:::: MENU ::::

Umphrey’s McGee Gives Control to Their Fans

I just came across a post on the Umphrey’s blog about some new events they are planning called “Stew Art Series”.

S2_01

Here is the description of the events from the website:

An (S2) event is an experiment in crowd-sourced improvisation. One hundred percent of the music performed at a (S2) event will be improvised, and you are the ones who will serve as directors. Using several communication mediums – which could range from text messaging to prewritten cue cards to chalk boards – you will kick out ideas, descriptive words, phrases, pop culture references . . . pretty much whatever comes to mind. These will be presented to the band who will compose jams on the fly based around those ideas, and ideas will be added to, changed, and deleted as the event progresses. For instance, a fan might toss out the phrase “frightened rabbit,” causing the band the play a frantic, nimble jam and after a period of time, the word “rabbit” might get changed to “brontosaurus” which would take the jam in a heavy, slower direction (though the word “frightened” is still in play). Then perhaps the word “skydiving” morphs the “frightened brontosaurus” jam into a soaring, powerful piece of music that evokes the feeling of being airborne . . . until the phrase “without a parachute” gets tacked on which changes the jam into something else entirely. And so on. No one will have any idea where the music is headed, well, and that’s all part of the fun. The event will also include a Q&A session to provide an opportunity to ask about what you’re witnessing (or ask anything else for that matter). Fans will become a part of the music like never before.

To me this is a GREAT idea that I wish more bands and artists took part in.  Obviously, UM is an incredibly forward thinking band that really looks to push the envelope in order to give their fans the best and most unique experience possible.

Do you think this type of event could apply to different genres of music?

Can you imagine a jazz group using the audience as a source for raw material for their improvisations?  I think this would make the audiences feel more involved and make the live music experience more personable.  If bands want to get people to their performances in this day and age of so many distractions, they need to offer something new.

Well done Umphrey’s.  I look forward to seeing where you go from here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

7 Questions with Mary Halvorson

A big reason I wanted to start the 7 Questions project is to enlighten some of my readers to musicians who deserve wider
recognition.  Mary Halvorson is a guitarist who has recently gained some critical attention, but still unknown to a large audience.
Originally from Boston she gravitated to more avant garde jazz music at an early age. She then went to Wesleyan University where
she met an important mentor in Anthony Braxton.
Mary’s style is equal parts angular and melodic.This gives her music an interesting feel but it also doesn’t become repettitve. I
have yet to see Mary live, but hope to real soon.  Currently she is residing in Brooklyn and gigs all over.  Make sure to check her
website and pick up her latest disc, Dragon’s Head on Firehouse 12 Records.
Describe your first experience playing music.
Sad to say, I honestly don’t remember. I played classical violin from ages 7-11, so likely it was something to do with the violin.
The Violin Years are a blur. However, I do remember my first gig on guitar. It was at Berklee College of Music summer program when
I was probably fifteen. We were playing Little Sunflower by Freddie Hubbard. I was so nervous and my hands were sweating so much
that my pick slipped out of my fingers and fell on the floor.
What has been your most significant musical experience?
Meeting and playing music with Anthony Braxton.
What is the best advice on pursuing a career in music you were ever given?
Have low expectations.
What is your favorite sound?
Church bells.
Name some of your biggest non-musical influences.
Astrology and cities.
What was the most memorable concert you ever attended?
Probably the Art Ensemble of Chicago in Boston when I was a teenager. It was doubly memorable because I was with my father and it
was his most memorable concert as well. It opened up a whole world for both of us.
Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 5 songs that appear
“Mean Old World” by Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers
“Are you Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley
“Divining a Hot Spot” by Gorge Trio
“A Night in Tunisia” by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
“Madness” by Miles Davis

A big reason I wanted to start the 7 Questions project is to enlighten some of my readers to musicians who deserve wider recognition.  Mary Halvorson is a guitarist who has recently gained some critical attention, but still unknown to a large audience. Originally from Boston she gravitated to more avant garde jazz music at an early age. She then went to Wesleyan University where she met an important mentor in Anthony Braxton.

Mary’s style is equal parts angular and melodic.This gives her music an interesting feel but it also doesn’t become repettitve. I have yet to see Mary live, but hope to real soon.  Currently she is rMaryHalvorsonesiding in Brooklyn and gigs all over.  Make sure to check her website and pick up her latest disc, Dragon’s Head on Firehouse 12 Records.

Describe your first experience playing music.

Sad to say, I honestly don’t remember. I played classical violin from ages 7-11, so likely it was something to do with the violin. The Violin Years are a blur. However, I do remember my first gig on guitar. It was at Berklee College of Music summer program when I was probably fifteen. We were playing Little Sunflower by Freddie Hubbard. I was so nervous and my hands were sweating so much that my pick slipped out of my fingers and fell on the floor.

What has been your most significant musical experience?

Meeting and playing music with Anthony Braxton.

What is the best advice on pursuing a career in music you were ever given?

Have low expectations.

What is your favorite sound?

Church bells.

Name some of your biggest non-musical influences.

Astrology and cities.

What was the most memorable concert you ever attended?

Probably the Art Ensemble of Chicago in Boston when I was a teenager. It was doubly memorable because I was with my father and it was his most memorable concert as well. It opened up a whole world for both of us.

Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 5 songs that appear

“Mean Old World” by Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers

“Are you Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley

“Divining a Hot Spot” by Gorge Trio

“A Night in Tunisia” by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

“Madness” by Miles Davis

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Make Your Metronome Work For You

metronome, Wittner model

One of the most common skills I see guitarists lacking is a strong sense of internal time.  Recently at a clinic with Pat Metheny he really spoke in detail about how important this is.  He easily demonstrated this by connecting his iPhone to a DI, turning on a metronome app and playing several choruses of “Autumn Leaves”. A strong time feel will make both your rhythm and lead playing more forward momentum.  In this article I will give you a few ways to make your metronome work for you.

Baby Steps

A common mistake musicians make when they start to work with a metronome is that they start with it set too fast.  Even though you can play sixteenth notes at 120bpm, in order to make progress, you need to start much slower.  A good benchmark is around 60 – 70bpm.  The focus isn’t to increase how fast you can play (although that will come soon enough) but developing an inner time feel that can lock with an outside source.  By doing this, everything you play from lines to chords will groove much harder.

One exercise that I use is by slowing the metronome down to about 40bpm and playing one note per click.  For most people this is very difficult, so to start I set the subdivisions to sixteenth notes, then eighth notes and finally half notes before going back to quarter notes.  This will make you focus on both the attack of the notes and the space between the notes.

Make It Swing

There are two big “schools” of time feel that all musicians need to be familiar with.  The first being playing with a straight time feel and the second is playing with a swing feel.  Playing with a straight time feel is just as it sounds, simply turn on your metronome and play evenly in time with click.

In order to practice you swing feel, you need to change how you interpret the click of the metronome.  Instead of hearing the metronome as quarter notes, you should feel them as half notes on beats 2 and 4.  This could take some practice, but if you count it off like:

One     *click*            Two     *click*     One     *click     Three     *click

It should allow you to begin to feel the pulse on 2 and 4.  Another thing to take into consideration is that since the clicks are half notes, your target bpm should be cut in half.  For example, if you want to practice a tempo of 120bpm, then set your metronome to 60bpm.

Try This At Home

If you are comfortable in playing with the metronome on 2 and 4 then here is a technique that will sure to keep you busy.  First, set the metronome at a moderate tempo like around 60bpm.  Then clap 5 beats in between each click like this:

*click                                                   *click

1          2          3          4          5          1          2          3          4          5

Then you need to think of your claps as the pulse with the click of the metronome as an accent.  The difficult part about this is that the accents will change in each measure. Below is an example in which I underline each beat that lines up with the click.

1 2     3     4     1     2 3     4     1      2     3 4     1     2     3     4

Etc….

Now Get To It

Practicing with a metronome is a great way to improve your technique, time and groove.  However, make sure you get out into the world and play with real musicians.  This is invaluable to your growth.  Even the greatest solo musicians in the world have spent valuable time playing with other people.

Here are some online resources for increasing your metronome skills:

Online Metronome

Tempo (a GREAT iPhone metronome app)

Tips from JazzMando.com

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

7 Questions with Stu Hamm

I wanted to get Stu in on the 7 Questions project from the beginning because he is such a great guy to work with and his playing is beyond comprehension.  In between tours with guys like Joe Satriani, Frank Gambale and his incredibly busy clinic schedule, he was gracious enough to participate.

Describe your first experience playing music.
I got a drumset from Sears for Xmas when I was maybe 4…a bass drum with sailboats on it, a snare, triangle and woodblock.My parents woke me up to play at the stroke of midnight at their new Years Eve Party

Stu
What has been your most significant musical experience?
Playing at the Oaklawn Illinois State Jazz Band competition with the Edison Middle School Stage band…a band director from another school came up to me after we played an told me that I had a special gift for the bass and to stick with it,,,that meant so much to me when I was 14 years old…

What is the best advice on pursuing a career in music you were ever given?
Practice a lot and be original

What is your favorite sound?
The sound of my wife and daughter laughing

Name some of your biggest non-musical influences.
Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Buddha, Larry Bird

What is the most memorable concert you ever attended?
When I heard Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) play when i lived in Germany in 1981….it activated something in my genes, and i realized that we all came from Africa long ago, and I remembered it.

Put your iPod on shuffle and name the first 5 songs that come up.
prelude 8 in D sharp..Glen Gould plays the well tempered clavier book 2
no9s Vamos Juntos by Jaguares
I get a kick out of you…Clifford Brown Fortune teller…the who live at Leeds
bass blues…Carole Kaye..the first lady on bass

Keep up with Stu at stuarthamm.net

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

This Week on Twitter


5 Links for the weekend

Thinking About a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance? – Dr. John Pisano writes a fairly informative article aimed at younger musicians who are thinking about obtaining a performance degree in college.  I don’t fully agree with some of the points Dr. Pisano makes, but all are worth considering.

Top Guitarists on Twitter – I wish I had the computer skills that Jon at Guitarnoize.com has.  He has put a great list together (even better than mine) of some of the top guitarists on Twitter.

Interview with Trey Anastasio from Time Out – If you haven’t picked up Phish’s Joy.  Do so now.  Probably their best studio album to date.

Changing the Size of Guitar  Chord Diagrams in Sibelius – Daniel Spreadbury writes a great blog on all things Sibelius.  I have been using Sibelius since college and have never regretted it.  Great software.

20 Things You Didn’t Know About the Beatles – It seems like there are a lot of Beatles things going on this week.  I figured I should add something to it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bill Frisell at Infinity Hall

Last night I went to a great venue in Norfolk, Connecticut called Infinity Hall to see one guitarist that I have yet to see live.

Bill Frisell.  He was just coming off of his annual two week stand with Paul Motian and Joe Lovano at the Village Vanguard.  Bill’s trio included Rudy Royston on Drums and Eyvind Kang on Viola.  Despite the unusual instrumentation,

the music seemed to work in this situation.

The preshow music right before the trio came on was a collection of bird calls from nature.  As they came on the music developed in a free nature with them playing along with the birds before going into more solid time.  Both sets were really great with the standouts being “Misterioso” by Monk and a great take on “Blue Yodel” by Hank Williams.


Bill solo playing “Shenendoah”

Two Masters.  Jim Hall and Bill Frisell.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

7 Questions with Pete Huttlinger

There are musicians out there who really get to the heart of what it means to make music.  It seems to just flow through them no matter what the setting.  Several months ago I had the chance to finally see one of my all time guitar heroes up close.  Pete Huttlinger is a National Champion Fingerstyle guitarist who just released a collection of Stevie Paul Schatzkin photoWonder songs arranged for solo guitar.

Pete was gracious enough to participate after just returning home from a tour of Germany.

Describe your first experience playing music.

The first place I played was Shakey’s Pizza in Walnut Creek, Ca. My mom would take me there and I’d sit in and play banjo on a few tunes. The first place I made money was playing square dances in Danville, Ca. Both gigs were on banjo. The square dances were great fun because it was all about community. The caller, the dancers, the band. We were all in it together. Even though I mostly play solo these days, my favorite thing is to play music with other people.

What has been your most significant musical experience?

There have been many but the biggest has to be playing solo at Carnegie Hall. I was opening for 1964 – The Tribute ( a Beatles tribute band). I had lots and lots of family and friends in the audience. It went well, I hit it out of the ball park, and now I’m returning on January 9, 2010 to do it again!

What is the best advice on pursuing a career in music you were ever given?

My mom grew up in the post-depression era and when I was 15 years old she said, “Pete, play music because when times are good people want it. And when times are bad, they need it. She’s been 100% right.

What is your favorite sound?

Two actually – water and birds.

Name some of your biggest non-musical influences.

My brothers, my mom, my brother-in-law and anyone one who has taken the time to show me the right way to do something. The new testament is pretty amazing too. I’m not deeply religious but when you read it, it’s really a no-brainer. It’s all good information.

What was the most memorable concert you ever attended?

That would probably be one of Bill Graham’s famous Day On The Green concerts in Oakland, Ca. I won 3 pair of tickets from the radio. My brother and his girlfriend drove me and three friends to see Steve Miller, Heart, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Eagles & Foreigner. All the groups were all over the radio at the time so it was an amazing day for a 15 year-old kid.

Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 5 songs that appear

The theme to Alfred Hitchcock Presents (From Television’s Greatest Hits), Mean Old Man (James Taylor), Just Friends (Amy Winehouse), Blues For TJ ( Larry Carlton), Sweet Lorraine (Joe Pass)


Pages:1...22232425262728...35