To my fellow, budding musicians out there, I'd like to discuss the fine art of "sittin' in". You might find yourself at a jam, or even on stage playing music with people you've only just met, playing songs you might never have even heard. What do you do? The first rule is Stay Out Of The Way--which means to let the leader, or singer do their thing and don't clutter up the mix. Listen first, then add something subtle. Don't play too much. Keep it quiet at first. Follow the singer--if they go to the bridge, go to the bridge! Don't fight the flow! Go with the flow.
The second rule is Support The Song. Try to find out the key. Just fill in little spaces. Take turns. Listen. If someone else is playing chords, don't double that, just add what you can. Try to illustrate the meaning of the song with your contributions. For soloing, do your thing, then stop! Let somebody else take over. There's nothing worse than a virtuoso who can't stop playing over everybody. Think about playing behind them. If they get lost, jump in and steer them back to the melody. You don't have to be in the foreground all the time, do you? Add color and texture.
The third rule is, If You Know What You're Doing, Bring It On Stong. That means if you're swingin', swing hard! If you've got something to say, say it! Now, don't go on forever---but your confidence and energy can bring the whole band together. The great musicians I've had the pleasure of playing with could match their style to the group. Don't ditch the group--keep with them. Music isn't a competition.
In general, if you've been asked to 'sit in' by a band that is on stage, just play a song or two and get off. The old jazz etiquette is a lost treasure, so we're not too sure how do these things anymore, but from what I've been told by the Wise Ones: Don't assume that you get to sit in just because you came to the gig, and if you do get asked to sit in, take a little time to warm up (tune) before getting on stage, and once on stage just play one or two songs unless the band begs you to stay. Just remember, folks, music is the universal language--you can play music even with folks you don't know! It's magic, so treat it as a precious gift!
Even More Videos!
Wednesday, June 28th, The V-Tones of Charleston with the Swamp Gypsies, Joy Pilots at the Music Farm Farmers' Market, //
Thursday, June 29th, The Amazing Mittens at Bar Normandy, 7-9pm, free (eat some food!)//
Saturday, July 1st, Noodle and friends at the Johns Island Farmers' Market, 9am-1pm, free//
Friday, July 7th, The Amazing Mittens at Bishop Gadsden birthday celebration, 3;30-4:30pm, private//
Saturday, July 8th, Wedding at the Confederate House with the V-Tones of Charleston, 7-10pm, private//
Tuesday, July 11th, The V-Tones at the Mount Pleasant farmers' market, 3:30-7pm, free show//
Saturday, July 29th, V-Tones trio, private show at Senior Citizens' center (thanks Nancy!) 2-3pm//
Saturday, August 19th, V-Tones quartet at birthday party, 5-8pm, Hanahan, private//
Saturday, September 30th, 50th! Anniversary Party, V-Tones, 4-8pm, private//
Saturday, December 9th, The Amazing Mittens at Jingles and Jammies, bruch party, private//
Sunday, December 10th, The V-Tones 13th Annual Holiday Extravaganza, at the Main Branch of the Charleston County Public Library, 3pm, free//
Saturday, December 16th, Holiday Band for private Christmas party, pm//