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Going to gig again in November


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Well, we are going to be playing once a week at a place we've gigged at for 12 consecutive tourist seasons in November.

I'm a little apprehensive about it because we cant sing/play with masks on but it's outdoors, on a deck over a salt water lagoon, on it's own island, across from a state park and the experts say outdoors is safer.

But they are good people, they've hired us for 12 years in a row, and you know the mantra - never give your gig away, it might not be there for you anymore.

So we set up are gear and are playing at least an hour a day to get our chops back in prime shape. We learned a half dozen new songs too (new to us anyway).

Wish us luck!

Notes

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outside is better than inside......as long as the weather is nice. Luckily, in November, Florida is pretty nice. You can put the mask on during the break or escape to a quiet place when you're not on the stage.

Unfortunately, my gigs have slowly been getting cancelled because the inside venues and crowd size. I told them to wait till the week of the gig before they decide. Who knows what it's going to be like in the next few months. I think all my gigs will be cancelled this season.

I hope we all get back to our normal ASAP

Yes, I wish you a great gig.

 

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Easy come, easy go. They announced they aren't going to open the Canadian border, and that is the bulk of their winter biz, so with the stroke of a pen, we're not getting to go back :(

The disappointment is a great as the elation was.

Notes :(

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Sorry, Notes...Pandemics and politics...what can ya do?

When I saw the title, I was thinking 'hmmm...November...NuYawkuz? No...Canadians? Nope, eh?...Trump supporters? Probably...'😉

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Personally, I don't blame Justin Trudeau and the Canadians. The USA has 4% of the world's population and 33% of the world's COVID cases. If I was living in Canada, I don't think I'd take the chance and come to Florida for a vacation, I'd go somewhere that wasn't a COVID hot spot.

We've played every tourist season for 12 consecutive years there, and without it something is definitely missing. We'll get used to that in time.

It might be for the best anyway, as even outdoors isn't safe from COVID. We set up at the entrance to the deck so everybody has to pass us anyway.

The other regular place, a huge 900 space RV Resort we've been playing at for years stopped all entertainment on March 2020 and is still dark. That park gets about 600 Canadian RVs every year, and some of those regulars have become friends of ours.

The retirement communities, yacht clubs, and country clubs all cancelled this season too. Usually from October through May we are as busy as can be, this year we have nothing. I'm glad the mortgage is paid off (no kids, no pool, no pets, no debts, no regrets).

Oh well, nothing we can do but roll with the punches.

So it's back to working on Band-in-a-Box aftermarket products.

We learned a half dozen new (for us) songs too. They are fun so we'll serenade the lizards, snakes squirrels, and birds in our back yard.

I'll be learning how to use the new camera and do back porch concerts as soon as the guy who wants our old furniture comes and gets our concrete and tile chip covered table and benches. It's a 1950s Florida classic.

Then I guess its UTube.

Notes

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17 hours ago, daddymack said:

How are you getting along with the camera..? I know, I suggested it, and despite the drawbacks, most due simply to it's size, I think it is a great little tool!

I haven't messed with it much.

The deck on the side of my house rotted and started to collapse in the heavy rain we've had for a few weeks, so I decided to tear it out and plant sod. Well the deck is gone (finally) but the ground need a lot of work.

Add to that the wild grape and rosary pea vines are taking over my ixora hedge, so it became time to pull them out. A time consuming task. It's also a PITA task but if I let them go, the vines will kill the ixoras. I like the ixoras, they flower all year and attract butterflies, bees, wasps and an occasional hummingbird. I have 95 running feet of them and I don't trim them like a formal hedge but keep them rather natural in shape.

When you own a house there is always something, and after weeks of rain, and more coming soon, the outdoor stuff took priority.

I decided to film on the back porch, and that huge table is in the way. A neighbor wants it, but he got sick, and although he tested negative, he is doing the right thing and quarantining himself.

It'll come in time.

I've gone through the manual (printed out) and messed with the options, so as soon as the table is gone, we'll give it the first test run and find out what else I need to learn.

