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Jody Kruskal

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Everything posted by Jody Kruskal

  1. Since my last post, I’ve been jamming on Jamkazam nightly. What a pleasure. Part of the fun is connecting with musicians across the globe and chatting. Sometimes we talk about our isolation and lost gigs, our bands, jobs, kids, spouses, gardening, etc. Then there is the music we play. Sometimes not so good, but other times extraordinary, like tonight. I joined a session and there were my old friends, Mike and Mike from Montreal plus a guitar player from Southern California. No latency issues at all. It was almost like we were in the same room together interacting as musicians do, in a normal way. Amazing fun, and we all reported that satisfying music was played. If only there were more traditional tune players out there, but alas. So far, it’s been mostly pop, rock and blues. I like those genres well enough on Anglo concertina with my pedal board for added expression. Also, I've been singing as much as playing. "Siri, get me the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven". It’s a deep well to drink from, but... no reels and jigs. In the past two weeks I have had to download seven new versions of the Jamkazam app. and it seems like the experience is getting better and better. I’m glad that the developers are on top of things and making improvements. I know, it flies in the face of physics, but Jamkazam actually works... sometimes.
  2. Hi Randy, Have you tried playing concertina via zoom? I have, and it did not work. Perhaps the algorithms that make group speech possible, interpret music as background noise or feedback. They certainly suppressed the music I was playing. I even employed the "enable original sound" option (preferences/audio/advanced, tick the box) but no joy. Perhaps you will have a better result, but do give it a dry run before your gig. Let us know how it goes.
  3. I had a look at this article. Good stuff. I've long advocated for this approach, calling it "intentional practice". The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-beginner-s-guide-to-deliberate-practice?utm_source=pocket-newtab
  4. Ha! True enough. As for the joke, I've taken it down. Too close to home.
  5. Sunday 4/19/ 20 : Out of five sessions I busted in on tonight... two were fruitful with amazing jams, these were both seemingly simultaneous playing across the US continent... California to NYC for one, and then a very local session, only 30 miles from each other with four players all in the NYC area. How is this possible? But it is happening. Now that I've hooked up a more current audio interface, Audient iD14, my jams have been vastly improved. I’m not sure if tune playing would be possible, but I sure would like to try. Anyone?
  6. JK report: Joy and disappointment. Last night, it was 9:30 pm and I picked a likely session at random. What a shock. Traditional dance music! But nothing quite like what I’ve played before... polkas and Schottisches from a bunch of Detroit musicians. They were playing standards from the Bavarian/ Austrian mountains. Tuba held down the beat plus accordion and clarinet. I had to break out my rarely played Bb/F Anglo concertina to join them. Up-tempo and totally together. What fun! Tonight though, there is no joy in Mudville. Every session I join is muddy and disjointed. Something in my either is ferblungent.
  7. That's the ticket. Yes, try to maximize your experience... sure., but... Even with a poor connection, back when I started this madness, even with only a wifi connection, the JK experience worked to some degree. For me, it's been a blast all along the learning curve! Today's JamKazam update: It’s a bit like I imagine shortwave radio many decades ago. Surfing the sessions... Random connections with folks all over the globe, news, chess, gossip, tunes, songs. “Where you from”? “Melbourne”, “Sidney”, “New York”, “Montreal”, “Santiago, Chile”, Bristol, UK”, wherever... let’s play! We jam! JK does help you manage your “friends”... If you like playing with someone and friend them, then they will come up on your "friend" list tomorrow, so you can connect with them and join their jam when you are both online. Only at the best of times, is this JK thing like regular face to face playing. Some musicians can deal with the weirdness better than others. As for me, I just consider dealing with it as part of the fun. And it is fun... given the options in this time of pandemic! Would I rather be cheek to jowl with Michael and Nick and Sam and Ellen in my local pub? Sure I would, but it ain't going to happen for awhile, so I figure that I better get used to it and join the band that is actually playing.
