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Jazz Festival Shows announced 

Hello!

I recently made a post over on my Patreon page letting everyone know about my upcoming shows with the Ottawa Jazz Festival, which is in large part local talent this year, which is very exciting to me. 

The post is public for all to see and will give you an idea of what Patreon is like have a look:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/54240259
There are a few other posts I recently made public so you can get more of an idea of what my posts look like.

I also have added all of the shows to my online events

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Show Thursday June 10 and Group Class Reminder 

Just a reminder that tonight (Thursday June 10) at 7:30PM I will be hosting a live show/presentation on my Zoom with drummer Jennie Seaborn.  Similar to the previous duo concert with Scott Latham I will eventually post a recording here for my patrons afterwards.  Here is the link to the event on facebook or you can go to my zoom room directly. 
https://fb.me/e/2b6RPyFXS 

This Saturday for my 11AM group class I'm going to talk about Ran Blake's ear training for basic harmony and look at one or two of the most…

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Keith Jarrett's European Quartet 

I'm so pleased at how these Saturday group classes are going - please feel free to stop by and hangout.  I will be presenting different mini-topics each week through the school term.  

On the Jan 23 class, I talked about the music Keith Jarrett wrote for his European quartet, thinking about the story from the Ian Carr biography saying he just jotted down some simple music on the plane ride over.  I also shared two of my versions of his song "The Windup" and "My Song".  There are lots of different versions…

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Announcing Group Classes 

As of January 2021 I have started a weekly group class for my teaching studio, every Saturday morning at 11AM over Zoom.  

You can come join in by simply joining my Zoom room at 11AM this coming Saturday.

Students who study with me privately will have access to recordings of the older classes, but I am hoping to share some of my handouts online for everyone to see as well.  

In the trial class on January 16, we briefly talked about Bb blues in jazz, especially in Monk's music.  Here is a handout I made of…

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Wall LPs (Summer 2020) 

On the wall in my teaching studio there are three IKEA LP frames that fit vinyl records that can be easily swapped in and out.  Because I can only listen to vinyl in the basement, it's a nice daily reminder of some of the music I've picked up physical copies of, usually from the Record Centre on Wellington.  I try to change the records out once a school term and put the three albums on a Spotify playlist so I can let those albums percolate a bit through repeated listens.  

Over the last several months the…

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Newest solo album now available 

Just a quick note to let you know that the third of the five solo albums I recorded this year are now available on most music streaming services.  Physical CDs will be ready when all five are finished.

You can check out all of my recent releases on my Music page, or go directly to my latest album on Spotify by clicking here.

This latest album features almost entirely original music.  When I first conceived of this monthly set-of-piano-music project, I cast a fairly wide net, but now that it's almost time to…

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Updated Store and Spotify 

I have been preparing some new solo piano music but in the meantime, I updated my store to only show physical products, as I've made most of my earlier albums available on major streaming services like Spotify.  I also added a tip jar, which I'm intending on using during any online events in the coming months.  If you are listening to my music online and want to make a gesture of support, since purchasing and downloading albums is less of a thing, please feel free to do so.  Thanks!

Hugh O'Connor (1928-2020) 

I wanted to share the sad news of the passing of one of my favourite Ottawa jazz musicians, an inspiration and a mentor to me and many other local players.

Click here to see a short article on Hugh's passing.

My quotes at the end were taken from this written interview with Peter Hum:

1) When did you play with Hughie and where? How many gigs did you do with him? 

I got to play with Hugh every Sunday for at least a year at Chez Lucien around 2007/2008, right up until I moved to Boston for grad school at the…

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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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Post Jazz Festival times 

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this year's Ottawa Jazz Festival.  It was a very special honour for me to be part of the house trio hosting the jam sessions every night for ten straight days - the first year I went to the jazz festival (1996...) I probably went to eight of their late night jams.  It was my first exposure to the music in a club setting - real professionals playing mere feet away, the sound came from the instruments as much as any sound system.  I'm really happy to have had this chance…

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Updated Events 

Hey, just a quick note to say I've updated my calendar to reflect some Jazz Festival events, most notably the 24 hour jazz ramble which takes place from 10AM Friday to 10AM Saturday next weekend.  I'll be on at noon with Mark Ferguson playing some Bill Evans music in the style of his overdubbed pianos records.  I'll also be part of Ed Lister's quintet at 9PM.  The whole event takes place at the Record Centre on Wellington.

I also had a blast playing all types of Indian music at City Hall last week for the…

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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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Radio Play 

My hopes of a regularly maintained thoughtful content-filled blog haven't materialized in the face of my regular practice and teaching schedule.  However, I thought this might be a great and easy way to keep track of fun news and things I'm doing as they happen, instead of constantly bombarding my e-mail list.

Most recently, I've been practicing video game theme songs for this Friday, when I'll be playing with the relatively new F8-BIT at Live on Elgin.

Alex and Michel were interviewed about the project…

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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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Forbidden Musical Devices 

During World War II, Hitler's regime forbade certain musical ideas and devices that didn't conform with their idea of artistic music.

From New Dutch Swing

It [de jazzwereld's guideline for entertainment music in 1940] was mostly a detailed roster of forbidden devices and practices: plunger mutes, growls, smears and other dirty timbres, ostinato basses, background riffs repeated more than three times, charts written by black musicians, washboards, the use of the word 'jazz' were all off-limits.

How many…

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RIP Gunther Schuller 



I had the great opportunity to perform this piece with the composer himself conducting during my time at NEC.  Without him I don't think any of us working in jazz full time with a large part of that work coming from post-secondary education would be doing what we are doing.

I hope to get back to writing some of my thoughts on music for my online community of students and fans now that the school year is over.  Have a great summer everyone.

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

Learning how to Learn 

After missing a week of my self-imposed schedule of weekly thoughts on music, and already being 24 hours behind and dangerously close to missing another I thought it might be good to whip off a quick note about something I have been meaning to mention for a while.

I've been slowly working my way through Learning How To Learn by Idries Shah, a book that was recommended by Dave Holland during a masterclass at the New England Conservatory.  I've been reading it slowly because it is one of those books of…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

Bud Powell Un Poco Loco - part 2 

Once I realized that the actual improv going on was just over a C-pedal, I was curious to know what kind of material Bud would play.  Generally it's melodic, beboppish, but the adventurous parts are especially exciting. 

Click here to hear his solo slightly slowed down.

Click here to hear his solo on Alt take 1.

Click here to hear his solo on Alt take 2.

Instead of writing a huge analysis of these solos, and how they compare, differ, etc, I thought I would just point out some of my favourite juicy bits.  Even…Read more

Don't just know how to do something 

I had a huge breakthrough early in my college music studies when I first started practicing for extended periods of time (besides the obvious). 

When I was younger, I would generally practice the stuff I liked to play and avoid the stuff I didn't like (generally longer, involved pieces... that required more of an attention span).  This naturally led to me only being able to play the fun stuff and hating the hard stuff--  a vicious spiral.  When I confronted these issues in college, I went too far the other…Read more

Bud Powell Un Poco Loco 

My big project this fall was digging into Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco". 



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