Friday, 27 January 2012

Early music Alberta Concert Wonderful performance

'Went on the town tonight... didn't go to the jazz... but to an early music concert featuring a magnificent harpsichordist on a beautiful instrument. Now I've not been that exposed to Rameau—apparently he was quite a character if the picture of the bust featuring his focused demeanor is anything to go by. Rameau keyboard suites. Fantastic melodies and orchestral keyboard action along with these driving intense, and brilliant ornaments: they are beyond belief. Gilbert Martinez was the keyboardist—Truly amazing and realized this music with a great musical intensity that was absolutely stunning.

I'm inspired... maybe not to play Rameau but to put something like that kind of action into an improv. Truly brilliant and beyond my expectations. I will download some Rameau sooner than later...The concert also featured Josephine van Lier on a "Gamba" type cello-like instrument and both played very well; with no music to read from I might add. The whole concert was all from a very confident, musical all—entirely from memory... So many notes.. Very impressive. The last piece was also very entertaining and fun. He had a great time and even got the very "keep it to yourself" kind of "no standing ovation allowed" crowd. They were most appreciative. This was a worthwhile venture. I just couldn't go to the yardbird Suite Jazz after that. One really had to listen to hear what what going on in the keyboard playing because it was very rich and complex and yet excitingly charming: played with great conviction.

It Could Happen To You

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Keeping track (s)

The tracks are: the more I listen to them, played quite spontaneously and really swing in spite of the rubato playing— it all makes sense to me (a couple of grey areas in certain tracks not with standing). It's actually for the most part quite gentle but complexity is always subtly just a moment away and it gets built in quite quickly when I'm trying to save myself and the wave of feel and thought continues and crests away. There's a couple of tracks that get kind of gospelly and I'm hoping that they don't take over the CD as it's really only a portion of what's happening in the "CD".

The piano sound is quite gorgeous at least on through my new headset. I'm going to let D. O. hear them through this headset and see what he thinks. It's kind of the ideal for me.

So I'm getting happy with a lot of this recorded material. Hopefully more than just myself and my Mom will hear it.

Of course I had an epiphany today or over the last couple of days. The word and the global meaning of the word "Ephemeral" as contrasting with Thee word: "Eternal". So much of my life is and has been lived on the former level—there have been times I confess that I have thought that the ephemeral was all there was (not deep down though). Ephemeral perhaps is taking something for granted when it is actually transient: short lived, temporary—maybe it's an attitude or an (here's a word for you) "ignoritude". Life in this lane has proved folly time and time again and it's something that many good good people are very serious about: going and acting beyond the seemingly obvious. Think Eternally my friend (to misquote Bruce Lee, who wisely said: "Be water my friend" (put it in context :) that way is the way (as all of you know, as I preach to the choir) to wisdom and peace, and ALL Good !!— Amen !! I will again confess that I received this email message via my Guru conection (Autobiography of A Yogi —Paramahansa Yogananda/Hariharanda) from Shri Lahiri Mahasay: Ephemeral love is not real love, eternal love is NECESSARY (how about another "Amen"). This is helpful to me.

Other topics in this vein:
Attachment is an obstacle. If there is no attachment, then there is no obstacle - Shri Lahiri Mahasay.

I haven't got back to Chris Hedges but when I see a glimpse of the Repuplican debate on TV I know that he is a worthy read and a worthy heed !!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

tracking the tracks

I've finally got to sit down and start listening to my tracks. The first day of recording yielded some promising results. I've been listening carefully to the tracks of the 2nd day and in spite of Hector, D.O.'s dog/guy, I seemed at times to be wandering off into little harmonic cubby holes that sometimes appear relevant but often are a little annoying excursions into the dreamland of wanderings getting away from the matter at hand. They seem to be not as much fun in places.. Other times I'm wondering what I did there because it sounds even miraculous. I guess I'll just keep going and learn some of the tunes better and try to get inside them. It takes quite a while for me to really deeply know a song.

"Minimally" was the word Bill Evans used when he was asked about practising—that is working extensively on just a few ideas (and knowing it to be right under any playing conditions). My friend L.V. says that Bill has practised all day for weeks and months earlier on in his life.

