Jazz Counterpoint – Improvising Melody & Bass at the Piano

This is everything I know about playing “walking” bass lines in the left hand, and improvising in the right hand. Includes how to structure practice, manage difficulty, and design your own exercises. The article is a work-in-progress, currently at about 8,000 words. It’ll be 10,000 when complete. Available on Patreon! As with most of my […]

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 […]

A Quote Worth Sharing

“The details of any art form—how to play the violin, how to improvise a raga, how to write English prose, how to make movies, how to teach are of course particular; each instrument or medium comes with its own language and lore.  But there is a kind of metalearning, a metadoing that transfers across styles […]

The Importance of Technical Facility

On May 6th, I sat down with Josh Grossman, artistic director of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. It was part of a series of live interviews Josh is hosting called The Artistic Director’s Guide to Jazz.  We had a great discussion about four artists performing solo shows at the festival: Kurt Rosenwinkel – June 22nd […]

Artists and Creative Residencies (Part 2)

In my previous post, I mentioned that I recently returned from a month long creative residency in Bamfield, BC.  This was the result of a collaboration between Bamfield residents Nancy Hendry and Steve Clarke, and Music By the Sea.  I then reflected on the purpose of such residencies and some of the benefits that artists […]