Jazz Counterpoint – Improvising Melody & Bass at the Piano

When musicians think about counterpoint, most likely they think about traditional fugues and “Bach” counterpoint.  In some cases, they may also think about renaissance counterpoint, species writing and the music of Palestrina.  When you listen to improvising pianists like Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, and Egberto Gismonti, you will hear lots of interesting hand independence and a […]

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, […]

Hand Independence and Counterpoint

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Idiomatic Gestures, the Economy of Motion and Jazz Piano Improvisation

Idiomatic Gestures, the Economy of Motion and Jazz Piano Improvisation The Chromatic Scale and Anchor Points A Scale for Ascending — Idiomatic Gestures, the Economy of Motion and Jazz Piano Improvisation Before I get into the exercises, I’d like to share a few (incomplete) thoughts and observations that I’ve had over the last few years. […]

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 […]