Question for Laurie Niles

March 20, 2018, 7:18 AM · sorry Laurie, when I click your contact icon, it wants me to upgrade to windows 10, which I don't want to do.

I watched your video about your Yamaha 5 string, and you mentioned 'improvisation down the road' and I'm curious as to what kind of improv you might be thinking of

besides my busking tunes, improv is all I do. mostly with acoustic guitars playing folk, blues, swing, and occasionally with full tilt bar bands at the blues jams.

perhaps some members might also be interested in your plans for improv.

Replies (8)

March 20, 2018, 3:51 PM · I play jazz violin with a trio (guitar and percussion). We play all Brazilian tunes -- Celso Machado, Jobim, Bonfa, etc. I'm also putting together a Mahavishnu-type band where I will play violin and I've got all the other players I need, just need to put it all together. That's going to be outstanding. Probably I will need some effects pedals ...
Edited: March 20, 2018, 4:06 PM · Paul: you promised me a sample of your Mahavishnu style stuff, remember? did you start off with classical training? if so, how did you make the transition to improv?

as for pedals, Jerry Goodman used a wah wah with Mahavishnu. I think a wah goes good with violin. I've got a dime bag Darrell Cry Baby from Hell. it's got all sorts of tweaks built in. among other things it's very good for getting a more subtle wah.

March 20, 2018, 5:28 PM · Oh my, Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire,...blast to the music of my teenage past. (Didn't realize until looking just now that Goodman later played with Steve Morse, whose rhythm section earlier in the 80s was doing McLaughlin covers in my guitar teacher's band.) Nice to see that the genre is still alive.
Edited: March 20, 2018, 5:59 PM · Dave, still working on the Mahavishnu stuff. I don't know if I'll be skilled enough to deal with the Cry Baby whilst playing the violin. I have one (for use in Herbie Hancock type -- think Head-Hunter, Watermelon Man, etc. -- where I play keyboard!), but I might need something passive like a Small Stone at first. Goodman is a total monster, I mean unbelievable -- how on earth does he get that incredible sound? I don't have any delusions of ever being able to play like that. I'm lucky that our guitar player can totally shred and our keyboard player is a Berklee graduate who is all over the Fender Rhodes, he's got one of the real old ones, and our drummer is the principal percussionist of the local freeway phil, so he's got serious game too. I've got a lot of support, just need to put it into action.

You asked how I came to jazz. Yes, classical training on both violin and piano starting at age 5. Transitioned to jazz on the piano starting at age 12 (older brother was a trumpet player and deep into Maynard Ferguson). Learned theory through piano teachers and had formal jazz piano lessons last 2 years of high school. Kept up with jazz piano through college, self-taught at that stage, playing gigs with my brother who is a bassist, a really fine musician -- "big ears" as they say. Transitioned to jazz a couple of years ago on the violin through our Brazilian trio. Swinging is hard, bossas are more forgiving, so that was the route I took. Chops getting into place now that I might be able to explore other genres.

It would be fantastic to get together with you sometime, jam, share ideas, talk about all this stuff. You bring the effects pedals, I'll bring the scotch.

March 20, 2018, 6:54 PM · ...I'll bring the pedals, You bring the Canadian Rye Whisky ;-)

Stan: didn't know about Goodman & Steve Morse. I saw Morse when he was playing with Deep Purple about 15 years ago. Yahoo!! Highway Star, Space Truckin' they even did 'Hush'

Morse took the stage by himself for about 10 minutes.

March 20, 2018, 7:04 PM · Mahavishnu & John McLaughlin, old Deep Purple, Herbie Hancock, Steve Morse... I sure did love all that stuff in years past, and sure I'd enjoy hearing any of it again! My own playing is still so crude, at "intermediate-beginner" level I'm sure. I despised my electric violin as inferior to real ones until the last few months when I realized it's quite rugged and impervious to environment and thus perfect to take to construction sites where I play it sitting in the passenger seat of my car using a very short bow. That's how I spend time waiting for the rest of the crew to show up at the job and then during lunch break. Still working on Handel and Corelli sonatas mostly. Regarding improvisation, I intend that to one day be my other pursuit, besides early music and baroque. Maybe in 5 or 10 years I'll be a musician...
March 21, 2018, 5:23 AM · could get a very small battery operated amp with a head phone jack. I luv my acoustic/electric Barcus Berry violin. action is low and it plays very fast and easy. it sounds very thin unplugged, more so than any other BB I've tried, but I'm convinced that translates into a very clean signal when amplified, not a lot of boomy over tones bouncing around all over the place.

I use a little Boss ME-20 effects pedal which also functions as a pre-amp it has 20 banks with 3 foot switches. I only really need one bank with 3 slightly different sounds. different volume settings (medium, high, and overdrive) I just add a little reverb and delay to all three, with the addition of a bit of smooth overdrive to one of the foot switches.

March 21, 2018, 12:33 PM · Okay Dave what's your favorite Canadian rye? My favorite American rye is called "Dad's Hat."

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