Overdubbing Guitar

The other day I decided to take half a dozen of my short original tunes and see what could be done by overdubbing some additional parts.  All sounds were made using one guitar, and everything was recorded onto a Tascam multitrack via a Roland amp.

The first track, Workin’ All Night (the title is a slight exaggeration!) is an attempt to bring some funk to a drumless setting.  I recorded a rhythm guitar part to the left channel, a bassline to the right and the main lead line somewhere in between.  To simulate a bass drum kick on beats two and four I turned up the bass frequencies and patted the three lowest guitar strings.  Pick scraping on the sixth string helped to allude to a kind of vinyl scratching effect, and a separate track with phaser helped to simulate an organ sound for the chorus.

Microcosm is more of a laid-back, open-ended jazz groove with the melody dead centre, rhythm guitar panned to the left, palm-muted bassline to the right and the phaser for sustained chords.

Skimming Stones tries to evoke that pastime with the bounce of the rhythm and the use of different phrase lengths.  This time there are two rhythm guitar tracks panned far left and right.  The first played fingerstyle, and taking care of the bass notes, the second played with the pick.  The lead line occupies the space between the two.

Blues Amble is taken at an appropriately leisurely pace.  A bassline is played on the low strings of the guitar.  There are once again two rhythm guitar parts to support the melodic line, the second of these parts provides tremolo chords during the solo.

Anthem For K.B. makes use of a few extra tracks.  In addition to the rhythm and lead guitar parts, there is also a phased bassline, designed to reference more of a fretless sound.  The phaser is employed for chords in another channel, and other tracks are used for percussive effects such as muted strumming and fretboard bongo tapping!  The K.B. in question is Kenny Burrell – the first jazz guitarist I ever heard – on a CD borrowed from the library back when they had a pretty good collection.

Lazy Evening is the last of the six tunes.  It’s my homage to soul music and in particular guitar players such as Steve Cropper, Cornell Dupree and Teenie Hodges – players whose subtle contributions added so much to the appeal of 60’s & 70’s soul music.  I played the whole piece as a solo track (left channel), then added some touches on top.  These include the right channel rhythm guitar, the basslines, a touch of approximately simulated organ, and a short guitar solo.  Later on, for the minor-key change, two more lines were added, and then panned left and right.  These are single note reinforcements of the 6ths which were present already in the original guitar part.

 

A few recent photos

Shots from a couple of duo gigs with Evie O’Driscoll on bass and Dom Johnson on guitar respectively.  I don’t know who the man in the top hat in the painting is!

New Jim Hall & Herb Ellis Transcriptions

Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to a lot of Jim Hall.  I’ve just added a Jim Hall page to the website’s motley collection of transcriptions.  It contains an excerpt from his solo on the standard Here’s That Rainy Day.  There’s now also a Herb Ellis page, with a transcription of Ellis’s solo over the bridge of My Old Flame.

New Joe Pass Transcription

I’ve added a Joe Pass page to the website’s collection of transcriptions.  So far it contains a transcription I’ve made of his solo on the Jobim tune Wave from the album called The Big 3 he made with Milt Jackson and Ray Brown.  Apart from the musical pedigree on display, Pass’s pot belly, featured on the album cover, shows that he was doing his bit to add credence to the albums title.

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Duo Gig This Tuesday (22nd Dec)

This coming Tuesday Dom and I will be playing at the Duke of Cambridge in Twickenham.  First set starts at 7:30pm.  Visit our Alex Corlett & Domenico Johnson Guitar Duo facebook page for more details.

Corlett & Johnson Guitar Duo

Last Saturday evening I recorded some numbers on a little hand-held recording device with my guitar duo partner Domenico Johnson.  This is the link to our soundcloud page where you can hear them: Corlett & Johnson Guitar Duo page   A&D2

Cocaine Nights: Concert photos from the Dora Stoutzker Hall

Cocaine Nights Concert PhotoToo many people to capture in one shot!  Deej Williams, bass; Alex Corlett, guitar; Huw Evans, trombone; Michael Gibbs, horn; Matt Pauley, trumpet; Andrew Martin, flute; Will White, clarinets; Naomi Bailey, saxophones; James Golborn, drums & vibes; Matt Petrie, contrabassoon

James GolbornAlex Corlett Cocaine NightsMatt Petrie

Cocaine Nights in Rehearsal

Yesterday we had our third rehearsal for Cocaine Nights. A couple of people were deputising, and for them it was the first time they’d seen their parts. Gareth Trott can just about be glimpsed in the grainy photo playing the French horn part on Euphonium, not the easiest task (out of shot are the bass, drums, trumpet and trombone). The other day he also covered the trombone part!  Charlie Jackson helped out with conducting.

Charlie conducting a tricky bit

Weston Gallery Concert/First Rehearsal for Cocaine Nights

I did end up conducting Distortions on Tuesday.  I was glad the performance went well because the brief rehearsal earlier in the day had been rather a shambles!  The whole concert turned out to be somewhat longer than I’d expected.  Almost a full two hours from start to finish.  It was nevertheless interesting to hear the eclectic range of music performed.  Charlie Jackson’s piece for string quartet entitled After IV, and guided to an extent by Bartók’s fourth string quartet was played with conviction by the Silverstone Quartet.  The talented Kina Miyamoto performed not only her own new work for piano and electronics, but premiered Lewis Furber’s bleak and moody Dead Preludes for solo piano.

Conducting Distortions

Conducting Distortions in the Weston Gallery at RWCMD

On Wednesday I had the first rehearsal for my Cocaine Nights piece.  I’d only finished the music a few days before, and was rather excited to see how it would come together.  It’s written for a ten piece ensemble consisting of mixed wind, brass, percussion, bass and myself on guitar, and in some respects is related to Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream movement which began in the latter half of the fifties.  My ensemble contains classical and jazz trained musicians side by side and some moments in the piece are ad libbed.  It ranges from moments of atmospheric slow music, with pungent chords to fast rhythmic sections, some of which have a downright groove.  No doubt those moments will be looked down upon by some listeners, but who cares, they’re not who I’ve written it for.