Let me start by saying leading a big band is hard work. When you go see a big band (and please go see a big band!), the conductor wiggling his or her bum in front of the band may look like s/he is just along for the ride, but please realise that the wiggle is probably a nervous twitch. Yes, dealing with all the conflicting personalities and musical visions, divas and divos, wrong notes and rhythms night after night, may just drive someone to a nervous breakdown. Man, I love jazz and I love big band repertoire but I could do without the drama. Now, I say this but I admit, I was that trombone player in the section giving the conductor grief a few years ago ("Ahhhh, another Dave Wolpe chart? Really?"). At the time, I did not see the big picture and I did not appreciate how difficult it is to manage 20 different musicians. When I can, I apologise to those leaders when I see them. Back to the present situation - each conductor has to decide what approach s/he is going to take. For me, a band is not a democracy. While I want to know everyone's opinion, I need to make the final decision on the band's musical direction. Others may take a more democratic approach to leading their bands. For me, that is akin to too many cooks. Well, I could edit this blog, as it is a little haphazard but it is late. Hopefully, you get the gist.
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.