Sunday, October 09, 2011

We’ve all heard, or at least intuitively understand the whole ‘life is a tapestry” thing. That’s about the big picture, and context beyond our view. To accept this notion is to consider forces beyond ourselves; at work not only toward our, but also a greater good. A light bulb is now illumined in this regard; enough for me to recognize the application of “We may make our plans, but God determines the outcome”, yet again. For years, I have mumbled and grumbled (at times) about the inferiority of non-acoustic (electric) keyboard instruments. I won’t go in to the whole diatribe here, save to say that the sound and effect of acoustically vibrating strings is something that I respond to, and that cannot be replicated by electronic pulses. Many times I had come close to selling whatever keyboard I had (or locking it away), and happily ever after playing only the piano. What kept getting in the way, though, is the ease with which I can crank out a left hand bass on a split keyboard, unique to my solo piano approach to jazz (ala Dave McKenna). For starters, it has made me really marketable as a sideman (which saved the day many times when my performing schedule was thin). Having so much opportunity to do this has helped me hone my approach to working (what to me is) the most effective bass sound on my Roland FP-5 keyboard; the Fender electric, to the point where my left hand now has it own identity. Yes, we call him Jaco. The Shore Jazz Trio is on a roll, beginning nearly 2 years ago when we began performing at Beseme (soon becoming our Saturday night steady), and Jaco took to gleefully dancing in the wide open spaces. He's actually quite a soloist. Who knew? At this point, Jaco is such a recognized part of the Shore Jazz Trio presentation that he gets to come along as we push out to a new CD release and a debut performance at the Night Cat on 12/2. I normally would not advocate this approach in a serious jazz setting, but Jaco appears to be a unique asset worth bending the rules for, so to speak. My natural approach to improvisational performance is more polyphonic than harmonically dense (unlike typical jazz piano in this age). With the self accompanying approach of stride piano as a foundation, it's easy for me to (appropriately) fill up the space accross a range of styles. Yes, it's a thing, and a natural compliment to my solo piano identity. I may have, at times, a long learning curve, but eventually, I will wrap my mind around the obvious.