A new manger asked me to describe what kind of music I generally play so that he could train the hostesses in taking calls about the restaurant.
I told him that I was his standards and showtunes guy on the roster.
I didn’t think anymore of it until a guest showed up and asked if I knew any standard Lynyrd Skynyrd songs.
As politely as possible, I smiled and said I could play Georgia on my Mind, Stars Fell on Alabama or The Tennessee Waltz, but that I did not know any standard Skynyrd.
“Well, I was told you knew the standards,” he mutters with undisguised disgust.
Then the sarcastically combative follow-up, “What kind of standards do you know then?”
I sincerely hope that all musicians and music enthusiasts will take pride in my answering:
“While is no definitive list of jazz standards, the Great American Songbook culls the bulk of its repertoire from Tin Pan Alley popular songs, which in turn were mostly written for Broadway musicals. And what I play mostly comes from the 1920s and 30s.”
There is a moment of silence.
A middle-aged man with one too many beers in him walks away muttering, “That’s not what I was told.”
And I am left alone with my standards.