FUNNIES - page 2

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Sent to me from Michael Cousins



1. Everyone should play the same piece.
2. Observe the repeat signs only if what you just played was interesting.
3.If you play a wrong note, glare at one of the other players.
4. The right note, at the wrong time, is a wrong note. (And vice-versa.)
5. A wrong note, played timidly, is a wrong note.
6. A wrong note, played with authority, is simply your interpretation of the phrase.
7. If everyone gets lost except you, follow the ones who are lost.
8. Strive always to play the maximum notes per second. This will intimidate the weaker players and gain you the admiration of the ignorant.
9. Markings for slurs, dynamics, and accidentals should be completely ignored. They are only there to make the score look more complicated.
10. If a passage is difficult, slow down. If it is easy, speed up. Everything will even itself out in the end.
11. You have achieved a true interpretation when, in the end, you have not played one note of the original piece.
12. When everyone else stops playing, you should stop also. Do not play any notes you many have left over.

Thanks to Michael Cousins for passing this on to me


How to tell if you're listening to a concert of contempoary classical music or contemporary jazz

Contemporary classical music: the audience sits very still.

Contemporary jazz: the audience sits very still and the saxophone player moves his head a lot.

How to tell a rock guitarist from a jazz guitarist

The rock guitarist plays three chords to thousands of people; the jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords to three people.

Thanks to Keith Goddard for sending me the last two items.



In an effort to keep you abreast of the ever-changing world of musical terminology,
we provide you with some terms with which you should be familiar:

Adagio Fromaggio: To play in a slow and cheesy manner.

AnDante: A musical composition that is infernally slow.

Angus Dei: To play with a divine, beefy tone.

Anti-phonal: Referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall.

A Patella: Unaccompanied knee-slapping.

Appologgiatura: A composition, solo or instrument, you regret playing.

Approximatura: A series of notes played by a performer, not intended by the composer.

Approximento: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch.

Bar Line: What musicians form after a concert.

Concerto Grossissimo: A really bad performance.

Coral Symphony: (see Beethoven-Caribbean period).

Cornetti Trombosis Disastrous: The entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians exit
hastily down the stage stairs.

Dill Piccolino: A wind instrument that plays only sour notes.

Fermantra: A note that is held over and over and over and ..

Fermoota: A rest of indefinite length and dubious value.

Fog Hornoso: A sound that is heard when the conductor's intentions are not clear.

Frugalhorn: A sensible, inexpensive brass instrument.

Gaul Blatter: A French horn player.

Good Conductor: A person who can give an electrifying performance or, alternative use, one who obeys the orchestra and/or chorus.

Gregorian Champ: Monk who can hold a note the longest.

Kvetchendo: Gradually getting annoyingly louder.

Mallade: A romantic song that's pretty awful.

Molto bolto: Head straight for the ending.

Opera buffa: Musical stage production by nudists.

Poochini Musical: performance, accompanied by a dog.

Pre-Classical Conservatism: School of thought which fostered the idea, "if it ain't baroque, don't fix it."

Spritzicato: Plucking of a stringed instrument to produce a bright, bubbly sound, usually accompanied
by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional).

Tempo Tantrumo: When a young band refuses to keep time with the conductor.

Tincanabulation: The annoying or irritating sounds made by extremely cheap bells.

Vesuvioso: A gradual buildup to a fiery conclusion.

ZZZfortzando: Playing REALLY loud in order to wake up the audience.

(Passed on to me by Ian Hamer via Ray Davis)



Question: How do you describe people with perfect pitch?

Answer: They can toss an accordian down the toilet without it touching the sides!

(Thanks to Chris Spedding for this one)



In order to exert some control over the lives of jazz musicians, the government has drawn up plans for them to be registered.   A leaked document reveals the form which will be issued to all musicians to complete.


Members of the aristocracy (Dukes, Counts, Earls, etc) need not complete this form.

Your Address
(if any)

What instrument do you play?
(If the answer is banjo, please state why.)

What is your real job?

How many "jigs" do you nomally do a week?

Can you also play proper music?

Have you stopped playing wrong notes?

Without using music, can you play a)  Happy Birthday   b) The Mongolian National Anthem   c) The 1812 Overture?

Have you ever played with a) Jelly Roll Morton   b) Liberace   c ) The Viennese Girls' Choir?

How many cigarettes do you smoke per tune?

