Maintaining a literary blog is like keeping a big band on the road during the waning days of swing music. The audience is aging and no longer guaranteed. They look elsewhere for diversion – television, bop or R&B. As the boss, you make sure the arrangements are in order, payroll is met, dates booked, players rehearsed and reasonably sober. You’re not Basie or Goodman but you’re a professional and people count on you. You’re never certain who’s listening, if anyone, but you still love the music and probably aren’t suited for doing anything else. Tomorrow’s another gig and you’ll be there.
I started Anecdotal Evidence three years ago today strictly as a soloist, not an ensemble player, which is the way I’ve gone about things for most of my life. If I had thought much about it, which I didn’t, I would have defined blogging as a lot of comping interrupted by occasional solos. I had forgotten that jazz musicians play best with an audience, and often the second show is better than the first, looser, more energized and inventive. Truly, no one is exclusively a soloist. Calling them sidemen sounds patronizing but I have a lot of partners to thank. First, as always, Dave Lull, mon frère, mon copy editor. And Bryan Appleyard, Buce, Laura Demanski, Elberry, Michael Gilleland, Joe, Jonathan, Joshua Kurp, Ken Kurp, Michael Leinz, D.G. Myers, Fran Manushkin, Nige, Brian Sholis, Ron Slate, Levi Stahl, Terry Teachout, Frank Wilson and all I’ve forgotten or who prefer to remain unacknowledged.
My brother sent a video of the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra performing Eddie Sauter’s “Holiday.” The band stayed together from 1952 to 1957 – tough years. For an idea of what blogging is like, listen to Bill Finegan’s intro and watch the percussionists.