Sunday, 26 February 2012

Jennifer Scott and EKOS

It was so great working and talking to my Heart—On—My—Sleeve—Hero: Jennifer Scott. Such an intellect and heart—a rare person who I learned so much from over the years. She is divine and to finally have a little conversation with Jennifer was wonderful. She is a very generous person who everybody loves— a fountain of wisdom !! She's a compelling composer/lyricist really musically interesting songs in every way. With EKOS she gave so many ideas and has a way of being really inclusive and with a depth of understanding of the human mind. Her workshop was truly a work of art.

We had a great party on Friday Saturday night at DG's place — wonderful to interact with her and be inspired by her presence. I played a little piano for her and then she played and sang also ... a real treat to watch someone perform almost as a lesson demonstration: very cool... They twisted my rubber arm to sing also... as someone said: always interesting. She was very well received by the choir and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have a new lease on swing and improv and jazz in general. So this is a highlight in my career with my favorite choir: EKOS. She's on itunes everyone... her albums from the first album to the present are so full of musical excellence, expression, intellect, and heart heart Heart !! I listen to them quite often —she's a fav !! I hope to catch her and husband Rene Worst live in Vancouver the next time I visit.

Nite on the jazz town

Friday night was interesting, I did a mini New York club hopping/Venue hopping thing. First Jeffrey's featured a young but very sophisticated jazz piano trio. They have cultivated a very mature contemporary jazz sound—acquired by listening to the New Young Lions of the jazz world including (very much) Robert Glasper's work. Alex Meen. and friends (sorry I didn't catch the bassist first name-next time !!) (Mr.) Furlong and Nich Davies on Drums. Davies work was very subtle and really integrated expressively well with the pianist and bassist. He has a very smooth concentration and plays immaculately with this trio. I do have the unique good fortune to play a gig with him in Red Deer in April with Curtis Phagoo.

Alex of course impressed me an "awe-full" lot. I had first heard him play last year in a MacEwan Music Ensemble concert and I thought his playing was exciting, exquisite, masterful and "contrabutional" to the ensemble as a whole. On this gig my expectations of Alex were met and went really beyond from what I had heard before—even with an electric piano. Beautiful lines very compositional and engaging soloing. The arrangements (heads) were nicely developed and to the point and worked very well. Alex's composition that I heard was a stunning piece showing some fresh harmonic direction full of surprising and engaging solutions—it really catches the ear of the listener. I would like to be able to do that !! :) maybe he'll show me that one or perhaps they'll record it— it is worthy. That was a great first set!!

I then travelled to my next stop: The Yardbird Suite. Tania Gill, a fine creative composer, musician, and improvisor, presented a chamber-music jazz sound with finessed compositions with material that was well worked out. Her music was quite complex at times, with an unfailing sense of clarity and artistic intent. She had a very wonderful band (4 tet) that realized her sensibilities with passion and concern for Tania's art. Lina Almano played trumpet. Lina is one of our unforgettable heros from MacEwan U. Music and has gone on to being a creative band leader/composer/force in her own right. I have her CDs: The Lina Almano Four... She is always a thoughtful deeply considerate music maker. Tania Gill plays beautiful swinging jazz piano when it's called for and it was really respectable and swingin'. Mentionable is her playing of melodica which has gained some popularity recently because I think it gives a keyboardist the added dimension of a crescendo on a sustained melody note or chord. She would play melodica and piano together to some good effect—not easy to do. She also featured compositions of her band members: Lina Almano trpt, Clinton Ryder bass, and Jean Martin on drums which gave the audience a look at the character, dimensions, and musical depth of her ensemble. The audience was definitely enthusiastic and engaged, and called for an encore, a piece which highlighted and capsulized both the sensitivity, musical direction/intelligence, presented throughout the evening.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Rober Glasper, Owen Howard

I went to the Yardbird Suite Fri. and Sat.... and heard 2 earth shaking shows. Robert Glasper on Fri. and Owen Howard on Sat.

