About Me

My photo
Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dreaming and Scheming

So many projects, so little time!

My current projects include:
As if that's not enough, I've recently come up with some ideas for new projects. I don't have time to do all these at once, but here are some challenges I'd like to tackle in the future.
  • Create my own brand of Celtic-Jazz fusion. I've found some interesting music surfing around on YouTube looking for Celtic Jazz, but nothing like what I have in mind. I need a kindred spirit or two for this one. I'll have to check out some local Irish music spots and see if I can meet some open minded Celtic musicians. I'll keep my receipts and call it "research."
  • Learn how to use Garage Band properly. Garage Band is an amazing audio recording program, especially considering that it comes pre-installed on the iMac. I don't plan on being a world class recording engineer, but I do plan on becoming competent with the program for my own uses, which will help me with the next two projects on my list…
  • Create backing tracks to spice up my solo performances. I prefer to play with other musicians, but there are some situations in which backing tracks could help me out. For example, if I'm playing an extended, all-instrumental background solo job, backing tracks would be very useful. I have enough solo guitar material to play for more than two hours, but this type of solo playing is stressful on my left hand. Having backing tracks would allow me to take a breather and play single line melodies instead of chord/melody style, and I could extend the songs with a few choruses of solo improv over backing tracks. Many purists might say that playing with backing tracks is cheating, but I don't feel that way…especially after spending hundreds of hours creating the recordings myself.
  • Create quality demos and home recordings of my own music. For the most part, an A&R person is more interested in the quality of the music than the quality of the recording, but there are some situations that call for a good recording. For example, on TAXI, some people shopping for instrumental music specifically ask for good quality recordings for use in TV, film, or commercial spots. Once I've had more experience with Garage Band, I'll be able to create good quality recordings at home.
  • Concerts or presentations at elementary and junior high schools with On the Cool Side. Presentations would be for passing along the legacy of jazz through presenting jazz history in a fun, accessible way, and leading activities that get the whole assembly grooving. There is a LOT to plan here. For example, before contacting schools about my jazz presentation, I might want to, say, develop a jazz presentation. As of now, this project is in the brainstorming phase.
  • Clinics with young jazz bands, either by myself or with On the Cool Side. This is also in the brainstorming "what if" phase. I can picture working with a young combo, helping them learn to play together, rehearsing some songs, helping with improvisation, etc. I can also picture a joint concert. Even if I led a clinic all by myself, I could bring in On the Cool Side for a joint concert with the young band or combo.
  • Summer jazz camp. This would be similar to the school clinic, only it would last a couple weeks instead of a couple days. Again, I'm still brainstorming.
  • Create a series of videos teaching basic jazz guitar chords. This will mainly be for jazz guitarists starting out, but other guitarists might learn some chord forms that come in handy in folk, rock, or country music.
There are lots of possibilities out there, and I'll keep trying out new projects until I finally find my own niche in the music world.

2 comments:

  1. With regard to backing tracks, have you considered getting a looper? I've seen some local "background music" guitarists (San Diego) play a rhythm chorus live into a looper, then solo over the recording. It creates a very cool effect, plus has the benefit that all of the notes are performed live.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do have a looper. I'm still learning the ins and outs of it, but I should be ready to take it public in a few weeks. I plan to eventually mix it up with solo guitar, solo guitar with a looper, and my own backing tracks.

    ReplyDelete