Monday, March 31, 2003

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

I had another fun session with the jazzbos on Sunday. This time it was just a 4-piece group -- no singers and no sax player. It looks like the group may stabilize in this form, and it also looks like they may have decided that I'm not all that bad a bass player and can stick around. We played tunes in a number of different styles, from standards to guitar-hero fusion stuff. I even got to call a tune, and picked Goodbye Pork Pie Hat by Charles Mingus.

I purchased something very cool off the net this week. I had been thinking that I should scan my copies of the Real Book into the computer so that I could just call up charts whenever I wanted. Once I realized that this would be 1200-1500 pages of scanning, I got to thinking that -- if this was such a good idea -- someone must have done it already. I did some searching on eBay, and was soon in possession of what I'm calling the Big Fake CD. It contains the entire contents of TWELVE popular fake books, including all of the Real Books. If anyone is interested in a copy, let me know.

I've been totally depressed by this war. All wars are stupid and this one seems especially so. My heart aches for those kids over there for what they are having to go through. I believe that the real tragedy of war is not that young men (and women) have to die, but that they have to kill. How do you come back to a civilian life knowing that you killed someone, regardless of the reason? It must be incredibly painful and difficult for them.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we were blessed with three days of beautiful Spring-almost-Summer weather, including that rarest of occurrences here in the Northwest: two perfectly clear weekend days! I took advantage of it on Saturday to mow all the grass for the first time this season. For those who don't know, "mowing the grass" is a fairly large endeavor at our place, and takes me about four hours on our riding mower, while June spends several hours edging with her DR trimmer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


I don't know what it was, but I've been sick for two days, and just started feeling better today. It might be pre-war jitters or a bug I picked up, but I felt really awful on Monday and Tuesday. June helped me by preparing simple foods for me -- mainly rice and juice -- and being wonderfully understanding (as always).

Sunday's session with the jazz group was great fun, as were the previous two sessions. This time, a second female vocalist joined us for a few numbers. I'm not sure whether this particular configuration of the group will endure, but individually they're all terrific players who could pretty much play with whatever kind of group they wanted to. In this last session, I felt like I was starting to get a little deeper musical connection with some the players, starting to tune in to their direction a little better rather than just playing down the changes.

Friday, March 14, 2003

A callback

I got a callback last weekend to rehearse again with the same jazz group I mentioned in my last posting, this time rehearsing at the keyboardist's home. As before, I had a great time. This time, we were joined by a vocalist, so that added a nice new dimension to the music, as well. I really enjoy playing behind vocalists, particularly female vocalists. The accompaniment style is quite different -- the backing musicians need to rein in their tendency to play off each other so much, and must do their best to help the vocalist be the center of attention when she's singing. There are opportunities to do some riffing between vocal phrases, but that can be overdone, too (if you've ever heard Willie Nelson's band live you've heard one of the most egregious examples of a bored old band riffing furiously between each vocal phrase).

I'm going back for another rehearsal with the jazz group this weekend. I went ahead and picked up copies of the fake books they use (mostly the old Berklee-era Real Books) and a nice heavy music stand. Maybe if I just keep showing up, I'll get the gig by default!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


I had a great time this weekend. I've been looking for a group to play with since I got my new amp about a month ago. I answered an ad in Willamette Week, and on Sunday I auditioned for a jazz group. As luck would have it, the drummer lives nearby in Molalla, and that's where the audition was. The group was all good players -- keys, guitar, sax, and drums -- and I think I did a reasonable job of keeping up. We played jazz standards, some funk, and at least one original piece. One thing that was a new experience was that the drummer played electronic drums. They recorded everything I played, presumably so they could take a close listen to my playing afterward.

I have not heard back from them yet, but in any event, I had a great time and I hope I get to do more playing like that. If this doesn't work out, I'll answer some more ads.