The Robert Glasper experiment pooled together some ultimate high end harmony, textures all borrowed from the past and recreated into the hippest take on fusion. RG was astounding at the keyboards—he did the 2 keyboards-at-once thing which is always going to be creative and really gives definition to what he was playing in each hand. Just about anything he wanted was there for him. That is the impression he gives.... concentrating 100% while looking like he has nothing to do with what was coming out there. He's a master reharminizer, giving us a fantastic tossed off rubato version of Body and Soul as an intro to another song with a related topic. I recognized much of what he was doing and am glad I'm on a kind-of-right-track in my own playing at least in part. He is masterful.. they all had fun. The unique feature apart from drums and electric bass, was the saxophone player who is a vocorder artist of the highest order. So confident, Voccorder with a keyboard strapped loosely on, this fellow just mellowed everything out and soared with such finesse and impact. He has a great sense of phrasing and was truly spellbinding !! All the MacEwan Music kids were around the front stage checking out the Vocorder machine during the break. I predict future sales and orders from the music store outlets in Edmonton..

They are releasing a record: "Black Radio" at the end of the month..

Saturday night: Owen Howard's reunion band featured drummer compositions (from the CD "Drum Lore") of which Owen's pieces made up the greatest number. A very good band with some local and imported players— some very difficult music played extremely well with lots of detail and some very professional and accomplished thinking. My admiration for those reading this music perhaps for the 2nd or 3rd time and keeping track of the form during Owen's brilliant, musical, but complex soloing.

There's something about the perspective that drummers might have when composing for a band. They can build the arrangement around themselves and what they do. However, in Owen's case the astonishing brilliance is extended to his concept of line and harmonies. It was very entertaining but also a challenging show to listen to. One didn't want to miss a second of it in case some fine detail might be lost... A very great show and a great weekend at the Yardbird: "a highlight of the season", was the thought expressed by some members of the enthusiastic audience !!

Home front:

G. is making clean up my studio... loose papers always scattered whenever I get the piano tuned. I got some very encouraging news on the book front today and am resolved to live up to the comments that arrive. More practise, more listening, more meditation—which is hard to do while you're dusting things in an effort to tidy and clean things.... not so tough by some standards I think:)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Tip See

It's funny that I haven't practised intervals over chords per say but just thinking about them has improved my chances. I got to realize this theory tonight while playing solo piano (it's so soft) for the Sabor Dovino place and it worked in part, as long as I was concentrating properly. For a lot of the repertoire that I do, I have written chord changes especially passing chord changes over the original lead sheet and have tried to create "arrangements" that have some (hopefully) interesting sonorities both vertically and horizontally. However it takes a lot of doing to get these under the fingers never mind actually memorizing the resultant new chart—even though that of course is the goal. At tonight's gig I chose to just play the tunes without any charts resulting at times to sometimes a reversion back to more standard changes or in some cases a set of new changes came out—always welcome if they work—and they can be made to "work" of course. It's a great process to really be able to hear the tunes on my list of 200 tunes or so. It's giving me a balance between arranging and playing and hearing/remembering how tunes go that I hadn't played for a while. I have memorized quite a few of the new set of changes in tunes though and they seem to continually evolve somewhat.

I'm hoping to be able to put up script passages in this blog... There's a few things I'd like to share in the passing chord department. I'm going to hopefully put up some of the new solo piano tracks up here on cloud (stay tuned :). I'm hoping help might be on the way.

So this gig was interesting. Not absolutely full but quite a few parties. I was talking about the dynamics of doing a background/ambience gig like this. Tuning into the broad scope of the melodies, keeping the rubato as really in time but stretched and squeezed when it felt like it without actually losing or gaining time. So there is a rhythmic feel/principle involved. I might go for something and, be also listening in for the mood of the room and the vibe, and definitely tune into it. They are a part of the "performance". I try to listen to them with a compassionate ear and that helps somehow. The dynamics may operate according to what kind of conversation they are having. If it's a near table and they're talking about some construction project aspect !!. I kind of listen in on the conversation and back off a little when a point is being made (is that crazy?). Or, at another table quite far away from the keyboard they may be laughing, and this laughter often comes in waves ... If I'm playing Body and Soul... while they're laughing in waves, it becomes very convenient to phrase the melody in the "troughs" of those laughter waves. Sometimes someone will laugh way out loud quite obviously it's hard not to turn and take a look and I sometimes (secretly) join in in my mind and I smile too. Not at the person (sometimes a quick one) but in general. It makes the whole thing pleasant and keeps my attitude on an even keel. They're out to have a good time and I don't want to interfere with that so I keep my artistic intensions as high as I can whilst accommodating the pulse in the room.. It's not that hard and everyone's happy (I hope). Tonight I drifted off my discipline now and then and played for myself and then realizing the mood was changing (i.e. they talked even louder), I reined in that energy and got back to the meditation on the vibe and the people who share this life in this room. I have to really concentrate on that return because it feels like I let the sheep out and I'm a sheep dog getting back to work bringing home the (bacon) lamb.. :) Generally I had fun during those episodes but I'd like for them to keep asking me so I have to maintain a status quo and still give my time on the job some meaning. Life is Good !! Oh and I got a symbolic "Tip" 2 Tunies (how is that spelled? Yeh.. it's the thought that counts—it was nice to know that someone appreciated it (I split a $50.00 tip there one night)... !!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Everyone should

