23 August 2016

Picture Puzzle For Today

Can you name these four cyclists?

No 1.

No. 2.
No. 3.
No. 4.
Q. 5: Bonus mark: can you name the dog in Picture No. 3?

Answers to ivantrad (@) outlook (dot) com

The correct answers will be given in three days' time.

20 August 2016

Judging the Band

How do you judge the quality of the bands you watch and listen to?

All assessments are subjective. Different people are impressed by different qualities. I remember a lady who used to judge bands almost entirely on the nattiness of their waistcoats!

However, I thought it might be interesting - and a bit of fun - to produce a check-list with a view to awarding marks for various aspects of a performance.

What do you think of it? You may care to use this check-list in assessing some of the performances you attend. Keep the results to yourself, however. We don't want to offend anybody.

QUALITY
OF THE MUSIC
(60 marks)
PROFESSIONALISM:
AND RAPPORT
WITH AUDIENCE
(20 marks)
GOOD OVERALL
VALUE?
(20 marks)
TOTAL

NAME
OF THE
BAND
Skill
of the
musicians
(20 max.)
Teamwork


(20 max.)
Interpretation
and
Arrangements
(20 max.)
Appearance and
On-Stage
Behaviour
(Max. 10)
Presentation
and
Communication
(Max. 10)
The performance
as a whole
(Max. 20)
Maximum possible

100
























I tried applying it as honestly and ruthlessly as I could to ten bands I know well. I have put them in the eventual order of merit. I am not naming the bands as that would be invidious.

QUALITY
OF THE MUSIC
(60 marks)
PROFESSIONALISM;
AND RAPPORT
WITH AUDIENCE
(20 marks)
GOOD VALUE?
(20 marks)
TOTAL

NAME
OF THE
BAND
Skill
of the
musicians
(20)
Teamwork


(20)
Interpretation
and
Arrangements
(20)
Appearance and
On-Stage
Behaviour
(10)
Presentation
and
Communication
(10)
The performance
as a whole
(20)
Maximum possible

100
Band 1
17
16
16
7
7
15
78
Band 2
17
14
14
8
6
15
74
Band 3
17
14
13
8
7
15
74
Band 4
16
14
14
6
6
15
71
Band 5
15
14
15
6
7
14
71
Band 6
15
14
14
6
7
14
70
Band 7
13
12
12
7
5
13
62
Band 8
11
11
12
7
6
12
59
Band 9
10
9
9
8
7
11
54
Band 10
7
7
8
8
7
13
50
A friend noted an interesting correlation: a band that is weak in one area tends also to be weak in others.

Although any of us can carry out such 'assessments', just for our own amusement, I think it would be a good idea for bands to conduct similar assessments of their own performances. It would indicate some of the areas they could work on in order to improve.

By the way, do you think there is any band capable of scoring the Maximum 100 points? I would nominate The Shotgun Jazz Band, based in New Orleans.
=============
Postscript:

A reader has immediately nominated The Bratislava Hot Serenaders.

17 August 2016

'Viper Mad'


Trying out 'Viper Mad' at Foxton Locks.
My friends and I added Viper Mad (sometimes called Pleasure Mad) to the tunes we regularly play. I believe it was written by Sidney Bechet and Rousseau Simmons as long ago as 1924.

It is great fun to play and improvise upon, especially if taken at a pretty fast speed.

It has a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 32-bar chorus (16 + 16 pattern, rather than with a middle eight). Here's our version.
In my view, the A7ths followed by the D minor in the Chorus are what give the tune its special flavour.

The original words are politically incorrect and are usually changed when sung these days. But they are full of youthful exuberance (I'm twenty-one, I've just begun, I'm far from doneand I like that aspect. It's a happy song that is both fun and effective to play.

If you wish to listen to this tune on YouTube, it is easy enough to find it played by Sidney Bechet himself. But if you would like an easy-paced more recent version (by The California Feetwarmers - with Chloe Feoranzo no less on clarinet) CLICK HERE.

14 August 2016

Salty Dog

Below, with much gratitude to Lasse Collin and his wonderful website, is the tune Salty Dog. You will note that Lasse gives the chords (concert) at the top. The key is Bb but the first chord is G7, leading to C7, then F7, and so to Bb, before the cycle begins again. This sequence (VI7-II7-V7-I) is known as The Salty Dog Chord Progression and it is used in many tunes. It begins on the Chord of the VI and then goes through the Circle of Fifths.
In the lower part of his Chart, Lasse has transposed the tune into the key of C (for Bb instruments), so this time it begins on A7 and progresses through D7, etc.

Take another example. If you're in the key of F and the chord for the first full bar of the tune is D7, it's likely you are playing a song that begins with The Salty Dog Chord Progression. It appears quite frequently in traditional jazz. So it is helpful to become familiar with it, especially as this will help you with improvising.

Examples of our tunes in which The Salty Dog Chord Progression is used:

A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Alabamy Bound
All I Want is a Spoonful
Any Time
At The Jazz Band Ball [main strain]
Balling The Jack
Friends and Neighbours
Good Time Flat Blues (also known as Farewell to Storyville) [chorus]
Jazz Me Blues [main strain]
Lonesome Drag
Louis-i-a-ni-a
Put and Take Blues

Rose of the Rio Grande
Salty Dog
Seems Like Old Times
Shine On Harvest Moon
Sweet Georgia Brown
Tailgate Ramble
Take a Ferryboat Down to New Orleans
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
Up A Lazy River
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
You've Got The Right Key But The Wrong Keyhole


I have received this e-mail from James Sterling in Florida. James is a fan of bluegrass as well as traditional jazz:

Ivan,
I was catching up on your blog tonight and saw your post on 'Salty Dog' and thought I would forward you the version I grew up with. This is a clip from the Flatt and Scruggs television show recorded in the 1960s. It was a ritual in our home to watch Flatt and Scruggs every Saturday night at 6pm. Lester Flatt singing lead and playing rhythm guitar, Earl Scruggs on five-string banjo (the best there ever was and the best there ever will be), Buck Graves (also known as 'Uncle Josh') on dobro, Paul Warren on fiddle, Curly Seckler harmony and mandolin (the only living member of the original band at 94), and 'Cousin Jake' Tullock on bass:

Thanks, James. I enjoyed that. And, by the way, those essential repeated four chords keep coming through loud and clear.