Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fall Mix 2006

A copy of FriedOreo's autumn mix is on its way to Prospect Hill in the mail, and he inspired me to create my own mix for the season. Here it is. I'm not going to try to explain any of these choices, except to say that the songs are just a little drearier than summer songs and a few of them mention "autumn" and maybe "leaves" and "foliage." And a few remind me of the fall. And they're all amazing songs.

1. September Gurls (Big Star)
2. Author Unknown (Jason Falkner)
3. Middle School Frown (Josh Rouse)
4. Eat the Menu (Sugarcubes)
5. Emma Blowgun's Last Stand (Beulah)
6. Crystal Lake (Grandaddy)
7. (Do Not Feed the) Oyster (Stephen Malkmus)
8. Great Fire (XTC)
9. You Are Invited (Dismemberment Plan)
10. Colmene Whispers (Yuji Oniki)
11. Ex-Girl Collection (Wrens)
12. Raw Sugar (Metric)
13. The Stars of Track and Field (Belle and Sebastian)
14. 7 Chinese Bros. (R.E.M.)
15. Today (Ponys)
16. Hudson Line (Mercury Rev)
17. Curtain Calls (Old 97's)
18. Ramble On (Led Zeppelin)
19. Drop Me a Line (Owls)
20. The Empty Page (Sonic Youth)

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Figured Bass

Several colleagues at work had tried to encourage me to go to the
Jamey Aebersole Summer Jazz Workshop in June. I used to play bass in a
jazz/vocal group years ago, and I still enjoy playing along with
records. But other committments prevented me from going, so another
year passed where any improvisational skills I may have had would
continue to wither away.

They returned from the sessions and raved about them. I would have
been afraid that my skill level was too low, but apparently there is
an audition process that puts you in the appropriate group, and this
reportedly worked well. Of course, the more theory you know before
you start, the more you benefit, but I was told that even the rankest
of amateurs enjoyed the course.

They spent the whole week with what they said were skilled jazz
instructors at the University of Louisville. A final performance
experience ended the week. Apparently, nobody was disappointed.

One of the attendees brought me some of the materials from the course,
including Jamey Aebersole's Jazz Handbook, a 54 page volume chock full
of scales, ear-training exercises, progressions, variations,
voicings, and nearly innumerable tips and pearls of wisdom for the
aspiring improvisationalist. This should keep me busy for a long

I plan to go next year. In the meantime, I'll keep listening to and
learning from some of my favorite bassists (some of whom are no longer
with us), like James Jamerson, Jaco Pastorius, and Ray Brown. Fortunately, we still have Victor Wooten, who is alive and well, to watch and try (usually in vain) to emulate.

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