Kevin asked me to pick a new song to work on for piano this week, since I'm at the point where I can play some basic blues and "Take the 'A' Train" without freezing up with panic, and (thanks to able to go "oh! D flat minor 7 flat 5 BAM!" and such. (It feels so good. Even better; I know I'm just at the beginning of the learning curve.)

I'm playing Hanon twice as fast as when I started now (150bpm w00t); I sometimes remember which sharps and flats go with what keys, with the kind of knowing that turns itself on when my fingers hit the keyboard, not something purely intellectual - this is a different kind of knowing for me. Forcing myself to play at pika helped with my "freak out when people listen to me" thing. (It's not gone, but I'm learning how to ignore it better.) Teaching Not and Woon the small shreds of blues stuff I can play helped, too. Music is awesome. Yay for great teachers who keep you in disequilibrium!

Anyway. My usual strategy for picking things to learn (case in point: my major) is "what confuses/terrifies me the most?" So I set about flipping through my fake book to find the song that was the most "wtf?" inducing. This is how I discovered Charles Mingus. I didn't know half the notation in the songs attributed to him, and there were big SOLOS GO HERE! parts that I found recordings of online and went "what in the world?" It's like someone threw a bunch of notes into a blender and then poured them out again so that they self-assembled into a 7-tier cake; it sounded awesome but made no sense whatsoever. (Yes, I'm very new to listening to jazz.)

So I picked the longest and the most confusing Mingus piece in my book, "Jump Monk," went to Kevin's studio, and said "I want to learn this!" He looked at me, looked at the music, and then looked at me again. "I'm masochistic!" I said, and then explained my song-choosing methodology. He grinned. We listened through Jump Monk together, went "oh wow, oh boy, oh wow," and then went to the piano where Kevin began to teach me how to take it apart and play with it.

It's, uh... hard. (And therefore I am happy.) Listen to the recording link, and then imagine going "how would I recreate all of that if I only had a piano and two smallish hands, and the improvised melodies occasionally strayed outside my hearing range?" I like.

I need more music. MORE! MORE! Where can I get more jazz and blues?