Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Breeze HNT

Sort of continuing on with last week's summer solstice theme...

In less than three weeks we'll be doing our annual summer concert. For those of you new around here, its a free symphony concert, attended by well over 15,000 people (probably closer to 20K these days). It costs us an arm and a leg to present, but the president of the local college where we perform at, and the conductor are very good at getting sponsors to foot the entire bill. It's the largest non-sports function in the state, and we get people from all across the country to be a part of it. Are they there to enjoy the music? That's probably third on the list, to tell the truth. I think it's the chance to be part of the large crowd that we've developed, and to spend a nice summer evening under the stars with a little food and wine and friends. Oh, there's the fireworks, too!

The theme of this year's concert is "Harlem Renaissance". That insinuates jazz, and when you think of jazz and orchestra, you think of Gershwin and Ellington. We're leaning heavily on the Ellington this year, as we did a Gershwin concert a few years ago. And the music is TOUGH! And not for the regular reasons.

Let me go off on a tangent for a moment (really? me??). Jazz musicians and classically trained musicians read the same music. There's nothing different in the notation. But the thing that makes jazz "feel" like jazz is that a jazz musician instinctively knows how to perform the notes in a jazz style. Giving it the accents and note lengths and subtle inflections that make "jazz". The most basic concept is that a series of similar notes of a similar rhythmic value are not of a uniform length. In a string of, say, 4 eighth notes (do the British still call them quavers?), the first and third will be slightly longer that the second and fourth, which makes the second and fourth slightly shorter in length. Jazz musicians see that, and automatically play it correctly. String players--no so much. It's a concept that's lost on them. Of course, they have been trained all their lives how to play in a classical style, so it's not really their fault.

Back to the concert...we got the music last week, and as I said, it is TOUGH! Because whomever arranged from the composer's score, wrote them in a way so that the string players will be able to read the long-short-long-short rhythms as mentioned above. It's not a perfect system however, and there's all sorts of unnecessary notation to slog through. It forces the player to have to think about what they're playing, rather than allowing them to play the music. Way too much thinking. So bad in fact, that the last person who had one of my parts actually penciled in the corresponding "jazz" rhythm above the written part. Which makes it so much easier.

So how does this relate to the summer solstice? Very little, other than the fact that I've been enjoying the evenings on my balcony practicing my parts, with ever-so-gentle breezes, the grill cooling down after dinner, enjoying a cold beverage, and Michelle looking hot by my side! I hate practicing, but if I have to do it, this is the way I prefer!

I wanted to get a picture with the view of the valley,
but the lighting just wouldn't work right, so click on the pic to see that...

OK, it's two weeks in a row now without having a Mystery Guest. I might develop a complex if this keeps up!
Definitely NSFW this week over at "...the Other HNT". And the boys stepped up this week! Stop by and support your fellow HNTers!
This weekend couldn't come soon enough! In years past, we would have a 2 or 3 night gig at a bar out on the lake, but it's been awhile since we've gotten to do that. I miss it. I might head out there anyway. Or I'll head out to my sisters' place on the other lake. There should be a good crowd out there to party.
Friday night, though, will find me at a concert here. One of the most successful bands in Montana music history will be playing a benefit, and I know there's a lot of friends coming from out of town for the weekend. Then on Sunday and Monday, there's a hip-hop festival going on here. Yeah, you read that right. A two day festival. Hip-hop. In Montana. There's a roster of almost 30 performers "scheduled to attend". The only two names I've even remotely heard of are Tech N9ne and the Kottonmouth Kings. They must be playing the white people's tour this summer. They just did the same concert in Magna, UT, and will be headed to Bismarck, ND and Aberdeen, SD after this. Who'da thunk they could make any money up here???
Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends, and Happy 4th of July to you funny American friends! Be safe, don't drink & drive, don't blow off your hands by holding your firecrackers too long! Be sure to come back on Friday to see my annual bottlerocket videos!


Emmy said...

Great view for practicing!
I'm up this week!
Happy HNT!

Gucci Mama said...

Oh God, is that Diet Coke with LIME. Way to RUIN the most perfect drink ever.

I die.

I'm up.

Daisygirl said...

Nothing hotter than a man and his instrument! Happy 4th to you too! Fire works are legal now in Az so we will be setting some fires ;)

I'm up at my new

Happy Hnt!

V said...

We’re up and in a bit of a prickly situation! Happy 4th of July to all our American blogger friends and Happy Canada Day to our fellow Canadians!

Anonymous said...

Happy fourth to you also O's!

JM said...

Must be the day for instruments! I have mine also ;)

It has to be said that Jazz with a side of wine is simply beautiful for the soul. Would be great to come along and have a listen but might be a little difficult given we're on the other side of the world!

I'm UP with a little music number of my own.

Elle said...

What a great view you have!

Well, here's to a good weekend for everyone.


Oh, I'm up :)

Vixen said...

Love that click!!!

I'm up!


Anonymous said...

Happy 4th babe.
I'm up

Mit©helangelo said...

Happy Canada day HEY ;)

Up and running... Happy HNT all

eyas said...

Hi, Os
I like the view unobscured by toes!
I'm up.


Cheeky Minx said...

I think that view is perfect. How can you go past valleys plus An American in Paris? *sigh*

I'm up.

Chapter Two said...

gotta go back and click- ooops.

I am up (thanks for the reminder)

Anonymous said...

Loved the view... Also, I really pictured you practicing with the words you wrote.
Hope I can try and get back to posting regularly!

I'm up

middle child said...

Love that song! My mom died in 1971 but she played that often on the piano. Thanks for the memory jog!

Anonymous said...

I like what you said about jazz. My dad describes it much the same way.

I'm up.

heelsnstocking said...

Just getting into jazz at our house, daughter is learning guitar and she's hooked on jazz.

I'm up! Heelsnstocking 

Anonymous said...

I appear to be up! Well not (quite) literally.

It does count as HNt if i'm wearing oil right?

Molls said...

I'm up!

Man, I wish someone was practicing music on their balcony in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Great view and I love the sound of that song.

I'm up


Anonymous said...

The Huff is up. :)
Happy HNT.

Maggie said...

I'm jealous of that view and the fact that you get to have a grill!

I'm up.

Anonymous said...

I wish i were your neighbor because I think it wouldberelaxing tohear you practice at the end of the day.
I do not understand the technicalities ofmusic and notes but it is a major stress relief tome.
Strange to have the hiphop thing goingon in those areas but I do love Tech N9ne!!
Happy HNT to all-I am up at the cavern:

BTExpress said...

You have a great view there. I'm up too.

Kat said...

Beautiful view!

I'd volunteer to be your mystery guest but no one is gonna remember me. =)

The Temptress said...

Our views are similar. :) The mountains I mean. I'm up.

Joanna Cake said...

Oh, I can hear the music in my head now - nice tune to go to sleep to. Late to tell you, but I am up... as I think you already know. Too short, lmao :)

SandRubye said...

It rained today. It inspires me.

I'm up.

Mrs. Learning said...

Wow, it looks like you are relaxing! I'm finally up :)