Another legit evening at the coffeehouse jam.
Pat’s band is still playing great music! And I learned a few things from the experience.
However, Veronica, who had been in a couple of music classes I took was there. Talked with her for a minute after I arrived.
And she killed it on trombone. A couple musicians were talking about how the feeling she played with and how she listened was right on. Technique is something that anybody can accomplish with some time in the woodshed, listening and getting the feeling right takes musical awareness and the right attitude.
I sat and enjoyed the first two sets, saw my friend John who plays in the salsa band, talked with him and the piano player for a minute during a break. Heard a few music stories.
Those two had played music with each other a long time back. Seemed like a lot of the people in the band and audience were connected. Cool vibe to the crowd, seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.
The song I played was Red Clay. Not the melody, the piano player picked up a six string electric bass and led the melody as Pat, who was mostly playing soprano sax, took over on the keyboard. And the bass player kept playing upright bass, so we had some double bass action going on.
Pat motioned for me to come over to the keyboard right before the song and asked if I knew Red Clay, said I didn’t know it too well but had heard it, she gave me the key of the song (a little nicer than Michael) and told me to come up and solo during the song.
I went up, and just playing with that band was a lot of fun, they really listen and play with you and make the soloist stand out. Truthfully, I was a little nervous since I love the song Red Clay, but by no means had mastered it. So part of my energy went into concentrating on what I was doing and a little less on listening.
Really knowing the music, really knowing the technique of the saxophone, etc all help free you from worrying about things other than just playing the music.
My solo went pretty well, I was having fun playing with the group and the audience seemed to like it. Definitely came back home and started working on learning Red Clay though!
They played a few other songs that are solid tunes that I want to master, maybe learn some ideas from the melodies in all the keys. Including Footprints, All Blues, and Happy People.
Pat described her group as playing gospel jazz or soul jazz. So some jazz ‘standards’ but not completely.
One thing that Veronica, Pat, John Wineglass and some others would do was setting up an idea and grooving with it.
If you play a cool idea once in a solo, it probably sounds good and it might work well with the song.
But if you repeat it, the rhythm section and the audience will be familiar with that idea. The rhythm section may jump on board and really get into the idea with you. The other horns or strings may echo what you play with a counter line. If you play the idea three or four times, you really can get into it and you set up a groove with the idea.
You can play the exact same idea several times. If the chords change behind it or if anyone else changes what they’re playing, the combination of your idea and the band will be a new combination.
Or you can play the rhythm of the idea repeated and change the notes.
Or you can set up a groove with the other dimensions of music. Your call.
If it’s a solid musical idea, you can develop it and run with it.
Developing one great idea with some repetition will almost definitely sound better than playing one great idea quickly and moving on to several other rapid fire crappy ideas.
Think about melodies, they have motifs that repeat. They draw the audience in, even non-musicians can hum along.
Maceo Parker puts on a great show, he will often groove on a single idea.
Just something I thought about when I was there. Any thoughts on the matter?