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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Jazz Organ Project 4/250

I’m feeling great about my progress. My current practice routine has my hands feeling incredibly coordinated compared to a month ago.

Today my trio played a concert at noon at Carrboro Century Center and I felt like I had a fire burning in my belly. It felt like the best I’ve ever played, and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. Here’s a short sample:

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1/28/16 Lunchbox Concert at Carrboro Century Center

We had a great time. About halfway through, there is a raffle drawing and our friend Cathy won a gift certificate.

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Jazz Organ Project 3/250

Still working on the same things as last week. On a personal note, I’m also trying to lose 10lbs so I can be down to my ideal body weight. In the last month, I lost 8.6lbs and I’m feeling very confident as I approach my goal.

I’ve had a ton of bass gigs this past week, and missed a couple days of practicing because of the crazy schedule. However I feel like I’ve improved this week.

Here’s John Palowitch, Donovan Cheatham and me doing It Could Happen To You.

I recorded myself practicing Christ Jesus Who Meketh Us Glad by Marcel Dupre, from 79 Chorales, opus 23. Although the piece sounds simple, it’s an exercise in complicated finger substitutions, and it’s pretty difficult. Here’s me playing it on Hammond B3:

Here’s a professional playing it on the pipe organ:

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Jazz Organ Project 2/250

What I practiced this week: Scales and arpeggios, playing bebop lines at 240BPM, Classical pedal exercises and block chord melodies. I also worked on some classical pieces, and ‘Be Thou My Vision’- for which I came up with a baroque style fingering.

I notice myself getting more confident with the uptempo practicing. My pedal playing is coming along. I plan to bring them to a gig soon. Here’s a solo on Mr. Kenyatta:

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Jazz Organ Project 1/250

This is first in a series of weekly blog posts to document my growth as a jazz organist over five years from January 2016 to January 2021. I hope you enjoy taking the journey with me.

Organ solo on Summer In Central Park from Looking Glass Cafe, 1/5/2016, featuring Brad Maiani on guitar and Donovan Cheatham on drums.

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January News

Happy new year!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our CD release party at The Station. Sadly, it’s our last appearance there as Southern Rail/The Station closed their doors for good just a few days later. We had a great time playing there twice a month since 2010.

We’re excited to be doing a Carrboro Lunchbox Concert. It’s a free lunchtime concert at the Century Center in downtown. I’m really looking forward to this rare daytime appearance.

I’m working on a new regular Sunday night gig for the band in Chapel Hill (hint: its a ‘Bar’ where you can drink ‘Wine’ on the ‘West’ ‘End’ of Franklin Street.) Stay tuned for details on that.

And we’re thankful to still have our regular gigs at Looking Glass, City Tap, and Fair Game Beverage.

We sold out of our first printing of our new CD in record time. The next printing is due on my doorstep in 3 days, so place your order now:

online

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