Jazz Etiquette

Jazz Etiquette is an exploration of the often bewildering imperatives that guide the behavior of the jazz player, band leader, club owner, and artistic recipient, AKA the audience.

This series aims to help the jazz novice or even the jazz aficionado to more fully understand the creative life tension that is the jazz musician. We’ll shed a dimly lit candle on the interactions between those who have embraced endless practicing of their musical craft for the opportunity to play late at night in smoky, poorly ventilated, venue for next to zero pay in front of a dedicatedly indifferent audience.  

The wisdom that is about to be imparted to you is drawn from the works of Stephen Howard, and his series of writings, Notes from a Small Workshop, Anecdotes and Musings from the Workbench.

To read more of his writings about jazz and woodwind instruments, you can visit shwoodwind.co.uk

Audio Written Article
  Jazz, as She Is Spoken - How these narrations came to be.
Episode #1 Dressing for a Jazz Gig - It was Mark Twain who said "Clothes make the man" - and despite a proliferation of opposing quotes by other equally notable people, his observation, for better or worse, still holds merit. First impressions are everything and, as many a depping jazzer will attest, sometimes a first impression is all you have to go on when you're booked to make up the numbers in a scratch band. It is therefore the wise musician who pays attention to the subject of attire, and the following treatise should provide much valuable advice and guidance when choosing one's dress...be it for an informal club gig or an auditorium performance.
Episode #2 Soloing (part 1) - One might assume that to play jazz all you need is an instrument, a certain amount of technical ability on that instrument and a head full of ideas. For the most part this is true - but like a skilled striker in football you're nothing without the ability to work within a team. Thus, for the jazzer, there's a requirement to be able to co-exist with fellow musicians in a performance setting - and your behavior can do much to make or break your rise to stardom (or a least a repeat booking).
Episode #3 Soloing (part 2)
Episode #4 Listening (part 1) - Now it's time to address the social niceties of the listener attending a jazz gig. This applies equally to those of you who can't even manage to play "Danny Boy" on the kazoo as well as experienced musicians who find themselves attending the performances of fellow artistes - though had they paid more attention to the previous articles and smartened up a bit they might find they had rather more work and a bit less time to hang around seedy jazz clubs in the hope of procuring a few gigs of their own.
Episode #5 Listening (part 2)
Episode #6 Gig Administration (part 1) - As far as the general public is concerned, a jazz musician's life consists of but three parts; playing, sleeping and drinking. Such a notion is certain to cause intense indignation among musicians, whose sole thought upon reading such a statement is likely to be "I should be so bloody lucky!"
Episode #7 Gig Administration (part 1)
Episode #8 The Jazz Bore - It's a striking feature of the human race that no matter how beautiful, how complex, how ethereal an object is, there will always be someone who can succeed in missing the overall point, focusing on the minutiae and boring the pants off you about it. Jazz, my erstwhile reader, is no exception. Indeed, I'd even go so far as to say that the genre positively breeds and nurtures its own particularly intensive kind of bore.
Episode #9 Hello, Crap Jazzers - ...wherever you are. This doesn't sound all that friendly a greeting, I'll admit, but listen on and all will become clear.