Week One Down!
Auditions are over and I found my way into Jazz Ensemble III. It will be my first big band experience and I am excited to hit our first rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon. I was not selected to be in a combo, but given that I have a recital to prepare for, I am sure the extra time will be beneficial.
My recital should be November 10th at 7pm barring any complications during the following weeks. I have to get a recital committee to sign off to grade my performance and after that I should be good to go. I have asked a bassist and drummer to play on my recital already and hopefully they will both work out. Everyone is trying to solidify their schedule this first week, so hopefully these guys can play the date. The goal is to ask the best players around, so I did!
The semi-hollow Ibanez 335 I purchased was sent back to the seller due to description issues. It was not properly described and pictures did not indicate that it was not the model he claimed. It was a mid-70's Ibanez 2454, but the body was drilled into and modified for a stop tailpiece, instead of the original floating tailpiece that wrapped around the edge. The pictures did not show the drill holes so I shipped it back to him. Once you drill posts for a new bridge into a guitar you cannot undo that damage. I'm glad it is off my chest and hopefully I can get my money back for it soon.
I have been selling a few items on eBay lately too. I got rid of my Pro Co Rat that was modded by Keeley Electronics. It was a cool pedal, but it just did not react well with my guitar. They seemed to fight each other rather than sound any good.
I am working on a Listen Up to focus on Peter Bernstein but I keep getting side tracked, and with school it is almost impossible to complete now. So for sanity's sake check out Bernstein's trio album of Thelonious Monk's music. It is well worth it as he does total justice to those tunes like no one ever has on guitar.
Pedalboard and New Axe
Definitely had a lot go down over the last week so here goes!
I got a new pedalboard built by my father (shown below) and I am very excited to get it set up and going. I have vowed to quit using the on board reverb on my Deluxe Reverb, so the Boss DD-2 has taken over my reverb/delay needs. Also of note, my Pro Co Rat modded by Robert Keeley is available on eBay right now. Here's the listing: Keeley Modded Pro Co Rat
Another excursion and constant battle with jazz guitarist is dealing with feedback. Feedback never fails to rear it's ugly head at some point during a show where you need a lot of volume. The biggest problem seems to be drummers who play too loudly causing us to compete with their volume. Music is not about who is the loudest, but it always seems to come down to dynamics in a given performance; especially on stage volumes.
Since feedback can cause issues, guitarist started to switch over to semi-hollow guitars; namely a crop of NYC jazzers playing Gibson 335 styled instruments - Ben Monder, Adam Rogers, Bruce Saunders to name a few. Yesterday, I won an old Ibanez copy of a Gibson 335 (on eBay) and I am pretty excited about seeing it show up next week. The wiring is not functional right now, but I will rewire it after it shows up and hopefully I won't need new electronics too.
There's nothing wrong with my current rig. In fact if the Ibanez is not life changing I might turn around and sell it after I fix it. I love my Gibson ES-175D. It's like my child. I have played it exclusively since I got it last year - it is hard to put down! I have been interested in a semi-hollow for awhile, so I thought I would give it a shot.
Melissa and I played Zannotti's last week and it went well. She sounded really good, but we fought microphone feedback for awhile until I sorted it out. We are becoming relaxed musically together and our performances reflect it. We will be back at Zannotti's on Tuesday, September 24th at 8pm.
UCO starts up again on Monday. I am really not too worried about anything this semester. I have a lot to work on, and toward, since my recital will be sometime this semester. It's just another gig, but I feel like so many people take it too seriously. I just want to have fun and play some tunes with great players then go home. I have been thinking of a few tunes I would like to do, but I really do not even want to get that far into it. I do not have originals finished yet, so it will largely be standards, and I simply want to call tunes awhile and have fun. Needless to say it is a university, so it will not be that relaxed or simple, but I can dream right?
If you're interested in lessons please contact me soon! I have had a few students come and go this summer, particularly on Saturday, so I have a few available slots. My semester will be pretty well weighted down, so I am only taking a few students this go around.
If you read all of this you're a saint, and if you made it through most of it you're pretty cool too. Keep your eye out for another Listen Up special coming your way in a few days. I have been listening to Peter Bernstein's Monk disc lately so expect plenty on that album.
Keep listening! Thanks for reading!
Listen Up: Paul Chambers and Paul Motian
As promised, trying to keep up with my new series of blog posts about suggested listenings/reviews. This segment features two amazing artists who rarely get their credit for being band leaders: bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Paul Motian.
The former, most famous for playing with John Coltrane, released an incredible album titled 'Whims of Chambers'. The albums features: Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Horace Silver, and Philly Joe Jones. If that isn't enough incentive to go out and buy the record, I don't know what I can say to help you. Horace Silver and Kenny Burrell work remarkably well together, managing their comping by staying out of each others way. Burrell's guitar tone matches perfectly with Chambers bass on the blues this album is named after. I'm impressed with Chambers bass prowess. He sounds more prominent on this recording than on Miles Davis or Coltrane records. As it should, Chambers' bass takes the limelight of this entire recording, shining brightly through each track. With this recording, Chambers puts the bass on the map as a melodic instrument and paving the way for future bassists like Niels Henning-Orsted Pedersen. As far as albums with all original tunes, recorded in the latter part of the 1950's, this album shines brightly against them all.
Another original voice, Paul Motian, recorded an album entitled 'Garden of Eden' in 2004; which was released in 2006. The album features an interesting lineup of two saxophones, two (or three) guitars, a bassist and drummer. It's difficult to sense how many guitarists play on each track, because of the layered texture of each piece, but it features: Steve Cardenas, Jakob Bro, and the incredible Ben Monder. Motian creates an incredible sound palette with this instrumentation without having a frontman as traditional jazz ensembles can tend to have. Guitars and saxophones intertwine creating a seamless melodic line, while bassist Jerome Harris lays an expansive foundation of deep bass. There is a high level of reverence amongst these musicians as they play only what is absolutely necessary for a given piece. Motian is nothing but flawless on everything I have heard him play on and this recording is nothing short of flawless. However, it is not his drumming prowess that takes the limelight - it is the overall compositional texture that keeps you guessing at every turn. It is a beautiful album I highly recommend; along with Motian's recording with Bill Frisell and Ron Carter.
This will be a short post as it has been a busy week of practicing, tune memorization, and amplifier issues that have really worn me out. Watch out for another post in the next day or two about current projects and school.
Thanks for reading! Keep listening!