I've spent my whole week consuming sauteed veggie things but the hit parade I most enjoyed (so much I'm fairly buoyant) has been sauteed cloves of Garlic. Now I've never even bought a clove of Garlic but I was on my own for a week: well: I probably ate 20-30 cloves a day... they are so good... who knew that I would be reeking of it by the time G. got home after a week. I sure found out about it... the thing is you can't tell. One has this feeling of enrichment, a healthy glow. It's too bad really that it's not a required food stuff taste. Is there such a thing? Unless everyone consumes it there is a definite social repercussion when a person eats so much of it. I just couldn't get enough !! Well that's all gonna change. G's reaction was very entertaining: I never realized just how much I had consumed, being a "new-be" at this particularly wonderful flavor. I will cut it way down to zero for a while. But I haven't forgotten. I think people were starting to notice—like I say, it's too bad everyone doesn't doesn't do it. Life goes on so now it's brown rice and salads to complete the nutrition requisites I guess.

I started reading my book 2 notes today... lots of ideas to write on. One has to wrap one's mind on something like this: how to organize it, how far do the ideas go, what kind of depth etc. It is a nice and engaging project which needs some alone time with it. I seem to think best by myself in a coffee shop where there are people talking about hip things or whatever (no I haven't been listening in) — the vibe is there or maybe it's my way of doing something meaningful for my mind at least. I'm dedicating this book to my virtual mentor for this entire project: The great jazz guitarist Bobby Cairns. There is so much of him in both Book 1 and the upcoming book 2. Many of the ideas seem to be able to expand and connect. It's going to be a hard won feel-good project for sure.

I'm writing parts and arrangement for the choir (EKOS) and can't get some of this marvelous music out of my mind: "Pass Me The Jazz" an Anders Edenroth a swing-jazz original is really going to be good and fun and well worth the effort to put it together. What a great group! I was working with the choir on Alto and Tenor parts and was struck by the detail needed to really bring this off. Getting the first pitch and so on. In particular is the habit of many to not wait for the down beat or singing something directly on beat 2... and swing 8ths and pushes. One has to feel strongly the following down beat after a push and in a choir (or horns) this can be accomplished by expressing that with a little more tone that is easily applied. It's fun to be able to bring people to that realization.

I'm hoping to put up on "cloud" a few tracks of solo piano. It is coming along. It's quite amazing how feeling comes across on a recording when it's truly there to begin with. Conviction/heart is the hoped for message.

Apparently I sold a book in Bolgna Italy the other day ! Yey ... very encouraging and amazing !

'Picked up a couple of gigs Wed. Thursday at Sabor Dovino... I like playing there or places like it. The approach I finally have come to use is a very broad beat (ballad-y) with the melody featured in gentle waves that don't quite crest if you know what I mean. I'm always tuning in to the folks at the tables being sure not to interfere with the conversation. The attempt is to tune in to the feel of the place... it's not always the same but the solution to each situation has this sensitivity in common. I don't even have to play pop tunes so much (some that I like to do and know, get featured). Broadway show standards etc. is my main repertoire — I can do the odd "tasteful" jazzy fills but only if it's integrated into the presentation. Now, they do listen and the music needs to be as musically dynamic on this scaled-back level. I try to enjoy myself in this musical enclosure and do. I think people know that (I humbly hope so) there is a sincere attempt to add value to their experience and so far they've been quite appreciative. I like the idea of doing a crescendo and scaling it back while there is another musical message sweeping in (softly) underneath it. It becomes a learning experience for me, like most gigs. That's one good reason to play.

It's fortunate that there are gigs like this to do.... There is a culture that needs to be maintained and enlarged. Music is a good thing !! Hallelujah !!

Pleasant Journey All !!

