Thursday, October 30, 2008

Great Gig: Megon McDonough at the MAC

I'm a lucky bass player (sometimes, anyway). I'm going to play a couple of concerts with the amazing Megon McDonough the weekend of Thanksgiving. I've described the Her Way show elsewhere, but if you want to be well entertained by a truly gifted performer, go HERE for info and tickets.

From the MAC website (and they get it right, too!)

Cabaret artist, actor, and former member of The Four Bitchin’ Babes, Megon McDonough enlivens the evening with music, humor and memories that will have you grinning and asking for more. Singing the songs and sharing the stories of such divas as Connie Francis, Patsy Cline, Karen Carpenter, and Joni Mitchell, and sharing her own wonderful tunes, McDonough blends her witty humor and snappy patter with jazz, pop, country, folk and rock for a cabaret experience you won’t soon forget.

Here's the facts:

Friday, Nov. 28, 2008, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $32 adult/30 senior/22 youth

10% off: $28.80 adult/27 senior
15% off: $27.20 adult/25.50 senior

Cabaret table seating:
$40 adult/38 senior/30 youth

10% off: $36 adult/34.20 senior
15% off: $34 adult/32.30 senior

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pandora: What I've Been Missing

I know, I know...I must be the last person in America below the age of 80 to discover Pandora. In case you're a fellow troglodyte, this website encourages you to create "radio stations" directly related to the artists or genres you want to listen to. As a musician, this is such a wonderful tool to stretch the boundaries of your taste as well as just listening for pleasure while at the computer.

It may seem obvious, but one of the most "educational" things you can do to become a better musician is to listen to the kind of music you want to master. I'm not talking about having some music on while you do something else. The most important kind of listening you can do is to actively engage with what you're hearing. Listen analytically. Listen creatively. Listen critically. Try to really hear the shape of the melody, the harmonic motion, the rhythmic underpinning. Whatever you are working on in your practicing is a good thing to focus on in your listening.

We are living in a great era in terms of the availability of music. No longer do you have to venture out to your local record store (are there any of those left?) or search your FM dial for a station that might play a little jazz once in awhile. Now all you have to do is go to Pandora on your computer and set up a personal "radio station" for yourself. In fact, you can set up many different stations as you like. Each will call up tracks directly related to the artist or specific genre you identify. I've got my "Bill Evans" station playing as I write this. I've already heard great sides by Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Billy Childs, Monk and, of course, Mr. Evans himself.

I also have a bebop channel, a Dave Holland channel, and one devoted to the music of Stravinsky. I'm getting to hear stuff I've never heard in addition to tracks I haven't checked out in years.

It won't cost you a nickel. No yakking DJs, no commercials. It's a beautiful thing. Listen.