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Jamey Aebersold


The Man Who Taught the World to The Official Publicatio The Official Publication of


Basic Training: Latin Music – A Primer

The Official Publicatio

Focus Session: Learning Swing via Afro-Cuban Style

The Official Publication of JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK

The Official Publication of


21 Highland Cir. Ste. 1 Needham, MA 02494 Change Service Requested











19 95


16 90

16 90




BOOK & 2-CDs




Pennies From Heaven ͻ Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone ͻ Somebody Loves Me ͻ Time On My Hands ͻ Walkin’ My Baby Back Home ͻ SomeƟmes I’m HaƉƉy ͻ My Buddy ͻ My Blue Heaven ͻ :eeƉers reeƉers ͻ Is It True What They Say About Dixie? ͻ Day In-Day Out ͻ Ain’t She Sweet ͻ Blueberry Hill ͻ How LiƩle We <now ͻ AƉril Showers ͻ Honeysuckle Rose ͻ Ain’t Misbehavin’ ͻ Begin The Beguine ͻ String Of Pearls ͻ Blueberry Hill (Jazz Version)


Almost Like Being In Love ͻ Bidin’ My Time ͻ ry Me A River ͻ Dancing On The eiling ͻ Dedicated To You ͻ Don’t Worry About Me ͻ The Glow Worm ͻ Hold My Hand ͻ It Never Entered My Mind ͻ It’s Only A PaƉer Moon ͻ It’s You Or No One ͻ Lazy AŌernoon ͻ More Than You <now ͻ Stormy Weather ͻ The Lady Is A TramƉ


Alabamy Bound ͻ oƋueƩe ͻ In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town ͻ Goody Goody ͻ Goofus ͻ I Found A Million Dollar Baby ͻ I’ll See You In My Dreams ͻ JoseƉhine ͻ On The Street Where You Live ͻ Put Another Nickel In ͻ I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf lover ͻ Toot, Toot, Tootsie ͻ Yes Sir, That’s My Baby ͻ You’re The ream In My oīee


NEW JAZZ TITLES FOR SAX, GUITAR, & PIANO Sax Solos Over Jazz Standards

Jazz Piano & Harmony - Fundamental

ϭϮ Dodern etudes in solo form based on standard chord changes͘ /ncludes transposed solos for both alto and tenor and a CD of Tony playing the solos ǁith a rhythm secƟon so you can copy his style and feel͘ CD also includes the rhythm tracŬs without Tony, so that you can play along!

Triadic & four part chords, voice leading, diatonic harmony, subsƟtuƟons, leŌ hand voicings, single-note lines, melodic embellishment, improv, note paleƩes, cadences, //-ϳ sϳ paƩerns, tensions, Ϯ hand voicings, blues progressions and blues scales͘

ORDERING CODE ...................................... SOJS BOOK/CD .................................................. $19.95

ORDERING CODE .............................. JPH-F BOOK/CD ........................................... $19.95

Easy Jazz Guitar - Voicings & Comping

Jazz Piano & Harmony - Advanced

Simple comping over Standards on Jamey ebersoldΖs sol͘ ϱϰ ΗDaiden soyage͘Η Chords and Voicings explained in a manner that the most novice 'uitarists will understand͘ /ncludes demo and play-a-long CDs͘ ooŬ has both standard notaƟon and guitar frames for every voicing͘

DŽĚĞƐ͕ ŵŽĚĂů ŚĂƌŵŽŶLJ Θ ĐŽŵƉŽƐŝƟŽŶ͕ chord scales, blues progressions, pentatonic scales, theory including minor harmony, dominant chord subsƟtuƟon, upper structure triads, voicings in fourths, diminished chord paƩerns and subsƟtutes, and modulaƟons͘

ORDERING CODE ......................................... EJG BOOK/2-CDs ............................................. $19.95

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by Tony Dagradi

by Mike Di Liddo



by John Ferrara

by John Ferrara

1-800-456-1388 AEBERSOLDJAZZ


was baffled because I thought that in order to play jazz, you had to have a big stack of records that you listened to all the time, drink coffee, and be kind of grumpy."




Award-winning singer/songwriter, journalist, and educator Rondi Charleston shares some thoughts on how to effectively approach the process of writing lyrics and music.


Noted educator, author, and frequent JAZZed columnist Lee Evans shares his thoughts on this still woefully unheralded pianist.


An excerpt from The Latin real Easy Book, published by Sher Music Co., which outlines the key building blocks of Latin Music.


Trumpeter, educator, and educator Nick Mondello chats with this rising star about her background, inspirations, and approach to education.


We speak with the innovative jazz icon who introduced and popularized the concept of play-alongs and established the jazz camp model, which remains the standard to this day.


Performer, educator, and author Antonio J. Garcia offers suggestions on how to maximize younger students’ potential when performing swing repertoire by getting them familiar with Afro-Cuban material.

2 JAZZed January 2012


Volume 7, Number 1 GROUP PUBLISHER Sidney L. Davis PUBLISHER Richard E. Kessel Editorial Staff EDITOR Christian Wissmuller


ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eliahu Sussman ASSOCIATE EDITOR Matt Parish Contributing Writers Chaim Burstein, Dennis Carver, Kevin Mitchell, Dick Weissman Art Staff PRODUCTION MANAGER Laurie Guptill GRAPHIC DESIGNER Andrew P. Ross GRAPHIC DESIGNER Laurie Chesna


Photo by Tracy Love.





Cover photograph: Ryan Armbrust, Louisville, Ky. JAZZed™ is published six times annually by Symphony Publishing, LLC, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494, (781) 453-9310. Publisher of Choral Director, School Band and Orchestra, Music Parents America, and Musical Merchandise Review. Subscription rates $30 one year; $60 two years. Rates outside U.S. available upon request. Single issues $5. Resource Guide $15. Standard postage paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to JAZZed, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. © 2012 by Symphony Publishing, LLC. Printed in the U.S.A.

Advertising Staff ADVERTISING MANAGER Iris Fox CLASSIFIED & Display Maureen Johan SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Jason LaChapelle Business Staff CIRCULATION MANAGER Melanie A. Prescott ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Popi Galileos Symphony Publishing, LLC CHAIRMAN Xen Zapis PRESIDENT Lee Zapis CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Rich Bongorno Corporate Headquarters 26202 Detroit Road, Suite 300 Westlake, Ohio 44145 (440) 871-1300 Publishing, Sales, & Editorial Office 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1 Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310 FAX (781) 453-9389 1-800-964-5150

Member 2012



JAZZed January 2012 3

publisher’s letter


It Wasn’t Always This Good, People!


t’s an amazing world of jazz we live in today – if we he picked his niche, and it’s one that he knows exwant to see Dizz play, we click our keyboard and tremely well. At the University of Louisville, where there he is, performing in our living room. If we the jazz department now bears his name, “The want to buy a new horn – click a few keys and it Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program was one of will arrive at our doorstep in a couple of days. If we only a few prestigious institutions in the United want to have a band to jam with, well then: grab an States selected to participate in an international muaccompaniment disk and off you go. Today, many sic exchange sponsored by the Open World Leaderof us – and our students – take all of these wonder- ship Center at the Library of Congress” according ful technologies and educational opportunities for to the school’s Website. There are few people, who, after all of their success, can still be granted. However, as we know, seen at numerous conferences and it wasn’t always like this. Not so educator events, sitting down onelong ago, musicians who were “Today, many of us on-one with a young student who interested in jazz had to seek out – and our students is looking for some guidance, but fellow artists or local bands who – take all of these Jamey’s dedication to the art and would allow them the opportunity to sit in, often late at night, with wonderful technolo- his willingness to “pay it forward” shows his big heart. their groups and learn a few tunes. gies and educational On a similar note, the JEN orgaImagine Jamey Aebersold’s dismay nization has put together a dazzling when he was coming up in the opportunities for program in Jamey’s home turf, at ranks and, like many others, found granted.” the Galt House in downtown Louthat many top music schools didn’t isville. This nascent organization, teach saxophone… it’s extremely only in a few years of existence, difficult to fathom this today. Jamey’s foresight, along with that of a few other key has organized a collection of performances and clivisionaries, managed to ignite a spark that changed nicians to make any jazz educator or aficionado feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. Some of the the way the jazz world educates its students. Mr. Aebersold is quite the Renaissance man. Not highlights include Ken Peplowski and Shelly Berg, Jaonly is he an accomplished jazz musician, composer, son Marsalis Group, Alan Baylock Orchestra, Ernie educator, and saxophonist, but he’s also managed Watts with the US Army Jazz Ambassadors, as well as to build and run a successful business over several numerous other prestigious professional, high school decades. This in itself would be a tremendous life and college groups. My hat is again off to my fellow accomplishment, especially when considering that JEN Board members who have poured their love, Aebersold competes against some many much larg- passion, and tremendous effort into making this coner, more highly capitalized companies. However, ference become a reality!

4 JAZZed January 2012



Kennedy Center Names Jason Moran New Jazz Advisor


ecently, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts named Jason Moran as its artistic advisor for Jazz. Moran, who has assumed Kennedy Center duties immediately, is the second person to hold the position since its inception. The first was Dr. Billy Taylor, who served in the same capacity from 1994 until his death in 2010. Moran will be responsible for developing programming and curating artists for the wide-ranging jazz program. His work in the contemporary jazz scene has established him as a risk-taker and innovator. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010 and has received commissions from The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dia Art Foundation, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Kennedy Center Jazz presents legendary and emerging artists in more than 30 performances a year.

John Coltrane Graphic Novel In the Works European publishing company Jonathan Cape has plans for a graphic novel biography of John Coltrane with artwork by well-known Italian illustrator Paolo Parisi. The book tracks events in Coltrane’s personal life, cut with scenes from his time recording. Parisi is a Bolognabased artist and illustrator, and his work includes illustration for Soul Jazz records, for whom he drew Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds and its accompanying graphic novel. Coltrane will be published by Jonathan Cape (an imprint of Random House) in the UK, Forlaget Fahrenheit in Denmark, and Editions Sarbacane in France, and will be released in the UK on January 12, 2012.

6 JAZZed January 2012

Jazz at Lincoln Center to Expand, First in Qatar

New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Program recently announced that it will be expanding internationally, beginning with a new jazz club in the city of Doha in Middle Eastern nation Qatar next April. It will be the first time that the New York organization has expanded into a permanent entity outside of the U.S., with plans to include four more cities in the near future. The 120-seat club in Doha will be part of a reported $1 billion luxury hotel and will be modeled after the group’s Manhattan venue.

At Berklee, we appreciate who you are. And where you want to be. You’ll collaborate with students and faculty as you develop your original style. A lot will be expected of you. But you’ll get as much in return. You’ll become a better musician and problem solver in the ever-changing music world. So you can succeed in your career. Wherever it takes you. Learn more at

noteworthy UCLA Throws a Kenny Burrell Birthday Bash with Jazz Luminaries

UCLA’s Royce Hall played host to famed jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell’s 80th birthday party. Burrell, who is the founder of the school’s jazz department, invited several old friends to perform as part of the star-studded event, which included appearances from Lalo Schifrin, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. A student vocal ensemble from the school performed Burrell’s own “We Must Find a Way to Help Us Love Again.” The event also served as a chance for Burrell to unveil his new ensemble, the L.A. Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, a large student band with an accompanying string section. The new group performed a debut piece co-written by Burrell, John Clayton, John Williams and more.

Singer Adele Recovering from Vocal Cord Surgery

Soul singer Adele is recovering from recent vocal cord surgery that she underwent in Boston. The singer, best known for her single “Rolling In the Deep,” reportedly underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital to stop a vocal cord hemorrhage from a benign polyp. The hospital has been a go-to spot for famous vocal cords for years, having treated stars like Steven Tyler and Roger Daltry. Dr. Steven Zeitels, the director of the Mass General Voice Center, called Adele’s surgery a success. Adele wrote in her own blog that her troubles began in May during a US tour. “I was in Minneapolis, which was about half way through the tour,” she wrote. “I made a Skype call in the morning on the day of the show and during it, my voice suddenly switched off like a light! It was literally as if someone pulled a curtain over my throat. I knew something was wrong and panicked but convinced myself I’d be fine. I got to soundcheck and knew immediately I couldn’t perform and, with doctors advice, cancelled the show.”

USC and U. Miami Launch Pop Music Collaborations Online

Four pairs of students from the USC Thornton Popular Music program and the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music program at the University of Miami Frost School have launched a new creative collaboration using internet and mobile services like Skype. This project was the brainchild of Chris Sampson, associate dean and director of USC Thornton’s Popular Music program, and Rey Sanchez, chair of the Music Media and Industry program at Frost. The songs resulting from this collaboration were showcased in a recent bicoastal performance, based in Miami and partially transmitted from USC Thornton studios. Over the course of the 2011 fall semester, four student songwriters were chosen from each institution and paired as collaborators, working together over Skype or other Internet connections to forge productive partnerships. The four songs that were written were performed during a December 1 concert at the University of Miami. The first half of the performance took place in Miami. For the second half, USC students performed the songs from a studio on the USC campus, transmitted via the high-performance research network known as Internet2 and coordinated by Brian Shepard, professor of Pedagogical Technology at USC Thornton. In Miami, students added harmonies.

8 JAZZed January 2012

New CrowdFunding Site Artspire Launched

Artspire is a newly launched crowdfunding platform that takes a different slant than sites like Kickstarter. A project of the New York Foundation for the

Arts (NYFA), the site is a web-based extension of NYFA’s fiscal sponsorship program. It offers fundraising support as well as the ability to accept tax deductible contributions and grants usually restricted to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. It’s a useful development for a wellestablished service that should be considered by musicians with an interest in developing donors and seeking grants. The company has stated that any artist whose work involved reaching an audience was eligible for participation. Proposed projects must have a minimum budget of $15,000 and a complete project description and budget must be included in one’s application. The site features a backend designed as a self-service platform with features like project management, 24/7 banking, bookkeeping, and tax services. Participation is also open to Emerging Organizations and could be useful in launching music education programs.

Say What? “A lot of pop people out there are cool, but they overdo it.” - Norah Jones

At North Central College, being well-rounded doesn’t mean losing your musical edge. When we say music is central at North Central College, it means that we expect you to build a full and complete life around your music studies.

Performing Opportunities at North Central College

Big Band Brass Quintet Chamber Jazz Chamber Winds Concert Choir Concert Winds Gospel Choir Jazz Combos Musical Theatre Productions Naperville Chorus NCC Express Show Choir Opera Workshop Pep Band Percussion Ensemble Vocal Jazz Ensemble Women’s Chorale Women’s Chamber Ensemble

Students choose from majors in Music, Music Education, Musical Theatre or Jazz Studies—but they also dance, act, explore, study abroad, volunteer, mentor, pole vault and pursue countless other passions. Our location, in downtown Naperville, is only 40 minutes by train from Chicago and makes it easy to enjoy, perform and do great works.

Monday, January 16, 2012 Friday, March 30, 2012

Transfer Visit Days: Saturday, February 11, 2012 Saturday, April 21, 2012

Audition Days:

Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Music, Music Education, Theatre and Vocal Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Music, Music Education, Theatre, Art, Interactive Media Studies

Call 630-637-5800 to discover more about our programs in music. Or visit us online at

Freshman Visit Days:

Jazz Faculty Janice Borla - Voice John McLean - Guitar Frank Caruso - Piano Jim Cox - Bass Mitch Paliga - Saxophone Doug Scharf - Trumpet Joel Adams - Trombone Brad Stirtz - Vibraphone Jack Mouse - Drum Set/Program Coordinator


30 N. Brainard Street


Naperville, IL



What’s on Your Playlist? Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the more unique and influential modern voices in jazz. Hagans’ latest album, The Moon is Waiting (Palmetto Records), features his quartet performing all original compositions by Hagans. Hagans also performs with Bob Belden, Joe Lovano, Blue Note All-Stars, Gary Peacock, Yellowjackets, and Bob Mintzer. He was nominated for Grammy awards for Best Instrumental Composition for “Box of Cannoli” from The Avatar Sessions (2010 Fuzzy Music); Best Contemporary Jazz CD for Re: Animation (2000 Blue Note) and Animation*Imagination (1999 Blue Note). In 2012 Tim Hagans will be awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Additionally, he has performed and recorded with the likes of Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins, and Dexter Gordon. For three years Hagans was a member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. For fifteen years Timwas artistic director and composer-in-residence for the Norrbotten Big Band, traveling to Sweden to perform, conduct and arrange projects with guest artists such as Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, and Dave Liebman. 1. The Magnificent Thad Jones, Volume 3 – Thad Jones Thad Jones was one of the most original and in-themoment improvisers in the history of jazz. His trumpet playing was out of this world, but Thad Jones is renowned more as a composer. I think this is because his skills as a composer and arranger were so brilliant that they overshadowed his legacy as a player. This record showcases his genius on the trumpet. (Thad Jones, Billy Mitchell, Barry Harris, Percy Heath, Max Roach). 2. Consummation – Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band This CD is just incredible! True to its title, it is the consummate big band record. The tunes “Tiptoe,” “A Child is Born,” and “Fingers” exemplify the hipness, humor and exquisiteness that is Thad Jones. 3. The Cellar Door Sessions – Miles Davis Six CDs: one for each night of the six nights Miles Davis performed and recorded at the Cellar Door in Washington DC in 1970. six days of wild free funk and through the roof energy. (Miles Davis, Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, John McLaughlin).