  8. Thanks Don, The Session is always worth looking at. Thanks for the link. Tonight's JK report: After a few false starts I quickly found a compatible session with 7 folks spread from Madison, Wisconsin to the US East coast. A strong guitar/singer kept us all together and we were having fun chatting, joking around, laughing and playing Beatles songs like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and She’s Gotta Ticket to Ride. Then some 80’s indie stuff I didn’t know. So I took a little break. When I came back the only one left was Luis on electric bass with his video showing. I turned on my video too and we kept the video going for an amazing duo session for about 45 minutes. I speak no Spanish really and he, no English at all. Just enough language and sign language between us to learn that Luis was playing from Santiago, Chile. The most interesting and amazing thing about this session was that it worked just the way I had thought JK would work from the beginning... before actually trying it. Luis and I were locked in a fast tight groove that was more stable than any I have yet experienced on JK. The only thing was, from my hearing he was playing the downbeat on the offbeat. From my point of view, he was lagging behind one eight note... but we were actually playing in sync together and responding to each other musically, almost like being in the same room, but over lapped in this peculiar way. Together, but not quite. The songs I taught him were all simple blues, but with some surprising twists and turns. Luis took it all in stride and learned the changes. I could tell he was hearing me and responding musically using only the language of music. The groove really took off when the first 8 measures of our new song were all in Em with no changes. I always thought that using the video would steal bandwidth and degrade the all important audio. Yet this duo session had the video on, and it was the best session ever in terms of working with the inherent latency. and not fighting it. Also, if you can see each other then you can take advantage of posture and facial expressions to communicate lots of information. A few examples of visual messages might be... “Get quiet” or “Here comes that unexpected chord” or “Play the IV chord (hold up 4 fingers)” Very interesting, this session, unlike any other.
  9. My newest concertina student from up in Edinburgh UK plays an old DDR 20 button. It's in G/D and also up an octave, playing above the standard C/G boxes. Sounds good!
  10. Tonight's JK update: Actually it is early morning at 1:24 am and I've had such a great session on JamKazam. I just have to gush with you about it. Allow me to enthuse you. I loaded up the app and selected a session at random and ended up with a pair of guitar players from a small town north of Montreal... out for their first time... and it was magic, absolutely wonderful music. We played a dozen tunes I had never heard before... a catchy bunch of chords that invited melodic improvisation. Quite interactive and natural sounding. Almost like we were in the same room. Actual jamming. This was not the normal garbage I'm accustomed to hearing on JK. These two guys knew what they were doing and were completely in-sync with each other, so when I joined them, there was a solid foundation for me to join. What a pleasure! This session was the real deal and I have never had a better. I have no idea what they heard... they were talking in French. The music that I heard was totally together and it was a distinct pleasure to play with these guys. There is a neat way I have of playing across the beat that might have contributed to the rhythmic success of the session. Regardless, I raise my glass to DS Duceppe and his friends from Canada for including me in a fine evening of musical invention.
  11. Here is a youtube about setting up your hardware to join JamKazam:
  12. Tonight's JK update: I joined a dozen public sessions. 1/3rd were horrible for various reasons. 1/3rd were passable, but I moved on. 1/3rd were pretty good and I played some agreeable music with folks from California, Georgia and Quebec. This way of using JK is analigious to a live music festival where I wander from camp site to camp site, partaking for a time and then wandering on, hunting for something where I can play better music. I've been in this position many times at live festivals and it seems quite familiar... only now, I'm sitting at home and it's global, just like our pandemic. Anyone here want to join me in setting up a private JK session to play traditional session tunes? English, Morris, American, Old-Time, Celtic, Country Dance, Swedish, Shetland, Northumbrian etc. music?
  13. Ah... those pesky decimal places. Of course, that's light in a vacuum. The wires and packets must slow things down some.
  14. Let's see, I want to play with someone in London, 3459 miles away. The speed of light is 670,616,629 mph, so mps is about 186,282.4 Distance divided by mps is about 0.0186 seconds. So a round trip would take just a bit over 1/3 of a second. Did I do that right? That's enough to make a down beat sound like an up beat. Presumably, JK has some cleaver algorithm involving added delay that attempts to mitigate this inherent difficulty in playing together over distance. It kind of works... some of the time.
