Monday, June 16, 2014

Samba de Uma Nota Só

My two sons, AKA Unorganized Hancock, are back with their version of One Note Samba.

One Note Samba is a part of a profoundly influential series of songs from the 1960s by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Bossa Nova doesn't translate well into English, but it means new wave, more or less. It certainly was that. There have only been three BIG THINGS in music in my lifetime.

1.The Beatles making rock music important, then self-important, then self-absorbed, and then self-destructive, then atomized.
2. I remember the first time I heard Desmond Dekker very clearly. It was a revelation.
3. Bossa Nova.

As usual, the sixties get the credit for all three, but all of these things were born in 1950s culture. The fifties were supposed to be this sterile uptight time, but that's a joke to anyone that can crack a book. If you know what a wandervogel was you know that being a hippie wasn't anything new. Anyone that knows who Mies was knows that sixties modern was really twenties modern --the twenties being another maligned decade when everything happened while nothing was supposedly happening. No, it was the fifties that gave birth to those three things, and everyone just noticed in the sixties.

My children are homeschooled, but they receive very little musical instruction from me. For the little drummer, his lessons are an afterthought, the same as any extracurricular activity would be in a public school. If the public school had the slightest idea how to teach anyone anything, results like these would be possible with almost any kid who gave good effort. But more important than instruction is guidance, and with music, knowing what to avoid paying attention to is as important as any aspect of learning.

There isn't a dime's bit of difference between one rock group and another, more or less. Metallica sounds about like The Bay City Rollers if you look at it dispassionately. The format is banal, and easily understood. You have to be pretty sophisticated to play ol' One Note, though, and know why it's important.

[Update: Many thanks to Kathleen M. in Connecticut, whose constant support of my children's efforts via our TipJar is remarkable]
[Further Up The Road Update: Many thanks to Sarah R. for her kind words and generous visit to the TipJar!]


Leslie said...


RonF said...

"If the public school had the slightest idea how to teach anyone anything, results like these would be possible with almost any kid who gave good effort. "

Hm. The level of effort children will put into their education will reflect the level of importance their parents place on it. A child whose parents never look at their homework and who don't make sure that their schoolwork takes priority over facility at athletics or video games and who never sees their parents reading won't place much value on it. A child whose parents actually homeschool him sees a much higher value placed on his education and values it accordingly.

chasmatic said...

"But more important than instruction is guidance ..."

And setting a good example. You are blessed, and the kids don't know just yet how fortunate they are.

drjim said...

Those young men will go far!

VERY talented!

Gagdad Bob said...

Any idiot can keep the beat. That boy keeps the lilt!

Gagdad Bob said...

Might have discovered a fourth nova bossa. Just listening to Thank You Falettinme -- in glorious mono -- and I think Larry Graham's Righteous ThumbSlap might qualify. Please advise.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also the vocal breakdown in Surfin' Bird.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi everyone. Many thanks for your kind words and support.

G Bob- I have literally played with more than a hundred drummers. I'm not exaggerating when I say he's more reliable than all of them. He gets in a pocket and stays there. He has perfect pitch, and sometimes I wonder if he's got a metronome in his head, too.

Of course for those that don't know about technique, Larry Graham invented, AFAIK, the playing of the bass by hitting bottom notes with the thumb while plucking higher register notes with the index and middle fingers. Faletinme is the first I heard of it, too. But it's not a genre midwife, I don't think. We'll give it an honorable mention, surely.

I always thought Sly had more in common with Desi Arnaz and people like that than the sixties. One of the most natural musicians I've ever seen. Couldn't stay sober.

Cachinnosus said...

Very nice indeed. Love the SpongeBob on the kick drum.

Ray Visotski said...

Great technique for guys their age….and the old, Underwood makes a nice prop…..

Gagdad Bob said...

The thing about "keeping the beat" is that the great ones have some additional mysterious x-factor going on, or maybe I just don't understand drumming.

But why is it that when most white musicians try to play blues, the beat is so leaden and plodding, whereas when one of those Chess guys do, it swings so cosmically?

Or, what could be more simple than the beat in one of these mid-tempo Al Green songs, and yet, the drummer is communing with the eternal groove. Obviously, no machine could replicate this. Is there some easily identifiable technique that distinguishes the brilliance of Al Jackson, Jr. from the adequacy of Don Brewer?

Must be something at the quantum level.

Sarah Rolph said...

This is great. Great! Great! Great! I set it aside a few days ago and when I finally listened I was NOT disappointed. What fun!

How cheering it is, how heartening it is to watch the progress of Our Lads. Just lovely.

Dinah in Missouri said...

Oh, my! Another winning song....and one of my favorites from 'my yout'. Those sons of yours do keep getting better and better and ever so more polished. What's especially great is the variety of music they take on....building strength and flexibility. Wonderful job!