****** Musician's Meanderings******
Steve Hashimoto's Journey Journal – News From the Trenches – 06-29-2003:
This is a public service announcement.
It has come to my attention that at any given gig, people will request that
the band play certain songs. There is a depressing inevitability to the songs
that get requested. Following is a list of many of those songs, and probable
reasons why your request didn't get honored.
"In The Mood": This is the bane of every big band, as well as most small jazz
combos and wedding bands of every stripe. It's a song that most musicians
learn to play at a very early stage of their career, and by the time they've
become professionals they're already sick of the song. They don't care what event
in your life you associate it with, their souls just shrivel when they hear
the name. Inside musician joke (if you don't understand it, next time you
request this song, also ask to have the joke explained to you): There's good news
and bad news. The good news is that Glenn Miller's plane went down. The bad news
is that they saved the book.
"Mack The Knife": If Ute Lemperer or Marlene Dietrich is singing it to the
original Kurt Weill orchestrations it's a cool song. If a wedding band is
playing it and trying to make it swing it's just horrible. Have you ever listened to
"Jump, Jive and Wail": In a very short time this song has almost eclipsed "In
The Mood" in odiousness (odiosity?). We don't care if it makes you feel hip,
a request for this song just sucks the spirit out of a band. Hey, big news,
the "swing" craze ended years ago, pretty much the moment this song appeared in
a commercial. Louis Jordan was cool, no argument there. A wedding band playing
this song is not, and furthermore they're probably not happy either.
"Girl From Ipanema": This is a lovely song, and frankly we really don't mind
playing it as much as some of this other dreck, but there are a ton of other
Antonio Carlos Jobim songs that are more fun to play. And what usually happens
when we do play it, some young, white yuppie idiot goes into his or her
"Latin" routine -- you know what I'm talking about. They get this silly look on
their face and they do their idea of a samba. To be honest, even if we're not
Latino it's insulting, racist and ignorant.
"Proud Mary": Again, not a bad song. We're just sick to death of playing it.
"Freebird": What is it with this song? Unless you live below the Mason-Dixon
line and/or the band is honest-to-God Southerners, there is no earthly reason
to want to hear this song.
"Linus and Lucy": again, a charming song, but it's really not jazz, as so
many of you seem to think it is. Most pianists have learned how to play this
purely out of self-defense; it's just easier (and faster) to play the damn thing
than to weasel out of it. Vince Guaraldi, the song's author, is well-regarded
amongst jazz musicians, and one of his other Peanuts songs ("Christmastime Is
Here") is one of our favorites.
"My Way": Unless it's the Sid Vicious version, or unless you and/or the band
is either Italian or from New Jersey, it's just not a great song.
"The Chicken Dance" or "The Hokey Pokey": Unless you're 10 years old or live
in Wisconsin (cheeseheads get a special dispensation), don't you think the
whole idea is kind of ridiculous?
"The Macarena": Hey, it's already 2003. The stinking carcass of the song
should have been cremated years ago.
Anything by Kenny G: To ALL self-respecting jazz musicians, Kenny G is the
Anti-Christ. 99.9% of saxophonists in America would sooner climb into a cage
filled with rabid weasels (or booking agents) than play "Songbird".
Anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber: I have it on good authority that this is a
true story. Webber was introduced to Frank Loesser, a certified giant among
American theatrical composers, at a party in Manhattan. He asked Loesser why
people seemed to have an immediate dislike for his (Webber's) work, and Loesser
said, "It saves time." If you put 20 orangutangs in a hotel room with word
processors it'd take them less than a day to write an A.L.W. lyric.
Anything by Celine Dion: Well, maybe some of the female vocalists out there
wouldn't mind the opportunity to show their chops, but they don't count. Us
players hate the stuff. A C.D. song is a locomotive whose emotional throttle is
jammed wide open.
Feel free to contribute your own, or to argue.
This week Steven Hashimoto will resolutely not play any of these songs at:
SUN. 6/29: at a gazebo at Belmont and 25th Ave. (I think), 6:30-9:30, with
the 12-piece r&b band Souled Out.
TUES. 7/1: at THE LEOPARD LOUNGE, 1645 W. Cortland, 10pm-1am, with The Steven
Hashimoto Quartet (Dan Hesler, sax; I think Neal Alger, guitar; Steve
WEDS. 7/2: some sort of benefit at PRAIRIE MOON, 1502 Sherman Ave. in
Evanston, 6-9pm, with Marc Smith and The Pong Unit Band (Mike Smith, guitars and
dulcimer; Dave Flippo, keyboards; Ted Sirota, drums) and various and sundry poets,
jugglers, tap-dancers, etc.
FRI. 7/4: at PETE MILLER'S STEAK HOUSE, 1557 Sherman Ave., Evanston,
8pm-12:30am, with Sueños Latin-Jazz Quartet (Mike Levin, sax; Bob Long, piano; Steve
Magnone, drums); then, later on, as always, at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N.
Broadway, 1:30-3:45am, with The Green Mill Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob
Long, piano; Rick Shandling, drums), for The After-Hours Jam Session.
SAT. 7/5: at PETE MILLER'S again, with Sueños, Dan Hesler subbing for Mike
Levin on sax.
SUN. 7/6: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 8-10pm, with poet Marc Smith
and The Pong Unit (Mike Smith, guitars and dulcimer; Bryan Nichols, keyboards;
Ted Sirota, drums) for The Uptown Poetry Slam.
Still need to fill Sat. July 12 and 26. Call me at 708-222-6520.