Playing scales on the guitar

As a double-bass player I learnt that big intervals are hard. My approach to playing scales was always about learning how to stretch. Here’s how I carried that idea into my guitar playing.

scales1_t

scales2_t

click to enlarge

Repertoire for a non-existent Brazilian band in South Wales

I want to be in a band that plays these <sigh>

Isaac Hayes – Walk on by

Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine

George Benson – This Masquerade

Jorge Ben – Oba la vem ela

Seu Jorge – Tive Razao
http://youtu.be/V20SZtLXBK4

Morena Veloso – Deusa do amour

Jorge Ben – Mas Que Nada

Evinha – Olha eu Aqui

Brazil 66 – Night and Day
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UuAx5oMpGY

Astrud Gilberto – Aqua de Beber

A review of a Michael Blake album

This is about the fifth Michael Blake album I’ve heard. I’m not saying it’s the best, but I’ve never written anything about the others so that says something doesn’t it? The album I’m all excited about is called

The World Awakes: Tribute to Eli Lucky Thompson

I have to say straight away that I’d never heard of Lucky Thompson, but that kind of makes it interesting doesn’t it? A bit like enjoying an actor’s impersonation of someone that you’ve never seen. You don’t have to get hung up on whether it’s a good impersonation or not. Even without the reference you still get something of the style, the musical dynsasty. As you might expect from a tribute album it’s not really breaking new ground. It is great music, but the intention isn’t to shock or create the next Shape Of Things To Come. What makes it so good is that the more you listen to it the more it unpeels, like an onion. Each layer you strip away is clean and fresh. It’s really quite amazing how diverse the influences and styles that are represented here really are. When you first listen to it, you don’t think “oh there is klezmer and south african” as well as some be-bop, hip-hop etc.. . It’s so deep in the mix you don’t see it at first. Everything is so coherent that the influences seem secondary. Like soup boiled down to make new flavours. This is really compelling music. Actually it may even be new music that is emerging after all. Sure, there is replication (and you can feel the concern for authenticity) but it’s never lazy emotionally. Whether it’s explicit and uncensored or ephemeral mixtures of bitter and sweet it just feels vivid and sparkly throughout. This is a great album. Thank you Michael.

Forties jazz music

The siren sisters got me interested in old stuff from the forties. Here are my top five from this era:

1. This is the swing era and no-one swings better than basie.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNz1_xJ4Ur8&fs=1&hl=en_US]

2. Here’s Carmen it’s show time
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DBA5tnAJDk&fs=1&hl=en_US]

3. Mr Sandman has been with me as long as I can remember

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDXT7wC9jrc&fs=1&hl=en_US]

4. The best dance music is from Cuba

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp6khgW2tn8&fs=1&hl=en_US]

5. Why is this song sad and uplifting at the same time?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LREpVzEQ1T8&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Repertoire for a non-existent West Coast jazz band in Wales

By West Coast Jazz I’m thinking Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith. I live in Wales and I’m interested in this sound.

Line-up (of this dream band)
guitar, organ, double bass, drum

Repertoire

Four On Six,
+ So What,
+ The Shadow of Your Smile
+ My Funny Valentine,
Nicas Dream,
+ Bossa Dorada,
Movin On
+ Cariba
Windjammer
+ I Got A Woman

Sookie, Sookie

+ Milestones
+ Agua De Beber,
+ Besame Mucho
+ Nature Boy

Artists
Jim Mullen, Grant Green, George Benson, Jack McDuff, Chet Baker

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhZk4piVpbY&hl=en_US&fs=1&border=1]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqSLoxwkCYE&hl=en_US&fs=1&border=1]

Gypsies entertain the brethren

I’ve never been inside a masonic lodge before. That’s one of the best (and worst) things about being a live performer — you travel a lot. Despite a somewhat faded grandeur The Guild Hall has an impressive architecture that was teeming with life at the brethren’s annual let-the-wives-in event. We Gypsies (also known as 5 Go Swing) swung hard and were rewarded with some yi-haw clapping and blushingly nice compliments from our host. As I scanned the audience I looked for familiar faces (Dan Brown?) but it wasn’t my kind of crowd.