Meanwhile we learned some new songs (to us), Tennessee Whiskey, You Might Think, Addicted To Love, Wild Night, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Walking On Sunshine and a couple of others.

Since I do my own backing tracks, I have to learn the drum, bass, comp, and ear candy parts and play them into a MIDI sequencer. I could buy tracks, but since I play a bunch of instruments and the tracks I sampled were not how I would like them, I have since always done them myself. It takes a day on an easy song, much longer on a more difficult one. It's not like work though, it's music.

There is always something to do. I haven't watched TV in over 30 years. I don't have time for that. I'd rather live my life by doing things than live it vicariously by watching actors pretending to do things. "D

Notes

Ixora (without vines)

Ixora2 (3).jpg

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1 hour ago, DeepEnd said:

Sorry to hear about the lost gig. :( The praise band doesn't gig for money but I haven't played in front of an audience in months and I miss it. Mojo sent.

Thanks.

It's probably for the better. At least I won't potentially be exposed to COVID. (Gotta look at the bright side)

Notes

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I hear you about always some thing to do...we put up the Halloween decorations today...in 90f...we've been having 100f+ days here which makes working outside nearly impossible, so I try to get stuff done early or at dusk...not easy to keep up.

Learning a ton of new [old] songs to keep myself challenged...and yes, I miss the audience feedback terribly. I'm an entertainer by nature, and this is a ridiculously long hiatus.

Even attempting some gypsy jazz...not my usual thing, but a challenge...

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We haven't had trick-or-treaters since we moved here 30 years ago. It's a very sparsely populated part of town, so I don't decorate.

Other than a few short dead end spurs, the street is 15 miles long with a lagoon on one side, protected wetlands on the other, and the average lot size is 50 acres or so. The children can't cover enough ground so they go to the suburbs. But we keep candy available just i case and if they don't show, we'll just have to eat it ourselves (aaaaaawwwwwww).

We live on one of the dead end spurs. In the late 1940s the owner of a 56 acre lot put in a road and subdivided a dozen half acre lots. He built a fishing cottage once a year and ours was built in 1950. We're on top of an ancient sand dune, 32' above sea level, we call it the "Florida Alps". :D

I've never attempted Gypsy Jazz per se, but I've played a lot of swing jazz, and for a woodwind player there isn't much difference between Gypsy and regular jazz. The only G.J. song I'm aware of that I played in a band was Nuages. They rhythm that the guitars set up in G.J. is really fun to solo over.

I haven't played jazz in so many years, I've forgotten how. ;)

My big challenge musically is still the guitar. Although I played barre chords on it for years while in rock bands when they didn't have a sax part, I decided to play lead a few years ago. I also played bass for a while so I wasn't completely new at the fretboard (except for that pesky B string) and I have a lot of theory and other baggage from sax, flute, wind synth, keys, bass and drums, so I took to it quickly. I can do what I do quite well, but there is so much more to learn, and at this point in my life, there aren't hours a day I can devote to practice, but rather sneak a bit in here and there. Oh and on stage too - because: "if you can't practice on state where CAN you practice?" 😁

Today is the first day of the seventh month without a gig. In some ways it doesn't seem that long, and in other ways it seems like forever.

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on my backing track sequence for "Walking On Sunshine". It's a cover version, as close as I can get to the Katrina and the Waves version (I like that version, it's just fun). After seeing a number of 'live' cuts and analyzing them I decided to add a B-3 patch to the B section. I pumped up the snare, added a Hight Timbale to the 2s and 4s on the snare for a rim sound, advanced that 2 tics and halved the volume. It makes it sound like the drummer is hitting the rim and the drum head. For the brass parts I used a brass patch, tenor sax patch, and bari sax patch. I'd play the horn parts live but the wind synth is monophonic except for some octave patches, and none of them sounded right for this tune. So live I'll play guitar if we ever gig again. ;)

The sequence turned out quite nice. Then I went to record it, and found the right channel of my mixer is way low in volume. Aaaargh.

