Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Restore Personal Performance at Blues Fest

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the classes and jam sessions that are going on all the time. And I mean all the time. This time around I participate way more than two years ago. At the time I was new to Piedmont finger-picking, man my pinkie got a workout like never before.

For someone such as me who can't really commit to a regular class the DVDs put out by master musicians have been a tremendous help. And last fall I was able to take Centrum's Piedmont Blues Intensive with John Dee Holeman, Lightnin' Wells and Michael Roach here at Fort Worden. That was intensive and intense all right.

What amazed me my first time around, then at the Intensive and now again, is how generous the master musicians are. Take Terry Bean, he waved me down on the first day, to come play with him. After a while these highschool age kids kind of hang around listening and he waves them down, tells them to play as well. And after a while he gets them to play a song of their choice too. No egos here, just the love of music.

Now and then I need to let the fingers and my mind rest though. I call it reboot, just like the computer. Yesterday after the morning sessions, I took a break from the meals at the Commons to have lunch at our fave Thai restaurant downtown Port Townsend with my old buddy Everett Moran,  He and I go way back, Texas way, that is. Since I skipped the afternoon jam, my fingers were rested and I was happy to play for two and a half hours with Lightnin' and Jeff Scott and some other folks in the evening.

Everett had told me his pal George Rezendes was at the Blues Fest too, so after this morning's session with Terry "Harmonica" Bean I took George's Ragtime class. I'm not that familiar with playing that music and had to really pay attention. Three-quarters through the class I noticed I couldn't take anything in anymore. I may not be jammin' till two in the morning like some others do, but I feel like I've been going non stop from the get go.

So instead of going over all the stuff I've been soaking up like a sponge, I decided to go to town. There's a bus that takes you from Fort Worden to Port Townsend proper. Want to exchange a fleece jacket I bought at Swain's yesterday, have coffee somewhere or an ice cream cone, sit back, hang out. Sometimes you've got to reboot to regain optimum performance.
That's what I need, a reboot to restore.

Tonight there's going to be a dance party on campus. Peter McCracken has been telling us it's going to be great. I didn't bring my dancing boots, so perhaps I'll have a chance to play some more instead of doing a two-step (what is it going to be Pete?).
There's bound to be some jammin' goin' on at Fort Worden.

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