Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shutting Down

I've decided that, instead of keeping two blogs (one for music, one for other stuff), it'd be easier for both of my readers to only have to refer to one blog. Plus, you can only import one blog into Facebook. As such, I will no longer be posting to this blog. I will be posting music and non-music related content to my other blog, Adventitious Cerebration, and making better use of tags to help organize the content. Please visit my other blog for future updates.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

French or German, Teil Zwei

About 8 months ago, I posted Bow Adventures, which described my troubles regarding the use of French vs. German grips on the double bass bow. During the time between then and now, I've worked exclusively with the French bow. That included the spring season with the Cardinal Health Chamber Orchestra and the recording of the soon-to-be-released second Billy Two Shoes CD. And so just now I placed and order for a new carbon fiber Finale bow - with a German grip (right).

So why the return to German? I didn't mind the French grip. Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. And those disadvantages can be worked through successfully. But one of the difficulties that I had was trying to transfer the weight of my arm to the string. I could get a nice enough sound, but it wasn't very loud. This is compounded by the fact that my bass isn't very loud to begin with.

I've been doing a bit of playing with the bow lately with both the orchestra and B2S. About two weeks ago, my first finger on my right hand really started bothering me. I figured I just overworked my bow hand and needed to give it a rest. It took more than a week for the pain to subside. Finally, I started playing again and immediately noticed the issue. I'm putting too much pressure on my finger trying to play loudly. The leverage in the French grip just isn't working for me without straining my hand. I played with the orchestra for two hours last night, and today my first finger is swollen and sore.

So back to the German grip it is. I think that's ok though. Yes, I realize that, with effort, I could probably work through my problems and continue with the French, but I don't really see the need. My arms are long, which lends itself better to the German grip, and I can easily get more power and a nice sound with this grip. Since one isn't necessarily better than the other, why deal with the pain, right?

Along with the grip change, I'm also going back to my old rosin, Carlsson (see my post on rosin for details).

The String Emporium is currently out of stock on the bow. They'll be getting the next shipment after Thanksgiving, so it'll be a couple of weeks before my new bow gets to me. Once I get it and live with it a little, I'll write a review. Until then, I'll have to reacquaint myself with the only other German bow I have - a cheap fiberglass student bow. Yuck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Music, music, and more music

I've been a little lax of late regarding practicing, and now I'm paying the price. The last couple of nights, after an eye-opening orchestra rehearsal on Tuesday, I've been pouring over the sheet music, figuring out fingerings and tricky passages so as not to completely embarrass myself next month.

In addition to the orchestra, we're almost finished recording the Billy Two Shoes CD. I have four more songs to record, plus I've promised to do a 70's AM radio cover for the Javelin podcast, due December 1st.

Finally, our calendar has been filling up with concerts, which all seem to have fallen into a one-week time frame.

So here's my schedule for the next week:

  • Friday evening -practice for Billy Two Shoes recording session
  • Saturday @ 11 AM - PBJ & Jazz at Ft. Hayes Metropolitan Education Center
  • Saturday @ 4 PM - One Union Project concert (a friend's daughter plays in the band and is debuting a song she wrote)
  • Saturday evening - Jazz with Gene Bertoncini at BOMA
  • Sunday morning - practice!
  • Sunday afternoon - Billy Two Shoes and 70's AM radio cover recording
  • Monday evening - Columbus Philharmonic Youth Orchestra concert (same friend's daughter plays in this as well)
  • Tuesday evening - Cardinal Health Chamber Orchestra rehearsal
  • Wednesday evening - practice or more recording, not sure yet
  • Thursday - Lakeview Jr. High Orchestra concert - Lea's first performance this year playing bass
  • Friday evening - AC/DC concert
  • Saturday - practice or more recording
  • Sunday - Mark Flugge Chamber Jazz Series
I'm tired just looking at it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Billy Two Shoes @ Fat's Billiards on Wed., Oct. 29th

Wednesday is singer/songwriter night at Fat's Billiards, and I will be playing with Billy Two Shoes from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. this coming Wednesday, October 29th. The instrumentation will feature guitar, upright bass, congas, harmonica, vocals, percussion and maybe a few homemade instruments.

Billy Two Shoes is the brainchild of James and Jason, with whom I played in The Intolerables. B2S can be described as bluegrass or even the more general Americana. They recorded and released a full-length CD last February with the help of some friends and are in the process of recording a second CD, on which I will be playing bass. All proceeds from CD sales are donated to help people in need.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Music Links

I came across a couple of music links that interested me and thought I'd share...

Jazz Listening 101

How to Legally Sell Downloads of Cover Songs

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cardinal Health Chamber Orchestra Winter 2008 Performance Schedule

December 2, 1 pm
Clintonville Elementary School
10 Clinton Heights Ave
Columbus, Oh

December 4, 12 pm
Dublin Retirement Village
6470 Post Road
Dublin, Oh

December 9, 1 pm
Colonial Hills Elementary School
5800 Greenwich St.
Worthington, OH

December 11, 1 pm
Wellington Senior Living
5863 Scioto-Darby Road
Hilliard, Oh

December 13, 7:30 pm
Union County Care Train (Fundraiser)
Veterans Auditorium
233 W 6th Street
Marysville, Oh

December 15, 1 pm
Trillium Place Retirement Center
Trillium Crossing
Columbus, Oh

December 17, 12 pm
Cardinal Health
Dublin, Oh

December 18, 1 pm
Abbey Theater
Dublin Recreation Center
5600 Post Road
Dublin, Oh

Friday, July 18, 2008

A New Direction (almost) - Courtesy of Miles

My highs a couple of weeks ago living in the bubble of Jazz Camp came crashing down with a healthy dose of reality when I came home. I'm still saddled with limited talent on a difficult instrument trying to play a complex genre that nobody really cares about anymore.

During this whole time I've been reading Miles Davis' autobiography Miles. It just happened that, while I was at jazz camp, he was telling me about his days with Bird and Diz and about recording my favorite Miles album, Kind Of Blue. But Miles didn't stand still. By the time Kind Of Blue came out, he had already moved on to something else. He seemed to have been like that throughout his career.

When I got to the last sections of the book, he was complaining about how everyone wanted him to play "that old shit." But he refused to play it anymore because he felt that everything was said that needed to be said with the music, and that the world had moved on and he did too.

This got me thinking. Yes, I love listening to jazz. This, of course, makes me want to play it. But the reality is that I will never be able to play it at more than a rudimentary level. I just don't have the time available for that kind of intense study. And that's ok. As Miles stated, it's all been said already.

I promised myself some time ago that if I ever started playing again, I would not play music I don't like or don't listen to. So what else do I listen to? Well, my guilty pleasure is hair metal from the 80's, but I don't want to play that. I've done that before. I also love the music of the 70's that always seem so much larger than life: Queen, ELO, Rush. And let's not forget the true rock of the 70's: Led Zep, The Who, AC/DC, Kiss, VH.

So where does that leave me? Well, I ain't quite worked that part out yet. I was thinking it'd be cool to play in a cover band playing music from the bands mentioned above. I don't know that Queen and ELO get touched on much at the local bars, but I could be wrong. But, that doesn't really agree with Miles' philosophy; I'm just trading standards from the 50's for standards from the 70's. The only difference being that I have a connection to the music from the 70's and can actually play it. Maybe it's a combination. Find people with similar tastes, learn some covers together, then start writing our own.

My compass is wobbly, but at least it's moving.