4. One Down, One Up: Live At the Half Note – John Coltrane What can you say? The classic Coltrane Quartet going nuts! (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones). 5. Sunship – John Coltrane This is a studio album recorded a few months after One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note. If you listen to the recording you can hear Coltrane’s voice instructing the band. He tells them “to keep the thing happening all through.” He’s talking about the energy, the intensity, the emotion; it’s the thing and you have to keep it happening, keep it going. (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones). 6. Doin’ Allright – Dexter Gordon What I love about Dexter is his behind-the-beat- 8th notes that combine with this huge broad sound. I played with Dexter in Copenhagen in the late 1970s. One night after a gig he let fall a big heavy arm around my shoulders. He started talking about all the things he had been through in his life. He looked so serious and then there was this

Tim Hagans’ latest album, The Moon is Waiting (Palmetto Records), was released on October 11, 2011. 10 JAZZed January 2012

awkward silence after he finished. I was in awe of him and I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Was it worth it?” It sort of caught him off guard for a moment. He thought about it and then I saw that big square smile of his spread across his face and he said, “Yeaahhh.” Whenever I listen to him play I can’t help but see that magnificent smile. I find that I like to listen to Dexter in the morning; it’s great to have that sound and that smile – that are so uniquely Dexter – to welcome the day. This CD also has Freddie Hubbard on it and I love hearing them play together. (Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Parlan, George Tucker, Al Harewood). 7. The Hub of Hubbard – Freddie Hubbard I would say this is Freddie at his absolute finest. The bar that Freddie sets on this recording is a lifetime goal for me. (Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Daniels, Roland Hanna, Richard Davis, Louis Hayes). 8. The Complete Columbia Albums Collection of Woody Shaw – Woody Shaw I think the recordings from Woody’s Columbia period – from

1977 to 1981 – are his very best. He had refined his style to perfection. The sound, the ideas, and the compositions are extraordinary. Also, hearing Woody play over the standard tunes not included in the original releases shows the origin of his melodic and harmonic concept. (six CDs all with different personnel). 9. Out Front – Rufus Reid The centerpiece to this CD is a three-movement suite called “Caress the Thought.” It’s outstanding. Rufus Reid is not only one of my favorite bassists, he’s one of my favorite composers. (Rufus Reid, Steve Allee, Duduka da Fonseca). 10. The Firebird: New York Philharmonic – Stravinsky This work contains two of the greatest moments in all music. The first is when the French horn enters, leading into the second greatest moment, the breathtaking finale. Stravinsky was one of the greatest composers of all time and a constant inspiration for me. (Conducted by Leonard Bernstein)

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2012 President’s Service Award The President’s Service Award is awarded annually by the President’s Council to an individual that has satisfied the following criteria: • • • •

Two years of continuing volunteer service to the organization Giving tirelessly of their efforts, resources, expertise, and time Demonstration of commitment to the organization’s mission True example of altruism

We are proud to present this year’s award to Larry Green, who has served the organization since JEN’s inception June 2008, devoting tireless hours and effort into the development of JEN, and additionally has acted as Office Manager and Registration Coordinator since 2011. The inscription on the award reads as follows: Jazz Education Network President’s Service Award honoring

Larry Green for vision, perseverance and dedication to the Jazz Education Network Presented January 4-7, 2011 Third Annual Conference Louisville, KY Larry Green is currently The Jazz Education Network Office Manager, Eastman Winds and Strings Area Representative, Consultant for Bob Rogers Travel and an independent consultant/clinician under WhipLash Consultants, his educational company focused on working with school groups 7-12 and their directors. He also remains very active in judging and convention presentations. Previous music industry positions have included Buffet Crampon, USA, West Music, Conn-Selmer, Inc., C.G.Conn, United Musical Instruments, DeMoulin Uniforms, Creative Colorguard Wear, and Band Services of Iowa. Having taught 22 years in instrumental music in Iowa, Larry continues to commit his energies to helping young students and educators thru clinics and mentorship activities. His teaching employment included Seymour Community, Washington Community, Des Moines Roosevelt and West Des Moines Valley High Schools. His band programs have performed at MidWest International Band Clinic, National Band Conference, International Jazz Edu- cators Conference, Iowa BandMasters Convention, Montreux International Jazz Festival, Orange and Citrus Bowl Parades, Cherry Blossom Parade, Festival of States Parade, and numerous MidWest regional events and concert tours. In addition, Larry was the National Band Association Jazz Chair for 12 years, the Chair and Co-Chair of the International Association of Jazz Educators’ Leadership Committee for 6 years, co- founder of the Iowa Jazz Championships, and co-founder of ValleyFest. Larry’s educational degrees include: BS in Music Education, Kirksville State Teachers Col- lege, MA in Musical Composition, Northeast Missouri State University, and Post Graduate work in Music Theory at the University of Iowa.

12 JAZZed January 2012

Our network is growing JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK

A MESSAGE FROM JEN PRESIDENT LOU FISCHER “Those who can…do. Those who can do more…Volunteer!” This quote epitomizes the driving force behind JEN….its Volunteers! The members of our network form JEN’s foundation, while the elected board strives to determine and direct its course. Without our dedicated volunteers, this organization would come to a screeching halt. We are on the threshold of our 3rd Annual Conference and I feel not only compelled, but duty bound to point out the enormous contribution of our amazing volunteer team. The daily operation of JEN, as well as this fantastic conference you are about to partake in, would not be possible if not for the tireless efforts of our vast Volunteer pool. “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”~ Sherry Anderson That being said, let me introduce you to our priceless Conference Volunteer Team! Initially, we have a 13 member Coordinator Team that has worked throughout the year in preparation of the conference. Since we all agree that good sound reinforcement is a necessity for this music, we have initiated a hand-picked crew of 7 Volunteer Audio Engineers from the professional ranks, hand chosen because we know they hear what jazz should sound like! The various JEN stages are managed by a crew of 7 Volunteer Stage Managers!...many of whom have been with us since JEN’s inception and each stage is staffed with additional stage hands. Clinic rooms require a Volunteer Room Monitor, and this year we have a Volunteer Crew from the Kentucky Center for the Arts checking credentials for entry to all JEN events. It takes a minimum of “Nobody can 9 volunteers every hour that the Registration Counter is open to run it efficiently; do everything, a goal high on our agenda this year. Likewise, at least 9 people are assigned to the Production Room, led by local Production Coordinator, Jerry Tolson, to make but everyone sure ancillary gear arrives where needed. The local Convention & Visitors Bureau can do has generously volunteered to manage our Louisville Information Booth. Our JEN Outreach program was coordinated locally by Louisville Leopards Director Diane something!” Downs. Would you enjoy being part of our priceless volunteer team for next year’s -Author conference? We welcome your interest with open arms! Watch for and complete Unknown the Volunteer application, generally launched online in March. If you are interested in helping with the daily operation of JEN, we can always use the help! JEN operates with minimal part-time staff, a volunteer web master in Gene Perla, committee members like Gary Armstrong, our liaison to JAZZed magazine each issue. Others like Scott Wilson, who set up the 2012 Conference Smartphone App for JEN and Marina Terteyan, who has been managing our social media banner ads and blasts. The Marketing/Communication Committee has met regularly in recent months, developing a marketing plan that is certain to help JEN grow! Every Board member is a Volunteer, giving of their time every six months attending meetings on your behalf, several of whom work on various committees tirelessly throughout the year! Larry Green, recipient of the 2012 President’s Service Award (see previous page) is currently the JEN Office Manager, a part-time position that draws a small honorarium. However, you should know he has acted as our Volunteer Membership Chair for 1.5 years prior to be hired. The fact is he puts in more than 40 hours a week for this organization on a part-time stipend, with no benefits, plus he cordinates the Registration component of the conference and has managed exhibitor relations throughout the year! I’d say he qualifies as a priceless JEN Volunteer! Come join us! Share the passion and pay it forward. Give something back to the world we live in! “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” ~Tom Brokaw I, along with the JEN Board, extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all JEN Volunteers, who’s herculean efforts are truly making a difference! Watch for the Volunteers proudly donning a green ribbon, and offer a personal thank you to each one of them. Enjoy the conference and we’ll see you next year in Atlanta, Georgia, January 2-5, 2013! Bass-ically Yours; Dr. Lou Fischer JEN Co-Founder, President

JEN Board of Directors (2011-12): Ruben Alvarez, Paul Bangser, Caleb Chapman, John Clayton-Vice President, Orbert Davis, Jose Diaz-Secretary, Dr. Lou Fischer-President, Dr. Darla Hanley, Dr. Monica Herzig, Willard Jenkins, Rick Kessel-Treasurer, Mary Jo Papich-Past President, Bob Sinicrope, Terell Stafford, Andrew Surmani-President Elect. Office Manager: Larry Green; Bookkeeper: Mindy Muck; Webmaster: Gene Perla; Web Hosting: AudioWorks Group, Ltd./

JAZZed January 2012 13


JEN 2012 Scholarship Awards The David Baker Scholarship was established in 2010 by Jamey Aebersold. to honor Master Educator David Baker. $3,000 Award/1 year eJEN membership/Certificate

2012 Recipients:

• Alex Liu Macias - a young jazz guitarist from Ecuador, studies under the guidance of David Baker and Corey Christiansen at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

• Jamaal Baptiste - a pianist from the island of Aruba, is currently pursuing a degree in jazz studies at Indiana University under the tutelage of Luke Gillespie and David Baker.

The Mary Jo Papich Women in Jazz Scholarship was established and funded in 2010 by Mary Jo Papich to honor Women in Jazz. In 2012, the Board of Directors moved to fund this award in Mary Jo’s honor from the JEN Education Fund in the amount of $1,000/1 year JEN membership/Certificate. 2012 Recipients:

• Erika Matson is a junior music education major at DePauw University and hopes to fulfill her dream by becoming a band director after finishing her undergraduate degree. Erika is thankful for this scholarship assisting her to fulfill her passion of teaching jazz to others. 14 JAZZed January 2012

The Hal Leonard Collegiate Scholarship was established in 2011 by the Hal Leonard Corporation to recognize with a financial scholarship a deserving college/ university student entering or continuing their collegiate jazz studies, and is to be awarded annually in the amount of $1,000/Certificate.

2012 Recipients:

• Kathleen Hollingsworth - a singer-keyboardist-choir director-writer-arranger-educator with a mission to create grander beauty in life and deeper community between people through music is pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Miami.

The JEN Founders Award $1,000/Certificate/1 year eJEN membership/Certificate.

2012 Recipients:

• Price McGuffey is a percussion and saxophone major at the Youth Performing Arts School, DuPont Manual High School in Louisville, KY., and hopes to pursue a career in jazz performance and/or studio drumming.

• Jordan Egland-Smith is an award-winning saxophonist in the jazz and concert band at Oldham County High School, Buckner, KY. Jordan plays all four saxophones and has studied four years of Jazz Improvisation at the HEB Houston Summer Jazz Workshop. His personal goal is to perform at his highest level and become a renowned jazz musician. JAZZed January 2012 15


The John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award The Jazz Education Network and Berklee College of Music have collaborated to present the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award at the Third Annual JEN Conference in Louisville, January 4-7, 2012. The award is named after legendary jazz educator John LaPorta, who served as a distinguished professor at Berklee for more than 3 decades prior to his death in 2004. John played a pivotal role in the earliest stage of formalized jazz education. The award recognizes an outstanding educator at the high school, middle or elementary school level who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results have brought distinction to their institution and their students. The award is presented annually at the JEN Conference. This year’s award is proudly presented to Bart Marantz, from Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, Texas! The inscription on the award reads as follows:

Jazz Education Network In Partnership With

Berklee College of Music Present the



For Representing the Highest Standards of Teaching and Bringing Distinction to Your Institution and Students THIRD JEN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE LOUISVILLE, KY January 4 -7, 2012 Bart Marantz has been teaching jazz studies at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts for 28 years. The music program has won 221 “Down Beat Student Music Awards” since Bart’s arrival in 1983. The Jazz and Commercial program at Booker T. Washington HSPVA has produced eight alumni with 28 Grammys over its 36-year history, including Roy Hargrove and Norah Jones. Bart is a 1986 Fulbright Scholar. He founded the “Arts Jazz Festival” raising a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships, which ran from 1990 through 1993 in the Arts District of Dallas, Texas. He received the “Achievement In Jazz Education” award in 1993 from “DownBeat” Magazine and was again honored by “DownBeat” as the 18th recipient of the “Jazz Education Hall of Fame” in 2010. Bart has been a Selmer Clinician since 1988 and is co-author of “Jazz Figure Reading Studies” and contributing author of “Selected Trumpet Master Classes” and IAJE/MENC’s curriculum guide “Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study” and “The Jazz Ensemble Companion.” Bart Marantz has toured and played with a variety of shows including Ray Charles, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, staff band at

16 JAZZed January 2012

the El Casino in Freeport Grand Bahamas, Nancy Wilson, Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons, Gladys Night and the Pips, and for Norwegian Caribbean Cruise lines as part of the house band on the MS. Skyward. He has studied with jazz educators, Jerry Coker, Dan Haerle, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Jaki Byard, Phil Wilson and George Russell at The University of Miami, Florida, Indiana University, Bloomington, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts. In recent years the program at Booker T. Washington has garnered international attention by performing at The Monterey Jazz Festival, The World Sax Conference, The Mid-West Conference, The International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, The Jazz Educators Network Conference, The Kennedy Center, The Grammy’s, NFAA Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Texas Music Educators Association, as well as for the Prime-Minister of England, the Queen of England and for the NEA with a performance at the White House for the President of the United States in July of 2004.

JEN Student Composition Showcase Now in its second year, the JEN Student Composition Showcase, designed to spotlight young jazz composers, gives current students an opportunity to have an original composition recognized and performed at the international level. All entrants will receive a certificate and comment from professional reviewers. A select group of 6 participants were invited to attend the 2012 JEN Conference in Louisville, KY and hear a professional performance of their music featuring the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra from Washington D.C. For this event, Alfred Music Publishing supplied appropriate templates in Finale or Sibelius as needed, and may consider any of these compositions for publication, and as such, will contact the composer directly in that regard. The JEN Student Composition Showcase Presentation is: Saturday, January 7, 2012, 5:00-6:00pm, Galt House Hotel, 3rd Floor Suite Tower, French Room.

2012 Recipients:

• Tyler Mire is attending the University of North Texas getting his masters in Jazz Composition. He currently plays lead trumpet in the 1:00 lab band.

• Socrates Garcia Dominican composer. Teachers include Dick Grove, Fred Sturm, Jamey Simmons, David Caffey. Currently pursuing a doctorate at UNC - Greeley, CO, he holds degrees from Luther College and MTSU.

• Brett McDonald Saxophonist/composer, Brett is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, and has received recent student awards by ASCAP and Downbeat.

• Emily Merrell Masters student in jazz performance at the University of North Texas, Emily plans to record an album of all original music later this year.

• Chase Morrin attends Harvard University. As pianist/composer he has earned multiple awards for composition and performance including ASCAP, DownBeat, and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

• Kate Skinner Currently pursuing a doctorate in Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, Kate is an active pianist and vocalist in the Denver metro area. JAZZed January 2012 17


DS of Jazz Education


JEN is delighted to present Jamey Aebersold, David Baker, Jerry Coker and Dan Haerle as the inaugural recipients of the LeJENds of Jazz Education award. These four giant pillars of jazz education have had a profound influence on thousands of jazz enthusiasts. Individually they have authored ground-breaking books on many aspects of learning jazz. Their teaching and research have been pioneering and have been the example for many universities and teachers of jazz education. They are each very accomplished players who play at the highest level of jazz. Collectively they are close friends known as the ABCD’s of jazz education who have collaborated for five decades as the star faculty at Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops.

