Dave Frishberg: I Want To Be A Sideman


I Want To Be A Sideman


Dave Frishberg (piano, vocals)


Do You Miss New York? (Arbors 19291)

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Dave Frishberg (piano, vocals).

Composed by Dave Frishberg


Recorded: Lincoln Center, New York, December 12-14, 2002


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

If you want to introduce a musician to the songs of Dave Frishberg, there’s no better example than “I Want To Be A Sideman”. Anyone who has ever toured with a big band knows all about the rigors of the road, but Frishberg, portraying someone on the outside looking in, makes it all sound so glamorous: I want to play while the people dance/I want to press my own coat and pants/I want to ask for an advance. Of course, it’s all a dark joke, which is made clear in the introduction, where Frishberg plays the intro of the hoariest of big band songs, “In The Mood”. Clearly, the audience is hip from the outset, laughing in recognition of the theme. But there is much more here: Under the lyric I want to listen to Lester Young on my recorder, Frishberg’s melody alludes to Lester’s famous “Jive At Five” solo (Frishberg told me it wasn’t intentional). And the lines quoted above are a typical example of Frishberg’s trademark triple rhyme schemes (dance/pants/advance). Frishberg’s work is loaded with these delightful triple rhymes, with the final one of the set always being the funniest. But perhaps most enlightening is the song’s final lines: I wanna be young/I wanna have fun/I want to be a sideman. It’s the responsibility-free life of a musician that Frishberg’s narrator really wants. As the old joke goes, the difference between a musician and a mutual fund is that only one of them will eventually mature and make money.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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