A Relaxing Jazz Dinner Gig
When keyboardist Kevin Moreland called me to work a relaxing jazz dinner gig at Embassy Suites, I jumped at the opportunity. I always enjoy working with talented musicians such as Kevin, especially when we are to play jazz. He described the gig as "it's going to be fun, they are a small group wanting to hear jazz, smooth jazz, and maybe little soft r&b mixed in as they eat dinner...and there is not going to be a dance floor set up nor an open bar."
That sounded very good...in fact, perfect! "No dance floor" means we will be able to stick with cool music and "no open bar" means things should be relaxing and an early finish to the evening. These are the makings of a great gig!
Sometimes gigs don't go exactly the way we anticipate. I knew things were going to become interesting after we honored a request for the Brubeck/Desmond classic "Take Five" and saw everyone get up from their dinner table and start dancing on the carpet. I've played gigs for over thirty years and had never seen people dance to "Take Five", a song written in 5/4 time. From there our "jazz gig" turned in to a full blown "rock the house" party. Instead of playing Jobim, Grover Washington Jr, and Cole Porter tunes, we ended up playing "The Electric Slide", "Hot, Hot, Hot", "Cha Cha Slide" and "Shout".
Though our gig wasn't what we expected, we adapted to what our client wanted. They had a ball and have already asked us back for the next "jazz dinner". I'm going to bring my Stan Kenton "Adventures in Time" and Don Ellis cds to see if they can dance to that!