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I submit myself...

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Tbeers, May 10, 2005.


  1. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    ... once again to your harshest criticism. This recording was made tonight at my school jazz band's rehearsal. What you are listening to is the solo section from a famous Ellington piece called "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" (the one with the famous story from Newport Jazz Festival). It is a blues in the key of Db (ouch ouch ouch lol), and I have to play my first two choruses unaccompanied, because the drummer needs time to switch back from vibes. Check it out.

    I would say, from my own listening, that my biggest issue is time. Where do I put space? How do I not rush during rests? How much space is too much? How do I have to play differently when I am by myself? So many questions to consider... I invite all the great TBers to give my crappy playing a listen and maybe help me in the right direction.

    Our jazz band was selected as a finalist in the Essentially Ellington competition done by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, so I'm going to play this in front of Wynton Marsalis in NYC on Saturday! Wee....

    I know it sounds like reconstituted garbage, but I know you'll at least enjoy the other two solos in this 3 minute clip. Here goes:

    http://longinusrot.home.comcast.net/Dim_Cresc.mp3
     
  2. Well, first off, I have to say your playing's way ahead of mine!

    But from a listening point of view, my first reaction is "what happened?" The vibes stop and so do you. I would say the first measure of your solo is too early to drop the pulse, especially if there's nothing else keeping time. What you play in the second measure is much stronger - why not swap them around?

    It might seem more logical to build momentum during a solo, starting with more rests as you do on the recording, but you'd normally have the drummer's hi-hat or something to keep the rhythm. Here you don't, so I feel you have to go into the solo at full strength.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  3. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah I've gotten that comment from everyone. I don't know... there's such a fine line between starting out too strong and too weak. I need to find the balance so that I don't make it seem like everything has stopped, but also I have room to build.
     
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Just some comments to see if I can help. Dude, I like your playing. I wish I had that much physical skill in my soloing. Lessee...

    On walking: For my own playing, been trying to focus on more 2 and 4 bar phrases, mixing them up with chromatic runs, arps, etc. You seem to do alot of chromatics and repeating of a single note. For me, it seems that playing the same note over and over does a good job of building tension, but can get old quite quickly. Especially if there isn't a reason for doing so.

    Soloing: Yeah, sounds like you're in a hurry. I think what would help is to think about your rhythmic phrasing more. More syncopation. Don't play every eighth note in a run... drop one here and there and make it swing. It's kinda like you're almost there, all you need to do is play less. I'm working hard on this too.
     
  5. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    My bass is strung with Obligatos. I just raised them last week and they really are quite high enough at this point lol. I'm beginning to think that due to the way I attack the bass (I've had my hands compared to "meat hooks" before), I might need to look into a higher tension alternative. Perhaps Dominants.... For Saturday I will give my strings another half turn.

    I appreciate all the comments so far. Jason... you know, I am going to ask the vibes player to try not to let his solo die at the end. I always thought the lack of energy there was my responsibility, but come to think of it he isn't helping me much hehe. About the general "simplicity" thing -- yeah, I've had soo many people tell me that for so long. And truthfully, I have been working at playing less frills. But instead of being easier to play less, I find it harder! It's one of those counterintuitive things, like how people end up spending more money on food while dieting.

    Thanks for all the pointers
     
  6. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Well, small update. I just raised my adjusters a half turn higher (which is actually quite a lot hehe) and I find that the sound is more fundamental and punchy rather than that annoying twang. In fact, I may go even higher. I still can't get a pencil under the G string at the end of the fingerboard. Damn, those strings were way lower than I thought. The humidity here has changed so quickly....

    Thanks BIGtime for the tips Jason. I'll look into other methods of "aging" my sound, but raising the strings has already made a tremendous difference.
     
  7. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Just want to thank you all again for the help. I went to the festival, and although my band was not selected as one of the top 3 out of 15 (how could we compete with these arts academies? geez), I got one of the Outstanding Soloist awards from Wynton! Now I have months of inspiration to keep practicing my arse off.
     
  8. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Congratulations!

    Some kids in my son's band had the same reaction at Berklee. My response was, "Well, if they set up a separate category for Arts Academies you might 'win' for 'Best Pretty-Good Band.' "

    Ultimately, considerations of "fairness" are oriented toward competition rather than musical activity. If you re-focus your orientation on events like these from "Competition" to "Festival" it no longer matters whether the "competition" is "fair" as long as you learn something and enjoy the time.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    My buddy Dan took a regular old high school band to a pretty high level of musicianship during his tenure there.

    http://www.rhs.seattleschools.org/redirect/?http://www.rooseveltjazz.org/

    http://rhs.seattleschools.org/

    http://www.seattlepress.com/article-9666.html

    http://www.ghs.seattleschools.org/

    SAM'L, as usual, has a great point. Go play music and don't worry about anything else. Congrats on the nod from Kenston.

    But as far as "competing with art's academies", I dunno. If everybody in the band had the wherewithal to get an Outstanding Soloist nod, well ya see where I'm going. Ultimately it comes down to how it all sounds and that's the bottom line. Not where you went to school or how you were the most burning cat in East Bum**** or how many gigs you've had or whatever. Just how does the band sound?
     
  10. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Roosevelt placed second, actually. Their band sounded amazing, I really have to hand it to them. The amount of high school jazz going on in the Seattle area is absolutely staggering. Second place, third place, and honorable mention were all from Seattle.

    I know what you mean Ed, but I don't even particularly like the way my band sounds. The drummer and I are getting closer and closer to musical telepathy, which is cool, but the majority of the people in the group are not very serious about their music. Mostly I just wish I could be in an ensemble where everyone loved it as much as I do.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Just try to lift the stand, every time you're up there. Don't try to "make" **** happen, LET it happen. Get in as in there as you can with your drummer, keep **** simple to start and try to let everybody else in the band fall into the "black hole" gravitational well of your time and your feel. Cause if the rhythm section sounds good, EVERBODY sounds good. Just be open for the muscial moment and don't worry about placement or winning or who's making it and who ain't. Just play music.

    School is school, things that matter in school don't really matter out here.

    "Roosevelt placed second" ??
    Yeah, that's what the story said, Garfield placed first and Roosevelt placed second. My point being that those are both public high schools and not "arts academies".
     
  12. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Actually Garfield did not place. Here was the breakdown:

    1st -- New World School of the Arts. Miami, FLA
    2nd -- Roosevelt
    3rd -- Mount Lake Terrace (sp?) also from Seattle
    Honorable Mention -- Shorewood High School also from Seattle
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Damn, I's looking at a 2004 story.

    So Roosevelt placed 2nd 2 years in a row....

    There's a buncha players from Seattle hitting the city in the last coupla years, I guess there's gonna be even more in 3 or 4...
     
  14. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Seattle
    Sad to see Garfield (my alma mater) didn't make the top of the list this year. In any case, all of those schools from the Seattle area are public schools. We are lucky to have some really talented and dedicated teachers in this area.