How to Assert Your Dominance at Jazz Fest
Every conversation manages to turn into a memory from "the greatest night" where he saw Bob Dylan play for eight people, then buy them all grilled cheeses, and he was actually here when Jazz Fest first started, and it almost didn't make it, but he helped it along.
Jazz Fest is unfortunately a Mecca for these kinds of people. It's been going on forever, and there's so much lore. It's too much, and these guys (and gals too, but probably guys) need to be taken down a peg—so lie. With enough confidence and just a little bit of wile, you can knock these guys off their self-appointed know-it-all roost. All you have to do is lie. It's good sometimes. Make something up. Make them question both the world they live in and themselves.
The only way to deal with a braggart is to gaslight them. Not in an abusive way—in a justified way. Here we have a list of made-up jazz legends for you to name drop whenever you please that will shut up someone who is getting a little carried away with the sound of their own voice.
Originally from Tennessee, she toured with B.B. King for 30 years. She is the only person to get a Grammy for a harmonica solo on an unreleased live album recording from '91. You were there.
A Brit who used to play with Mick Jagger when he was just starting out, then left the music industry to take care of his two daughters. He drops in on famous friend's shows once in a while, and, when he does, old heads come out of the green room just to hear him play. He played for the Queen when she was 19 and has refused two lifetime achievement awards.
A child prodigy on the piano, played with Herbie Hancock, but they had a falling out because it's rumored Herbie stole the riff in "Watermelon Man" from him when he was just 12. He gets paid the big bucks to write commercial jingles now, lives in Nashville, and can go up any night of the week whenever he wants. You dropped in at a small club and saw him for $12.
She started out in bluegrass and grew up in a small town in North Carolina with a religious family. She was discovered by Dave Grohl playing in a coffee shop when he was touring with Nirvana. She ended up playing with the Magic City Jazz Orchestra for 20 years, and then joining the Saturday Night Live house band. She does solo tours in Europe every few years that sell out, with celebrity drop-ins in every major city. You saw her in a concert hall in Berlin and three people fainted.
He invented a new instrument that's a combination of a flute and the drums. It sounds like horses fighting. Most people will never hear it, but you have.
The youngest person to ever produce an album that went triple platinum. Rumored to have worked with The Beatles on Yellow Submarine but didn't like the final product so didn't want to be listed. Vegan.
He mastered the banjo and five other instruments while enrolled at Juilliard at 15. Now, he exclusively plays with his feet for more of a "challenge." He refuses to fly in airplanes because of "the curse."
She did an album of covers at 40 that were so inventive and catchy, it got the attention of many of the original artists and a few labels. She got signed to produce another covers album but ended up collaborating with the artists to make new songs, which cracked the top 10 in the first week of release.
He famously samples dogs in every song. Known for creating unique sounds that hyperfans always try to trace back to a certain breed, but no one's ever been able to. He records alone and doesn't talk about his process—very secretive—and owns 14 dogs.
Krandall Rhodes III
He grew up in the industry as the child of a famous music photographer but refuses to be photographed. He has been on the cover of Rolling Stone three times with no picture—they just start the article on the cover.
Gus "Tiny" Franklinton
He only plays miniature or toy instruments and played backup for Willie Nelson for twenty-two years before people noticed he was using a Fisher Price tambourine. He has never been married.
Branton Winston Marsalis
The hidden, secret brother of famous musicians Branford and Wynton, Branton has his own sound. Shunned by his family for hating jazz, he found his own way with the local metal scene, slowly integrating the improvisational style he grew up learning, with the screaming, throaty vocals of his new friends. The result was something exciting and different that even the most experienced of music writers can't seem to find words to describe.
Known as "The Princess of Rock n' Roll," she built her repertoire from frequent gigs at both her local church choirs and seedy nightclubs. She became known for her "sexy hymn" sound that music fans could not get enough of.
And there you have it: A whole roster of fake musicians to pull out whenever someone's getting a little braggy or had a few too many and starts going on and on about the "magic" or whatever. If you really want to go the extra mile, make fake band t-shirts for a few of these to wordlessly assert your dominance from afar, without any engagement needed. Happy Jazzfest.