Monday, March 18, 2013
Hmmm. What's a father to say about this one?
I'm not exactly sure where it came from. My children have heard Take Five a million times in our house, of course. We're catholic in our tastes, and Brubeck is a staple in the audio stable of anyone that's not a barbarian. But this is not our --my wife and I, I mean --idea.
It's the kids' idea to play it. We homeschool the kids. Well, my wife homeschools the kids, and I try not to mess it up too badly. Take a big bite, and keep chewing, we counsel them. This seems more than a big bite to me. I've watched it dozens of times already. I find it kind of astonishing. But better than that --I find it entertaining. I'll put this version of Take Five on my mp3 player and erase the original, and never look back.
The Heir is doing all the heavy lifting. He is playing three parts on the recording. He has learned to play the bass fairly well, even though he only recently started messing around with it. He tried to cajole a handful of his friends to play along with him, but they all fall out almost immediately. He decided to do it himself. With the help of my readers, he's able to record multiple tracks now, and makes the most of it. It's a tiny little thing, his multitrack. But it works. He recorded the rhythm guitar part along with his brother, in one take, and then added the bass, and then the melody and the solo. His little brother never misses, so he gets to go back to playing Minecraft right away.
I know him, the Spare Heir. He's thinking of playing Minecraft the whole time he's playing Take Five. I'm certain of that, because I remarked to him, after the last cymbal strike decayed into hiss and the recorder was turned off, that I thought he played really well, and he looked at me funny and immediately started in with: My Minecraft mod has such-and-such and so-and-so in it and blah, blah, blah...
Honestly, I don't know how he does it. He's still only nine. I can't play Take Five properly on the drums. There is no one in Oxford County, Maine, that can, probably. It's in odd meter: 5/4. If you're unfamiliar with that term, watch it again and count the beats as the measures go by. You're probably used to doing that. 1 2 3 4, you go. Count 1 2 3 4 5 for this song. It's how the song got its name, of course. The saxophone player in Brubeck's band, Paul Desmond wrote the song, which was mightily overlooked when Brubeck passed away a short time ago. Everyone assumed Brubeck had written it.
At any rate, the big one learned to play the saxophone part on the guitar, and they tried it out. The little feller played what was essentially the correct drumbeat by ear. Sat down and did it. I sat down after him, a little curious, and tried it myself. I sounded like I had some sort of affliction, and was falling down the stairs while playing the drums. I jerked around like a fish on a line for a while, then gave up. I mentioned to the boy that what he was playing would be more effective if he opened his hi-hat on the second beat and closed it crisply on the third, to make it sizzle. He immediately added that to what he was playing, further confounding me. It's very prominent on their recording if you look for it. That's the limit of my input into the playing.
Yesterday was special. I promised my wife, and the kids, that for the first time in three years, I'd take a day off. A real day off. No furniture. No writing. I've promised that in the past, many times, and always failed. I wrote everything the day before, and didn't bang my thumb or anything in the woodshop. I volunteered to be their key grip.
We took the furniture out of the dining room, and lugged their stuff in there, and we set up two ladders. Between the ladders, we laid two, eight-foot two-by-fours. We got the two-by-fours from the dump. We took a skateboard, and clamped a video camera to it with two spring clamps from the woodshop. Then I rolled the skateboard back and forth while the kids played. We moved the ladders this way and that for the different shots. We didn't bother filming the bass playing. My wife was out all day on a mission of mercy, and we boys re-enacted The Cat In The Hat, tearing the house asunder while Mom's away, and putting it all back, and doing all the dishes before she got home.
It was, in every way but one, the best day of my life.
(There's a Paypal button in the right column if you want to help us buy the kids a better skateboard for the dolly shots)
[Update: Holy cow, many thanks to Stephen L. for his generous bang on the tipjar!]
[Up-Update: Many thanks to (Sloop) Jon B. in Cholerahdi for helping the kids out!]
[More Up To Date: Many thanks to Philip B. from Yucca Val-E!]
[The continuing saga of Updates: Thanks a ton to Nathan A. with an M.O. from MO.]
[In this episode of As The 45 Turns, we send a metric carload of thanks to Bruce W. from CO for his very generous body-slam of the Paypal button. Stay away from the Donner Pass, Bruce; the world needs you]
[Cutting-edge Update: Many thanks go out to Kathleen M. from New Milford, which is obviously a much better place than Old Milford, because Kathleen M. lives in New Milford]
[Rocky Update: Why are people in Colorado so nice, and nice to us? It's a wonderful mystery. Thanks, Mark M. from Leadville for your very generous Paypal button workout]
[More Up-To-Date Update: Muchas gracias to Tanis E. for supporting the boys. Very generous! Why are people in Texas so kind, and kind to us? We don't know, but we're grateful for it.]
[Update: Maine edition: Tom C. from Bridgton sends along a generous and neighborly show of support. Many thanks!]
[Lone Star Update: Holy cow, Texas has adopted my children. Many thanks to Linda L. from League City. You're a peach!]
[Empire State Uppadate: Arthur R. from Bellport is a pleasant and generous fellow, and we're grateful for it. Many thanks!]
[Up, Up, and Awaydate: I'm speechless. Well-wishes and support keeps coming. Impresario Dave R. from California is continually generous and helpful. Many thanks! ]
[More, More, Moredate: Lee P. from the Keystone State is a generous supporter. Many thanks!]
[California, Somemoredate: Long time reader and commenter and Interfriend Lorraine, who I do not like -- I adore her -- ladles money and good wishes on the boys, and me too. My life is better with Lorraine in it. Many thanks!]
[Week Later Update: Our grateful thanks go out to Peter H. from the North Star State for his generous help and support!]
[So Very Up Update: Many thanks to Signe from Coasta Meysee for supporting the boys!]