A little night music… on the street

June 19, 2008

Just returned from New Orleans for a few days of business. Being the “birthplace of jazz”, I had high expectations of the street music scene. Bourbon Street seemed mostly to be a lot of “good time” music, mostly rock & roll and country blarining from whichever bar you were passing by.

There were some welcome and notable exceptions, though. A couple of places had real jazz going on inside, and it was fun to stop and listen. Old time jazz was evident, especially in some of the restaurants. Fun!

Street musicians were not as well represented as I expected – until the night before last. Just as we were walking up Canal Street toward the hotel, we heard a roaring, raucous, high-energy group of guys “giving it all they got”. It was great street music – not just one guy wailiing on a harmonica or a guitar (though we heard both and enjoyed that as well). Two trumpets, three trombones, bari sax, tuba, bass/cymbals player and a ‘percussionist’ (cowbell!). We listened for about 30 minutes – and they played non-stop. People were dancing in the street and having a blast.

Now that’s New Orleans.

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Some bass-ic fun

June 16, 2008

I had the opportunity to go to a get-together with some of my technical friends last night. Nothing unusual there, except that this time they had a little ‘stage’ set up with a piano, drums, some mics, and a couple of guitars. I had a little advance notice, so I brought one of my basses along. (Not the basses in the chorus, an electric bass guitar…)

It was the usual ‘what do you want to do?’ kind of get together – we ended up doing some 12-bar blues, ‘Mustang Sally’, ‘Get Here’, and a Beatles tune or two. Next time, I’m going to bring some fake books – there were a lot of “I know this, but can’t remember the words” experiences.

That’s why I took the bass – just tell me what key we’re in, and off we go.

I still can’t immediately visualize where I am on a 5-string as well as a 4-string; I need more practice.

It was fun, musical, and I had the chance to make some new friends. That’s a good evening!