Monday, 13 February 2012

heart warming

As I'm starting to practise after listening all day to my own tracks, I'm realizing that I need to ear train and really learn the tunes I'm working on. I'm working with some Bill Evans tunes and they are sometimes semi through composed and that makes for some extra work memorizing the 2nd and 3rd A sections but it's worth it. I feel I'm behind and only just making what my ear and my hands tell me to play. A relaxed technique works wonders.

Sometimes a phrase needs to be handled better rhythmically so it can end on time. Phrases need a beginning a middle and an end—to take a breath (there's another thing) to go on to accommodate the next development of the previous phrase or perhaps a paraphrase of the one just played and fragment that, into another phrase building action or drama if you will. People (teachers all) have been telling me: You tell a story here: that way the music has a line or it is "composed" (what a great word) and it might have grace and it should have heart. Telling the story (of Joy?) of what it's like to be honest and whole-heartedly, warm-heartedly involved. It can be fun and should be always a certain kind of "fun" deep fun, witty fun, serious fun !!

So I'm intrigued by the melodic shapes that I find lying around. The Tao of Improvisation by Sheldon Z. offers one example (100b) that has so many applications and room for development. The last 6 notes of Bill Evans' "Yet Ne'er Broken" in Eb : 5 6 12 3 6 an example that is fun to utilize in other pieces...not to mention phone numbers... why not? All grist for the musical mill.

So I guess it's about organization and inspiration too —it's the mind (Bill Evans: The Universal Mind) that is involved, open, creative, prepared and leavened with the heart: That makes it all worth while !!


It's a labor of love. Finding something good in the solo piano recordings done a couple of weeks ago. It's funny how a beat gets dropped and picked up 2 bars later. That astounds because of the innate nature of a beat/groove keeps on going seemingly unattended, not that I'm always that lucky.

It sounds OK on the headset. I've been listening big time all day trying to sort things out. Some obvious errors will demolish a track. Most of the time I'm finding I have a way too much material for a single CD of 45 minutes. I'm sure I've got a few winners in there. More distillation needed of course but I'm crossing some absolute "no-ways" off the list. Sometimes I'm not sure what I did to make something come out in a certain way but I'm grateful for being able to be open to the flow. This is a lot of fun and I'm feeling quite glad to be in this situation. I highly recommend it.

It's Valentine's tomorrow. G's coming back from Kelowna. I've been having a great time playing and listening and gettin' in to the Veggies sauteed: so delicious. I'm hoping to show G that sauteed garlic cloves don't smell so bad really. I hope she thinks so—I guess I'll have to go out and get a Valentine card for her.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Temptation Aspect in Poetic-like form

I did this some time ago and when I re-read and re-understand this piece it's seems to somewhat re-enlighten. So here goes: Sorry it's a bit of a read that's not all negative and hopefully comes out as positive and hopeful.

Temptation Aspect Explorer


The almost imperceptible slide into acquiescence:

Vanity from a perception of creative present stability,

deluded dreamer dreaming

imagined greater repose

in ignored (ignoranted) self glorification:

supposed beauty from the outside ungracious ego

feeding an ungraciousness

that is emolliated almost instantly

against reality’s truth-light

truth of Thee Source

false desire is quickly met

with instant gratification’s wage

in half-life’s half-sleep

Temptation and Vanity:

A slope which imperceptibly,

to the possession of impervious, mind keeper gets suddenly steeper.

Way out of temptation:

Suddenly the truth is found,

Joy is required

it’s there with a

flash of humor, a flash

of realization:

Humility! is required.

Truth and

purer intention regain

attention’s commitment

keeping a saved goal in mind.


Vanity takes a bow and comes up empty handed yet heavy handed

unsettled nothingness.

A fitful sleep in which

The pain is felt too late

intension lost is suffering’s

extension-ing most in narcistic

Lessons learn hard ways

only to return with a layer

of understanding repeating

that same lesson again ‘till understood

Where’s the glory now

Glorify the good, the truth.

Truth is Good

Life is Good

Loving-intent is Glorious

Temptation and context:

Without genuine intention

(miraculous) eyes have it

connected vitally to the

mind post.

Mind deposits

Posited, twisting and

imagining at the speed of light:

images that travel created

flying in the brain medium (brainium)

alighting instantly felt

through the universal body

universal in

Thee Devine Mind

where it rests instantly in the records

of the past

serving to inform via

the mysterious life.

Truth in Grace:

as Nearly-infinite parallel lines

not being infinitely perfect,

like music beats, incorrect alignment of subdivisions

Cross (intersect) and are felt by the


of those lines, as pain, how-ever subtle.

