You don’t get a lot of heckling at jazz gigs. Jazz gigs, you ask: What are they? I’m indebted to Bob Holman’s rules of the practice aimed at poetry hecklers, a rare breed.
Holman’s second rule is “you are part of the show”, interesting, not that anyone wants a conversation with the audience mid-blowing session, although bands who insist on audiences singing it back to them as they grin wildly don’t seem to mind if the conversation is musical – just so long as it isn’t a bunch of the verbals courtesy of a roomful of complete strangers. I once witnessed a drummer handing out kazoos to the audience on their way-in for them to later tootle on during his show. That kind of worked.
Heckling of the ‘advice’ variety is rarer and tends to get everyone’s backs up. Bill Frisell at a gig once in the Barbican was told to TURN IT UP, BILL in no uncertain terms by a guy who seemed to have worked out that he should have been at an Iron Maiden concert too late but was finding it hard to adjust. Not batting an eyelid if anything Frisell played even more softly.
Holman's ninth rule is great: “Speed is essential; timing is all. You gotta drop in the heckle with rhythmic integrity.” That’s very jazz and worth adopting should you be a potential heckler. But remember rule 11: “Have the audience at your back, or get the hell outta Dodge.”