Monday, November 12, 2012
What little I've been able to play of music lately has been out in the cold with my very competent musician brother. Between the two of us, we play soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone. It's surprisingly difficult to play something with drive and a solid rhythm with just two saxophones and no drummer or even pianist. We practice so much though, so we've grown the ability to carry on some really funky jams and beats without a drummer. While we are very good with a drummer, we can play to some good degree without.
Lately, the two of us have been reading each other's 'moves' so well, that people passing by tend to think that we're playing arranged pieces, while, in truth, we're just improving our way through a rough jam/practice. The rhythms we have been doing have started to all blend, unfortunately. We seem to be stuck in a rather interesting one, in fact. We do a lot of tenor/soprano and alto/alto jams, and most every time, we have played to a sort of shuffle beat. By this I mean that we do a lot of double tonguing, grace and ghost notes, and other articulation techniques to keep this sort of shuffle. It makes for a really funky jam, and is always fun, but we run into the common problem of not venturing to other different sounding riffs, lines, and melodies. Knowing us, we probably wont change much in these particular sessions, as it's mostly our form of nonchalant practice, but given that we may have a live-jam show opportunity coming up, we may want to learn five to ten different styles for such an occasion.
I suppose, as I'm learning through this, there's a lesson as well for you to take from this: simply put, don't do the same things every time you play. The real challenge is to try and do something new every time you play (as, of course, a really good form of practice). I do this a lot. Even when I do live-jams, I try and challenge myself, because if I do, and I get really into the playing, I get very good, and so will you if you try this. The thing I need to do now is to try to do rhythms other than a straight shuffle.