Monday, 15 December 2008

Song 15 in Bb major

Song 15 in Bb major (mp3 file)

Two electric guitars.

Looks like I will have to updates in the evening!

I've been thinking about things I would like to do within the confines of this project, and I decided I needed a little more blues. The blues has been a BIG part of my musical life. First, through rock music (Hendrix, Zeppelin, Clapton), then through the people who invented the genre (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, BB King, and many more). Then, I got interested in jazz music, where the blues is much more sophisticated. My first exposure to this was through playing in a big band, then I started listening to the jazz cats, and there's lots of blues in Charlie Parker's music to name one, and later on I became enamored with Monk and Mingus, people who have a strong, if very different, blues tinge in their music. Then I got into people like Robben Ford, who fused the energy of electric blues with the sophistication of jazz, and that's something I really enjoy.

Bb is a key that's very much used for jazz blues playing, but very rarely in "original" blues. But I decided I wanted to do a blues piece in Bb, trying to combine different shades of blues. There are three sections. The first features slide guitar in open Bb tuning, which is rather uncommon. But with the way my guitar is set up, it proved a good choice for slide playing, because the strings need to be rather stiff and tight for slide playing, and Bb meant raising some strings as much as three semitones! This is meant to represent a real old-timey blues feel, although it's done with electric guitar and some effects. (People will probably bring up the Ry Cooder reference, which is fine by me.) Then the second section features some 50/60's Chicago/Texas blues feel, with boogie type comping and three chords only. The last section brings in a jazzier feel, with extended chords. The whole thing is quite spontaneous, I did one or two takes of each of the "feels", and edited them together after the fact. But it's a fair representation of what I sound like when I'm fooling around. I hear many many things that could be improved, but this is about as good as I am when the red light's on!

A tech note: All the effects (reverb and tremolo) you hear on the track came directly from my guitar amp. The only thing I added was a little bit of compression to even out the sound levels.

That's it!

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