Friday, July 5, 2019

Happy Summer!! Glad to be back into Summer Learning Mode 😎. I’m playing, sing and teaching quite a bit.

Edmonds Summer Music Scool is 3 week’s long and off to a super start. Proud to work with some great musicians and up and coming students! Here’s a bit of our July 4 Parade πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸŽΊπŸ˜€

Edmonds-Woodway Jazz Colony is also going great! Visit that blog to see what’s happening?

Glad to have a regular Sunday gig this summer too. More in this little article.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jen Shyu - Be You

On October 22 EWHS had the good fortune to host Jen Shyu as visiting artist. She was delightful and uplifting as an inspirational messenger to the 9th grade Concert Band class to "Be You".

Her personal story of growing up in the midwest playing piano and singing was typically American except that she was obviously full of natural ability and an amazing work ethic. There are videos of her as piano soloist with the local adult symphony when she's only 12 years old.

Through her study at Stanford (in Opera) she met some key people (including Francis Wong) who encouraged her to explore her heritage more deeply and that spark helped her to basically create her own genre of music blending eastern and western cultures and style elements. Her zeal for learning was contagious.  Especially impressive was her ability to list 10 languages she can speak fluently.

She told stories and sang several selections for her current show Nine Doors. The class enjoyed getting to ask questions and one special song was performed with the lights off which added an extra mystical element to an already beautiful sound.

Toward the end of our session together (about 90 minutes) she led a workshop on how to begin to compose using intervals and your own birthday.  This type of workshop can be experienced at her website for purchasable lessons.

We did some work association poetry writing and then some volunteers sang and gestured as an ensemble. While it was far from our comfort zone, students were charmed by Jen's fearlessness and got into the activity with her as coach and leader.

After her session with the Concert Band some students lingered to get to speak with her. Then she did a very short session with our Jazz Advisory Class which was also excellent and well received. 

It was a rich experience to have some students want to share their cultural heritage with her after the sessions and be a witness to their "light bulb" moments of inspiration.  I love any artist who can so fully celebrate themselves and not worry about sounding like anyone else ... my takeaway was that every musician should be their best selves.  Be you!  

After our session we enjoyed a visit to Walnut Coffee and got to talk about life as a traveling artist. I shared with her my new favorite artist work book by Austin Kleon called Show Your Work. She shared with me many interesting sites and stories which she's relied on to help other artists when they first arrive in New York including 
I hope she'll write a book before long too.

Special thanks to Andrea Mano for introducing us and to the Doris Duke Foundation for sponsoring her visit to Edmonds-Woodway. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Guest Artist Showcase with Helen Sung

EWHS and EARSHOT JAZZ were proud to host Helen Sung for our fall Guest Artist Concert on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018.

More about this amazing artist here ....

Ms. Sung lead rehearsals and master classes during the day and performed as soloist as well as in collaboration with EW Big Bands and Combos. She performed "In Walked Bud" and demonstrated some "stride" style piano.

Here's a snippet of the in class session ....

Masterclass sessions focused on getting students to put their own unique spirit into the music.  In Advisory session (all jazz students) she told her story of being raised as a classical musician and then attending a Harry Connick Jr. concert while in high school (at the urging of a friend) and that was the inspiration to begin learning more about Jazz.

She talked about her time at the Thelonius Monk Institute and that Jazz has a tradition of being taught as a craft from master to apprentice. This idea is at the heart of why I like to host guest artists as often as possible and also encourage all students to find a quality private teacher to guide their development.

She also encouraged drummers to find the heart of their sound in the ride cymbal and to listen to the masters like Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach and Louis Hayes. During the session of rehearsal and even on stage in the evening performance she cheered the drummer to "Play" fuller and put more life into the cymbal sound.

There was a brief lesson about the importance of practicing with the metronome on different portions of the beat. Helen played Donna Lee with the metronome beating on the 2nd triplet of each beat which was a virtuosic display of discipline and concentration.

