Category Archives: Jazz

Lee Konitz plays “Subconscious Lee”

In the late 40s and 50s, Jazz was going through a bit of an identity crisis. The Big Band Era was over and Bebop hadn’t caught on in the mainstream despite the best efforts of Dizzy Gillespie. Older musicians seemed … Continue reading

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Live Concert Sharing

I’m a huge fan of live jazz. You really can’t understand the experience of jazz improvisation without witnessing it live for yourself. Even many, if not most, studio recordings are polished to the point where the essence of live is … Continue reading

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Michael Brecker & Bob Mintzer play “Giant Steps”

I’m in the weeds right now, so here’s an oldie! I picked this solo back at NAU in 2000. It comes from Bob Mintzer’s tribute record to the Tenor Sax, Twin Tenors. This is a killer 90s record that showcases … Continue reading

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Bob Brookmeyer plays “Stella By Starlight”

In my second year at New England Conservatory, I had the honor of studying with Bob Brookmeyer, the wonderful composer, pianist and trombonist. Much of our time was spent talking about thematic development and finding ways to play more freely … Continue reading

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Practicing Jazz In 12 Keys

In this post, I justified why I practice in 12 keys. As promised, today’s post breaks down my approach. Jazz By Numbers To transpose rapidly between keys, you may have to change your way of thinking. When I was a … Continue reading

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Clifford Brown plays “Joy Spring”

There was a point, while I was at New England, where I became aware that I was playing the same clichĂ©s that all sax players play, all the time. This became really obvious as tempos increased. Think about the last … Continue reading

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Michael Brecker plays “Midnight Voyage”

Michael Brecker and I have a long, rich history…not the person himself (God rest his soul) unfortunately, but his recordings for sure. Michael’s records brought me into Jazz, and I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, which … Continue reading

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Mumbles

Ever seen Clark Terry do “Mumbles”? I have the old recording of him with the Oscar Peterson Trio, but live he always takes it a lot further. Here he is with Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Russell Malone, Ron … Continue reading

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Joshua Redman’s take on “Turnaround”

About a week ago, I posted a transcription of Ornette Coleman playing a blues of his called “Turnaround” from 1959’s Tomorrow is the Question. For the sake of comparison, I picked a solo of Joshua Redman playing the tune in … Continue reading

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A little Ornette Coleman to get things started

Transcription, in my view, is the best thing an improvisor can do to improve their abilities as a player. In doing so, you study phrasing, time and groove, tunes, licks and cliches…pretty much every component of the Jazz vernacular (or whatever … Continue reading

Posted in Jazz, Practicing, Transcription | 3 Comments