Friday, March 03, 2006

gig 003 - w/House Band #9

gig 003

Saturday February 25, 2006
@ Café Pazzazz on rue de l’Eglise in Val-David, Quebec
10:20 pm-12:30am

John Sobol – sax
Laurent Belec – guitare electrique
Jean-François Barbeau – drums/batterie
Félix Leroux – congas
François Myrand – basse
Richard St-Aubin – acoustic guitar

50 spectators
Set 1: 40 minutes
Set 2: 40 minutes
Improvised instrumental jams on simple and not-so-simple song forms
Serious grooves and blowing
8 track minidisc audio recording made
& no press
& no cover charge
alcohol sold and consumed
audience noise
but only the good kind

this is a band that has played together before
we’ve worked maybe a dozen dates at Pazzazz Café
some members are old friends some are new
for me they are all new friends
Richard, the acoustic guitar player, is a part owner there
It’s a very good band
we rock the house
It's a damn good jam band
I call it
Le Bon Jambon Band

We play richard’s original tunes
And we play a blistering Scofield tune
And we play Herbie Hancock's most funky Chameleon
And I can’t wait for us to do Joe Farrell’s Canned Funk
the rhythm section grooves relentlessly
and Laurent is a fantastic guitar player
he can really lay it down any way you need it done

we have a lot of fun together

conjuring tunes on the fly
like tonight this is how we composed one tune:

richard starts one of his ‘tunes’
which are basically 2-chord vamps
but they’re cool and he plays them like a groove machine
and I turn to Laurent as the rhythm section kicks in
and say:
"we’re in a plane
on the tarmac of a runway
and we’re preparing to take off
we're going to take off and fly
and then
we’re going to jump from the plane with parachutes on
and fall"

and that’s what we do as a song
making every last bit of it up on the fly
in dialogue
along a narrative spline
live in front of people

here’s a link to the (completely unmixed and totally live) recording of it:


  • We’ve made a lot of songs that way
    Usually Laurent and I just figuring out a quick plan as the groove starts
    Sometimes he makes suggestions
    Now that he knows how
    But it is me that leads us in this compositional direction
    Always has been

    See the first couple times we played together
    A quintet
    There were no charts
    Which is fine
    But more than that there were no defined song structures
    The tunes were guitar patterns that Richard likes to play
    But we had no idea how to play them as a quintet
    Especially Laurent and I as the lead players were getting in each other’s way
    And it was frustrating
    And not that great musically
    and of course we only gigged and never rehearsed

    So at a certain point I said to Laurent
    Whom I’d not known before
    “listen, here’s what we’re going to do: before each tune we’ll make up a song structure and we’ll follow it on the fly, in the tune, OK?”
    And Laurent was skeptical
    Because it’s not how people normally compose or jam
    But he agreed to try it and so I said: “I’ll play an intro
    You play a melody and then I’ll take a solo
    Then you take a solo
    Then we’ll both play the melody
    Then we’ll end”
    Or something like that
    And we tried it and it totally worked
    And made the music work for the first time as a group
    Because we understood our roles and responsibilities and opportunities
    And could not only make our statements strong but could support each other’s
    So that was the beginning

    The next stage was to design shapes to go along with the roles
    I’d say:
    “Ok, we both come in with long tones for an intro
    slow and deep
    and then we both play a melody exploding with punches"
    And it would be a groove in A minor and we’d go off

    So from there it wasn’t a big leap to saying:
    "The backseat of a car at night driving towards the city in the rain
    we get to the highway and then we get to the city.”
    And we’d be off.

    And then it was just like:

    “We're on a boat, going down a river, and you’re looking out one side and I’m looking out the other. We describe what we see.”


    “This one’s for the people in new orleans”

    And if we were lucky, that’s all we’d need.

    Did I mention that at this show (gig 003) people went insane all night being totally blown away? Yeah it was all pretty fierce, fun and funky.


    Risk Factor: 2
    Riff Factor: 9
    Success Factor: !!!!!
    Wild Card: Exhaustion
    Cash Factor: 7
    Parking Lot: covered in snow
    Interactivism: 2
    Joy: 9
    Obliteration: 8


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