Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life is really weird. Here I am trying to transcribe all 4 voices, and some of the piano accompaniment from the amazing Oliver Nelson tune Hoe-Down, realizing it is the second time I'm falling in love with this song.

It all started in our sight reading class two weeks ago. A friend of mine was showing me some augmented arpeggio exercise (it's basically descending the arpeggio in a straight forward 8th note sequence approaching each starting note from the upper chromatic neighbour), and our teacher said it sounded like this Oliver Nelson tune called Hoe-Down that he had on his iPod. I just loved how the song started with a basic blues idea and turned into a modern beauty. I went back home that day and listened to the whole The Blues And The Abstract Truth album and remembered something. Back in 2000, the day of our first sight reading class at London Music School, Ed Speight brought an arrangement of Stolen Moments (first track of the album) for 6 guitars. I remember we failed miserably as no one knew how to read music. The same day I got a copy of the Abstract Truth cd from the library and copied it to a cassette and really loved the second song (Hoe-Down) without knowing the name because I hadn't written the names of the songs. Of course, I left the cassette back in London and forgot about the whole album and now I'm rediscovering the song.

Although I thought my connection to music is ultimately weaker than it was back in the early 2000's, I have the impression that I now hear more "creatively". Some things must have settled in despite the fact that I didn't practice at all for years.

Here is the song. I love the trumpet and tenor solo. I think I'm going to arrange this to play with a guitar quartet.

Merry Christmas and happy new year,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So, the summer is over another busy year has begun. I've recorded couple of songs on an album of a friend of mine from school, the album is in the mixing stages and will be available soon. We're also jamming every Tuesdays with people from American School of Music in a little bar. We open the night as the house band with a couple of standards, and this really incredible singer called Bryant Mills joins us to heat things up a little bit. After that a jam session begins. As it's an open stage we witnessed some very broad range of styles being played the last 2 months.
The school has started with all it's splendor, I'm absolutely in love with the practical way ear training and musical awareness is being taught and emphasized in the American tradition of musical education. As always, the best thing about the school is the opportunity to get together and play with people from different backgrounds, and who have different perspectives.
Also there is a small paid gig coming in November in another city. Apparently we'll be headed to Grenoble to play a couple of nights. I'm really looking forward to this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's been an incredibly busy year for me. I worked 18 hours a week at my job and finished the first year at The American School Of Modern Music. Other than that I was practicing or rehearsing almost everyday (although looking back I realize that most of my practice time was ruined because of a serious lack of concentration as a result of exhaustion). We did some gigs around Paris with friends from school and even got paid on some of them. The good thing about the gigs was the variety of music being played. One day we would play Stevie Wonder and more pop oriented songs with a singer, while the next we were trying our best on Mingus tunes and we played a lot of standards. As I am a basically self taught sax player, I had to return to the basics and correct my bad habits like too much reed biting and intonation (I still work on this, it is the single most energy consuming thing to do and most people just underestimate it).

Sometimes I feel that I'm rushing a little thinking that I'm always behind of "schedule" and that really stresses me. This feeling comes and goes every now and then, right now I'm in one of those periods. Patience, patience, patience. And baby steps.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit.