Monday, March 25, 2013

Street Corner College by Kenneth Patchen (and music)

"Next year the grave grass will cover us.
We stand now, and laugh;
Watching the girls go by;
Betting on slow horses; drinking cheap gin.
We have nothing to do; nowhere to go; nobody.

Last year was a year ago; nothing more.
We weren't younger then; nor older now.

We manage to have the look that young men have;
We feel nothing behind our faces, one way or other.

We shall probably not be quite dead when we die.
We were never anything all the way; not even soliders.

We are the insulted, brother, the desolate boys.
Sleepwalkers in a dark and terrible land,
Where solitude is a dirty knife at our throats.
Cold stars watch us chum
Cold stars and the whores." 

And HERE is a recent recording of mine dedicated to Kenneth Patchen with excerpts from the journal of albion moonlight.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Early Influences AND does anyone want a transcription?

I am currently listening to Cecil Taylor and Max Roach on vinyl…thinking about trying to eventually play bass along with it (talk about a power trio!).  I’ve heard this before, but it hasn’t hit me as powerfully as hearing it on the wax going through some nice speakers.  This is a heavy record (with myself hearing a little Barry Altschul in Max Roach’s accompaniment, or visa versa, or something like that…) 

I wanted to write on my early influences in music, as I was thinking about the album that really got me into practicing and wanting to pursue music as a career.  Well, to start at the beginning…

As a child I really only liked country music and oldies (parents’ musical influences), and one of my first memories is of singing an Alan Jackson song on the school bus, on command (older kids got a kick out of it, and had me sing it to them).  I remember getting a few little instruments/toys, some electronic drum sticks, a harmonica, and noodling on my grandmother’s piano from time to time, while singing a lot.  I sang in choir, and remember some all county event....

In middle school I started playing drums, and guitar/bass in 8th grade.  In high school, junior year, I picked up the upright.  Halfway through high school, when I started playing double bass, was when I got serious about music, as switching to double bass was myself saying to myself, “I want to play this in college.”  I quit drums around the same time (couldn’t get into practicing it), and was seriously studying the double bass and the electric bass.

Musically around this time, I had been playing in a rage against the machine style band, some various jambands and singer songwriter groups, while taking a little work playing musicals, church gigs, etc…  When I started buying/listening to music it started with hip hop and rock, and before too long I noticed I was listening to classic rock and jamband music, with a little bit of jazz and jazz fusion.  The first big show I remember going to was to hear the Dave Matthews Band with Neil Young and Soulive.  With my listening habits, I realized I just really liked improvisation (still do!!), and could only hear it accessibly through DMB, Phish, Grateful Dead, Flecktones, and similar bands (moe, widespread panic, allman brothers, etc…). 

THE main influence really struck when I heard Victor Wooten’s “A show of hands.”  I immediately started devouring lessons online on his technique and approach.  I remember sitting in my basement working on thumb strokes and finger tapping, while then putting those down, and working on beginner etudes for double bass.  The virtuosity just hit me hard, and I had been listening to Satriani and Steve Vai around the same time, I just wanted to practice and achieve a thing like that! 

I have a come a long way since then and through a lot more musical and non musical influences, which you can obviously see some of them below in what I've worked on over the last 8 years or so. 

I’ve been recently cleaning up my transcriptions, codifying the look to them (with the tempo marking, soloist, album it’s on, slurs, etc…) and so I present to you my list of transcriptions (that are clean, some are half started, or old hard to read things, etc…).  I used to have a lot more from my undergraduate, but it appears I’ve lost some various Mingus, Lafaro, Haden, Dave Holland, Ron Carter and Miles Davis solos.  Shoot me a note at and I’ll send you pdfs of anything on this below list.  I’d be happy if anyone else got something out of these!

List of my jazz transcriptions:

40+ Ornette Coleman tunes

100+ John Zorn’s Masada tunes

Chet Baker – trumpet solo on “My Funny Valentine” from “Complete Pacific recordings of Gerry Mulligan)

Ray Brown – bass solo on “Night Train” from “Oscar Peterson – Night Train”

Bob Brookmeyer – trombone solo on “Someday my prince will come” from “Bob Brookmeyer and Mads Vinding – Together.”

Paul Chambers – all bass lines on “Miles Davis – Relaxin,” bass solos on “New for lulu” from “Sonny Clark – Sonny’s Crib,” “Bird Feathers” from “Gil Evans – New bottle, old wine,” “Moment’s Notice” from “John Coltrane – Blue Train,” “Tenor Madness” from “Sonny Rollins – Tenor Madness,” and “Landslide” from “Dexter Gordon – Dexter Calling.”

Scott Colley – bass solo on “Is What It Is” a contrafact of “What is this thing called love?” from the album “Scott Colley – Subliminal.”

Miles Davis – trumpet solo on “Now’s the time” from “Charlie Parker – the complete savoy recordings.”

Steve Davis – bass solo on “Summertime” from “John Coltrane – My Favorite Things”

Drew Gress – bass solos on “OK Chorale” off of “Ben Monder – Flux,” “Small Feats” and “Peacock Park” off of Gary Keller’s “Blues for an old age.”

Charlie Haden – all bass lines and solos from “Keith Jarrett – Jasmine,” bass solos on “Waltz for Ruth” and “Our Spanish Love Song” from “Pat Metheny – Beyond the Missouri Skies,” “Take my hand” from “Hank Jones – Come Sunday,” “Blues for Pat” from “Pat Metheny – Rejoicin,” “Now is the hour” from “Charlie Haden – Now is the hour,” “What is this thing called love” from “Paul Motian – On Broadway vol. 1” and complete bass lines from “Congeniality,” “Peace” off of “Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come,” “Blues Connotation” from “Ornette Coleman – This is our Music” and “Motive for its use” off of “Ornette Coleman – To whom keeps a record.”

Dave Holland – bass solos on “Kind Folk” from “Kenny Wheeler – Angel Song” and “When you’re smiling” from “Bill Stewart – Think before you think.”

Dave Hofstra – bass solo on “Step Tempest” from “Philip Johnston – Big Trouble.”

Sam Jones – complete bass line to “SKJ” from “Bags meets Wes,” bass solos on “Star Eyes” from “Dexter Gordon – The Jumpin’ Blues,” “Gypsy Blue” from “Freddie Hubbard – Open Sesame” and ”Jeannine” from “Cannonball Adderly – Them Dirty Blues.”

Clifford Jordon – sax solo on “Tulip or Turnip,” off of “Carmen McRae – Any old time.”

Red Mitchell – bass line and solo on “What is this thing called love?” on “Hampton Hawes – Trio vol. 1.”

Gerry Mulligan - “My Funny Valentine” from “Complete Pacific recordings of Gerry Mulligan)

Scott Lafaro – bass lines and solos on “Victor Feldman – The Arrival of Victor Feldman,” “Hip,” “Wrap your troubles in dreams,” and “For Real” from “Hampton Hawes For Real, “Come Rain or Come Shine” from “The complete Pat Moran trio sessions,” and the bass solo only from “Bee Tee’s minor plea” off of “Booker Little Time.”

Wayne Shorter – sax solo on “The Big Push” from “Wayne Shorter – The Soothsayer.”

Wilbur Ware – bass line and solo from “Softly” on “Sonny Rollins – a Night at the Village Vanguard”

Butch Warren – bass solo on “Out of the Night” from “Joe Henderson – Page One” and complete bass lines on “Thelonious Monk – Live in Tokyo, disc one.”