Inside the Music

Inside the Music is a blog about jazz from an insider; a working musician.  It explores the lessons of life found Inside the Music.

An artist's quest: Keep Your Mind Open

A challenge every musician faces, certainly jazz musicians, is balancing the need to master our craft (the art of jazz defined by its originators) and our need to create; to add to the jazz experience.  Personally, I spend so much time enjoying Sam Jones and Ray Brown & Eddie Gomez and Neils Pederson and Wilbur Ware and...

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As a younger man I was enamored with the writings of Dr. King.  I read as much as I could find from his pen. On MLKDay I annually return to one of his writings as a reminder of the awesomeness of the man, the awesomeness of the deep change in this country accomplished thru the civil rights movement, and the awesome power of love to overcome hate Dr King received from Mahatma Gandhi (don’t forget that not only did Dr. King study Gandhi, but he spent 5 weeks in India in 1959 and referred to Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change’’).

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Meeting a new bass: It's like being on a blind date every night.

Phase II – Getting the bass to play and sound as good as possible

So, you’re sure the rider went in months ago. You’ve just gotten into town. You’re pretty happy that the accommodations are decent and that you had a chance to get something to eat before you arrived at the venue.   You arrive with the full band, and as the drummer reviews the drum set-up and the MD reviews the stage layout you, for the first time, meet the bass you’ll dance with tonight.  You’ve got perhaps 30 minutes before the first notes are struck to be ready with the bass. What do you do?

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New Years Day 2016: All we need is love

As I sit musing on the birth of a new year I imagine what it is We need.  What would make us happier? More successful?  The more I think, the more I think the Beatles got it right with, "All we need is love".  We continue to share so many racial divisions.  We continue to bear so much ignorance.  We continue to lead with fists and bullets rather than words and understanding.  What do We need to make a change? 

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Meeting a new bass: It’s like being on a blind date every night.

Phase I - Ask for what you need

The acoustic bass is a unique entity.  While there are, of course, similarities between basses each is individually made and contains its own idiosyncrasies.  Some have a longer scale.  Some have a more narrow neck.  Some have new strings vs older strings, or thinner strings vs. thicker.  Of course, these differences make each bass play and sound differently.  So imagine meeting and being required to perform with a new bass hours later. Such is the life of a traveling bassist.

Over the years I’ve had to balance the benefits of traveling with my bass with the challenges of traveling with my bass.  As a result, there are times when I travel without a bass.  This post is meant to share my thoughts about preparing to play a bass you’ve just met.

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