Tag Archives: RPM Challenge

I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish this year.  Gilda needed repair, and I didn’t have the money. All I can do is give a HUGE thank you to my brother, Kenny, for helping me with that.  I am ever so grateful! There wasn’t enough time to find musicians and rehearse before the recordings and I lost 5 days due to a cold and food poisoning.  Then yesterday, the nightmare of printing my cd cover and label.  Thank goodness for the patience of my brother -in-law, Ed. We weren’t able to print the label and cover I wanted, due to software issues.  My computer wouldn’t install his printer. After many trials and errors, we just put text on it.  Lining it up with the templates wasn’t easy. I wanted to use a sketch for my cover that someone did of me a few years ago.  Her name is Charlotte, she was here with her family on vacation, and sat in the Square and did this.  I thought it would have made a nice cover.  Maybe when I get a new printer.sketchI was also up to the wee hours of the morning waiting for the audio files Pete sent me to download.  I had to make sure they downloaded properly, it took a few hours, but it worked.  I got it out in the mail by 11:34am.   Unfortunately, I made the cd with just me.  I wanted to add other musicians to give it a little more depth and a different sound than what I have been doing, there just wasn’t enough time.  I am hoping to be able to build off this in the very near future.  I also hope you enjoy what I made.                                                     studio 1

I actually was able to record in a studio.  That was pretty cool.  We had three sessions at Hamilton Hall and it was a lot of work, but fun work!  Pete was very patient with me, as I did many takes.  He gave me some good input and did the mastering.  It was great working him. I hope I am able to work with him again when I get other musicians.  It was also pretty cool to do a Haiku based from a photo my friend Diana sent to me (that can be found in my previous post) along with all of the Haiku I wrote and track titles.  I also want to say a big thank you to my friends and family who were very encouraging along the way.  This is my 5th Challenge and I think it was the most difficult for me.  I love when February 1st comes.  It gets me out of the long January funk and back on track.  I love The Wire for starting this (I think) 8 years ago.  It is amazing to see and hear all the music people create in such a short time. Please go to the RPM Challenge site, and see what others are doing. There is a link in my blogroll to the right.  Yes, it is difficult and sometimes can be stressful.  But you come away with something that you never thought you could do.  It is amazing, people sign up from all over the world to do this! It is fun to hear all of the different ideas they come up with.  Again, check it out sometime when you have time, thank you!

FinishedCD pic

During the first 10 days, I didn’t feel very productive.  I had done a lot of research to figure out certain scales and/or chords to get an authentic sound, and in the first 10 days only had 3 progressions written.  Also, I had been sick for several of those days.  I was feeling very discouraged about not getting my Challenge cd finished.

In the last 10 days, I feel I made up for that. I now have 10 Haiku written and 10 progressions down.  I have worked very hard and continued to look up certain scales and chords to match what I am saying in the Haiku.  I have 5 based on literature, it kind of became a theme after my first two.  The other 5 came from various places or thoughts I had.  I would like to share all ten of them–

1,  Myshkin, the Poor Knight/ Heart torn between two women/ Tragically, lost both

2.  24601/ All he did was steal some bread/ He is, Jean Valjean

3. On a Knight’s errant/ To honor the Peerless One/ With his trusted Squire

4. Poems, short stories/ A master of the macabre/ Mysterious death

5. Gollum and Precious/ Together for Centuries/ Consumed by Passion

6. She’s from Canada/ Now living in Australia/ The Orange Blossom

7. Warm soft summer rain/ In the Squares of Savannah/ Gilded by the sun

8. Cafe barista/ A cappuccino in hand/ Frothy heart on top

9. Changes will happen/ Good, bad, or indifferent/ Never lose yourself

10. Glorious sunshine, On a chilly Winter day/ Chase those blues away

Number 10 is a Haiku based on a photo by my friend Diana.  We have done a couple collaborations in the past and I asked her if she would send me a photo and she did. To see more of her work, click on Life Thru Blue Eyes  on the right, in my blogroll.


Now that I have all of my progressions and Haiku written, all that is left, is to record.  I had to take Gilda to shop (today) because there are all kinds of leaks and she is very difficult to play (A huge thank you to my brother for helping me with that!). Also, I have to do the album cover work and then I can send it off.  In some ways, this time of year is my favorite time of year. This is my 5th RPM Challenge and it sets a fire under me to come up with new ideas.  It is most helpful, especially after the long, cold month of January.  I am looking forward to seeing the end product of this project.  I hope you enjoy it too!

When February 1st finally arrived, I was ready to get started on my new Challenge cd.  I went right to work, looking up scales and progressions that are used in Russian music.  The first Haiku I wrote was in reference to Dostoevsky’s, “The Idiot” —

Myshkin, the Poor Knight,  Heart torn between to women,  Tragically, lost both

I wanted to use scales that Russians use.  I was even able to find pentatonic scales so it would fit in with the confines of Haiku Jazz.  I got started right away on chord progressions, using Georgian triads that I also found.  Since I have not written progressions in a few years, and haven’t really had to think of transposing, I did all the progressions in my key. I transposed them and a few days later, realized I did it backwards.  Are you kidding me?  So, I did it all again, in a simpler form.  I still feel I will improv my part over the progression.  In my mind, it seems like a good idea, I guess we’ll see.

On the 4th, I came down with a nasty cold.  I didn’t understand that, as I had just gotten over strep from a week before.  I hadn’t been sick in three years then I get a one two punch.  And that isn’t the worst part, I also got food poisoning!  So, from the 4th to the 8th I was pretty much laid up. I lost some valuable time there, but I am not daunted.  On the 9th I got right back to work, with a progression for a Haiku I wrote in reference to “Les Miserables”–

24601,  All he did was steal some bread, He is- Jean Valjean

I wanted to start with these two first, I think they are the more difficult ones, due to the research I did on them.  Now I am able to get to work some of the other Haiku.  I gues being laid up wasn’t a total loss, it did give me time to create another one–

Cafe Barista, A cappuccino in hand, frothy heart on top

I have a couple more I had before I got sick, but I will talk about those as I do them.  I still have 5 more Haiku to write, find a couple of musicians to play with me and space to record this in. It could be I do them solo, then go back with other musicians and layer over my part.  We’ll see what happens.  For now, it is off to my work station to get busy!🙂

Thank you for following along!


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