Last week, my buddy Az Samad was in town to play at Esplanade so I met up with him and talked lots of music. Do check him out at http://www.azsamad.com/ if you haven’t done so!
I had been struggling with my sense of time. I was simply thinking too much if everything was falling into grid that it affected my playing. I told Az of my struggle and he told me about this metric time and blues time thing. My eyes opened wide and I went, wow! Basically metric time is having everything mathematically rhythmic (in my own words) while blues time is more feel-orientated so to say hence it might not be mathematically satisfying like having everything in strict septuplets etc.
I can’t say enough of how much my mind was opened by Az’s words. I used to be more ‘bluesy’ where things would flow and I didn’t worry much if I was playing in what I now call strict mathematically-satisfying-subdivisions. It was until last year I sat down and told myself, okay I gotta get my triplets and sextuplets down. I practiced a lot and I’m now more comfortable with these subdivisions but they seem to haunt me at times. I couldn’t stop thinking of them when I play. I was constantly counting and looking for spaces to show off this new-found power of mine. This put a lot of stress to my mind and in the end, the music suffered.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I think it’s time for me to practice my feel. Not to say I won’t be practicing my metric time and technique but I really need to let my feels take over now. Off to practice!