I found this lone comment on a short video I posted on YouTube to promote my upcoming project called Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans; a quartet consisting of myself on Trombone, with Hammond Organ, Guitar and Drums.
Name of Poster Withheld
Comment on your video: Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans
Usually, if I have nothing nice to say, I don't say anything at all. But this time I couldn't stop myself. Try to consider these comments constructive. Bill Evans is an icon and as such - if you are going to due a tribute recording to him, you had better have your shit together. No one did here. Only space here for you. Your pitch is out the window - sharp because you have no idea how to use you air. Start with the fact that you are playing a WIND instrument and need to learn the fundamentals.
(Why do people claim they’re being constructive when all they’re doing is criticizing you?)
Anyway...I responded, Wow. Thanks for your "Constructive" Comment (note the sarcastic quotes), and I left it there for a while. Was I trying to be big about it, even though it did hurt my feelings? Did I hope to have an honest discussion, change his mind? I don’t know. The next day I decided to disable the comments feature on the video altogether. Ultimately, I saw no point in leaving such negativity up next to something I’m very proud of, and wanted to promote.
Then I started investigating who this person was. What does he know about music? About Bill Evans? Is he some internet troll with a trail of shitty/snarky posts? Is he even a musician? Does he have his own music up somewhere? Would it be awful? Could I then dismiss him as a jerk, a loser, a wanna be?
Come to find out, he’s a musician, and seems to be, for all intents and purposes, kind of a Bill Evans expert. And while I couldn’t find any of his music, neither could I find any other negative reviews or comments he’d written, anywhere; only positive.
So why did he single me out? And why do I feel this need to explain myself?
I understand why someone would have very strong feelings about Bill Evans and his music. I too have very strong feelings about Bill Evans and his music. And I also understand that I’m putting myself out there and people have every right to criticize, and I need to accept that and roll with it as best I can. I'm very proud of the performances on this record, but now I worry that there are those who will hear the rough edges, and will miss the point - especially because Bill Evans is such an icon of perfection, and control. They’ll write off the whole thing. Who are you to even attempt this music!?
But you know what? Maybe I don’t need to explain myself. I am one type of musician, and you are another. My music has rough edges, grit, and imperfections; and those are often my favorite parts. My other band is an Ornette Coleman tribute band for Christ’s sake! Perhaps you do Evan’s music a disservice in thinking it too fragile a china shop to stand up to a bull like me. One thing I learned in the months of rehearsal and preparation for this recording is just how solid this music is, and while some may be inclined to wrap it up like Waterford Crystal, we served it up in Mason Jars and slid it to each other down a long wooden bar...and it stood up just fine.