My improvisation method in Jazz Ear Savvy

I was recently asked to write out my methodology for improving one’s improvisation. I have certain assumptions and beliefs on the tools and exercises that will improve the improvisational skill of a musician. They’ve worked for me and for others with whom this has been shared. Premise: The major difference between struggling amateur improvisors and…

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Jazz reharmonization of Happy Birthday

What lead me to reharmonize the I-IV-V chords of Happy Birthday? Teaching improvisation, of course! And Happy Birthday is lesson one in my book on strengthening your ear for improvisation. It’s called Jazz Ear Savvy. I just published a video on my Youtube channel that demonstrates how the simple tune Happy Birthday can help you…

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The secret ingredient to mastering improvisation

I’m almost ready to publish my new book called Jazz Ear Savvy. The book is a deep dive into what I believe is the most fundamental skill of any really good improvisor: the connection between the musical mind, or “ear” AND the instrument. I bet that your mind can and frequently does conjure up musical ideas…

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The critical link between improvisation and the circle of fifths

I’m writing a book on improvisation called Jazz Ear Savvy. I consider it an extension of the ear training concepts and exercises introduced in my book Trombone Improvisation Savvy. By the way, I prefer the term ear building since ear training sounds like too much work. The listening exercises in Improvisation Savvy are limited to…

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Improvising more deliberately on your instrument?

I met a bunch of great students today at Glendale Community College. Enthusiastic, hungry to learn, open to new thoughts… Dave Schmidt, The director of the school’s jazz program, invited me to talk to his improvisation class. One hour seems like ten seconds when you are unraveling the mysteries of playing jazz. So naturally I…

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What a dead mouse reminded me about jazz improvisation

I been listening to (obsessing on) an artist I have only recently discovered. He is a genius at rhythms and the deliberate placement of notes. His music also has a sense of humor to which I relate. I can’t think of much other music to which I occasionally laugh out loud as if I was…

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Trombone Improvisation Savvy has been published!

Trombone Improvisation savvy

What has: 175 pages 114 written exercises 43 solo transcriptions 144 audio files containing 41/2 hours of music Yes, my new book, Trombone Improvisation Savvy. A book I’ve wanted to write and record for a long time, I was determined to finish it before the International Trombone Festival in Redlands, CA later this month.…

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The magic of minor thirds in jazz improvisation

I just wrote a simple one-page insert for my upcoming book, Trombone Improvisation Savvy on what I call the “magic” of the minor third interval. Here’s the excerpt along with the audio tracks created for the examples: The magic of the minor third The minor third is an important interval in jazz improvisation. Hearing how…

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How to improvise over Dolphin Dance

Dolphin Dance Excerpt

One of the important decisions I am making as I write Trombone Improvisation Savvy is: which tunes to include in the second half of the book where I analyze the form and changes, record the melody, transcribe my improvised solo, record exercises for the challenging parts of the song, and transcribe a well known solo…

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Improving your ear for trombone improvisation

All The Things You Are Excerpt

My upcoming book, Trombone Improvisation Savvy, departs from the traditional approach to improvisation. Rather than focus on harmonic theory and chord-scale relationships, the book will focus on developing one’s ear. Listening. Of the two main parts of the book, part one focuses on ear training. I’ve created several exercises within the first part of the…

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