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Brazilian Music 

In preparation for this Sunday's concert with John Geggie and Tim Bedner I've been listening to a few really great new (to me) pieces of Brazilian music.  The songs I brought in were "Corsarios" by Bosca, a Hermeto Pascoal tune called "Bebe" and a few pieces by Egberto Gismonti.  A Brazilian singer I met on a cruise ship gig about 15 years ago gave me a copy of his incredible album Alma - I love the songs "Baiao Malandro", "7 Aneis", and "Agua e Vinho", but the piece we settled on was "Um Anjo"- a song from

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Toots Thieleman 

This Friday I'll be playing at the Merrickville jazz festival with Norm Glaude for his tribute to Toots Thielemans - here are two of my favourite tracks that we've done in the past.

Estate - from Only Trust Your Heart 

Before I was involved in this project I had already listened to this version a bunch as my go to for this tune.

 

Sno' Peas - from Bill Evans' Affinity - this is just about the hardest set of changes in a simple 8 bar section AABA tune that I've played in a while.  They break up its…

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Indian Music 

I've started rehearsals with Vinay Bhide for a show May 10th at noon at City Hall.  Vinay has asked Mike Essoudry and me to join him to play what we feel fits in the performance of two pieces.  One is based on the Raga Rageshri, on which I have previously written an original piece, "Pas De Deux".  In the key of C, the notes for improvising are Bb-C-E-F-A-Bb-C and the downward notes are C-Bb-A-F-E-D-C.  After a few minutes of getting it in your ears, an accidental G sounds glaringly wrong.

I've also been…

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Solo Piano - listening and playing 

Not a lot of shows coming up with all of my accompanist work looming, but I thought I'd share some things I've been checking out.

I've been listening to Keith Jarrett's Radiance, and album I couldn't get into when it first came out.  Now that I've been doing more solo playing and my ears have improved, I thought it would be good to give it a few more passes.  The concept is that he takes an idea from the previous improvised piece and forms a new piece out of it, and de-emphasizes melody, contrary to a lot…

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All - Never Took 

Here is the another video of a solo piano arrangement of a pop/punk tune.  The first one you can find by clicking here

I went to see the documentary about the band All and the Descendents "Filmage" when it came out and immediately became one of my favourite music movies.  Musicians that I looked up to lived a very tough life on the road, playing music for food and gas.  20 years after first hearing their music, it all makes sense to me now, and I still have a soft spot for all of their records.

https://www.

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7.5 beat time 

My love for North Indian Classical music began when I took a course taught by Vinay Bhide at Carleton University in 2002. His introduction to Indian music was aimed at all Western musicians, but to me seemed geared even more towards jazz musicians since so much of the excitement in Hindustani music comes from improvisation, usually over a pre-determined or standard form.  Their idea of form differs, but not as much as you might think. 

Although the amount of great reading materials is rapidly growing, I most…

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Simple Triads 

One of the first theory lessons I like to teach is that there are only 12 major chords and 12 minor chords.
Learning these is attainable in a relatively short amount of time.

To simplify this further I start with the six "3 White note chords":
C, Dmin, Emin, F, G, and Amin

And the six "White-Black-White chords":
Cmin, D, E, Fmin, Gmin, A

With these second six we start to have the potential for some unusual and more offbeat chord progressions.

The remaining chords can be thought of as "black-white-black" (6), "all…

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Jazz Standards- 16 you should know. 

This past weekend I moderated a jam session for Jazzworks at the new Ottawa Bluesfest Music School.  I prepared a handout on tunes to know that I wanted to make available to all my students and those who couldn't make the jam.

For the last few months I have been looking over many other people's lists of standards, as well as pooling my peers for their opinions on the matter.  There are tons of great lists out there, from the great book by Ted Gioia to lots of websites.  I even remember coming across regional…Read more

Music Note Sudoku 

I often encourage students to practice randomized chord patterns by picking a chord type or two, and then moving them through a tone row.

For instance CMaj7 - Ebmin7 - FMaj7 - F#min7 - Dbmaj7 - Dmin7 - BMaj7 - Emin7 - AbMaj7 - Bbmin7 - GMaj7 - Amin7.
And the opposite Cmin7 - EbMaj7 - Fmin7 - GbMaj7 - C#min7 - DMaj7 - Bmin7 - EMaj7 - Abmin7 - BbMaj7 - Gmin7 - AMaj7.

I had great breakthroughs in my playing working through newer chord types that I didn't realize were coming slower to my fingers than I thought…Read more