Temptation of the Flesh:

whether real or seriously


Is ultimately

attachment: ultimately a wrath,

compounds that crossing,

inflicting the

wounds of willfulness

on the whole body of

Thee Universe

including all players,

beings being touched

by thoughts as action

or willful-woeful intension’s intrusion

Bringing to life (light) the

need for the awareness:


to the Whole Body

that this Whole

Body (the Body Of Christ)

suffers less though still informed

personally suffering, personally felt.

Imitation’s Limitations:

Responsibility is Job One

Heart is Job One

an Admirable Heart is Job One

Meditate on the One Love

Universal Love

Takes practise, practise, practise.

and Constant intent.


(Scatman John says: “Get Over Yourself”)

Constancy and intention and



send the true message.

Temptation covers identification with

feats featured and claimed in the

silent unnamed but now named: “I”

There is Vanity even in the light of superior knowledge

which may be classified as superior ignorance

Vanity in the illusion of possession and attachment

versus detachment

Vanity attaches matter

clinging to consciousness

of unconsciousness

Identifying with matter or accomplishment

arouses Vain thought, Thoughts in vain

Pride and vanity and instant gratification

blind the unaware.

A fitful sleep of painful ignorance

are the wages-ravages of vanity and pride

Value recognition Values

in the present moment

a detached regard

Has always been always

personal in that:

it’s up

To “I Am”

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bliss Hunt

Yeah music. Concentration in the studio — targeting bliss and having it land in the musical moment. Preparation minimalist.

OK a big one is getting/having confidence in being able to play what one hears internally: I'm thinking just working with intervals and sing/play different intervals in different contexts. There are many contexts: in a major chord and in every possible harmonic context eg: Perfect 4th (or any interval)— sing play in any harmonic context. Then other intervals sung/played up and down etc. Solfege (Solfa -movable Doh) is very helpful. Ultimately playing tunes in keys always warms up my intervalic ability. This is something one needs to do on a regular basis.

Hearing specifically like that is critical to having any confidence when improvising with any sort of conviction or imagination.—Sometimes the most obvious choice may be right or too obvious and predictable. That brings to mind good ol' chord-tone substitution 9 for 1, 13 for 5 etc. This sort of knowledge ahead of time will help to facilitate interesting and right choices (simultaneously) at the same time. :) They still should be heard or "pre-heard" for the best success — that is always a challenge but it's good to do that: it makes the "ear" (neurons) stronger. Having the fingers do the talking is part of the phenomenon but listening ahead will strengthen the ear I think.

I was just listening to Bud Powell's take on "A Night In Tunisia" ... it is so bold and full of vitality... Man! and his solo break ('gotta lift that one). Right there is a good way to spend time listening to bits and absorbing the life in it. I highly recommend a listen (yay itunes etc. !)

Time feel:

What I'm looking for is something that is deeply solid enough that I can suspend any kind of connective figure over it and then confirm the time with a solid comp or shot that may also utilize the decaying nature of held chords or notes on the piano. Again it takes a form of surrender to do this. It's like there's really only one way to make this satisfaction/fulfillment happen—Full Embrace—I think might describe it. Sometime one has to play for one's self alone—not in the selfish sense but in an expression towards the eternal truth. That would be music worth listening to. This does take work and sticking to the "plan" for a while. I think planned practise is necessary but one needs to attempt playing freely.


played jazz or music takes an immense concentration that is needed to connect the ideas which might take it beyond random noise. There needs to be structure (I keep saying to myself)... perhaps balance that, with being open to the 'gifts' that fall into one's musical mind — I try to keep the mind open for those events while balancing whatever formal forces are in play.

'Love those moments of musical liberation when the concentration/joy is (more or less) complete. It can be done.... speaking of which: I heard someone fantastically playing the Sibelius violin concerto on CBC radio 2.... talk about expressive commitment... the melodies and the violin absolutely talked and drew the audience right in ... really an extraordinary moment in my day.... I'm gonna look that up...

Quote for the day (made up)

Those blessed with good fortune: responsibility weighs ........

Forgive the indulgence: always self directed.

Cheers, all !!!!!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bacheloring for a week ..kinds of foods.

