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Blog: JAZZ!

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I went to see some JAZZ last night. No, come back, it's all right - a couple of friends were playing at an Open Mic night and it was only just around the corner, so it would have been RUDE not to, even if it did involve, as I say, THE JAZZ.

I got there to find it very much like a normal Open Mic night, with hardly anybody there except for some very nervous looking people who were obviously the performers. The big difference tho was that the stage was full of INSTRUMENTS. Usually at Open Mics everyone brings their own acoustic guitar (it's pretty much ALWAYS an acoustic guitar) and plugs it in, but here there was a drum kit, a double bass, a piano, and variously heighted microphones for other instruments. IMPRESSIVE!

I thought "Ooh, maybe I'll get up and do a couple of songs then - I'm sure i can call it (Nice And) Easily Impressed or something" then noticed that everyone else had come with MUSIC SHEETS. It turned out it WASN'T an open mic after all, it was a BLUES AND JAZZ JAM! The HOUSE BAND got up on stage and started playing and all of a sudden i was VERY relieved I hadn't volunteered.

It actually looked TERRIFYING, at least to one as PUNK as me (NB very, clearly). People would go up with MUSIC SHEETS, hand them round the band, very briefly explain how the song went, then off they'd go! EEK! No practice, no knowing the songs or anything, they just DID it. This was especially scary when my friends went up - other people were often doing STANDARDS, but they did a JAZZ version of an Elvis Costello song. FEAR!

It was all quite impressive though, especially when they swapped around the band members for others waiting their turn, and even more so when some BRASS instruments entered the fray. When that happened it didn't really matter that these were songs that'd been played MILLIONS of times, or that none of the players had written the material, it was the NOW of the playing, the fact that this group of people was put together to deliver a unique performance, rather than a set selection playing something they'd done countless times before and would doubtless play countless times again.

It was all rather lovely, though as I say, TERRIFYING. Not being able to read music and, let's be honest, not EPT enough at playing ANYTHING to be able to just pick it up as we went along, it's certainly not something I'd ever want to risk doing myself, but it wasn't half fun to watch!

posted 16/10/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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