Last weekend I had the pleasure of getting together with a couple of old friends, band-mates from my high school days that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. We set up some time in the studio along with my current band-mate and guitar counterpart Mo, and had planned on a good long jam. At the last minute, Mo’s son’s band got a call to fill in at a gig and needed to take most of the drum kit with them, but they brought in a few replacements from an old kit, leaving us with just enough hardware to scrabble together a minimalistic rig. My drummer friend Chris, always an easy-going fellow, adapted easily enough and between the four of us – Me, Mo, Chris and Lyle we put together a solid hour of improv.
This was my favourite jam of the night – a bit of everything – some melodic soul, a bit of power, a few vocal musings by Lyle, and some interesting beats and rhythm changes.
While my guitar gently weeps (instrumental)
One Tuesday afternoon at the end of a business day, I received news that a colleague in Ottawa was retiring and his co- workers had asked that everyone who knew him could send a farewell message at the same time – noon eastern that Thursday, and that every message should have a creative spin to the message that somehow involved the Beatles, Bryan’s favourite band.
I mulled it over and came up with a plan, and given my busy Wednesday didn’t get a chance to sit down and actually start putting my idea together until about 10:30 at night. I pushed hard until 3, and this is the result that appeared in his inbox the next morning.
I have tried to keep as much feel of the original together through the rhythm and melody lines, and then added my own flavour on the lead parts. I ended up using three guitars: steel string for strummed rhythm, hollow body electric for picked rhythm and melody, and my trusty Baretta for the lead work.
Tears in the sun
Built around a dissonant chord transition that we were jamming to one week, this piece came together quite quickly on a hot summer day. A soft Latin feel to the drum track and layers of soft electric and acoustic guitars. electric piano and a walking bass line made for a great backdrop for some sax and brass melody lines played on the keyboard, accented with some electric guitar improv breaks.
Dreaming All Day
This progression is a lot of fun to play over, a recurring altered chord progression using lots of picked open strings and variations of Am/G/F. I found myself getting onto a bit of a trance while playing it, so a recurring melody theme and the name seemed to fit.
Come on in, the water’s fine
The first new piece I wrote in the fall of 2007 after a few months of stifled creativity, brought on by life change and uncertainty. I likened the experience to standing on top of a cliff looking at the water below, knowing you want to make the leap but lacking the courage to do so. After finally mustering up the gusto and enjoying the freefall, calling up to those still waiting at the top. It’s free form improv over an interesting altered chord progression with three different (tonally) guitar parts sharing the melody. We’ve had a few great Tuesday jams to the progression.