Today has been a day of strange and fantastic guest comments.
Earlier in the afternoon, during our tea time set, the orchestra was playing Glenn Miller’s “Little Brown Jug.” It’s a simple tune (more like a riff dressed up in orchestration than anything else), and as we outnumbered the audience I decided to have a little fun with the solo by pushing the melody back a beat each chorus. For those of you who aren’t musicians, this is the equivalent of Ives sending two marching bands past each other playing different songs at the same time. It cracked the band up (our reed player hand his sleeve stuffed in his mouth to keep from laughing), which is what we need every once in a while to stay sane on these sets.
As soon as we finished an elderly man approached us. “You guys sound great! You sound way better than the so-called ‘Glenn Miller Band’ that was here on the crossing! They were way too loud and brassy, but you have the real sound! I grew up listening to the original 78s and so I would know!”
We thanked him politely and he walked away. Yes, I imagine our band IS a little quieter than the Glenn Miller Orchestra. That’s what happens when you cut thirteen horns down to three . . . but the comparison is ludicrous. They sounded fantastic.
Later, after our “big band” set (such as it was, with six pieces), a lady came up to us. “I was really upset that you didn’t play In the Mood!”
We apologized and mentioned that we’d include it next time.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s really a big band classic!” And she stormed off.
Lady, you have no idea. I'm reminded of the old bandstand joke, where musicians wish that Glenn Miller had lived and his music had died.
Anyway. My little remaining faith in our onboard audience is quickly melting away. Time to get off the ship . . .