The song in this video is “Jarabi.” Sona Jobarteh comes from a long line of Griot masters, a musical and cultural tradition from West Africa that is at least 700 years old. When Europe was at the tail-end of the Dark Ages, travelling Griot musicians were bringing news and ceremony throughout West Africa in the Mali empire.
Less Talk, More Music
The title of this post says what I feel. Talk is cheap. If talking about music sufficed, music would not be. I’ll shut up now. Well, almost. Props where props are due.
Reinier Voet and company (w/ Rob Stoop on accordion) play Django’s beautiful tune, Anouman. Mr. Voet’s web site is here.
Yeime Arrieta Ramos: When She Looks Asleep, Her Accordion Playing is Most Dangerous
Meet young accordion queen, Yeime Arrieta Ramos. Her playing is great, and her attitude is even better. I’ve been writing about Flow states lately, for a chapter in the motivation section in The Practice of Practice. Young Ms. Ramos could be a poster-child for Flow. I’d love to hear more about her history and how she practices. Her musical companions, who also seem to be around 10-12, are also pretty amazing musicians. Anybody see the Smithsonian documentary on her? I think I’ll go check the Smithsonian app right now. Here’s the video of Yeime Arrieta Ramos:
Duke Ellington, Cootie Williams, and the Wise Musician
I love Duke Ellington’s music. And last February, after hearing a smoking middle school septet (yes, I wrote that correctly) do a superb version of Duke’s Black and Tan Fantasy, I think it’s safe to say Duke’s music will be a long-lasting legacy.
Here’s a vid, a short bio on the man. The gem comes around 2:40. “Every musician in the world has some limitation. There is no musician in the world who has no limitation…. But, the wise players are those who play what they can master.”
Learning to Practice
I’d like to share this old video with you that documents Gypsy guitarist (and fiddler! I hand no idea) Dorado Schmitt teaching his son, Samson, who looks to be around 10 in this video. They’re playing one of Django’s solos over his tune Minor Swing, no small feat. It’s a great example of teaching and learning for many reasons.
Few musicians I’ve talked to have ever been taught how to practice. We’ve all been pretty much on our own. When teachers do influence us, it’s by making reasonable and very specific demands that make it clear exactly what is to be practiced if not exactly how to go about it.
Have a Plan, Man! (Axiom Brass)
This ain’t your momma’s brass quintet (vid below). They play contemporary stuff and a great example is a cool section in Anders Hillborg’s Quintet that sounds like a backwards recording. One of my favorite brass ensemble pieces in recent years is the Pacquito d’Rivera’s Three Pieces for Brass Quintet, especially Wapango. Visit their web site to catch that Hillborg clip, or just spend a dollar to buy the mp3. Better yet, get the album, New Standards.
Words of Wisdom from Jazz Musicians: DMEP
While at the festival (I was there to critique groups and give a couple clinics on my investigation into practice), I got the chance to chat with Rob Klevan, long-time education director at the fantabulous Monterey Jazz Festival. He turned me on to a new app and interviews that you HAVE to check out if you’re interested in jazz, or any kind of music practice for that matter. This weekend I got to meet one of the featured players, Sal Cracchiolo, before he went up to play a smoking set with the always funky Tower of Power.
This thing goes deep.
The Fruits of Practice Sound Like This: Max Roach 5-Tet “Freedom Day”
Wow. I’ve always been a fan of Max Roach as soon as I first heard him, but this is some of the best playing I’ve heard, not only from Mr. Roach, but from everybody in this quintet. Eddie Kahn, after flying through some nimble-fingered walking bass delivers one of the most interesting upright bass solos I’ve heard in a while, and the way he locks in with Max Roach on drums is as tight as the bond of close friendship. Abbey Lincoln recently passed away, but her gorgeous contra-alto voice lives on powerfully in this music. Clifford Jordan’s fat tone on the tenor; Coleridge Perkins (I think) and his artful comping on piano, accentuating hits with Max Roach, who kills that drum set in the tastiest way: clean, and with total respect and communication with the other musicians, and even at these speeds is so relaxed and easy-sounding. Wheeew! This is great stuff. This is what practice sounds like.