Tonight, the three of us played for an associates reception at a DC law firm. The law firm itself was amazingly well appointed (I understand that it has won a few awards for interior decorating in the past). We loaded in through the freight/service entrance, set up in one of the conference rooms and did a quick sound check. With no one in the room, we had to turn down under '1' to keep within the noise restrictions of the firm.
About 5:30, people started to file in, hanging around the food and the bar while talking to each other (you know how these parties tend to go). We started off with an improvisational piece, holding down two or three chords while we took turns soloing. Then we started up the written set list.
Throughout the entire evening, we all took tourns to solo at least one each per song. There were reasons for doing this, but I'm hardly complaining. It reminded me of some jazz gigs I've had where it was de jure for each member of the band to take a few bars of solos in every song. Just speaking personally, I don't have as much soloing experience as I would like to have, but I can get by with enough panache to sell it.
The first went well; we stretched out six songs over sixty minutes. After a short break, we came back and started up again. I had originally been scheduled to start out the set with my all-alone solo. That was abandoned for more upbeat, ensemble pieces in the hopes that we could retain the crowd. The crowd that was pretty much ignoring us to focus on each other (which is to be expected, since we were background music to their function), but we'd rather they be around than not.
The rest of the set went well, and then it became my turn. I started to play and went about five notes before I noticed that I was in the wrong key. I managed to transition to the right key and kept going. The first real problem that I encountered was me getting a bit cocky. The first part of the solo was going really well. Then I started on the Canon and went through the opening two iterations almost flawlessly.
Earlier in the day, I spent sometime studying with Anthony. While I was there, I played my solo for him, hoping that he could give me some pointers. He did, primarily suggesting that I add an additional chord to part of the tapping piece, as well as filling out the Canon piece by simultaneously hitting the bass notes top of the melody.
Having gone through it twice without even a slight hitch, I thought I'll go for the bass notes. Bad idea. The first stanza succeeded, the second started to falter and the third was a complete failure. I got out of it by tapping my way through an series of arpeggios down the start of the thump section.
At that point, Brett jumped in on drums and we started to improv together for a bit. Then I told him to drop off and I rounded it back to the opening tap theme, throwing in the additional chord for good measure (that one I could do).
Then Brett had his solo and we were pretty much through with our set. Having a half hour or so left to play, we played several more improv pieces and then reran a song or two. I think that most of the people had a good time.
I know that I would do another one of those shows again in a heartbeat. The crowd wasn't all that into it, but we got paid a ridiculous amount, had fun and picked up some good experience in the process. It's easy to get people into your shows when there are a few hundred people hanging around, but it's really hard to get three people all by themselves to get into your playing. Learning how to do that, though, makes getting the hundreds all the more easy.Posted by Casper at May 21, 2004 09:56 PM