So home alone for a week and back on my diet: Hemp hearts in the porridge, Bell peppers sauteed with other things (protean too) —I'm hopping to get back on the track of a pound a day. I'll be going for it in this next week for sure. Hemp hearts gives energy for the whole day and allows you to eat only the skimpiest of lunches (salad or sauteed veg. + a plug of salmon). Staying off anything sugary/"carby" bread and potatoes. I have a little brown rice (small portion) now and then. Anything that will slow down the digestive process and give the pancreas and liver a chance is fair game. One has to be reasonably full after supper. Then no eating after supper, i.e. go to bed a little hungry and voila another pound gone (hopefully). I still have quite a ways to go to reach my goal but it is worth it. Feeling better, a little more athletic and lighter on and off my feet. It's a good thing: a life saving, savoring thing. This is the first time I've ever sauteed garlic cloves... they are delicious.

I'm missing my grandson Jack who is amazing and developing into quite a fine kid. G. is off visiting them.

Work/chores/practise/listen—life is busy and planned and it's OK to not practise 6-8 hours a day. More like 2 hours maybe. I'm making some time think and read and (trying to) grow.

The book got relaunched (see the site: with KMO's brilliant new cover design (Yay).

I've learned a lot by listening to my tracks recently recorded—it takes a tremendous concentration as those that know will attest. I'm kicking myself over a few careless blunders that marred a potentially good take. Recording one's self is really soul-building (neuron building). I can measure my state of mind just by the touch of the keys. I confess that I out-smarted myself on a few rhythmic gestures and didn't wait for the downbeat to catch up. Right there is a reason to practise with the metronome. I can tell where I'm at mentally and personally (is there a difference? sub category) by what comes out: Solo piano gives you no place to hide really. I kind of flubbed an entry and then "classlessness" abounded as I tried to cover it up by doing grace notes to kind of imitate the flub as if it was intended all along. I won't do that again—it's just so obvious and false. Just start over with a new track and a stronger mind set and soul set! It turns out that except for a couple of very precious tracks on day 2, the best results came on the first day of recording ("beginner's" luck—with red light fever).

I'm thinking this will make me a better player—if I pay attention and do the hard work of listening to the same tracks individually over and over again. I would like to think I didn't squander the recording opportunity and got a CD's worth of entertaining music. This is serious business and everyone who does this sort of thing works really hard at getting it done well.


I'll be playing less as it's getting to be EKOS choir writing time and I'm starting to think about some sort of allotment of time for P.'s wonderful EKOS ambitious projects. I think the overall concert will be a success in May because the choir can get a lot done because of the nature of the arrangements we're doing. The EKOS concert theme is New Orleans and covers some musical history and roots music that should be very entertaining and fun to do. I just have to get to work on it.


The thoughts on reincarnation are bearing some fruit in that I think I potentially have more peace and spiritual progress and am able to deal with past faults with more clarity and resolution. In any case the only way is forward. So that is the way.

Chris Hedges:

Here's one of the many You Tube clips of Chris Hedges. He tells it how it is on every level through many brilliant speaking events. He is so brilliant and well thought out and has a lot to say about our existence on this planet. Here's a link to get it going — it's all good stuff. We are fortunate to have this humble and wise man who in my view, has everyone's true interest at heart.

Hedges mixes it up with Hitchens... and wins hands down as far as I'm concerned —and I was (and still am) a fan of Hitchens: Then I saw Chris Hedges being interviewed. I'm reading his books and noting his influences: Noam Chomski and George Orwell.... they're all on You Tube as well... I'm going to take the time to absorb their thoughts too.

Take care all !!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Nola's gigs no less.

Nola's gigs no less. "Working" at Nola's. It's like an imaginary place but, it's for real enough for jazz et al. People just hang around after supper and love to talk over/under the live bands that play there. I think they like the idea of being able to talk through the music — it's like a party and the musicians are in the background having fun and playing their hearts out. So there's a potential scene there. The folks who are there don't strike as being Yardbird Suiters but seem to dig the music anyways and it's not Rock and Roll all the time. Dixie type jazz, bebop, jazz fusion, folk fusion. Musicians need some place to play so long may it continue. I played with Dino D. (his gig) Tenor and Greg D. on bass. Basically "real" booking it. It seemed to come off OK and was fun and challenging (no drums) but it went pretty steady all through the night.... some person came on to the stage at the end and gave us all a congratulatory hug and said that her 2 boys were playing the piano.... it's only a little club (on the edge' of town) but here we were being pleased enough with ourselves. Will it last?... We live well—for the moment. It was fun even if it was a trifle loud (whazhatusay). I will be wearing earplugs for a time to try to recoup the expected hearing loss. We did an unexpected duo today Sunday for which we had a devoted audience of about 8-9 people. They loved us bless their hearts. We played softer today and the musical rewards were increased up in the quantum leap area. It was a good way to end the weekend. It's all very inspiring—whenever I play 2-3 gigs in a row it feels like being a real musician with confidence and skill/solos that emerge that didn't seem to be there before.... Maybe its due to the fact that my little yamaha P85 is just a tad light in the key weight department. With the addition of dynamics there is a whole other world of expression, lines, confidence, fun and a little more involvement with self esteem (ah steam !) Yey !


