So I've played Hershey now...at least the American Legion club/bar/lounge. Mondo fun. It was a dress rehearsal for this evening when Paul Zavinsky and I open for Steve Forbert at the Whitatker Center in Harrisburg.
I am a classical violinist (I cringe at the phrase "classically trained" so I won't be saying THAT) who enjoys all music - especially "alternative" music - I dig that old Seattle sound. My main love though, is classical music - modern Polish composers like Andzrej Panufnik, Witold Lutoslawski, and Krzysztof Penderecki are my absolute favorites.
But I do know the old Joe Venuti recordings (and stories!) I love Grappelli, Ponty, and those sorts of guys...heck, even Perlman and Kennedy have made jazz recordings.
So it is a blast to play some Folk, Blues and Jazzy tunes with guitar.
Improv is vastly different though than composing. First of all there is an audience! Secondly, I'm not dreaming up or imagining the chords. Thirdly, my ear is a bit more accepting of "non chord tones"(?) than perhaps your average folkie.
Within the "typical" or perhaps accepted is the word, oh heck, traditional parameters though, I think I'll manage - and did so last night...there were many high fives - even a harmonica player chimed in - and several folks sang with us...It is very cool to have a whole joint singing along!
Among preparation, besides rehearsing with the guitarist, I listened to some recordings (alot to Short Trip Home - a great album of Edgar Meyer, Josh Bell, Mike Marshall and Sam Bush) to be inspired by, and it's a such total joy. I'm still feeling my way around, and I figure things and songs will not only improve but become even more fun.
It's odd, I love to laugh, drink, smoke a cigar and be laid back (hey, I'm a classical announcer!) but in the "classical" world that I'm used to, it's hard not to look down at the stand and chord changes, instead of just letting go. While I consider myself that easy-go-lucky musician (and compared to a air traffic controller, I'm sure I am!) this is a new trait I'm learning: being focused yet relaxed and loose - musically glib!