So I'd like to try that a little bit too.... I have been playing these tunes for the best part of a life- time and still find ways to paint myself into a corner. Of course playing in up tempos was and is a challenge but with a little work at that I seemed to be able to play up without getting a stiff neck. "1/2 TIME THEY TELL ME." So that reminds me of the time I was in NYC (1983) and listening to the great Johnny Griffin tearing it up in this club with a very young Mulgrew Miller (who "played" —like he demolished the piano, very very awesome). Well, speaking of half time feel in a 4/4 up up UP tempo: I couldn't even tap my foot to it, it was so fast—I tried tapping my foot in half time meanwhile I was checking this fabulous bass player with the group and caught his eye: he noticed that I was tapping in 1/2 time and he looked at me without contempt but gave me a nod in the Negative direction (Not up and down) which told me that 1/2 time is not the way to go—I've never forgotten that. So the secret to playing fast up up 4 is not 1/2 time per say, but to somehow relax and feel (practise, listen, keep track of changes and form) the fast 4 in not such a square way (as I had been doing).... It's a challenge even to find players that want to play fast because to get good at it you have to go for it often.

These tracks I've just done are kind of the opposite of all that. My time is good (stretched here and there) but the impulse is more like a bar-long wave or more. Gotta watch those cubby holes.

Random news:
We went to Hugo.... very nice..

EKOS choir has a wonderful ambitious show coming up in May and I know I'm going to be attentive and hard working just to keep up with P. the director: lots of plans—it's going to be fun and entertaining.

Slowly reading Chris Hedges: He's got the take on our times !!

Reading Autobiography of a Yogi.... There's nothing like it out there. I've read it several times but now concentrate on the intake and study and living with the principles and revelations found there.

I'm going to practise—and remind myself what a great thing it is to be able to play even if tribulations do arise — it's the one thing that keeps going forward in some particular way.

Cheers, Everyone.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Hi All. What a week. Recording Studio, listening to the tracks, getting thoroughly inspired by (East) Indian music—their reworking of repeated phrases have an inspiring insistent quality. I went to the piano today and got a feel for it...also the drone that seems ever-emerging—All while I was trying to have a nap. Also doing some (hopefully minor) edits before the Book is being released with the new Amazing Cover (thanks and best wishes to the creator of this: my friend KCM).

Diet's going well: I celebrated (not by getting a full stomach) losing 20 pounds since I've started this quest. It's hard when everyone around you is eating like there's no tomorrow :) ... Especially at the Hockey game last night (G and I were there). I feel for those guys on the ice on our side. They were kind of DominateD and did have only a little fun. After goal after goal for "Calgary" went in—to a silent house, I said to G (after she stopped moaning about the indecisive play of the Oilers) "what they need is a break" and as soon as I said that: the oil scored there first goal (in the third period)..... We were sitting in the $100. per chair "nose bleed" section at the top. I'm thinking: this is a good investment !? ($600.00 for 3 games).... No wonder there's so much hype about this.... I don't know how people do it.... They must sacrifice something to be paying so much for it—after the expensive beer everybody's drinking–It's like THIS IS thee culture around here. I did have a revelation right there on the spot and felt like NO! NO! NO! spend ALL this money on the upward mobility of music and the arts. Hey I'm a fan but I see the business there and the incessant adds and delay of game for the TV spots. Am I becoming disillusioned? There's more to life there's more to like !! Go Oilers !! they're gonna have to have a team for the new expensive building: That had to be a heart breaker for sure. Enough Rant Chant !!

Happily, I've been listening to tracks I (solo piano again) that I did 9 years ago: I had a magic day that day. Now these present tracks seem to be more vertically inclined and feel the need to rework single line soloing too sometime—But it's a Change and not a Rest:) that seems to have happened. I wish now that I had recorded more back then but I'm happy to do it now.

