Mental notes to myself

I thought that I would write about some of the dialog that I have with myself on the bandstand. You'll see that I'm actually pretty harsh on myself most of the time, I would probably enjoy playing a lot more if I wasn't.

I'll try my best to be completely honest. Here it goes.....

Don't be afraid to leave more space.

Go ahead and just let those notes fly, you can do it.

It's not as fast as you think, relax.

Why do you always have to overblow so fucking much? It's not a crime to play quiet.

Dude, your palm keys are still seriously sharp.

Relax, relax, RELAX!

Back off the vibrato already, it's not 1940.

Playing bluesy on this blues is not mandatory. Just play interesting and don't try to over emote.

Why, oh God why won't my low C play in tune. It must be my horn's setup horn. What else could it be!? Just don't play low then. Maybe every Mark VI alto is like this?

Let's hear some snakey lines!

The audience can handle it if you stretch. Oh, who the F#*K cares anyways!

Hear it. Listen for something new.

That tired-ass lick again?!

Hey, instead of warming up on the gig by the last set, how about warming up at home for a once.

Why didn't you find a reed BEFORE you got to the gig again?

Lay back whitey!

Quit dragging your lazy eigth notes!

Stop tounging so much, do you want to sound like Ernie Watts or something?!

Do we sound bad or does the food just really suck here? Why does no one ever show up at this club?

I wouldn't have to hire a bass player this bad if I still lived in NYC.

I need some new material, I hate all the tunes in my book.

This is a great tune, I sure wish I could play it.....

Relax!!!!! What is your problem spazz?

Inside is OK!

Outside is OK! What is this the Lawrence Welk band?!

Did I sound better twenty years ago? I really wonder at times like this. I had more energy then didn't I?

Why do I hire these young guys again? Shit, what the hell was I thinking? When will I ever F*$king learn? This is my own fault.

Don't lose intensity and focus half-way through your solo! Why can't you ever end you solos as well as you start them? How hard is it really?

That solo wasn't half bad. I knew you should have put new batteries in the flash recorder. What if that one was the best solo you've ever played in your entire life? What do you think, batteries last forever?!

Please, enough with the triad pairs already. Give it a rest.

Did that other reed sound better? It did didn't it? Now which one was that?


David Wells said...

Dave, it's like you're in my head! Here's a few more thoughts that torment me regularly while playing....

Why does this guy sound good on everyone's gigs but mine?

Why do you keep trying to do that high "Mark Turner thing" when you know it never sounds good?

Why is the house music still on?

You're not Chris Potter! Why are you playing so many notes and tonguing so much?

Why does he keep calling this tune? I bet he couldn't name one person that's recorded it .... Does he even LIKE jazz? Do I look pissed off right now?

The Dissonance said...

Gawd, I thought I was the only one that had those thoughts. So, it must be normal... ish?


MonksDream said...


I hope I don't have that look on my face that someone told me I often had, where I look "Hella serious, like I'm gonna kill them."

Bass Player played the A section through the bridge, do I stay where I'm at or follow... God, I feel like tearing his fucking face off.

Fuck you, you fucking fuck!

I spent so many years playing sharp, why do I have to keep playing flat to compensate!

I accidentally played that Trane lick, only it sounded like he would have sounded with a paralyzed tongue, while his arm was going numb from having a heart attack.

That piano player's vibing me again ... if he quotes Star Trek The Next Generation theme song in one of his solos or endings again I'm going to tear his fucking face off.

If that singer licks her finger at the end of my solo again and touches me like it's seering her, I'm going to tear her fucking face off.

If that trumpet player comes in before I'm finished with my solo, with the bell of his horn right in my face again, I'm going to tear his fucking face off.

If that drummer keeps getting louder and louder until none of the horn players can hear themselves play during this show, I'm going to tear his fucking face off.

And last but not least,

If that guitar player, who brought Marshall stacks to this blues gig again plays so loud that you can't hear the horns through the P.A. again, I'm going to tear ...

olie brice said...

wow, you saxophonists are angry people...

joe chapa said...

It's all been said! WOW! I thought I was the only one too! Funny shit!

David Carlos Valdez said...

Another one that I find myself saying lately is,"Go deeper. None of this surface shit. Pull up something from deep down this time. No messing around."

JasonMescia said...

I gotta agree with olie here...some serious anger, I thought saxophone players were always stereotyped as the laid back ones and the trumpet players were the brash and outspoken musicians. Heh, maybe we're the equivalent of that guy that looks calm and collected and just bottles it all up until we end up on the top of a building sniping people. What if there's an investigation on all of the ticking time bomb killers and it is discovered that they've all played saxophone at some point in their lives...kinda like the odd fact of how a huge percentage of serial killers owned multiple copies of "Catcher in the Rye"...

Me Me said...

OMG Monksdream, you had me laughing out loud. But afraid. I don't think I want to gig with you. :-) Cause I always do that "sssssssmokin'" hot steam thing. But seriously, folks.

Excellent post, David.

For me, here are some choice tormentations:

Cool, I didn't forget the words!

I wonder if I can get through the bridge without forgetting the words?

Damn, I can never get through that bridge without forgetting the words!

Oh shit, mr. famous percussionist just walked in. Dammit, I was doing fine playing pandeiro until he walked in. Don't clench.... don't... clench... the pandeiro...

Look at her face. She must hate everything I do.

The bass player has been soloing for how long now? Must look interested. Is he done yet? He looked at me -- no, he just closed his eyes again and is taking another chorus. Must not look at watch.

That guy in the audience is hot! How come only old guys come up and say hi?

Only three more songs and this show is over!

Man, I want a hamburger.

Me Me said...

You know, Kenny Werner does a great, funny riff on all this in his classes.

R said...

This is too funny.. especially 'Enough with the triad pairs'!...& comments: bass player repeating A section instead of bridge, Trane lick paralyzed LOL!...

For me 'losing momentum & focus in solo' indicates a hot chick walked by. Mental notes unprintable.