Seen @ Empty Bottle 2m ago:
27 February, 2012
I figgered when i got a few frets of my own in my hands the original music would spill quite easily. I've got it all figgered out and dont bother me. I mean, I hear it all the time in my head, it's gotta be easy to translate that thru' instruments once mysteries and codes were cracked. It's one thing to be able to rock "Brimfull of Asha" on my guitar - but for somethig compelling to be created?
Voice and guitar are my instruments of semi proficiany, but a spare snare drum, an olde Irish tin whistle and harmonica from the New Association days of the late 70's, a washboard, several noise makers, a tambourine, a recorder willed to me from Rabbi Hecht, a piano, and ....a computer.
Doesn't really work that way, for me. Oh like lots of other rockers - i've got some riffs in me. Sure it's kool, and god what would this shit sound like fuzzed on an electric? But to create somthing compelling to listen to - well, first and foremost, something to danse to - es duro.
I'm still waylearning all this guitar stuff, so I'm mainly tied to choirds still- but wonderwonder of computer recording (w. excellent microphone - i love excellent microphone) I can easily lay down a backing track and fiddle w. leads over that. Very simple.
But again, what is not simple, is "would a person danse to this?".
And the process. Ive sytarted from riffs, Ive started from faux bass parts, Ive tried to lay down percussion - it's all too much, so to speak. I love the sound that comes out - but it is not the sound that I want to come out.
Worrynaught lovers, there is that one key to success that i do have - just keep pushing. Soccer season has aagin started, and the swirl of teen girls - all varying in sporting proficiency - are in need. Especially those that will be on my team - they need so much help in so many areas. But my constant refrain - This is what we want you to do in this exercise, these are the three things we want you to learn from what we are doing rite now, work on this skill, put the gard work in conditioning yourself - and trust me, young lady, keep pushing here and you will be just as good as any of the varsity girls when you are a senior. Trust me, I remember them when they were 14 as well.
So, Keep Pushing. It's there, just deeply tepid.
25 February, 2012
Oh, Ive forced myself to listen to some rock during this ride - but since summer, Jazz has really taken hold (Fearnought - I am a Punk Rocker till I die) and the incessant need to try to capture what I'd never appreciated before (Well, besides a love of "Hello Dolly", but everyone loves that song). So, tonnes of jazz listened to, on CD, Mp3, Lp, Internet, and 90.9.
A learning experience , it is. Enjoyable as well.
But the key is to watch the shit live. And for me, a neophyte, really not knowing who is good these days. Yes, I know all the historical names - Armstrong, Morton, Basie, Ellington, Webb, Dizzy, Bichet, Coleman, Roach, Davis, Rollins, Coltrane, Mingus, etc etc etc... Even SAW MILES DAVIS in his last show ever - but had no appreciation for it (Girls were the reason iwas @ that Jazzfest that year) But all these greats (Rollins lives, actually) are all dead and gone. Comme 52d street.
So, who do I see?
Been to a few show w. Mothers.
In San Francisco, went to Yoshi's and saw an 'open Mike' sorta show - Yoshi's supplied the Bassist and the drummer, and horn players came up themselves. Amateurs. No slite on them , but....so bad.
Saw a nice duet between a Brazilian guitarest and a Polish singer @ The Jazz Showcase on a Wednesday nite. One sang, one sang and played the acoustic.
Saw two experimental shows @ the Cultural Centre. Experimental.
Dave Brubecks sons @ the Old Town - a trombone on one song, no horns elstwise.
Great times all, but still something was wanting in me : I wanted to experience a drummer, a sax, a bass, a trumpet (or close approximation) - a more or less classical jazz concert. I mean, I just want to experience expert jazz musicians in a somewhat traditional enviroment w. trad. instruments, swinging. And - yay!-last nite, finally, got it. Mothers and I went to see a "Charlie Parker with Strings" homage @ the Harris Theatre featuring alto saxman Miguel Zenon backed not just by the Chicago Jazz Emsemble but also a string section- and it was brilliant. Even, beyond...
Strings?? Parker is mainly id' w/ the bop revolution in Jazz music that occurred during WW2 and totally exploded after the war. First, history: during the 20's thu' the end of the war, Swing music, played by big bands and featuring the audience dancing, was the big deal. When you thought jazz in the 30's - excuse me: 'when you thought "jazz" in the 30's (because the music was called swing @ that moment)', you thought of massive ballrooms (The Aragon!!) and hundreds of people dancing - dancing was SUCH a major motif of seeing/jazz in that period - and 16-24 players on the bandstand.
AND THEN: basically, after 20 years or so of Swing being the thing, many of the musicians themselves began to feel superstifled in the bigband/play every song like the recordtype/straitjacket type deal - and began to change things. Now, I'm a little weak on this - bop is such a bizarre thing - but what the really frustrated musicians started to do was change the nature of the songs that they had always played.
