April News

Scaling things back a bit this month- I’ll be playing at Honeysuckle Tea House with Tim Smith playing a cool mixture of jazz, reggae and ska. I hope you’ll come check out this cool tea house built on shipping containers. It’s one of my favorite places to play and hang out with my family.

See you all there!

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Jazz Organ Project 11/250

After two weeks of 6-hour per day residency, I’m back to practicing for my own jazz gigs.

I’m drilling scales on the upright bass each day, so my hands feel like they are made out of steel.

On the keyboard, I’m still pushing my way through scales and arps, and working on the Jimmy Smith organ solo for Au Privave- it’s great. Working on a couple of Brad’s compositions, although that’s coming slower than I’d like.

Lastly, I’m trying to get the classical etude I’m working on up to speed. If I lose focus for 1 second, I’m totally screwed!

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Jazz Organ Project 10/250

It was a great week musically. I started out by deciding to make a change in my practice routine:
30m scales/arps
30m learning Jimmy Smith organ solo using slow-down sap
30m learning new music for my trio
30m classical etudes

Monday-Friday this week I had a 6.5 hour daily gig playing the piano for Arts In Action. This prevented me from practicing for 5 days, but I got so much amazing time on the keyboard.

Post number 10 means I’m 4% done. I know that I’ve been working very hard, but it’s tough to gauge if I’m 4% closer to ‘musical genius’. I guess I’m 4% closer to somewhere.

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Jazz Organ Project 9/250

Thanks for following my blog posts. I’m holding myself accountable to make progress and stay focused for the next 5 years. As this series draws to a conclusion, I will have been playing the jazz organ for 10 years and reached the 10,000 hour mark of sitting down and playing the organ.

Actually, probably many more hours than that.

I did reach a milestone this week. I had been practicing soloing over bebop changes in random keys, practicing four-measure phrases each day until I can play them at 240 beats per minute.

This week, I found that now I’m ready to do eight-measure phrases. In addition to making myself play ‘fast’, this exercise has a lot to do with looking out in advance for the target note for the next measure. If I’m playing D- to G7, and I know the idea passes through the 3rd when I get to the second measure, I’m thinking about a measure ahead to how I’m going to land on a B for the next piece of the phrase, or use B as the eventual target.

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March News

It’s so much fun to have two regular weekly gigs. We are playing every Tuesday night at Looking Glass Cafe, and every Sunday Night at West End Wine Bar of Chapel Hill.

I’m very excited to be playing at the Sharp Nine Gallery in Durham with Cameron Cook this Friday. I love Cameron. Who doesn’t love Cameron?

If you’re in Raleigh and you’d like to check out a cool wine bar, I’m playing at Vinos Finos with Todd Proctor at the end of the month. Just organ and drums – so much pressure!

Take it easy.

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Jazz Organ Project 8/250

I had another great week. I’ve been very consistent with my daily practice. I like my current routine: scales/arps, classical, bebop/speed, and two handed block chord melodies.

I made a lot of progress on my classical etude, and the block chord thing is feeling a lot easier.

Practicing the fast bebop and scales/arps has helped me a lot with my Arts In Action gig- there are a few songs I always struggled with, and now they are seeking a little easier.

I got really inspired last night when I saw Booker T. Jones at the ArtsCenter. Looking forward to my gigs this week!

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Jazz Organ Project 7/250

Seven weeks into my Jazz Organ Project, and I’m moving forward in baby steps. The biggest jump in progress seems to be in the locked hand block chords, which I practice at home but don’t use on gigs yet.

After a couple weeks of surprising progress, I don’t really notice much of a change in my playing from week to week. I do hear positive comments from a lot of people, and at this point most of the evidence of my progress comes from other people telling me that I’m improving.

The whole point is to challenge myself to stay focused on my goals and practice hard, so I thing it’s working. Here’s a clip of Brad, Donovan and me playing Beautiful Love, starting at the organ solo.

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Jazz Organ Project 6/250

It’s interesting how sometimes you can work your butt off, and sound horrible.

Well, I probably didn’t sound horrible, but I just wasn’t thrilled with the way that I played for the past couple of gigs.

Usually what happens is:
1. I work really hard at something.
2. I have a few awesome gigs.
3. I begin to get burned out, and reach a point of diminishing returns, or perhaps a point where it requires a ton of work to make the next step forward.
4. I play a few disappointing gigs. I’m so used to making huge steps forward, that it’s a letdown to realize that I didn’t make another huge step forward.
5. I get discouraged and stop practicing.
5. I continue to work hard.

See ya next week!

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February News

We are back at West End Wine Bar of Chapel Hill every Sunday night, 7-9pm starting on Valentine’s Day. I missed playing there, and I’m looking forward to being back.

We will also play in Raleigh at Irregardless Cafe if you live near Raleigh. I’m proud of our weekly Tuesday night gig at Looking Glass Cafe, and I look forward to seeing all of our friends and regulars there too- thanks for coming out to support us.

See you soon.

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Jazz Organ Project 5/250

Practicing went pretty well, with a couple of days where I had to skip because I had huge full days. A few gigs on electric bass and upright bass felt like they stole a little creative energy from my organ playing. I have made great leaps forward in health, diet, etc. and it feels amazing to be on track.

I’m looking forward to a week of solid practicing, and in the meantime, here’s an example of what I sounded like last night:

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