How many alcoholic drinks do you have a night - a) 5   b) 6-10   c) over 11?

Which drugs do you take regularly - a) coke   b) pepsi-coke  c) diet-free coke  d) cocoa?

What did you do after you woke up this morning?

Describe how to play jazz in no more than 4 words?

If you are successful in this application, you may be eligble to play a 6-hour engagement at an establishment 125 miles from your home, with no lighting, no heating, no ventilation, no food, no drinks, and no money.  Drummers must be kept on a lead at all times




Using Google's translation tool, I translated the home-page into Japanese and then back into English. Click on the following word to see the result - Japlish.  In spite of all this, it's a useful tool when used right - try it out for yourself.

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To be a solo pianist
It helps to be a Schmuck,
For no sagacious fellow wants
To be a sitting duck.

A seated duck would be perhaps
A better turn of phrase,
For someone in the spotlight
Under everybody's gaze.

And that includes the barman
And the waiters, who agree,
Your hours are far too short (they think
You're paid some splendid fee).

Tonight the gig's in Kensington,
The piano's painted white;
You know that's camoflage - It means
The damned thing's got the blight.

You stike the keys: two notes are dead
And both the pedals squeak,
The treble is way out of tune,
The action's up the creek.

But now it's time to set about
That keyboard's broken grin,
Which complements your phoney smile,
Already wearing thin.

You sit - and from this moment on
You're everybody's butt;
The bores, the drunks, the know-alls,
And of course, the local nut!

You kick off with some ballads, bossas,
Evergreens and blues;
Forget your soul - you're only here
To help them sell the booze.

You amble through some standards:
Soon, and Have you met Miss Jones?
A punter lurches up and asks
For 'Something by the Stones'.

You roll the blues, play Lover Man
And Here's that Rainy Day;
'The Beatles' someone bellows -
So you trot out Yesterday.

You've memorised a thousand songs?
Ye gods - that's not enough!
You don't know Kylie's latest hit?
You must be pretty duff!

Requests come up for Small Hotel
For Stardust and Blue Moon,
But when you improvise, they say:
'He doesn't know the tune!'

You're bugged by boogie woogie buffs
And singers who can't sing,
And ragtime freaks who somehow always
Ask you for The Sting.

(But really all you need to know
Are Misty and Take Five,
As Time Goes By
and Summertime
In order to survive.

Some nights the punters love you
And your playing seems inspired;
They hang on to your every note -
It's nice to be admired.

On other nights you'd swear you've got
Two fingers and eight thumbs;
It's times like this you'll wish you had
Support from bass and drums.

A fan comes up and bends your ear
(He's into 'Self-Expression');
You sigh, and mumble platitudes
With well-rehearsed discretion.

'Is jazz a craft or art?' he asks,
'A things of Brain or Heart?'
He means well - tell him jazz is craft,
But getting work's an art!

Last night you were in Newcastle,
Next week you're off to Rome.
While bills and small buff envelopes
Accumulate at home.

So why not quit, and take a job
From nine to five instead?
- Or does that sound a bit too much
Like working for your bread?


(From my old mate, David Harman). I can sympathise a lot with this. I play a lot of solo piano gigs and very few customers can even be bothered to say "Thank you" or even "Goodnight". It's a soul-destroying job.



All of our waitresses are very pretty, but some are not very bright. I asked one of them if she liked Dickens. She said she'd never been to one. She thinks Moby Dick is a venereal disease. Then we had a girl called Bonnie who came from Australia. Bonnie was very modest. I remember she was so modest, she used to eat bananas sideways."



And so the Lord said... "Noah, awaken and heed my words!"

And Noah didst tremble, saying, Lord, why hath thou wakened me?"

And the Lord did say, "Noah, build me a jazz band. For the earth will be visited by a plague of Brides, followed by forty days of Trade Shows and forty nights of Awards Banquets, followed by Rock and Roll and Country/Western Music. They will all be jazz oblivious. This pleaseth me not and so we must invent jazz."

And Noah didst say, "Command me Lord."

And the Lord didst say, "First thous must find me a leader."

And Noah replied, "But Lord, will I not be thy leader?"

And the Lord sayeth, "Fool, thou will be my contractor. Ask not why!"

And Noah didst bow his head, saying, "Yes, my Lord. And what instrument will the leader play?"

