Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Spring gigs

April 2nd, I played bass with Caterwaul at the Tiburon in downtown Minneapolis. I typically have dinner before the gig, since the Tiburon has a fine menu and a plenty-good-enough wine list but, as it turned out, I ended up grabbing some food just 15 minutes before strapping on my bass, and discovered that 5 glasses of wine on an empty stomach doesn't exactly help you navigate complex bass lines or aid with the improvisional process. Back in my glory days as a player in various rock bands, this level of alcohol intake would have been the model of restraint, but when you factor in advancing age with the increased demands of the jazz idiom, the result is something less than ideal. I got through the set OK, but had a learning experience in the process: I now have to work twice as hard under the influence to achieve about three-quarters of the usual result. Fortunately our drummer had also imbibed, so we were on the same wavelength and played in synch (thanks, Jessie, for keeping me company).

May 7th, I played two sets at the Tiburon, one with singer Barbara Bjork (whose regular bass player has buggered off to live in Rochester, NY), and one with Caterwaul. This was a whole different story than the April gig, thankfully. Having to learn new material at short notice concentrated my mind on the musical task at hand, and introduced me to the novel concept of drinking club soda at a gig. Barbara's numbers included Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and Jimmy Van Heusen's "I Thought About You", both fabulous tunes from the Great American Songbook. Robert Tess sat in with us on keyboards, which made the evening just about perfect for me. I played my Parker Fly bass through an Ashdown "Perfect 10" mini-stack.

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