Gig Journal

Integrative Medical Alliance Holiday Party.

Charles River School of Shiatsu, Arlington, MA

Dec. 8, 2002

This gig was quite the opposite of the preceding night's gig (see Gig Journal Jingle Bell Festival), which had been in a large hall, with lots of people and cocktails. This was in a small room where practitioners were giving Shiatsu and people were meditating.

The room was rectangular, maybe 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. I set up at the end, on one of the short walls, near the windows. It was an afternoon gig, and the winter sun was shining in. There were three Shiatsu tables, and some mats on the floor. Guests could either have a treatment, talk with the practitioners, or just sit. The room was one of many, connected by hallways, and I was near one of the doorways, so the sound carried out to the whole suite of offices, even though I was playing very quietly.

In fact, this was the quietest gig I ever played. I was one notch above acoustic volume. The tone problems of the night before were gone. The guitar and amp sounded perfect. It was a pleasure playing, because every nuance came across. I played mostly ballads, a couple of jazz waltzes, and bossas. Since it was a holiday party, I played Bill Leavitt's arrangements of "Christmas Song" and "White Christmas". The night before I'd played my arrangement of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", but it did not go well. The arrangement uses mostly 2- and 3-note voicings, with some natural harmonics. The night before, the room was just to noisy. But in this setting, all the understatement worked.

The sound in the room was excellent. There were oriental rugs and mats on the floor, acoustic tiles on the ceiling, so the sound was softened. But there were also windows on the wall behind me and to my left, which reflected the sound out the two doorways.

Tunes that went well: "This Nearly Was Mine". My arrangement of this is built around the bass line and melody. I just play one chorus. It needs a quiet atmosphere to work. "A Child Is Born." Similar.

This was a unique playing experience; background music and meditation music rolled into one. Guests came and went throughout the afternoon, and when the spoke, the spoke very softly. It was almost like playing in a temple, yet I was aware that it was a holiday party for medical practitioners and guests interested in various kinds of integrative medicine. East and west. Winter and sun.

Several people said they enjoyed the music. But they didn't have to tell me. It felt right.