13 August 2011

Amongst the community

Thanks to Brian Stewart at Cyberhalides Jazz for the sharp pic

It’s Saturday and I’m still spinning after a very pleasant jam session at the Loft. It was a fundraiser-jam. The jazz community was friendly and the music ranged from touching to boisterous. There were enough, but not too many, bassists and pianists and drummers and horns and vocalists, and even a violinist to challenge my jazz ear (and a very capable player with a jazz conception, too). I managed perhaps 4 or 5 tunes. Mostly they were pretty comfortable swingers or blues, but I remember an over-reachingly fast Stella that I deliberately took up a notch when I felt the band was rushing (live dangerously) and a lovely What are you doing for the rest of your life, sung by Rachel Lole deliciously underplayed by Luke Sweeting and somewhat overplayed by me. I’ll blame it on struggling to read the chart under low light. Otherwise, there was some very entertaining playing on the standards which are the staples on nights like this: amongst others, Green Dolphin Street, Anthropology, There will never be another you, Blues of Alice, All blues, Donna Lee, If I were a bell, Oleo, Straight no chaser, even Girl from Ipanema, and the almost inevitable finale of Tenor madness. There were lots of players moving in and out on various instruments. I particularly noticed the pianists and Andy Campbell on guitar, and of course I watched the bassists, but there was good playing and nice solos all round. My thanks to Phill Jenkins who is always generous with his nicely setup gut-strung bass. My guess is the fundraiser covered the rent and the piano tuning, maybe not much more, but so what - it was a great community event for both players and listeners. For the students who play together often, it was a chance to let their hair down, and for me it was a chance to play with a range of very good musicians. Thanks to Andy and Luke for organising it.

And just a note about my gig last night. It’s not worth a full post, but it’s notable for me as my first real gig as a doubler, ie, playing electric and double bass on one gig. It leaves you a bit schizophrenic, but I loved playing electric again after several years of only double. My Yamaha TRB-6P is a fabulous instrument. I set it to fat Pastorius mode (lots of bass, little treble, bridge pickup) and played sixteenth-note fingerstyle on jazz and jazz-rock and funk and even some reggae. E-bass: this is my old school. Electric and acoustic basses are such different instruments, especially when the e-bass is a 6-string. It was a great workout and the good cheer from the jam carried over to a most enjoyable gig.

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