The Last Solo Instrument You’ll Ever Need?

On September 30, we took the Argosy Cruises Jazz Brunch voyage featuring Michael Powers.  This was the occasion of my sister-in-laws birthday and I fancied the presence of a jazz combo as a nice addition, but not particularly special.  That was, until Michael Powers started playing.  I knew there was no pianist, and I couldn’t figure out where the keyboard player was hiding — the grand piano in the boat’s lounge was covered and serving the combo as a coat rack.  When the horns started, I figured this was some new form of jazz karaoke until Michael held up his amazing instrument and said "that’s me."  You can see that his guitar is unusual, but the sounds are interesting too.

Listening to how much fun Michael Powers was having with this instrument, and how convenient it was for this small performance setting, I experienced serious geek envy (though not enough that I have mastered any instrument).  The variety and creativity that is available, along with the clear enjoyment of the combo, led us to plan our New Years Eve celebration where Powers will be performing.

I am puzzled by the different ways you must learn to finger the instrument to provide appropriate sound patterns depending on the choice of synthesis off of the guitar pickups.  It is very impressive and looks to be a lot of fun.   The power of this solo instrument is amazing, although it is richer to have accompanists rather than attempt a one-man-band (except in your own basement or garage, of course). 

As much as I marvel at how much digital and synthesized music instruments have advanced, there remains a great deal to appreciate in ensembles of acoustic instruments and the fascinating mixtures that are possible, as this reminded me today: Hip Hop Violin (via Doc Searls via Scobleizer).


We enjoyed the two-hour cruise, the music, and the great company so much that, beside planning to reconvene on New Years Eve, Vicki and I finally planned to take an Alaskan Cruise in Spring 2008.

Listening to: Peter Green, Supernatural – An Anthology followed by The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers, all on Windows Media Player via Amazon MP3.

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