9:47 a.m. WAKE UP TO LOUD-ASS FREE JAZZ
“Why not greet the sun” by blasting the melodious sounds of Sun Ra Arkestra’s It’s After the End of the World? Recorded at two German jazz festivals in 1970, this set features Sun Ra and band in peak form, especially on the 15-minute cut, “Strange Worlds/Black Myth/It’s After the End of the World,” where the ensemble takes the listener on a journey through a truly bizarre and intense jazz wormhole. If you aren’t energized by the sound of horn players Pat Patrick and John Gilmore reducing their instruments to molten brass, just go back to sleep.
12:15 p.m. EAT LUNCH AND DEVELOP A CRIPPLING HEROIN ADDICTION
If you wanna play “like Bird,” you might as well start shooting dope like Bird. Look, far be it for Folio Weekly to condone drug abuse. We’re so healthy that we subsist on merely organic ice cubes and gluten-free hummingbird nectar. But dabbling in drugs, getting completely strung out, and repeatedly pawning your euphonium to pay off your dealer is still a musical path that’s “in the tradition” for some players. Granted, that daily dose of methadone from the clinic can get pricy, but if nothing else, now you’ve really explored the blues. Oh, yeah … don’t overdose.
3:15 p.m. JOIN A CULT OR OBSCURE EASTERN RELIGION
Scientology is to jazz like lozenges are to yodeling. Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Darius Brubeck, Al DiMeola, Mark Isham, and Tony Morales are jazzbos who follow the questionable doctrine laid out by Scientology-founder/completely-menacing-psycho L. Ron Hubbard. Outside the “Jazz-Dianetics Bubble,” The late Alice Coltrane was an adherent to Vedanta and John McLaughlin still follows that Brahman-fueled path. Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock are Buddhists. To make sure you don’t wind up in some gated compound where you’re forced to listen to recordings of Tom Cruise admonishing us to not be glib, why not emulate those four Eastern-religion-leaning players?
5:45 p.m. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
“Hey, man, what key is this in?”
“I don’t believe in keys. My music is about colors.”
Fair enough. But if you want to sit in with most able jazz groups, you’d better practice your ass off. While much jazz is based on playing “changes,” or a standard set of chord progressions, an equal amount of tunes are based on wholly unconventional structures. And since the music is geared toward total improvisation, you don’t want to be the one person on the bandstand completely baffled by what’s happening around you, suddenly reduced to no longer playing your instrument, as you rock back and forth and needlessly urge the audience to, “Just clap your hands! C’mon now!” Miles wept.
11:58 p.m. QUESTION YOUR VERY EXISTENCE
Lookit – you’ve played the Moers Festival with Sunny Murray, won several awards in Belgium, and scored the soundtrack to an acclaimed documentary. But that dude who owns the bar you’re playing in still won’t feed the band. There’s no justice! So there are inevitable moments of soul-deflating angst and wondering if you made the right career choice. But you didn’t start playing jazz for the money. When you’re on break, go outside, take a deep breath, and during the second set, tear into Coltrane’s “Impressions,” and you’ll quickly be reminded why you spend your life as a jazz musician.