Jazz musicians previous to bop tended to cover the same songs all of the time, but they would arrange them differently. So, a song may be chorded, say, A A Em D , but whereas a song played by one group may play the A section in one way, another group may play it differently - say, faster, or more emphasis on the first A, or one group may use the trumpets in the section while another group would use that as a place where the piano could go... It's funny - you listen to a song done by by two or three groups, and unless it's arraigned the same - they are different songs totally.
And then, bop. This up here is all confusing? Gets worse.
Chords are collections of individual notes. The A chord, f.ex, is made of the individual notes E A and C#. Bop musicians took those individual notes and played them where the chords were - so, instead of an A, they'd quickly play some combo of E,A, or C#. Or something like that. Bop musicians had to stuff all of those individual notes where before they played a full chord, so Bop - when it started - sounded like outofcontrol speeding musicians racing through these songs.
To me - bizarre!! Who thought of this??
And so as swing disappeared, so did the big bands and the ballrooms and all the dansing. Jazz- as it is now called - performances transformed into no dancing, no ballrooms, and no big giant bands - what you now had were small smokey clubs where there mite be a trumpet, a sax, a piano, a drummer, and a bass player, or some combo like that.
And, as Mothers and I sat in our seats, that's exactely how the concert started. Not a smokey club - but sax, trumpet, bass, piano, and drums were featured in the first song "Ornithology" Tho' this concert centered on 'Parker w. Strings' - and a huge big band and string section - the organizers wanted to give us a taste of the small combo structure. And, "Ornithology" was such a joyous moment for me. They just sounded so good, pro's, and it was a treat to hear a familier song done brilliantly. But the best moment - that first solo, given to the piano player - when he solo'd, it just sounded so good, so good. So good, man. Just good. And then to just revel in the trumpet , then the sax solo, bass, drums, and then they all solo'd off the drummer.
Again, what I'd been waiting for these last, say 9-10 months. A pure joy.
And then ..... they added strings. Charlie Parker had wanted to record an LP of standards songs - again, think of the same recycled songs again and again - but now with 4 fiddles, 2 violas, a Harp, a cello, and English (sometimes she played an oboe) and French horns (not strings, but). What he wanted to do was combine the strings w. his playing his alto sax over it bop style. Nice vision. And the instant it hit - BAM. Strings, sounding so kool, so funny recreated onstage too.
There were two leaders in the band . One was the director of the whole Ensemble, Dana Hall. He'd give a brief background to each song - I didn;t learn much new- but I enjoyed his emphesis. And the superspecial guest was Miguel Zenon, a superior Alto saxman who has piles of credentials. It would not be good to say that he was superior in this show - because everyone onstage was superior. Just good.
And just pile that shit on. With the strings still onstage with the small combo, out came the big band of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble - sax's, both alto and tenor, trombones, and trumpets. So, there we were, watching maybe 25 musicians rock the shit out of the place.
I'm so cheap. 2h before the show I was still debating on whether to spend the $18/tix. Was it worth it? Well, worth much more.
Took no foto's. Mothers took a few, and I'lla ttach them sometime. So good. Trib review.
Round the neighbourhood they go, door to door, generally middle-aged women, trying to scout for new converts. Me. Scraggled, in sweats and a jumper and weeks away from lastshave, said to the ladies 'yeah you can come back next Wednesday and we can talk'.
Admit it: You wanted to jabber about the bible and see what little these peole know.
Admitted? Ego, and not much else? Still not shure.
Soccer practice and being on the wrong side of the city and the evercall of everjenx meant that the 'meet'would be delayed a week - but Thursday, again me notshave/sweats/jumper, they show up. It was the original lady - and this time a heavy. Not two women this time - the original woman and a nicedressed dude who I surmised was a little higher up on the hierarchy chain.
It was he who lead the discussion.
And, for ten minutes, I listened and nodded and read what they wanted me to read. They had their few verses that they attached great meaning to, and I was there for them.
For ten minutes.
Then, it was my turn to jabble. Out came Spong and Erhman and Borg and Crossan and Wills and Pagels and King and them all. Couldn't help it. Wanted so badly to have an intelligent conversation about the bible - teach them even - or was it just my ego? With frenz, I'll talk on the bible, not preach of course but only to illuminate some interesting things* ideas, etc etc etc... With Jakovv (nee Jamie) - so much bible talked between us - when I get something new =either an interesting find or a damning denouncement of his views - there is great joy in "HEY, guess what this author thinks!!!"
But with these two .... not shure my motives...
And, inevitably, as I was talking on about .......... well, the seven authentic letters of Paul and the movement of the bible from something in the oral tradition that was finally written in Aramic to Greek to Latin to English and a favoured original line about Genesis: "If I'm Abraham and I got my son tied to the sacfifice atlar and the Voices in my head are telling me to slaughter my son - I'M NOT LISTENING!" ....as all that was going on - suddenly they had to leave. Work, I think they needed to suddenly go to.
"BUT WAIT!", but too late, as I wanted to show them the books I was talking of and challenging them to read and also feeling bad: was it just me wanting to show off?
Or did I want to convert them?
*='light to the gentiles"- sorry, Ulysses has be leaved again - first time sonce 2006. I'm so ready.