And the Lord said, "It matters little whether he play or not, or whether he be proficient or not. For his job shall primarily be to schmooze, and to deal with clients, and to count the tempos wrong, and to inquire as to whether overtime will happen, and to try to segue tunes that should not be segued. If he playeth any instrument, thou must always have a capable player of that instrument in the band just to be safe."

And Noah didst say, "And what else shall this leader do?"

And the Lord replied, "It shall be his job to spread bad information and confusion amongst the sidemen and to pit them one against the other, and to delay all payments. Further shall it be his job, until we can afford a soundman, to create feedback, and to invent new equalization."

And Noah did shaketh his head in wonder, saying, "Lord, thy ways are strange and mysterious. What more shall I do?"

And the Lord said, "Next, find me a Rhythm Section. First, find me a Drummer. And three things above all must this drummer possess. First, this drummer must have slightly imperfect time, so that whenever he playeth a fill (and he shall play many), he always emergeth at a different place, but thou may not guess which, nor where 'one' now is to be found. And second, he must be supremely discontent, always hoping for the Big Break which will lead him to playing with Wedding Bands or for other high paying gigs, so that he secretly despiseth jazz. And third, he must always be convinced of his righteousness, in all things, including time, volume, tempo and feel, so that he argueth always with the leader and the bass player."

And Noah didst say, "Bass Player?"

And the Lord didst say, "Yes, Bass Player. He shall be bored, he shall overplay and he shall sing off key. That is all."

And Noah didst say, "Of course. And next, my Lord?"

And the Lord did say, "Next shall be the Keyboard Player. And he shall play as if he has twenty fingers, and he shall play substitute upon substitute, until no man my name the chord, and he will not be helpful. Furthermore, he shall always be late. And he shall always be trying out new gear of which he has no knowledge."

And Noah didst wonder aloud, "Lord, Great is thy wisdom!"

And the Lord didst wisely continue, "Next, shall be the Guitar Player and he shall always be loud. Also shall he know not how to read "The Book", and so shall rely upon his ears, which have been damaged by exposure to high sound pressure levels. For guitar players who read "The Book" shall already be playing shows, and will be making the big shekels. And his uniform shall be the rattiest."

And the Lord didst say, "Next thou shall need Horns."

First shall be Saxophones. And they shall either be Beboppers who play Bird quotes in every song, yea, even the ballad medley, or copiers of Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet. They shall get drunk and high on every break, chase but never catch women, and make long faces all night long, but especially when "Stardust" is called."

Next, shall be the Trumpeters. And they shall every one attempt to take everything up an octave, and fail most frequently. And of changes they shall know nothing.".

And finally shall be the Trombone Players. And many jokes will be made about them, for they will have beepers that never beep, as well as a day job, and they will be the first to be cut from the band."

And Noah, taking many notes, didst say, "Mighty is the Lord!"

And the Lord didst say, "Next, shall be the String Player. He will attach pick-ups to his violin that is more ancient even than myself, so that the instrument screecheth and causeth great pain. His job shall be to dress in foppish clothing with hair in a pony tail, to fake parts, and to complain about the volume and the intonation, and to impede the swing."

And Noah didst say, "What can be left, Lord?"

And the Lord didst say, "Finally, find me the singers. And they shall be two, one male and one female. And the male shall be a strutting peacock, with girlie man hair, and he shall never have to wear the tuxedo, and also shall play the harmonica. The female shall ALWAYS sing the power ballads and the novelty songs. she shall sing backup for the male, and forget the words, and be late, and know nothing of keys or form. And together, they shall leave every gig immediately, having never touched a piece of equipment. And they shall be paid more shekels than the sidesmen. Ask not why."

And the Lord continued, "Together they shall be melded into a dissonant band that plays mysterious polyrhythmic music called Jazz. It shall grow to immense proportions in New Orleans amongst sinners, whorehouses and honky tonks several millenia from now. But fear not, within a 100 years from birth, it shall be played in Churches and other places of high learning. And it shall be called art. Go figureth.

And the Lord didst command him, "Search high and low for these, as not every musician can fulfill these requirements. And though we have no work yet a commitment must be secured from all. And while you're at it, start looking for subs."

From Ian Hamer



Click here for a mock sax part (label it according to circumstances) and present it to someone who is depping for a rehearsal or gig. Best reserved for show-offs, big-timers and name-droppers. People with heart conditions should not be targetted.



