Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drummer Jokes

What good is doing a blog if you can't throw in a funny story once in a while?

These are two funny stories, particulary funny if you've ever spent any time around drummers. I realize some of you have not had this luxury, but maybe you'll appreciate the 2 stories anyway.

I got the first story from a musician and band director friend of mine, Bill Woods, retired band director living in Abilene. It was sent to him from a musician friend of his who lives in Louisville, John Bizianes.

John prefaced the next story by telling a true experience. He was once using a local drummer, Hank Glass, and they were getting ready to play a gig. The other musicians from the band weren't perfectly set up yet, but it was time for the downbeat. So Hank started playing, drums only. Someone from the audience approached him and asked if he could play "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" -- to which he replied: "That's what I'm playing."

Here's the 2nd story, mostly for drummers . . .

A jazz trio was playing a gig at an upscale nightclub. They played a classic bebop tune at a fleet tempo with grace and ease. Then came a Wayne Shorter composition filled with mysterious harmonies, poignant melodies and daring improvisations. Next, they presented a medley of lesser known Harold Arlen songs that only a connoisseur would recognize, again played with elegant styling and exquisite taste. The whole evening had been one dazzling performance after another.

Though the trio was playing background music for the club and not a formal concert, the audience could sense that the musical display they were witnessing was of such a high caliber that the musicians should be allowed to perform as they pleased without interference.

Then a well-dressed middle-aged man approached the bandstand and asked the pianist "Can you play Laura's Theme from Dr. Zhivago?"

The pianist told the guy that they were jazz musicians and they usually didn't take requests of that sort.

The man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out three one hundred dollar bills which he laid out on the piano. The pianist looked at the bass player, then the drummer, and said, "Lara's Theme in G." They played the tune in the fashion of the original version, the pianist emulating the Balalaika textures with a delicate upper register tremolo. The song obviously did not present the same level of difficulty with which the trio was accustomed to dealing.

As the pianist played, he absent-mindedly gazed down at the soundboard of his Steinway B ebony, and thought about the grain in the wood. "How would the tonal characteristics be altered if the grain of the soundboard ran perpendicular to the strings rather than parallel"? He was also an old piano salesguy, so that's what he was asking himself.

The bass player amused himself with an assortment of well-placed double-stops and harmonics. He daydreamed, as he looked at the top of his mid-nineteenth century double bass made by French master, Paul Claudot, and wondered "How many times has the top been varnished; how did the varnish of past years differ from today's; how would the resonance properties be affected if there were no varnish at all?"

The drummer gazed down onto the single ply, medium weight plastic head of his 1950's vintage black oyster pearl snare drum and thought to himself

"One, two, three, One, two, three, One, two, three..."

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