Friday, November 04, 2005

a noisy silence

Doug Ramsey refers me to what Bob Brookmeyer writes:

"The Jazz Standard is a very fine place and the people who work there are unfailingly gentle and helpful. However, they -- and all jazz clubs -- suffer from the fear of silence. The minute we stop playing, ON comes the music from somewhere, and it won't stop until we get on the stand -- sometimes not even then. It's an established tradition and a vile one... The pauses between performing are very important and should be treated as part of the evenings flow. The fear of quiet is growing and it is a dangerous trend -- people have to shout to be heard, so inflection and communication get lost."

I can but agree 100%. I feel that going to hear live music is a special experience and one that best arises out of the relative silence of pre-concert chitchat brouhaha and best sinks in (when the music was good enough that you want to let it sink in) in a muted post-concert daze.

Live music immediately bookended by recorded music is a steadily increasing occurence, unfortunately. I was really stunned at the Hermeto Pascoal concert, to hear piped music before an after the concert in what is a sophisticated concert hall. The point of music played explicitly to be talked over escapes me, especially in a dedicated hall.

At the AB Club, the informal atmosphere is more conducive to recorded music, but more importantly they have a real DJ, so the musical choices are more inspired and appropriate than mindlessly putting on Blue Train, for example. Still, a 5-minute buffer zone before (to instill a sense of occasion) and after (to finish absorbing and emerge from what was just heard) would be nice. Constant music gives the live bit a "oh, some more music" feeling.