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Archive for the ‘scat singing’ Category

bios, bios!

I have more bios than unmatched socks. and I have a lot of those!

It seems that every few weeks I need another bio: grant proposal, promo piece, short festival blurb, update for my website, very short gig blurb, very long comprehensive essay, ad copy, etc. etc.

You can find one of my bios here on my “about” page. I was recently interviewed for a very long bio (2450 words!) to help promote the release of my new CD, Two Kites this coming April, 2011.

Who can read that much?

Going on the notion that people generally don’t like to read, I thought I could produce a name-dropping bio, which could start something like this:

Fern Lindzon once shared a sidewalk with Eric Idle in Toronto, Canada, followed Keith Richards down a street in Venice, Italy, and dined at a table next to Tony Randall in London, England.

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I am currently reading a wonderful book called The Creative Habit by dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp. I first heard about it on Christine Bougie’s fantastic blog. I highly recommend reading and devouring this book!

In her chapter entitled “Harness your memory” Twyla writes the following, “There are as many forms of memory as there are ways of perceiving, and every one of them is worth mining for inspiration…Creativity is more about taking the facts, fictions, and feelings we store away and finding new ways to connect them.”

In this spirit, I thought I’d like to write my own “creative bio”. This bio could take place entirely in my mind, not have to move in chronological order, and have more to do with thoughts and feelings and perceptions.

Creative Bio (part 1)

I’m told that I was a face presentation. That is to say that I wanted to be born with my head facing upward. Already my sense of direction was askew. Or perhaps you could say that I was so excited to have a look around that I ended up choosing the more difficult path. Or you could say that I was afraid. to put my head down. to trust. to let go and relinquish control. This conflict between contol and letting go has dogged me my entire life…

As I went on to write about early memories I found it interesting to see how my early perceptions have played out in my creative life.

It’s a fun excercise.

Try it.




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Scat singing is about syllables. It’s also about words.

and being a word-o-phile, I like them.

Norma Winstone knows how to scat words

or just vowel sounds.

you don’t need a lot of boobops and shabaps.
The question is, how much of those words are worked out?

how much is totally improvised?

I suspect that there is a bit of both.
Or maybe a pool of ideas taken from the pool of words of each song and developed over time.

The thing is, you develop your own vocabulary.

of words, sounds, things that feel good and sound good.
So here’s what I did:

I recorded myself singing I Thought About You
and sang a bunch of choruses.

some just scatting to hear the sounds I like-
and some improvising words.

I’d already come up with a few from previous performances.

like clickety-clack clickety-clack

something about the train going down the track

and something about the whistle.

woowoo.

Much of what I improvised was clumsy, but in the clumsiness were particles of good ideas. You need to record yourself to hear them.

that way you’re not judging and dismissing as you do it.

rather listen with an ear to distill, extract and go mining.

I then took out my notebook and wrote down phrases, words, sounds.

how many ways can I put the words together?

One of my favorite scenes in the Scorcese film about Dylan is of Bob reading a sign. It’s a bunch of rules and conditions and stuff.

he takes each word and puts it with other words  from a different part of the sign, creating coherent absurd phrases.

It’s a beautiful insight into his creative process

It’s how you put it all together that counts.

words are just, well, words.

and in the context of a song you have the actual words and melody, and

having stated that, you can then have the story you create about the song.

there’s no whistle, no clickety-clack

in Johnny Mercer’s lyrics

but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be one

in mine.

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