Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 337 #381)

The Box Shuffle!!!

Shuffling through shuffle grooves brings us to the box shuffle, a classic Chicago sound. In fact, remember that grooves often have different names in different parts of the country and folks often refer to this as a Chicago shuffle.

Melodically it is composed typically of three scale degrees, the first, fifth and flat seventh plus the octave and they're played in either an ascending or descending manner. Shoji votes for descending as being the most common in the blues canon.

But why the term "box" shuffle? Well those four notes, when played on a guitar, form a box shape. Joe's early recorded example was a Junior Parker tune from 1954, Can You Tell Me Baby, which features horn players working the box riff and in fact, it is interestingly a two-bar phrase, rather than the typical one bar phrase.

Other interesting things to keep in mind about the box shuffle? It does NOT include the third scale degree, which means it leans toward being a minor sound - as Joe likes to say, it is ambiguous that way. Also, it is very common that a box shuffle does not have a turnaround. If you're in Texas, the descending box is commonly known as the Linda Lou, based on that popular song and for extra fun, check out Koko Taylor's version of Let the Good Times Roll. Most people play that Louis Jordan song with a swing bassline, but Koko's version is Chicago-ized and based on the box shuffle!

Make It Happen For Grant Dermody!!!

Grant is cooking up a new disc and we'd like to share this note from him. Help with his Indigogo fundraising if you can!

"Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with each and all of you!

I wanted to let you know that I have just launched a new fundraising campaign, through Indiegogo, for my newest recording project; The Louisiana Sessions.

I start recording this January at Dirk Powell's studio in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Dirk will be wearing the engineer hat for the project as well as playing on all the songs and tunes.

Orville Johnson will also join us on every track. Cedric Watson will play fiddle on the Old Time and Cajun tunes and Rich Del Grosso will play mandolin on the Country Blues songs. Dirk and Orville and I will produce the record.

My last two CD's each took over two years to complete. Doing them that way, a song at a time, for a few hundred bucks, with some down time in between, was doable financially.

Since I am playing with four musicians this time, instead of twenty-five plus, I have to record the whole CD in two, three or four day sessions.

I am playing with the best musicians available to make the best record I can. To pay them what they are worth is expensive. They all need to be paid all at once, as does the engineer. Then there is travel and lodging, and all this adds up in a hurry. This is why I need your help.

I am ready to create new music that is strong and joyful and deep, but is not about illness. I have written a bunch of new songs and tunes. It is time for me to make an excellent record with great players in the musical mecca of Louisiana.

Please contribute what you can at one of the links below. I also need you, please, to pass this information on to anyone and everyone you know who might be interested in helping. It takes a village, and not just the people in the village that I know!"

Learn more (and donate!) here: Fundraising for the Louisiana Sessions

Only 5 days left!

Dennis Gruenling Interview!!!

Our friend Dennis made the cover and is the featured interview in Blues Blast Magazine - Mark Thompson tells the story and gets at Dennis' influences. Check it out!


Fascinating stuff about music on Radiolab this week:

"Sure, music can move us, but it can also save our lives, transform people into a legends, and even knock down walls (maybe). This hour, we explore some of the outer edges of the power of music by gathering up a band of biblical horn-blowers, paying a midnight visit to a corner of Mississippi where the devil is rumored to grant wishes, and by helping an angsty 18th century composer push some classical musicians to their physical and psychological limits."

The hour hits on Robert Johnson and then comes to an interesting piece on Beethoven and tempo - have a listen to see what the indifference tempo is and how it might tie in with our man RickEy's thoughts on ideal practice tempo: Listen.

Class Notes
  • The CD contest ends December 16 (or, if you're running late, Joe will accept entries the next night at his Harlem Avenue Lounge gig)!
  • December 16 is the last class this session. Be sure to register now for the next session, starting in January.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew