04 November 2013

There’s listening and awareness

You hear differently when you’re playing, compared to when you are listening. It occurred to me at our gig yesterday. Jazz Republic was playing with Rachel Thorne. I’ve recently met Jean-Luc Bodson, a newly arrived bassist in Canberra. He’d come for the wines and roses and he took my bass for a run on a transposed Autumn Leaves. When I play, I am aware of the others, the singer, the soloists, less obviously but more constantly of the drummer. But sitting back, I was hearing the bass as others hear it, louder, strong but middy, and noticing details in the singing and listening with care to Richard’s solo. I realised that Richard, sax player, listens like this often: horns get the chance between solos. Rhythm section players tend to play constantly, so there isn’t this same conscious awareness. What to learn from this? First to keep watching to strengthen awareness of the others, but that’s commonly said. The other is just how different is the listening when you’re not playing. Late, perhaps, but a revelation.

Otherwise, this was a great little gig. I was stunned to hear Ella at one stage, and Rachel scats often and easily, but she does more. Such a nice singer. Jean-Luc hadn't played for while (his basses are in transit) and on a new bass but he had some intriguing lines with a nice touch and he impressed me by warming up with some bop heads. Rhys sat in. It was his first gig of three for the day and a good warmup. He was nicely solid and professional and steady to play with. This is what training does for you and I’ve been working on just this: better chord definitions and steadier, more determined grooves. Mike and Richard were their normal impressive selves. My hands were benefiting from recent work on Bach sonatas and iGigBook and iRealb took care of singer transpositions. The flies outnumbered the audience, but we had a blast. Much enjoyed.

Rachel Thorne (vocals) sang with Jazz Republic for the Wine, Roses and all that Jazz festival. JR were Richard Manderson (saxes), Mike Dooley (piano), Rhys Lintern (durms, sitting in for Brenton) and Eric Pozza (bass). Jean-Luc Bodson (bass) sat in for one tune.

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