Jazz Counterpoint – Improvising Melody & Bass at the Piano

Introducing a new article on jazz piano and improvisation! As with most of my articles, I thought this would be relatively short and concise, but I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, and there are a number of topics I’ll be writing about.  This may change over time, but as of now, topics include: Transcription Analysis Designing […]

Piano Transcription & Deep Analysis – Sugar Ray by Phineas Newborn Jr.

I thought I’d take a break from the grind of writing about hand independence and transcribe something instead. In my own practice, I revisited this tune by Phineas Newborn Jr. called Sugar Ray.  I encourage students to learn it because the melody has a very specific piano/band arrangement, it covers a good spatial range at the piano, […]

Idiomatic Gestures, the Economy of Motion and Jazz Piano Improvisation

Dec. 5/18 edit: I’ve updated the article and images in “A Scale for Ascending” to include anchor points. It’s also more succinct and organized, without the digressions into alternative fingering exercises. Nov. 27/18 edit: I’ve improved my explanation of anchor points and hand positions while playing the chromatic scale.  Specifically, how they can played as […]

Working with Record Labels – MYRIAD3

Thanks to all of the UofT students and faculty who attended our masterclass last Friday. If you’d like to stay informed about upcoming Myriad3 gigs and noteworthy news, please sign up for our mailing list. Some free downloads are included. Sign up here. One question in particular warranted a longer response, so as promised, below […]

4 Things I Threw Away in 2014

Over the last year, I’ve had to unlearn some things. Below are some tidbits related to music, musicians, and the industry. If learning is like constructing a building, these are the bricks that don’t fit anymore. They’re in my junk pile now. I’m not even sure where they came from. I may have made them […]

I Love Michael Bolton – Popular Music in Jazz Education

I have a mildly embarrassing confession to make.  I love Michael Bolton.  His music.  His voice.  His PASSION! I remember driving to baseball games with my brother Ryan.  Michael Bolton made regular appearances on our playlist, along with Michael Jackson, Michael Brecker, and selections from the Double Dragon soundtrack (from the Sega Master System, not […]

In Response to Mark Eisenman and the Definition of Jazz

An interesting tidbit of information:  The word ‘literally,’ meaning “in a literal sense,” has been recently redefined to also mean: “in a figurative sense.” For example, my head literally exploded when I read Mark Eisenman’s post about Jazz: the black hole of music. I can’t think of a better example of the “bastardization” of a […]

Performing – It’s Not About the Music

(A reflection on my performance with Orchestra London last year) Thirty minutes before the performance, Kornel and I were backstage getting ready in our dressing room. He asks me: “Aren’t you going to wear a tux?” “Nah, I’m not comfortable in a tux.  Why?  Don’t I look good in this?” The first piece on the […]