Feb 08


Being a musician in various international hotels,  I have developed an uncanny skill of very quickly being able to identify different nationalities on sight.  This is a very useful skill to have as it helps to know what languages to focus on when speaking on the mic, but probably more importantly it determines what repertoire is played that night.

The initial assessment of nationality is made by style of dress.  However, the most accurate assessment of nationality is by observing dance styles. Most nationalities have a very stereotypical way of dancing. (More on this subject in another article)

In my early years as a professional musician I was living in South Africa working in a trio playing mainly dance music for Afrikaners. (White South Africans with Dutch ancestry)

The Afrikaners have a very similar dance style to Germans. Long extended arms which is often pumped in time to the music.  No loose disco type dancing.  The style of dancing is employed with all songs,  slow, medium and fast tempos.  The only variation is a vigorous spin which seemingly follows no pattern that I can see.

The bass guitarist in the trio,  Corne,  (an Afrikaner himself and a fine and accomplished musician) would often get bored.  At the point in the evening when Corne was particularly bored,  he would edge up behind me and whisper in my ear, “Pat…..Pat…. Take 5,  Take 5.”   Referring to the tune made famous by the Dave Brubeck quartet, not the fact that he wanted a break. He wanted to see what the audience would make of the 5/4 rhythm while dancing.

I would duly oblige and the next tune I would count in would be Take 5.   Much to Cornes amusement and entertainment the audience would be totally unfazed by the odd time signature. Pumping their arms in time to the music, and spinning around just as they had done to every other tune we had played that night. Weird man. DANCING TO ‘TAKE 5’

If you are a Brubeck quartet fan , see the post SHARED MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF A TRUE JAZZ LEGEND

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    […] I’ve done some gigs in some awesome locations. New year’s Eve  1994 I did a gig with  Corne (Read more about Corne in the blog DANCING TO TAKE 5) at the Hotel in Pilgrims Rest, in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The Royal Hotel […]

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