Stage presence needs to be addressed in jazz as it is often neglected. I recently witnessed a singer, when not in front of the band but still on stage, reading a newspaper and often see other instrumentalists checking their watches and cellar phones for messages and updated scores on games. Ridiculous. How is the audience supposed to take the music seriously when the musicians, by their actions and body language, indicate that they would rather be somewhere else. Sure, some gigs suck and many venues treat us like c@#% but until we treat ourselves with respect and acknowledge the musical efforts of the musicians around us, how can be expect the musical climate to change? So, bow after your solo and acknowledge the audience, smile once in a while, turn off your phone (better yet, keep it in your case) and actually listen to the other musicians when you are not playing. We chose this line of work so enjoy it. It is and should be enjoyable.
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.