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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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great rehearsal tonight

Tonight's rehearsal set list was:

1. Voyage (med-up swing by pianist Kenny Barron in F minor with chromatic bridge)
2. Footprints (Miles Davis C minor blues with straight-eighth-note hip-hop feel)
3. oh yE (very fast F minor "nu-jazz" blues by Danish pianist Bugge Wesseltoft)
4. Long As You Know You're Living Yours (medium gospel funk tune by pianist Keith Jarrett (also the theme to Eleanor Wachtel's CBC radio show Writers and Company))
5. Heat (heavy-handed rap groove by most eminent and slammin' rapper Common)
6. One Evening (gorgeous ambient pop groove by beautiful Canadian-born singer songwriter Feist)
7. I Should Care (standard jazz ballad played as a straight-ahead rock ballad à la Don Henley and The Eagles (it works beautifully, honest))
8. Airbag (famous Radiohead song from their first big hit album OK Computer)
9. Shortside (an original composition quite in its own genre, penned by our pianist Dr. Chris Elson)

We had some great grooves going tonight with our standard instrumentation of electric bass, drums, keyboards, and myself on tenor sax. Next week I may bring in my own synth (a "vintage" Korg M1) for some comping and other basslines. The biggest highlights of the evening were when the grooves really locked in between Adam and Bob, our bassist and drummer. Whenever Bob, our drummer, would stick to a specific, steady beat instead of altering it frequently (I sympathize; improvising new beats and bass lines every bar is a hard habit to break when you're used to playing straight-ahead jazz instead of this more funk-inflected thing), everything just seemed to fall right into place, and smiles lit up all of our faces. As much as I lovelovelove playing my horn, I must admit that I itch to get behind those drums sometimes. And not because Bob's not cutting it -- just because I'd love to play them.

Actually, that last relates to my main shortfall in these rehearsals, I think. But I try to keep it in check. Namely, it's that I always have a clear aural picture of what I think a given tune or groove should sound like, and it's tough not to keep telling everyone what I think all the time. But as with all team and collaborative efforts, I'm often more richly rewarded by the results borne out of a truly democratic creative process. In other words, it's to our benefit as a group for me to shut up and only contribute when absolutely necessary. The rest of the time, when I sit back and let things unfold, it's often better (or at least as good -- heh heh) as what I'd heard previously in my head.

Anyway, it was one of those nights when I'm glad to be a musician and I wish it was all I had to do. Since it's a sanctioned activity in my life right now though, I can feel free to indulge basically at will, without regret. I did so tonight, and had a great night for it.