Saturday 7 December 2013

Peter Bocking... is a Jazzist: The Bocking Memorial Blog #5

Ever since I was 14, I have felt different. Oh yes, I played in skiffle groups like the other boys and later soaked up the culture-crunching music of rock 'n' roll. Never again will there be such an assault on a generation's musical perceptions. Nobody will hear "a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom" the way we heard it for the first time, but whilst everyone was looking at the cove with the pompadour and mascara moustache, I was watching the band.

Yet there was a sense of something missing. Something nobody was telling me. Surely there were more than three chords? I'd counted the frets. There were definitely twelve. They must be there for a reason, but what?

As I grew older, I still played with the chaps in what were then known as groups (bands implied at least five or more), but still I knew I was different from the others. From books and records, available only at a certain type of shop, I learned that there was a whole new world of forbidden delights: chords with exotic sounds and even more arcane names - Bb13b5b9. What to do with them? You sure as hell couldn't play them all the way through 'La Bamba', though I tried.

Discovering the kind of club where other people like me went was a liberating experience - everybody played D13#11 through everything and even had a set of matching scales.

Slowly I came to terms with the newly awakened me, trying everything that was on offer, even to the extent of some really hardcore jazz-funk. My unempoyability grew with my proficiency and I would go anywhere just to improvise, devouring new and abstruse scales daily. Finally the mere sound of a chord would induce a response akin to Tourette's Syndrome: "ah-fazily-diddly-do-dah". This is where we came in.

My name is Peter Bocking, and I'm a Jazzist...

Dedicated to Maureen Glaser (d. 23.11.13), a true friend and a rock for Peter, and also his erstwhile singing partner. 


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