JD on the Box II

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
A breakthrough on four-to-the-bar rhythms... for one session today I finally had the left hand sounding like a guitar, so I could play an in-the-pocket lead on top. I've been trying to get here for awhile, and am not sure I have it consistently yet, but I did reach it, and know it's possible. (The triads stay four-to-the-bar, and the bass usually does 4-to-bar too but can also syncopate... it's like when playing Mickey Baker-style walking chords on guitar, where the bass note can sometimes get an upstroke but the treble rarely does.)

Tenebra Infinita started out the market and also was played early on at the East Bay potluck this weekend. At market I also played Matteo's Automno Senza Te, but am not sure of sections... should have Che Ridere, maybe some others for this weekend. I keep on listening to Matteo, whistling along while walking to work, and although I have the themes I'm not yet solid on the structures... really need to sit down and play completely through the tape, but baseball playoffs lead me to miss the middle session each day. When I've played with Matteo's tape I usually focus on a few tunes... haven't played all the way through yet.

I think I also intro'd Pixinguinha's Descendo A Serra this weekend... have been playing it a lot... on the choros my touch keeps getting lighter, I keep pulling stuff off, which I think is good but it's a contrast from the other playing. I also brought in "If I Had You", but unconvincingly... it's a great tune, and I think I can do well on it, but I wasn't solid behind it this first time. I'm starting to tie the three-part hornpipe "Cuckoo's Nest" (the one in G) to the three-part "Miss Monaghan"... bringing back the hornpipes of Presidents Garfield and Grant too.

I played a set with Lucas of The Wranglers at the market Saturday, as he was waiting for his usual backup... we played some good old tunes like "Under The Double Eagle" and "Golden Slippers", but tempos kept picking up, and there weren't that many spaces between the notes. Stopped by Caffe Trieste again, but no action.

Saturday at East Bay was interesting... led a few tunes early on, before the real sessions started ("Any Old Time", "Barnyard Dance", some others)... I also played some tunes while others were talking and they never listened enough to try to join in on.... ;-) Later a swing session had an unusual lineup, but we succeeded in getting some grooves going on blues and slower tunes... I had a little weed and focused on architecting the arrangement, illustrating the changes and structure... very interesting, I was trying to lay out the tunes as strongly as possible to make it easy for others to follow along. On the ride back I started thinking that this could be a good goal for non-playing listeners too... just lay it out, make it obvious, make it strong.

Listening: mostly Matteo on the iPod, mostly Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang on the CD (surprised by how much it's just plain good music). Watching: Stephane Grappelli and Louis Armstrong DVDs. Reading: Not much... some of Matt Glaser's books on stylistic traits of Venuti and Grappelli... keeping fakebooks open around the house, reviewing lyrics. As soon as the baseball playoffs are over I can go back to three sessions a day.... ;-)