Sunday, May 27, 2012

Midnight Blue The (Be)witching Hour: A Study in Tempos

I recently came across this album and have been listening to it all morning.

Midnight Blue The (Be)witching Hour contains a number of tracks in slower tempos, and those tempos cover a wide range. Some will probably be inside your playing comfort zone, and others way outside of it. Therein lies the utility of the album (aside from just listening to some great music or even creating a romantic mood for endeavors that go far beyond music and drumming.)

What really inspired me to write about this album is the fact that many if the songs are played with sticks. I am so used to whipping out a pair of brushes for ballads and slower tempo songs that when I tried playing along with sticks earlier it was an embarrassing reminder that I need to practice more ballads with sticks. I'll certainly rectify that shortcoming, but in the meantime, here are some tracks from the album to underscore my comments and to help you to determine if this is an album you need to study.

Jimmy Smith (from track 2 on the album)

Coleman Hawkins (with stings and a full orchestra) from track 5

The tempo on the Hawkins' track is one that is well outside my comfort zone.

Dexter Gordon (from track 11 on the album)

Lester Young with the Nat King Cole Trio (from track 13 on the album)

There is not only a range of slow tempos, but some superb music on this album. In addition to being an aid in the study (and mastering) of tempos - especially with sticks - this album also provides a nice starting point for a jazz combo set list. It also doubles as a sure way to create a romantic mood.

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