Sunday, April 11, 2010


I like jazz (sometimes) but it puzzles me.

Here is a list of some Perplexing Things About Jazz.

1. Acceptance of the banjo - I have trouble thinking of playing the banjo as something it is polite to do in public. Mainly because it sounds like someone enthusiastically flossing a chihuahua's teeth with piano wire but also because I am a huge snob. Maybe also because I had a primary school teacher, Mr Lloyd, who played the banjo and was later discovered to be a paedophile. But that could be unrelated.

2. Normalization of the clarinet - There is something about the clarinet. It is such a lovely instrument when you want to be puzzled by how much a piece of wood can sound like that (the clarinet is different for everyone but it reminds me of a deflating balloon. HEEEK squee eedle eedle thuuurp.) But somehow when the clarinet player (clarinetist?) is noodling their way through a solo, it seems like the rest of the band is looking at each other and snickering behind their hands. I carried out an experiment with my trumpet mouthpiece and a length of bamboo (you know, the kind you have lying around) to see if I, too, could make such noodling noises. And I couldn't. But you know what? That was completely OK.

3. Encouraging Shouts - I realise that when someone is playing a solo (not the clarinet) it is nice (?) to shout things like "Yeah!" and "Man!" and "Go cat go!" but as an audience member it is distracting. We are at the music hall, not the races. Jimmy is going to finish his trombone solo regardless of whether or not you egg him on. Just let him finish. (And then afterwards you can approach him and say modestly, "You know, Jimmy, that solo in Take Five was really something," and Jimmy will smile shyly and the two of you will be ever so slightly closer for it.) Again, this bothers me because I am a snob and yes, jazz is not like the orchestra - but imagine the uproar if I was at the symphony and shouted, "BLOW that thang!" in the middle of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. Actually that would be kind of awesome.

4. Scat vocals - Firstly, 'scat' is a bad nickname to give anything (except poo or an unsuspecting aunt) but also it's really hard to sing scat (tee hee) without sounding silly. Quick example: which lyric sounds more betterer? "I'm irresponsibly mad for you," or "I'm irresponsibly mad for scoobity-doo-wop"? I know which one would be more likely to coerce me into a second date.

5. Jazz Face and The Nod - which sounds like a pair of relatively crappy superheroes. I googled 'Jazz Face' in order to find a photo for you guys but I got PORN (one can only assume 'jizz' is a hard word to type with one hand). So you will have to imagine jazz face. I am about to tell you how you can make jazz face (I'm pretty sure this definition comes from Andrea) - you can make jazz face by imagining that you have just smelt something, and you can't decide if the smell is unpleasant or if you actually rather like it. The Nod is, of course, the head nod you do while listening to jazz and wearing your Jazz Face. It makes you look like a bit of a wanker but who cares! You're listening to jazz and don't care who knows it.

John Mayer don't CARE who knows it.

Also, I am going to start a website called Jazz Face or Jizz Face!? because it's not always easy to tell.

Jazz face.

Jazz face.

Jazz face. But probably both.


Miss Claire said...

Haha, I especially like the jazz face photos. Reminds me of the face that classical singers make, where kind of raise their eyebrows and look 'superior'. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but you probably know what I mean... Andre Rieu makes a similarly poncy face when he plays.

uglygirl said...

Once the guy who plays Ridge in the Bold & the Beautiful (who also had a singing "career" but that is a story for a different time) was on an Australian talk show and they asked him how they do those lingering, serious looks that are so common in soap operas. Ridge's response was that they imagine someone has just farted, then try to keep a straight face for as long as possible.

I think it is similar to the jazz/jizz face.

Helga! said...

Yeah,lets get wankered baby,and make Jizz faces.....

Michelle said...

Loving the new look, Ally!

Those Jazz faces are great, and yes - very ambigious.

You're on fire.

wv: hallye: what I call out to the saxophonist as he launches into his solo

a cat of impossible colour said...

Please start Jazz Face or Jizz Face! It would be awesome.

And yes, that does come via me but is originally from Robbie Williams, who said it at his Swing When You're Winning concert.

chris.dadness said...

1. Sufjan Stevens - he has redeemed the banj, and is totally not a pædophile.
2. Squeedle eeeeeeee!
3. I think yelling encouragement during a solo is one of those things that's black and it never quite works for whitey.
4. Squeedle eeeeeeee! Bap!
5. It's the face that says "Hey - I just want you to know I am really Feeling It".

Holly said...

Ok so possibly not actually really jazz, but definitely awesome:!v=yjbpwlqp5Qw

Perpetuum Jazzile.

Seriously. Watch it. Even if you don't like the song, it's amazing. :O

David said...

I find if a band member says something encouraging during a solo it's cool but it's when someone else does it that it gets wierd. Personally I don't accept the banjo and I also don't see why vocalists don't improvise using lyrics!

chris.dadness said...

I watched the clip Holly - amazing. Up until they started singing a recognisable Toto song. I just couldn't do it.

otherworldlyone said...

I'll bet Mayer practiced his jizz face in the mirror.

Esmerelda said...

Best drinking game ever - Jazz face or Jizz face?

apple cheeked, potato shaped girl said...

As I was scrolling down I totaly expected to see a jizz face pic... just to illustrate the difference