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As I began my piano solo on the first tune – a medium tempo blues – everything got weird. The whole idea of playing jazz seemed impossibly silly, particularly this notion of improvisation: I was supposed to make something up on this tune, right? Some sort of stream of consciousness chain of ideas that would magically take shape and organically have a logic all its own, some shit like that...Then there was something in there about freedom from the constraints of written music, yeah, that’s right. Escape those dreaded texts. Rock on dude.

It was ‘creation on the fly’; it was a ‘truly American art from’; I wasn’t having any of it.

A crippling self-consciousness came over me, enveloping me like some noxious cloud. It seemed ridiculously self indulgent, the whole business. Yet the people were there listening to me, and there was that characteristic gravity to the audience – the studious, over-serious aspect; the expectation of transcendence nullified by their own hyper-critical stance…Oh hell, I realized – these are my people; this is my crowd! I’m just like them.

Of course, my own critical faculty was a liability in this case, and my unspoken complicity with the smart-assed downtown New York crowd proved to be fatal. I second-guessed their judgments after every stillborn phrase that I meagerly offered in my solo, like so many mouse droppings. And with each pointed failure, with each dumb fumbling for catharsis, I chopped a rung off the invisible ladder that separated me from the public, causing irrevocable damage to my status as a jazzman. I felt even lower than the audience! I deserved to be thrown into the lowest of all rings in Dantesque jazz hell, with the most contemptuous of the damned: The Critics!

It was all doom and gloom that night – a particularly lousy gig. I had forgotten one of the Cardinal Laws of jazz: Don’t invest yourself with too much importance; it will prove fatal on the gig. I was a jazz slut is all, and the jazz slut is the 5 dollar blow job of the music world. Don’t forget it fucker.

Date Written: June 15, 2004
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 3.75

06/18/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): I really liked where this was going but found that it kind of trailed off. Maybe a few twists and turns? Something going against the trajectory of the beginning, perhaps. What about if the audience loved it? Or if we found out that he was dead the whole time, and the kid seeing dead people wasn't crazy?
06/18/2004 scoop (3): I admire the authentic place of hatred and loahting that this short seems to be coming from, just didn't find it particularly funny...
06/18/2004 Craig Lewis (5): Did Bud Powell feel this way too?
06/18/2004 anonymous (1):
06/18/2004 Ewan Snow (5): I'd give this 3.5 or so, but considering the anon one...
06/18/2004 Jon Matza: I'm not sure I understand the concept of jazz slut, but you had me up to there.
06/18/2004 Jon Matza (4): oopsie
06/18/2004 TheBuyer (4): (no critique)
06/18/2004 Phony Millions (3): Thanks Ewan! Not my strongest work...But somebody's got a grudge!
06/18/2004 Craig Lewis: I especially enjoyed the standalone graf: "It was ‘creation on the fly’; it was a ‘truly American art form’; I wasn’t having any of it."
06/18/2004 John Slocum (4): The narrator can jam with Cavalcante dei Cavalcanti in Jazz Hell!