If you’d like to forward any of these stories or post them on your website, you’re welcome to do so. I’ll send you Word documents and/or pdfs if that helps. Please be sure to include a link to billanschell.com, and DO NOT REMOVE THE AUTHOR BYLINE OR COPYRIGHT NOTICE. (Sorry about the all caps, but when I haven't yelled in the past, people apparently haven't heard me.)
Jazz Etiquette Column!
A very close acquaintance of mine is authoring a jazz-oriented advice column: "Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum". I highly recommend it to all jazz humor enthusiasts and anyone who doesn't know how to act when confronted with jazz (hint: avoid making loud noises or sudden movements).
Check out Mr. P.C.'s page on Facebook. No need to be a Facebook member, and once there you can read all the installments, become a fan (P.C.'s fans already number more than 3,000), and invite your friends to join the fold.
You can also find each column with a quick search for "Mr. P.C." on allaboutjazz.com.
Mr. P.C. welcomes your submissions (questions on how to behave under the most unusual and/or traumatizing jazz-related circumstances) at email@example.com. Anonymity available upon request.
I periodically self-publish purely self-indulgent vignettes based on my life in the jazz world. These stories are essential reading for any aspiring musician who might unwittingly enter the field without a sense of humor or a passion for the bizarre.
Casuals, club dates, general business gigs, jobbing . . . different names for the private parties many jazz musicians play to support themselves. No matter what they're called, they can be nights of sheer hell or--depending on your outlook--dark comedy. One such night is the setting for The Weakened Worriers, my latest epic tell-all. Almost all of the events depicted happened to me or to friends of mine, truth once again being stranger than fiction.
Jazz Jam Sessions: A First-Timer’s Guide became an internet phenomenon shortly after I first published it. An anonymous disgruntled third party (initial profiling suggests a guitarist or vocalist) removed my byline, excerpted Section 2 (“The Musicians”), retitled it "How Jazz Works," and cast it into the cyberworld, launching an international tidal wave of "forward"s and "cc"s. Since then it’s been read by thousands of jazz musicians, though few have any idea who wrote it. It’s also currently posted on many jazz websites (google “How Jazz Works” to get a sampling . . . ), including sites where it has been translated into French, Japanese, and Greek. Read it here, as the author intended, unedited and with no overdubs.
For a reasoned, logical analysis of the unreasonable and illogical jazz world, check out Jazz Math.
People who enjoy--or can even tolerate--listening to jazz are outnumbered by the musicians who want to play it. For that reason, less than 1% of jazz artists are able to support themselves playing the music they love. How do the rest survive? That, and much more, in Careers in Jazz, a story that's generated unanticipated controversy. Humorous or slanderous? You decide; thick skin required. It's the all-time most-read story, with more than 350,000 reads, on allaboutjazz.com, the leading jazz website. It's been posted on countless other jazz sites and gone explosively viral via email. And it was the centerpiece of a story that the Wall Street Journal ran both online and in print; the Journal wrote that Careers in Jazz "is being passed among economist-bloggers as a comic case study in market disfunction."
Interested in the exciting world of jazz journalism? Spend just a few minutes reading How to Be a Jazz Critic, and you’ll write exactly like the pros!
Experience the glamorous world of regional jazz nightclubs--five-star accommodations, complimentary gourmet meals, crystalline acoustics, state-of-the-art pianos, enthralled audiences, and virtuous clubowners–in Searching for Glory at the Cookin’ Cadenza.
And for an inside look at the death-defying life of a staff musician aboard the S.S. Norway, check out There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute.