Jamie Cullum – A Memorable Night at the Bowl

August 21, 2008

I made a last minute decision last night.  At 5 pm, I was trying to decided whether or not to go see Jamie Cullum at the Hollywood Bowl.  I didn’t have tickets yet and they were unavailable online.  But I thought I’d try and see what I could get at the box office.  I my good friends Caleb and Katy decided to come as well.  We parked at the park and ride 15 minutes from my aparment and for 5 bucks, got a round trip bus ticket to and from the Bowl.  When we got there, the cheapest tickets available were the $13 tickets.  I was more than okay with this, as $18 is a fantastic price to pay for what happened that night.

The night began with Elizabeth Shepherd.  The Canadian born jazz singer also plays piano, and was accompanied by a bassist and drummer.  I really liked their music.  She had almost a Bjork/Fiona Apple sound, but with a definite jazz feel.  This was very much “progressive” jazz, with odd harmonizations and frequent time changes.  A few times I was thrown off by the time changes, but that’s not a complaint.  The bassist and drummer were very good, and Elizabeth’s piano playing was great, although I wasn’t crazy about her singing.  It’s not that she has a particularly bad or unpleasant voice, it’s that she doesn’t have a particularly pleasant, or memorable voice.  She can sing just fine, but her voice wasn’t all that memorable.  All in all, they were very good though, and I plan on checking them out online.

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The Pendulum Swings

July 18, 2008

There’s something about music.

I got a call recently for a gig playing with a Swing band at the Hip Kitty Jazz Club in Claremont. I have been to this venue before and really liked the atmostphere and thought it was a real hip place, so naturally I was excited to get to play there.  I said yes to the gig perhaps too soon.  With gas costs to and from the rehearsal and performance, I woul be about breaking even.  But, I figured, it would still be fun to play at such a cool venue.

The only available rehearsal space was the band leader’s wife’s salon.  While driving up the street on my way to the rehearsal, I got a flat tire. That really set the mood perfectly for how the night would unfold.  The drummer was also a sub, like me, as well as the bari sax player.  I won’t bore you with specifics, but the rehearsal was 3 hours of misery.  For a swing band, we certainly didn’t swing.  The drummer in particular was all over the place.  Beats were dropped right and left, the saxes were out of tune, all of my parts were written out note for note, and I was the youngest in the band by at least 40 years.  As soon as the rehearsal was over, I bolted out the door to leave.  But, alas, I still had a flat tire to change.  I set about doing so when the band leader noticed my situation and did what he could to help.  2 other members of the band came out and helped me change my flat tire.

So, the gig was tonight.  I had told all my friends how awful it was going to be.  I had talked it up to be this horrible 4 hour performance that I was about to experience…for free.

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Thoughts on Music

April 12, 2008

As I delve throughout the different genres of music, like most people I run across things that I like and things that I don’t like.  Country music for example, makes me groan and frustrates me that anyone can listen to that and enjoy it.  I guess that’s just not my personal taste.

I have long been a fan of the modern 4 piece rock band.  Drums, Bass, two guitars and lead vocals.  This seems to be what the majority of people in the US enjoy.  At least people my age.  There are many different variations to this ensemble, and many different styles that are included within it.  This has been my primary source of music for most of my life.  And it is wonderful.  I love it.  I really do.  While there is a lot of it out there that is pure rubbish, there are plenty of fantastic pop/rock bands that stand out amongst the rest.  Very musical bands that make music for the sake of music, not caring what other people think.

I do not wish to say anything negative about any pop/rock/4 piece group at all, however, as of late I find myself primarily drawn to everything else but this.  I’m a little burnt out if you will.    In the sea of musical monotony, several styles stand out, and each has their specific reasoning.  Here are the 3 types of music that I just can’t enough of lately.

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The Jazz Effect

February 29, 2008

It is a strange phenomenon. This semester I typically run very long days. Classes begin around 9:30, and 3 days out of the week end around 9:30 or 10. I very frequently find myself exhausted at the end of the day, and understandably so. However, I absolutely love it.

I am in school studying music. I love music. I LOVE music. I enjoy all of my music classes, and even my 1 academic class. I particularly enjoy the performing groups I am in. Some more than others. I am in a jazz combo that meets once a week from 8pm until 10. Immediately preceding that, I have symphony orchestra rehearsal from 4:45 to 7:45. Earlier in the day I have a jazz band rehearsal from 1-2:30. I also have 2 other classes that day. Bottom line is, it’s a long day. But it seems no matter how long or rough of a day I have had, I thoroughly enjoy jazz combo. I have energy all of a sudden and the 2 hours seems like nothing at all.

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