Flute coming along

Yeah, well… what did I say about bringing work home?

Just kidding! Didn’t buy myself a piccolo (yet), but my coworker loaned me his backup flute so I can get my embouchure built. And playing this little cutie really throws my chops in place like nobody’s business! On top of that, I am having SO much fun with it – or what would you say it is, playing Iron Man and Smoke On The Water with piccolo flute? 😀

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Workin’ with Sarah, Miles and Bird…

Lately I’ve been working with some new or less practiced songs, in addition to some arabic scales. Here’s my last few days’ to do -list.

Sarah Vaughan’s live recording of Willow Weep For Me makes me wanna sing, too:

Miles’ version of the song On Green Dolphin Street. How Coltrane lands on his solo gives me thrills every time!

Bird’s Blues For Alice. About time for me to get this Parker song under construction!

And while I was practicing “Stella By Starlight” I bumped into this amazing take. I just love this young gentleman’s solo on it!

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 blues & jazz camp 2013, Berkeley, CA

Hei! As I already mentioned in the latter post, I spent a few days last week playing jazz & blues with some fellow lady musicians at Women’s Blues & Jazz Camp @ Berkeley Jazz School. I had lot of fun, and even though I couldn’t participate but half the camp I still got quite a bunch out of the workshops; theory and improvisation, some stuff to pay attention to with sax, few new songs etc. And of course, got to acquaint some really talented ladies! I cannot appreciate that enough.

Here’s some pictures, taken during the last Friday’s practice, lunchtime jam sessions and evening’s concert!

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The days passed by way too fast, I could’ve continued spending my days like that for at least another couple of weeks, and I really wish I can participate again next year. Meanwhile, I’d like to thank all the teachers who taught me, all the co-musicians I got to play and hang out with, thank you all, what a beautiful experience!

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! 😀

Straight, No Chaser

This Thelonius Monk’s song has caused me some grey hair lately. The melody itself is quite simple, but there’s a little twist in the rhythm towards the end of phrase which has caused my fingers tumbling clumsily around the so called spoons. Today I finally nailed it, with the metronome 140Bpm. Of course in this Monk’s recording the song is faster, so more practice is in order!

I also finally practiced the melody to Parker’s My Little Suede Shoes. It’s been one of the jam session songs forever and so far I’ve played part of the melody by ear, and long harmony notes to the places I didn’t quite know how the melody goes, but now finally I pulled that together, too.

Other musical adventures include piano -we went through Monk’s Dream last time and my teacher kicked my ass to practice more scales. And I have a new project, a duo using laptops and Ableton as instruments, mixing samples with acoustic stuff. So it’s almost like learning three instruments simultaneously. I definitely have my work cut for this spring!

Musical Thursday

Since today I had several hours to use for practicing I started warming myself with piano, fooling around with different chords and just trying to make music, and after that I concentrated to the major scales from G#/Ab to B. Then I concentrated a good while for a little Bach practice with metronome, trying to make the switches smooth, starting from 50bpm. I finished piano rehearsals with Chopin, also trying to polish it and make it as correct as possible.

While finishing my piano practice I realized how big a difference going through them scales really makes when it comes time to play songs; almost like every new scale I get into my fingers brings some extra flexibility to the songs I practice, too. Thought of the day: rehearsing to play music with piano is like teaching my hands and fingers to dance!

Today’s sax practice included a new song (Lazy bird) and some chord progression and improvisation practice to Boplicity. I also reminisced Airegin and Afternoon in Paris, and went through Donna Lee few times 138bpm, just to remind my fingers of those changes.

All around a good rehearsals today!