EWHS pianists were grateful to get to spend some quality time working on piano concepts.

Night concert was well attended and the students rose to the occasion. Ms. Sung joined Jazz Ensemble II on a vocal version of Tangerine sung by Hannah Rosenberg. 

Jazz Ensemble I opened with Harlem Airshaft and Tall Cotton then Ms. Sung also played with both top combos on The Jody Grind and Brother Thelonius (her own composition). Solo Piano pieces were definitely one of the highlights of the evening.  Jazz I concluded by playing Convergence and Song for Bilboa with Helen and various student soloists.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Equinox in C minor (lower than original)

Hi All,

If you're interested in working on C minor blues, this is an epic track by John Coltrane.  I transposed it down one half step using some online tools.  Take a listen and consider playing along?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Performances and News

Here's a nice article that the Edmonds Beacon ran last week prior to my performance at the Edmonds Library.   The concert went great and featured Milo Petersen (guitar), Brad Boal (drums) and current student Rodney Ocfemia (bass).  

The EWHS Trip to Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival was a great success. In addition to our students winning the Sweepstakes Award for the first time (including a free Ludwig Drum Set with Zildjan Cymbals), I also enjoyed getting to adjudicate the elementary and middle school jazz choirs. 

Winners included Jazz Ensemble I and II, Top Combo, Outstanding Baritone Sax Kyle Bainbridge, Outstanding Vocalists Dominic Nye and Unathi Machyo. 

Here's a video montage of our excursion.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Jazz Congress

Jazz at Lincoln Center held its first annual Jazz Congress on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend in New York 2018... check it out.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

FIRED UP! Jazz Colony 2017 - Learning to Burn

Off to a great start ... here's summary of the EWHS Jazz Colony first meeting for 2017.  Big thanks to the Hubbard Foundation, EWHS Music Boosters, and Kennelly Keys, and Pete Bennett for their generous contributions and support making this dream a reality. For more detail about this blog and Jazz Colony ... read previous years' threads. 

Next week (July 5) ... look forward to a lesson from Kennelly Keys sponsored clinician Jory Tindall (saxophone). He will play a tune with Marina Albero and Michael Glynn then teach.  Students are encouraged to take notes and get engaged with the lesson.

Trumpets during warm-up practice routine session

Paul Gabrielson and "Get Out of Town" Combo

Marina with the "Tough Tenors" Combo

Tim Volpicella with "Little Sunflower" Combo

Michael Glynn with "The Real McCoys" Combo

Miriel and Rodney with "Night and Day" (Joe Henderson) Combo

Jory Tindall and "Barbados" Combo

FIRED UP - learning to burn - overview of nightly activities

homogenous instrumental group exercise session
goal: refining students understanding and implementation of a PRACTICE ROUTINE and 

Short performance by a focus lecturer each night - Pete will try and record each session with Go-Pro for publication to the jazzcolony blog

Short practice strategy or jazz theory concept 
Kids should take notes and teachers might consider adding an assignment for each week that kids should consider turning in or checking up on during the follow week IGNITION session ... might include a handout from presenter

Groups split up and rehearse - PRO-AM style where adults, interns play with combos as well as teach, coach and consider arranging or procuring 2 tunes to focus on for the summer.

Volunteers BBQ - Learning to Burn with Tim and Michelle Nye!!

Summary of 1st night rehearsals .... 

My combo in room A111 "Perdido" worked on an arrangement of Perdido that Dan Greenblatt made. We talked about the structure of the tune and how to approach soloing on the changes. We focused a lot on the harmonic minor scale and how we can use it to make really cool solos. For example, the first chord in Perdido is a C-7 so we figured out what notes would be appropriate to use to interpret that chord. We then worked on Dan's version of blue bossa and learned a melody that he came up with. We learned his melody by ear and discussed getting away from looking at music when playing jazz. I explained to our drummer how to have more dynamic contrast between soloist to give them something to work with and to make things more interesting for the listener. Finally, we closed with a F blues and everyone took turns soloing. - King Dawidalle

Dan Greenblatt's take on the "nugget of knowledge" for the evening was based on the "Turnback to ii" process. 

