Bootleg a Day #4: Kurt Rosenwinkel crushing 26-2 w Orlando le Fleming & Jochen Rueckert

Posted by on Sep 30, 2014 in Bootlegs, Inspiration

Halfway through our week of bootlegs, it’s time for a little …read more

Bootleg a Day #2: Mark Turner @ Constellation w Avishai Cohen, Joe Martin & Justin Brown

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Bootlegs, Inspiration, Trumpet

Next up in our series, we present the incomparable Mark Turner in a set …read more

Bootleg a Day: Ben Wendel Quartet @ Smalls w Joe Sanders, Gerald Clayton, & Henry Cole

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Bootlegs, Inspiration

This week I’ll be treating you to some of the incredible music …read more

Harmonic Discipline and the Subtleties of Dominant Chords

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Harmony, Improvisation, Theory

beaker

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer. I almost moved to London, but then I heard the burritos over there are terrible, so last week my girlfriend and I moved into a new apartment together instead. So, the posts stopped for a while, but it’s time to get back on the horse!

I’ve been thinking a lot about harmony and come to believe that the difference between today’s best jazz musicians and the rest of us is their masterful command over the minutia of harmony.

I realized that I don’t have as a good a grasp of the plethora of dominant alterations out there as I …read more

Is Classical Necessary? A Cost-Benefit of “Legit” Study for Jazz Saxophonists

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Sax

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Let’s get one thing out of the way: you need to learn to play your instrument before you can start learning to play jazz. Trying to improvise over an Eb-7 chord when you are still trying to remember whether it’s a D-flat or D-natural is challenging, but it’s impossible if you are at all unsure of the fingering for a high Eb! There are many foundational elements that every musician must master regardless of their genre …read more

5 Steps to Finding Your Sound Through Imitation

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Improvisation, Inspiration, Practice Tips, Sax

copy_cat

When you hear John Coltrane, you immediately know it’s Trane. It’s not the notes he’s playing or his dazzling technique that makes him sound uniquely like himself. It’s his sound. Every jazz musician, at some point, ventures into the abyss in search of their own, unique sound. Your sound is what makes you, well, you. But where do you start?

Let’s begin by …read more

Playing the Changes: It’s what separates the men from the boys.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Harmony, Improvisation, Practice Tips

mustachio-boy

Jazz improvisation is inherently subjective. What makes one solo “better” than any other is often a matter of taste, a preference for a given style. But while articulation, swing feel, and phrasing vary wildly from one great player to the next, every noteworthy improviser is able to effortlessly demonstrate a …read more

Tonguing for Jazz Saxophone

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Practice Tips, Sax

dog-tongue

Last weekend I met up with a former student, who is now a good friend and has since shifted his focus away from saxophone toward his studies in biology at the University of Chicago. But despite spending most of his time on science that I can’t even begin to comprehend, he still wants to keep improving as a musician. …read more

Juan Pastor Chinchano

Posted by on Mar 29, 2014 in Chicago Scene, Drumset, Inspiration

I’m left wanting to hear the rest! Here’s a preview of Chicago drummer Juan Pastor’s new album, Chinchano featuring Jorge Roeder on bass, Stu Mindeman on piano, Rich Moore on sax, and Marquis Hill on trumpet, all fantastic musicians deserving of wider praise. Paul Mutzabaugh works his magic to …read more