Interestingly I had a pretty special experience on the 2nd day of recording. What with my "red light" fever (the tracks actually turned out pretty well) and all, my host D.O. brought his favorite family friend: Hector (he's part Jack-Russel Terrier). Now Hector is no fool and I suspected that he was only partially thrilled to be there. Hector is ALL soul: an Amazing guy for a dog. He's part demure and gentle and part Puss-in Boots from Shrek (it's in the eyes). Along with this he's is a little more than wary of me even though he was "at home" with D.O.... I immediately and purely instinctively grasped where Hector was at (a Heavy Dude) and started to talk to him like I'd talk to my brother, in plain language, I thanked him and spoke to him by name and was sincere in my gratitude for his presence there which was kind of: for me— to level or perhaps raise the vibe of calmness in the studio and I knew that. I then sat down on the same couch Hector was on at the other end and went about my stuff with D.O. and I'll be darned if Hector didn't come over to me and sit directly by me in a gesture that was one of acceptance and welcome. It was a blessing that I fully appreciated at the time and I think we became friends. I petted him and he accepted my gesture but, his demeanor did not change too much (he's a cool self-contained dude!). It was all a good thing and a good omen for the rest of the afternoon. Cool huh!

One of my major tasks at the moment is to read through my (Jazz Piano) book again and begin to learn that I have a lot to learn and relearn: it's good to perceive some structure so this is a win win situation. I hope to keep my intentions to keep the right attitude towards the purity of actual existence when I approach the piano. Still where to play.... I'm beginning to understand why many musicians get into recording—it's kind of an answer to keep the music going.

I'm reading a little more of Chris Hedges: "The Death Of The Liberal Class" who, he says have really stopped being Liberal per say and are more like rubber stamping the Conspiracy (note the word "piracy" is in there) of the Corporate "take over" and constant war !! —from the snobby view of their endowed "Liberalship." I may join a party (being 20 years younger would help) — NDP? Liberals maybe? Create something that communicates to all levels what's going on.... On the other hand: Say it with music —and the eternal vibe that is in all music Amen!

Cheers, All

Love and brightness of the light shining within, To Thee !!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

humility and patience and calmness in good order

The red light fever incident at the recording studio made me realize that this success can't be assumed: it's an old lesson that quite naturally gets repeated because the solution is not applied enough. My own expectations are for someone that can practise all day and I see more clearly that I have to minimize the practise material in order to get this minimal material right enough that it can be played without too much tension in the body and mind. Related to that I saw something of a summarization of a book today (in words to that effect): Get mind #1 out of the way so mind #2 can do it's job. Conscious and Subconscious mind in effect. Ego vs spirit what a conundrum !! The very thing that has got you here (thus far) can be ignored?—not without a diminished consequence. I prefer an involvement with music making that will cry, (make one cry) dance with joy, and even sing and above all groove !!. Ok singing while recording gets you a cover over the microphone area on the piano during a recording but it can be liberating.

Time is so precious. The trick is to, when you're young, realize this and try to get a macro view of one's life's—if that's possible at all but one can only try. That's 20—20 hindsight at work there. Of course I should have more time now but really one half my music work is still going to happen in the evening between 6—12 (during the day there are chores and then there's those required naps). No hockey games, TV, etc. So it's so nice to have this problem. It's an absolute luxury. So many projects so little time, but it's the journey that is the thing and the challenge. Victories are nice and I see that in musicians everywhere I go. It's encouraging.

Reading (and writing) has taken on a new urgency too. It takes energy and commitment but I feel I can take my time reading books (Lately Chris Hedges has captured my attention — another "read thoroughly" and play in all 12 keys {metaphore} kind of book and much more). There are so many interesting thoughts on so many musical aspects, and so much music—really good music that one has to make choices and think out what direction one wants to go: be a generalist? Jazzist? Classist? I think at my heart I see benefit in all of it, especially as a listener.
Music is after all originally designed for people, for the benefit of people even though it has become at times very common sounding or used as a placebo or soother in shopping malls etc., providing or imposing a kind of "normalcy" drama behind customers and staff. Music at it's heart is special and has a deep potential to move and challenge hearers.

Musicians trying and succeeding to make a living at music: a daunting undertaking. Really one has to be smart and intensively devoted to succeed in any profession. It takes commitment and sacrifice: a pathway which might often be exclusive and minimalist in it's requirements. Inspiration is key. It is likely found within the mind with determination, patience and ceaseless effort. Calmness is a key. These to my mind, are the things that give me the grounding that I need. Without it I am not grounded and that's when indecision can begin which can result in harmful or unheedful actions which can more than just confound one's way. Note to self: Grounding is a good choice.

