Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lazy Afternoon - well really lazy several weeks, but that is not nearly as poetic...

I have been criminally negligent in the care and feeding of this blog as of late.  It was brought home for me as I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about blogs - I asked him if he reads any and he said, "well I read yours this morning...".  All I could think was:  how embarrassing - nothing for almost a month.  I have no reason.  No big project to detract me, no hordes of students yipping at my heels.  I have just been feeling very uninspired in general and nothing seemed worth writing about.  

Now, before anyone sends free samples of Zoloft, I am coming around. 

First, some horn talk...

I have been going through a period of extreme naval gazing with regards to almost every aspect of my playing.  I have been unhappy with:
1.  My sound
2. My vocabulary
3. My technical control
4. EVERYTHING about my soprano playing

Something I know about myself is that when I am going through a valley with regards to my playing, my first inclination is to step back from the horn and let the magic of not playing work out all of my kinks - I think we all know how well that works.  I was listening back to some tapes of recent gigs and while I can objectively say that some things sound good, there is a higher percentage of stuff that I am not happy with (see list above...)

Tonight I took the "first step out of hell" and did some very rudimental work.  Overtones, long tones, basic technique (scales and 9th chords).  No transcription, no tunes, no "free association improvisational etudes" but basic nuts and bolts saxophone work.  I feel that I need to focus in this area for a while - I have been so into just playing tunes gigs that some of my foundation has really suffered.  I know better than this and I can not believe I have let it get to the point that it has but this is where I am and it is time to move on.  Have any of you struggled with bouts like this?  How did you deal with it?

My writing - 

NOTHING to report here.  I have a couple of project in mind but with no firm deadline I am having a tough time coalescing ideas.  They are both big band projects:
1.  A re-constructionist approach to "Epistrophy"
2. A transcription and subsequent arrangement of "Respiration" by Ben Allison

There is some exciting news on the horizon...I'll be going to Jamey Aebersold's Jazz Workshop in a few weeks.  I am looking forward to getting a good buzz from this.  Secondly, I have been talking by email with Michael Blake and have some tentative plans for a lesson this fall.  I LOVE his playing and writing so this is a bit of a dream come true for me.

If you've stuck around and still read this blog - I thank you.  I'll try to do better...

PS - This just in...I saw this as I was linking to Ben Allison's site...Man Size Safe featured on WNYC's Soundcheck.  Listen to the audio on Ben's site...

No comments: