As long as I’m in a jazzy, funky mode today (see today’s earlier blog entries featuring Branford Marsalis and Thelonious Monk), I thought I’d point to one of the tunes currently getting heavy rotation on my iPod: Marvin Gaye’sSexual Healing, as covered by New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band, who give the classic track some gumbo-flavoured gusto. I’d love to see these guys play live:
If you like the cover, there’s an excellent studio version on their album, Rock with the Hot 8. Here are some links:
Even if you’re not a jazz musician or even a jazz fan, you might still get some mileage from the advice that legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk gave to jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy took down some notes, which appear below:
Here’s a transcript of the notes:
1. MONK’S ADVICE (1960)
Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.
Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head, when you play.
Stop playing all those weird notes (that bullshit), play the melody!
Make the drummer sound good.
Discrimination is important.
You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?
It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.
Let’s lift the band stand!!
I want to avoid the hecklers.
Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you!
The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by. Some music just imagined. What you don’t play can be more important that what you do.
A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.
Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, and when it comes, he’s out of shape and can’t make it.
When you’re swinging, swing some more.
(What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible!)
Always leave them wanting more.
Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene. These pieces were written so as to have something to play and get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal.
You’ve got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (To a drummer who didn’t want to solo)
Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it.
What I’ve learned from my students is that students today are completely full of shit.
That is what I’ve learned from my students. Much like the generation before them, the only thing they are really interested in is you telling them how right they are and how good they are.
That is the same mentality that basically forces Harvard to give out B’s to people that don’t deserve them out of the fear that they’ll go to other school that will give them B’s, and those schools will make the money.
We live in a country that seems to be in this massive state of delusion, where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that. And it actually works just as long as everybody’s winking at the same time. If one person stops winking, you just beat the crap out of that person, and they either starting winking or go somewhere else.
My students – all they want to hear how good they are and how talented they are. Most of them aren’t really willing to work to the degree to live up to that.
Don’t dismiss this as just a statement about jazz or even about music. I see the attitude of Marsalis’ students everywhere.
The trailer for Before the Music Dies is really intriguing. I’m going to have to watch it:
It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve got a lot of family stuff to do over the next couple of days. You never know, I just might get the chance to sneak in a blog entry or two, but I’m going to play it safe and say that The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century (and its nerdier, little sister blog, Global Nerdy) will return on Monday, December 29th.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Festivus, Happy Holidays – however you choose to spend the next couple of days, stay safe, enjoy yourself, and I’ll see you soon!
First of all, to all my Jewish friends and relatives, Happy Chanukah! In honour of the eight-day holiday, here are a few Chanukah-related tidbits.
Pictured above is Matisyahu, the musician who mashes up his Orthodox Judaism with reggae, at his concert on Sunday, the first night of Chanukah. The Rastas – and hence reggae culture — borrows heavily from Judaism, so it was only natural that someone would borrow in the opposite direction. There’s more in this New York Times story.
Photo from BlogTO.
See the frying pan in the photo above? They’re latkes, which are potato pancakes. The story of Chanukah involves lamp oil miraculously lasting much longer than it should have, so the holiday tradition is to eat fried food – and what’s better than fried potatoes?