I got to play my beloved melodica with Jeff Usher! We went to Kaiyar the lovely home belonging to Alex and Nita, and ran through some songs.
For those who don’t know what a melodica is, it’s like a little keyboard, and you blow into it while pressing the keys to get sound. It has reeds inside and it basically works like a cut-down accordion.
I wanted to get a few videos with Jeff. Of course, sieve-brain me forgot to refocus the camera after moving the tripod around. So the near end of the piano is the clearest part of these videos. Thankfully, recording sound from a camera doesn’t need any focussing.
When Jeff plays he celebrates Bill Evans and Clifford Brown and of course the great Thelonious Monk. I love listening to him and watching his fingers wander all over the keyboard!
We played two Charlie Parker songs, Yardbird Suite and Little Suede Shoes. As if I didn’t have enough on my mind playing a Parker melody, Jeff threw in a riff of A Night in Tunisia which just blanked me out! Jazzers eh?
Jeff suggested I play his original composition The Still Small Voice. When he first played it to me it had a kind of Celtic feel to it; contemplative, like a hymn. On melodica I’m not sure if that still comes across. The melodica-accordion sound tends to make melodies sound like European folk songs. Either way, it’s very pretty and I’m honoured to play it. Thank you, Jeff.
I love my melodica. I bought it just before leaving London for Malaysia in 2008, from this wonderful online store http://www.theharmonicacompany.com/. It cost £139.95 then. I had a small blue plastic one already and Mike suggested I treat myself to something cool before embarking on a new journey. I’m so glad I have it now!
Great to get together with Jeff again. I’m still looking after his upright piano, you know! Lucky me.