Dry spell, but it's raining again, by GS_Jon on 04/22/2005, 15:27:40

I mid-March my job began demanding quite a bit more in time and mental energy, and at the same time I was moving in with my fiancee. So, for about a month, I did not touch the piano once, and quickly found myself irritable, depressed, and sad. I wasn't practicing scales or chords, and what's worse, I wasn't listening to any jazz! So this past Saturday morning I sat down at the piano and played through a few of the tunes I had worked out prior to the dry spell, and it felt amazing. Although there was quite a bit of rust, the sheer enjoyment of playing reignited my desire to resume practicing and transcribing.

This week I focused on reviewing where I was before I stopped:

-Reviewed all 13 of the Charlie Christian solos (listen, then sing, then play on piano) I have learned until now. -Played through some blues in F, F#, G (lh bass w/ rh chords; lh bass w/ rh solo; lh chords w/ rh solo) -Played all melodic minor scales in contrary motion using 12123 fingering -Listened to and sang with the recording all Lester Young solos that I am planning to transcribe -Reviewed 2-handed chord voicings: 1735 on every scale degree of every melodic minor scale

I'm still taking time off from being in bands or musical groups at this time. I'm trying to decide on a path to take to get back into group work...perhaps a local blues jam would be a good way to get back in....

LJP Journal: GS_Jon

  • 03/13/2008 - Wedding gig

    An old childhood friend asked me to play for his upcoming wedding in May, which I accepted. It involves about thirty minutes of background music preceding the ceremony, then a few handpicked tunes that he requested. I like the advice of the pianists here on ljp. The gist I get is that if you are playing background music, no one is really going to pay attention so you can play almost anything you want. For the wedding, my plan is to play the few standards I know, and then maybe fool around with some of...

  • 11/01/2007 - Omar Sosa vs. Chick Corea

    I discovered Omar Sosa recently and bought his album Mulatos. His playing is everything I strive for: laid-back phrasing, compelling latin/funky grooves, memorable melodic lines, sparse texture. On a recent concert flyer a critic was quoted comparing his virtuosity to that of Chick Corea. While I won't get into a comparison of the technical aspects of Sosa vs. Corea, I do greatly prefer Sosa stylistically. Corea's playing at times sacrifices taste for virtuosity; I never get that sense from Sosa. I can...

  • 08/13/2007 - Way down yonder in the minor key

    I have not had time to regularly practice in 2007, but I have had time to compose a few tunes, mostly simple mid-tempo funky riffs over a hip-hop sequenced bass and drumline. If the chops are rusty you might as well write songs, I say! The nice thing about composing after having transcribed a few solos is that melodic ideas pop up quite readily. So far my most successful compositional technique has been to select a bass-drums groove, click record, and play for five or ten minutes whatever arises. The ne...

  • 12/10/2006 - Beginning to learn to Record

    Although it's been over a year since I rigorously or even regularly practiced, and my wife will have a baby in a few days and my chops are ridiculously rusty and I'll probably not have time to really play with any band for years to come, I've been trying to learn to record on my computer. As a new father, recording could be a way to maintain a creative musical outlet on a limited time budget. All it really takes is a few minutes here and there, or a kernel of an idea to keep in touch with the piano. So f...

  • 04/22/2005 - Dry spell, but it's raining again

    I mid-March my job began demanding quite a bit more in time and mental energy, and at the same time I was moving in with my fiancee. So, for about a month, I did not touch the piano once, and quickly found myself irritable, depressed, and sad. I wasn't practicing scales or chords, and what's worse, I wasn't listening to any jazz! So this past Saturday morning I sat down at the piano and played through a few of the tunes I had worked out prior to the dry spell, and it felt amazing. Although there was qui...

  • 03/14/2005 - Eclecticity: Brad Mehldau, One Note Samba

    On Thursday night, NPR played a couple of tunes from the Brad Mehldau Trio. The rich mid-range chords inspired me to listen to more of Mehldau's work, and from there I decided to try my hand at arranging a tune with thick mid-range chords. So, using One Note Samba (since the melody is automatic), I added lh 5-note chord voicings over the A section: Dm: 13457 Db7: 12357 Cm7: 13579 Bm7b5: 1379 Fm7: 173 Bb7: 1379 Ebmaj7: 71357 Ab7: 57936 Some of these are a stretch, but it was gratifying to hear...

  • 03/07/2005 - Practice log

    Chords: finished with 2 hand 1573 on all major, melodic, and harmonic minor keys Tunes: Donna Lee, Stolen Moments Solos: Listened to Lester Young on 'Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie'. Reviewed on piano Charlie Christian's 'I've Found a New Baby' and 'Rose Room.' Have begun searching for the best Charlie Parker solos. So far the Charlie Parker list includes 'Night in Tunisia', Confirmation, and 'Yardbird Suite', where the first eight bars are a triplet freak-out. After listening to Lester Young t...

  • 02/28/2005 - Practice log

    Since the last entry I have worked on the following: Tunes: Stride: Straight, No Chaser (Key of F) lh chord arrangement: Ladybird 2 hand melody: Ornithology, Song for My Father, The Song is You rootless voicings: A Foggy Day Solos: Lester Young is the man! I've been listening to and singing with his solos on Georgianna and Exactly Like You. On piano, I briefly reviewed Charlie Christian's solos on Royal Garden Blues, Six Appeal, and I Surrender, Dear.

  • 02/24/2005 - Practice logs

    So I'm following a four-pronged practice routine that is derived from a student of Lennie Tristano. Each practice session is be divided into four categories: 1) scales 2) chords 3) tunes 4) transcriptions. In my most recent session I did: 1) scales: extremely slow (mm = 60 on triplet) contrary polyrhythm (3 vs 4) using 12123 fingering on melodic minors: c, c#, d, eb, e, f 2) chords: 2 hands: 1573 on all scale degrees of melodic minor f#, g, ab, a, bb, b 3) tunes: Straight, No Chaser in F#, B; L...


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