Feb 11

My Love-Hate Relationship with Composing

Disclaimer: I don’t know all that much about music. I know enough to be dangerous. Some of the things I may say could be incorrect, incomplete or misleading. I’m sorry if they are, it is not done intentionally, please let me know if I’ve said something wrong.

I recently decided to update my About page which was hopelessly behind. Anyway, as I (for some reason) chose to admit my failings at composing I thought it only made sense to talk about it a little.

For one, allow me to say that I’m really into Jazz. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to other types of music (especially classical) but so far the only thing I really enjoy playing is jazz. Jazz occupies a large spectrum of styles and what I most like is Modal Jazz, Hard Bop, and Bebop. If you’re interested, More about jazz styles.

Because of my interest in jazz I had to learn a lot of theory including a little of an understanding of modes and composition just to be able to play some. I always loved the creative side of any pursuit, and so diving into composing only seemed natural. The problem with composing is that it’s hard. In concept I figured it had to be fairly simple, I mean, I whistle a new tune that doesn’t sound bad at the drop of a hat. How hard can it be to translate that to paper and stretch it out some?

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Apr 10

Finding Jazz

I recently had a trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado. After some wandering through the streets and asking all the locals we found the Ace Gillette Lounge. It’s buried in the basement of this old hotel, rich with wood paneling and the feel of a speakeasy (minus the smoke and being illegal). The jazz was solid and they had quality scotch. What else would I want?

Since getting back I can’t help but lament the lack of such a place in Charlotte or the surrounding area, at least not one I’ve been able to find.

If only I had the cash to start one myself…

Apr 10

Bass Day Charlotte

This Saturday, May 1st 2010 is first Bass Day Charlotte.

I’m excited to get to spend some time around other bassists. Maybe get my name out and find a band that fits what I’m looking to do. My Instructor (Dennis Contreras) is giving a workshop at 2:30.

Should be a lot of fun. I’m hoping there will be some double bass vendors, but I doubt it. I’ve been looking for one and it’s tough to find a place with any selection at all.

I’ve recently hit a bit of a break through in how to jam. I’ve found ways to incorporate more notes and more interest into my playing, but I haven’t really figured out how to do it well. Listening to myself sometimes it really works and sometimes it’s just not quite right. I’m not good enough to be a really effective minimalist yet.

Mar 10

Music That Blew My Mind

I had the joy of seeing the Renaud Garcia-Fons Trio (wiki) this past Saturday as part of the Queens University Friends of Music program. I am rarely so inspired and caught up by music, but this reminded me very much of the first time I really heard jazz.

I was around 15 or 16 and I had heard little pieces of jazz, smooth jazz mostly but one day a friend was listening to Miles Davis’ masterpiece Kind of Blue. I was completely entranced. I bought and listened to that album so many times. It captured my imagination in the way no music had ever done before and only classical had ever come that close for me in the past.

This concert with Renaud Garcia-Fons recaptured that passion in my heart. It was an incredibly intense moment for me. The music was fast and fun but beautiful. The rhythms and melodies just blew my mind. Watching him get the sounds he could out of his double bass was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

I wish I knew enough to describe the music in better terms. I simply don’t have the words. He was billed as a jazz bassist but that was incorrect I think. More flamenco (at least in this concert) than anything, but he blended every all styles of music into his own personal weave of sound.

As an hopeful bassist the concert was 2 parts inspiring and 1 part discouraging. Inspiring to hear music so skillful, beautiful and masterful. Discouraging to know I will never be able to play like that.