Jamey Aebersold (born 1939) Jamey Aebersold attended college at Indiana University and graduated in 1962 with a Masters Degree in Saxophone. He was inducted into the International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame in 1989, awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Indiana University in 1992, and received the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award by Mitch Daniels in 2007, as well as many other honors. Jamey is an internationally-known saxophonist and authority on jazz education and improvisation, and has developed a series of Play-A-Longs book and CD sets (130+) as well as various other supplemental aids for the development of improvisational skills. The Aebersold book and recording sets allow a musician the opportunity to practice and improvise with well-known jazz personalities at home as well as in the classroom. The recordings employ some of the best jazz musicians in the world. This concept has been responsible for changing the practice habits of thousands of musicians around the world. He feels that improvisation is something all people can do and has directed his summer jazz workshops for over 40 years now, as well as presented clinics, classes, and lectures internationally. His extensive catalogue of play-alongs and jazz education publications can be found at

David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. (born 1931) David Baker is Distinguished Professor of Music and chairman of the jazz department at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the world and is also the conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Among numerous honors, he was inducted into the International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame in 1982, received the Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (2000), an Emmy Award for his musical score for the PBS documentary For Gold and Glory (2003), and the Living Jazz Legend Award by the

18 JAZZed January 2012

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2007). He has also received honorary doctorates from Wabash College, Oberlin College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. As a composer, Mr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles including Josef Gingold, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Louisville Symphony, and many more. David Baker is one of the pioneers in the jazz education movement with more than 60 books and 400 articles to his credit. Over 45 years of teaching at Indiana University, 40 years for the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, as the chair of the jazz faculty at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival, and much more, he has fostered excellence in multiple generations of jazz artists, including students such as John Clayton, Randy Brecker, Chris Botti, Bob Hurst, and too many to be listed. A detailed account of his story and impact can be found in the book/CD publication David Baker – A Legacy in Music on IU Press (October 2011,

which was translated into four languages and became a perennial best-selling book, along with PATTERNS FOR JAZZ (1970). 16 more books authored by Jerry over the next four decades followed those two publications, but the most important contribution he made to the jazz idiom was the jazz curriculum he alone created at the University of Miami (repeated verbatim at the University of Tennessee 7 years later), a curriculum that was truly ground-breaking, emulated by scores of universities in the ensuing years, introducing for the first time courses such as Jazz Piano (for non-pianists), Analysis of Jazz Styles (transcription and analysis of major jazz solos), Jazz Directing, and Jazz Pedagogy, among others, all taught single-handedly by Coker for the first several years at both institutions. Subsequently, at both Miami and Tennessee, Jerry added masters programs in jazz within a few years. Jerry retired from the University of Tennessee a few years ago at the rank of Professor Emeritus. He continues to teach privately and for the Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps, and continues to play his horn.

Jerry Coker (born 1932)

Dan Haerle (born 1937)

Jerry Coker was born in 1932, as the second child of parents who were both professional jazz musicians. His older brother, Jack, became a superb jazz pianist as well. Jerry’s early years were dominated by professional music, which began at age 11. By age 20 he was a featured tenor saxophonist with Woody Herman, and several years later with Stan Kenton. He was already composing and arranging when he was 15 years of age, contributing to the libraries of several local bands, later for university and professional jazz bands, and won a full composition scholarship at Yale University. At age 23, having already tired of road travel with various bands, he married Patty, his life companion for 56 years and counting, a gifted jazz singer, who convinced him to turn to teaching of our beloved music. Jerry looked first to private students, then embarked on a 53-year career of teaching jazz in various universities, to include (in chronological order) Sam Houston State, Monterey Peninsula College, Indiana University, University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Tennessee. Along the way, Jerry wrote his first book, IMPROVISING JAZZ (1964), a ground-breaking event

Dan Haerle is a Regents Professor Emeritus at the University of North Texas, where he taught for more than 25 years. Previous appointments include Arizona State University, the University of Miami, Monterey Peninsula College and Kansas State University. He was inducted into the International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame in 2003. Dan Haerle has toured with the Stan Kenton band and the Clark Terry Quintet, and his performance credits include Mel Torme, Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, Woody Shaw, Kai Winding, Freddie Hubbard, and many more. Also an inaugural member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Workshops, Dan Haerle is the pianist on more than 30 play-along recordings in the Jamey Aebersold catalogue. Among his multiple jazz method books, his 3-volume set Jazz Improvisation for Keyboard Players and Jazz-Rock Voicings for the Contemporary Keyboard Player have become the lingua franca for jazz piano students. In addition to pictures related to many facets of his career and references to the multitude of recordings he has made, a wide variety of “jazz hints” can be found on his website, at

Save The Date!

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Atlanta, Georgia January 2-5, 2013 The Jazz Education Network

is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. For complete membership information/benefits please visit us at:

lessons learned


Notes on Lyric Writing and Song Conception BY RONDI CHARLESTON


he process of writing lyrics and music is part of my everyday existence. The ideas that fuel future songs come as a direct result of my being constantly aware of my surroundings – observing people, places and things – and taking mental snapshots of events, both large and small, as I go through my day. For example, “Land of Gailiee” was inspired by an unusual event I witnessed while visiting Israel a few years ago. During a rare snowfall in Jerusalem, people of all faiths and ages came out of their houses to play together in the snow, building snowmen and just having fun together. It was a joyous, peaceful, beautiful moment which sparked the possibility of what peace could look like in this troubled region of the world. I immediately went back to my hotel and started my writing process. When the lyrics were complete, I then brought them, along with a few notes of melody, to Lynne Arriale, who fleshed it all out and wrote the soaring chorus. Now, turning an idea into a song isn’t always an easy process. There are many steps and obstacles to be navigated – and sometimes wrestled with – along the way. The fundamental goal is to unite all the elements of a song – language, melody, harmony and rhythm. But, to do so, they must be broken down into bite-sized segments to ensure that all elements resonate at each point along the way. One of the first technical steps in lyric writing is generating and focusing on an original idea. In addition to always having your antennae up and on alert

throughout your day, there is a helpful exercise called “object writing.” (For more in depth discussion, I highly recommend Anne LaMott’s Bird by Bird and Pat Pattison’s Writing Better Lyrics). Object writing is an invaluable tool for finding your own personal voice and vision. It involves honing your five senses as well as your kinesthetic and organic senses, in order to gain access to that treasure trove of experience and emotion inside of you. For example, “Your Spirit Lingers,” which I also wrote with Lynne, was based on an object writing session I had


20 JAZZed January 2012

lessons learned using an autobiographical book written by my great–grandmother about my family’s emigration from Norway in the 1800s, and subsequent trek by wagon train across the country to Oregon. I was awed by the hardships she overcame, her strong faith and inner strength and the remnants of personality traits I noticed in others and myself in my family and how they lived on through us still. The next step is to focus your perspective – adding the elements of “who, what, when, where, how and why” to the mix. Will it be first person narrative? Direct address? Third person? This requires discipline – choosing a lane, shall we say, and sticking to it. Now you are ready to start a worksheet! Again, I recommend Pat Pattison’s book for this. As he puts it, you want to generate words in a specific “key” – just as you would for music. Let’s say you wanted to write a song about your mother or father. You would begin by making lists of words that related somehow to them and this idea. Then group them into nouns, verbs, adjectives, and start mixing them up in order to find fresh metaphors. This is exciting stuff – not unlike juxtaposing chords to find new tonalities!!! Then it’s on to short sentences and hopefully finding some new, unexpected meaning and nuance along the way. After paring down your word choices, you can add rhymes to your worksheet. It’s helpful to think about rhymes in the same way you think about chords. Landing on a solid rhyme is like landing on the tonic after a series of changes. Sometimes you want to land squarely, but often, you have a more interesting story to tell that benefits from the element of surprise or the unexpected. You might want to unbalance the rhyming scheme and take the listener on a different journey! This is where skill plays an important role. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Ultimately, we unite words and

melody emotionally in addition to syllables and notes. The natural shape of the melody and the language must be integrated. Rhythm is then united with meaning. It’s a thrilling and intoxicating process and when it works, there is nothing more exciting in the world – well worth the hours, days and weeks of time and effort that go into creating

it! I also truly love working with students privately and now in workshops. Every student comes with their own unique set of gifts and challenges. I try to assess them in the first few sessions and then tailor an approach that will work best for them. For example, one student came in with a naturally beautiful

JAZZed January 2012 21

lessons learned voice, but her original songs were clichéd and derivative. I encouraged her to do some object writing, and to explore her own unique identity. (Her background was Indian and Swedish, and she was trying to copy American pop songs. It was inauthentic and she had so much more to

offer). Now she’s writing music that incorporates sounds from her native country, and telling stories no one else can tell! She has grown enormously as an artist! As a writer, over time, you develop a sort of sixth sense that tells you when a lyric is fully baked – or when more work

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is needed. The rule of thumb is being specific by avoiding generalities and clichés. Guiding collaborators to melodies is also a very delicate process. You want to give just enough of a suggestion – a few notes and a rhythmic motif – to generate a spark, and then let them take it from there. In my case, working with two great musicians, Bruce Barth and Lynne Arriale, all that was needed were a couple of bars from me and they took off on their own, creating gorgeous melodies and multi–layered harmonies that fit the lyrics perfectly. They are both such sensitive listeners, and each put in the time to really think about the meaning of the songs in order to conjure up the right tone and feeling. I’m often asked about my storytelling and how I create lyrics that somehow touch listeners in a personal way. Actually, I really don’t think about appealing to a universal audience when I write. I just trust my own instincts, and hope that the things that interest me, will also interest others. Without this organic approach we lose our authenticity. It’s been a wonderful surprise to see how audiences and critics have resonated so personally and emotionally to my original tunes. Even though the details and actual events differ, many of our stories are much the same. It’s an interesting testimony to the shared life experience.

© bruce langton

Mouthpieces for all clarinets and saxophones

Jazz singer/songwriter Rondi Charleston holds a BM and MM from Juilliard and is an Emmy and Peabody Award recipient for her investigative reporting as a producer for Diane Sawyer at ABC’s “PrimeTime Live.” She conducts vocal and songwriting workshops privately in her NYC studio and in colleges and universities, at NJPAC for several years and, most recently, at NOLA and NOCCA during her U.S. tour promoting her critically acclaimed Motéma Music debut release, Who Knows Where The Time Goes. Praised by Hot House Magazine for “the most memorable new songs to come from a jazz singer since Abbey Lincoln,” she has integrated her journalistic and musical skills and emerged as a gifted storyteller of indelible, poignant originals.

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guest editorial


Who Was Phineas Newborn, Jr.? BY LEE EVANS


uite a few years ago, after having completed three years of undergraduate school at New York University, I was drafted into the U.S. Army and served a mandatory two-year stint. After completing four months of basic training and band training at New Jersey’s Fort Dix, I was stationed for the remaining time with the Army band at Ft. McClellan in Anniston, Ala. It was quite a culture shock, to be sure, for this Caucasian Bronx-born-and-raised young man to be shipped from a rather benign Northeast political environment to what might be described as the then Southern hotbed of racial tensions, with its train station and drinking fountain signs marked “Colored” and “White.”

I have often told anecdotes to my friends about my military “heroics,” relaying to them various amusing details of my official Army job as a glockenspiel player with the base’s marching band at parades and ceremonies. (I, a pianist by profession, was assigned to the glockenspiel because one obviously can’t play the piano in a marching band.) However, on many mornings, I also conducted our band in rehearsal in classical music literature. You see, we had quite an extensive library of music that had been transcribed from their original symphonic orchestrations to symphonic-band orchestrations - the main difference being that there are no strings in a symphonic band (those parts are instead ordinarily played by clarinets and other woodwinds). Also, once a week, a song-

and-dance fellow band member and I wheeled a small upright piano from ward to ward in the large post hospital, entertaining ill soldiers with popular songs of the day. My military service occurred during a time of no ongoing wars, so fortunately my life and safety were never threatened, and I truly enjoyed an exuberant and fun couple of years involved in music and, happily, a long distance away from sweating over mid-term and final exams and from the supervision of my parents with whom I had been living at the time.


24 JAZZed January 2012

Meeting Phineas

Coinciding with the time of my own military service, African-American jazz pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. (1931-

guest editorial 1989) was stationed with the Third Army Band in Atlanta, Georgia; which was considered to be a plum musical assignment, because the Third Army Band was reputed to be among the best musical ensembles in the entire Army at that time. At some point, however, Newborn, who was evidently starting to experience mild symptoms of emotional stress, ran into some conflicting situations with his superior officers. As a result, he was expelled from that organization, and was subsequently transferred to the Army band in Anniston, where I was serving. So, for the last couple of months of my Army days I got to know, at least somewhat, this gentle and fantastically gifted man. I had even once loaned him a few bucks so that he’d have enough money to be able to travel to visit family and friends in Memphis, his home city. Phineas and I compared musical notes on a few occasions; he informally playing some incredibly impressive bop-based jazz piano improvisations for me, and I sharing with him some of the classical piano repertoire I had been practicing at the time. Through these shared experiences we developed a good rapport and comfortable casual friendship, at least as much as can be achieved in only two months or so. Birdland

Not long after our discharge from the military, lo and behold, I read that Phineas had been booked into New York City’s world famous Birdland jazz club. Of course, I immediately went downtown to hear him play, and received a personal warm greeting when I walked up to him to say hello. I remember his piano playing vividly. He sounded like a reincarnation of Art Tatum, with unending jazz musical ideas and the piano technique of a jazz equivalent to the concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz. I also will never forget Newborn’s keyboard touch at that time, which was as light as a feather. You

know how some people among the general public sometimes say corny things about pianists, such as “He really tickles the ivories”? Well, Newborn was most definitely the embodiment of that expression – especially in those earlier days before his rapidly growing emotional problems were soon to cut his musical career short. He barely touched

the keys, yet produce firm but gentle jazz of the most incredibly impressive inventiveness and virtuosity. To be sure, the critical consensus was that had he not succumbed to emotional instability, he would eventually be recognized as the next Tatum. Today, Newborn is only a faintly remembered cult figure to jazz keyboard aficionados, and is not known at all by the general public. But fortunately some of this jazz giant’s recordings can still be acquired, and I strongly urge jazz lovers to seek them out.

Newborn, Jr. to this distinguished list of immensely important jazz creators. Phineas conceivably could have reached the highest artistic peak and recognition in jazz, if only his creative life had not been tragically cut short. Lee Evans, Ed.D., is professor of music at NYC’s Pace University. His most recent solo-piano publications for The FJH Music Company include Color Me Jazz, Books 1 and 2 for late elementary to early intermediate levels; Ole! Original Latin American Dance Music, and Fiesta! Original Latin American Piano Solos, both for intermediate to upper intermediate levels. Along with four co-authors, Evans is author/composer of the 6th and latest edition of Keyboard Fundamentals (Stipes Publishing), a formerly two-, but now one-volume beginning-piano method for adult beginners, scheduled to be published in March 2012.

End Word

Life can sometimes be quite unfair! Several fabulous and historically significant jazz musicians have been lost to us through death at a too early age, including such luminaries as Bunny Berigan, Bubber Miley, Chick Webb, Paul Chambers, Fats Navarro, Charlie Christian, Clifford Brown, Jaco Pastorius, Scott LaFaro, Bix Beiderbecke and Charlie Parker, to name a few. Just imagine what additional contributions they would have made to jazz history if only they had survived longer and lived a normal life span! Add Phineas

JAZZed January 2012 25

basic training


Latin Music – A Primer BY REBECA MAULEÓN The following is an excerpt from the introduction to The Latin Real Easy Book, published by Sher Music Co.


nyone who loves music, studies it and plays it for a living knows there are no shortcuts to learn. Only life-long commitment and lots of practice to get better. If you are new to Latin music, you probably have already discovered that there are a number of differences when it comes down to how this music is “felt” as well as played. THE BASS - First of all, bass players need to feel comfortable with the idea that, in Cuban-based rhythms, the foundation is mostly syncopated, unlike the typical walking bass feel in jazz. Most of the rhythm section in Cuban music – and therefore in Salsa and Latin jazz – puts the main accents of their respective patterns on beats 2+ and 4 (what we often refer to as the tumbao for the bass and the montuno for the piano).