Please check out Dan's excellent Jazz Instructional book Minor is Major published by Sher.

Combo: Get Out Of Town (Paul Gabrielson, Gordon Tibbits, Ken Weller)
When we got together, we decided to start with the tune, Oleo. After we had all had a chance to improvise a chorus or two, Mr. Gabrielson decided to focus on the bridge and what we could do there. He talked about how improvisation can be something as simple as a repeated lick being transposed.
The example that he had of this, was taking the 4-note chromatic melody at the beginning of Thelonius Monk’s “Blue Monk”, and beginning it on the 3rd scale degree of each chord in the Bridge (D7, G7, C7, F7, lick starting on F#, B, E and A respectively). After that, he had us play that ascending lick very slowly in time with rhythm section comping.

Inline image 1

To add a new level to it, Mr. Gabrielson had us play the second and fourth licks descending from the top note of the lick rather than ascend. 
Inline image 2

By doing this, he showed us that “simple” licks have a huge amount of potential to be used while improvising.

After the lesson on Oleo, our combo played a funk version of Blue Monk and ended with the tune, Four.
Joe Henderson combo:
We learned a "contra-fact" Mr. B wrote based on Sidewinder by Lee Morgan (in C major). We also played through Night and Day (in D). We talked about doing some of the things from the recording or thinking of a different arrangement. Lastly, we played through Professor Dissendadt by Nathan Eklund. All of this music was challenging - the key signature especially. 


We have the opportunity to play some great music, but only if you "provide the wood for the fire". Please bring in ideas or actual physical copies of tunes you want to do this summer for next time (this could include contrafacts or originals). - Max Bennett
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Lee Morgan - The Sidewan - The Sidewinder
Sun Room Combo (Little Sunflower) worked on playing the blues in new keys, particularly A and Ab with the hopes of opening up our ears and getting comfortable with all parts of our instruments. We then agreed on a few tunes for the first stint; Groovin High, Nardis, and Blue Bossa. The goal is to create unique arrangements by the time we perform them. Natalie, Jared, and Edward are taking the first steps with arranging and will come to week 2 with some basic harmonies and concepts. 

I [Joel] handed out a worksheet with suggestions for getting comfortable with identifying and playing chords by showing everyone a chord matrix exercise, as well as a preface on how to listen and be present when playing. I accompanied this by a list of drummers and bass players for everyone to go home and check out (this is our only official homework). 


Getting comfortable with identifying chords:  
  • Major = M, Maj, Maj7, 
  • Minor = m, mi, min, -
  • Dominant = 7  
  • Augmented = +, aug
  • Sus or Sus4 = Perfect 4th replaces the third of the chord
  • o = minor third, diminished fifth, minor seventh
  • o = minor third, diminished fifth, diminished seventh 
  • ( 2 = 9, 4 = 11, 6 = 13 )
Strengthening your ear: (a daily activity)
A core component of participating as a jazz musician requires active listening of the music and tradition (duh). As a part of your daily routine, you will begin to notice idiosyncrasies and common motifs that will strengthen your musicianship, depth of knowledge, and ear. Jazz is a kind of music that lives and breaths (i.e. dancing), and as a listener and player it is indispensable to learn to be present. The greater we can manage to hear the many ‘conversations’ in any given recording, the more rewarding the music becomes. Becoming a good listener is paramount in being both a student of the music and in use on the bandstand. 
Short list of cats to dig (week 1)
Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones, Paul Motian, Jack DeJohnette, Max Roach, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Kenny Clarke, Chick Webb, Art Taylor, Joe Chambers, etc.
Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Oscar Pettiford, Ron Carter, Sam Jones, Charles Mingus, Art Davis, James (Jimmy) Garrison, Charlie Haden, Milt Hinton, Peter Ind, Cecil McBee, Jaco Pastorius, etc.
Suggested Practice Material:

