There are messages in music, if you let yourself listen, and I've been thinking about how to convey what I heard at this Sunday's Doghouse Jam, for which I had the rare treat of sharing the experience with my wife, Louise. Shall we assemble these messages as a sort of tuneful State of the Union speech, since we're unlikely to get one, and are perhaps unlikely to want one, from the person currently launching memoranda from behind the portico at 1600 Pennsylvania. Or maybe, since none of the 7 Mile musicmakers really said any of these things, we can have you peruse it as Fake News. It'll be good practice for you. Here goes:
The Doghouse Tetraology declared their continuation, despite the uncertain process of the New Year, with basic jazz tenets, which were apparent to this observer on Sunday, January 22nd. These tenets are summarized in running text here: Bop is a basic nutrient, not a genre. The musicians who regale you at the 7 Mile House are your true ambassadors-at-large, and they should be benefiting from your tax dollars, but they're not. It doesn't matter if you know the tune, as long as they do, but it's also alright when there are no wrong notes. An agreed-to key, for example E-flat, is someone that all the musicians have dated. They will love the melody but in a way that the melody is not used to being loved, and that will seduce the audience into listening to the loving. Good jazz is indeed like good love, when you can pass a riff on to someone else and not lose the level of excitement. When musicians are gigging on "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", they won't think about evoking these elements literally, but if the audience has good ears, good booze, and/or good cannabis, the audience will think that the elements are being evoked, and they just might be. Ballads are like french-kissing, make sure you make use of your own patois. A song's break is like the melody's cute kid sister or brother; feel free to flirt, but only briefly. Then trade eights and fours as if you were passing a dynamite doob to your best friend. Everybody loves a drum solo, but the drummer should try to earn that love anyway. Horns were originally used for hunting; find your prey, but make sure the prey enjoys the chase. Pianists get away with so much because they can always sound subtle. Shut up for the bass solo and you'll be open to ogling the g-string. Endings are such sweet sorrow, serve up what's satisfying, with a tangy finish, and leave them smiling, and tipping.