Jack Wallen’s E.P. and the Joy of Self-Critique

I’ve just finished having my first proper listen to a rough mix of the live recording I made with Jack Wallen the other month and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.  Now this is not a slight on Jack’s or Harry Harding‘s musicianship at all, far from it, but I have been dreading listening back to what I played that night as I left the stage feeling like I’d delivered a tenth of what I’m capable of.

As any musician will tell you we are all our own worst enemies, when it comes to self analysis there is nothing harsher your own impossibly high personal standards.  Maybe this stems from aspiring to play like the people we listen to or constantly being aware of all the valuable lessons we’ve been taught over the years, probably it’s both plus a million other reasons too!

This is not to say that I haven’t had my head buried in my hands at certain points listening to my playing from that night thinking, “Why did I play that?!” or “I’m so out of tune!” but it’s just a relief to hear that among the ten or so tracks from that night I feel there is a solid live E.P. to come out of it with a good representation of the sound Jack, Harry and I can make.

I’ve never really enjoyed listening back to my own playing, how I think I sound and how I sound are worlds apart and it’s a bitter pill to swallow every time.  But I do believe that listening to your own playing as often as possible is one of the most important and best ways to help improve which is why I make myself record practice sessions and as many gigs as possible.  There are times where I listen to myself and think I should just jack it in and go do something else for a living but once the dust settles I can hear what needs to be worked on for next time and I can also hear aspects of my playing that are getting better.  It’s a long, unending road but you have to enjoy the journey or you’ll loose your mind! 😉

Check out this blog post from bassist Janek Gwizdala, it’s helped me to move on and process my demons, or at least practice them.

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