Monday, December 29, 2014

Podcast: A Noise From The Deep



A while back I was searching for interviews with John Zorn and I stumbled across Dave DouglasGreenleaf Music podcast series entitled “A Noise From The Deep.”

There’s plenty of interesting musicians featured and the list is pretty heavy on saxophone players including, Henry Threadgill, Jon Irabagon, JD Allen, John O’Gallagher, Miguel Zenon, Greg Osby, Lenny Pickett [fun website], Ingrid Laubrock and Mark Turner.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Practice Journal: December 8 2014

Monday:
(forgot to take notes today bit I remember working on the following stuff).
Ear Training - Training The Ear Vol. 1 by Armen Donelian arrived in the mail so I started some work from that. I have never really worked from an ear training book before (not including the Lars Edlund "Modus" books). I was trying to remember our ear training classes at school but only have vague memories (naming intervals, chords and chord progressions) and we had handouts from the tutors rather than a text book.
Modus Vetus - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys (ascending chromatically)
Overtones
Modus Novas - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys (descending chromatically)

Tuesday:
Ear Training
I had limited time today but felt the session was quite focused
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys using Lacy's "Magic Order."
Overtones
Started working on the melody of "Beauty Is A Rare Thing"

Wednesday:
Ear Training
Rhythm - Ewe bell pattern variations. I worked on these before playing the horn and then in between each of the following parts of the practice session. I didn't focus on one, just played few a half a dozen or so.
Long Tones - E at varying dynamic levels
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys (Lacy's "Magic Order")
Overtones - Working on a few lines from the Rascher book (page 16).
"Beauty Is A Rare Thing" - played melody solo and along with recording

After only getting 3.5 hours sleep last night things went better than I expected

Thursday:
Ear Training
Rhythm - Ewe bell pattern variations. I worked on these before playing the horn and then in between each of the following parts of the practice session. Focused on one rhythm each time.
Long tones on A - varying dynamics.
Overtones - having trouble with E & G off low C. Still working at it and the overtones off low B and particularly low Bb are getting being.
Modus Novas - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys around cycle of 4ths.
"Beauty Is A Rare Thing" - played melody solo and along with recording.Then started working on the harmony line played on the out head.

Friday:
Ear Training
Overtones - focus was on tone matching today.
Long tones - Changed things up a bit today. Held out long tone and then started alternating between notes a half step apart.
Rhythm - alternating between Ewe and Bemba Patterns
Modus Novas - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys (Major 3rds)
"Beauty Is A Rare Thing" - melody and harmony line solo and with the recording

Then it was time to tune in to my friend Paul hosting a Jazz-Meets-Christmas show on Coast Access Radio (104.7FM)

Sunday:
Today's session wasn't very productive, I had a hard time with focus.
Modus Vetus - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys (cycle of 4ths)
Revised some Ornette Coleman tunes - "Beauty Is A Rare Thing," "Broadway Blues" and "Feet Music."
Overtones - tone matching. I'm having trouble with some of the higher overtones from the C fundamental but I feel there has been some improvement.
Noodled around for 20 minutes or so. It was an unfocussed session.

Monday:
I took a break from the horn today but still got some work done.
Rhythm - Playing Bemba rhythm with different pulse beneath (4 and 3). Working on each separately and then alternating between them
Ear Trainning - more singing from the Donelian book

Tuesday:
Overtones and Tone Matching
Modus Vetus - sing and play 1 phrase in all keys
Rhythm - worked a little on accenting lines in 3/8. Started by just playing one note and accenting 3/8 then moving to playing repeated triads with the accent. Eventually moved on to improvising (slowly) 8th note lines with the 3/8 accent.
Finished things off playing "Out of Nowhere." This was the first time I had played something from the "Great American Songbook" for quite some time. Things felt quite open which is always nice.

This week I'm without my horn so the practice journal will have to wait until after Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Warne Marsh: Atlantic Album Review Part 1 - Down Beat

Here is Martin Williams' review of Warne Marsh's self-titled Atlantic album (one of the recording sessions was on this day back in 1957). This review is from the January 8, 1959 issue of Down Beat. Although Williams feels Marsh has a more personal style on the Atlantic album (although sounding less assured), he thinks Marsh is better suited to the setting of the Tristano sides on Capitol Records. His pick from the album was "Excerpt," but I'll give you a taste of "Yardbird Suite" which grabbed my attention when I first heard the album back in '99.

Check back in January as I will post Mimi Clar's thought's on the album that appeared in The Jazz Review.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Love Supreme - Down Beat Review 1965

Today is the 50th anniversary of the recording of A Love Supreme so I felt it was appropriate to upload the five-star review by Don DeMicheal in the April 8, 1965 issue of Down Beat. I'll have to give the album a spin later today (its been a while). Enjoy.
Here are links to more vintage magazine articles.


Monday, December 08, 2014

Practice Journal: 1 December 2014

Monday:
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys using an expanding minor 2nd cycle (C, C#, B, D, Bb etc).
Overtones
Modus Novus - finished off remaining 6 from yesterday much easier and did the first 6 again.
"Feet Music" - working on the melody solo and with the recordings.
Worked on rhythm in between each of the above. Playing a bell pattern with a shifting pulse beneath and then a bemba rhythm.