  15. Aside from the disappointment jams tonight (glitchy, latency bedeviled, mixing difficulties, poor musicianship, pop tunes I don't know and so on), I did have a sweet JK session with a pair of Old-time musicians from Bristol UK. A fiddler and bass player from there came through loud and clear and for large segments of the session, latency free for some satisfying playing. They were playing buddies with a shared rep. and that helped too. I heard us playing well together and my new Bristol friends claimed to hear us playing together too. Seems impossible, yet there it is. We played Old-time classics at moderate tempos. Liberty, Billy in the Low Ground, Turkey in the Straw and a few other tunes etc... nice folks and it was fun to join UK musicians for some American trad. tunes. Would I spend time with this flawed JK stuff if things were as they used to be? Probably not, given its defects. But I'm certainly enjoying messing around with it, now that there are no other live playing opportunities. I love how the location of players does not seem to matter. Good connections and bad connections seem to happen irregardless of physical distance. I would love to figure out how to optimize the playing experience.
  16. Another very fun jam tonight on JK with musicians on the west coast. We played slow blues and I sang and played Anglo. It was righteous. Almost as good as live... but not quite. Really no serious latency issues, just a bit of fuzzy tempo from time to time. To stay together, we all had to push the tempo or the songs tended to slow down. A good song to sing and play is "Summertime" because most of these folks are rockers and they have all heard Janis Joplin's version with Big Brother and the Holding Co. back in the late 60's. I love that song. That classic performance is slow and folks seem to know it, so it makes a good model of how to play in this weird JK universe.
  17. Hi David and all. I'm not an internet expert but I can tell you more about my JamKazam music experiences. Things improved quite a lot when I stopped using wifi and plugged in directly from my router to my computer with an ethernet cable. That took some effort, buy a cable, drill holes in the floor and walls, string the cable through, etc. Not every session I've joined has been equally satisfying or latency free. Some are glitchy. Most sessions are trying to play music where the musicians don't really know the songs, more like a party than a rehearsal. The most satisfying sessions have been with only one other musician. Slow tempos work better than fast ones. Location does not seem to matter. I'm in New York City. I've had good sessions with players in Indiana, Texas, California, Rome Italy, England. Perhaps there is some luck involved. Perhaps the players hardware and internet connection set up "matched" mine in some fortunate way. My musician friend Cindy advised me to use my computer audio output to listen (headphones of course), rather than the output from my mixer or audio interface unit. When I do that, now I hear myself delayed, like a slap back effect. When playing with others, I need to turn myself down at the JK window and play in sync with the other musicians in the session, not myself. This seems to improve things. It's a bit hard/odd at first, but I got used to it. JK will never be as good as playing face to face in the same location, but I'm having fun with it.
  18. So sorry to dispute you, but I have had some fine jams on jamkazam latency be damned.
  19. I just had a great time jamming with Paolo on Jam Kazam. Never met him before, but we hooked up nicely and played together for over an hour tonight. He lives in Rome, Italy and plays guitar for dancers at clubs there that enjoy Brazilian Bossa Nova... so already he was a soul mate. Musicians that play for dancers... they have a certain bond, a certain shared understanding. He played and sang with authority and I joined him for a wild ride of busking along to popular Bossa songs from the 50's that I had never heard before. Such fun! Aside from perfect English and Italian, he claims to speak Portuguese and some Spanish. It was so refreshing to play with Paolo. What a nice guy, The cultural triangle of Brazil, Rome and NYC was quite stimulating, to say the least! Earlier this evening I had joined and then un-joined several random JK sessions. They were playing Pop and Rock and while I can enjoy playing in those genres, the music that was going down was not really happening for me on concertina. So many difficulties like: wrong key, modulations, never heard that song before, weird stuff, folks trying to play songs they really did not know, technical problems etc... On JK, if you surf the sessions, you take what you get... and I ended up getting a great duo session with my new friend Paolo, Brazilian musician in Rome. So worth it.
