This valley is scary…

The silicon valley is scary. There’s such a diverse pool of talented and smart folks out here it just doesn’t make sense.

Right before the group I’m in rehearses out in Ohlone college, the equivalent class Jazz ensemble meets.

It’s a typical jazz-ensemble setup. 4 bones, 4 trumpets, 5 saxes, piano, bass, guitar and drums.

To dabble in stereotypes for a moment they are some of the whitest folks you can imagine. At first glance I can identify one or two finance types, and more than a fair share of long-haired sandal-wearing geeks. The guy who has the most style of the group is the drummer who does the bowling-shirts and jean-shorts look.

By all rights you’d expect it to be a Lawrence Welk rinky-dink sounding group. Or maybe kinda working through medium-weight charts.

But no, they are absolutely tearing up the charts they read. And they’re reading some difficult things. The room is nearly overloaded with sound from these guys.

Remember the Austin Powers theme? You know how Quincy Jones arranged and pulled in players that had that nice, bright, wet brass sound? It’s that. And they’re rocketing along at Stan Kenton tempos.

It hurts your head a little to see the scene of these guys in casual clothing, looking like a gathering ready to organize a fur con, ripping down charts like professionals.

2 Responses to “This valley is scary…”

  1. mongologue says:

    Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ had an interesting chapter on this. The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra did behind-the-curtain tests to audition trombonists, and was shocked when the winner was a woman- which shocked the very male-dominated orchestra. She had to spend the next ten years fighting to earn that place, still. sadly.. but the lesson is that looks car really, really decieve with musicians.

  2. tracerj says:

    After all, I look like a hack, and… er…. *grins sheepishly*

Leave a Response