“THE MORE YOU IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THIS WORLD THE MORE YOU WILL KNOW THAT GOOD RHYTHM IS THE KEY.” THE PERCUSSION SECTION - The percussion instruments are an entire world unto themselves, with many styles often containing very subtle differences within the individual rhythm patterns. So the musician really needs to have a solid command of Cuban rhythms such as guaracha, mambo, cha-cha-chá, guajira, bolero, son, son-montuno and so on. Within the Salsa and Latin jazz family of rhythms there are also Puerto Rican styles (bomba and plena), Dominican styles (merengue and bachata), Colombian styles (cumbia and vallenato) and so many others. Brazilian music itself contains a seemingly endless number of regional styles – from samba and bossa nova to partido alto, forró, côco, maracatu, baião, chorinho and more. And often what distinguishes all of these rhythms can be as subtle as what one par-

26 JAZZed January 2012

basic training ticular drum pattern is doing. Really, every musician interpreting this music should have a reasonable understanding of these rhythms – whether they play percussion or not! THE IMPORTANCE OF CLAVE - As most of you may also know, Cuban-based music relies on the concept of the clave to serve as an anchor, not only for how all the rhythm patterns are “stacked up,” so to speak, but also how the arrangement is structured. In many of the tunes in this book, you will sometimes notice that the clave direction is specified several times within the song; this is because there are moments in an arrangement where an odd number of measures in a phrase will naturally “shift” the clave’s direction beginning on the next musical phrase. This idea of “three-two” versus “two-three” has its roots in the West African music that is the foundation for most of the music in the Caribbean and Latin America, and it stems from the principle role of how rhythm literally shapes the melody. Until you understand what you are hearing when these clave changes occur, you’ll be missing a big piece of the puzzle. Please see my book, The Salsa Guidebook (Sher Music), for more information on these topics. THE BRAZILIAN VERSION - While Brazilian music does not necessarily contain the specific notion of the clave, it too is often structured around a feeling of binary patterns – a principle of tension and release that permeates much of the world’s African-influenced music. The good news is that for bass players, at least, most Brazilian rhythms tend to echo a more downbeat-oriented bass line that comes from the bass drum patterns of samba. GETTING THE RIGHT FEEL - All this being said, the wonderful thing is you don’t necessarily need to be “advanced” as a player to grasp the basics

of this music, as long as you have good, solid time and can feel comfortable in a largely syncopated environment. Perhaps the most essential ingredient of all in these genres is the improvisational nature of how the music is played. While many people think of Brazilian music, Salsa music or Latin jazz as simply a bunch of syncopated rhythm patterns, this is a language of continuous expression and improvisation. Most of the rhythm instruments are required to maintain a fairly repetitive role as they accompany the melody, but at the same time it is important to create variations so the music doesn’t feel redundant. In other words: all players in the rhythm section should follow the principle of finding the balance between stability and variation. Make it solid for the dancers, but make it fun for yourself as a player. And if you are one of the melodic instruments, your sense of phrasing in Latin music should be crisp and right on the money, not lagging behind the time. Since Latin music is largely devoid of swing feel, your interpretation of the rhythmical aspects need to tie in with the driving percussion patterns; it’s got to fit like a glove and maintain that locked groove even when there are twists and turns in the arrangement. But the rhythm should also be flexible, not mechanical. A great way to think about “feel” in Latin music is to practice an exercise of playing three against two in 6/8 meter (as well as two against three), as written here:

÷ 68 Û

Three against Two

÷ 68 Û .




Û Û.


Û Û.

Two against Three








Û. Û


This way of phrasing is common because of the prominence of compound meter and cross rhythms in West Africa, so the more comfort level you have with these rhythmical ideas, the more solid your Latin music chops will become. Finally, there is no element more important than your own ears to get you to feel Latin rhythms. LISTEN to as much of this music as you can; take some dance lessons, learn to play a conga drum, a surdo or a cowbell. The more you immerse yourself in this world the more you will know that good rhythm is the key. SOME NOTES TO BAND DIRECTORS - Sample bass, piano and other instrument patterns are generally given on the right-hand page facing each tune as a guideline. As mentioned earlier, it is implicit in the approach to playing Latin music that the player should evolve the patterns over time by creating variations, but beginning level players may wish to concentrate on the provided patterns first. Before running the tune, I recommend starting with the main repeated section of the song (if there is one). Try having the players lock into a groove and experiment with variations, and then allow the melodic players to take turns soloing over the chord changes. Since this portion of the song tends to be the most vibrant in terms of dynamics, it is a good strategy to let the musicians find the comfort zone of the groove before working on the overall structure of the song. If you are working with vocalists, it is the repeated refrain of songs in the Cuban or Salsa genres that would also require tweaking, in that the lead vocalist

JAZZed January 2012 27



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MADE IN THE USA 28 JAZZed January 2012

needs to improvise in between the repeated chorus. This refrain section is also referred to as the montuno, and it is here where the ensemble will need to work on changing the comping (accompaniment) patterns to suit the mood. There are different approaches for the rhythm section depending on whether there are call-and-response vocals versus an instrumental solo, and often these changes are dictated by the timbales player (and/or drummer). RHYTHM SECTION SUGGESTIONS - The general rule for rhythm section dynamics within a song is similar to most popular music in that the drummer(s) create subtle to wide-ranging dynamic changes between sections: softer during the verses, louder during the solos and everywhere in between. But in Cuban-based music, the timbales tend to drive the band with specific calls, fills and breaks, and there are generally three areas of the set that coincide with various sections of the songs: a) during the verses, the timbales player plays the cáscara (sides of the drums), sometimes with the clave pattern on a woodblock; b) during the call-and-response vocals, the timbales player and bongo player play an interlocking cowbell part (these patterns can be shared and also morphed into a 2-bell part played by one drummer), and c) during higher dynamic instrumental solos (trumpet, sax, electric guitar, etc…) the drummer will play the ride cymbal. For piano and bass solos, however, the drummer typically plays the sides of the drums (cáscara), and for percussion solos the cowbell pattern is a must to anchor the time. There are certainly exceptions and variations to all of these “rules,” so it is highly recommended that all of the players listen to the recordings found on the playlists of the Latin Real Easy Book page of to hear how the rhythm section responds during each section. Drum-set players tend to try to adopt all of the traditional percus-

sion patterns onto the set, and that can be daunting as well as slightly inappropriate, mainly because there are several ways to interpret the specific Latin music styles that are more creative and not necessarily literal. Again, depending on your particular rhythm section, the suggested approach is to be sure to lock in all of the rhythm parts before launching into playing the tune. Once the groove is solid, it will be much easier to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Finding the tight rhythmical “zone” is the cornerstone to all Latin music interpretation. If it feels right, the audience will want to dance! Rebeca Mauleón is an internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader, composer, GRAMMYnominated producer and educator. As a pianist Mauleon, has recorded or performed with an array of Grammy-winning legends including Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood, Joe Henderson and Mickey Hart. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Salsa Guidebook and 101 Montunos, and is also musicological consultant and author to National Geographic, Time Life and other important institutions. In 2011 Mauleon was appointed as director of Education at SFJAZZ, and is a tenured professor of Latin American music, composition and Latin Jazz piano, as well as an internationally sought-after as a lecturer and clinician on the subject of Latin American and Afro-Caribbean music history and performance.

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parents were teachers, but thought it would be a cool experience to raise cows and chickens along with three kids. So, we always had chores to do on our two–acre hobby farm. My surrounding neighbors owned dairy farms, so we had lots of space to run around and make lots of noise, which is good when you’re learning the trumpet. JAZZed: What was Bria all about as a youngster? BS: I’ve always been active. Everyday, I couldn’t wait to get home to jump on the trampoline. I was in dance classes as a tot, but sports soon took over; I loved playing baseball, basketball, and graduated as captain of my soccer and volleyball teams. JAZZed: Are you from a musical family?


Bria Skonberg



anadian-born (now New York-based) trumpeter, vocalist, composer, clinician, Bria Skonberg ( has been performing professionally since early childhood. Now 28 and brilliantly inspiring audiences worldwide with her incredible talents, Skonberg has reinvigorated interest in traditional or “hot” jazz. A recipient of many accolades and awards, her upcoming CD will be available in March 2012. JAZZed: Chilliwack, British Columbia is called “The Great Outside.” What was it like growing up there? Bria Skonberg: Chilliwack was a wonderful place to grow up. The Fraser Valley has everything – lakes, mountains, and farmland. My

30 JAZZed January 2012

BS: My family loves music. My dad played a little trumpet in high school and drums in a marching band and my mom played piano. My older sister Dana played flute and piano and my brother Eric played saxophone and, most notably, old–time fiddle on which he occasionally gigs with now. My dad makes his own gutbuckets (washtub bass) so we’ll have some good “old–timey” jams when we’re together and I’ll play piano. JAZZed: You began playing music on piano. Do you still play? BS: The piano is the key to the musical universe. It’s all right there, you just have to find it! I mainly use it as a tool for writing, harmony work, vocal practice, etc. JAZZed: How did you get started on trumpet at 11? BS: We had to choose band or art in 7th grade. My dad encouraged me to play the trumpet – the “melody instrument” – and I learned my first notes on his Olds, which is probably the clunkiest horn on the planet. We still have it.

JAZZed: What about singing? BS: I’ve loved singing my whole life, but was extremely shy about it. I first publicly sang for my 9th grade musical of Grease where I played the part of Sandy. JAZZed: Were you a good “practicer?” And, do you have any practice tips for young students? BS: Honestly, as a kid I couldn’t stand it. I would’ve much rather been outside jumping on the trampoline. Even later on I remember being intimidated in college by the incredible sounds coming out of the practice rooms all around me, but someone pointed out that if you sound good when you’re practicing then you’re not really practicing. If you can focus on isolating what you’re really bad at and work on it, you will be much more efficient and consequently won’t have to spend as much time doing the exercises. I now make many loud and proud mistakes while practicing – much to the agony of my neighbors. JAZZed: What were your key early musical influences? BS: I had excellent teachers all through the Chilliwack school program, starting with Bruno Gagnon, then Rob Hopkins and Gary Raddysh in high school. Rob would give me a wide variety of recordings to listen to – players like Louis Armstrong, Kenny Ball and Nicholas Payton. Gary Raddysh led the small jazz band and created an environment where you felt comfortable to try anything. He was really good at getting students involved. My first real trumpet mentor was Simon Stribling who’s an incredible Australian jazz/life enthusiast now in Whistler, B.C. He opened my ears to players like Roy Eldridge, Jabbo Smith, Red Allen, lots of Louis and more when I was 17. He still inspires me. ( JAZZed: What was it and which performers attracted you to traditional jazz?

BS: For over 20 years, Chilliwack had an annual International Dixieland jazz festival. They would invite the school groups to perform and take in afternoon workshops. We would enjoy contemporary traditional groups like the Titan Hot Seven, the Blue Street Jazz Band from California, Dixieland Express from Victoria. This was in 1997–2001 before music file sharing and MySpace were introduced, so they were my point of reference. I was also sponsored by the Vancouver Dixieland Jazz Society to attend a music camp in 2000 that changed my life – I really fell in love with the whole culture while attending the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Camp, organized by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camp. I’m now a full faculty member at the annual student and adult camps in late July/August. ( JAZZed: Describe your first musical performances as a student and first as a paid pro performer. BS: Mine were all school related at Chilliwack Middle School: concert band, jazz band, marching band and choir. My first paid gig was singing with the Moonlighters Big Band from Abbotsford when I was 16. It was a lot of fun! The band was mostly guys in their 50s with great senses of humor and I was a young gal in a sparkly dress that loved to belt out “Orange Colored Sky” and play 3rd trumpet. I think I

“A GOOD TEACHER IS KEY FOR MOTIVATION.” made $50, which was the equivalent of a 6–hour shift at Dairy Queen where I also worked at the time. JAZZed: When did you know you wanted to take up music/trumpet as a profession? BS: It was a counselor at my high school, Mrs. Dutton, who encouraged me to audition for music schools in

Vancouver. I remember I had a moment in 2nd year college where I was burnt out in a practice room and took a time out. Eventually I looked back at my horn and thought “All right... It’s you and me” and picked it back up. I’ve been committed ever since. JAZZed: How does classic/traditional or “hot” jazz differ and how is it similar to other form of jazz? Namely, Dixieland, swing, and bebop? BS: It’s all jazz to me. This is a big topic that can be dissected musically and/or culturally. It’s hard for me to think of those subgenres without considering what was happening in the world at the time they were created and how it affected the essence of the different energies they have. Looking at it from a broad musical perspective, I see the evolution of melody, riffs and harmony. JAZZed: Do you ever play in those other genres? BS: Music is like food to me: I’ll try anything twice, just to be sure. Absolutely, I’ll play them. Same as I’ll play Latin, pop, funk, avant-garde, classical. My first extra-curricular band was a ska band called “The Good Life” in high school. I welcome opportunities to try something new – in music or otherwise. JAZZed: Why do you think audiences seem to love hot jazz?” BS: It has infectious energy. It’s inclusive and entertaining and it’s based off of wonderfully written melodies that even if you don’t know the tune, you think you’ve heard it before. Overall, I think audiences like to feel included in the musical conversation happening on stage. JAZZed: Please describe your overall trumpet playing style and its stylistic influences (Armstrong, Braff, et. al.) BS: My first point of reference is Louis Armstrong. So I hear big sound

JAZZed January 2012 31

and rich tone first. I love the ideas of Charlie Shavers and his ability to execute anything technically; Clark Terry is the same with added humor. Listening to him is like being privy to an inside joke. Clifford Brown presents us with honesty combined with a sound that goes straight to your heart. I will never get tired of hearing Ruby Braff; it’s always different, interesting, smart, and beautiful. He bends notes in a way that makes you shift in your seat, you know? I also draw a lot from singers and try to play lyrically by asking “What am I trying to say?” JAZZed: When you perform, you appear extremely relaxed. Are you “in the zone,” so to speak? BS: Oh, no. I used to get incredibly nervous and definitely still do to some extent, but, the more experience I gain the easier it gets to tune that out and focus on the music. It depends on if I’m the bandleader or not. When you’re directing traffic there’s a hundred things to think about: “What’s happening next? How is the audience reacting? What was I supposed to say between the next song? Is everyone in the band happy?” I always have my “spidey senses” in high gear. There have been times when I’ve led a band of six people from different countries that have never met before and we’re spontaneously making music for the first time before a live audience. You’ve got to stay incredibly alert and malleable – and I love the challenge. JAZZed: How do you “develop” your solos? BS: I try to start by making up a little melody then elaborating the motif, stretching its phrasing as well as harmonically – always building. It’s like telling a story. If I’m narrowing in on something stylistically I’ll approach it from the mindset of emulating one of my favorite players: “What would Louis do?” JAZZed: What is your method of composing tunes – melody and lyrics?

32 JAZZed January 2012

BS: I’m constantly thinking of “hooks” for tunes, i.e. the catchy chorus. That can come from anywhere. It can be something someone said, or maybe a noise I hear in the city. New York is great for that. I’ll take that idea and sit at my piano – Okay, keyboard – at home and work through its character: What kind of song is it? What is its form? Will it be jazz or pop with verse/ chorus or other? Who or what in my life does this remind me of? I work out the harmony, and usually lyrics. The hard part is finding time and clarity to let that process happen in a natural way. JAZZed: What about your vocalist influences and why are they? BS: My favorite jazz singer is Anita O’Day. I think the way she manipulates phrasing and lets the words swirl around in her mouth first is delicious. I’ve also fixated on Dinah Washington because of her unique timbre. What pulls at my heart is soul music – Aretha Franklin, James Booker – and more contemporaries like Lauryn Hill and Eva Cassidy. JAZZed: You are a consummate entertainer in that audiences connect with you and love your playing, singing, etc. What are your thoughts about “entertaining?” BS: I need to communicate and connect with my audience; I’m most comfortable when I get to play and sing so it feels like I’m talking to them. As far as entertaining, the more I perform, the more I relax and be myself, which has its own awkward charm that people have told me they find entertaining. My “show chops” were really fine tuned with my time in the Dal Richards Orchestra in Vancouver. JAZZed: Please tell me about your group “Mighty Aphrodite.” BS: Mighty Aphrodite is an all-female band founded by my friend Claire McKenna and me in 2004. We hand picked young players from the West Coast and

focused on the Dixieland festival scene. We played in festivals all over the US as well as on two cruises. We’ve released four discs over six years and you can find them at CD Baby. Originally based in the Pacific Northwest, we now have two members in New York City, one in Oklahoma, one in San Francisco, and two in Vancouver, B.C. Everyone continues to play professionally in our respective cities so when we do get together at a festival, our music is current. The only difference between 2004 and present day is that now we travel with husbands and babies.

