from The New Yorker
The Loose Marbles is a sort of Amalgamated Jazz Corporation that creates subsidiaries around the city, to maximize tips and minimize boredom. The fifteen musicians play clarinet, trumpet, banjo, washboard, accordion, trombone, guitars, sousaphone, standup bass, and guitars, but you’re likely to see only seven or eight performers at any given gig. And since you rarely see the same configuration of instruments twice in a row, you rarely hear the same kind of jazz. If Patrick McPeck is there with the accordion, you’ll hear the Marbles’ repertoire of spooky, minor-keyed, Gypsy-influenced songs. If Alynda Segarra is there, with her banjo or washboard, and Jason Jurzek is on string bass instead of tuba, they’ll be playing songs that sound as if they were first performed in a hobo jungle during the Hoover Administration. In Washington Square, in New York, they split into two groups, one anchored by the tuba and the other anchored by the bass, and they play on opposite sides of the park. Halfway through the day, they’ll mix up the configurations to give both the musicians and the crowd a change of pace. At the end of the day, they pool all the tips and divide them equally...