Part 3 of 4:
When I started these blogs I had a slightly different idea of how they were all going to work. With all that has gone on in my life since February it was difficult to figure out what I really wanted to communicate about the possible direction of the band and our approach to the upcoming tours. Since I've decided to post this I must have an idea of what I want to say now.
The first tour of the year took a real detour and brought me all the way back to the beginning in many ways. Freak Out came out in 1966 and it was like nothing the world had ever heard before or since. The music really made an impact. The raw energy captured in that material is palpable even 40 plus years later. Trying to reproduce that energy on stage has been a fun challenge. I've rediscovered some of the ephemeral elements that connect me to that energy in the music from that era and they have inspired me to re-frame my approach to some aspects of my future live performances.
With the new yet familiar synergy that was injected into the rhythm section of ZPZ back in February, I found myself exploring some different territory. Not only in the selected program material but in the improvisational realm as well. The way Scott Thunes supports improvisation is very recognizable to me from Frank's music but also from my past experience playing with Scott in my band Z. On that February tour I found myself less in a place of cogitation about adhering to my own concept of idiosyncratic guide posts in solos and more in a place of reckless abandonment in the best possible sense. To put it another way, a more personalized style of playing has started to emerge and my awareness of that is now intriguing me and inspiring new ideas for how to move forward in presenting future ZPZ shows.
On every tour I have tried to push the boundaries within my own playing while maintaining a very high standard of the execution of my father's music. This year I have challenged myself to really reach beyond the "playground" I have been accustomed to. I am inspired to try new things and to rediscover some things from my past that had played a role in my development. I'd like to put them to use somehow.
I have been thinking about ways to connect that early development to what I'm doing currently. Perhaps in a sense similar to Frank's concept of the "big note." So far this year I was lucky to be able to examine some of that developmental history while having fun playing with Allan Holdsworth. While I've always been mesmerized by his ability to connect so many finger twisting phrases together, admittedly I had no idea what the ingredients were or how he approached his own playing. I did find myself making a mental imprint while on stage. Since then I have noticed some pronounced differences in the realization of my musical ideas and expanded guitar vocabulary.
What does it all mean? I don't know yet but I'm starting to figure it all out. I've been through a lot of life altering changes in the past few years both personally and professionally. In reflecting on all of it I think I have discovered a path that I am now getting ready to embark on.
New Bassist - Kurt Morgan!
New ways to meet them head on!
I'm getting ready for all of it, see you out on the road very soon.