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"Bad Personality Can Spoil The Music"

If I don’t like an artist personally,
I don’t get as much enjoyment from his music.

Jimmy Smith is one example.
I like a lot of kinds of music
and one is jazz organ playing.
Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff are two of the top rated in that area.

I was a Jimmy Smith fan until this happened:
Keith Emerson, the genius keyboardist,
was playing to a crowd of 50,000 in a major U.S. city,
with his group Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
Keith was a Jimmy Smith fan,
and heard that Smith was playing in a small local nightclub,
so he reserved a front table to go and enjoy Smith’s music,
after his own concert was over.

When he entered the club
and made his way to the table that was set up for him,
he saw Smith glaring at him from the stage.
Then Jimmy Smith stopped the show
and started playing “Bicycle Built for Two”
in an overly corny style,
watching Emerson all the time.

Smith said this over the mike:
“Isn’t this the way white people play music?”
There was no humor in it.
It was not meant as a joke.

Keith Emerson finished his drink and left,
disappointed and ticked off.
He had just come from his huge concert
to hear Smith in that little club,
and was insulted for no understandable reason.
He’s not a Jimmy Smith fan anymore.
Neither am I.

Misty was playing a Jimmy Smith CD this morning,
and the music was outstanding.
Then I remembered who was playing it,
and the fun was gone.

There is a famous country singer
who demands complete silence from his audience.
Instead of using humor or gentleness when somebody is talking,
he stops the show and silently sits and waits.
Sometimes he scolds the audience over the mike.
The guy is a fine singer,
but has lost fans through his lack of tact and showmanship.

We liked Bobby Vinton’s records
until he was seated next to us at a table at a CBS convention.
He was the ultimate rude snob.
There were eight of us at each table in the big room
at the Fairmont Hotel, in San Francisco.
where we had dinner and watched other CBS artists perform.
Six of us at our table tried to avoid Vinton for the whole week.
The only one who talked to him
 was the yes man he brought with him.

We know he’s a capable singer
and does hit material.
but we don’t listen to him any more.

On the other end of the spectrum,
most of the stars we met in our travels were very friendly,
like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Don Gibson, George and Tammy,
Archie Campbell, Grandpa Jones, Mayf Nutter, Hal Willis,
Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Mike Douglas, Dick Clark, and more.
Since we met them we appreciate their work more.

We have repairmen who come to our home.
Some are friendly and some are not.
No matter how good they are,
we don’t call the grouchy ones again.
Who needs it?

I guess it’s the same in any field.

Copyright © Oct. 2, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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