Getting to Know the Piano for iPad and Mac is now available on the iBooks app store! Recently I’ve been working on an interactive ebook that introduces kids to the basics of piano. I did all the illustrations and played the examples for this short kids book. It’s only 2.99 and is on the ibooks store in 51 different countries! If you and your kids like it, give it a 5 star review. Thanks! http://bit.ly/1pg8cap
Finding civil war bullets was always the best: As kids, my brothers and I looked forward to treasure hunting with our Dad around the neighborhood and near the Chattahoochee River. He manned the fancy machine, while we dug with our well-worn green army shovels and tried not to puncture whatever lay beneath. Most times we would be disappointed by a bottle cap, but if we were lucky we would uncover a shard of a cannonball or a belt buckle from the civil war. The most memorable find was a fully preserved civil war infantry sword; the handle still intact. We also found bullets, ten year old coins, and a thousand pounds of rusty unidentified objects. This is where I first began to appreciate history, archaeology, and digging.
Recently I was flipping through some of our family’s old records of early jazz and 70s rock and roll, when I came across a very scratched 78 rpm with a homemade label. The label read “Mitch, Rand, Daughtridge 11/13/40” and I immediately realized it was a homemade recording of my great uncle Ed Rand. He played alto saxophone in high school and college and was an early member of the Atlanta Seventeen, which is still performing today. Unfortunately, when I tried to play the record I had the wrong kind of needle and it was severely scratched, so I had to put it aside for a while. But after a little bit of research, I came across Michael Graves at Osiris Studio in Atlanta and realized he would be the one to help bring this family treasure back to life. Michael is a grammy award winning mastering engineer who works on all types of recordings and calls himself an “audio archaeologist”. He has done restoration/mastering for Art Rosenbaum The Art of Field Recording, Hank Williams The Garden Spot Recordings, Alan Lomax field recordings, and a multitude of other significant records. He was able to salvage most of the recording although one or two tracks were lost due to the edges being warped. The tracks feature Ed on alto saxophone with his two friends Jimmy Mitchell on trombone and Lee Daughtridge on trumpet. I spoke to Ed this weekend and although he does not remember this particular session he does remember playing with these two friends and commented that it was probably recorded their last year of high school.
I really appreciate the casual nature of the recording as you can hear some talking and foot stomping. It really gives you the feeling of being there in 1940 listening to three guys playing jazz and having a good time.
Thanks to Michael Graves for helping with this restoration. You can check out more about his restoration and mastering projects on hiswebsite.
Listen below to the before and after versions of “Sweet Sue, Just You” as played by Ed and his friends in 1940. Best buried treasure I’ve found in a while…
I wrote out the first two choruses of this Ray Brown bassline for a student who is working on “All of Me”. It comes from the Oscar Peterson album A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra that was released in 1959. This tune sounds nice in Ab and it’s fun to play along with Ray on the Piano. Next I just need to work up the O. P. in the right hand. Good luck…
Here’s Take 2 of Thelonious Monk’s solo version of ‘Body and Soul’, an alternate take from the 1963 album Monk’s Dream. I didn’t include the melody and it’s only the first chorus, but it captures a large part of what makes his version so unique. It’s obviously very chromatic, so I decided to write it without a key signature to (hopefully) make it easier to read. Comments and revisions are always welcome.
I always forget the chords to this great Paul Simon tune, so I finally wrote them out for piano. (They’re voiced pretty close to how the guitar plays them on the rekkid). ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ by Paul Simon/ Steve Gadd.
Anonymous: I loved your playing of 'The Song is Ended but the Melody Lingers On'. I'm intending to learn it and play it on the guitar, but it would really help to have the notation as a guide. Would it be possible to download the music?
Thanks! The sheet music is copyrighted but here’s a blog that has a preview of the sheet music and features the A sections.
Early jazz drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds played with Joe Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, and Louis Armstrong and is on some of the earliest recordings featuring the drum set. In an attempt to better understand New Orleans drumming, I transcribed his bass drum comping on “When the Saints”. This partial track begins at measure 30 and shows some classic new orleans syncopation. Let me know if anyone finds any mistakes; if you see something, say something.