So, thanks to this #stayathome thing the world is going through now, I finally had the time to finish recording a brand new demo! This one is about an effect pedal I’ve had for several years already, but had no time (and was also too lazy) to get to know it better. I have been using it in some concerts, but mostly with only one of the various functions it has, what a pity, oh, shame on me. My overall conclusion is that this thing is very good for certain styles of music, you can definitely do a lot of interesting things with it, if you are ready to spend the time and your imagination is developed enough. But hey, let’s start from the beginning!
I guess my brain has rebooted itself, because suddenly I found myself writing again, and I really like it. Not that I haven’t been doing some writing during this year, but it was all for different purposes, like the JAZZin.lv magazine, which you should totally check out BTW. And although first I planned this blog to be about my working experiences solely, I’ve decided that I’m not sticking with that concept, because there are other things I wish to share my thoughts about. Like, for example, tattoos. Because I have some and it has never been a secret, but until a couple of years ago everything connected to tattoos in my life was sporadic and, honestly, just lame. Like my first tattoo, which I got in 2003 while still in school. At that time the tattoo culture was only starting to invade our country (I think, correct me if I’m wrong), we didn’t have a lot of parlors in the city and for most people, tattoos were associated with jail. But suddenly every girl and every boy decided to have something drawn on the skin for life and it was usually b/w and mostly swirls, something tribal, there was not a lot of imagination put into creating a piece of art. Now we have more tattoo studios than dentist offices in our small town of 700k people. Due to Instagram we suddenly got access to this huge world of design, different techniques, more color, more concept and now almost every person I know has at least one tattoo. I have 3 and one of them is a coverup.
It’s been almost 8 years since we’re together and exactly one year since we’re married, and I can say that I’ve never been happier. Especially today, while remembering how we went about the wedding and all, I really want to share this story, so if you’re into this kind of stuff – read on!
The last week of August was very special to me, mainly because I got to experience something new! I was invited to teach a 5 day long workshop session in a music school in Liepāja, and that week turned out to be very educational not only for the students, but to myself as well. Apart from the obvious thing I’ve learned from my colleagues (like more ways to train timing, broadening improvisational vocabulary and etc.), the most important lesson was about the methods a teacher can use to involve a student in the process, to motivate him study more, and that is the strongest trait Liepāja music school has. For the first time in my entire life I’ve seen students coming to school during holidays, weekends, a couple of hours before any activities start, in the breaks between lessons they practice, after lessons they practice. Every classroom is occupied, every bench in the yard has a couple of students discussing jazz harmony, every couch in the lounge room has them doing nonexisting homeworks (since it was still August and the classes were yet to start), life brewed in the school and it was so amazing and inspiring that I really wanted to stay. Really.
May 2017 was very special to me. Why? Simple. It was a month when I finally played my last concert as a student. Now these days are finally over. Am I happy? Yes, definitely. I had an awesome time during these 6 years as a student, learning most favorite music in the world. By all means, it was not an easy journey. As all students I had sleepless nights, works submitted minutes before a deadline, festivals, concerts, exams… But it was worth it. I composed so many beautiful things, sang so many songs, participated in different projects (like collaboration of jazz department with ethnomusicologists, with choreographers, with video artists from other schools). Now I have a masters degree in jazz music and I feel so proud and honored, it’s simply indescribable.
My final recital was an adventure itself. Firstly I was late by one day to reserve a concert hall that I wanted, so I had to choose another date, that means that I had to change almost all the musicians in my band. Secondly I got Friday, which meant that a lot of the musicians were already busy somewhere else. Thirdly (is it even a word?), a day before the recital I had to go to another city for a very late concert, so on the day of my exam I had to take a bus early in the morning to arrive on time for the soundcheck. And finally, 3 of the tunes were composed maybe a couple of weeks before the concert, so the material was so raw, that I was scared to death and excited at the same time.
But this concert also means that I have a video of my latest work, which I consider a total hit. Maybe I am biased, but the tune means the world to me. So now I want to share it. Ladies and gents, I present to you “Lilacs”! Line-up: Pauls Kierpe on drums, Stanislavs Judins on double bass, Artjoms Sarvi on piano, Toms Rudzinskis on flute and saxophone, Dmitrijs Saligins (PM2THEAM) on turntables, me on vocals (well, who else?). I would like to say thank you to all the guys, you made this concert possible, you made the tune sound so amazing, you made it possible to receive a grade I received (not to brag, but it was the highest possible, 10 out of 10), thank you! This song will proudly join other songs in the repertoire of one of my bands – JAZZATOMY.