“YOU’VE GOT TO STAY INCREDIBLY ALERT AND MALLEABLE – AND I LOVE THE CHALLENGE.” My longtime love is “The Big Bang Jazz Band” that originated out of our high school in Chilliwack and has also played numerous festivals all over the US and B.C. since 2001. Our annual highlight is the festival in Sun Valley, Idaho in October and I’ll make a point to book gigs with them when I’m home. After 13 years together, we are family! You can find our music on iTunes and a hilarious “mockumentary” we made on our 10th “birthday” at JAZZed: What is you current main performing group? BS: I’m currently focusing on the group that will perform the material on my CD So Is The Day that’s coming out in the Spring on Random Act Records. I’m trying something new for me by including a percussionist alongside the regular rhythm section that opens up a world of sounds. It’s a mix of jazz, soul,

and world styles with original music and lyrics. The players on the album really nailed it; I was fortunate to work with Victor Goines, Ulysses Owens Jr. and Wycliffe Gordon as well as record an original duet with John Pizzarelli. In New York, it’s been great connecting with more “trad jazz” players such as the Baby Soda Jazz Band from Brooklyn and I perform most regularly with the Louis Armstrong Centennial Band at Birdland which is led by tuba player Dave Ostwald. I feel very fortunate to be included in Nicholas Payton’s “Television Studio Orchestra” Big Band that has some dates set for 2012. I recently recorded on a tribute to Louis Armstrong released by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and have played in his big bands. JAZZed: What’s your usual practice routine? BS: I have a system now where I’ll set my alarm clock in 10–minute

intervals for a two-hour period. So, I’ll do long tones for 10, then maybe write an email, do 10 minutes of lip slurs, then fold my laundry, and so on, so I’ll get over an hour of focused practice in while multi–tasking. It’s been helpful for my pre–gig routine because I’d always make my warm–up the last priority. Now I do long tones for 10 then blow–dry my hair, articulation warm–ups followed by make–up or sketching out a chart. Don’t all trumpet players have to do those things? It’s effective for me. A good teacher is key for motivation and my mentor now is Warren Vaché. Only in the last year have I really worked on my self-discipline as I want to be ready for my lessons. JAZZed: You’re now studying with the great Warren Vaché? BS: I sought out Warren because I knew he would be direct, uncensored and effective for my focus. He says

things like “the most important tool you have are your ears. Use them! Does that sound good?” We haven’t even touched on jazz yet. It’s all Schlossberg and Clarke studies and breathing exercises. Oh my. JAZZed: We’re seeing more great women trumpeters in both jazz and classical music people such as Allison Balsam, DIVA’s trumpeters, Ingrid Jensen, Ting Tine Helseth, Jeanne Pocius, Louise Barenger, et al. How does it feel to be part of that illustrious group? BS: There are so many fantastic female trumpeters out there and so much variety in the talent. Honestly, those are the ladies that have paved the way for me being able to do what I do – their having broken down the majority of the barriers regarding female musicians. I still need to pay my dues and knock down some walls of my own for upcoming musicians before I will feel a part of that inspiring group.


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JAZZed January 2012 33

JAZZed: Do you have any advice for young female trumpeters? BS: It ain’t pretty. Take a breath big enough so that your gut sticks out, squish your face into a piece of metal and blow some air through the horn! For what it’s worth, I will tell that to my male students, too. Actually I try to get the teenage boys to play with more emotion. I’ll tell them to “go out and fall in love!”

JAZZed: What’s your approach to music education (i.e., band camps, clinics, et cetera)? BS: I travel too often to have a regular teaching schedule, so I enjoy the times I get to do workshops and clinics, and, of course, BAND CAMP! It’s funny that since I’ve been studying the classical work, I’ve finally become “that teacher” that pulls out “that book”

and says “work on this!” even though I don’t expect them to, because I never did. It eventually catches up to you! I strongly feel that the building blocks of improvising should be set to traditional jazz because that’s where it started! When you read a book, do you skip the first three chapters? The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camp has allowed me to work with students from 12–17 and to see the benefits of introducing improvisation through rhythm and melodies, then harmony, all in an inclusive and non–intimidating environment. It breaks my heart to see a 13–year old student terrified of playing a solo because they don’t know what scale to play over which chord change. Rule Number One: everyone in the band learns the melody (drummers too!) with good time. From there you can embellish it rhythmically, try some passing notes and appoggiaturas, and explore some bluesy notes. When that feels comfortable, we’ll dissect the triads and eventually the relevant scales to for a more linear approach. It’s a very organic way to introduce jazz and set the foundation for all the ground– breaking music that came in the 1940s and beyond. JAZZed: You’ve won many awards. Would a Grammy be nice? BS: Sure, I’d even take a “Grampy.” Nick Mondello is a New York area–based freelance trumpeter, author, and educator/

clinician. He attended the Berklee School of Music and holds B.A., M.S. in Education and an MBA degrees from Long Island University. He is an editor of the International Trumpet Guild Journal and a contributor to All About Jazz and other publications.

34 JAZZed January 2012

Announcing the new students accepted in 2012 will be chosen to receive full scholarships as Fellows of the Jazz Institute and given the opportunity to perform at festivals, on broadcast media, and in NYC’s leading venues.

Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts


Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts

Jazz Institute at Manhattan School of Music

Fifteen Jazz Arts


The Man Who Taught the World to

by Matt Parish

36 JAZZed January 2012

Play-A-Longs Innovator and Jazz Camp Chief Jamey Aebersold On Decades of Simple Educational Greatness. In a small town in southern Indiana, a small publishing company called Jamey Aebersold Jazz runs quietly out of Jamey Aebersold’s basement. The 72-year-old jazz vet lives a block from where he was born and an hour’s drive from all the places he used to give private lessons as a music school graduate. He operates his famous Summer Jazz Workshops just across the river at the University of Louisville.

But with his ever-expanding Jazz Play-A-Long book series, which is topping 130 volumes, Aebersold has influenced several generations of jazz musicians, young and old, across the world. Virtually every jazz student has spent time in the pages of one of Aebersold’s books, working out new theory ideas and experimenting over their trusty recordings of patient rhythm sections. A lifelong jazz educator who has worked with students of all ages, Aebersold pioneered the idea of teaching students to improvise using scale and chord structures as melodic blueprints and has steadily refined his approach to the series as ages of his students have grown both younger and older. His efficient summer workshops have remained largely the same, focused boot camp-style on getting new jazz students on their feet with music theory and improvisation and, above all, learning how to listen to each other and to great jazz masters of the past. It’s a formula that’s worked for decades. JAZZed recently had the pleasure of

band going writing some arrangements and trying to improvise. I didn’t have any direction. So I went to Indiana University because I heard about it through my older brother, who played some trumpet and wasn’t a jazzer, but I had heard him say that they were jamming in the halls all the time at IU. I went there and then found out they didn’t have saxophone program either. JAZZed: Did you have a preference for performing or teaching? JA: I was going to be a jazz musician and make a record for Blue Note at some point in my life, and when I got to school I heard other people who were in music education practicing in the little rooms next to me. I never heard anybody play who I thought sounded very good. So I told everybody that I wasn’t going to be a music educator. I made sure everybody knew that, too. “I’m not going to be

even getting into improvising. So on certain days, instead of having three or four kids for a half-hour lesson after school, we’d have a combo. Saturdays would also be combo day. Then after while I got it down to where I didn’t really teach any private lessons at all – all I was doing was combos in my basement. Many of those people coincidentally went on to become professional musicians in New York or teaching at various colleges. They really got into it. JAZZed: With your background in a program that didn’t have a full saxophone program, how did you hook up with the concepts being explored by people like David Baker at the time? JA: After I enrolled, Roger Pemberton – who’s a very fine saxophone player – came there for his Master’s. They

I think listening is the key element. If they’re not listening to records, they’re not practicing. I don’t see how they’re going to end up being a jazz player. speaking to Aebersold from his home in New Albany, Ind. about the development of the long-trusted Aebersold approach to jazz education. JAZZed: You’ve built a long career changing the way musicians educate themselves. How was your experience as a young musician trying to wrap your head around jazz back in the ‘50s? Jamey Aebersold: Coming up out of high school, I wanted to go to New York – the Manhattan School of Music, which I applied for. I waited several months until I finally got a letter back that was one sentence long. “Dear Mr. Aebersold: We do not offer the saxophone.” My dreams were crushed because at that point I’d been reading DownBeat and Metronome magazine, listening to records, and I had a little 38 JAZZed January 2012

like these other people.” Four years later, an oboe player named Gene Montooth came up to me in the parking lot and he said he taught privately in Seymour, Ind., about 50 miles away, every Saturday. He had a high school job that fall and he was going to stop teaching in a few weeks and wondered if I wanted to do it. Of course, immediately my mind said, “Jamey, you told everybody you would never teach!” I’m standing there in the parking lot thinking, “I’m going to get married and I could use the money. Is private teaching really teaching?” I decided it wasn’t, so I took the job. It was one of the best things I ever did. I eventually got students who were playing well and some of them were

asked him to teach me the saxophone. Then, at some point, I began taking private lessons from David Baker. I’d drive up to Indianapolis for that and that was when he was studying with George Russell and played with the George Russell Sextet. So David Baker passed on the information to me and I’d try it out and come back. I was like a guinea pig for him. JAZZed: Were you doing a lot of private lessons at the time when you developed the first Play-A-Long book? JA: Yes and, in fact, it was through different private lessons that I found out the mantra I have – “Anyone can

improvise.” Through those lessons, I found out that if you played a little background for people over one scale, they could actually improvise and play what they hear in their head. They weren’t afraid of it at all. I was baffled because I thought that in order to play jazz, you had to have a big stack of records that you listened to all the time, drink coffee, and be kind of grumpy. That was my view of jazz going through college. That’s what I saw other people doing, and I didn’t drink coffee. JAZZed: The books are known for using the chord scale system that was getting developed back then. How did you first pick that up? JA: I first picked it up from David Baker. He was stressing learning each scale and each chord. I’d never really thought that way before. When I played, it was kind of by the seat of my pants. I’d look at the chord symbol and if it said “G,” I kind of knew the G chord and so forth and I’d listen to the sounds on the piano or bass and it was kind of hit or miss for a long time. Back in the ‘60s, if someone wanted to play jazz, you’d have them play the blues right off the bat. But if you play the blues scale, it’s got a couple minor thirds in there and if you’ve only gone up and down major and minor scales, to play the blues scale is kind of difficult, especially if you haven’t listened to any records. So you don’t even know what this scale sounds like. But I tried it, and it wasn’t until I got them to play on one normal scale that it was easy and they felt some confidence. That’s how I got it going and that’s why on the Play-A-Longs Volume 1, several of the tracks are on Dorian minor scales as opposed to starting out with the blues or with “Just Friends,” or “Have You Met Miss Jones” or something like that, you know. JAZZed: That must have felt like a revelation. JA: Once I started centering in my saxophone on the scales and the chords – ah, there were many more possibilities. When you’re playing music that’s based on harmony and standards and

blues and “I Got Rhythm” and “Cherokee” and so forth, the melodies that come to your mind are based on bits and pieces of scales and chords. Then you intersperse chromaticism, rests, leaps, held notes, repetitions – things like that to give variety to your solo. When people are just singing in their head, they’re going up and down bits and pieces of scales and chords. You can’t avoid it.

JAZZed: So right around then, you decided to make play-along records for your students to practice this method over. JA: Yeah, it was around 1962. The Play-A-Longs came along because the students needed something to practice with at home. So I made the first record, then I said, “Oh my gosh, if someone buys this LP, they won’t know

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JAZZed January 2012 39

what to do with it because there’s no melody. I better write a book.” So I labored with the book for months and finally put out the first version – Volume 1: A New Approach to Jazz Improvisation. And it was new. So I think the Play-Along records and the concept of scales and chords was not mine, but it was new back then in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. Russell is to be credited for his transcription

of solos and so forth where he realized that Charlie Parker and Dizzy and Monk and Bud Powell were playing bits and pieces of scales. He got things started. That was like kindergarten. David Baker came along with his interpretation of it and gave it to me and then various other people picked up on it and next thing you know, we’re all kind of teaching similarly.

JAZZed: In addition to the large collection of Play-A-Long books, you’ve also stocked thousands of other supplemental education books along the way. What’s the general goal of the company? JA: The main thrust of the company is to allow people to practice jazz at home on their own with the Play-ALongs. Then with the several thousand books that we sell from other publishers, we help them understand jazz and have fun playing music. All the other books we’ve taken on little by little over the years are items that help people to understand harmony, theory, ear training, arranging, playing in a combo – everything that applies to getting a person to the point where they can get up and take a solo on something and to play the music that they hear in their head. JAZZed: As time has gone on, have you thought of new ways to improve that system?

Education Paper Presentations Roundtable Discussions

Research Keynote Speakers Topical Sessions

JA: When we got to Volume 24, I slowed everything down and made a lot of the tracks bossa nova because we learned that the bossa nova beat relaxes the left brain, which is the thinking side, and makes things appear easier to do. Educators have taken jazz down to people who are very, very young, so I’m thinking about doing a new PlayA-Long called something like “Easy Aebersold” or “Easy Jazz” and make the examples slow and not taken to all 12 keys and just make it simple and fun for people that are nine to 12 years old and maybe have never listened to a jazz record. JAZZed: In those early years, was it just you at the company?


The Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association Summit

40 JAZZed January 2012

JA: Basically for the first ten years, it was just me. I was still playing jobs, working at night, teaching privately after school, filling the orders as they came in. Then I got a fellow named Matt Eve and he’s still working here after about 33 years. He started when he was in high school, coming in after school. He and I just kept going and then finally we needed somebody else. Now we’re up to 7 or 8 people

JA: The students come in on Sunday, have a quick audition, take a theory test, go eat supper to live music, hear three groups play that night, and hear the rules given to them and so forth. Monday morning, we dive right in with theory. Then we have a listening, a jazz musicianship class, then they’re in combo at 11 o’clock. They have master class at 1:30 and combo again at 3 o’clock. Then they hear three more groups that night. By the time they get to Friday and you can hear the students play, you can definitely hear improvement when each one of them stands up and takes their solo. JAZZed: Do you feel that there’s a certain principle that’s most important to get young students something to stand on first? that work, including myself. And we’re shipping stuff all over the world. Over these 40 years, it was never supposed to be a business. It sort of just evolved into it and at some point I realized there were other people working here and they depend on this and they’ve got families and people seem to really want this. JAZZed: What do you find are the differences in students now and back in, say, 1967? Are they looking to accomplish different things? JA: I think so. I do my Summer Jazz Workshops and we have 250 or 300 people in each week and we get a lot of adults. It’s amazing – the adults who listen to music want to play simple tunes like “Perdido” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” The younger students – five, ten years ago, the one that have been practicing on jazz – they want to play the more adventuresome jazz tunes, the ones that are really jazz tunes. So many people have absolutely no idea what jazz is even when they come to the camp. You have them playing and they don’t know that it would be helpful to know those scales and chords and the order of the tune. JAZZed: How are the camps set up?

JA: I think the idea of what I do is to prepare the students to become individuals. That’s the goal. Of course, if they gain independence and play with the Play-A-Long records at home, they develop the desire to play with humans. And I think listening is the key element. If they’re not listening to records, they’re not practicing. I don’t see how they’re going to end up being a jazz player. For instance, you have people that come in and can play pretty well and play the chords and so forth. But say they’re tonguing all the notes. You’ll ask them if they’ve ever listened to Cannonball. They’ll say, “Yeah.” Charlie Parker? “Oh yeah, I’ve got several records by him.” I’d say, “Have you ever noticed that they don’t tongue every note like you’re doing? You’re playing like you’re in a marching band or a rock’n’roll band.” It’s an issue with articulation, which can be slow and difficult and exasperating, but if they make that transition, they’ll make it into the jazz arena. JAZZed: How many students are at a typical workshop? JA: We have had as many as 400 a week. This last time, we had 338 the first week and about 310 the second week. Plus, we had 50 faculty and 18

staff, with students from 21 different countries. JAZZed: How often do you reassess the way those camps are run? JA: We’ve found the best thing to do with the camps is to just leave it the way we have it. When we started the first combo camp, me and David Baker and maybe Jerry Coker and Dan Hurley, we got together and said, “What will we do?” Someone said, “How about theory?” I know I said this: “Ugh, no theory. We don’t need that.” For me, five and a half years of theory was the most boring class in college because they didn’t talk about anything I was interested in. It was music of 100, 200, 300 years ago. But we did agree that we needed it. As soon as we did it, my brain said, “We need more theory.” The students didn’t have an understanding of any of it, so we needed to talk about it and then turn right around and try it in Combo classes. When we set up that first session way back there, we talked things through and there have been things we tweak a little bit but it’s basically the same. JAZZed: The general idea seems to be a classic one at this point – master the notes and study the greats, and students will be able to find their own voice. JA: I think we have a holistic approach. No good educator is trying to make them sound like them or someone else on the record. It’s impossible. I had students at camps where you’d say, “Hey, you’ve got a nice sound there. Who do you listen to?” They’ll say, “Well, I don’t really listen much to records.” “Do you listen to Clifford Brown or Miles or Kenny Dorham?” “Well not really. I don’t want to sound like them – I want to sound like myself.” To that, I say, “You think you can listen to a Kenny Dorham record and then you’ll end up sounding like Kenny Dorham? I think you’re making a mistake.” If it were that easy, everybody would sound like him. JAZZed January 2012 41

An Applied Jazz Guitar Studio Curricular Resource PART 1



hile jazz studies curricula abound, a resource dedicated especially to the applied jazz guitar studio which addresses not only repertoire and technical studies but also the broader areas of jazz studies seems to lack implementation. Narrowing down the hundreds, possibly thousands of jazz guitar instructional materials on the educational market can be daunting. 1 Where to begin? The variety of choices can be overwhelming to both educator and student. This article synthesizes these many choices into 50 sources to create an annotated, year-byyear resource for the applied jazz guitar studio.


