Friday, December 30, 2011

Reading in the Studio

Often on sessions being the best sight reader isn't really critical. There are times when the cue (piece of music) is so short you have plenty of time to learn it and master it all before they've finished getting drum sounds. However, you should never count on all a show's cues to be as short as the ones below. These are what's called bumpers. The music you hear coming in and out of commercials. I've seen bumpers of just one note before. 

The two bumpers below were from a recording session for a show called "American Detective" and were two of a dozen or so. Probably the shortest two. So while I might have had time to look over and rehearse these charts five or six times silently before tape was rolling there were others where sight reading chops played a far greater roll.

Now on this show every episode took place in a different city, so the composer themed each episode a little different. And yet it was themed. Meaning that similar melodic and rhythimic devices were utilized throughout the episodes. The best part was that I was on every week as second guitarist and the first guitarist was a revolving chair. A different guy every week. Michael Thompson, Dean Parks, Grant Geissmann, John Goux. I was getting paid to go to school!

I was reminded of this this past month when I did two gig where I was in the less-pressured, second guitar chair admiring the playing and gear of the players to my right.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Haikus for Musicians

Squeaking and squawking
All eyes roll to the heavens
The clarinet speaks

One beat to change from
Harmon to cup to bucket
Hey, who wrote this crap?

The jam session starts
Somebody calls "Giant Steps"
Cold fear grips my brain
Here's the girl singer
Stepping to the microphone
Pitch, Time, All gone now

Gig is going well
Idiot requests "In the Mood"
I look at my watch

I once had a dream
Big house, new car, big money
Now I play the bass

Gorgeous chick tells me
"You sound just like Kenny G"
My ego shatters

Three-eight, eleven-eight
Darn you Andrew Lloyd Webber
Five-eight, seven-eight

The woodwind doubler
Practicing the piccolo
Frustration defined

Pit orchestra gig
Days and nights become as one
I have no darned life

Bad intonation
Strings are sharp and reeds are flat
Brass too loud again

Great changes, good groove
A one-in-a-million gig
No singer. Yippee!

An oxymoron:
"He played the accordion
With delicacy"

The accordion
"Squeeze box," yes, but more often
"The Stomach Steinway"

Bassoons forever
Try in vain not to sound like
A farting bedpost

The strings slowly tune
When they're done the unisons
Are anything but

"I can't find my note"
Bemoans the confused singer
"Quit now," we all pray

The contractor calls
Months of Andrew Lloyd Webber
"Bird Lives" no longer