If you’ve read more than one post on this blog you’ve probably sensed a theme. I hope that there will be many themes as we delve deeper into what it means/takes to be a working musician. But the early life of this blog is starting to come together around the idea of entertainment. I’m a firm believer that even the most artistic and complex music can still be entertaining. And it’s our job as musicians to know how to entertain our audience. I first wrote about entertainment in the post Why We Play and then again in Give ’em Something to Grab On To. Both posts prompted comments by my new friend Andrew Durkin and got me thinking about the concept further.
Then I came across this profile of pianist Geoffrey Keezer at All About Jazz. This is a great read for many reason, as Keezer talks about his approach to his career and his association with the amazing “record label” ArtistShare (if you don’t know about ArtistShare you really should follow the link – this is the future of music distribution and oh-so-much more!). At the end he talks about his take on entertainment, no doubt informed in part by his associations with Art Blakey and Ray Brown:
I look at what I do as entertainment. I understand the role of entertainment in society more than I used to. Yes, it is art and it’s complex and all those things. But I don’t want to put the art factor so high that it alienates people. I don’t want to be one of those kinds of musicians where people come and sit like a stone in the audience and observe me torturing myself on stage. It’s not about that. I want the audience to have a good time and walk away from my shows feeling better than when they came in.
I couldn’t agree more! I love feeling like we really gave something to the audience. And when we do, they give back. That’s the kind of relationship I want with the people in the room with me, both on stage and off. Keezer goes on:
it’s OK to talk to your audience. It’s OK to smile on stage. It doesn’t cheapen what we do in any way to actually reveal to the audience that we actually enjoy what we’re doing. I think that’s one of the comments I get the most from the audience after shows. They say, ‘Gosh, you guys look like you’re having such a great time up on stage,’ because we are.
Amen brother Geoff!
Follow him on Twitter: @geoffreykeezer.