1. For this week, check out the above mentioned names for drum and bass and see what you can find! Anyone willing to share an album the following week(s) can post them to the blog.
2. Try practicing your ability to identify and play chords using the chord matrix exercise. Get together with a friend; many somewhat mundane exercises can become much more tolerable (and in fact enjoyable) with a partner. 
3. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
If you need to reach me for a question, concern, or want to discuss anything musical: 

 - Joel Steinke

Jazz Colony Summary (Kyle Brooks - summary)

Marina’s Combo

Blues After Dark (Tune 1):
  • Learned melody and took turns soloing with blues scale and parameters.
Blues Scale:
1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 1
in G: G Bb C C# D F G

We practiced soloing with only 3 notes, adding a restriction made soloist listen more and play more creative rhythmic ideas.

Other possible Restrictions when practicing soloing:
  • Only play within a certain range (P5 between C and G)
  • Only play quarter notes, only play eight notes, only play triplets, etc.
  • Only play short phrases (2 or 3 beat phrases)
19 y 42 (Tune 2):
  • Learned intro and started to work on melody
Worked on 3 different types of minor scales and played them.

Natural Minor: 
 A natural minor scale: A B C D E F G A

Harmonic Minor (raised 7): 
A Harmonic minor scale: A B C D E F G# A

Melodic Minor (raised 6 and 7 up and lowered 6 and 7 down) : 
12b345678: A B C D E F# G# A = up
A B C D E F G A = down

  • Work on minor scales and learn them at a fairly quick range
  • Practice soloing with restrictions and the blues scale, examples above.
  • Learn the melody for Blues After Dark and 19 y 42

I had a blast with my women combo! Although we had no drummer we were able to work on Benny Golson's "Blues after dark" and we worked with it on several topics:

- blues scale 
- call/response among ourselves and other musicians as a way to build phrasing and direction on solos. That invited us to think about a motive or cell to explore instead of just playing notes one after the other;)
- Assignment: blues scale, listening to the original version and for those who know more about jazz improvising I told them to practice over the chord changes as well.

We also worked on my tune "19 y 42", Latino standard that I brought last year for my clinic;) we worked on:

- Minor modes; natural, harmonic and melodic.
- identifying the tension/resolution relationship in a harmonic and melodic environment (Dominant-tonic, harmony, and Major 7th to 1st, melody).
- worked on the rhythm of the melody and harmonic rhythm (the chords fall and start on the 4th beat before instead of the downbeat)
- assignment: work with G minor scales for everyone. For the bass and piano working on the harmonic rhythm and the tumbao written down on he chart.

Looking forward for the next one on Wednesday!

Marina Albero

"The Real McCoy"
First rehearsal - Tues 6/27

summary by Dylan Allrud-Faltisco 

We allowed extra time for students to start building more in their solos, flesh out motifs and explore rhythm changes more deeply. We alternated soloists on the bridge during the heads in and out of the song.

-Listen Here- 
We assembled the groove on the bass and drums. We focused on energy and timekeeping in the rhythm section to keep the groove strong. We gave each soloist the time they needed to build a dynamic and exciting solo at a comfortable pace, and branch out creatively over a simple and fun chord progression. 

-Bags Groove- 
We gave students a couple of choruses each and traded 4's with the drums. We discussed the versatility of the blues scale as well as growing your note choice by exploring the blues. At the heads, we alternated soloists to fill in the rests between each phrase of the melody. We worked on locking in the rhythm section's quarter notes on the ride and bass so we can swing tighter and stronger.

Finally .... Mr. Bergevin is performing next Thursday, July 6th in Shoreline ... students, staff and readers are welcome to attend this all-ages show. Reservations recommended ...