I have noted during my infrequent posts this summer that it was a crazy busy one. Like, I have never had as since I retired from ATT, I get to do what I want when I want.
That meant time in Pismo Beach, New York, Chicago, Yosemite (Diane had to go back to New York in this gap, but I got to go home), Chicago, Lake Tahoe, and then the Northern California Russian River area for our annual trek to performing arts camp.
I just never imagined when I had more time available, that I would be busier than when the “structure” having a job presents.
Music was indeed involved in a few of these treks. In the middle of July, my band, TheBileTones got to pretend to be a real rock’n’roll band, playing a pair of gigs in the Chicago area, and the Yosemite trip was with our core music community friends, so a lot of picking was attempted during that week.
But, nothing is like the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, where I basically play in one band or another all day long, and even get to try some solo acoustic stuff and really experiment with both songwriting and styles.
This year I took my friend Dennis Fortin’s “Gypsy Jazz” class. Dennis is a great guy and teacher, and a killer on Telecaster, able to play a myriad of styles. I have played with him at camp having fun doing Dear Mr. Fantasy, One Way Out, and also Stop Dragging My Heart Around.
In fact, Dennis plays in a local bay area Gypsy Jazz band cleverly called “Eclair de Lune.”
Another class I took was string band, offered by my good friend, teacher, and mentor, Steve Gibson, and within that class Steve presented the song “Minor Swing” by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.
Though I do indeed have a couple of Django/Stephane CD’s, I have never tried to play anything of the Paris Swing ilk, and it is some tough stuff. Interesting, chord shapes, great rhythms, and fantastic jamming and improvising much of the time.
I realize we all have subjective notions about what is rock’n’roll, but I challenge you to find any song anywhere that is as smoking hot as this tune. These are unbelievable musicians, but what really suggests how masterful and in the zone they are, listen to how often in the background a voice pops through the instrumental with a “yeah” type sound.
Anyway, things slow down. I can catch up. And listen and write more