I've been a little busy and didn't have time to update the blog. However, the music goes on and gigs are still frequent. Here's a couple of recordings from a few days ago.
Getting a little more comfortable with this modal kind of playing. Afro Blue is a one chord vamp so you really have to use your imagination. I have to think about Kenny Werner's mantra a lot here which is "There is No Wrong Note". Really works actually.
This is a beautiful melody from Wayne Shorter and we gave it a try. I had only seen the changes the day before and then realized it was actually quite difficult. But we survived and it actually sounds good. It will sound better when I actually know the tune. No one in the group has played it before so it was actually amazing.
Here's another of the open style of playing. Unfortunately, there are other parts to this with the piano portion that did not get recorded. There's a theme here and I'm finding myself and the band moving to this more free style of jazz. Everyone in the band is liking the approach. Getting more hardcore jazz I suppose.
I have this one regular gig (Monthly) at a restaurant that just been turning into a big local hangout. We have this fabulous singer who can just work the crowd and an audience who specifically comes to listen to jazz. I've been playing here with my band for a year now and it's really a good feeling when you have a happy audience that really enjoys your music. I never thought I would experience this at my age.
But clearly, the band as whole is improving. Nowadays, we do this gig as a trio + singer. So I have to carry the load as the pianist. Not that intimidating at all. I'm just getting more confident about what I can do and the musicians around me are top notch.
I always look back to this mantra (second mantra for this blog post): "Always hang out with players better than you". This has paid dividends. Of course, after awhile, everyone equalizes as skill levels increase for all.
Practice time has been cut down lately due to numerous pressures on my time. However, I noticed that development doesn't seem to stop as long as I keep thinking of what to improve. At my level, it isn't necessarily a technical skill but an awareness (developing an ear) for what's happening around me. This relates to both rhythm as well as solo lines.
I'm getting close to 9 years on the instrument so perhaps it is natural to expect to sound better. It looks like I'm on track to sound pro by 10 years. Of course, I'm already gigging regularly so this is more of a quality marker for me.
Need more chops though. Just can't seem to rush this.