In the wilting heat of these dog days I thought we could use a little comic diversion, so here’s one of the games jazz guys play on the road when things get boring, which is often enough. The idea is to make up an imaginary band of musicians whose names are onomatopoeic – yes, I realize that’s an awfully big word for a bass player. You know, puns for the instruments they play – and how they play them – usually pretty badly to make it more fun. (It helps if you sound out the names below, but don’t do this in public or people will think you’re an even bigger drooling idiot than you really are.) Here then, is a bad big band of choice names compiled over the years, say Duke O’Bore and his Prairie Stink-o-Pators:
Trumpets: On lead trumpet we have Blair Lowder of course. The not very sure-lipped jazz trumpet soloist is Manny Clams. The section is rounded out by the mistake-prone Willie Cack and Kenny Maykit, who has very limited range, so his parts are often doubled by Betty Won’t.
Trombones: The lead trombonist is the slippery Russian, Slide Uptopitch. On second ‘bone is a veteran of all the name bands who’s never been a leader himself, Cy DeMann. The weak-chopped third trombonist is Cuffs Knightley. Bass trombone is handled by Stan Torian, who hails from Armenia and blows like, the lowest.
Reeds: As usual, the sax section is a mixed bag of old hacks and overanxious youngbloods. On lead alto is the aging and slightly deaf veteran Otto Retire, backed by Reed Baddeley on third alto. Naturally, the tenor saxophonists are both ardent soloists with limited sectional skills, the chorus-hogging Argentinian Juan Ablownow and the free-wheeling Les Barlines, who often gets lost on the charts. The massively overblowing baritone saxophonist is Aaron Bighorn.
Every big band needs a good rhythm section and these guys are anything but. The pianist is the ham-fisted Will Hammer and the guitar chair is filled by Otis Kordant, who doesn’t actually play but does fill the chair. Pete Sacatto is the tone-deaf bass thumper, whose arco is really the pits. The drummer is Chick Aboom, who learned his hide-beating in India. On percussion are two Latin specialists from Brazil, Boz Sanova and Sam Ba.
Of course every big band needs a boy singer and a girl singer. The crooner here is the Italian stallion Mike Raffone and the chirp is Barbie Foray, who often comes in too early, not that the band notices or anything.
The roadie and band-boy chores are handled by a Pakistani junkie named Mustafa Fix and the copyist/music librarian is Skip Dakota. Transportation is the department of Buster Minal.
So there you have them ladies and germs, from high atop the Star Blight Lounge – Duke O’Bore and his Prairie Stink-o-Pators, offering the Swedest sounds this side of heaven for your Danzig pleasure. A musical aggregation, make that aggravation, truly to be avoided at all costs.
Rimshot, over and out.
© 2013, Steve Wallace. All rights reserved.