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NEWS

    Monday, June 11th, 2018 9:49 AM

    Another Peaceful Monday

    Frown It rained like holy hell last night, and will probably continue today. Thunder and lightning, the whole ball of wax. In bed at 12:30, much tossing and turning, up at 8:30. Feeling just a little bit draggy, but not too shabby. Nothing a couple cups of coffee can't fix..
     
    Had a problem back in February with the sleeping- just two weeks but it felt like an eternity- and have been fine ever since. Two days in March, none in April, one in May, and now one this month. When they're this infrequent, you can handle a sleep-deprived night without much fuss. Coffee still helps though..
     
    Music news. Am currently uploading a piece to my YouTube page. I've been practicing with the modal playalongs- still one-chord shit(sorry, two-chord shit), but there's a lot you can do with these. I've been working on shorter phrases, leaving more space, and trying to get away from always doing these torrents of 8th notes, these interminable lines.
     
    Trying to play more interactively, phrasing so that the bass player gets into the conversation. I love Gerry Mulligan's solos for that reason: the wonderful phrasing. Mulligan was a great baritone saxophonist and composer, known for his piano-less quartet. Without the piano to clog up all those overtones, it's a much more transparent texture. And Mulligan was blessed with one of the most intuitive bass players around- Bill Crow.
     
    Crow always seemed to know just the right notes for any musical situation. So he had just the notes you'd want to hear, when Mulligan would leave space for him. Bill Crow is also a writer, a jazz journalist if you will, and has a wonderful book out called Jazz Anecdotes. I think he also has a follow-up book. 
     
    Bass was the first thing I played in bands. I was all of 12 years old, and had already been playing guitar for six months. "You'll have to play bass", I was told. "I already have an electric guitar. So I became a bass player by default. I really enjoyed it at first, but I grew tired of people trying to tell me how to play: simpler, fewer notes- and emphasizing the role of the instrument. If people had left me the hell alone in that regard, I might still be a bass player. 
     
    It really doesn't matter what your first instrument is. But starting on a 'rhythm' instrument can give you a great advantage later. If you take up bass, it's going to solidify your harmonic sense, which will benefit you greatly in soloing as well as accompanying. And if you take up drums, you will gain an edge in playing time; and if you take up another instrument later, you'll have a nice edge as far as your time sense. 
     
    I was able to get a pretty good harmonic sense from all those bass gigs. This gave me an edge on guitar. But I still had to work like hell on time. And I still work on it. Still not perfect all the time, but better. Some things come easily, others you have to work your tail off. 
     
    Some rambling on this dismal Monday morning. Thanks for reading, whoever-reads-this. Happy Monday to you, if that's not too much of a contradiction in terms. More later. 
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