The weekend blew by fast (and the 45mph wind gusts had a lot to do with that) and I had so much more to do. In addition to celebrating my son’s 16th birthday (including two things he wanted: an Xbox 360 and lunch at Whole Foods) I did manage to fit in some practice time with flutist Katherine Barbato. I always like playing with her and challenging how I accompany her improvisations. The most obvious thing to do is strum or create chordal rhythms as a guitarist would normally do — that’s where I am looking to stretch my abilities. I have studied Ralph Towner’s approach with trumpeter Paulo Fresu and, obviously, have picked up some ideas. Additionally, there’s the obvious switch-off when I go to solo — this is where heavy strumming or chording doesn’t allow an easy transition to single lines with bass and possibly sparse accompaniment.
In a live performance I generally use a mic and the guitar pickup with a mixer. Adding a volume pedal in the pickup line lets me pull back during accompaniment and raise the level for the solo. It also helps overall with dynamics as piezo pickups and nylon strings don’t always give you the most depth and dynamics. I do have an easier time using the classical guitar (though mine is more of a hybrid, a LaPatrie by Godin with fairly easy action and a cutaway). Wondering how a Multiac would handle in this situation or, possibly, a Lowden nylon-string? Something to consider as the budget bounces back….
I am looking to compose more original material for this duo — some adaptations of classical pieces such as Recuerdos de la Alhambra and a Schubert waltz (that eventually becomes a Gypsy swing waltz) have entered the repertoire. Of course, Brazilian music is a natural for us and I want to challenge the approach with material that is unique and exciting. Time to put pencil to paper….
As they say at Godin Guitars, “It’s all good.”