My gig at Café Sevilla in San Diego this past Friday night did not go off as planned. I felt out of sync with Joef, a.k.a. Joseph Fargier, and felt that the communication between us was non-existent. It made me realize how much I need to work on my chops and expand myself out of Flamenco and into other music forms in order to better understand Flamenco.
It made me buckle down this weekend and practice more scales, more speed techniques, more theory. It made me really realize that falling off the horse is sometimes the only way you can get back on the horse, if you truly wish to become “un Jinete…” a Horseman.
I did just that this weekend, I fell, and fell hard. It was impactful for me, because it hasn’t happened in a long time for me, at least from a moment that was so memorable. Usually, if I’m arrogant or not open to something, I’ve found myself failing and so after 50 years of life, I’ve learned to always check my ego at the door, and if not remain, completely open, open myself up just enough to learn what I needed and move on from there. This time, however was different. I didn’t walk into the gig feeling I knew everything I needed to know, and of course I was open, because I’ve never really been a “Rumbero” and its something that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more, especially after hearing the voice that so many good “Rumberos” have, Joef being definitely high on that list. No this was definitely something different and so after having a hard go at myself after what I considered a major falling down, I got back up on that horse, but first I had to catch that son of a gun, adjust the saddle, you know, do my homework and check my p’s and q’s.
I started with doing what Maestro Miguel Espinoza recommended I do, and analyze and learn the Keys. You see, after getting some steam into my engine these last few months, I had fallen off of that particular study routine and it was crucial that I return to it. After that, I worked on my Improvisational technique that I started using from a system called Improvise For Real. I had fallen off with it as well, which I should have never done, because it allowed me to count the notes within the scale, which essentially is equivalent to learning the keys. After that, which didn’t take place right away, and actually happened this morning in my study session, I listened to songs, rumbas specifically, and played the scale and the chords I felt were associated with them, not staying on one song, but listening to a variety of songs and finding a key note, finding the root, and playing the scale as rhythmically as I could. That is what I will be focusing on for some time now, especially since I see it as the weakest link within my playing. I’ll be listening and trying to play lead. I don’t think this will hurt me as a primarily rhythm guitar player. My compass as always been strong, but I do believe it will allow me to better support the artfulness of my singer and communicate with them, even when verbal communication is not at the forefront.