Spring Fever

 Ah, the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of the pacific lapping at my raft as I contemplate the myriad mult-colored fish swimming beneath me. Then, as I lazily roll off the bamboo rods which had been keeping me afloat, I submerge myself in an underwater playground where sea turtles and dolphins dance like lythe faries in a slow moving ballet...I'm there in spirit, if not in body. Alas, my spring is a blue one, filled with the songs of Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Blake. I can't feel the healing waters of the pacific, but I can touch the steel of my strings and hear the mounrful wail of a caged spirit.
   The closest I've been to the islands is a gig that my band, Buzzy Frets played at the Forbidden Island Tiki bar in Alalmeda this past Thursday. We rocked the house and had a ball. The puffer fish lights danced and swayed to the Surf-a-billy rhythms. I had one of their signature drinks, which was very pleasant. We will be playing several more shows in May, including the Lucky Horseshoe in SF on May 11 and a Surf Battle of the Bands at the Surf Spot in Pacifica on May 18.
    Jams have been lightly attended the past few weeks which I can only attribute to spring fever (or vacation, or whatever). Your presence is requested. And if you can't make a Saturday jam, perhaps you would be interested in the next series of classes coming up at the Freight and Salvage. Below is a list of classes I will be teaching. Note: I will be teaching the ever-popular "Bottleneck Slide Course" on Wednesdays, as well as a new class on "Gypsy Jazz Guitar." I'm very excited about the this new class as it has been an interest of mine for several years. Thursday classes are the usual "Jamming" and "Grooving" the blues but with an inverted order: Jamming first and Grooving second.


Six Thursdays 7-8:15pm – starting May 9
Price: $120
For guitar players who want to learn how to solo over blues changes. We will take a basic 12 bar blues as our background format and use ideas based on scales, riffs and chord shapes to learn the art of soloing. This will be a lot of fun for those folks who have a little background in playing blues rhythms, but want to create lead lines that are rippin! Learn classic solo lines from players like Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton and many more. Some background in playing blues rhythm required, but other than that just a desire to put some heart (and muscle!) into your guitar playing.
Note: you do not have to have taken Jamming the Blues I to enroll in this class
Six Thursdays 8-9:45pm – starting May 9
Price: $120
After teaching my “Jamming the Blues” classes for the past year and a half I realized that the rhythm portion of the blues was being neglected. So much of the blues is about “feel.” So we will focus on groove and rhythm.
We will start out with the standard blues shuffle in the key of E, but then learn many different variations using: walking bass lines, chord variations and double-stops. We will vary the rhythm; learn about swing 8ths as opposed to straight 8ths; learn a rumba groove. We will learn some funky grooves and some minor blues grooves. Note: you do not have to have taken Grooving the Blues I to enroll in this class
Bottleneck Slide Guitar
Six Wednesdays 7-8:15pm
Starting May 8 -- $120
Price: $120
Slide playing is personal...it alludes to that quality of the human voice where we slip from note to note with a range of microtones and rhythmic expression. The wail of a blues singer is emulated by the sound of steel or glass slid along steel strings...it haunts us. The purpose of this class is to introduce the student to the sound, techniques, and evocations of slide guitar. We will focus on blues playing, but based on the level of participants and student interest we may venture into other song forms from rock and jazz. We will learn the styles of players like Robert Johnson, Son House, John Fahey, Ry Cooder and others. We will play in several different tunings (e.g. open D and open G), as well as standard tuning (EADGBE). We will play several different rhythm grooves to accompany our slide playing. (Class size 5 minimum, 10 maximum)
Introduction to Gypsy Jazz Guitar –NEW!!!
Six Wednesdays 8:30-9:45pm
Starting: May 8 -- $120
In this class we will learn to play some of the classic Gypsy Jazz material made famous by Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of Paris. We will explore gypsy jazz rhythm guitar using the chord voicings that Django and his followers use. We will learn the melodies (heads) to some of the classic tunes like: Minor Swing, Lime House Blues, All of Me, Honeysuckle Rose, Dark Eyes and others. Time permitting we will also cover ideas for improvising solos. This being an introduction, players are not required to have any previous gypsy jazz playing experience, but being familiar with the material will be helpful; i.e. having some recordings to listen to.
To register contact the Freight and Salvage
2020 Addison St. Berkeley, CA

1 comment

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