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OK, for this blog, forget the 3 minute rule.  I have had a ‘moment’.  Let me explain.  In my musical life, there have been a small number of times when something that has been going on at the back of my mind suddenly bursts through into my consciousness.  The first was when I was 5 or 6 and my recorder group played Raggle Taggle Gypsy.  It hit me: I loved playing music. There were a few others, but the next really life-changing moment came when I was 26.  I was at Ronnie Scotts, listening to Michael Brecker.  I had heard him live before, but in large concert halls.  This time I was up close and personal, and something about him impressed me a lot.  I decided then and there to become a jazz musician.  Fast forward 10 years, and I am a musician working in jazz, trying to find a my own way of doing things.  I assumed that learning about the LSO would be a part of that.  That was until last night, or more precisely, yesterday afternoon, which was the last day of three consecutive days of attending LSO rehearsals with John Adams.  I knew some of his music, and thought that it was the rhythmic quality that was of interest.  Not so.  Yesterday afternoon I saw the film documenting some of the creative process behind his opera, Dr Atomic.  A few hours earlier I had heard members of the orchestra playing his Shaker Loops.  Seeing the journey from early to mature work had a similar effect on me as Brecker did 10 years previously.  Adams explored such an interesting theme in the Opera, and although it may seem simplistic, having the knowledge that music can be used to go beyond just musical ideas has been inspiring.   So there it is.  My 10 year plan.  Write an Opera!  I never saw that one coming…..

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It is now the beginning of week 4 of the scheme. I started writing in the second week – on good advice – and having those ideas ticking away as I go to the concerts has certainly helped with my thinking.  I have been going to as many rehearsals and concerts as I can, and each time I find that I learn something new and unexpected.  This is a very similar process to the one I undertook when I started to seriously study jazz.  Under the guidance of my teacher, Dave Liebman, I spent just under 5 years listening, transcribing, and playing solos of the great jazz musicians.  In the ‘transcription process’ I could feel my hearing and judgement becoming sharpened.  I hope that there is something similar going on as I go to each rehearsal, each concert.  Time’s up…..

March 2010
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