Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 27 is Jimi Hendrix's birthday, and it is also my birthday. On pretty much any day my first choice would be to play a gig, and I got to play with a jazz trio at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce after work schmoozefest at the Clocktower complex. Pianist and photographer Andy Sacks leads "Trio Indigo", and Eric Nyhuis played drums.

Some jazz musicians dislike playing in front of a crowd that is largely ignoring them, but among many of my musical colleagues, "furniture music" is not something to be scorned. It is, after all, a gig. I find that jazz often stimulates people to talk anyway. I would as soon have them dancing, talking, and having a good time as staring slack jawed at me as I play.

My other trio, the Dean Solden Trio, performs a blues that Dean calls "Hamp's Blues". The tune is from the album Hampton Hawes Vol. 1: The Trio. I obtained the LP at Encore Music (at a very reasonable price) and it turns out the tune is not "Hamp's Blues", it's "Blues the Most", also a Hawes composition. Some sort of head chart for this tune can be found in the "Library of Musicians' Jazz" fakebook, and I will upload that page shortly. Here is the LP, complete with BIG cover images, in a 60meg RAR download from Rapidshare Hampton Hawes Vol. 1: The Trio.

Sad to say the turntable connected to my computer is on the blink so I had to record the LP onto a cassette and then play the cassette and record on the computer's line in. It's a good album though.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Raybeats, "It's Only a Movie", reposted per reader request, complete with crummy looking but large scans of the cover art. This is a hard record to find. I had to lean on my brother in Wyoming for about 16 years before he would give up his copy, and I gave it to him in the first place. Here is a good link for Raybeats info.

BTW, the other great lost audio artifact my brother used to have was a cassette recording of Ernie K-Doe doing a radio show from New Orleans. All through the show he's promoting obscure R&B singers on his record label and telling listeners to call in for a free haircut and free breakfast, only it sounds more like "Fwee Bwekwuss". It was a lot like Detroit's Famous Coachman only more flamboyant. Click on the picture for a good Ernie K-Doe obit. If anybody has any audio of Ernie K-Doe radio shows, post them!!

One invaluable thing when you're playing a gig is to have a master of between tune banter. Just little things like "We had a request for this next tune" (usually a lie), or my favorite, "This next tune is based on a true story".

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The White House resubmitted (recess appointed UN Ambassador John)
Bolton’s nomination again today, but outgoing senator Lincoln
Chafee still won’t cave.

“I am not going to endorse something the American people
have spoken out against,” Chafee said today. This guy lost just
because he was a Republican — despite the fact that he voted
against the war. He has some good reasons to be pissed off
today. Yet he’s still going to take Bolton down with him.
That’s what you call class.

This from Wonkette, a very
sarcastic and sometimes funny political blog.

I'm wondering if there could be such a thing as a bipartisan
government contract that candidates and elected officials would
endorse and try to adhere to:

  • in debates, speeches and all political communications, statements
    of fact must include references from an impartial source. This could
    just be a statement like "My staff will post references and citations
    for everything I say in this speech at my website, along with a
    transcription of my remarks with footnotes. We encourage comments
    and corrections from anyone."
  • legislation will be on one issue, not an omnibus. As it stands now
    bills have provisions for dozens of different issues so claims that
    "My opponent voted against equipping our troops" are meaningless.
  • legislation will be introduced with adequate time for debate and
  • legislation will be written by congressional personnel, NOT
    lobbyists. No legislation will be sent from committee to the floor
    without bipartisan review in committee.
  • No major change to the content or intent of legislation will be
    made in conference committee.
  • Investigation of the K Street project. Telling a constituent they
    have to fire Democrats and hire Republicans should be illegal. Obviously
    requiring campaign contributions to pass legislation, or extorting
    contributions with the threat of damaging legislation should be illegal
    and should be prosecuted.

I dunno, I'm just thinking out loud, what are all the things the
Republicans have been doing for the last 6 years that I don't want the
Democrats to turn around and start doing?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dave Swain runs the II-V-I Orchestra, the big band I play bass with, and I was telling him the other day, "You know, there's 2 kinds of horn players in the world, horn players that are good enough to play in rock bands and horn players that are only good enough to play in big bands, and you know it's true because every time we get a big band arrangement of a rock tune that's in the key of 'E' they always transpose it to the key of 'F' even though there were horn players on the record playing it in 'E'. They were ROCK horn players!!"

And of course transposing to 'F' completely hoses up the bass part. For example, here is the Tower of Power's "What Is Hip?" . It's in 'E'. Here are PDFs of our big band arrangement page 1, page 2, page 3 . This is a fairly accurate representation of the bass line, but it sure is awkward to play in F. As near as I can estimate performance tempo is about 108 beats per minute.

We've got a couple of Steely Dan tunes and it's the same thing. "Josie" in F instead of E. Yuck.