I'm going to practise, do a little Solfege in the car, edit my book, start editing and writing on topics for Book 2: This week. Hear's hoping!

C.L. and ALS disease battle being over

A very fine man C.L. has tragically passed away and I am missing the smile and quick intelligence and the patient and humorous retort and answers to enquiring students that he brought to my attention. I played for him on a couple of occasions as he was dealing with the later stages of ALS and there was no possible greater audience to play for in this world. Full out passion—I'll never forget the look of passion and gratitude mixed with a trace of despair he gave me. It will be on my mind and memory as a accessible and common event regarding Colin. A truly great man: with a stunning background in many sciences namely Physics and of course music and the sensibilities of musical finesse. He was an advanced thinker in the computer world of sound recording as well. Colin will be missed but NOT forgotten.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

I give me Red Light Fever"

Recording over at E. Studio, nice piano, very rich in color.. My warm up should have been recorded because I felt as free as a bird but, when it came time to record I hit myself with Red Light fever and kind of curled up like a mushroom with too much heat. So the result was a restricted one and not fully concentrated. Disappointing but revealing. Now what? The tunes were seemingly unfriendly even though the piano was gorgeous. I'm going to try it again but with this first experience under the belt, I've got to understand and figure out a solution for freer playing. I think I'm going to close the little window to the engineer and be more alone and try to forget about the "tape" rolling and of course to stay positive and meditative. I think I need to think before I get there about exactly what songs to record. Good idea. We recorded 15 songs in one evening including 2 takes on a couple. Next time I will try to deal with this problem before I get there.

EKOS choir: Yey !!... P. is hot on the trail of doing a New Orleans Show... which I'm looking forward to. There's some new tunes in my email and it looks like we'll be adapting a few arrangements with perhaps for the first time an original arrangement—That will be good: we're looking for a New Orleans associated swing tune. Of course this means that I will be earning my pay but that's an expectation of having this great job and relationship with all the people in EKOS.

KCM has created a creative interactive dimensional cover for my book: An Approach To Jazz Piano Ed. 4. It's a dark universe background with the cycle canted on a slant with lines and colors cleverly indicating through quadrangles a common progression: iim9 V13 V7alt IMa7....
The colors progress from Red (V7alt the most harmonic pressure and tendency i.e. "darker") to Yellow (V13 chord: a common extended dominant) to Green (Dmi9: indicating a milder tendency and finally Blue an expression of Tonic chord at rest in the cool Blue color).... It is just so perfect and informs and even intensifies the whole idea or thrust of the book's contents. The finishing touch is the little music notes from our piano lessons that have been put in the background to appear as stars far in the distance. To bring the eye to that V7(alt) chord a star-burst appears at the edge of the cycle... Too cool and so immaculate and deeply dimensional... I'm very proud to have this graphic presentation appear on the cover. The back page uses a similar back ground too... I think I'll set off a rocket !!

Things are going to get busy: gym/pool every day—we're on a quest to stick to our resolutions re glorious food ("we want more" — from the musical Oliver Twist)..... Anyways I've lost over 15 pounds and am still shrinking the stomach which helps: Just say no to Sugar/Bread/being full !! It's going to work I think. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

In other news, Chris Hedges is suing Obama wow.... to bring to the news the rise of Corporate Fascism — for True.

Have a nice day all !!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Saturday night out and subsequence:

I went on the town yesterday: Blue Chair/sold out: Jeffreys/D.B. trio with alto, drums and keys had a little room at the bar stool at the back of the place.
The keyboardist RT graciously let me sit in. The first tune: There'll never be another You... nice and fun—2nd tune: the well known All the Things You Are only the tempo counted in was faster than I've tried to play for some time..... What to do... 1/2 time feel started ... with the left hand driving like mad and the right hand trying to fit a note at least in time. It was a very supreme challenge but it was insane fun. Sitting in with an established band is taking a chance but worth it anyhow. I appreciate the sacrifice the RT (keys) made so I could play a few. Very much a gentleman is he!

