A Little Jamming at a Party
by, Feb-14-2009 at 2:30pm (608 Views)
So I've been shaking off the rust lately (see my last entry) by reconvening the regular Friday jam session, getting back to Wednesday night practices, and taking the mandolin to work. And it's all beginning to pay off.
The Friday jam sessions are fiddle tune heavy. We have a fiddler/mandolin player who loves the old timey stuff and Texas Swing too. We've been working on "Pig Ankle Rag" recently. Which is an interesting tune. It doesn't sound difficult, but the return to the first part of the A section from the second part of the A section required a slight position shift in the space of a 16th note. And the ends of both the A and B sections (the same run) are a little tricky for me.
The Friday jam is when I get to practice the cross picking B section of "Soldier's Joy" that is detailed in Andy Statman's Teach Yourself Bluegrass Mandolin. Sometimes I go back to the regular way just for the relief of playing the tune without too many mistakes!
Wednesdays are more about vocals. We convene as members of Zero Visibility String Band and go over songs. One of the best developments of ZVSB has been the addition of a lady who sings and plays a little guitar. It allows me and my buddy, Ken, to use different instruments, like mandola and octave mandolin. It also allows us to use guitars that would not normally be powerful enough cut through or add to the mix, like Ken's prewar 00-21NY.
ZVSB does fiddle tunes too. Though in Wednesday night practice, we're polishing them up while Meg, on guitar, practices the rhythm parts.
Taking the mandolin to work is good too. I can sit in an empty room and work hard on music for 30 to 45 minutes. I use this time to practice singing to my own mandolin accompaniment and to hit the difficult spots of tunes with some serious repetition.
Like I said, the work is paying off. [Work. Feh. It's fun. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing it!] Last night I attended a friends birthday party and, since I knew there would be jamming, I took my mandolin. A performer had been hired to start out the evening and, I guess, to lead the jam.
Johnny Mojo was great in both roles. He's an excellent player, a nice guy, and passed the breaks around generously. He also has a repertoire that slides nicely into my comfort zone. So I got to wail away last night on rock n roll type solos along with the fiddle tunes.
Heaven. And it would have been much less fun if the rust had been hanging to my playing.
Feb 21: Frog & Fiddle in Sonora CA with Se๑or
Mar 1: Tule Fog Fete at Caswell State Park outside Ripon CA with Zero Visibility String Band
April 10: Tamarack Hall, Columbia College, Sonora CA Noon-2pm with Zero Visibility String Band