Top 50 JAzz Blog

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Jazz Cops on Patrol" by Steve Provizer

So, my band is working toward the out-chorus of "All of Me," when this stocky guy with a crew cut comes up to the stage. He's a tough looking mug, wearing a blue drum major hat with "this space for rent" written on his forehead.

"Alright," he says to the drummer, "Put those sticks down. You've traded enough fours for tonight. And you with the bass-drop that bow.  We take a dim view of excessive arco down at headquarters." Then, he takes a pad out of his pocket and starts writing out what looks like a ticket. 

Joe, our bass player pipes up: "Hey man, who the hell are you?"

"Jazz Cops," he says, and pulls out a badge with Sid Bechet's picture on it. "Boys," he explains, "you've broken more jazz statutes tonight than Boots Randolph."

He finishes writing the ticket, tears it off the pad and says: "Who's the supposed leader of this clown posse?"

I step up, take the ticket and try to decipher it: "02? 03? What the hell does all this mean?"

"Key for the violation codes are on the back, Bozo. I'd advise you to commit them to memory," and with that, he turns on his flat feet and flees.

"Oh, one last thing," he yells from the back of the club, "Fines are doubled on New Year's Eve."

Sadist... Well, here are those Jazz Code Violations, revealed for the first time:

01-Tempo Violation: Going 150 beats per minute in a Ballad Zone.

02-Erroneous Genre Miscegenation-Attempting to merge incompatible musical styles. 

03-Arrangement Creativity Deficit: Unimaginative, rote use of form [i.e., head, solo, solo, solo, repeat head].

04-Criminal Endings Abuse: Infinite drum rolls and aimless horn noodling over a protracted final chord. 

05-Arco-philia: Overuse of the bowed bass to achieve a dramatic effect. 

06-Vehicular Homicide: Inviting someone to sit in and then calling "Giant Steps" in Dflat. 

07-Playing while intoxicated: [with Bird, Trane, Miles].

08-Inspection Violation: Un-emptied spit valve, squawky reed or rattling snare.

09-Faulty Instrumentation: [Overuse of the soprano sax].

10-Cheap Trick Abuse: Arbitrary application of odd meters in a 4/4 Zone.

Dum, da dum dum daaah. A Mark LXVIII Production.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I got a ticket once for playing jazz on a street corner in NYC--the cop said, "There's jazz clubs around here--why don't you play there?" My friend said (later), "Sure, we'll just go to the Vanguard and tell them Officer Krupke said they had to give us a gig. It's THE LAW."

Steve Provizer said...

It was just your bringin-up-ke, that made you out-of-hand.

Anonymous said...

Played 'Round Midnight once, in the middle of the night (when else?), at Cologne's Rudolfplatz which is one of the loudest places in the city. It was on a weekend in Summer. Lots of taxis, and huge traffic. Saturday night I guess.

All of a sudden, a cop put one of his hands on my shoulders and said: "End of the show."

Maybe he held his gun in the other hand. -- This was in the early 1990's.

I never did it again, though our cops have really ugly green uniforms, not as impressive like your dark blue, or black ones.