Things I did, Things to Do
I played at the Ohio Club in Hot Springs last night as the featured artist in their Thursday jazz series. I play this venue about three times a year, typically, and I love it every time. The venue is clean and smoke free, the patrons are engaged (to the point you can play REAL jazz - just just cocktail jazz), the rhythm section is great, and the food is good. Definitely one of my favorite places to play.
Several things made me thoughtful, and I am now thinking them right into a blog...
First, I had a blast. I always do. I played some of my favorite tunes and really let my hair down on them, which is a rarity. I need to do it more often, and I should walk away from the "there just aren't many venues in my town" excuse and make it happen. It also made me think I should talk to the house group about learning some of my original music for next time.
Second, I was pretty rusty, though I doubt many people outside my own head noticed. To do: grow up, and get back on the practicing wagon. I just let things lapse over the last couple of months while digging into electronic music (which I do no intend to stop) and traveling. No excuse. I need to play to keep in shape and to keep moving in an upward trajectory.
Third, my hands are pretty sore today. I injured my hands about 20 years ago working in a factory (repetitive motion injury) and have never gotten them looked at. Playing bass is nearly impossible (gonna do it tonight, though!), and I usually only notice it with my saxophone playing when I am out of practice. When that happens my hands and fingers get stiff, especially in my right hand. I had a conversation with an old friend which is motivating me to get it looked at.
Up front: I am afraid of surgery. Afraid of the pain, the down time, and the possibility for it to go wrong and permanently damage my hands, and therefore my ability to play the saxophone at the level I want. I am going to start by asking my GP if I can get a PT referral, and if not, I will seek a specialist who has experience working with musicians. Fingers crossed (until they go numb, haha).
I'm going to go dig into a some pages of Walt Weiskopf's books, Around the Horn and Beyond the Horn. Historically, I can dig into those with a metronome and get my fingers/hands to loosen up. Happy shedding. - BD
I am really having a lot of fun working on a couple new projects, including the upcoming recording session for my "main" band, TwiceSax, planning a session for my mostly-a-trio project (upright bass/drums/saxophone), and a new project with my old college roommate, Logan, which may end up being called "Duophony." I feel overwhelmed at work (nothing new), and I fight against my lazy brain (nothing new), but this music gives me energy and motivation (ahhh, definitely something new, or at least something that has not happened in quite a long time).
TwiceSax has been playing together for a loooong time, and we have never recorded more than a raw demo. I have written a lot of music for the band, my brother-in-law and co-bandleader Dave Williams II has started writing some really cool music for us, and we have raised the money for the recording session. Time to just make it happen.
That's my theme right now; while attending a professional conference this week I was taking notes, and the thought just hit me: stop waiting for someone else to tell me to do something. Like an old possibly Chinese proverb says: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is today.
So, today I will talk to some people about getting these projects into the home stretch. In the meantime, I continue to really enjoy using my iPad as a music creation tool, and I am loving the explorations I am undertaking into improvising with semi-generative music from the electronic toys I have accumulated for a few years. This video is entirely produced on my iPad, using a handful of synths, effects, and utilities. Check out the video description for detailed info.
New to this video: animation that responds to the music! I just got this app yesterday, and it is way over my head, but I managed to cobble something together this morning before I started my work day. This may be nothing but a fun time-waster, but at least it was fun!
About the music...
I sequenced the drums in the Rozeta X0X, controlling a drum set in Patterning 2. The main feature of the track is the bass line (which needs much better mixing and compression, but hey, I'm learning) and the evolving delay, filter, and glitch/stutter effects. I set up parameters in all of the sequencers to make this generative texture. I want to create several more of these "Themeless Variations" and then I am going to start creating larger compositions and adding improvisation on various instruments, including EWI, tenor and soprano saxophones, and perhaps some flute and bass clarinet.
If you have comments, critiques, criticisms, questions, jokes, book suggestions, or anything else that fits in a comment box, please hit me up. - BD
I play saxophone.*