I just played a one-off gig in London with bassist Janek Gwizdala at Hideaway. Very nice piano, nice sound, nice people. Good for them. It's great to see a place on the rise for a change instead of witnessing so many that are closing!
Inside a jazz workshop - week Three
Ahhhhh Duncan, if only you knew the agony you put me through. Each week I drag myself into the Hideaway leaving behind the Tum tee tum tune, Linda and her fears for the parish council, Jill and her bees, Deeevid and the cows, in order to be ready to play at 7.15. Yes, I sacrifice those precious 12 minutes in Ambridge to be in your class keen and bright eyed.... And how do you repay this dedication to the workshop cause? By not starting 'til half seven - boo bloomin' hooo!
Thank heavens for the 2pm repeat on Tuesday afternoon. (The Archers, not the workshop!)
Not sure if Duncan's warning that this week's tune 'Blues for Alice' would have more changes that we'd ever have to face put a few people off or if the school holidays distracted some parental obligations but we seemed a small group this week. Perhaps for the best because boy was it a toughie. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I haven't in the last 7 days become a whizz at reading and decoding chord symbols (although I had at least found and practiced the tune which was quite hard enough), so I knew this week was going to be be my idea of hell-at-the-Hideaway. Duncan did a valiant job of talking us through the structure of the changes and, after a slightly bewildered request from me, of recapping the 2-5-1 progression. How are we supposed to know if it's the 2 and 5 if there is no bloomin' 1 to work back from??? Damn you Charlie Parker and your clever ways!!!
There was a lot to grasp here and it was good to see the various instrumental sections getting specific guidance from each of their musical mentors. I was unquestionably all over the shop in the solo rounds but, in search of a silver lining, I did manage to work through the arpeggio sections and start to get my head around a melodic improv towards the end by reminding myself 'when in doubt do less' and trying to pare back what I was playing to fewer notes and making the right changes rather than trying to play all the notes of all the changes.
No small bands this week, far too much else to focus on. All quite a challenge but great to put a toe in the water of something complicated and feel that at least I kinda sorta understood what was being discussed.
Less than a year ago I was excitedly trawling the main shopping mall in Sendai in north east Japan enjoying the buzz, the kitch-ery and the culture of this major city. Even more shocking then, to watch the images of Sendai being devastated by the tsunami that hit it only a month ago. I can only hope that our guest for next week's workshop Makoto Kuriya has been postponed for solely logistical reasons.
With that in mind it also seems a good time to flag up the benefit concert taking place at the Hideaway on 22nd May to raise funds for charities supporting those affected by the Japanese Earthquake, for more details click on the date in the Hideaway 'What's On' pages.