So we have finally finished rehearsals for the Opening night of the Australian tour.Nigel K has worked us hard in not only learning and polishing the Duke Ellington and Bach material but he has also added some new pieces to the set we performed at The Tower of London festival last year.One a piece from Nigel's new album titled "Ssshhh" and the rest are all movements taken from the Bach repertoire.
We the inner band as I will call us all had some serious homework last night checking out how best to not get in the way of the Orchestra during the Bach as in my case their are no written Marimba parts as such,so a combination of chords and different melodic or harmonic lines taken from various sections of the Orchestral score are what I have to use to enhance and embellish the movements with a little improv put in for good measure! Doug on guitar adds some subtle twist with some wonderful understated chord work,Adam on Bass uses some of the written Contrabass parts and other Ostinato ideas throughout, plus some extra subtle rhythmic figures played with mallets on to a small Tom covered by a towel and laid down elegantly by Krzysztof on his cocktail set of drums finalises our contribution to the proceedings. It was quite funny watching the shocked faces of the Viola section members when Krzysztof first started up on the drums during the Bach though!
The combined sound of the group and the Orchestra has taken time to settle in but its paid off and by the time we left the stage last night,The Ensemble sounded really tight and ready for the Opening show tonight.
I had my second set of vibes start acting up yesterday and they actually collapsed during one of my solos on the Ellington number "Cottontail",which Nigel found absolutely hilarious!
The problem with the first set of Vibes was that the Motor packed up and was just getting hot but not turning for love nor money,a shame as it was a Concert Grand model from Musser and sounded like a dream plus looked like a million dollars,however within the hour the Tech staff had arranged and brought in another set of Vibes to replace the broken one,this time a set of Vibes called a Traveller set, still a Musser sounded great at first however the problem with this new set was the damper,let me explain what the Damper does.Now the damper on a set of vibes is operated normally by pressing the sustain pedal down you release the full resonance of the sound of the note that has been struck and by taking your feet off the pedal normally a felt material that lies underneath the notes and helps to dampen the sound so that notes do not ring and sustain.The damper on this new set of vibes was seriously uneven both at the top octave end and the bottom octave end,so the instrument was just doing its own thing and sustaining notes without me engaging the pedal at all,really annoying and producing some embarrassing moments in the context of the harmony within the music.Anyway that has now been sorted by the tech staff producing a quick patch work of extra bits of felt placed in the strategic places to make the whole thing even.So huge thanks to the tech guys for that..
The plan last night was to go and see some Live music and have dinner together but not sure how that's gone as I didn't make it out of the hotel myself, So I will have to find out from the Polish Delegation!I am still dealing with the time difference and Jetlag so as soon as I sit down for what seems like a few seconds in the hotel! that's it, out for the count!the result is waking up around 4am and struggling to go back to sleep,So I end up watching rubbish on T.V or rolling news items,Then realising the time back in the U.K and dealing with admin or surfing the internet!Just saw some Live English premiership football at 6 in the morning on the Television how weird its Aston Villa v Manchester United at least it was a 1-1 draw!It's a later start today we are only doing a Soundcheck then its down to the business of Music!