Thursday, June 03, 2010

When is a Velvet?

Q: When is a Velvet?

A: When it is chaotic, spontaneous, electic and a helluva lot of fun.

I have been trying to get a V gig at Festivall for a while. I did play a solo one last year. The solo gig is a strange affair to be sure, but the aim is to slowly bring the bring the full Velvet experience to the Festivall audience.

It's a start, but we are scheduled to play June 27 at 11am and 4pm. It is only a quartet, so not really the VBs, but it's going to be a good, solid representation. (There was a snafu with one member and I had to quickly find a substitute.)

Rehearsals have been exhilerating. While the material we are playing may date back to the golden days of Velvet glory (some 17 or more years ago), the presentation of it is renewed, rejuvenated, reworked and downright fun to play. Often we will stop, breaking out laughing, the group coming to a collective halt. I think that it is something that is real. We have been bandmates for many a year and we know each other's playing. There's nothing left to prove here.

The thing that has liberated me is the option for experimentation. Often in groups I feel limited, but accept that limitation as part of blending in for the greater good. Here, I feel free.

Lambada is a tune that serves as a great illustration. The song is played straight forward until we get to a middle section that has become a vehicle for an eruption of a Middle Eastern rhythmic drive that nearly derails from the energy. We all look around the room, waiting for an idea to spring forth and then to pounce on it, imitate it or sometimes make fun of it. Many musicians (and bands for that matter) would absolutely freeze or drop out at this sudden stylistic change, but with sly grins, we keep pushing each other to see what comes out.

Egotism breaks everything down, Robert Fripp has stated and I think that so far, no one has stepped forward to claim being the leader; although any one of us could easily step into those shoes. I booked the gig, but I see no point in being a dictator and I really enjoy the collaborative effort. Each member brings something unique to the table.

That's how it is right now kids. More to come.

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