Wulf's Webden

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A Decent Acquittal

Given that my right ear still wasn’t up to 100% of my normal hearing, I think I did reasonably well at last night’s jazz jam down in Brightwell, although I did opt for electric rather than double bass (for the songs called, that was probably a better choice anyway – lots of tunes with a rock / funk influence).

It was interesting to give Joe Henderson’s Black Narcissus a try. It was one of my favourite tunes when playing with the Pico Brown Five back in London and seems quite simple to me but a lot of people seem to trip over it. Perhaps it is the use of two against three timing, the syncopated bass stepping against the 3/4 pulse or simply the unfamiliar but beautiful dissonances of the harmonies? We persevered for a few minutes though (thanks to Harry for singing out the melody on his alto, as well as dishing up a solo that fitted over the changes) and it was good for my musical brain to get a chance to dust it off. Other dusting off also took place, particularly for my sight-reading skills; when Tom handed round the lead sheets for Cold Duck Time, I realised it was anchored by a written bass riff. Fortunately it fitted under my fingers well and, truth be told, was mainly repeats of a couple of bars of riff but it still felt like a worthwhile achievement.

My particular highlight from the evening was getting to play with a vibraphone player for the first time. My hearing was enough to appreciate the wonderful sound of Peter’s vibes, especially because it was a relatively quiet instrument and so every one dropped their volume when he took his turn. Thanks also to Tom for organising it — I hope I will get along to another one soon.

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