Author Archive

Nov
11

Creativity On Tap: Sometimes Easy, Sometimes, Not So Much

I spent 10 hours at work today. I don’t hate working retail, but it does tend to numb the musical mind and soul. Students hammer on drums on the retail floor; high school shredders ditch class and come unleash bad speed metal on our guitars and ears; and kids get loose with Heart and Soul on the grand pianos while the demo blares on some abandoned keyboard in the corner. Not to mention the painful sounds of saxophone being learned but not yet mastered. The sum total of this is an assault on the ears that by the end of the day can harden a person to shut out anything musical. Even Marty’s sick chord voicings contribute no more than another strand to the cacophony, just heaping sound upon loud intrusive sound despite their beauty.

So after a long day of work followed by a meeting, I wasn’t optimistic when I went over to my mom’s where my piano sits, and at 8:45 PM set about the task of trying to write some smooth jazz. I had Paul and Anna coming to record drums and bass tomorrow on some smooth jazz that had yet to be written, so if I didn’t do something then, I wasn’t sure when I would get it done. Furthermore I hadn’t spent much time with the piano at all, especially in a Smooth Jazz vein.

So I started to mess around with voicings and grooves. Some stuff sounded cool, but it was too hip for smooth jazz. Those voicings were too dense and angular. The melodies weren’t simple enough. So I concentrated on just imagining a bouncy groove, and a simple pentatonic thing dancing on top of it, and soon enough I fell into something real nice. The essence of Smooth jazz, its validity as a genre, and whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ music is a subject for another blog, but at least I’ll say here that good Smooth jazz is all about that balance between sophistication and simplicity. It was coming really nicely.

So I came up with 2 concepts, and because I was stupidly without manuscript paper, I hurried back home to write/record my concepts. Except that I’m posting a blog about it instead of writing it down, so hopefully it’s still there when I’m done!

Looking forward to tomorrow though.

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