Top 50 JAzz Blog

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Loss of the Targeted Hang

My last post bemoaned the disappearance of local places to buy horns. Another aspect of moving instrumental sales online was the demise of places where you could do what you might call a "targeted hang." That is, a place where musicians could indulge themselves with some serious checking in and screwing off, while convincing themselves they were actually getting something done-fixing a dicty spit valve, re-corking a pad, getting a dent banged out, or looking at horns you couldn't afford. Buying a bottle of valve oil could take two hours. These were all excellent excuses for going in to sniff out who was in town, gawk at your improvisational betters, or simply think to yourself "yea, there are actually a bunch of people in this world going through the same crap that I am."

Night clubs are different. Institutions like Berklee are different. In fact, there were never many of these places in Boston, at least as far as I knew: Tottle's for mouthpieces, Rayburn's for everything, JDS (Jack's Drum Shop) School of Music and John Coffey's indescribable studio.

There's a lot happening on the blog, so I'll keep it short and come back later with a look at my little Stevie self waiting for a trumpet lesson, watching the entire trombone section of the BBC orchestra get loaded on John Coffey's booze. Talk about early inspiration...


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve Provizer said...


Do you have the kind of places around you-music stores, repair shops, etc., where musicians can hang out?


Anonymous said...

Interesting question, Steve --

But no, although there are some of the shops you're talking about. -- Anyway, our scene is populated with only a few groups of musicians who would meet at other places like the ARTheater where there is a session every Tuesday, even during the Summer when most places make a break.

But this jam session will start after an opener, featuring a regular band, at around 10 o'clock p.m., and the last sound would be played around 1 o'clock a.m. -- Bird would have laughed out loudly; and I did that too, after I returned from New York in early 1999.

I rarely visit any jam sessions since then. New York has spoiled me for every German jazz jam. And what I can't stand anymore are music stands on the stage, with fake books for the ones who can't play them standards by heart.

Regarding places where other live-music, and not only jazz is played: It's kinda ridiculous to close during July and August, since not every native of Cologne will be leaving town for a holiday.

But that's Cologne. It's partly quite pathetic here, too much focussed on Carnival, and quite a dead place regarding subcultural happenings.

The scene is much different in Berlin. Okay, that's our capital; and they wouldn't close over the Summer holidays.

Most musicians are doing their thing for themselves. We would meet for rehearsals due to special projects, like concerts, tours, or recordings.

Hanging out at repair shops is not a very common thing among German jazz musicians. That's more a rocker thing, if you know what I mean, experimenting with guitars on the spot etc. ...



Steve Provizer said...

Brew-The thing that makes these places valuable, I think, is the "unofficial" quality they have. They have atmospheres that are relaxed, which lets people see they have the same preoccupations as others.

I know Cologne has some beautiful art, stained glass, architecture. It sounds like music is not at the top of the list. New York, if you don't have to be preoccupied with money, is a fabulous place for music.