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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



improv fun on a restaurant gig

August 5th, 2007 | No Comments | Categories: Musing on Music |

Had a most enjoyable gig this evening, with Luca Sirianni and Davide Giovannini – it was at Smolenski’s on the Strand, so was a restaurant gig – quite an upmarket restaurant gig, but people were still eating while we played in the background. Anyway, it’s Luca’s gig, but he’s pretty open with what we can do, so lots of lovely improv ensued, including a couple of things i hope I can still remember tomorrow cos they’ll turn into new tunes. Harmonically we’re able to get into some great places, as Luca tends to play quite high guitar parts, and has a clearer more trebley sound that most jazzers, which means that we can get away with being more ‘out’ without it really clashing. We did a mad version of Summertime to close the gig, which went all over the place, all with a rather lovely R ‘n’ B groove… much fun.

When i got home, I found in my inbox one of those lovely emails that really makes you think – it was from a musician friend I deeply admire and respect, taking me to task for being particularly uncharitable about Babyshambles in a post a few months back. His email was friendly and encouraged me to check out what the musicians in the band are up to, given that his experience of them has been really positive, both to listen to and play with… I like it when people throw things into the mix that mess with how I previously saw things. I find it very difficult to get past Doherty’s public persona and the nonsense of watching someone completely wasted trying to play – it’s bad enough when it’s someone you know is a genius, let alone when it’s someone who thus far has seemingly failed spectacularly to produce any art that justifies the level of exposure and interest he’s been getting… (I’m really glad that I’ve never seen any of the footage of when Coltrane used to be so spaced on Heroin that he would fall asleep on the bandstand, or John Martyn being so drunk he couldn’t stand up… As much as I’m aware of how geniuses are capable of ruining things with drugs, I generally find it too painful to watch – it always amazes me when bassists tell me they love the Jaco Pastorius tuitional video when to me it’s a heartbreakingly tragic document of a once-incredible musician failing to remember even the most iconic of his own compositions, and generally falling apart on screen. But once again, i digress). So anyway, as a result of my being irked by Doherty, and finding what I have heard of the band making no memorable impression on me whatsoever beyond sounding largely derivative, I hadn’t really listened in any great depth, given that there’s plenty of music that does connect with me that I could spend that time with, and nothing had previously given me cause to investigate.

But now it’s there, so next time something Babyshambles-ish comes up, I’ll give it a listen with fresh ears, and be less quick to dismiss what they do… I really hope there’s something there that grabs me – certainty in music isn’t really a quality I require or enjoy, and neither is disliking particular music – people who wear their distain for particular things like a badge of honour come across as unbearably smug, and I’ve nothing to gain by not liking or liking Babyshambles, so I’ll have another listen, at some point, and report back. For now though, I’ll take back my earlier blog comments about the band and reserve judgement (as if they give a shit what I think anyway… and neither should they!)

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