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 play saxophone.*