Jerry Portnoy

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Nature of the Blues


Nature of the Blues

Jerry Portnoy Lesson >

Nature of the Blues > Nature of the Blues

In this week’s video I address some of the key conceptual elements that are at the core of the blues, what Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters told me, and the importance of learning the idiom of the blues by going back to the sources.

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Artistic Approach

Print Print Chords & Tab

Here’s my instrumental Blues in a Dream which, I believe, illustrates many of the concepts I address in this week’s video.

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Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Nov 14, 2014

Hi Robert,

Just landed in Buenos Aires. Give me 2-3 days and I'll have a chance to answer.

Bob Piscura
Bob Piscura Nov 14, 2014

Good morning Jerry, did you see the video and question that I sent you about can't get no grindin a few days ago?  If that's too muck of an "off lesson" question  I understand. Just am stuck on the riff. Thanks for the help I really appreciate you opinion and like sonic junction. 

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Nov 14, 2014

Yeah, her timing and phrasing were impeccable. Your description was spot on.

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Nov 12, 2014

Very well and very passionately put, Jerry. I remember when I first heard Billie Holiday as a kid around 1970, and being on pins and needles waiting for her to finish a phrase, thinking "She's not gonna make it, she's not gonna make it!" and just at the last (and perfect!) second, she's right there and it just digs in so deep it's magic. But even having heard this as a kid, I've been working my whole adult life trying (and still trying) to completely incorporate that into my playing. It's one thing to know it in your head and another thing to make it come out of you. But I'm still working on it! Thanks for passing along the sage advice given to you by your mentors. 

Bob Piscura
Bob Piscura Nov 12, 2014

Thanks for the time with such a complete answer. This had been some journey that I'm on. I believe in surrounding myself with people who are better than I am at whatever I want to do, then listen to what they tell me to do and then act on the advice. One last thing  I have given up tv so I can practice enough .  Be specific and direct with critique and advice and I'll practice as long as it takes to learn it. Thanks allot,Bob

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Nov 12, 2014

Hi Robert,

Music is comprised of notes and spaces. The silences are as important as the notes and give time to let what you've played register and resonate in the listener. Better to underplay than overplay. Your guitar player can use your spaces to comment, embellish or answer your phrase and that creates a musical conversation.

Kim has been one of my best friends for forty years and I am one of his biggest fans. He's one of the all-time greats. Though he may not play as simply as I do or leave as much open space, what he frequently does (especially on uptempo numbers) is drop down in volume between his lead phrases and play subtle rhythm chords which keep his breath continuum going, propel the beat forward and add to the sonic "pad."

Thanks for your kind comment.

Bob Piscura
Bob Piscura Nov 12, 2014

Jerry ,That is what I call the blues!  Slow and soulfull! Have you found it hard to get lead guitar players to enjoy the space that you leave? My lead guitarist is always telling me to keep playing when I leave space during my lead breaks. I think I'm going to have him listen to this video and the nature of the blues lesson. He is a real Kim Wilson lover which is a style that I don't appreciate as much as yours.  Have you thought about a lesson on... blues in a dream ?

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Dec 20, 2013

That's an "A" harp in the key of E.

michael greenholz
michael greenholz May 27, 2013

What a beautiful slow blues! I assume you're playing cross harp. Would you mind sharing what key harmonica you are playing here, maybe I could find this video and try to imitate and play along. Thank you!

 

Michael

Jerry Portnoy
Jerry Portnoy Feb 10, 2012

Nice to be referred to as "young man" though I suspect I'm older than you are. Thanks for the nice shout out.

Granite777
Granite777 Feb 09, 2012

Its been a good 25 years since I have laid eyes on Jerry. Good to see and hear from you jerry. I know you dont remember me . but I remember you. life has did you well...youngman. Boomer

 

 
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