All About Timing…

If you follow me on Twitter, @Karmakatie8, you’ll already know, there were parts of this beat I felt were incomplete. Therefore, I was looking for a sound insert I could not identify the name or the instrument of.

Lets play a game and see if you can guess which part/parts of the beat that was. Use times to identify!

The title “All About Timing” is because this is the first piece I’ve worked on where I feel the timing of different instruments works well throughout the entirety of the beat.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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And All That Jazz…

Jazz; smoky lounges, sunglasses, and devil may care grins. It’s easy, while listening to Jazz, to sink into the damp and racing melodies of an upright bass. But the minute you start to sink, saxophones pipe in, warning of the dangers to be found in those plucking strings. To me, that’s what Jazz is. It’s a balancing act. Jazz says, “Hi, I’ve been there, and it felt GOOD, but it messed me up something terrible.” Words don’t allow us to express joy and sorrow at the same time. Jazz does.

The kickoff of the NYC Jazzfest took place last night at Le Poisson Rouge, loosely translated to mean the finished red fish. One has to think this was deliberate since their banner is one of fish bones. The kickoff was a compilation of artists showcasing their 2015 releases on Blue Note Records. For representation of their earlier works, check out Madlibs’ 2003 Shades of Blue, which sampled their archives heavily. In order of appearance:

Kendrick Scott Oracle

This was my favorite performance of the night. Kendrick performed on the drums, with Taylor Eigsti on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Mike Moreno on guitar and John Ellis on saxophone ( who also played the bass clarinet) . But let’s be honest, their names won’t make you listen to them. Their sound WAS JAZZ, and so were they. Kendrick, Mike and John all went to the same high school and played together there. The band itself, released a previous album Conviction under Concord Records. They played well together, very well. The music was fluid, beautiful and FUN. The beginning of their set met with some micing issues, apparently the mic on Kendricks’ floor tom was malfunctioning. But once that got taken care of, thank you Eigsti, the sound was phenomenal. At one point Kendrick used brushes and he was getting DOWN, then Moreno came in with a guitar drop that would make my mama blush, which if you see this man, makes you chuckle inside.

 

Derrick Hodge

Hodge is the bass player, leader of the band, which led to two amplifies being attached to the bass, with a mic on the dome. I’d like to say it was off axis, but I’m sure it was super cardioid to capture sound from the second amp, which it was facing. Another micing issue came into play with the kick drum. It seemed like they only had one mic instead of two, so you were really overwhelmed with this clicky sound. Frederico Pena was playing a Korg Triton which can never be a bad thing, but Michael Aaberg was also on keys and the sounds they were blending just didn’t mesh well to me. Not in a discordant this is jazz kind of way but in a I can’t really hear when you’re dropping in with that sound kind of way. I think it was just too modern sounding for me, in a venue like this.

 

Jose James

James’ performance was a mix of songs from his upcoming album Yesterday I had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday and his 2013 release No Beginning No End. (No Punctuation) Definitely the most vocally oriented performance, he was the only one who didn’t play an instrument. It touched more on the spiritual aspect of the art. There lies the appeal, for me, to Jose James. He’s young, vibrant, and embodies the image of a jazz musician bad ass. He was also the first performer to use the Steinway and the first vocalist to touch on slavery and hangings. Definitely, have to check him out in greater detail.

 

Robert Glasper Trio

Comprised of Glasper on keys, Vicente Archer on bass and Damon Reid on drums, this Trio has the potential to be an amazing team. They’re all amazingly talented and their solo performances made you boogy. They even had some really great moments of blended sound. They’re going to be performing the last week of February, at the Paramount, and I feel like by then they’ll have all the kinks worked out of their live performances. They recently recorded a record at Capitol Studios, to be released this Summer. This is probably the first time they’re performing those songs in a live setting. During the performance Glasper displayed his stellar ear training. Asking the engineer to raise levels, reduce feedback on a particular key from the Steinway, and at one point, he even asked for a decrease in signal being sent from the DI box, requesting more sound be added from a mic directly on the amp. All I could think was, he must really like that amp.

Overall, the experience was really great. The sound was an amazing fit for the space, except with Hodges’ performance, which literally made my entire body vibrate. The staff and guests were really friendly. A-typical for “artsy” Manhattan locales. The scenery was pleasing, artsy, but not so obscure you feel like a hay chewing dung farmer. Coat check was also only $3 dollars, score. However, HOWEVER, the bathroom situation is deplorable. It’s all low level red lighting with automatic faucets, that when starting, cause the pipes to bang and clatter inside the walls. I don’t even want to think about what the puddle on the floor next to the toilet was. With the amount of lighting in the bathroom how could you even be mad if someone missed. The music though, was not a miss. Awesome experience, and I recommend you get tickets to the remaining performances today and tomorrow.

The Mi(ke) Slingers

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      This picture is a great representation of what the Mi(ke) Slingers bring to the table as a musical act. Fun, connected…about it. They’re made up of two Mike’s and the gun packing keyboard player, Helen. Mike on the far right is married to Helen and their connection really brings another level to their live performance. Anybody that connects to music can see the connection they share about the music, and it’s really a beautiful thing to watch. If I had to describe them in two words it would be mellow intensity. The aura they give off is relaxed confidence, but they play the music with intensity and joy. I think that’s what it really comes down to. The joy they feel playing gets caught up and mixed into the music as its output to you. 

      They’re a cover band that covers old school rock and juke box favorites, which is really ideal for the venue that they were playing in. All of the songs they played were amazing, but I want to focus on two which just kind of blew me away. First, Bob Dylan’s Isis. Isis was off his album Desire and tells an epic love story as if it were rooted in magic.  The song speaks on precious metals, alchemy, and jewels. It’s named after an Egyptian goddess. Consider it “The Notebook” of Bob Dylan songs, but much cooler, obviously, because…it’s Bob Dylan. Maybe, this song was so phenomenal because of the reasons I mentioned earlier but they played this song like they overhead squat. (Mike and Helen are both top notch crossfitters.) It was fluid, but not mechanical. It was engrossing, but not overbearing. Ahhhh, it was good. Just GOOD. 

      The second song was a Rolling Stones Song, and it was epic to me, in the performance, because of the juxtaposition to Isis. “She’s So Cold,” is definitely NOT a love song. It is the antithesis of a love song. “Yeah I tried rewiring her, Tried refiring her…I think her engine is permanently stalled.” See. Not a love song. But it was fun, and they had fun playing it. Which was what the Stones were all about. They took this sound that had nothing to do with Rock and Roll, the Blues, and they folded it into their music making this younger, fresher way of expression. The Mike Slingers really embodied that expressionistic aspect of the Stones.  

      There were no cd’s handed out at the end of the performance and a lot of the viewers were friends and gym mates. Which really made the entire situation that much more appealing. So I say, if you’re ever in a bar and see a flyer for the Mike Slingers, you check them out. Because beer is better when you’re smiling and I promise you, they will make you smile.