I was invited to be member of the Peak Big Band and am having a blast reading and playing big band charts and performing for the general public. Reading and performing with a group is very important and rewarding for a musician. You need to read music, follow the road map, play the right notes and rhythms, pay attention to the leader, and groove. I was also invited to sub in another big band as well. I am glad to be playing out again.
Now that people are feeling better about going out in public and there are good concerts in the local parks. Blues and jazz are the most prevalent and some with bluegrass and Americana. It is so nice to be out playing for people again. But for how long…
I was performing as a freelance musician and gigs have all but evaporated. I have a small hourly job at a mom & pop music store that I can’t go to work due to the the governor’s degree and the social distancing requirements. I’ve been looking at how to create a virtual presence and income stream.
I am praying for continued blessing from God and that the human race can figure this all out. We are not in charge, God is. It will that a take long while to adjust to the new normal, whatever that will be. It will certainly not be business as usual, not ever.
I have been living in constant pain in my knee. I really messed it up one day last year bowling. My injury made me feel like an old man because I had trouble walking, sitting and standing, going up and down stars without fear of falling. I even started relying on a cane for stabilization. I went in for a cortisone shot back on May 3, 2019 for temporary relief so I could fly to So Cal to attend our annual high school picnic and the Musical Americans reunion. Now that I am covered on Medicare and my new supplemental plan, I was given a Monovisc shot and drained 40 ml of synovial fluid from my knee. It’s hard to believe that I had to wait a year for this because my prior insurance wouldn’t pay for it. This is giving me a new lease on life. It really is something how an affliction affects your motivation and attitude toward doing things. I am looking forward to renewed energy and being more mobile. Just in time for spring, more walking and perhaps, I dare to say, bowling?
I got a referral from a guitar player friend, (who is excellent, by the way) to ask me to give a few lessons to one of his guitar students on how to play bass “like a bass Player”. The student was trying out for a guitarist position in a military band. Well, as it turned out, the position that was available was for an electric bass player. He was told that he sounded like a guitar player trying to play bass. I’ve heard that lately from a worship leader at a local church. They don’t have a regular bass player so they rotate guitar players on the bass chair.
So rule number one is a mind set: BE THE NOTE. Articulate each note, give each note it’s full time value. Listen to bass drum and learn how to play in the pocket and groove.
My friend, Kj Braithwaite introduced me to Eric Elison, who is a singer, songwriter and Gordon Lightfoot tribute artist. The goal of this project is to perform shows and listening rooms starting in the Rocky Mountain area, and widen our scope to the midwest and more. Eric writes some amazing stuff.
I participate in a mentoring program at local high schools, visiting local jazz bands and I’ve noticed that the bass players are just rushing through the music playing the little dots on the page. They need to learn how to “feel” and set up a groove. That’s the kind of stuff you can’t learn from a book. Slow down and digest the music. Chew on it a bit and get the full flavor of it before playing it.
I got this book for Christmas, Elements of the Jazz Language for the Developing Improvisor. Now that I am retired from my day job, I can devote time to study. The goal here is to identify patterns played by jazz musicians and incorporate these ideas into my playing. This book will add to my collection of jazz theory and improvisation books.
Happy New Year everyone! I am starting my first full year as a retired IT professional and pursuing my passion for playing music. I’ve updated my website and will start adding to this blog and share my experiences and feelings as much as I can.