Thursday, August 11, 2005

Final concert with 7th Street Jazz Band tonight

Well, tonight will be my final public concert with the 7th Street Jazz Band. We auditioned a new bass player last week, and I think he will work out, and probably be an even better fit (he plays string bass as well as electric).

If you're interested, tonight's concert is at the Carnegie Art Center, and downbeat is at 6:30 PM. For more information, click HERE.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Cool Thing of the Week: Mr. Fastfinger

Spotted by the ever-vigilant folks at Music Thing:

Mr Fastfinger's Guitar Shred Show is a brilliant Finnish interactive flash animation/toy telling the story of Mr Fastfinger, a mysterious guitarist who travels to the Mountain of Tapping Dwarfs. At one point, you have to use your widdly-widdly guitar skills to defeat the devil's accordion playing, before performing for a tribe of pink loincloth-wearing zombie dwarves. Its creator, Mika Tyyskä, is clearly a genius destined for superstardom.

Meshell Ndegeocello on the role of the Bass

I heard an excellent interview with Meshell Ndegeocello this morning on NPR. If you are not yet hip to this gal's playing and singing you have a new opportunity with the recent release of her new album, Dance of the Infidel.

In the interview, she talked a little about her philosophy of bass playing. One of her statements sounded like something I might have said myself:
"If you want foundation and groove, I'm the bass player for you. I don't want to solo -- I just like to groove. I want to create a space and bed for everyone else to do what they do. I'm very traditional, so to speak, as a bassist. I just lock it down, keep the chord changes clear; I'm the foundation -- that's my style"

-- Meshell Ndegeocello

Well, except that I do want to solo once in while. But I can relate to her vision of the role of the bassist. I have infinite respect for the bassists who can solo like Jaco or Vic Wooten. But for me, my job on the stand is to make sure everyone else knows where they're going. You should be able to listen to the bass and drums alone and hear very clearly where the chords are going. The roots and fifths play an important part in defining the chord, of course, but the passing tones and anticipatory phrases help carry the ear through the changes, too. I also have a little rule of contrast that I try to keep in my consciousness; the more "outside" or wild the soloists get, the simpler I will play. If the soloist goes into his upper register, I try to keep down low. If he goes down low, I can walk up to my high notes for a while. If they're keeping to roots, I can play the "flavor" notes a little more. You get the idea. By providing a contrasting musical idea, I think a kind of yin/yang balance can be achieved.

Listen to the full interview with Meshell and hear clips from Dance of the Infidel at NPR's website: CLICK HERE.