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MP3 Noel Bowden - House Music

Dance, cool, funky grooves combine live guitar and programmed music.

2 MP3 Songs

OK I’m a drummer. Yes I know one up from a roadie and one down from a musician and I’ve heard the one about ‘What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? (Homeless!) . There’s actually an official book of drummer jokes – probably written by a guitarist. (Heck knows how, they can barely read leave alone write.) Already I digress. Having admitted to the above I do believe I’ve been ‘saved’ because I started life as a piano player and then graduated to guitar before taking up drums. I’d like to think I went that way because of my great coordination particularly with my feet. Unfortunately I’m still a lousy dancer and people get positively annoyed when I practice my double bass drum chops in public – Oh well! (Title of song number six on my CD ‘Blues and other Heartaches’)

Anyway having established that drums are what I’m about I would say my early influences were the great jazz drummers. People like Big Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich to the more modern players like Tony Williams, Ed Blackwell and Jack De Johnette etc. With Funk, people like David Garibaldi, Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham get a mention and with Blues and New Orleans music players like Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Joseph Zigaboo Modelistie and James Black are right up there.

When it comes to music groups and styles the list is endless but in my early days of piano lessons, apart from the pop music of the time, I remember a few tunes that had an impact. Black and White Rag from Winifred Atwell drove me nuts for a while but introduced me to that lovely boogie piano playing style. When I discovered St Louis Blues I thought “Hey, what a cool music form this is.” Martin Denny’s version of ‘A Taste of Honey’ filled my head for a long time and speaking of time; Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take 5’ kept me amused and taught me to count past four. With classical stuff I find it hard to forgive Tchaikovsky for writing Piano Concerto No 1 and in B flat minor – I mean come on, at the time I thought the black keys were for decoration!

Someone gave me an awful guitar in my late teens – bless them. The first thing you realise is that this instrument requires tuning – a process which kept guitar teachers gainfully employed until the invention of the electronic tuner! After a while you also realise that the cost and quality of a guitar is directly related to how easy it is to tune if indeed as in my case, it can be tuned at all. Anyway I attempted to put my piano theory into playing it with limited success and then I discovered a chord book. What a good idea! Now this instrument sucks you in. You learn a few chords and licks and yes you can suddenly play a huge amount of tunes but then you keep hearing new sounds (somebody should own up to the major 7th chord) and off you go in another direction. Like all instruments, a little knowledge is the tip of a huge iceberg and if you get serious about it you can chip away for ever. Having made this masterful statement however, with guitar, a big thank you must go to the dude who invented the blues scale and the power chord!

Drums became important to me when I was living in Sydney and singing with a group. The drummer was pretty bad so I went and bought a second hand Premier kit, got some lessons and replaced him in about three months. Of course that was the start of a musical journey that continues today. I reckon I’ve played in just about every combination of instruments for almost any style of music. Currently I play in a 20 piece Jazz big band, a symphonic band and am rehearsing the stage version of ‘The Full Monty’.

The above CD ‘House Music’ has only two tracks but will eventually be part of a bigger album with about eight tunes. This is the album I work on when not much is happening which is just about never so it’s been going on for several years. I met guitarist Dale Allison when living in Wagga, NSW (Aus) a couple of years ago where he has his own music store and asked him to play on these tracks. I think he did a great job considering they were one take wonders so if you like his style and want to know more, Google Allison Music (Aus) and email ‘Captain Fingers’. It’s all good.
Noel Bowden

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