Remember Mr. P.C.?

Mr. PC wideIt has been slightly more than two years since the Rifftides staff has alerted you the invaluable work of Mr. P.C. He is a counselor to musicians who takes to the web to address problems that are often so sensitive that his clients find it necessary to use clever pseudonyms (“Ted,” for instance) to protect their livelihoods and reputations. “Mr. P.C.,” of course, is not a pseudonym. It is the given name of the Seattle pianist “Bill Anschell,” which is a pseudonym. Here is an exchange from Mr. P.C.’s most recent posting.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Philosophical question for you: How can I be more like myself than I am?

I was at a rehearsal before a high-profile gig, and the bandleader took me aside to tell me I was playing fine, but needed to ‘play more like Ted.’

Is this even possible? —Ted

Dear Ted:

Of course it is — you just need to start copping your own licks! Listen to all your recordings of yourself and pick out your best lines. Transcribe them, learn them in all 12 keys, and you’ll be playing more like yourself in no time.

Of course if you sound too much like yourself you may wind up stealing your own gigs, which can cause resentment and self-loathing. That, of course, is what disguises are for.

There is hardly a need to point out how invaluable that kind of advice can be to a troubled working musician. To read all of Mr. P.C.’s May column, go here.

Here is “Bill Anschell,” with his frequent partner Brent Jensen playing curved soprano saxophone. The bassist is Aaron Miller. The tune is Rodgers and Hart’s “Have You Met Miss Jones?” from a 2009 workshop concert at Brigham Young University Idaho.

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  1. doug biggert says

    This so reminds me of the back cover story of Bill Crow’s JAZZ ANECDOTES. Red Mitchell got a call from a local club to play a week with Marian McPartland. He asked the booker how he happened to call him? He answered, “She asked me to find bass player who sounded like Red Mitchell.” jazz humor at high level.