Trying something new today – the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt “Sparkling or still” – what do you do on your days off?
I don’t have a lot of regrets. On my days off I often consider what might have been, and what the future will hold – the dreams of making a potentially still life become a sparkling one. (see what I did there?) One of the careers I wish I had considered when I was in high school before I ditched music is ‘session musician’.
It is so much fun to play in a band or orchestra. You not only become close with the people you perform with, but those relationships help your music to form coherently. A band can be just a bunch of people playing their own parts, but I was lucky enough to be be part of several bands with very talented people on board. A good band is people playing towards one goal, and that goal is an awesome sound. It would be magnificent to be able to have that as a career.
It’s a great shame that disco is dead. The best works of the disco era are those lushly orchestrated affairs with strings, brass, and some funky wah guitar. Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven”, or “This Time Baby” by Jackie Moore, sampled by Freemasons for their 2005 hit “Love On My Mind”, is a classic example of such a thing:
What a great era of music to be a classically trained musician looking for a job. Funky, phunky stuff. There are literally hundreds of disco songs out there with this kind of sound. I of course realise that disco is massively daggy, but it’s the musical competence and over production which is so appealing.
The other industry which holds potential for those of a musical bent is the film industry. Everyone knows the theme from Star Wars, so I’ll put something else fun here:
Seventy musicians and one genius composer collaborated to put that together. What a joy it must be to go to the cinema, sit down, hear something like that blare out at you and think, “That was me. I helped do that.” On the DVD release of The Incredibles, there’s a behind the scenes documentary about the soundtrack. One of the most interesting things about it is how enthusiastic the musicians were about the work they were doing on the movie, and the process of putting it together. It looks like one of those fun band environments like I remember from school.
It would be something special to be considered a well-respected session musician. I once read an interview with composer David Arnold, who was the resident composer on the James Bond series between 1997 and 2006. When recording the soundtrack for Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, Arnold approached one of the trumpet players and asked for an imitation of a particular sound heard in John Barry’s soundtrack for Thunderball in 1965. The trumpet player responded, “Sure, I was the one who played that.” As a trumpet player in a school band, to read something that was quite influential, even if I didn’t end up making a career out of my instrument.
So, here we are. One day I’m planning on getting back into playing, maybe once I’m settled in a job and have a bit more spare time on my hands. Till then, I can live vicariously through the many fantastic sounds created by the unsung heroes of the music industry – the session musicians.