More On Comping, not moron comping
November 25, 2013

Playing with rhythmic integrity, constancy, and certitude is not easy. But you know it when you hear it. It is essential to making good music, regardless of genre. It is easy to focus on, and spend a disproportionate amount of time on note playing or soloing. Try not to be that kind of guitarist. Devote ample time, and I’m here to tell you that means a lot of time, to playing...Read More

Chew on the root, don’t eschew it.
August 21, 2012

You may think that I’m espousing a vegan diet, or some antiquated prescription for gleaning energy, or reaching a higher plane. But no. I’m speaking to improvisers about soloing. I’m always surprised when students of improvisation can’t play the root of every chord in a progression. At first, try playing the root on beat one or the + of 4 of every new chord. There are lots of advantages to...Read More

Not enough memorizing goin’ on…
April 17, 2011

Too many cats are resistant to memorizing jazz standards, or any music pieces for that matter-classical etudes, pop music, etc. Either the aspiring musician or student is lazy, or they don’t realize the value of memorization and truly internalizing a tune. Knowing it inside and out-the form, the melody, every chord, its arpeggio and possible chord scales, every modulation, and every unique feature of the composition. Mingus was notorious for...Read More

Guitar Comping
April 5, 2011

Comping, aka Accompanying someone, is one of the most important skills you can possess. If you comp well, other players will gravitate toward you, and musicians will enjoy playing with you. It is so common to play too much, a bit overzealously or aggressively, when chording. It is equally common to play timidly, conveying no sense of time or feel. Remember-your job is to support the soloist, to lay down a harmonic...Read More

Why attend summer jazz camp?
March 13, 2011

March 13, 2011 Because, you should treat yourself to something special, something serene, something relaxing and revelatory at the same time. You can’t imagine how beneficial or restorative it is to your spirit, your mind and body, to plop down on this gorgeous lake, study and play music for hours on end, and at the same time elect at any moment to rest, walk, canoe, swim, worship the water lily,...Read More

Never hurry when you practice
March 3, 2011

March 3, 2011 I’m offering a jazz camp this summer, on the beautiful shores of Lake Rideau, in Ontario. A jazz retreat for adults-five nights and four full days of jazz study and jamming in an absolutely gorgeous north woods setting in Canada. We will cover a wide array of topics, things mentioned below-practicing methods, articulation and phrasing, as well as jazz theory, harmony, improvisation techniques and ensemble playing. Classical...Read More

Learning to play jazz is a life-long endeavor
February 27, 2011

September 1, 2010 Learning to play jazz is a life-long endeavor. You never master it and there is always another plateau to reach, another modern chord voicing to discover, another glorious combination of scales to play. You know how it’s said that to master an instrument one most devote 10,000 hours of practice. That’s roughly 3 hours a day for 10 years. Well I’ve maintained that practice regimen for three...Read More