Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Gig Log: Sam Payne and Savoy

It was a pleasure to play with Sam Payne a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to get the call this week to pinch hit for his band Savoy, playing alongside guitar great Joshua Payne (also Sam's brother) and bassist Ryan Tilby. The performance was in downtown Salt Lake City, as part of the summer Temple Square Performances.

The set was mostly jazz - some standards as well as Sam's originals - with a couple of his folk tunes thrown in. It's always amazing to me that I can play the same tune hundreds of times, but it always sounds different, especially with different musicians. Not only did Sam's vocals make each tune sound as if it was written specifically for him, the solos and ensemble playing of Ryan and Joshua gave our little quartet a very unique sound.

The venue was a beautiful park in the very heart of the city. It was a sweltering evening, but by the time things kicked off, we at least had some shade on the stage, surrounded by trees on three sides. The heat notwithstanding (not to mention there was another large concert going on a few blocks away), we had an audience of several hundred, and they were very friendly and supportive.

All in all, it was a lot of fun.

Things I learned: I need to practice A LOT MORE. My endurance, especially in the ride hand and hi-hat foot, was not up to where it needs to be for a high-energy jazz combo. My solos were barely adequate, and I struggled to stay on the form of the tunes in terms of phrasing and melody in my solos. And, finally (for this gig, anyway), I just need to know more jazz, mo' bettuh. In terms of head tunes and forms, my knowledge is definitely lacking.

So, here's to more practice, and a better gig next time.

Happy drumming!

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