It’s been five years since I decided to take the plunge and commit myself to becoming a full-time jazz organist. Here’s the story:
2009 New York City, taking care of nine-month-old baby. I was obsessed with the idea of putting down the bass and becoming an organist. I went to see Nate Shaw on organ at the Great Jones Cafe, with Matt Kane on drums and Tony Romano on guitar. This excellent trio was playing the music of John Patton, and I fell in love immediately with the sound.
January 2010- I started taking weekly lessons with Nate at his home studio. He had a chopped A100 and Motion Sound Leslie. This was an important time for me, because Nate shared a bunch of organ-specific things he had learned from Jack McDuff, and other organists. Thanks Nate!
June 2010, my family moved to Carrboro, NC and I soon met Brad Maiani and we formed our jazz trio. My playing was (and still is) ragged, but I practice hard daily and learn from every experience. I’ve never worked harder or had so much fun in my life!
Hope to see you all soon.
With Brad Maiani on guitar and Tyler Leak on drums.
We had Brad Maiani on guitar, Dan Davis on drums, and John Palowitch on sax. Too bad my phone stopped recording after the first few songs!
I had fun playing with John Palowitch on alto sax and Tyler Leak on drums. What a challenge and an inspiration!
Today I had a whole day to myself to work on music. My usual routine is about 3.5 hours of practicing. After finishing it, I was on YouTube and stumbled upon the following video:
After hearing Keith Jarrett’s award acceptance speach, I was fired up and ready to practice again! The trouble was, I had already run myself into the ground with my intense practicing.
I sat there thinking about Keith Jarrett spending 12 hours a day sequestered with his piano, kicking butt since age 2, and I started to feel woefully inadequate.
Then it hit me: I can only give what I can give. After a certain point, it’s impossible to do any productive practicing. For me, that point is around 4 hours of intense, focused drilling. And then I’m totally useless.
Some musicians do a lot more. Stories of Coltrane practicing are legendary. I read an interview with Christian McBride where he talked about coming home from a gig and practicing all night long. At this point in my life, 4 hours is about the best I can do, and I’m happy and thankful to have that time.
We had a nice gig last night with Michael Ode sitting in on drums for the first time. David Quick singing a couple of songs in the second set as well. What a fine crowd!
Brad and I both got Apogee MiC 96K to record with. In general, I will record our gigs with the mic close to the organ, and he will record with his mic close to the guitar amp. We discovered that we could mix them together as a stereo track and get a nice recording of our gigs.
Still experimenting with mic placement, but check this out: (Tyler Leak on drums)
We are looking forward to playing at the Sharp Nine Gallery on 12/6- it’s gonna be super cool. You can still catch us every Tuesday at Looking Glass in Carrboro, and we still manage to have our foot in the door for a monthly show at The Station.
See you all soon!
As a daily exercise, I like to list things that I’m thankful for so I won’t take them for granted. The primary joy in my life is that my family is super healthy! My wife, daughter, doggy and me are in tip-top health. It’s such an amazing thing, and I’m grateful.