Sunday, July 24, 2011

The abyss

In this third installment of my events/swing band repertoire series (hopefully it's of some interest to the bandleaders/working drummers out there), we'll be confronting some of the things I've kept around strictly out of commercial necessity (the band would debate that, but never mind). Keep in mind this list represents but a tiny fraction of the godawful things I've been made to play in my life. And the most palatable fraction at that- many of these are not bad tunes at all- we've just played them so many times over the years we can't stand the sight of them. Yet in my book they remain...

As Time Goes By - Few things would give me greater pleasure than to purge this thing, but unfortunately it has become a standard father/daughter dance request at every single last bloody wedding in the world, and generally gets people dancing.

Begin the Beguine
- The long, annoying form is a little bit of a crutch- the guys can glaze over and just play this little game of Chutes & Ladders and forget what is happening to them. We do swing this all the way through, in 4; we don't play it as a Latin.

Blue Moon
- All-purpose "bluesy" 50's pop ballad. This song is to lounge pianists what Summertime is to girl singers in musical theater.

Cheek to Cheek
- The dancers love it. Like it. Sort of. What am I supposed to do?

More of this sort of thing after the break:

- Again, this is dance floor gold, and a chance for me to play my "Ocean's 11" 12/8, with a 16th note triplet in the middle of the beat.

I Cover the Waterfront;
I'm Old Fashioned - These tunes are just fine- there's just not really a whole lot you can do with them and we have truly played them to death. When I play them it could be any of hundreds of nights over the last 15 years.

Imagination - Stop, for a moment I can't remember how this goes- let's move on fast...

It Had To Be You - Another crowd-pleaser I don't want to think about.

Jersey Bounce - This is actually a great alternative to all of the usual tunes for swing dancing, but we have played it way, way too many times, and we're all a little ashamed when we make the perfect little ending...

Moon River - "You woke up the mama." This is the big one. The dream maker/heart breaker line does always make me think of the "my love is a life-taker" line from Weezer, which is nice.

Moonglow - Moon River challenger.

Moonlight Serenade - Do you like playing funeral dirges? I don't.

Our Love is Here to Stay - Dear God, I hate this song. Do you notice my mood getting darker the deeper we get into this?

Pennies From Heaven - Lightens the moment when the party gets rained out. Stupid.

Perdido - I don't know what you want me to say about this.

So Nice - The most insipid Jobim tune I am aware of. Tim Willcox, the saxophonist, straight up rebelled at our last gig and preemptively refused to play it.

Someone to Watch Over Me - A patriarchal favorite. Another one I would dearly love to dump, but again, the weddings...

Tangerine - See Perdido.

Rhumbas: Spanish Eyes, Green Eyes, More, Besame Mucho, Frenesi,  Flamingo - I don't know why I need this many rhumbas around, except I don't want to play any single one of them too many more times in my life.  

Cha chas: Tea for Two, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Never on Sunday - Same as with the rhumbas, but double.

That's quite enough of that. Someday- if you're nice to me- I'll entertain you with a list of tunes from past work so horrifying I never even considered using them in my own rep.

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