A-Week offers
these insightful musical quotes to you to start your week...

Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001
This weeks' Jazz Quote-A-Week:

Shelley Manne gave an interviewer his definition of jazz musicians: "We never play anything the same way once."
Have a great week! What's your definition of a jazz musician? _______________________________________________________________ Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 _______________________________________________________________ This weeks' Jazz Quote-A-Week:
When Buddy Rich checked into a hospital, the admitting nurse who filled out his admission form asked if he was allergic to anything. "Country and Western music," said Buddy.
Have a great week! _______________________________________________________________ Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 _______________________________________________________________ This weeks' Jazz Quote-A-Week:
Bill Berry, from Woody Herman's Herd, once needed a bass player for a last-minute job he had booked and couldn't find anyone in Southern California who wasn't busy. After calling everyone he could think of, he begged Ray Brown to bail him out. Ray agreed to do the favor. When Ray showed up at the club, the owner was amazed. He asked Berry, "Isn't that Ray Brown?" Bill shrugged helplessly. "I couldn't get anyone else!"
Have a great week!

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