Things musical can often work when a chance is taken—even if one is prepared, it is necessary to keep one's mind open and jump into the hyper-space of the dancing on hot coals effect. I'm thinking that sort of thing can be prepared for by doing it—and of course being familiar with all the moves that are possible or in this case convenient, but hopefully right. There's something about the joy of the moment there and it's infectious. But it is attained by continual preparation both in practise and in performance. Sometimes it pays just to play a free improv and see where it leads: it can be only a progressive good-conscious-building thing even if the results are vague.

Working with structure is the theme for this moment but even that can be done freely too. Working within the restraints of a single motive is also going to be very helpful. I'm intending to explore the thematic efforts championed to by the 12-tone composers: that is to work with Prograde, Retrograde, Inversion and Retrograde Inversion. Not forever of course, but it's a marvelous discipline that can add to the artistic growth. To have this particular idea studied in a practical way (3 note 4 note, 5 note etc. motives) would be endlessly fascinating but also might go to a restructuring of the Neurons and the building of new connections. Connections being the key word I think.

Thinking about harmony and motion and chromatics and interval tendencies and their relation to each other in terms of there properties and similarities and dissimilarities. Texture: compound intervals and the effect. Also a further study in the overtone series visa-vis improv over a drone... with some sensitive listening will be helpful.

Now I just have to figure this out. Maybe I'll keep a record of intensions and then perhaps they won't get put aside for too long.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Oh boy!! someone noticed I had a blog !! Ok carrying on.
I've recently been getting into an author/journalist: Chris Hedges. What an eye opener. There is a 3 hour video interview which is very compelling. I was so impressed (and still am) that I purchased 3 of his books (he has written at least 12 books). It's a clear but dismayed and yet neutrally stated view of the reality of the change in America re: the Corporate Coup the has been enacted upon the US population in general. A very vitally interesting read. I try to spread the word of this brilliant and humble man. The book is a slow pithy read for me as I want to absorb this brilliant descriptive (new genre) of "Tell All" book. Every one, especially those in elected positions should be reading and taking this in. The truth is revealed: The Democratic process has been surreptitiously usurped by the endless flow/wash of cash which has corrupted and "hollowed out" by special interest groups i.e. corporations, who are often more powerful than the nation itself. "They" will abuse this freedom until it collapses.. .... The book I'm reading is called: The Death of The Liberal Class. A scathing look at the reasons for the decline and the gradual selling out of the free process of elections. Elected officials are all on the take. ...

And on a lighter and much happier note, I visited my Mother who seems to be on the rebound from a recent leak in her apartment. She's a very young 95.... I hung out for a few days just talking to her and doing the dishes and meals ... when she let me... I had to insist most of the time. On the last day I took a train/bus combinational trip to UBC music and got there just in time for a splendid piano concert (unplanned) and I was thoroughly entertained, refreshed and definitely inspired by this concert by a "junior professor" Ryo Yanagitani. He played magnificently: Beethoven op. 101 (Amajor) sonata, Chopin Scherzo in C#minor (I had played that very one when I was there) and Schumann's Arabesque along with a stunning piece written for the Calgary Classical Music Fest. Ryo played it like he owned it ... quite "bravura" and was extremely satisfying to his audience. A standing ovation was in order. Not bad for a serendipitous happening.

Today I worked with some students at RDC and got a taste of the clinic on the spot. It went well I presume.

I've been working with my piano lesson person: KCM who proceeded to do an insightful analysis of how tritones are a compelling force in a myriad of ways. Very straight forward and low key but truthful and useful, not to mention (place superlative here) !! I'm looking forward to all KCM's thoughts to come together in a stunning ability to be able to perform with an unshakable conviction. I'm thinking that there may just be some levitation (actual) involved. I'm hoping that I'm able to witness that eventuality !! I'm going to practise more because of these inspirations and apply myself to keeping my mind open to the exploration of the connected musical systems et al and to most of all to be humble. Music truly keeps folks humble I have come to realize (also a work in progress). It does come through one, and all one can do is be grateful and ready to serve the moment in a deeper and ever deepening joy... Amen.