09 Jul 2012 Leave a Comment
PHOTO by DOUGLAS HARPER
A few days ago, I revisited a dark comedy from the 80′s: ” After Hours”. After a night gone completely wrong, the lead man is slow dancing with a sad, weary lady to the song ” Is that all there is?”
This song has stuck in my head as an ear-worm, for several days now. It has catchy orchestration, clever use of brass, and supreme starkness. It was sung by Peggy Lee,but it could have been Kurt Weill/ Lotte Lenya. It is stark, melancholic, and bereft of any hope for the future.
The depth of the emptiness is startling, and really growing on me. I am thinking this is potentially even more dangerous than violent music, because of the way it eats at my mind.
Negative thoughts creep in, unannounced, and set up residency. I need it to leave. Out, out, damned sound!
Time for the cure: “the boys of Summer” ( by the Porrka Playboys) followed by Claude Debussy’s ” La Reviere” Herbie Hancock/Wayne Shorter’s ” Aung Sun Su Chi”, and Pharoah Sanders ” love is everywhere” . And/ or so many others. What music do you listen to drive away earworms?
07 Jul 2012 Leave a Comment
I have been taking the summer to do a few odds and ends that I don’t usually have time for during the school year. One of them has been to create a working book of all the music I have been playing recently.
Let me back up a little bit: I am a mid-age musician, who works as an elementary school teacher;a father/husband; an active SGI Buddhist; gardener and occasional fly fisher for trout.
As stressful as this may all be, I am so fortunate. I have a weekly gig at a local cafe/wine bar, THE BLACK DOG. It is 5 minutes from my house. On Fridays, I play the black piano, usually from 5 to about 7:15. I have been doing this since October 2010.
In this context, I am free to play what I want.. When I play solo, I have taken to doing long suites, jumping from one ” tune” to another. I have discovered that any song can segue into any other one.-in fact, the more ludicrous the connection, the better.
I have also “composed” some fine works in the interludes.
Last September, I added other players- a fine young cellist, several reeds players, bassists,a few guitarists, percussion/drums.
This has been a most wonderful experience.
I am especially excited by a soprano saxophone duet, and a trio, with a drummer (who should not be trusted) and various bassists/cellists.
I especially gravitate towards trios, waltzes. I am not sure why. There is a synchronicity of 3- a special way that trios can invent music where one player does not have to do all the work. I am getting weary now, but I am wondering what your performing experiences are like? Please respond, let’s have a dialogue.
I only have to teach 2 more days of summer school!