Blake Lehodey, B00644905
MUSC 2020, History of Jazz
Thursday, October 21st
Writing assignment 1: Concert Report
Since I have been in university, most talk of live music has revolved around “what club has a special on tonight?” or “which DJ is going to be in town this weekend?” I have nothing against electronic music but sitting in a packed bar near the Halifax Harbor listening to jazz and conversing in a booth with my friends, instead of shouting to clear the volume of dance music, has been one of the most enjoyable nights of my time at Dalhousie. I had always wanted to see some live jazz or blues here, but without the extra push of this assignment I couldn’t seem to get out to listen to any. I went to see the Charles Mingus Tribute play on Thursday, Oct. 9th at Stayner’s Wharf Pub and Restaurant with some friends in the history of jazz course with me, and with some from out of the class. The performers were Dave Staples (piano), Chris Mitchell (saxophone), Martin Davidson (saxophone), Danny Martin (trombone), Tom Roach (drums), and Tom Easley (bass). As I was listening to the jazz I was trying my hardest to take in my surroundings and analyze how the environment catered to the music, see who was in attendance, and most of all enjoy the show.
When listening and watching live performances, the venue is almost as important as the music itself. The venue that the Charles Mingus Tribute played at the night I saw them was a restaurant and bar called Stayner’s Wharf. I had been there before, but in the middle of the day with no live music. The change I saw in atmosphere from that first time I experienced the restaurant to the second was tremendous. A tucked away stage with six musicians squished onto it all playing their hearts out transformed the boring restaurant into something so much more alive. The venue was a little odd because it wasn’t positioned around the players, so many people couldn’t see the stage from their tables or stools. However, even if you couldn’t see the musicians you could hear the sound so clearly throughout the entire place. It was very busy. People were standing with drinks, leaning on tables or walls, or sitting in booths with too many people on each bench. The staff was working like crazy trying to cater to the needs of each customer and was doing an excellent job. Luckily, even though we arrived slightly late, we were able to get a booth seat with a great view of the stage. This affected the experience immensely. Being able to see clearly the onstage chemistry and improvisation was very cool. There were certain times, in between solos when two musicians would exchange head nods and other gestures to indicate when someone should start playing and other technical things that I’m sure I don’t know about. Although the music wasn’t always collective improvisation, the ability of the individual players to adapt to what the others were doing was apparent and so was the skill that goes along with that ability. Overall I think the venue was perfect for the type of jazz they were playing, and the mood that each musician seemed to be in. The musicians seemed happier, too, because they could step off and enjoy a beer in between sets.
Since it was after 9:00 PM and there was live music, the event was labeled a “no minors event”. This put me as definitely the youngest person in attendance, as I was yet to turn 19 at the time. My age posed as a slight problem when trying to get in, but after explaining that we were here strictly for the jazz, the manager made an exception and allowed us entrance to the event. I think the fact that I was one of the only people there not indulging in alcohol changed the way I listened to the music, especially as the show continued. Everyone I was sitting with never had an empty glass in front of them and even the musicians were drinking casually, which reminded me of speakeasies and had me imagining myself in Chicago in the 1920’s. As the audience got drunker the...
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