Thursday, May 02, 2002

Fun bluegrass session at the Plough last night... I had the first tune and final tune ("Spotted Pony"), just played for a few hours. The volume got high in the middle -- some fraternity boys had a going-away party? -- but I got a seat against the wall and didn't have another instrument pointing into my ear, and so could hear what I was doing, even though I couldn't catch vocals from the other side of the circle.

Tunes included "Deep River Blues" (but I spaced on the lyrics!), "Red Wing" and something else. After re-listening to early Bill Monroe this week I was comfortable sticking with a slower tempo... such sessions often tend to have all tunes migrate into the same beat. I had a few complete finger-flubs, but fewer than before, and had the chance to do some work on that staccato style, a combination of Earl Scruggs, Tom Brumley and Paulino Bernal. I need to work over a few such songs so I have stuff for the NCBS picnic this Sunday.

I've been listening to some 1952 Turk Murphy, where he has a completely different phrasing on "Ace in the Hole"... more up-tempo, and doesn't sing the second verse. Starting to get the words to "Cakewalking Babies From Home"... gradually moving to where I can play these tunes at a slower tempo, with more melodic lines, and inevitable rhythm.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

I've been practicing more than I've been blogging here.... ;-)

Times are tight, but I'm getting a few sessions through the day. Did some experimenting with playing after waking in the middle of the night, and it feels promising, but I don't know if it will become a habit.

Tunes have been a small set, repeated across sessions: Bank of Ireland & Music in the Glen, Hippodrome Reel & Ypsilanti Hornpipe, President Grant & Garfield Hornpipes. Listening to Turk Murphy yesterday and singing "Ace In The Hole", learning words to "Peoria" and verse to "Darktown Strutters Ball"... his phrasing on "Ace" is different than what I'd reach for first, so I'm listening over and over, trying to duplicate him... not sure if his phrasing comes from playing trombone, or the volume he had to project at. Other recent songs include "Blue Moon to Gold", "8 Miles to Louisville", "Lost Highway", others.

Getting some time on lap steel too, late at night... main emphases are 1-ii-iii-IV progressions in triads across various strings, melodies in sixths across various strings.

Skipped on Monday night Irish session because of workload; plan to be at Plough for Jeanie & Chuck's bluegrass session tonight; big bluegrass picnic in Golden Gate Park on Sunday.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Great resource:The Heptune Classical Jazz and Blues Lyrics Page. Great links at the bottom of the splash page too... bluegrass, Koala, more.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Hmm, it looks like Blogger may be losing of deferring postings...?

Multiple sessions over the last few days... not a wide range of content, but intensive sessions on fewer pieces, focusing on cleaning things up, getting good bounce. I was able to attain a particular desired sound yesterday, now I have to focus on consistently attaining it, then attaining it when playing with others.

Tunes include: "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" and "That's a-Plenty" (after listening to Yerba Buena Jazz Band); new Irish tunes "Bank of Ireland" and "Music in the Glen" (both memorized, but I haven't recalled the latter from a cold start yet); singing "Blue Moon Turns to Gold", "Midnight on the Stormy Deep", "Lost Highway", others; reviewed "Ypsilanti Hornpipe" and "Hippodrome Reel", and added the President Grant & Garfield Hornpipes (all four suggested by John Relph).

Here's the harmony I hear on "President Grant's Hornpipe", as written in Ryan's Mammoth Collection p137:
| Bb | F Bb | Eb Bb/D | Gm F7 | Bb | F Bb | Gm C7 | F7 Bb ||
| Gm | Dm | Gm Gm/F | C7 F7 | Bb Bb/Ab | Eb/G D7/F# | Gm C7 | F7 Bb ||

Haven't really played rags, klezmer, choro, Tin Pan Alley or other material this week. I did play the musette "Passion" and "Swing Waltz", and again was surprised that I had retained the sections, and had pretty good finger accuracy. I shouldn't expect much muscle memory by this point, but I think it's a combination of muscle memory and melody memory at work... whatever, it's better than I would have hoped for such a layoff.