Steve Boudreau is an Ottawa-based pianist who specializes in jazz and popular music. He currently teaches piano privately and as part of Carleton University's Music Performance program.  He also works frequently as a vocal accompanist in many genres. In 2010 he received a Master of Music degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. He has toured North America with multiple musical productions and has performed as both leader and sideman at various Canadian jazz festivals. His recently released trio album "Preludes: The Music of George Gershwin" has been getting radio play on Canadian jazz stations and a new quartet record is almost ready for release.  The new album will feature original music and is co-led by long-time collaborator, guitarist Garry Elliott.

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Modern Bootlegging

First of all, the very word "Bootlegging" has to do with clandestine action, and what started me thinking about this issue was the extremely overt and non-secretive manner in which people currently are reproducing live music.

We have all had that thought when someone holds their phone up to record a shaky, badly lit chunk of video from a live music performance. What are they thinking? Do they lack the presence to enjoy the experience without proof they were there? Do they love their phone more than the…

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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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Bodyjar - Five Minutes Away

For three of my posts in this series I wanted to record solo piano versions of songs that aren't covered by solo piano very often.  This exercise of figuring out a vocal melody and harmony and making an arrangement is something I get my first year university students to do- there's nothing better than working out a song you love.

The first one is by Australian group Bodyjar- I saw these guys play sometime in the late 90s at a tiny club in downtown Ottawa that doesn't exist anymore, the Liquid Monkey maybe? …Read more

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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Basic triad vamps

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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