March 2022, gigs had started coming back in earnest, and I got booked to do two gigs with a guy who plays old time jazz. Lineup was singer/trumpet/trombone, clarinet, 6 string banjo, and me on upright, which admittedly I’m no Ron Carter but I’m solid.
We do the first gig, and everyone is out of whack. Horn players are cracking notes, playing bizarre stuff, banjo player is slowing everything down tremendously and not listening to me trying to play the tempo the singer counts off, and honestly I felt like the only person who had actually practiced (I didn’t practice much, but they made me feel like I woodshedded for 8 hours a day compared to them).
A week later I get a call…”Jimmy, you know I love you and think you’re a great guy, but I’m pulling you off the next gig because you’re not where I need you to be.”
I pretended not to be upset about it because upright definitely isn’t my strong suit, but I got canned because I couldn’t keep the banjo player in time because he wasn’t listening. Meanwhile, he’s still there. It was all due to the pandemic layoff, and he’s ordinarily fantastic, but nobody had a right to claim musical superiority on that day simply because we were all out of shape, and I said as much. BL says I’m right but I’m still not doing the gig. I think the clarinet player, who is kind of a jerk who thinks he’s the ultimate, got in his head.
So I’m not talking to the guy anymore. Don’t tell me you love me then fire me because I’m not up to the high standards you set for everybody but yourself.