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.
Well, Christmas is just around the corner and I am thinking about next year. I will be devoting my energy to my passion of playing music in 2019. I started a musician page on facebook and will begin sharing stories about my experiences and things I learn playing music around town. Please keep in touch!
Last night I played with some amazing singers at the Ascension Episcopal Church in Pueblo. I came to the church hall thinking swing and was quickly absorbed in the styles of the church musicians playing gospel and R&B. In processing last night’s experience, I realize and appreciate more than ever that each genre of music has its own language, as speaking English is to Spanish or French, Chinese, Japanese, or whatever language. Just because you can speak another language doesn’t mean you can just waltz into a neighborhood and everybody knows what you are talking about. It depends on how you choose your words and how you pronounce the words. And, each language has its own dialects. When someone says, let’s play some jazz, it could be Big Band, 40’s Swing, Bebop, cool, Dixieland, or Blues. Gospel has its own styles as well, and I am not as well versed in that language. Well, anyway, we sat in the church hall, went over some tunes, shared some culture and let the sharing and creativity flow. It’s a wonderful thing, people living life, sharing experiences, learning from each other and appreciating other cultures. It was a good night.