Bits And Pieces…

When will I learn? Blog posts don’t need to be essays all the bloomin’ time! I’m currently in the midst of a post on what I’ve learnt from listening to Lee Konitz, but being human I have other pressing issues on my mind.

I had a fantastic rehearsal with my new band on Sunday (still need to come-up with a name though!) We recorded three tracks; Thieves In The Temple, Armando’s Rumba and an original by me called Tribal Dance. It was interesting to hear Tribal Dance played in a band setting as I originally composed it for piano and flamenco guitar.

From this perspective I felt the freedom a group allows. Electric bass took up my left hand line, the tenor sax took the melody (which I occasionally echoed), and drums added a dynamic upbeat to drive proceedings. It was nice to just focus on harmony and two-handed voicings whilst the sound of the tune broadened.

We recorded using one ambient mic. So whilst the quality won’t be amazing it should’ve picked up the vibe of the session. I will edit the audio on Logic, when I get the time, and upload the prime cuts on to here.

I hadn’t listened to live jazz in weeks so I stayed behind at the 606 last night to hear the electric guitarist Nigel Price’s Quartet with John Donaldson on piano, Dan Sheppard on bass and the legendary Spike Wells on drums. Great jazz all round, with John Donaldson giving me a real lesson in voicings and soloing economy. Spike Wells was amazing to watch as well. Every hit of the kit was done with purpose and thought, melodic even, and he really commanded the drums during his solos.

During the gig, and without getting too ethereal about this, I had a brief realisation about why I love jazz so much. Those distinct swung rhythms and extended harmonies that give jazz it’s distinct piquancy washed over me like a warm wave of water. I felt aesthetically cleansed from the over-produced, over-sexualised banal shite (I do try my hardest not to swear on this blog, but in this instance I’m morally justified) that normally pours out from radio speakers and broadcast in HD on TV screens. Minor rant over, but I genuinely felt good listening to this music. Every time I listen to jazz I learn something new, or what little knowledge I hold is cemented.

I’m Currently reading Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love. This sort of contemporary, London based fiction is right up my street. Martin Amis’ Money was another hit with me recently. It’s a bit strange I know but I find stories where the protagonists socially comfortable cocoon is rocked by an off-the-rails individual compelling. Hmmm. I’m trying not to rush through it but I’m eager to watch the film version as well. Let me leave you with a fantastic passage from chapter 5 where the protagonist, Joe Rose, attempts to forget his fears and lose himself in his work…

“Within twenty minutes I had drifted into the desired state, the high-walled infinite prison of directed thought. It doesn’t always happen to me, and I was grateful that night. I didn’t have to defend myself against the usual flotsam, the scraps of recent memory, the tokens of things-not-done, or ghostly wrecks of sexual longing. My beach was clean.”

My beach was clean. Watta phrase!

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About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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