It looks like I may be in a new jazz group in about a week. Two nights ago, I received an email entitled "Quartet Work." This is the kind of email you want to click on right away! I thought it was going to be a gig lead. Instead, it was a drummer named Randy, asking if I was interested in playing with their quartet.
The quartet is comprised of sax, guitar, bass, and drums – instrumentals only. They have a regular gig at an upscale French restaurant Friday/Saturday every other week. Their repertoire is similar to my own. Randy told me that their guitarist just left the group. He found my website and felt that I would be a good fit. He asked me to call Dan, the bassist/leader, if I was interested.
I called Dan about a nanosecond after reading that email. It seems that their previous guitarist left the group because he couldn't play as loudly as he wanted. Keep in mind that this is a background music gig at a fancy restaurant. This is not the type of gig where you turn it up to 11. (I suspect there is more to the story. Only time will tell.) Dan and I hit it off on the phone, and we decided to find a time to get together over the weekend to play through a few tunes and see how we all sounded together. The next day, he emailed me to let me know that the other guys had listened to the recordings on my website, and they felt comfortable enough to have next Friday's gig be my audition…no need for a private rehearsal.
So, next Friday (8/24/12), I'll be sitting in with the quartet, playing jazz standards from 6:30-10:00 at The French Market in Locust Grove, GA. I'll know some of the songs, and I'll be sight-reading others.
I won't officially be part of the group until after I play with them, and I'll be auditioning them as much as they'll be auditioning me, but I have a good feeling about it. Assuming this all works out, this quartet would fit nicely into my schedule. They have a Friday/Saturday gig every other week, and they don't rehearse. This still leaves opportunities to book my own solo or group gigs. Also, it'll be a relief to be a simple sideman. I wouldn't have to worry about booking, publicity, or any other non-musical stuff. All I would have to do is show up and play my guitar.
It was a pleasant surprise to be invited to audition for what appears to be a good situation. Lately, it seems that each new opportunity is slowly leading me toward bigger and better things. My ship hasn't quite come in yet, but I am catching glimpses of it on the horizon.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.