  20. Is this the tune? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96fA19JimOU
  21. It's been an interesting experiment. What I found out... Zoom does not work for music, but there are a few sites that might do. I've been having lots of fun on JamKazam. Perhaps later I'll try also SoundJack. or also Jamulous. I spent the past three hours on JamKazam tonight playing live music with a random bunch of folks from all over the world and had fun. It was sort of like a festival where new musicians would join unexpectedly and new influences would occur. Very cool! To do this, I downloaded the JamKazam software and struggled to make it work with finally some success. First off is the hardware, you need headphones, a fast internet connection, a mic on a stand plugged into an audio interface and then on to your computer. These are all off the shelf items that are generally available where you buy your music supplies. Then also, the best way to make this work is to be plugged directly with an ethernet cable from your router into your computer. I was not, and relied on wifi to make the connection. Wifi worked ok, but was glitchy. My new JamKazam friends assured me that a cable connection was superior, was the way to go and would solve my problems. So I'll get that hooked up for my next session. Until I do, my take on internet playing was that it holds great promise for enjoyment. My friend Cindy and I set up our JamKazam session to test this thing out. We encountered and overcame many difficulties as we figured out how to get good sound quality with both of our various set ups. Our session progressed. Along the way, various random folks joined us to jam because I had set it up as an open jam. Perhaps I should have kept it private, but who knew? In the end, Cindy and I got a good sound and met a number of folks from all over the globe who were eager to join us to play. The social networking bit was very interesting, folks joined and left the session continuously and this was a big part of the JamKazam pleasure of this, our first JamKazam experience. For example: Oh yeah, here comes Jake on bass... "Hi Jake, where are you from?" ... like that. Along the way, I actually played the blues in A with a few folks for a bit... and it sounded almost plausible. Not quite, but almost. Exactly where the beat sits is open to interpretation but if you think of that as a feature then it stops being annoying. Perhaps using that cable instead of wifi will help me with the inevitable time delay inherent in this platform. Until my 50 foot eathernet cable comes in the mail, I'm still enthused and have enjoyed many JamKazam sessions and keep coming back for more... because it's so much fun! Stay well, Jody
  22. Ok folks, here is what I found out. Zoom does not work for music, but there are two sites that might do. Try SoundJack or better yet, JamKazam. I spent the past three hours on JamKazam tonight playing live music with a random bunch of folks and had fun. It was sort of like a festival where new musicians would join unexpectedly and new influences would occur. Very cool! To do this, I downloaded the JamKazam software and struggled to make it work with finally some success. First off is the hardware, you need a fast internet connection, a mic on a stand plugged into an audio interface and then on to your computer. The mic, stand and interface are off the shelf items that are generally available. Then also, the best way to make this work is to be plugged directly with a cable from your modem into your computer. I was not, and relied on wifi to make the connection. Wifi worked ok, but was glitchy. My new JamKazam friends assured me that a cable connection was superior, was the way to go and would solve my problems. So I'll get that hooked up for my next session. Until I do, my take on internet playing was that it holds some promise for enjoyment. My friend Cindy and I set up our JamKazam session to test this thing out. We encountered and overcame many difficulties as we figured out how to get good sound quality with both of our various set ups. Our session progressed. Along the way, various random folks joined us to jam because I had set it up as an open jam. Perhaps I should have kept it private, but who knew? In the end, Cindy and I got a good sound and met a number of folks from all over the globe who were eager to join us to play. The social networking bit was very interesting, folks joined and left the session continuously and this was a big part of the JamKazam pleasure of this, our first JamKazam experience. For example: Oh yeah, here comes Jake on bass... "Hi Jake, where are you from?" ... like that. Along the way, I actually played the blues in A with a few folks for a bit... and it sounded almost plausible. Not quite, but almost. Perhaps using that cable instead of wifi will help me with the inevitable time delay inherent in this system. In the meantime, I'm enthused and want to try JamKazam again!
  23. I want to try playing improvisational music on Zoom this Sunday at 3-4:30 pm US EST that's 7 pm UK time. Hopefully, four musicians plus myself for this jam, any instrument welcome. If you play tunes and also improvise and have a broad internet connection and a broad curiosity of what it would be like to play together in this novel setting, then join me for an experiment. Don't expect it to be like a regular tune session. We will all be playing out of time with each other and listening to the effect and reacting to make a new kind of music that crafts something strange and new out of traditional tune playing. This is expedient art for exceptional times. If you want to join me, PM me your email address.
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