Holy cow. I just let July fly by. I took my first vacation in a long long time this past week and it was super refreshing. Looking ahead into August and beyond there are some great things brewing in the music still. For the record I did not bail on the Bates update last month, it just never got published. Here’s what I wrote:
I just got back from a great July 4th gig at the Iowa City Jazz Festival with Atlantis Quartet! We had a great time down there and also at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival! Both these events prove that the music is alive and kicking and the audience is strong!
In addition to those gigs I had an excellent time teaching at JAM (Jazz around Minneapolis) and Shell Lake Arts Center over the last month. I always enjoy getting to know a bunch of new kids and helping them on their paths to becoming better musicians. It’s all about exposing them to the breadth of this music and the traditions of bandstand etiquette and language manipulation that have made all the masters before us so, well, masterful. Most of these young people today have to seek out the music for themselves and the social networking provided by these camps and workshops is one of the best ways to get them excited about improvising and improving as players. The challenge of working and playing with people their own age who have a strong interest in music and improvisation helps these students understand that this is a lifelong journey.
However, getting them to apply themselves and do the work is another challenge entirely. Everyone (darn kids these days) has access to so much information and yet when asked or prompted to dig deeper into the subject at hand (music theory, form recognition, listening analysis and many other musical concepts) they are often lacking in the skills needed to recognize what they are hearing and, understandably, scared to take the plunge. Great teachers can help students unlock the mystery of this information. But we all know information does not equal wisdom or knowledge and it is refreshing to get to work with these students to help them dig into the info they have access to and guide them towards a better understanding of the music.
I know I was lucky growing up in a house full of music from all genres, with encouraging parents who made sure I had private lessons and a good instrument. It provided me with a good start but ultimately it was on ME to take that initial impulse and take it deeper into the music. I rewound the cassettes, and dropped the needle on the same track repeatedly until I got some knowledge going. It took a long time actually but I don’t regret any bit of it. It continues to this day and I always get reenergized by these teaching experiences to dig deeper into my own musical weaknesses. So it’s off to the woodshed for the summer months for this bass player. The results will be forthcoming later this year and into the next lifetime.
Atlantis Quartet continues to dig deeper into our music making and we are very excited to play for you next Friday 8/7 at Vieux Carre, (View Ca-ray) the former Artists Quarter space in St Paul. This is the space where we forged some serious band mojo and we are looking forward to playing there for you again as it seems to bring out the best in us.
At the TC Jazz Festival this earlier this summer I had the most surprising and refreshing gig at Ngon Bistro with Dean Granros and Davu Seru. We took the music and turned it inside out while retaining a really grounded and natural flow. We will reconvene at the Lowertown Guitar Festival on 8/8 at 2pm in Mears Park.
Axis Mundi is a world music group I’ve been playing with for a couple of years now. We play two gigs this month and then I will be taking my leave from this ensemble. With several other projects of mine gearing up for recording I have decided to bow out gracefully from this group. Look for us at Hell’s Kitchen on 8/6 and at Staring Lake Amphitheater in Eden Prairie on 8/12.
The Bates | Nichols | Bates gig last month at the All Originals Jazz Series was stellar but due to the high volume of competition for the jazz audience that night our gig was not so well attended. NOW, you all now have another chance to check out this trio as we’ll be playing at Vieux Carre on 8/25. It’s a Tuesday. Make time for B|N|B.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for lots of great stuff coming up this fall true believers (new albums, concerts, recording sessions), and look for me at these fine establishments this month:
Thursday 8/6: Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen 6-9pm FREE
Saturday 8/8: Dean Granros, Davu Seru, Chris Bates @ Lowertown Guitar Festival Mears Park Main Stage 2:30pm
Friday 8/14: Cory Healey, Jake Baldwin, Chris Bates @ SW Craft Bar 9-11pm FREE
Saturday 8/15: Cory Healey, Peter Schimke, Chris Bates @ Grounds & Sounds Festival 2pm FREE
Sunday 8/16: Zacc Harris trio @ Riverview Wine Bar 7-9pm FREE
Monday 8/24: Three Dave’s & P.C. (Hagedorn, Milne, Graf, Hey, Bates) @ Grand Event Center, Northfield MN.
Tuesday 8/25: Bates | Nichols | Bates @ Vieux Carre 7-10pm $5
Sunday 8/30: Zacc Harris trio @ Riverview Wine Bar 7-9pm FREE
best – cb