Mike Gordon

October 30, 2014

Do Watcha Wanna (Fall Tour Journal)

Entry #1 – October 19, 2014


Not playing out of obligation – that’s what being yourself really means… Whether it’s the obligation to play on the downbeat, syncopate less, follow a pattern. Just do and accept and you become what’s unique about yourself. Trey always liked to point out that the hardest task as a musician – which takes years to reconcile – is learning to be yourself. I might have gotten these gut feelings to avoid certain clichés – even rhythmic clichés – and resisting the fear. Saying, “Michael – you want to do it that way so do it despite what the friggin subconscious is trying to latch onto” – the part of the subconscious that is the ego…


It reminds me what I wrote about swing over the Summer and not needing to hit notes together – well, the result is liberating – I was able to find more nuance that made the lines swing more, and sometimes i was able to “go for it” more – to play more at the edge of my abilities rather than just in the comfort zone (the comfort zone is quite convenient too, but time on the edge is certainly worth it). Obligations shouldn’t constrict us.


Like Moma from Seattle, for example (and there were many examples) – I wanted some more downbeats, and the normal obligation is to play the original bass line from the jam session from whence the song was written – but dropping that obligation allowed me to but in some more downbeats which made it more powerful out of the gates.


And I was thinking a lot about the quote from violinist Giuseppe Cambini…
“The bow can express the affections of the soul: but besides there being no signs that indicate them, such signs, even were one to invent them, would become so numerous that the music, already too full of indications, would become a formless mass to the eyes, almost impossible to decipher. I should consider myself fortunate if I could only get a student to hear, through a small number of examples, the difference between bad and mediocre, mediocre and good, and good and excellent, in the diversity of expressions which one may give to the same phrase.”