I have spares, since it's the same mixer I use when I gig, so it's probably most of a day's work to replace it. I'm about 90% sure it's the mixer. It happens on all channels, reversing the cables to the amp reverses the problem in the speakers and since I'm using 10 channels of input synths on this track, I doubt the same problem is happening on 5 synths.

I can change the mixer in my road rack in a half hour tops, but in the cramped studio I have to take 4 synths out before I even get to it. Fortunately the gear seldom breaks. I think it's been a decade or more since I had a problem. I better be prepared for dust behind the gear.

So there goes Monday. Even though we're not practicing religious folks, we still take Sunday as a day of rest and don't do any real work. It's good to have a goof-off day once a week.

But it's a beautiful day, high in the mid 80s, lows in the mid 70s. They are predicting rain this afternoon, but I'm not so sure it'll happen. There is a mockingbird outside the open windows singing away, blue jays are squawking, and a while ago I heard some sandhill cranes 'bugling' as they flew by. Life is the perfect way to spend the time of day.

Notes

 

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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

I also played bass for a while so I wasn't completely new at the fretboard (except for that pesky B string)

That's what ya get for playing a 5 string. :classic_tongue:

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17 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

That's what ya get for playing a 5 string. :classic_tongue:

Yes, more strings mean more opportunities to play wrong notes. :D

It's a good thing I didn't choose 12 string :D

The nice thing about playing lead guitar as opposed to bass or rhythm is if you hit a wrong note, you can bend it up a half step to a better note. Next time around do it again and they will think it's expression, not a mistake.

Insights and incites by Notes

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52 minutes ago, Notes_Norton said:

The nice thing about playing lead guitar as opposed to bass or rhythm is if you hit a wrong note, you can bend it up a half step to a better note. Next time around do it again and they will think it's expression, not a mistake.

the nice thing in Gypsy Jazz is that much of the soloing is done in half steps...you don't even need to bend!😜

I got started listening to Django and Eddie Lang in the 80s [Lang's playing is an obvious influence on Django, combined with traditional Gypsy music, Django found his sound]...it was difficult to find their recordings, used 78RPM record bins and garage sales were my source...and of course there was no online in the dark ages...the internet was a blessing for weirdos like me!

Lang is largely overlooked today, but in the 1920s, he was the guitar god! He was not afraid to record with African American musicians [Lonnie Johnson particularly, who was a Louis Armstrong sideman, did a number of recordings with Lang], and actually was a guiding force to small combo swing and big band swing as well. Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey were some of his sidemen in the late 20s...Tommy is unbilled for some reason on this recording, but that trumpet work is unmistakably his early style. Here's one with Benny Goodman and Joe Venuti on violin...tell me this was not on Django's mind when he heard Stephane Grapelli the first time...

On 10/18/2020 at 7:55 AM, Notes_Norton said:

I've never attempted Gypsy Jazz per se, but I've played a lot of swing jazz, and for a woodwind player there isn't much difference between Gypsy and regular jazz. The only G.J. song I'm aware of that I played in a band was Nuages. They rhythm that the guitars set up in G.J. is really fun to solo over.

I haven't played jazz in so many years, I've forgotten how. ;)

The rhythm, known as 'le pompe' [the pump], propels the song with a nice 'bounce', allowing you to accentuate phrases differently from typical swing. I'm not a 'jazz' player, I dabble, but I'm more of a jump blues/rockabilly player, for lack of a better definition..but we all know 'it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing'...😉

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10 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

Yes, more strings mean more opportunities to play wrong notes. :D

It's a good thing I didn't choose 12 string :D

Actually, I've never seen a bass with more than 8 strings and it was set up/tuned in octaves like a 12 string guitar. Among regular basses AFAIK 6 is the upper limit. And yep, fewer strings and fewer frets, that's the way to go, a 4 string short scale bass. Seems to have worked out for McCartney. ;)

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I'm familiar with music by the Dorsey Bros, Goodman, Shaw, Ellington, Basie and the others, as my father was a big band fan and had hundreds of records from 78s to LPs. (I wish I had all those records.) But being predominantly a sax player, I've never paid that much attention to the guitars other than enjoying what I heard them play along with the ensemble.