To change the subject: the topic of reincarnation has been brought to my attention via Yogananda of the Biography of a Yogi (a recommended read for anyone—especially anyone involved with the arts and that can be literally anyone). A little passage here brings to light the potential for erroneous thinking in that this life has to be used up in the pursuit of physical pursuits etc. This may suffice for now.

" The early Christian church accepted the doctrine of reincarnation, which was expounded by the Gnostics and by numerous church fathers, ..... The (this) doctrine was first declared a heresy in A.D. 533 by the Second Council of Constantinople—in order to encourage man to strive for immediate salvation (point well taken enough). But truths suppressed lead disconcertingly to a host of errors. The millions have Not utilized their "one lifetime" to (not so much) seek God, but to enjoy this world — so uniquely won, and so shortly to be forever lost! The truth is that man reincarnates on earth until he has consciously regained his status as a son of God.

It just gives me food for thought and to be more earnest (hopefully Not "inept") in the quest for realization. Duty done will reap rewards of perhaps some other kind of good chance. Otherwise who knows? The magic is in preparation and willingness to look inward. Sorry for preaching to the choir but it's really self directed.

Face book issues: on MOX TV... privatization of jails (what a thought)—incarceration for profit— supposed to save the state money... according to the records of the fact: it indeed does Not save the state money...It's reminiscent of Chris Hedge's (The death of the Liberal Class pp 51) observation of the privatization of the Afghan war. There's nothing for the troops to do.... this "privatization" is still bottom-lined by the US state !! War is hell !! Prison is from Hell !!

In lighter news: The Oilers redeemed via an 8 point brilliant play by Sam Gagner ... Wee were there: G. and I. It almost felt like the Gretzy years there for a brilliant moment of play. The game did generate some much needed esteem amongst the jubilant fans. I was happy too.

Fell off the diet a little: all about nursing my split 4th fingertip don't y'know. I think I need the occasional relief from the extreme speed of losing weight: 25 pounds in a month and a half. Now I have to get back to it split fingertip and all... it's a little sore even through the bandaids.

Gotta transcribe Jambalaya for EKOS then listen to those tracks, then practise, then start editing and working on Book 2... I hope I don't have to have another 30 years of experience to write it. Geeeeeee this IS Fun after all..

Keep up the good fight All.... I will remember to remember to do the same.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I must Be dreaming !!

  1. No inner voice-narrative in one's head is an awesome goal. Any expression therefore comes (I think, I try, I hope) from a profound, deep, and Necessary place (space) within.
    I think it's good to "dream" music and analyze it at the same time—it's an exercise that is probably easier to say than do. If you dream on a tune or set of changes you Know, it is certainly doable and "allowed". Not independent of you—Yes.
    (my Mom used to say with great conviction and persuasion: "It's about the music"). Cool.
    Someone asked me: What do you mean "dream on a tune"? Do you mean that literally? Or metaphorically? (also stating: "Music has the agency")
    Dream on a Tune —sounds like a good song title !! When dreaming, truly one is involved in the dream and I guess that's what I'm talking about. It's about imagination but it's an involvement in imagination to the point (nearly to the point) of pure surrender to the feel of the time, the soaring harmony, and melody. Meter lives here. You can create a world of joy and celebration within the mind: T.Monk: "You got to dig it to dig it. You Dig"? It is definitely within our reach. Maybe it's enjoyment becoming passion out of the silence that surrounds the very pivot point of the mind. Even music that is heard from without is heard, felt, involved and centered really in that same point. I experienced this one time playing a gig with the Edmonton symphony—it was a great moment for me. I heard the entire orchestra this way and responded (I was sitting by the conductor and right in the center of the orchestra)—I felt it profoundly and the conductor (of the Bob McGrath show) came up to me and shook my hand and thanked me profusely at the end of the show for no special reason except I think he liked the involment: very gratifying. It was amazing !!
    I think it is because I "dreamed" it. It became ultra real (I managed to survive the celeste part quite well too). Maybe the dream "metaphor" flavors the reality and virtually becomes the reality.... Some may think that's fuzzy thinking but what is important enough is the result. The communication of that immersion-in-conviction result.
    Someone's (a friend) further observation re improv: "It's more like a feeling of being satisfied with what happens, or unsatisfied, and acting on that."
    This is good. Sometimes the more obvious solution is the most boring one and being unsatisfied with that and pre-empting that with something that is more surprising but right and pleasing is a goal I sometime seek and sometimes need to seek (for sure). It's a good idea to remember the balance in all this. Good ol' Unity/Variety concept and the cultivation of judgement to know when and how to manipulate this for the most inspired result.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Blocked blog unblocked blog blog blog (sung to Camptown races)

