As is quite obvious, it has been far too long since I have composed a blog entry. There has been no shortage of events in my life or things to share, write, talk and think about but the time and inspiration to do so have been short. As fall begins so does a new season with new ideas and desires. The year feels like it starts in September after years of being trained by the school year calendar and so my new fall resolution is to actively write on this page.
For my first post back I’m going to run with an idea someone suggested to me almost a year ago to date. A few of my posts will drift into my usual hobbies (obsessions) but for the most this blog will be a place where I document process and progress of a new project I am hoping to complete. Over the next few months I will be “wood shedding” or “work shopping” ideas for a solo record that I hope to record by years end. This record will then hopefully be supported by a tour in May of 2013. Nothing is planned, recorded or set in stone yet but the idea is firmly planted in my brain.
The idea for the solo album came from a desire to tour and to do so as economically as possible. Touring is something I’ve never had the opportunity to do and the idea of persuading, paying and providing for a band to go on tour seemed nearly impossible to me and my finances. But, a solo tour would be up to me and me only. I then thought that the only way I could book this tour is if I had a recording to prove my worth as an out-of-town touring artist.
But what should the recording be?
I play a number of solo gigs each month in the realm of jazz standards. These gigs have been great learning opportunities and really fun to boot! From time to time I play what I’d lazily call “creative solo gigs” where I improvise freely, stretch out on tunes by my favorite jazz composers or play my own music in a less organized fashion than I would with a band. These “creative” gigs have always been rewarding and enlightening. I learn a lot about my playing, both strengths and weaknesses. It is quite a task to keep an audience’s attention with just a guitar and a bunch of songs they don’t know. From these experiences, my idea began to take on a clearer, more defined shape.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, I’ve begun “work shopping” ideas by recording myself in various solo settings. My launching points have been free improvisation and a few Paul Motian songs. This seemed like as good a place to start as any. My plan is to make a recording with a 3 tiered focus. These tiers include free improvisation, original music (both “jazz” oriented and “through composed”) and interpretations of music by my favorite jazz composers (ie Monk, Motian so far). In the coming weeks I hope to update you with some “in progress” ideas and recordings.
Also in coming weeks I will likely be soliciting touring ideas and advice from anyone who would like to offer their experiences and expertise. Thanks for reading! I look forward to updating you on my progress.