A pianist and a singer are rehearsing Autumn Leaves for a concert and the pianist says:

"OK. We will start in G minor and then on the third bar, modulate to B major and go into 5/4.
When you get to the bridge, modulate back to F# minor and alternate a 4/4 bar with a 7/4 bar.
On the last A section, go into double time and slowly modulate back to G minor."

The singer says:
"Wow, I don't think I can remember all of that."

The pianist says:
"Well, that's what you did last time."

from Paul Francis Wilmott, via David Hardman. To be fair, musicians can sometimes be at fault, rather than the vocalist, even if it pains me to say so.


Jazz Philosophy

A jazz trio is playing a gig at an upscale nightclub. They play a classic bebop tune at a fleet tempo with grace and ease. Then comes a Wayne Shorter composition filled with mysterious harmonies, poignant melodies and daring improvisations. Next they present 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 has been one dazzling performance after another.

Though the trio is playing background music and not a formal concert, the audience can sense that the musical display they are witnessing is of such a high caliber that the musicians should be allowed to perform as they please without interference.

Then a well-dressed middle-aged man approaches the bandstand and asks the pianist "Can you play Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhigavo?" The pianist tells the man that they are jazz musicians and that they usually don't take requests of that sort. The man reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out three one hundred dollar bills which he lays out on the piano. The pianist looks at the bass player and drummer and says "Lara's Theme in G."

They play the tune in the fashion of the original version, the pianist emulating the Babalaika textures with a delicate upper register tremelo. The song obviously does not present the same level of difficulty that the trio is accustomed to dealing with.

As the pianist plays, he absent-mindedly gazes at the soundboard of his ebony Steinway B and wonders about the grain in the wood. "How sould the tonal characteristics be altered if the grain of the soundboard ran perpendicular to the strings rather than parallel," he silently asks himself.

The bass player amuses himself with an assortment of well-place double-stops and harmonics. He daydreams as he looks at the top of his mid-nineteenth century double bass made by French master, Paul Claudot, and wonders "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 gazes down onto the single-ply, medium weight head of his 1950's vintage black oyster pearl snare drum and thinks to himself "One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three..."

from Michael Cousins


Dear Friends

My name is Ndugood. I am a wealthy Nigerian prince who loves the jazz of music. I am seeking your help to move £200,000,000 from my checking accoung here in Nigeria to the United Kingdom.

I too love the hazz of music and am planning to open many jazz clubs at which I would like you to perform. You will receive 42,000 dollars a night, plus a meal. My new Tribal Village Vanguard" clubs will be of great success and you will become rich like the rest of the European and American jazz musicians. I have already applied for building code exemptions to allow thatched stages and the spearing of live animals but I desperately need your help. My tribe, the Swindlisi, a peaceful jazz-loving people, has been horribly oppressed by the ruling military junta, which despises the jazz of music. My father, an exiled king and booking agent, was recently imprisoned under the draconian "three gigs and you're out" law. And now I must flee my beloved country with all of my improbable wealth. But I need help in moving it. I have so much money that it will not fit in the allotted two checked bags and one carry-on. I am therefore want to transfer the money through your ATM system. (The Nigerian ATM system cannot exchange international currencies, it only converts "antelope to money").

So please to just provide me with your full name and address, National Insurance Number, band account and PIN numbers. And you will become incredibly (literally) rich from playing many jazz gigs. (Note: Union rules apply: three hour performances, two 15 minute breaks allowed, musicians to probide their own mosquito nets, one open fire per bandstand, one free meal plus anything you kill).


Miles Didn't Smile

William Vacchiano (Manhattan School of Music) was big on teaching trumpet students to transpose various parts for variously pitched trumpet parts.  Apparantly, Miles Davis studied briefly with Vacchiano in the 1950s.

During one lesson Vacchiano asked Miles: "If the piano is in the key of E, where does that put the trumpet?"

Miles replied, "Back in the case!"

from George Hamer and Duncan Reeks


Jazzers in Heaven

The horn section of a jazz combo was on the way to a gig and were killed in a tragic car accident. When they arrived in heaven, God personally greeted them at the front gate and asked each of them what they did on earth.

The first person said: "I was a tenor sax player and I made people happy with my wonderful music." The second person said: "I was a trombone player and I taught people the love of music."

The third person said: "I was a trumpet player and I believe you are sitting in my chair."

from Duncan Reeks


from Michael Cousins


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