We just returned from our two-week hiatus and we’re back to playing at all of our usual haunts.
Tonight (March 1) we’re playing at The City Tap in Pittsboro, a super cool bar where we play about once every other month.
We are thrilled to still be hanging on to our usual regular gigs at West End Wine Bar of Chapel Hill, 2nd Wind and The Station. Hope to see you there!
March 6, 2014 at the West End Wine Bar with Brad Maiani and Todd Proctor.
I recorded this gig with my Zoom R16, mixed using Audacity and uploaded it to Spreaker.
Today as I was playing through my Keith Jarrett Bebop Lick in all 12 keys, I discovered a new thing about my learning process.
Stage 1: I have to think hard about the fingerings of the phrase in each key.
Stage 2: The fingerings become natural, and I’m able to play the phrase quickly and naturally in any key.
Stage 3: Just kinda discovered this – my fingers know what to do, but my brain begins to doubt my fingers, and I start tripping up on things that were easy just a few days ago. Then I have to go through the psychology of assuring my conscious mind that my fingers know exactly what to do, and there is no need to interfere.
Since about the early 1980′s, my hometown of Chapel Hill has been considered one of the most vibrant indie music scenes in the world. Ever since I can remember, there has been an attitude here that musicians shouldn’t play music to earn money. I think this attitude is grossly wrong.
My trio had a gig last night. All night long a drunken hipster made loud comments to the band – all in good fun, I suppose. After we finished playing, he gave me the “Chapel Hill Lecture” that I’ve heard so many times before: music should be played with friends hanging out together, and never for (the purpose of earning) money.
I’m so tired of hearing this, I could just scream. I suppose the thinking is that when money enters the equation, an artist will compromise his art in a way that will make it more profitable, and less meaningful or true to his artistic vision. In reality, it becomes a self-righteous badge for those musicians who would rather sit around on their ass than try to find gigs. It also works well for those clubs who are not interested in paying any money to the bands.
Just ask any of the following revolutionary musicians who PLAYED MUSIC FOR MONEY:
J. S. Bach
Big John Patton
You’ve always told me that I should transcribe bebop lines and learn them in every key. I’m sorry that I’ve ignored that advice for years! Or as Nancy put it, I wasn’t ready yet.
I promise that from now on, I’ll devote an hour per day to practicing bebop lines. Next up for me will be a tasty 4-measure tidbit from Keith Jarrett’s solo on Sandu from Whisper Not.
I’ve been learning to play Larry Young’s composition Talkin’ About J.C. From the sound of the song, I’m guessing that the J.C. stands for John Coltrane.
I was having difficulty playing a solo over the fast-tempo minor blues changes, so I came up with the following arpeggio exercise:
Part 1: Practice each arpeggio in the chord changes of the song, with both hands up and down 3 octaves, swinging the 8th notes. Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th, starting with thumb on the root. For a basic G minor blues, I can break it down to 4 chords which I practice for 15 minutes each: G-, C-, A-7b5, D7b13
Part 2: Right hand plays arpeggios over the form of the song while left hand walks a bass line. Only rules are: When one chord changes to another, start on the root of the new chord with the thumb. Or occasionally when descending, with 5th finger. Try to play continuous 8th notes and connect the chords whenever possible- it’s almost always very easy to connect the chords seamlessly.
I’ve done it for the past 3 days. This exercise appears to be an excellent way for me to stay grounded and really easily and effectively outline a songs structure.
Also, I think when I took a lesson with Mark Wells he alluded to doing this, but I wasn’t advanced enough in my understanding of the keyboard to figure out what he was showing me. So thanks, Mark!
I made a new discovery a few days ago that is helping me through some tough technique issues. I was working on the Larry Young composition Talkin’ About J.C.. It’s uptempo and has a very difficult melody to play, mainly because it requires fast articulation of the fourth and fifth fingers of the right hand.
So I was beating myself over the head trying to play it when I realized that the first four notes are very easy to articulate because they just use the 2nd-4th fingers. Then the next two notes are easy because it’s just a descending minor 6th dropping from the pinky down to the thumb.
I found that as long as I concentrated on keeping the two movements separate, the passage became a lot easier and cleaner. As I practiced the melody, I had to focus on keeping my thinking organized and not slipping into autopilot.
When I performed the song at a gig, the thoughtful practicing enabled autopilot to take over and I could just concentrate on making the performance good.
Nic Beery of Beery Media produced this awesome new promotional video for the trio:
Thanks to Ralph DeMasi for sending me this video.