As a vehicle for improvisation, repertoire forms the primary source of study for all jazz students. It has been suggested that jazz musicians need to learn approximately 4000 compositions that form the modern-day jazz repertoire. It may be unlikely that 4000 are committed to memory, but jazz musicians must know a core group of these compositions and, ideally, they should consistently add more to their repertoire. Compositions are found primarily in repertoire anthologies, and jazz musicians typically own several. Collectively, anthologies form the bedrock of the professional jazz musician’s catalogue of compositions. They represent a convenient reference for many important compositions. For many years, the compositions in these anthologies were learned by ear or passed on orally from one musician to another.2 Eventually, they were transcribed and compiled into present-day anthologies. With the institutionalization of jazz, anthologies have continued to form the foundation for jazz repertoire. From these anthologies, educators may derive repertoire lists. These lists contain compositions categorized by style, which are further graded by

42 JAZZed January 2012

criteria like tempo or level of difficulty.3 A jazz department may require students to perform from memory a portion of the list at the end of a year’s study and eventually may require knowledge of 100 or more core compositions by graduation. Professional jazz musicians may create these lists to help them learn new compositions, brush up on older ones, and as a reference for performance material. A Broader Curriculum

Of primary importance for jazz students is improvisation, the lifeblood of jazz. It can and should be honed in the practice room. Jam sessions also offer important opportunities to develop improvisation, but they are not always possible to organize or attend. As a temporary substitute, play-along recordings like Jamey Aebersold’s Anyone Can Improvise series enable jazz students to continue honing their improvisational skills with a pre-recorded rhythm section accompaniment. The unique skills possessed by jazz musicians enable them to branch out into other musical realms, such as studio and show work. Recent research also suggests that understanding the cultural context in which jazz is created can deepen understanding of it and

support performance achievement.4 Furthermore, there are skills specific to the jazz guitarist, including chord melody and comping, which require further specialization of sources. Lastly, depending on which college they attend, jazz guitarists may or may not be required to take classical guitar. Either way, the techniques of classical guitar can still be very useful to jazz guitarists, who may find that they also enjoy the repertoire. Guitar and Non-Guitar Sources

There are several sources here written for other instruments like the saxophone and the violin. Creative thinking and innovation can be the result of playing music originally intended for a different instrument; it may sharpen technique or inspire new ideas. Naturally, many of the sources here are written for the guitar. They address the specialized areas unique to the guitar and to jazz guitar. Both types of sources offer a sweeping perspective of musicianship and can “round out” the jazz guitar student’s knowledge. Selection of Sources

The 50 sources fall into eight categories: Repertoire Anthologies; Aebersold Play-A-Longs; Technique and Reading Studies; Philosophical, Pedagogical, Ethnological, and Career Studies; Classical Non-Guitar Studies; Classical Guitar Studies; Jazz Guitar Studies; and Jazz Improvisation Texts. The sources and their categories are not meant to be exhaustive – there may be some omitted which some educators and performers feel should have been included. Such is the case with any “list.” There is also no implied endorsement of any particular source. Each was chosen solely for its educational merit. Some sources are used in the classroom, but the majority of them were selected because they are well suited for individual study. They can, however, work together with the classroom material which comprises a jazz program’s overall course of study. A brief annotation for each source provides a summary of its features for consider-

ing its usefulness to the applied studio. A table summarizes the sources into a visual reference. The placement of sources by academic year is not fixed. It is merely a starting point. Actual placement should be fluid and based on the specific level and needs of the student, perhaps just out of the student’s grasp, what has been called the “zone of proximal development.”5 It should not necessarily be the goal for a student to complete a source within a given academic year. In some cases, this is impractical, as certain sources offer a lifetime of study. Selected portions of a source may be all that is needed. It is also unnecessary to use each discrete source listed in each year. As always, individual student needs will determine which sources are used. With little data available on a jazz guitar-specific resource of this nature, the corresponding research has been primarily experiential. Yet it is professionally rooted and builds on professional experience that suggests these 50 sources are effective in developing jazz guitar performance achievement. Many of the sources have stood the test of time pedagogically and are used widely in jazz programs. Others are newer, but it is precisely their timely content which makes them valuable. The resource, then, can be a sound tool for the jazz guitar educator in selecting materials for applied students. In turn, the student may use it for selfstudy and retain it for future use as a performer and educator. Non-Musical Sources

The informal discussions that take place during applied lessons provide a window into a student’s extra-musical needs. This is where non-musical sources can be useful. They don’t supplant a meaningful dialogue between student and teacher; they enhance it by encouraging further exploration and discovery which result in making connections back to performance. For example, a student may make significant progress in acquiring improvisational vocabulary through How to Play Bebop, Vol. 1 and may begin per-

forming somewhat regularly. Yet bebop phrases may not emerge naturally in a live performance. The problem may be psychological, not physical. The perceptive applied teacher observes this and can recommend the Inner Game of Music to introduce the student to techniques for alleviating performance anxiety that have proven beneficial to many performers. In turn, when the student with several years of performance experience journeys beyond the extrinsic layer of performing, he may be ready to express music more personally. At this stage, a source like Effortless Mastery can be useful for connecting the discrete components of a performance into a holistic entity that develops a more mature, intrinsic approach to performing, from the inside out. As a student plays through Aebersold’s Vol 7. Miles Davis, he may become curious about the life and personality of Davis. The interviews found in Notes and Tones with Miles Davis and other influential artists can be valuable for linking them to the era in which they lived and the events and culture that shaped their musical thinking. In short, it places the artists in a three-dimensional context. This initial doorway into the artist’s personal life can then be a natural segue to a source like Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser’s Art, which offers a thorough examination of the art form through one artist’s – Konitz’s – highly esteemed perspective. Accordingly, the statements and opinions of artists who students admire may be life changing in shaping their own approach to performance. Students who gain confidence in performing will naturally want to “get gigs.” This is sometimes a mystery, as the teaching of business skills can be overlooked in a performance track program. As a result, inquiries about the employment process often arise in applied lessons. Inviting students to read Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music can lead them to the realization that they are ultimately responsible for promoting themselves and acquiring work. With this knowledge gained while still students, they can begin to develop the entrepreneurial practices discussed in the book that JAZZed January 2012 43

will serve them well throughout their careers. In this type of curriculum, jazz guitar is the entry point, but the student’s total performance identity is developed from multiple angles through a wide-ranging collection of sources. The Resources

• Freshman Freshmen learn the raw materials of jazz improvisation and improvise on basic harmonic progressions. They acquire a solid technical foundation. They read in the easier keys – C, G, F, and Bb, for example – and generally in the first few positions of the guitar. They develop quick recognition and execution of syncopation. They begin to acquire a basic repertoire of compositions commonly performed in the jazz community, 20-25 by year’s end. (Each subsequent semester through the senior year should add approximately 10 compositions.) They will also begin encountering (or may already have encountered) technical barriers which may surface periodically throughout their careers, and which may be overcome through psychological studies. Repertoire Anthologies The Real Book, Fifth Edition (Hal Leonard). The foundational repertoire anthology for jazz musicians. It contains hundreds of lead sheets for popular standards, Tin Pan Alley tunes, jazz standards, and contemporary jazz pieces that form the nucleus of the jazz community’s working repertoire. Aebersold Play-A-Longs Jamey Aebersold play-along book and CD’s, various volumes (Aebersold). Contains hundreds of lead sheets of commonly played jazz compositions (some duplicates from repertoire anthologies). They may also contain arrangements transcribed from corresponding recordings. Typically, each volume includes a chordscale syllabus for improvisation. The chief benefit of the series is that it enables the student to practice improvisation with the pre-recorded professional rhythm section accompaniment on the CD. There are over 125 Aebersold playalongs, and that number continues to grow. Included in this resource are selected 44 JAZZed January 2012

volumes for developing improvisational skills. Vol. 1, How to Play Jazz. Introduces improvisation concepts – 12-bar blues in F and Bb, four Dorian minor play-along tracks, four-measure cadences, cycle of dominants, 24-measure song, ii-V-I in all keys. Vol. 3, The ii-V-I Progression. Develops the necessary skill of negotiating the most common jazz chord progression, the ii-VI. There are 120 written patterns in major, minor, dom. 7th, diminished, whole tone, half-diminished, Lydian and diminished whole tone scales and chords. Technique and reading studies A Modern Method for Guitar, Vol. 1, William Leavitt (Berklee). A time-proven text for students who possess a firm grasp of first position playing. It continues to develop reading, position playing up to second position, keys up to Bb and D, accompaniment styles, and duet playing. Hanon For Guitar, Ron McManus (Alfred). Does for guitar what Hanon does for piano – scale-based etudes with unpredictable contours. It develops reading in various positions. Sight Reading For Guitar, Harry Volpe & Frank Victor (Robbins Music Corporation). Classical pieces that can be played with a pick. It develops technique and reading and exposes jazz students to the possibilities of classical guitar. Rhythms Complete, Bugs Bower & Charles Colin (Charles Colin Music). Exposes students with basic reading skills to syncopated rhythms in common jazz keys – C, Bb, F, Eb, Ab, Db, and G. (May be continued in the sophomore year when studying more challenging keys.)

technical accuracy in both fret and picking hands. Classical guitar studies Solo Guitar Playing, by Frederick Noad (Music Sales America). An evenly paced, thorough method for learning to play the classical guitar. It starts with the very basics and progresses to the intermediate level. By completion of the book, the student will have a firm grasp of classical guitar techniques and possess an initial repertoire of pieces. Jazz guitar studies Joe Pass and Herb Ellis Jazz duets (Mel Bay). Develops reading and duet playing. It provides examples of real-world jazz lines which can help as students begin to acquire the raw materials used in jazz improvisation. Jazz improvisation texts The Jazz Language, Dan Haerle (Hal Leonard). An introductory jazz theory text which progressively covers the specialized materials commonly used in jazz improvisation – chord extensions, modes of the major/harmonic minor/melodic minor scales, polychords, altered scales, pentatonic scales, synthetic scales, voicing and connecting chords, chord substitution, improvisation, and melody harmonization. See end notes and Part 2 in March 2012...

Philosophical, pedagogical, ethnological, and career studies The Inner Game of Music, Barry Green (Doubleday). Exercises and techniques to help students who possess technical mastery of their instruments overcome performance anxiety, which can sometimes impede performance achievement. Classical non-guitar studies 42 Studies or Caprices: Violin Method, Kreutzer (Schirmer). Violin studies which fall within the guitar’s range. The studies cover several keys and build note and

New York-based Mark Tonelli is guitarist with the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights and leader of The Mark Tonelli Group. He is completing doctoral studies at Columbia University Teachers College in New York City. Mark is the creator of an educational series on iTunes for the West Point Band called American Jazz Masters. He will be releasing his third CD as a leader, The Thread, in 2012.

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focus session


Learning Swing via Afro-Cuban Style BY ANTONIO J. GARCÍA


© 2011 Antonio J. García All rights reserved.

hink of the Count Basie Orchestra performing the great swing tune “Shiny Stockings”: how each section and player seems to move the lines forward with such exquisite timing. Recall that same band delivering the classic swing ballad “Lil’ Darlin’”: what a groove!

VCU Piano Prof. Russell Wilson sits in with Prof. Skip Gailes, guests Taylor Barnett, Graham Breedlove, artist in residence John D’earth, and Profs. Antonio García and Tony Martucci. Partially hidden are Profs. Mike Ess (guitar) and Victor Dvoskin (bass). Photo credit: © 2011 William Fisher/Fire At Will Photography

When less-experienced ensembles—vocal or instrumental—perform these tunes and similar, we seek that high a standard of swing groove. If we fail—whether on a sassy “shout” section or a whispering ballad—it’s typically because our ensemble lacks a shared concept of the swing groove; so we don’t place the downbeats and upbeats definitively within any one beat. Since all swing comes from Afro-Cuban, introducing or re-introducing the Afro-Cuban 6/8 feel can lock in that groove for anything from “Lil’ Darlin’” to “Shiny Stockings.”

46 JAZZed January 2012

focus session If you’re reading this and are surprised to hear that all swing comes from Afro-Cuban, be assured that you’re not alone. But it’s absolutely true; and we need to spread the word because the musical benefits are immense. I had the great pleasure recently of workshopping an ensemble that was performing a terrific arrangement that incorporated shifts from swing to Afro-Cuban styles and back. The young musicians were dedicated, talented, and extremely musical in their delivery. But though the arrangement even included points where different melodic lines were to inflect swing and Afro-Cuban styles simultaneously, the ensemble members were unaware that swing comes from Afro-Cuban. Knowing even just the most basic 6/8 Afro-Cuban rhythmic underpinnings can add worlds of maturity to your swing style. And once these fine musicians got a taste of that link, their performance of the music skyrocketed in authentic feel. I incorporate Afro-Cuban grooves under swing tunes in my ensembles’ rehearsals whenever our swing groove is lacking. If you’ve kept these two styles separate in your own rehearsals, I invite you to read on as to how this can make a positive effect in your own ensemble.

The Prerequisite: Listen! I believe it is the singer/lyricist Jon Hendricks to whom the following oneword poem regarding jazz is attributed: “LISTEN!” So before I go any further, I must emphasize that one cannot take for granted the importance of experiencing the swing feel before even attempting to perform it. Has every member of your group heard recordings of great instrumental and vocal groups and soloists in this tradition? It is remarkable how many ensembles I encounter in my travels that have not. And is it possible to ensure that your group hears at least one exemplary

professional ensemble live in concert? If so, your musicians will grow exponentially from the experience.

A Solution So often the only words an ensemble might hear from its leader regarding improving swing style are “don’t rush” or “lay back” or “don’t drag.” While often accurate, these instructions lack sufficient detail to communicate well with lessexperienced students of the music. What if you could demonstrate to them exactly where the groove should be? Here’s a melodic line we’ll use as a sample swing phrase for experimentation (Example 1). The top stave represents, say, the horns or vocals; and the bottom stave represents the two most critical time-keeping portions of a drum set: the ride cymbal and hi-hat. Currently the drums are playing a basic 4/4 swing pattern— but our horns or vocals are supposedly not lining up well within the swing groove.

Learning Swing via Afro-Cuban Style Ex. 1 Swing


& 44 œ-

4 œ ã 4 hi- Œ



ensemble line

œ œ+

ride cymbal



œ Œ

œ œ


Ex. 2 6/8 Abakwa

œ œ œ ‰ œ œ ã 68 œ œ. hi+. hat

ride cymbal

Ex. 3 6/8 Afro-Cuban


j œ œ œ œ.

œ ã 68 œ hi+. hat

ride cymbal

Ex. 4 12/8 Abakwa

‰ b œJ œ


œ bœ


œ Œ

œ œ

œ Œ


j œ œ œ.


& 44 œ-



Ex. 5 12/8 Afro-Cuban




œ ‰ b Jœ œ œ



j œ œ œ


j j œ œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ.

ride cymbal

j j œ œ œ œ œ œ œ 4 ã 4 œ œ œ hi+

conga or ride cymbal



j œ

œ œ.

Ex. 6 4/4 Swing Melody with 12/8 Afro-Cuban Rhythmic Support ensemble line

œ œ

œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ. œ.

œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ 12 œ ã 12 8 œ 8 œ œ. œ. œ. . hihi- +. + hat hat

ride cymbal





œ bœ


j j œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ 3


j œ

œ œ. œ. œ œ


j œ


© 2011 Antonio J. García All rights reserved.