I have about 40 Django tunes in my digital collection, I know the name Eddie Lang, so I'm going to pay some attention.

There is a "Gypsy" music movie and LP called Latcho Drom https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latcho_Drom that I highly recommend if you are interested. It only has a couple of French tunes, but it follows the music from India across Europe to Spain. There is also a CD that features the music. It's worth a rental. I have it on DVD because it's nice to watch/listen to once a year or so.

DeepEnd - my bass was 4 strings, the pesky B string was when I learned guitar - my apologies if i wasn't clear in how I wrote my posts.

Notes

 

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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

DeepEnd - my bass was 4 strings, the pesky B string was when I learned guitar - my apologies if i wasn't clear in how I wrote my posts.

Sorry, a 5 string bass typically has a low B string and that threw me. I could see where suddenly having a B at the "top" of the fretboard instead of an E would be confusing, to me anyway.

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When it comes to bass and guitar, I go for standard tuning and no extra strings. Sax and wind synthesizer is my primary instrument. After that flute, drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards all have to share secondary status.

I used to bring a keyboard synth on stage when we started playing the retirement market many years ago (It's a good, steady, well paying target audience here in South Florida). As the "swing jazz" folks died off and the "Rock 'n' Roll" people started to retire, I started taking the guitar to the gig instead. Sax, wind synth, flute, and guitar are enough to play on the gig (actually what I really mean is enough to schlepp, set up and tear down). 

When I make the backing tracks for my duo, some of the other instruments get to be happy and be played with.

Insights and incites by Notes

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On 10/16/2020 at 9:02 PM, Notes_Norton said:

Personally, I don't blame Justin Trudeau and the Canadians. …

Notes

I live in Gananoque, which is a Canadian tourist town (once manufacturing but no more) on the St. Lawrence river about ten minutes from a bridge to the USA. Having lost all our Asian and European tourists, we lost the Americans. But you won't find many people shouting to "open the border." Even as businesses go under and people become dependent on government support, we want *nothing* to do with what's going on south of us. 

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2 hours ago, pogo97 said:

I live in Gananoque, which is a Canadian tourist town (once manufacturing but no more) on the St. Lawrence river about ten minutes from a bridge to the USA. Having lost all our Asian and European tourists, we lost the Americans. But you won't find many people shouting to "open the border." Even as businesses go under and people become dependent on government support, we want *nothing* to do with what's going on south of us. 

I don't blame you. We have 4% of the world's population and 33% of the COVID cases. We are dangerous. Playing with us is playing COVID Roulette.

I've been to Canada many times, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Ontario, Quebec and Yukon. I've always enjoyed myself and found the people to be some of the friendliest and most civil to others in the world. If it wasn't so cold, I would have moved there long ago. I especially love the Maritime provinces. But to this Florida boy, anything under 70F/21C is too cold for man or beast ;)

Until COVID we entertained at a 900 site RV park that hosts 600 Canadians ever winter. Mostly from Quebec. The last time I visited Canada as I crossed the border, the Canadian border guard asked why I was visiting Canada. I told him it was a vacation, explained that I entertain Canadians every winter in Florida and I thought I should bring some of your money back. We had a good chuckle over that one.

Stay safe up there, sooner or later this will be over, sooner or later our government will come to its senses (I hope) and sooner or later we can go back to being good neighbors with the longest unguarded border in the world.

Notes

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On 10/15/2020 at 9:25 PM, Notes_Norton said:

it's outdoors, on a deck over a salt water lagoon, on it's own island, across from a state park and the experts say outdoors is safer.æ

Notes

I've been there. Nineteen years ago about, I directed a canoeing course in Fort Pierce hosted by Becky and Mark Molina. One evening we went there. Cool place. Best memory of the trip was paddling on their little lake and seeing a space shuttle taking off at Cape Canaveral.

Edited by pogo97
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It has since been improved but still retains it's character. I do hope we aren't done playing there for good (one never knows how the pandemic is going to turn out for them). If so, a 12 year run is something to be happy about. If not, 'the beat goes on.'

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