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My Bitter Half Click to play or right click and 'save as' to download.

You can have my bitter half, you can have my pill
You can have my bitter half, but you don't want it...

The July 2006 Download Of The Month was a little improvised number called Electric Tuba.  For that, we talked about our beloved "Improvised Song Project."  This month's unreleased release, My Bitter Half, was also an improvised piece, but with words, melody, and bass added later. 

Edwin and I improvised the guitar and drums, I believe in November 2001.  Soon after, we had a fun melody for the song, with lots of crazy syllables and sounds, but no decipherable words.  My very good friend Steven Harris calls this "Syllabating."  For me, this has turned out to be a very useful and effective songwriting technique.  One of the many things I've learned from Steve.   

Then what after the syllabating?  Well, sometimes if you listen carefully to the syllabating, you can actually start to hear real words in there.  Often those words begin to help form the theme for the song.  In this case, we had the opening word riff, but no words for the second half of the song.  So this puppy sat on the shelf until the rest appeared this last summer.   

To finish this off, we took the original stereo mix of the improvised guitar and drums, ported it over to the laptop, and added the rest of the tracks.  My friend Collin Stokes, who I get to play with in the Brian Choban Jazz Quintet, came over and put down a brilliant, vibey string bass line.  Then he did another cut through with some experimental bow action.  Magic!  Collin brings his very improvisational approach to the studio as well, which is perfect for this track.  I added vocals with the new words, mixed it on the lappie, and this one's finally done. 

Enjoy!


I just realized that my last blog posting on 100yearpicnic.com was my 100th post.  A nice little milestone for 100YP.  I didn't bother to point out our 1-year website anniversary, but I started this website on March 27, 2005 with this little posting

100 postings in that time frame averages out to more than one per week, sometimes more, although often less than that.  For me, with this music project and the blog, it's a balance of spending time making music and talking or writing about it (not to mention the BIGGER balance of family, friends, day job, and music).  Regardling 100yearpicnic.com, I'm actually trying to spend more time making music, but I believe the best music is a great conversation between musicians creating further conversation with the audience.  My favorite kind of live show is where the artist creates a conversation with the audience, inviting them in to take part in the fun.  Although it will never replace the experience of a face-to-face live interaction, technology is allowing us to reach a world-wide audience, with potential for a gianormous CONVERSATION.   

It's pretty common for artists and bloggers and podcasters to wonder if they are just spinning their wheels, spending all this time, and for what?  Well, I suppose some people are making money, but most of us do it for the pure joy and adventure of doing it.  And why should we keep this all to ourselves? 

I'm having a great time sharing our music from this little spot on the planet to the rest of the world, so I thank you all for listening and being a part of the music, the fun, and the conversation. 


In my "spare" time for the past 9 months or so, I've been playing drums with a great little jazz group: The Brian Choban Quintet.  We play our own improvised versions of great jazz standards from the Real Book. 

All you locals really out to check us out sometime.  Here's the cast of characters:

  • Brian Choban: Trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Jeff Greeneberg: Drums
  • Randy Huberman: Baritone sax
  • Bruce Lane: Piano and bass trumpet
  • Collin Stokes: Upright bass

I feel lucky to be able play with these talented guys. Brian just put up a brand spankin' new website, brianchoban.com, complete with mp3s of recent shows.  This is cool.  Check out our last show at the pizzeria

We play twice a month.  Typically, it's the 2nd Thursday at TC Buzz (next to Parkway Cinemas and Best Buy) and the 4th Thursday at Chicago Style Pizzeria (across from K-Mart).  Our next show is at Chicago Style Pizzeria on August 24, from 7 - 8:30 p.m.  These are both great places to chill-out, hook-up with some great friends and family, and of course, hear some great jazz.  And it's free.

Also, expect to hear some of these guys on new 100YP material coming out this year.  Collin's already played on 3 tunes and Brian played on our last CD, plus he contributed the swanky muted trumpet solo for the Unharshed Mellow Theme Song

Anyway, I'm having a blast, and this has been a really great way for me to keep my drumming alive in the midst of the singing, songwriting, and recording for 100YP.  I'm loving it, thanks all for your support.