Maciek is an electric guitarist from London, who recently moved to New Zealand where he lives with his wife. He currently plays live music in and around Hamilton and has performed at several jazz and blues music festivals in the very short time since his arrival here. Inspired by living in the Southern Hemisphere, Maciek teamed up with a virtuoso Uruguayan bass player Carlos Pla to form Banda de la Casawith Kiwis: Hinemoa on vocals & alto sax, Levon Dennison on tenor sax and Shanon Marsters on drums. Banda de la Casa plays critically acclaimed gigs in and around Hamilton area as well as festivals around New Zealand. Maciek’s performance at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival led to this quote from Sam Edwards of Waikato Times (23rd Feb 2015):
“…delivering a virtuoso and musically informed lesson in guitar”
Stella By Starlight played by Banda de la Casa rehearsal in December 2015. We are learning this amazing tune and Hinemoa is creating some real magic on vocals here.
Stella by Starlight is a jazz standard written by Victor Young and featured in The Uninvited, a 1944 film released by Paramount Pictures. Originally played in the film as an instrumental theme song without lyrics, it was turned over to Ned Washington, who wrote the lyrics for it in 1946. The title had to be incorporated into the lyrics, which resulted in its unusual placement: the phrase appears about three quarters of the way through the song, rather than at the beginning or the end.
I’ve been using my Kemper Profiler amp for 18 months for practicing and recording and I absolutely love it. I use 4 basic profiles which I tweaked over time so they feel right for my style of bluesy jazz. In some way I also changed the way I play precisely because of the way the profiled amps respond to my fingers. However, the biggest downside so far was that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use it live, so the tunes I wrote with the Kemper never sounded on stage like I really wanted them to sound. I am not complaining, I use a gorgeous Two-Rock Studio Pro 35 with a couple of overdrives in front and I really enjoy that sound, alas this is NOT the amp I used for the original recordings. So I’ve just ordered a pair of FRFR speakers:powered Yamaha DBR10s. It took me 18 months to do this, so it wasn’t exactly an impulse buy. David at Shearers Music Works in Hamilton let me test for hours various speakers at a ridiculous volume, till I settled on DBR10s. At 700 peak watts per speakers I should be OK(!) for volume, but most importantly this is THE sound I always wanted. I’ll be testing them with Banda de la Casa gig at Nivara next Thursday (if they arrive in time of course). I bet I’ll be needing stands, music cables, power extensions, MIDI leads, bags to carry it in… I hope it is worth it. To be continued…
My friend John and I were talking about drummers and we agreed that we don’t like the sound of amazing but “technical” drummers like Dave Weckl. So here’s a clip of Oz Noy trio in which Weckl’s drumming is fantastic. Shows you that a good tune is everything.
B.B. King has always been a part of my music life, so I still can’t quite believe that he is dead. B.B. was a huge influence on me. I remember desperately trying to get the sweet tone, the perfect bends and the trembling vibrato when I was a young electric guitar hopeful in, then Communist, Poland. I never had any of BBs records; in fact hardly anyone had them, since you couldn’t buy them in the shops. But I had a Russian-made reel-to-reel recorder and I taped some of his tunes from the radio broadcasts. Despite endless practice, I never got B.B. King’s guitar tone. Initially I blamed it on my Egmond electric guitar, but much later in 1975, after I came to London and had an opportunity to try a Gibson ES-345 in a shop in Denmark Street, I realized that B.B. King sounds like B.B. King because he is… B.B. King.
I had one opportunity to come near to B.B. King, but I never did meet him. Sometime in the mid 1980s, I was working with a fantastic jazz blues singer Carol Grimes. One day Carol received a call from a promoter asking if she and her band could do a sound check for B.B. King. His plane was late, so he and the band would have to drive from Heathrow straight to the Royal Festival Hall and immediately start playing. Carol called the band and we decided to do it. I was quietly hoping that I might get a chance to meet the great man. It wasn’t to be: after hanging around for hours in the RFH, we got to finally play The Thrill Is Gone, but got stopped 15 times for sound adjustments and told to go home.
I will never meet B.B. King, but he will stay with me for the rest of my days.
I thoroughly enjoyed my solo gig at the Nivara Lounge in Hamilton and, most importantly, seeing my friends who came to support me – thank you all! This was my first live outing of the Kemper Profiling Amp and the results are encouraging. (Kemper website). I think I will really enjoy taking my produced studio sound to live venues. In case you don’t know, Nivara Lounge is a vibrant, atmospheric music club catering to all sorts of musical tastes ranging from very loud punk, rock and dance to quieter jazz, folk and world music – all of it interesting and often experimental. Here is a video clip from the performance and some photos. The tune is Cissy Strut (The Meters), but I am using chord changes devised by John Scofield.
I am a Strat player, Amen! I have other guitars, but Strats fit my body (read: man-boob) perfectly, sound exactly right and I understand how to set them up and make them sound how I like it. The whammy bar sits under my palm all the time, so whenever I pickup and non-whammy guitar, it takes me some time to lose the involuntary reflex to find the bar! However, I would really like to play a Telecaster. I love its simplicity, balance and the tone, but the slab body feels as comfortable as wearing a t shirt made out of plywood! Crucially, there is no whammy bar! So it gives me a great pleasure to hear an amazing player to re-ignite my desire to play a Tele and learn to live with all the bits I miss. Here is Guthrie Trapp. He may not be a household name yet, but he has worked with Garth Brooks, Allison Kraus, Lyle Lovett and others. And not just country either: Mike Mills of R.E.M. or Phish‘s Mike Gordon. Crucially he writes his own tunes and gigs with a power trio. I reallyb enjoy his fusion of country sound, blues and jazz licks with rock-inspired riffs. Have a look, what do you think?