Friday, October 26, 2007

It's been a long 10 months

I haven't written here in a long time. Not much has been happening in the musical realm. The time I do have has been spent working on computers and blogging about it. That sort of thing comes easier. Picking up an instrument I haven't picked up in months and months, trying to relearn what I've forgotten and learn what I never knew is a daunting prospect.

I even worried about the blog being called "Jazz Guitar Journey," because the direction I'm going in remains instrumental and solo but is diverging away from the jazz repertoire. Looking at the long term (and the way I'm going, there is no short term), I'm going to keep the name. If I ever do shift my focus back here, there's no telling what will happen.

Long layoffs from playing. They don't happen to everyone, but they do happen to plenty of us. Some go years or decades without playing. The challenge of returning to the box is one that isn't written about much.

I've seen a couple of players lately. One at a wedding, another on the street in Santa Monica. Neither were all that great, but just seeing people playing out is inspiring.

Especially when it comes to street performers, they toil in obscurity that is anything but relative. People rarely stop, and there's not a lot of attention or respect paid. That all changes when the player is really good and knows how to perform. But a lot of solo guitar playing is meant to be backgroundish. You can still catch ears with good playing.

Time for a Ted Greene reference. I've read plenty of stories about how Ted liked to play parties. He's set up and play, knowing full well what the deal was. Of course, somebody with Ted's talent and command of hundreds or thousands of tunes (much like the great piano players who do this sort of thing, but unlike most guitarists) could draw in a single person or a whole room as much as he liked. Invariably, the stories come around to the person in the room (the teller of the story) who is a huge fan and can't believe that a then-living-legend is playing the party.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a guy like Ted Greene was so unique, but that shouldn't be the case. Guitarists, like pianists, should know how to play tons of tunes by themselves and be able to do so for a few hours at a crack.

And here I am, not playing at all for months. I couldn't fake my way through a whole tune, much less 10, 20 or more.

It all begins somewhere. At the beginning.

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