jazz

Eyes or ears for jazz improvisation?

A trombone player recently wrote me describing his struggle with improvisation. He’s recently acquired my books and is working on the ear strengthening exercises. After watching one of my videos on playing melodies by ear, he wrote, “I’ve been playing Happy Birthday in all 12 keys and trying to speed up a bit so I…

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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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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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The most desired trombone improvisation skill

I recently sent a survey to my trombone playing subscribers in which one question asked, What aspect of your improvisation do you most wish to improve? I’m writing a book called Trombone Improvisation Savvy. The answer to that question is pretty important for a book on improvisation. It turns out that the answers to that…

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Trombone improvisation survey results

  In preparation for my book Trombone Improvisation Savvy, I sent a survey to my subscriber list asking for opinions and experiences on improvisation. I received more responses than I anticipated and will be posting the results over the next several weeks. Starting out, I asked how important it was for you to improve your…

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Survey on trombone improvisation

I would love to get your input for my upcoming book on trombone improvisation, Trombone Improvisation Savvy. Knowing your opinion about your improvisation skills and what you think you need in order to improvise better will help the book be more relevant to you and to the jazz trombone world. The survey has already given…

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Is this the state of live jazz?

I was delighted to take three good friends to hear the great Tom Harrell last night at New York City’s Village Vanguard. As the night wore on, however, I was less than thrilled and began questioning the class of one of the city’s iconic jazz venues. I have enjoyed the great recordings of Tom and have played his music for a…

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And a great time was had by all…

Friday night’s quartet performance with Russell Schmidt, Will Goble and Rob Moore at the Emerson Art Gallery brought out the magic of jazz that has fueled my passion for the music for the past forty years. It’s been way too long since I’ve lead a performance. Friday gave me the pleasure of choosing some of my favorite tunes…

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