Category Archives: Music

Swing Line

The difficulty in swinging isn’t the emphasis of swing.  The bawdy way in which the 8th note turns into something lazy and Mark Twainish.  It’s the fact that not everybody plays the same bloody quarter note length.  You can put emphasis on any of the beats in a measure you want, but if they’re not the same duration, then what’s the point?  It’s like everybody is in their own world and that’s not really a huge deal as long as we can all agree on one thing: The Duration of the Quarter Note.  Then we can wander in to whatever realms we need to exist in.  I love swinging, but rhythm is key.  Keep it simple, keep it tight and we all arrive on the same shore together in the same boat.

Washed Out

I woke up this morning to what seemed like a washed out day.  I wasn’t sure if it was cause of the sleep in my eyes or if I were still dreaming.  And my dreams are pretty monochromatic so it could’ve easily been a dream.  My dreams are mine and if I catch you in them, I will kindly have to ask you to leave.

But it wasn’t a dream, possibly a cloud or a change in barometric pressure.  Whatever it was I forgot that I was home and my room didn’t look like mine so I’m pretty sure that’s why I thought it was a dream.  Initially I thought I could get away with ignoring the day, that it wasn’t coming down on me like a normal Monday, but my cat reminded me that it was time to move forward with the realization that it was time to play grown-up.

That washed out haze has sort of accompanied the rest of my day.  I had a movie on in the background as I sifted and organized mementos and sheet music that carried that same effect in the film making which probably didn’t help being able to shake it.  And even now as I sit in one of my best friends’ kitchen I’m still aware of a lingering dream, a quiet reverie, the ring in my ears from the show last night that doesn’t feel tangible.  And this surrounds my day and I feel light as a feather.

A Quick Note: Alex Lifeson

Still working on getting Jamiroquai’s Synkronized notes all sorted out, so in the mean time, here’s a quick note on the super great, highly underrated guitarist of the band Rush: Alex Lifeson.

Often overshadowed by Peart’s world-wide renown and lyrical contributions and Lee’s multifaceted roll as lead vocalist, keyboaridst and bassist, Lifeson is left with a subtle and substantial space to fill as an instrumentalist. Without many backing vocal arrangements and with Lee covering so many bases the guitar elements of Rush have had a significant part to play as a compliment to Lee’s lead bass lines and rich bass tones.

Standing out from the progressive elements of the band are the classically influenced lead lines and unique chordal structures that Lifeson chooses to underscore and move Rush’s compositions rhythmically. Tonally monstrous and dynamic, Lifeson couldn’t be more perfect as a single instrument with multiple voices in a band that has influenced hundreds of other bands, performers, and instrumentalists to strive for a creativity that changes the boundaries of musical exploration.

Rush may be a particular taste for some people. Lee’s high-pitched timbre is hard to pallet for some. The often busy live drum solos tend to leave some bored, unless seen live in a venue with a great view. But something that is of consistent joy is the tastefulness of Lifeson’s guitar work. Rarely is there a negative comment about the guitarist’s rhythm choices and lead notes.

Lifeson is a cathartic balance for a band that could easily wander into a realm of progressive rock that verges on jam-band meanderings that wouldn’t quite have the long-lasting strangeness of Frank Zappa, but would stay on the edge of awkward laziness like the rest of the Grateful Dead.