Jazz Congress Confidential – Part Five
The Stagecraft Masterclass turned out to be the highlight of Jazz Congress, at least for THIS delegate! In spite of having checked her out online beforehand, I wasn’t prepared for the glory that is Marilyn Maye, and everything from her musical chops and good humor to her playful flirtation with Paquito D’Rivera utterly charmed me! When they began to make music together with pianist extraordinaire Tedd Firth, I literally couldn’t stop smiling! THIS is how jazz is supposed to be, folks; joyful and spontaneously combusting to beat the band!
Ms Maye’s advice to performers is straight-ahead:
- take the stage with energy and make eye contact
- sing TO the audience, not FOR them!
- acknowledge and appreciate the audience, no matter their size
- start with happy songs about the audience (sensing a trend yet?)
- grab ’em at the beginning and don’t let go
- THEN follow with your ballads and stories
- Be considerate about who’s on after your appearance
- It should be a party!
- use tools to connect with who shares the stage; soft respect and intense listening
- reveal the context, i.e. describe how and why you’re performing this song now
- make your patter have a payoff
- use rubato judiciously
- if you’re “a woman of a certain age”, wear sleeves and cover your knees!
She made me proud to be a Marilyn!