| Jonesy Jazz Penn - 2/12/02
When you go to see Penn &
Teller in Vegas, you'll want to get there at 8pm for the
9pm show. Mike Jones, Jonesy, is playing jazz on a big old
grand piano and telling you to go on stage and check out
the boxes. So, you come to see some stupid magic show, and
before the guys even come out, you have the best jazz
you've ever heard. It really classes up the joint, maybe
even more than a couple of old guys talking about frogs.
Also, the first 40 minutes that he plays (from 8:00 - 8:40)
he has a bass player with him. The bass player isn't that
great, but the sound of them together is wonderful. Of
course, you all know that the bass player is me, but the
most wonderful thing happened: the audience didn't!
I really wanted to play bass every night, so I'd get better
and play in front of people and we wanted Jonesy in our pre-
show, but we didn't know how to do it. It seemed that
having one of the stars of the show out on stage before the
show, might seem weird or take some of the opening away, so
we thought about that a lot. Matt lit the area so Jonesy
was the star. Teller suggested I wear my real Chicago Tony
porkpie hat. I had a music stand with a light and a bass
stool. I was there with Jonesy when the doors opened and
no one noticed me. We'd play a tune and Jonesy would call
the next tune for me, and while I was finding the page in
the Real Book, he'd tell people to check out the boxes. No
one cared about me. About 20 minutes before the show
started, I went backstage and finished getting ready. One
guy came up and asked Jonesy if it was me playing and he
said, "I'm sorry, I can't tell you." So, people that know
will know, and those that don't will just hear great music.
When I leave to get ready for the show, the music pace
picks up and the tunes get harder and that's the way it
should be. The audience seemed to LOVE Jonesy and when we
came out, they were all jacked up. It was a MUCH better
crowd. Maybe it was a fluke, but we don't think so.
Jonesy said I played better than I ever have. A year or
two of this, and I could really be good. It's just perfect.
Not being recognized is beyond my wildest dreams. I hit
the stage after opening for myself. It really is so
wonderful. And all my friends will know, and I'm sure the
fans will know, but most of the audience won't. How cool
Jonesy also played Fire 42 live. He did the piano part AND
the flute part. He was working on it and raving about
Doctor Stockdale's writing, "There's a lot going on in that
little piece." It's a great piece of music for the Fire,
but having it live just really jacks it up. Teller played
it live on Broadway and it could breath with us and really
feel live. Even the first night with Jonesy, when it
wasn't really under his fingers and he was still reading a
bit, it was still great. It was amazing. Georgie and I
were better with live music.
Burt and Robbie did a great job at making the goofy change
from pre-show live music to the show. Rex made us sound
great. And Matt did lighting that disguised me, without
looking crazy. And thanks Tony, for the hat, and the
Doctor for the great music. I think it's a great idea and
I had so much fun. Of course I'm working a lot harder, but
that's good for me, what else have I got to do? I'm very
happy with this.
Jonesy swung hard and he helped our show and I get a little
music class every night. It's perfect. Just perfect.
So, when you come to the show, keep the bass player's
identity to yourself.