Tuesday:
Rhythm - playing 6/8 and counting 6, 4 and 3.
Letting It Fall.
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys using the same pattern from Monday but with 5ths instead of 2nds (G, D, C, A, F etc). I'll probably write something on these cycles in the near future.
Overtones - tone matching into the Rascher book (the last 2 exercises on page 15). I was struggling with this today. After hanging in there for a while I changed my reed and it made all the difference. Even though I'm struggling with E off C (unstable and inconsistent) I'm still going ahead with regular overtone work and I feel they are getting better overall.
My concentration blew out but I managed to salvage things a little running through the melodies of "Broadway Blues" and "Feet Music"
Worked a little on a Bemba rhythm.
Modus Novus - this one was a little tricky about half way through it started coming together. I may return to this later in the week.

Wednesday:
Rhythm - playing 6/8 and counting 6, 4 and 3. Bemba Rhythm (I worked in this earlier in the day and while I was in line at the post office)
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys (Major 3rd Cycle)
Overtones - Letting It Fall, Rascher book - last two on 15 and first 3 on 16.
Modus Novus - this one was a little tricky as well but I hung in there with it. Some days these fall into place and other times they don't!

Thursday:
Rhythm - playing 6/8 and counting 6, 4 and 3. Started looking at some of the other bell rhythms. I spread this throughout the practice session.
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys (descending chromatically)
Overtones - Letting It Fall, Rascher book - last two on page 15 and about half of page 16. A few mouthpiece scales to round things up.
Modus Novus - the last couple of phrases I've worked on gave me a work out but today things fell into place and it seemed much easier.
Ear training - singing and playing a couple of tracks from Elvo S. D'Amante's Ear Training Series (Vol. 1 and 2). Intervals and scale fragments.
"Feet Music" - playing the melody along with the recordings and solo. Felt like I had a better blend today.
Finished off with about five minutes of improvising.

Friday:
It was a slow start to the day and I'm surprised how focussed I was when I started playing.
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys
Overtones, Letting It Fall and Mouthpiece Scales.
Modus Novus - another tricky phrase and I also stopped after 6 keys (just as it was falling into place) but then pressed on and finished it off.
It was a solid 75 mins blowing and then I hit the wall.
Today's practice was bookended by rhythm studies - working through the chart of bell pattern variations in Pure Rhythm.

Sunday:
Kicked things off 3 or 4 minutes of free Improvising to warm up the horn.
Long times with various dynamics before moving into improvising with focus on dynamics (this seemed to have quite an impact on the make-up of the lines I played).
Overtones - having a crack at the higher end of things with mixed success. From low Bb things are going pretty well, less consistent from low B and pretty average from low C.
Joe Viola's Technique of The Saxophone Vol. 2: Chord Studies - slowly played the first 10 or 12 exercises from Section II: Studies on Chord Sequences. I noticed that Eb minor didn't want to slip under the fingers today.
Played the melodies of "Feet Music" and "Broadway Blues." Looping each one separately and then alternating each melody.
A couple of minutes improvising to finish things off.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Practice Journal: 25 November 2014

Monday:
It was a late practice session today and the mind and body were quite tired but it turned out to be a good session.
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in cycle ascending and descending in whole tones from the starting point (E, F#, D, G#, C, A# and Eb, F, Db, G, B, A). It's nice breaking up the order in which you practice things.
Overtones - lots of tone matching and some overtone scales.
Balkan song - just a couple of spots that keep slipping my mind.
Improvising - emphasis on tonal/pitch variation and dynamics. The music itself seemed to move between quite tonal and more abstract.

Wednesday:
When I came to type up my notes I discovered I hadn't written any for today. From memory I worked on the following.
Overtones.
Modus Vetus and Modus Novas - 1 phrase in a cycle that follows the same shape as the Monday session (but from a different starting note).
"Broadway Blues" - alone and with the recording.

Thursday:
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in a cycle that follows the same shape as the Monday session (but from a different starting note).
Balkan Tune - about 2 or 3 minutes into working on this a spring broke (right hand D). In about 20 years of playing sax that's only the second spring to break on me (the other was when I was at music school I think).
Overtones - something you can practice without worrying about springs not working!
Was going to finish up after that but then realised that the rubber band the keeps my reed case shut was staring me in the face. I hooked it up and continued.
Started working on Ornette Coleman's "Feet Music" from both versions on In All Languages (which I picked up at Reckless Records along with New York Is Now!). The album splits his original quartet with Prime Time (playing some of the same tunes).

Even though the spring broke I still felt that the session was pretty good.

Sunday:
Modus Vetus - 1 phrase in all keys this time in an expanding semi-tone cycle (F, F#, E, G, Eb, G#, D, A, Db, A#, C, B)
Overtones - warmed up with Letting It Fall before moving on to the Rascher book (the last line of page 15 and the first two lines of page 16).
Modus Novas - 1 phrase in 6 keys - this one took me a while to get in to so I will finish it off during my next practice.
"Feet Music" - although I hadn't played for a couple of days I did my best to keep the sound of this melody in my mind. It's coming together - I played it solo and along with the recording(s).
Rhythm - I started off the session today working on playing a bell rhythm in my left hand with a shifting pulse beneath (6, 4, 3 and 2). In between each of the above I continued working on it (just for a couple of minutes).

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Jimmy Giuffre Blindfold Test from August 1960

Here is Leonard Feather's "Blindfold Test" from the August 18, 1960 issue of Down Beat. Feather tests Jimmy Giuffre with recordings by Pete Brown, The Four Brothers, John Coltrane, Al and Zoot and Harry Lookofsky.