Music is alive…
It has been a busy time, week musically speaking. In a three-day span I had rehearsal or a showcase, everyday. It was fun.
Saturday the Kyudo band went to Snafkin. One of my favorite places. There we are called Bamboo, Thread, and Wind. Interesting name.
We did a small set, more like an intro for our upcoming show this Sunday. As it turns out there were several others also playing. One person playing, started talking about me. I did not know him and did not understand what he was saying. It was something about seeing me playing in Kobe and a nice surprise to see me here. After his set he came over and spoke to me, said something about having long hair before and playing a sax.
Another person with a group said my name before any of this happened, like she knew me. Kind of weird to be recognized. I thought it was someone I knew but, they, she is friends of the person(s) I knew. This person showed up later and introduced me to them. A couple of folks in the group are sailors from the States and Australia. They were quite shocked to find out I was a sailing instructor.
The master Snafkin’s wife asked me to be in a up-coming show they were arranging for June. She said I could pick whomever I wanted to play with me. The female Sax player I really like was unable to perform, however her band members were going to be there, if I wanted to play with them. I really liked Jamming with them. So now, I am giving some thought about what to do in the show. I will ask them to play with me, also a Shamisen player who is a friend of mine, I will ask her. There is also a drummer I have been hearing about I will speak with about joining. I am thinking of making some type of funky blues with an Asian sound touch on at least one song. I may play guitar and Shakuhachi instead of Bass on one song. This maybe very interesting and fun. I will need to work on an arrangement, I may even write a song for the event. I am looking forward to this. If I could get a couple of singers to do backup, that would be off the hook cool! ( great )
Anyway it was a fun evening, playing, jamming, chatting, it was called, off the cuff, international night, because we had a mix of people there. After my group played I jammed a bit with a couple of people.
It is nice to play on my own and not under the Doc’s blues band label and control. He had asked me (late) to do a show with him at the Overheat club, I declined since I was already booked for Snafkin that night, which I prefer anyway. I have been asked a couple of times about playing Snakfin again by him and his girlfriend, I quickly dismiss that topic. I want to keep that separate from the Blues Band, even though I arranged for him/us to play there a couple of times.
The next day was a Jam with the Jazz society group. Again the Doc asked me to play at the Overheat club another thing he arranged without checking if I was busy. This time only a few hours in advance I was asked. Really WTF? I said more warning time is needed, I am already booked. Sigh. No warning, no practice, no pay, not a serious consideration. I went to the Jazz gathering. I did three songs with them with me on Bass. No practice with them either, but it is more fun, a better sound, better players, free food, closer to home, a no brainer. Even though the songs I did are Blues Based, it was more of a Jazz Funky Blues done how I want, not how someone else wants. I also sat in on a couple of song doing Harmonica. Fun stuff, good players.
Next month session I have invited the Kyudo Group to play a couple of songs. I am sure everyone will be surprised hearing a couple of Jazz songs with a Shakuhachi lead. It will be interesting doing a blend of acoustic and electric. Usually there is just the Shakuhachi, Bass and Classical Guitar. This time, up coming I will have a drummer, conga, piano, maybe another guitar, and Horn player(s) join. It should be cool!! Another venue I keep separate from the Doc’s band, even though they ( some players) do a couple of Blues tunes. I do not want to be identified as just only a bass man for him, and following his lead on what to play and how to play it.
I was a little surprised when someone asked at the 24 club was I also playing at the Overheat with the Blues Band. I said yes, they had seen a poster of us there when she played on Jazz night. I find the monthly session at the 24 club with the Jazz society a much better venue. The Overheat club is more about making money off the performers. One pays 1500 yen to enter and gets one drink included. At the 24 club one pays 1000 yen and gets a drink, plus a small buffet spread included. Also a better level of players, not all are pro level, but overall they are better. All of the venues have nice people who show up. It is not about the niceness of the people but the skill level and type of music. Just playing Blues all the time is boring.
The owner of the Overheat club asked when we could play and have the whole band show up for a blues night jam I do not know why, it is not like the band has a following. It seems like it is all about Matsuo, so really does not need me other than being the “American” voice. Which the Doc has said on several occasions gives the band an “advantage”. Well whatever anyway, I agreed to a date next month, for a Blues Jam, with the Doc’s band as the main band. This means we play and others who want to join in do so. Sometime it is nice and some good players turn up. We, the band seem to have a new member now with this keyboard player at the Overheat. It is nice having another dimension to the songs with the keys. Still, it is to me a dead-end band. We have a spot at the end of the month in a Street blues festival. It is a very large deal, which take places every year. I am sure we will be on some side street mostly hidden away, still, it is supposed to be a big deal.
The regular drummer for us and the Doc look at it as a big deal, and want to do a good show. However no one, no one in the three or four-month before this, has said anything about, hey let’s practice so we sound good, run smooth and seem professional. Sigh. Yeah I could, but I figure, screw it, if they do not care I will not either, I will just hold up my end. However if I had my name on the band I would make sure we were ready, instead of just showing up. With the Kyudo Ensemble there is no money involved, no risk, but still we have already practiced more in the few month together than the Blues Band has in Three years. Not only practiced, have a song list, and have timed the songs so to see what we need to fill our time slot. The Blues Band, no song list, no practice, no idea what is going to be played or what we need to fill in the time. sigh. Anyway, I have reset my attitude with them to be just a spot/time/ opportunity for me to practice with no other expectations.
It is nice to be playing again regularly and meeting other musicians, my Facebook connections continue tomorrow. I did not expect my music career to be as developing as it is here in Japan. I had hoped so, but still it is fairly surprising. When I first arrived it was very very limited. I had a few outlets but I had to do some serious traveling to make connections and they were limited. It is great to have connections and venues here in my home area, instead of a two hour train ride away.
So the next day after Snakfin the Kyudo Ensemble has another rehearsal. It was long but needed, this is part of the musician life and “paying dues”. We do not sound great, but we sound ok. It would be nice to have a percussionist, but I still figure to add an electronic drummer to my bag of tricks further on down the road.
Mid week, coming, I have another practice session for an upcoming show with my Shakuhachi Sensei’s ensemble. Our show is during golden week and… We get paid! Sweet! Sensei often apologizes for the low pay, but I do not care about that. Train-fare and snack money is fine. Getting paid is not the main thing for my playing, it is nice, but it is not just about the money, it is the playing. The expression of the connection with the Universal harmonic pulse.
next up Kyudo