JAZZed January 2012 47

focus session First, let’s explore the powerful solution rooted in the history of swing: the Afro-Cuban groove known most commonly as abakwa and its tripletfeel bell pattern. Here the abakwa pattern is written as two measures of 6/8 (Example 2). Spend some time singing the upper line while tapping the bottom (hi-hat) rhythm with your hand. Feel the cross-rhythm of the upper grouping of four eighths (three notes plus a rest) played over the lower grouping of three eighths (each dottedquarter note), as well as across the overall sum of four dotted quarters. If it takes you a while to get it right, en-

joy the ride; but it’s critical that you be able to feel this cross-rhythm over the ground beat. From this abakwa pattern comes a cymbal bell pattern that is commonly played in, say, a “2-3 son clave 6/8 feel” (Example 3). Again, spend some time singing the upper line while tapping the lower line. Feel the cross-rhythms! Now that we’ve viewed these rhythms in their indigenous pair of 6/8 measures, let’s re-write the same sounds as in a single bar of 12/8 (Examples 4 & 5): here you see a bar of the abakwa and a bar of the bell pattern. 2

Ex. 7 4/4 Swing Melody with 12/8 Abakwa Rhythmic Support

bœ œ œ

ensemble line

& 44 œ-

‰ b œJ



œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ ã 44 œ œ œ œ hi- +

conga or ride cymbal






œ bœ



œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ 3





Ex. 8 Ballad (Swing 8ths) ensemble line

& 44 ‰

œ ã 44 hi- Œ


ride cymbal


œ œ+

q»§º œ.

b œ.


œ œ


œ. œ


œ Œ

œ œ



& 44 ‰ œ . œ ã 44 œ+ hihat

conga or ride cymbal


b œ.

3 j3 j œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

œ œ



j œ œ œ


& 44 ‰



b œ.


œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ ã 44 œ+ œ œ œ hihat

conga or ride cymbal





œ œ



b œ-




œ œ

b œ-

œ œ



j œ


œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ 3

— Swing via Afro-Cuban —

48 JAZZed January 2012


3 j3 j œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

Ex. 10 Ballad (Swing 8ths) with 12/8 Abakwa Rhythmic Support ensemble line



Ex. 9 Ballad (Swing 8ths) with 12/8 Afro-Cuban Rhythmic Support ensemble line

b œ-




So now we’re set to align these four beats with the four beats of a swing tune’s 4/4 measure. Let’s start with the bell pattern now written as triplets within a single measure of 4/4. If your drummer or conga player were to play what we’ll still call the 6/8 bell pattern under the ensemble’s delivery of the swing melodic line, you’d have Example 6. Even by yourself you can experience the 6/8 influence by tapping the lowest (hi-hat) line while singing the rhythms of the upper (ensemble) line and then continuing directly into singing the middle (ride cymbal) line. By alternating melody and 6/8 groove, you can easily feel how the two are related. Have your ensemble vamp/loop a two-bar cycle: two bars playing the melodic line over drums, then two bars drums only, repeating: with each passing cycle, you’ll hear the musicians locking in to the triplet feel of the groove. Then make a vamp performing two bars of Example 6 followed immediately by two of the swing-accompanied Example 1 (thus horns/vocals do the same all times)—and back again to Example 6, then Example 1. The triplet-placed timing of the Afro-Cuban phrasing will influence the ensemble’s delivering the same melodic feel over the swing groove that had originally been the challenge. And you didn’t have to repeatedly request “don’t rush” or “lay back” or “don’t drag”—you let the Afro-Cuban groove speak for itself. If your group needs a bit more detailed reinforcement, try placing the abakwa pattern (now also notated within a single measure of 4/4) under the ensemble (Example 7). Some ensembles might find the additional rhythmic attacks helpful; others might find it too much detail. But the principle remains the same: after vamping the melodic phrase over this groove, then make a vamp performing two bars of Example 7 followed immediately by two of

focus session the swing-accompanied Example 1—and back again to Example 7, then Example 1. This is not my original idea, by any means. Long before anyone had thought about this historical link, the triplet divisions of these Afro-Cuban grooves had sown the seeds of blues and swing feel into the turn of the twentieth century—and have infused their essence into medium-tempo 4/4 swing ever since. You can even listen to African drum and mbira masters currently perform music rooted from hundreds of years

“KNOWING EVEN JUST THE MOST BASIC 6/8 AFRO-CUBAN RHYTHMIC UNDERPINNINGS CAN ADD WORLDS OF MATURITY TO YOUR SWING STYLE.” ago that to the modern jazz musician’s ear clearly sounds like the inflections of swing and blues: adding the Cuban influence in later centuries only made these inflections more pronounced. Mature rhythm sections feel these 6/8 patterns as the underlying groove between the quarter notes of a walking-bass line or a swing ride-cymbal pattern. The most modern jazz musicians still inflect the occasional middle-triplet accent in their swing solos and accompanying lines.

The Challenge of Swing Ballads Few grooves reveal more about a jazz ensemble’s maturity than a jazz

Books • Malabe, Frank & Weiner, Bob (1994). Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset, Alfred Music Publishing. There are many wonderful sources from which to learn the basics of Afro-Cuban and its relationship to swing. My favorite by far is this book with CD. It’s widely available from local dealers and bookstores as well as from the Jamey Aebersold web site at The book includes notated musical examples (performed on the included CD), historical and cultural background, a glossary of terms, and more. Regardless of whether or not you are a drummer, this book teaches you the basics of the grooves and why. • Mauleón, Rebeca (1993, 2005). The Salsa Guidebook for Piano & Ensemble, Sher Music. Available locally and at, the book conveys superb perspectives but across piano, bass, drum set, and salsa percussion instruments. Articles The following articles by the author are listed here because of their direct pertinence to elements of phrasing: • “Where’s the Beat?, Part 2,” JAZZed, Vol. 3, No. 2, March 2008. • “Where’s the Beat?, Part 1,” JAZZed, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2007/January 2008. • “Learning Swing Feel or How to Sculpt an Elephant,” ITA Journal, International Trombone Association, Vol. 34, No. 2, April 2006. • “Improve Your Groove, Part 2,” School Band and Orchestra, Vol. 2, No. 9, November 1999. • “Improve Your Groove, Part 1,” School Band and Orchestra, Vol. 2, No. 8, October 1999. • “Count-Offs Set the Groove,” The Instrumentalist, Vol. 52, No. 4, November 1997. • “Fine-Tuning Your Ensemble’s Jazz Style,” Music Educators Journal, Music Educators National Conference, Vol. 77, No. 6, February 1991. • “Pedagogical Scat,” Music Educators Journal, Music Educators National Conference, Vol. 77, No. 1, September 1990. Recordings Swing • Louis Armstrong The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, Vol. III—Sony/Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CK-44422 (1989). • Count Basie Orchestra The Complete Atomic Basie—Blue Note 28635 (1958, reissued 1994). • Frank Sinatra Sinatra at the Sands—Warner Brothers 46947 (1966, reissued 1998). • Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio—Polygram Records 521451-2/Verve 314521451-2 (1952, reissued 1997). • Mel Tormé with the Meltones Back in Town—Verve 314 511 522-2 (1991). • Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie Ella & Basie: On the Sunny Side of the Street—Polygram 539059 (1984, 1990, 1997, originally released 1963 as Ella and Basie).

Afro-Cuban • Dizzy Gillespie Compact Jazz—Mercury 832 574-2 (1987). Listen to “A Night in Tunisia,” as recorded in 1954 originally on Afro (Norgran MGN1003). In this version he maintains the 6/8 Afro-Cuban rhythm-section feel under his swing-like lines. To my ear, this is the best-recorded illustration ever of the linkage between Afro-Cuban and swing. • H.M.A. Salsa/Jazz Orchestra California Salsa—Sea Breeze CDSB-110 (1991). • Mambo All-Stars The Mambo Kings—Elektra 62505 (1992, reissued 2000). Here you’ll find not only a wide range of instrumentalists but also the incomparable vocalist Celia Cruz. • Vocal Sampling Una Forma Mas—Sire/Elektra 61792-2 (1995). African Drum & Mbira • Master Drummers of Dagbon, Vol. 2—Rounder CD 5046 (1992). Listen to musicians of Ghana, West Africa drum. Near the beginning of “Nantoo Nimdi” you can hear a 3-2 clave feel; in “Zambarima-Waa” hear cross-rhythms that influenced jazz; in “Suberima Kpeeru” hear an uptempo groove that would be at home in a modern setting. • The Soul of Mbira—Nonesuch Explorer 79704-2 (2008, 2002, originally a 1973 recording). Listen to musicians of Zimbabwe, Southern Africa play mbira. In “Nayamaropa” hear bluesy vocals; in “Kuyadya Hoye” hear jazz’s future cross-rhythms; in “Nhimutimu” hear one remarkable soloist perform an ensemble’s worth of layers, including a walking bass feel.

JAZZed January 2012 49

focus session ballad with swing eighth notes. Whether a vocal or instrumental group, can the musicians place the notes in just the right spot so as to convey the feel intended? The typical challenge for most ensembles is rushing given notes or entire phrases. This is a fairly natural occurrence because the ballads usually include a number of short quarter notes. These are easier to rush than long, legato quarters. Allow yourself a visual metaphor: imagine your goal was to hold in the outstretched palm of your hand a dozen pencils, each fitted tightly against the next in a bunch. It would be a fairly easy task, as each pencil is aligned by its neighbor touching it. But if your goal was to hold a dozen toothpicks—yet each spaced evenly apart at the width of the original pen-

cils—it would be extremely challenging to keep them exactly in place: the slightest movement of your hand could easily roll one or more toothpicks off target. There’s nothing in between them, in the “dead spaces,” to assist in aligning them. In this visual metaphor, the pencils are legato quarter notes, each smoothly connected to the next by the width of its neighbor and thus easier to maintain in place. The toothpicks are short quarters, a fraction of the pencils’ width, without supportive neighbors to assist in accurate placement and thus easily knocked off target. The typical response by most ensemble directors is “Wait for the beat! Don’t rush!” This usually generates limited and temporary results. What about a way to improve the ensemble members’ perception of the width of

the beat surrounding each “toothpick”?

Filling in the Spaces If the short quarters are rushing because there’s nothing in between them to support their placement, then a clear solution is to provide everyone with the complete picture of the divisions within the beat so that these “toothpicks” can be firmly anchored in context. And the 6/8 Afro-Cuban groove makes the perfect complement to a swing ballad for this purpose. Here’s a melodic line we’ll use as a sample swing ballad phrase for experimentation (Example 8), with the top stave representing the horns or vocals and the bottom the ride cymbal and hi-hat in still a basic 4/4 swing pattern, but slower. Those dots over most of the quarter notes in the upper line are



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focus session going to invite trouble for the melody’s tempo! Let’s talk about how such staccato markings might be interpreted. Some ensembles will perform short quarters as fifty percent of the beat or less (as in the classic rendition by the Count Basie Orchestra of “‘Lil’ Darlin’” on The Complete Atomic Basie). While dramatic and accomplished by some very experienced ensembles, this effect can be extremely difficult for a young group to master, as it takes great rhythmic maturity to hold a slow tempo amid such space between these “toothpicks.” It also subtracts much of the potential vocal quality of the melodic line, changing it from lyrical to almost purely instrumental in nature—and most ballads crave a lyrical effect from the instruments involved. Another interpretation by many is to make each short quarter one third of the beat, an even greater challenge for a younger ensemble. A third interpretation, which I encourage for all developing ensembles (and which is adopted by many pro groups as well) is to perform short quarters as approximately two-thirds of a beat, promoting a lyrical quality in which each note easily could support a word or syllable. In this Louis Armstrong-inspired phrasing of short notes (as in “Struttin’ with Some Barbeque” on his Hot Five recordings) the space between the notes is less than in either of the previous two scenarios above. But the challenge to most ensembles’ groove often does not entirely disappear. So how best might the group rehearse this style? My preferred method is to play—or have a student play—on congas the “6/8” ride cymbal pattern shown atop the bottom stave of Example 9, while the drummer plays the downbeats on the hi-hat. If there’s no conga player in the ensemble, the drummer could play the ride pattern with brushes or light sticks on the ride cymbal along with hi-hat downbeats. The horns or vocals

VCU Music student pianist Nick Berkin and violinist Julia Nyunt sit in with violinist Zach Brock, bassist Matt Wigton, and drummer Fred Kennedy. Photo credit: Antonio J. García

then either play the entire tune or just vamp the first one or two phrases of the tune for added focus on the groove. One of the primary weaknesses of many swing-ballad performances is not so much the attacks but the releases of various notes and phrases.

So much attention is brought to bear on beginning notes together within the ensemble that the phrase-endings are often relatively ignored. And yet a fundamental element in attacking a note in unison timing is for everyone to release the preceding note together

JAZZed January 2012 51

focus session this unity of groove using the Afro-Cuban bell pattern, count the ensemble off on the chart as written, without congas, and note the marked improvement in the ensemble’s musicality. For when the group’s timing is together, its phrasing improves, as usually does its dynamic ability and often even its intonation! VCU Jazz students Victor Haskins (trumpet) and Brian If your group needs Mahne (piano) perform. more swing eighth-note Photo credit: Antonio J. García detail, try (as we did with the medium swing exas well, so as to prepare the next enample) placing the abakwa pattern untrance. der the ensemble (Example 10), using So it is in these melodic exerciscongas or lightly sticked ride cymbal. es that the full benefit of rehearsing Again, some ensembles might find the swing ballads with a 6/8 Afro-Cuban additional rhythmic attacks distracting; underpinning comes to light: the others will benefit from it. triplet-based conga line not only reIf your ensemble needs assistance inforces when to begin each note but during a loud “shout” section of the balalso exactly where to release it. lad, then in rehearsal replace the swing Once everyone has experienced

ride-cymbal pattern completely with one or the other Afro-Cuban pattern. Played strongly, it will provide the entire ensemble with a full perspective of the width of each beat in the measure.

Full Circle I’ll state outright that not all swing is fully triplet-based: there’s a lot of variance between the first and second eighth-notes in a given musician’s swing style. But I’ll also state that when it comes to unifying an ensemble’s attacks, releases, and overall groove for medium-swing and ballad-swing arrangements, exposing ensembles of any age to the underpinnings of 6/8 Afro-Cuban have brought the most profound and stable improvement I’ve witnessed. You’ll not only give your musicians a great tool with which to swing, you’ll reconnect them to the critical, historical link between swing and Afro-Cuban. There’s no better way to bring an ensemble into the heart of what really makes jazz swing than delving into its Afro-Cuban roots. Antonio J. García is an associate professor of Music, director of Jazz Studies and formerly the coordinator of Music Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. His book with play-along CD, Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages standard-tune improv opportunities using only their major scales. He is associate Jazz Editor of the International Trombone Association Journal, past editor of the IAJE Jazz Education Journal, network expert (Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network, co-editor and contributing author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study, IAJE-IL past-president, and past IAJE International co-chair for Curriculum and for Vocal/Instrumental Integration. A trombonist, pianist, and avid scat-singer, he has performed with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Louie Bellson, and Phil Collins. Visit his web site at

52 JAZZed January 2012


A Focus on AAJC President, Bill Myers By: Dr. Larry Ridley, AAJC Executive Director The following is a recent interview I conducted with Bill Myers, the newly elected president of the African American Jazz Caucus. I offer this interview to the Jazz Education community as an opportunity to learn about Bill Myers.

Larry Ridley: Welcome Bill and thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview for JAZZed Magazine. BM: Thank you for inviting me. LR: I’ve known you a long time, I still remember when your mother, Georgia, brought you to meet me as a young aspiring bass player. Over the years I have had the pleasure of watching you grow and develop as a musician and also branch out into other creative areas as well. You’ve done well for yourself. I’m proud of you, young man. BM: I’m just grateful and lucky, I suppose, to have had some great mentors and role models and people willing to help me out along the way. It’s so important to have people who believe in you, and who are willing to allow you the freedom to explore, expand and find your groove, your niche – your JAZZed January 2012 53 voice. Growing up in Indianapolis, I was embraced by many of the older jazz musicians early on. The same community that created the Indiana Avenue jazz scene and produced so many giants in jazz including Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, Slide Hampton, JJ Johnson, Melvin Rhyne, David Baker, yourself and countless others. I owe a lot to the late Mr. Anderson White, who co-founded the African American Jazz Caucus. When he came to Indianapolis from Detroit in 1978 to oversee the jazz programs in the Indianapolis Public Schools, I happened to be a 7th grade trumpet player in one of only two junior high school jazz bands in the city. Almost immediately, he “swooped me up” and began connecting me with the likes of veteran jazz musicians Jimmy Coe, “Pookie” Johnson, and Les Taylor. Jazz trumpeter Clifford Ratliff became my trumpet teacher. By the time I got to 8th grade, Mr. White had me playing trumpet in the Shortridge School of the Performing Arts Jazz Band. By the time I got to Broad Ripple High School and connected up with the director there, Rudy Finnell, I had been gigging professionally for a while. I remember one day in my freshman year after band class, Rudy called out “Bill Myers, I need to see you in my office.” I stepped into his office and he said “close the door.” “Bill Myers, your sight reading is not that tough. We need to work on that.” I thought I had it going on. “You pick up what everybody around you is playing real fast, but you’ve got to learn how to count and read these rhythms for yourself.” I came in everyday after school for a couple of months. Mr. Finnell would routinely set-up the metronome, and we hand-clapped our way through the “127 Rhythmic Exercises”. I never picked up an instrument or played a single note – we just clapped and focused on counting and rhythms. I owe a lot to that book, but more importantly to the dedication and care of a great teacher and mentor like Rudy Finnell. It didn’t hurt that he was also

a bass player and I could also tighten up on playing the bass. I went on to serve as drum major of the high school marching band, perform in the high school orchestra on the string bass, solo and ensemble contest on string bass, trumpet and voice, perform in All-City Jazz Band under Anderson White, All-City Orchestra, All-City Choir, and two-years in the All-State Jazz Band under the direction of Larry McWilliams at Ball State University. Over the years in high school, I had the opportunity to meet and play with many jazz legends such as Donald Byrd, James Moody, Jack MacDuff, Percy & Jimmy Heath to name a few. I am extremely grateful to the Indianapolis jazz community and the many individuals who believed in me, and encouraged me. This stuff ain’t easy... and it wasn’t always pretty how it went down. It wasn’t a cakewalk, but... I can’t stress enough how powerful it is when someone believes in you. This is second only to your belief in yourself.

