Monday, April 30, 2012

Finally Recordings on my Steinway!

This is one of the times I've recorded on my Steinway. Really hard to get quiet time. I got one shot and no more tries due to noise.
I know, Piano needs to be tuned.

I really liked recording on the Steinway. I used a BIAB backing track I made and amplified it in the room via a PA and recorded using the Zoom H4. It sounds live. No special microphones. I just put the Zoom H4 on the middle of the music desk and pointed into the strings and that's it. I did add post recording reverb on Audacity.

This second one I was reluctant to post since I was just doing a test run and I lost myself in the form a couple of times. It's in Cm which I got used to from accompanying a singer.

Fun Gig!

Had a really fun gig last night. We did a couple of jazzy happy birthdays and let a singer sit in (who was amazingly good and sang Frank Sinatra style-- maybe some unemployed LA actor/singer) -- listen below. A trumpet player sat in too from the audience. So after all that, I find a huge stack of bills in the tip jar with so many $20's!

Anyway, I've never played the tune before so my eyes were just glued to the changes. I couldn't afford to get lost.

The only irritating thing was the guitar player comping over me and rhythmically off.

I've Got You Under My Skin (called by singer from the audience)

Anyway, a little of this audience catering and we get so popular. This is our second time to play in this venue. The word spread from our first visit and it was really crowded. Small place.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recordings, and Comping in Modes

Here's Ceora -- we've never played this before and in fact the Sax player was so scared of screwing up the head. Turned out nice though.

I haven't posted in a bit but that's because my musical activity has grown exponentially. I've been playing out at least once a week and lots of preparation is often required because I always want to do new songs. I also have to accompany a singer in the band (different ones) so I have to constantly do something different. This is what the audience expects so I give it to them. The problem of course is that I can't a new tune with the same relaxed and comfortable style as a new tune.

At this stage of the game, I noticed an improvement in comping. I took some lessons from a different teacher lately just to get some different comping approaches and it showed that theory is a little different from practice.

Specifically, I'm talking about naturally playing modes. It's of course easy to play a 7 stacked triad two handed with 7 fingers and moving it around diatonically up the scale as long as you're on all the white keys. But then of course, a teacher will not do the simple thing, so I was asked to demonstrate playing it in the keys Db, F#, D, Eb, etc. and wham! My failures are placed right smack in front of my face.

Then the teacher, asks me to do the same with So What voicings (Quartal voicing) and moving it diatonically. Easy enough in D Dorian. Somewhat doable in Eb Dorian (yeah- like the first 3 steps...). But everything else, I had to think about slowly.

Then there was the rhythmic aspect to comping. Maybe I'm hearing it differently now. The old Charleston rhythm is too repetitive so I had to listen for comping variations, particularly with waltzes. I started paying attention not just to when to hit the chord but when to cut out and timing that to swing. Also I started to do quicker stabs and quick chord changes. Diatonic movements, chromatic chords, octave hits (ala Garland), on and on.

Well months of practicing this on Footprints appear to be yielding some improved facility. This was a major weakness of mine that I heard in all the old recordings. The mechanical sound to my comping is fading to the past now. Whew...

On to the next problem.