This morning I was "locked out" of my blog for email address reasons but figured it out with help from a friend. Just the usual having to log on and forgetting details like which email address to use. All better now (Thanks KCM)

I've been meditating on the message: "Ephemeral love is not real love: Eternal love is necessary" attributed to Shri Lahiri Mahasaya. Wow! the more I act that way or think that way intentionally, the more peace I have. For starters we are all in that eternal stream and Loving the eternal is not an option. One of the things I've noticed is that with that goal in mind, one can perhaps get the feeling of "starting from here" and a kind of peace and independence from all real and imagined social disturbances in the mind, seem to evaporate as it is now up to oneself to do this. Social responsibilities/duties of course still have to be maintained. So forgiveness can be hoped for, presence of mind can be hoped for, escaping the ego mask can be hoped for (it IS necessary). The benefits: of clarity, open-mindedness, and the understanding the presence of the Universal Mind behind every action and every structure— can be hoped for (prayed for) and accepted with problematic-delusion's fading away.

I confess: to being a humble egocentric —a work in progress. Music being so-in-the-moment can be "composed" in the best sense of the word, by "listening" to the silences behind a phrase as it peels out. When "other" internal voices are heeded or created during the process of music, they quickly take over and suddenly one is fresh out of musical gas. This I know. The trick is to be steadily intensional regarding Thee Eternal. You'd think it would take only one musical negative occurrence to make one cured of egocentric thinking. I try to release that (delusion fades) and in the process of doing that I sometimes am inspired to go off the musical "rails"

But! After all, form needs to be followed (thinking improv here), harmonies have to be incorporated or at least related to. A whole phrase can have a way of resolving by a different route perhaps circling back on themselves a few times. Through intention towards the moment (towards the Eternal), errant motifs might seem to have a mind of their own blasting through some preconceived idea only to resolve in some other hopefully great way.

I was playing a "magic show" at the Jube many years ago when I ran into a kindred spirit. The conductor of the show was from LA (not Leduc!) and had written film scores. We were talking about the creation of such score and he said that he watched the film and then just "Listened" and the music emerged right there and then in his mind. He was a nice man, really down home, nothing fancy but this was his process and he was delighted to share it. I believe that improv can be conceived in much the same way. We as improvisers don't have a film but the rhythm, form, harmony and melody are already there and that is our film, our guide our structure. Sometimes just "listening" may result in only space... that's OK too although sometimes I find myself "waking" up the process by proceeding with some motif or melodic material from the tune to just to prime the pump. Truly the music you make fits around what you leave out in a sense: the groove can feel so good on it's own —I used to say (and still do): You don't know how good you can feel, i.e. there's no conceivable end to that. One would think.

Peace everybody !!


C.L's memorial service was yesterday. 'Nary a dry eye in the house. A much cared for and respected man was he. The memory of him will continue to inform and gladden hearts of those who knew him and those who speak of him to others. He lived with utmost patience, thought, deliberation, and thoroughness and most of all generosity. We are all saddened by his far to early demise. Personally I was really getting to know him more and more in the final months of his life and of course at the service more and more aspects of the man were revealed. There are all these pictures of him smiling in various settings.... I hope a smiling picture of myself can be found when the time comes.... Maybe I should smile more (... :)... not with standing).

The most gratifying thing was to see people there (former students and musician friends from the past).... It was an intense day. There was quite a lot of different genres of music played in tribute. It was a great task to rise to. Before I played, I spoke of playing for C.L. in the final months saying (with concurrent indications from the players) that he was possibly the best audience anyone could play for on any level.