LR: What do you mean? Would you elaborate on that? BM: Sure. As a young child, I was always fascinated with the old movie musicals. When they came on TV, I would sit and watch them from beginning to end. While the other kids were outside with Tonka trucks, I would be inside glued to the television. One day “The Five-Pennies” came on TV and I watched it. I remember it like it was yesterday. Danny Kaye played big band trumpeter Red Nichols. At some point in the movie, an old black gentlemen appeared. It was Louis Armstrong. I had never seen him before and I was totally captivated by everything about him. How he walked into the room, how he smiled, how he spoke and when he played the trumpet...Wow! I was profoundly affected by this man and

the joy, which poured out of him and the way he made me feel. I experienced joy and it felt great. My life changed that day. At 7 years old, I knew what I wanted to do with my life... I wanted to do for others what Louis Armstrong in “The Five Pennies” did for me. I was going to play the trumpet. A few years later, my twin sister and I played song flutes at school. Near the end of the school year, we took a music proficiency test to try out for the elementary school band. The result of the test? My twin sister Crystal passed with flying colors and had picked the clarinet as her instrument. And me... I didn’t make it. They said I had no musical ability. I was heart-broken. I had been wanting to play the trumpet for a few years at that point. That’s all I really, really wanted to do. I just couldn’t accept this and I cried a lot. Even threw a tantrum or two. I had to play the trumpet! My parents finally went to the school and met with the music teacher. He explained the testing process and stood firm on his assessment that I had no musical ability. My parents explained to him how important this was to me. The music teacher then offered, “I will not supply him with a school instrument because I do not believe he should be in the band, but I will let your son in band if you get him a trumpet.” My father was an Indianapolis Police Officer taking care of a family of five We struggled to get school clothes and school supplies and keep the lights on. We could never afford to buy a trumpet. This was perhaps one of the saddest points in my life. And one day, my Dad pulled up to the house in his police car (which was our family car) and told me to get in. I did and we drove off. I had no idea where we were going and he said nothing the whole way. We pulled into a strip mall and parked, got out and walked into Indiana Music Store. Inside, I was eye-level with a glass case in the front of the store that had horns on display and discovered a beautiful new trumpet. I was mesmerized as my Dad began talking to a salesman. A few

54 JAZZed January 2012

jazzforum moments later, my Dad looked down and called to me, “Billy, tell the man what you want.” What!? I was shocked and couldn’t speak at all. I just pointed at the new trumpet I was bonding with in the display case. The salesman removed the trumpet from the display case and began packing it up. He rang up the purchase on the cash register and said “that will be $380.” That was a lot of money! I will never forget what happened next. My Dad turned and looked at me...a look that is permanently etched in my memory. The look said “I believe in you. I will do anything for you. You are my son. I love you.” He reached into his pocket, counted out $380 and handed it to the salesman. Excuse me...whenever I reflect on this story I get emotional. It was a powerful and profound moment that changed my life. I understood that this was a huge sacrifice, and that the light bill and a few other bills might not get paid. But more than this, I knew that my father had just armed me with the ability to pursue my dream. On the ride back home, not a word was spoken. I just sat quietly holding the trumpet case in my lap. It was now up to me to make something happen and I had no doubt whatsoever that I could. Somehow I knew that with this trumpet, anything was possible. I believed in myself even when others did not. It was the passion and energy of that belief in myself that ultimately created the circumstances that manifested me receiving the trumpet and allowed others to believe in me. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can others believe in you?

the scene, checking things out. Most of the time, she was in the thick of it all, dancing up a storm! She remained that way until she passed July 1, 2011 at the age of 96. BM: Momma Ridley was definitely

LR: Yeah buddy! Now, Bill you spent a great deal of time working as a professional actor as well. Would you care to shed some light on your endeavors in the dramatic arts as a thespian? BM: Sure. It’s ironic but an India-

on the scene. She didn’t miss a thing.

napolis jazz musician, baritone sax player

LR: That’s true. And I’m glad to hear you mention the story of your father, his role in being there for you. The role of the family is so important to a young person’s growth and development. I grew up with super family support from my father, mother and other family members. My mother was quite the supporter and the head cheerleader for me and all of the musicians. She was always on

JAZZed January 2012 55

jazzforum and mentor, the late Les Taylor, is largely responsible for my acting career. Let me explain. I was a sophomore in high school playing in the pit orchestra for the school’s fall musical. During a rehearsal, one of the lead actors made a foul comment to my band director, Mr. Finnell. It was disrespectful and totally inappropriate for a student to talk to a teacher that way. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the choir director followed up with a couple of equally insulting comments to Mr. Finnell also. I was not okay with any of this. In fact I got really upset. Straight out pissed. I remember staring at this young man and thinking, “Who the hell do you think you are? You can’t get away with being disrespectful and to people like that. You are not all that “bad”. I can do what you do, better than you. I’ll show you.” I was on a mission to punch his ticket. I was going to be in the next year’s musical. During the next summer’s marching band rehearsals, I caught wind that the fall musical was going to be “West Side Story”. I got myself down to the public library and picked up the movie soundtrack album, the original Broadway cast recording, and the score. Being biracial, I knew that if I got through the auditions successfully they would probably think I would be perfect for Bernardo. That is exactly why I set my sights on the role of Tony instead. Oh, by the way, I wasn’t a singer. And the role of Tony is no joke. So I contacted Michael Dixon, Chorus Master of the Indianapolis Opera Company, and I began voice lessons with him. I sang “West Side Story” all summer right along with Richard Beymer and Larry Kert. About a week before the auditions, I told my band directors Rudy Finnell and Anderson White that I was planning to audition for the fall musical. Their response to me was less than enthusiastic. They told me I had to decide what my priorities were, either I was playing the bass or playing the trumpet, playing jazz or else. I was upset, confused and disappointed that my mentors would come at me like that with ultimatums. A couple of days later, Les Taylor stopped me in the hall and asked me what was wrong. I told him what had happened. I said I just really want to try this acting thing. I don’t think I need to make

56 JAZZed January 2012

a choice about jazz or music or acting. I want to do this. I want to continue to grow. Les said, “You don’t have to make a choice. What do you want to do?” I want to audition for the show. “Then audition for the show and to hell with what anybody else thinks. Do it, Billy.” Les then shared several examples of jazz musicians who were also actors, including Louis Armstrong. Without the reassurance and encouragement of Les Taylor in that conversation, I am not sure I would have done it. But I did do it. I did audition, and I did get the lead role of Tony. Rudy and Andy came to the show. They were smiling from ear to ear. I knew they were proud. Over the next 10 years, I worked as a professional actor primarily. From community theatres to regional theatres, and numerous television commercials, I worked continuously. I eventually moved to Chicago, then to New York, where I landed a role on an ABC Daytime Soap, a couple of feature films, workshops, Off-Broadway and Broadway

jazzforum productions. During this period I wrote a couple of screenplays, and began directing also. I worked with some Broadway theatre legends including Joseph Papp, Harold Prince, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Stephen Schwartz, Roz Ryan and Chita Rivera to name a few. Eventually, I wound up in Aruba, performing in a production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” During one performance, I was out in the audience clowning and cuttin’ up while singing “Fat & Greasy” and found myself standing right in front of Billy Preston. I couldn’t pass this up. I called Billy out and we began to riff back and forth with one another. It was a showstopper! The audience loved it, and so did I. The following day I was invited to meet with Billy for lunch. We talked for a couple of hours or so, and it suddenly occurred to me that the bulk of the conversation was Billy asking me about my background, goals, and aspirations. I told him of my desire to produce and shared some specific projects

that interested me. He was very interested in what I had to say and listened keenly. A few days later, Billy called and asked me to come meet with him after his show that night. I did as he requested and we both sat down. It was then he shared his belief in me and my goals and desires to produce. He felt I would make a fine producer. He then offered me the job as head of his production company. He explained that I would be involved with artist development, concert tours, publicity, negotiating contracts, and project development, etc... I jumped at the opportunity and gave my 2-week notice the following morning. I was off to Malibu, CA. There I worked with the likes of Isaac Hayes, Ray Charles, James DeBarge, George Harrison, Ron Miller and many other prominent artists associated with Billy and his production company. It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot. After a couple of years, I became increasingly aware of my grandfather’s declining health, and decided

to return back home to Indianapolis where I would soon be needed. My grandfather was my role model, my main man, the wind beneath my wings. Coming back home gave me the opportunity to enjoy valuable time with him over the last two years of his life. Once back home, I felt inclined to teach and give something back to the kids in the public schools, where I once sat. My hope was to inspire them as I had been and share my experience with them as they pursued their dreams. I became the theatre magnet teacher for the Indianapolis Public Schools Middle School grades 6-8. I enjoyed every minute of it. I certainly learned as much from my students as they did from me. I then decided to continue producing while in Indy. I produced many large scale special events for conventions, television commercials, CD recording projects, jingles, etc. Continued next month...

University of Michigan BFA Jazz Studies BFA Jazz Studies with Teacher Certification BFA Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation BFA Jazz and Contemplative Studies MM Improvisation MPulse 2012 Summer Jazz Institute July 15–28 Andrew Bishop, director

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For more information, contact the Office of Admissions,, 734-764-0593, or visit our web site at

JAZZed January 2012 57


New & Notable Music Releases All dates are subject to change

December Tri-Fi – A Tri-Fi Christmas (Tri-Fi) Frank Macchia – Swamp Thang (Cacaphony) Mark Colby – Yesterday’s Gardias (RCI)

January 3 Jimmy Owens – The Monk Project (IPO) Jack Cassidy – SYMBIA (Self-Released)

January 10 Jimmy Owens – The Monk Project (IPO)

Charlie Haden and Hank Jones – Come

Sunday (EmArcy)

Oscar Castro-Neves –

Live at Blue Note Tokyo (Zoho)

January 17 Chick Corea / Eddie Gomez / Paul Motian – Further Explorations (Concord)

Northern Illinois University

A Legacy of Jazz Artistry Greg Beyer, Latin Jazz

Fareed Haque, guitar

Ron Carter, director of jazz studies

Rich Moore, saxophone

Robert Chappell, piano & theory

Willie Pickens, piano

Art Davis, trumpet

Kelly Sill, bass

Tom Garling, trombone

Rodrigo Villanueva, drumset

Lynn Slater Coordinator of Admissions, 815-753-1546,

If you have information on an

Graduate Assistantships Available

included in the next issue of

upcoming album or music DVD release which you’d like to have

JAZZed, please e-mail editor Mathew Parish at:

58 JAZZed January 2012

Gearcheck JodyJazz Tradin’ With The Greats with George Garzone and Kenny Werner

JodyJazz’s new Tradin’ with the Greats CD Series puts jazz listeners and performers in the band with high level, professional musicians. “Trading” is the timehonored tradition where musicians improvise back and forth, inspiring each other to play at higher levels of artistry than they normally reach. The CDs are set up as a play-along concept, with artists hand-picked by JodyJazz president Jody Espina. In these first volumes, saxophonist George Garzone and pianist Kenny Werner perform their trademark high-quality solos while leaving space in choruses in between for fans to trade in their own improvisations at home.

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JAZZed January 2012 59



Q: A: Nope.

Do you have to be crazy to be really creative?

Pianist, composer and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music “Mr. Yavnai is a unique and brilliant artist.” - Yo-Yo Ma To listen to music and for information about workshops & clinics please visit

Great new music from Open Mind Jazz

Jens Wendelboe's Big Crazy Energy New York Band

Bruce Gertz Quintet

"Inspirations" Vol. 1

Brand new CD, Thank You Charlie, dedicated to the memory of Charlie Banacos, J famous Jazz Educator. And featuring the baritone voice of veteran musician, Paul Broadnax along with George Garzone, tenor sax, Phil Grenadier, trumpet, Rick DiMuzio, tenor sax, Bob Gullotti, drums and Tim Miller, guitar.

"...clearly there's a lot of talent on hand, not the least of which is displayed by Wendelboe, whose work here places him among the best of modern jazz's big-band leaders." - Jazziz - 2010. "...this record bears repeated listening, which brings growing enjoyment" -All about Jazz - 2010.

Backed by three decades of research, teaching, and clinical and creative experience, psychologist and jazz writer Judith Schlesinger tracks the “mad genius” from its ancient roots to its current connection to bipolar disorder. “Passionately and completely debunks the biased, pervasive notion that artists are ‘crazier’ than the rest of humankind” – Shelton G. Berg, Dean, Frost School of Music, University of Miami “Fascinating, insightful, and surprisingly funny” – Chris Brubeck, “fairly sane and highly functioning” jazz musician and classical composer The Insanity Hoax can jump-start discussions of creativity, madness, social stereotypes, and the true realities of the creative life.

Downloadable at Also available on Charts are available Conn-Selmer performing Artist/Clinisian Available for Concerts/Clinics. Check out and contact Mr. Wendelboe at:

Available at

60 JAZZed January 2012

Available at usual online retailers. Complete details and personalized copies at

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Mark Colby



Mark Colby

New music in the tradition of the classic jazz piano trios. Available as CD or high-quality download at


Featuring Jeremy Kahn, Mike Pinto, Eric

“TRI-FI is a winner!” - Ed Thigpen

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“potent brand of piano trio music” - All Music Guide

Available on Amazon CD Baby and iTunes

Available for Clinics, Masterclasses and as Guest Soloist (charts available)

“flawless intercommunication” - All About Jazz

Faculty: DePaul University and Elmhurst College Chicago, IL

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Your Music. Your Education. Your Opus. Symphony Publishing | 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1 | Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310 | FAX (781) 453-9389 | 1-800-964-5150

Photo credit: Lauire Samet

Faculty: University Search &DePaul Career Guide are proud to present a comprehensive website for music students andElmhurst colleges to College connect. Chicago, IL and

• Member of the Phil Woods Quintet since 1974 • Faculty at William Paterson • Playing with musical legends including Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Bennett, Tom Waits and many, many more. • Now booking the “70/50 Celebration Tour” JAZZed January 2012 61

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Piano For Sale Pleyel 6'3'' Polished Mahogany Piano. 8 years old in excellent condition with artist bench and cover. Asking $34,500. contact or 708-957-8679.


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Paul Motian 1931-2011

In a career spanning the budding years of bebop and downtown avant garde, jazz drummer Paul Motian carved out a highly influential body of work that persisted until the end. His most recent album, Ghosts of the Sun, was released on the day he died. Motian was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Providence, R.I., and toured New England as a teenage swing band drummer. He played with Thelonius Monk before joining forces with Bill Evans in a high-profile role in the Bill Evans Trio for six years. His career weaved through all aspects of the music scene in the ‘60s, performing with Lennie Tristano, Keith Jarrett, Joe Castro, Arlo Guthrie, and Don Cherry among others. He signed with ECM in the ‘70s, finding a lasting voice as a composer and bandleader, striking up longstanding collaborations with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano and often performing in groups with several guitars. The 80-year-old percussionist frequented clubs throughout New York all his life and was a recent regular at the Village Vanguard and the Cornelia Street Café. Motian was a prolific studio artist until the end. Just this past year, he released six albums with diverse lineups including Chick Corea, Lee Konitz, and Charlie Haden. He died on November 22 in New York City.

64 JAZZed January 2012

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