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Ten Things Jazz Singers Do That I Hate


Jazz Singers
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In jazz, as in many other disciplines, a tick becomes a habit becomes a calling card becomes a style becomes a stereotype.... and there we go. Painters wear berets and computer geeks have pocket calculators. I'm fine with it – as long as it's real.

But, as so often happens in our culture, we all want to belong to something bigger, be a part of the scene, and we often try too hard to make it happen.

The following list of things jazz singers do all the time that I hate is not meant as a burn on any specific person or group of people. It's meant to shine some light on the fact that sometimes we all do things that are not natural just because we think we have to fit in.

My hope is that a few jazz singers will see this list, realize they do or have done one or all of these things for no reason and just start being themselves. There's nothing to hate about that.

  1. Drink tea while someone else in the band solos.
  2. Pretend they're a drum of some sort (excluding Bobby McFerrin, who actually is a drum of some sort).
  3. Say they don't listen to singers, just instrumentalists. Or, vise versa, just singers and not instrumentalists.
  4. Eight-bar intros and three times at the end (a great piece of arranging buddy).
  5. Talk like they were born in Harlem in 1932, when actually they were born in Minnesota in 1974.
  6. Move their hands around (especially in a Zorro type motion) while they improvise.
  7. Call Sinatra cheesy. (We're talking about a man who could kill you with his bare hands here... come on.)
  8. Sing in Portuguese when they clearly don't speak Portuguese.
  9. Call out the person's name and instrument at the end of their solo ("Bill Johston on the Bari-Sax!").
  10. Snap. Snap at any time.
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