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…
Viewing: Theory/Analysis - View all posts
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…
It's a song with more than one moment that pushes the envelope of standard jazz language, rhythm and form. The Max Roach drum pattern alone has been elaborated on by many- the 5 over 4 pattern is filled with energy and slightly lopsided, not quite adding up to two bars.At the fast cut time tempo, I feel like it has a falling forward momentum, which feels to me like he was aiming more for whole note triplets across the barline (this was…Read more
Check out the chord progression for the chorus:
The song is in B major with the verses mainly using traditional I, IV and V chords…Read more
Sonny Stitt - from a Quincy Jones' collection. It was really…Read more
Here is Chet Baker from "The Best of Chet Baker Sings" - one of my first vocal jazz records. On it are simple and beautiful versions of 20 songs every jazz musician should know. Chet's phrasing leans towards triplet-type figures. The exact rhythm in measure 5 is hard to…Read more
I also recently wrote a review of three jazz groups re-imagining one of my favourite pieces, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
You can read it at Peter Hum's blog, jazzblog.ca.
The biggest issues we face as jazz performers are the difficulty level of the key as it lies on your instrument and whether or not there is a negative quality to the sound from playing it in a higher or lower register. To vocalists this is called tessitura. The goal in choosing a key is to avoid drawing attention to it…Read more
After having played the entire Friends album by the Beach Boys, it seemed natural that playing the whole Pet Sounds should be a priority. "Friends on Friends" (Matt Ouimet, Phil Bova, and myself) is a trio that covers Beach Boys songs instrumentally. While removing vocals from the Beach Boys songs sounds like it would diminish them, it really just showcases how strong the songwriting was.
"Don' Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)" was the first song I learned off Pet Sounds- it's also the only song…Read more
Earlier this year I was listening to some Robert Johnson and…Read more
While I'd argue the subtlety of the song is in the layers of sounds, the textures and rhythms, there are still some interesting things to note in the harmony and melody. Since I was still in high school when I first figured out the chords to this song, it was a revelation that the main chord progression was a variant of the Rodgers & Hart staple "My Funny Valentine". Both…Read more
At one point I was listening to her record "Vespertine" with another musician/Bjork-fan. I mentioned how one song was completely in the Lydian mode. His response was that he didn't like to analyze her music because it…Read more