“how do you play like that?!”

i get asked that fairly often, especially by other guitarists. my answer is basically always the same, “i’m sweep picking arpeggios and horn based lines that emulate how serious jazz horn and piano players play. check out http://sheetsofsound.net/ and music theorists / authors that jazz saxophone and pianists study like yusef lateef and nicholas slonimsky.”

the question i’m usually asked after that is “why did you tell them?” it’s because i remember what it was like trying to find useful info on how to really improve my playing. many musicians like to keep secrets about their playing or sound because they fear that they’ll be less unique. thus a lot of folks don’t reach their potential because no one will help them grow and achieve it. i’m very fortunate to have had a LOT of help and great teachers over the years and i want to do my part too.

my view is that even if you know every single thing another player knows, you still wont sound the same. sure there will be similarities, but much like our speaking patterns and voices, we still sound like individuals. even siblings raised in the same environment don’t talk exactly alike, and so it is with music. for better or worse, i’ll always sound like me, and the next person will always sound like themselves too. so why not share and grow? maybe that person you help will find something really cool and share it with you!

shows you can catch me at this summer

I’ll be playing with Lance Randall’s jazz band at these shows this summer in the Seattle area. come check them out!

-smooth jazz rendezvous on the water, lake washington, June 15 (playing 8-9pm)

-festival sundiata, murial amphitheater in Seattle, June 16 (playing 3-4pm)

-rock and roll marathon, downtown Seattle at 2nd & jackson, June 22 (playing 11:30-1:30)

-taste of tacoma, June 29, playing 3-4pm

-choochokam music & arts festival, Langley, WA, July 6 (playing at 11am)

I’ll have some Nevis CDs for sale at these shows too! thanks for listening & be sure to spread the word!

how i got beaten up by dr. ian dunbar ;)

 last weekend i attended a dog behavior seminar by dog behavior pioneer dr. ian dunbar. since adopting sura about a year and a half ago, caryn and i have immersed ourselves in dog behavior and training info just trying to learn as much as we can so that we raise her to be a well behaved malamute. in all of our researching we found out about dunbar, the pioneer of lure-reward training, and have put a lot of his teachings into practice with sura. we also found out that dr. dunbar is very fond of malamutes in particular and that several of the things he’s learned over the years had been taught to him by his own mals! not surprisingly, they’ve been very effective and she’s a sweet dog (though still quite the “knuckle head”) as a result.
when we learned that dr. dunbar was holding a seminar in portland we had to attend! early on, before the seminar, i introduced myself and told him briefly about how much his teachings had helped sura, our malamute. we talk a bit and now he knows i not only have a mal, but i’m also familiar with how he likes to do presentations and am also a good sport. if you’ve ever seen videos of him working with people or doing a presentation, you’ve seen that he thoroughly enjoys teasing and playfully antagonizing. he knew, and i knew, at some point…i was going to get it!
at one point in the seminar, he began talking about how dogs use different signals to communicate, particularly in play. they’ll do different things like play bow or paw raise to signal to another dog that the next behavior, say a growl, is meant only in play. and so he comes over to where i’m sitting, smiles mischievously, says something to the effect of “we’re friends, right?” and then i know i’m in for it! we fist bump and then it’s on! he smacks me on the side of the face and puts up his fists and starts trash talking!! he’s bobbing around in a boxing stance like we’re two drunks in a bar fight! it’s HILARIOUS!! i give my best malamute WWWOOO and use my hands to “bite” at his fists! it’s great fun 🙂 everyone laughed and he explains that it’s the same for dogs, that you wouldn’t walk up to someone out of the blue and start a fight but if it’s a friend they know you’re just goofing around. for some dogs, their method of play seems a lot like fighting but if you watch carefully, you’ll see the signals there before play begins and see them take breaks in between play sessions.

and THAT is how i got beaten up by dr. ian dunbar 😉