Everything looks bright and shiny on the band front these days. First, the Day Trippers have gig coming up (see my previous post) and we’ve been learning a bunch of new material, including Rain, Lady Madonna, Hello Goodbye, Dear Prudence, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Here Comes the Sun and a few others. Hope we have time for all of them. I played an Abbey Road medley – from She Came in Through the Bathroom Window on – for the guys in the band. While they all agreed it sounded great and was a great idea, they also thought it was too much material to learn for this show, so it’s on the slate for the next one.
Second, my jazz project may actually be getting some gigs. Our drummer and leader Mike is booking us into a place called The Baseline in Mount Vernon. After a year of rehearsing we’ve gotten to the point where we sound pretty damn good, and I feel like people are missing out not hearing us. Personally I feel like my sax playing has gotten back to the point where it’s as good as or better than it’s ever been, and that’s saying something looking back at the days of Event Horizon. My tone is really great, and my sense of time has improved, and I can even slalom those bebop changes. But now I’m much more relaxed, focused on melody and phrasing and dynamics and expressiveness. On songs we’ve done a few times I know I can forget about the chords and just blow, and really tell the story. Now the challenge moves on to having something fresh to say each time. On top of that it’s a really good group and all the players are really strong. I particularly dig Rich, Mike and Ken on piano, bass and drums. So I hope this gig comes through. I’ll let you know when we have a date set.
Third, the rock band has reformed and it looks extremely promising. Two weeks ago I brought in young Wolfgang Skywalker on bass to meet Gus and Jefferson. Gus is our drummer, and he’s pretty tough on bass players he can’t groove with. But he fell right in love with Youngblood within sixteen bars of the first song. Even without a guitar it was an excellent rehearsal. The whole things sounded more solid and energetic. One of the songs we were considering dropping was Long Train Running, but with the new bassist the song had a whole lot more energy and was suddenly a keeper. And the group is moving in much more of a funk and soul direction, which I really like. At the end of the session we decided to add another James Brown song and another Sly Stone number. Also Youngblood amazed us all even more revealing he’d only been playing bass for two years (switched from cello) and is taking lessons with John Pattitucchi.
The next week were joined by Gary Guitar. He fit in really well. Like Gus and myself he’s a seasoned pro and knows tons of songs. He favors a clear jazzy tone that fits right in with the direction of the group. So now all we need to do is learn a bunch of songs and think of a name for the group and then we can start booking gigs. I’m expecting we’ll be ready around the new year.
Only thing I’ve been neglecting is my home recording situation. Well not exactly neglecting. I’m working on a new song, To Be a Rock, and it’s been slow going. I haven’t had a really big block of free time in a while, so it’s bit by bit. I had put down a scratch piano and drum track to lay out the time, chords and structure. Then I got to work on the bass line. The song begins with a bass solo, which is fairly hard to play, at least for me, so I had to practice it a while, and it took me several attempts at recording it to really nail it. So that’s in the can now, and it’s time work on the other parts. Listening back, neither the drums nor the piano sound very good to me, so I’m looking at having to tear them down and basically start over. Ah well. Should be worth it in the end.