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Hell-ohh! How time flies when one has fun, it’s already May! After Women’s Jazz & Blues Camp my right hand started to be really achy due to too much practicing – and probably faulty position, too, something to which I have really tried to pay attention lately – so I had to take a break from everything and give the hand a rest. The vacation did good; my hands are in shape again, so I’ve been active with The Voice of The Octagon – we had a photo shoot a while ago and Ted also has updated some new recordings in the blog, by all means go check those out! – as well as banging my head against the wall with music theory… and finally getting it, too. And, of course, playing piano and sax! Have I mentioned earlier that I am an incurable play-a-holic and if I don’t get to practice for few days I become impossible, grumpy and awful bitch? No kidding here, it’s worse than PMS, and the only thing that helps is to dig out that horn and blow it like it was our last day on earth… which, to my husband’s relief (poor guy has to live with me through these breaks) I sure did when my thumb finally let me! Peace on earth and so on.

Last week I spent some time in a house with an actual piano, and it so happened that one day after breakfast I went and sat before the piano without any sheets, practice methods or anything in front of me and just started banging away, thinking of something we’d been talking with Ariel last time. And once again as soon as I gave myself a chance to just have fun and fool around, music came and took over, and soon I noticed my hubby standing in the doorway, amazed by how I have developed with piano. Funny – I probably couldn’t play piano in front of audience even if my life was depending on that, but leave me alone with the instrument and all kind of music emerge… it’s kind of spooky, really!

So everything is fine and well here, spring has sprung, development occurs as well as new music. What else can one hope for? Well, maybe wine… 😉

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Countdown to Giant Steps

I was visiting Union Music the other day, meaning to purchase some new, thicker reeds, when Sam asked me what I was working with nowadays and after I had told him showed me some new studying material I might be interested in. Amongst all the interesting material he showed me -Union Music has quite a good selection of sheet music and other material- was this Aebersold’s book of how to approach Giant Steps… step by step!

GSteps123I’ve been struggling with this composition every now and then and even though I once almost nailed it in the jam session I still feel almost intimidated by this piece of genius composition. But this little book spoke to me like nobody’s business, not only because of its approach to the song itself, but also because of its arpeggio practices – one of my weak spots is that I should practice arpeggios WAY more than I do – and some other, Giant Step inspired tunes and such.

So far I’ve gone through some of the basic practices in the book, noticed how badly I have needed to do something like this, and on top of it enjoyed playing those arpeggios more than ever before! Once again thanks to Sam for pointing me what I need, I’ll keep you informed where this leads!

Women’s Jazz & Blues Camp

This week I am participating at the Women’s Blues and Jazz Camp in Berkeley’s Jazz school, and boy what an experience! We have some great teachers pouring information in our brains, and I am quite happy to play in both blues and jazz ensembles during these three days I was able to participate. Session with saxophones only as well as some percussion sessions are included into my schedule, as well as theory and improvisation. Nice. I could definitely get used to spending all my days jamming with other lady musicians! 🙂

Some songs we practice with the ensembles: If I Were a Bell, On The Sunny Side of the Street, Honeysuckle Rose and Secret Love and ooooh, I played my third ever prima vista today with the latter, and with a band! Couldn’t feel much better about that! 😀

Ilmiliekki Quartet

Hei! I haven’t had too much to say after we returned from our holiday trip; life has been mostly good, pleasantly full of music and practicing though sometimes I’m close to brain damage when trying to adapt jazz theory, I’ve been learning at my piano classes, to my saxophone playing. Okay, the theory itself is really not a rocket science, but some of the practices are challenging. To say the least. I have also tried to deepen my sound and a week ago, in the middle of playing some long notes something happened; it was as if something that had been stuck in the horn let go, and the sound changed, dramatically! Now I try to find what exactly it was I did, since even though I am often capable to repeat the fullness of the sound I’d like to find the exact method to that madness.
But today the flu that’s been rampaging here finally got a grip of me, too, and now most of my energy and intention is aimed for getting better in the next 24 hours.

My friend hinted me about this Finnish jazz quartet, and he also sent me their record which I’ve been listening today. Wow.  Such an awesome stuff, and sound! Highly recommended, do check out Ilmiliekki Quartet.

New case. Finally!

paris_case

I’ve been wanting a new, sturdier case for my sax for some time now, but this coming trip to Europe finally forced me to do something about it instead of just talk. I had a little donation for my birthday (thank you!) and that together with a good deal I got from Union Music lead me getting myself a case from Selmer. I love it. I can carry it as a backpack, fit my notes and laptop in the side pocket (though I really have to be careful with the latter since I can’t quite fit the laptop with its neoprene sleeve in… gotta find a solution for that, too), and it is very sturdy on top of the fact that my sax fits very snugly in it so gone are the days of it bouncing around. Thank you!

(photo: http://www.musiciansfriend.com)

Something else: Fleetweek shots

Here’s some shots from Fleetweek happening couple of weeks ago. Or is it three already? Time flies and I run, and quite often don’t have a clue how much time has passed. I guess they call it an adulthood.

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So, there were some older planes as well as always so cool Blue Angels showing what men can do when g-forces are pulling their cheeks towards their spine. Some amazing tricks those pilots did with the planes… I have to admit I’d L O V E to experience a ride in one of those fast planes, just to know how it feels!

Alive & kickin’

Hei! I’ve been busy as a bee with a class, harvest and other doings, but I have also been able to give some serious quality time to both sax and piano. I’ve had couple of new songs under practice, and during practicing them I noticed that I have gotten much better in reading sax sheets, too. Now THAT was a revelation, and it still feels amazing!

Ted had posted another recording from the jazz jam couple a weeks ago. The beginning is a little bit of a hassle due to too many wind instruments playing the head (if I remember correctly there were 9 of us), but the solos are good! My solo is after flute, beginning at about 1:37

I’ll ride up to north on Tuesday for a week or so, and I will have my recording stuff, my sax and the piano there with me. Hopefully I will finally get some recordings done, keep your thumbs up for that!