Computers and Music
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Amazingly enough, my GoogleDuel was featured in an article in USA Today!

Ahh, the life of a student - just finished doing 20 finance problems due tomorrow, and it's 2:30 in the morning! Happily the sweet sounds of Saint Germain helped me stay awake.
Monday, September 29, 2003
Have you been getting a lot of annoying popup messages? Here's how to disable them without any special software.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Wow, is it just me, or have there been a lot of blackouts recently? First the big USA and Canada blackout, about 50 million people (which may have been caused by the Blaster computer worm), then London, Sweden, and the whole of Italy. I heard it said once that if North America lost power for a week or two, it would plunge into total chaos.
Central Park North is an interesting site for Canadian jazz enthusiasts.
Friday, September 26, 2003
If you're into jazz theory and improvising, check out these interesting interviews with Branford Marsalis.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Just got back from a rehearsal of the FAT Jazz Big Band, in which I play piano. F.A.T. stands for Friends and Teachers, because many of the members teach music in local schools. Our next gig is Saturday October 4th at 3pm at the Port Coquitlam Harvest Festival in Leigh Square.

Wow, what amazing trombones. Last week we had only one, and this week, SIX!
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Vince Guaraldi is most famous for writing music for the Peanuts, such as the Linus and Lucy theme. From his biography: "I don't think I'm a great piano player," Guaraldi once said, "but I would like to have people like me, to play pretty tunes and reach the audience. And I hope some of those tunes will become standards. I want to write standards, not just hits."

Since the season is fast approaching, I thought it a good time to bring out some Christmas tunes, and stumbled upon Guaraldi's beautiful "Christmas Time Is Here". The chords are here and lyrics are here. I've recorded a little midi file with a few arrangement ideas: christmasTime.mid
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
On Saturday the SFU Jazz Band performed at Swangard Stadium for the SFU Football Home Opener. We played for a couple hundred people, including a SFU dean, and our newest fan, Lui Passaglia. When Regina made a touchdown, we played a slow and sad version of Moonlight Serenade - and some SFU fans didn't get it, and started yelling at us to stop playing for the other team. Of course, when we scored, we played "exciting and motivating" songs like American Patrol. Thanks to the excellent audience response, we're going to get free t-shirts and pizza when we play next at the Shrum Bowl. Happily, SFU won the football game, 32 to 26. Detailed game summary is here.

Saturday, September 20, 2003
Out of all the tracks on a Verve "Smooth Jazz" mix CD set, the ones I have enjoyed the most are by vocalist Denzal Sinclaire. His CD features Bruno Hubert on piano, who is a local Vancouver player. The track "Exactly Like You" is a swing tune done in a funk style, using acoustic instruments. Denzal's web site contains an unfortunate video which tries to blend together all his music at one time, obscuring his voice - obviously designed by a non-musician.

Denzal and Bruno:
Friday, September 19, 2003
This is not music related, but it is so cool that I had to post it:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

See here for more info.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Here's a photo from today's SFU Jazz Band performance for Terry Fox Day at SFU.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Music copying is legal in Canada, at least according to this article.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Just got back from a jam with the SFU Jazz band... this semester it's about 22 people, and the sound is really rich and full. We're playing for Terry Fox Day on Thursday and the SFU Football Opener on Saturday. It's fun to play saxophone again after eight months!!
Ooh... Michael Brecker is coming to Vancouver and is giving a performance on Dec. 10 at 8pm at Cap College. More details here.
I found some really cool jazz transcriptions that have some gems like a little-known Jobim tune, some John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis. The lead sheets are free to print (in PDF format). Get them while they're hot!
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Jiro from the SFU Jazz Band sent me some new photos of Lounge Consortium performing at the SFU pub.
Reminiscing about Capones.... after a solid seven months of weekly gigs there, it seems strange to have Thursday nights free again.

Saturday, September 13, 2003
Yesterday I went to a concert at the Vancouver Public Library as part of the Sweet Basil Jazz Festival - vocalists Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Karin Plato, and Jennifer Scott, singing with the Chris Sigerson trio featuring Rene Worst on bass and Tom Foster on Drums. I especially enjoyed Jennifer Scott's version of Felicidade by Jobim. Funny, I found out later that this was the first time the group had played together, and was the first time the trio had seen these arrangements.

Had a lesson with Chris Sigerson today. Worked on a Cedar Walton tune called Holy Land. holyLand.mid. This one is like a jazzed-up gospel tune, with a classical-style piano interlude in the middle. I also had prepared There is No Greater Love, for which he showed me a cool "deceptive cadence" Ab7 A7 BbMaj7 instead of going directly to BbMaj7. And we worked a bit on All Of You, where he showed me this really cool #11 voicing for Bb7b9 (B,D,E,Ab), as well as pedalling over Bb for the A section. An exercise he gave me for improving my sense of time is to look at my watch and try to count 15 seconds without looking, and check to see if I've kept good time. This will be fun to try whenever I'm waiting for the bus. A phrasing tip he gave me was to make up some nonsense words that have a rhythm to them, and think of them when playing.

Today I saw the Metronomes at the Silvertone on Commercial Drive. Colin suggested we go, since the guitar player, Neil Cruickshank, plays in Leisure Lab.

Very funky, inspiring stuff. Makes me want to JAM!!! The pianist had a good setup - a Rhodes/Synth combination - it was interesting to observe his technique: at one point during a funk tune he was moving his whole forearm up and down rapidly, playing in perfect syncopation. He was also doing very interesting moves with his left hand - not just filling in chords but rather adding a tasteful rhythmic element. Too bad the audience turn-out was not too great - most of the audience members were musicians themselves. I wonder whether you have to be a musician to appreciate this stuff.
Thoughts of an aspiring jazz musician and computer programmer.

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