Wednesday, June 29, 2005

“Fascinatin’ Rhythm”

At first, I thought I enjoyed singing along with Mark’s bass (see because I’m a harmony freak. I’ve been singing harmony—both written and improvised—since I was a teenager, and it comes as naturally to me as breathing.

But then it occurred to me that I was being inconsistent. After all, sometimes Mark plays harmony, but sometimes he solos. So what was it about, say, the intro to “Shoshanat Yaakov” that made me want to sing along?

It was just this morning that I suddenly realized that harmony wasn’t the only thing that I was enjoying. Bass players have one major advantage over (ex-) choir singers—in all my twenty-something years in the choir, I never once sang a piece that was syncopated! So that’s why I started switching back!

When I first started listening to Mark’s Moshe Skier Band play “Shma Yisrael,” with music by Pik, I would sing along with Mark’s bass, then switch to melody when the lead guitarist, Mendel Appel, came in, because the way Mendel plays that opening bit is really cool. So why am I now switching back to the bass-guitar line after Mendel’s first go-round, rather than sticking with him through the repetition? The answer is that, by going back to the bass line, not only am I singing harmony, I’m also singin’ somethin’ so durned syncopated that I’m dancin’ in, out, and around Mendel’s melody part like a drunken sailor. Hot sauce, that’s fun!

I hope the guys in the band get as much of a kick out of playing and singing this stuff as their loonier fans do. :)


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