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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