Freedom and Limitations

I find myself thinking about this topic with some regularity.  It seems to me that “freedom” is often presented as a linear scale, with “limitations” in opposition to freedom, as if limitations are like chains that prevent us from being…

Here's where it starts

I'm going to be using this space to share what projects I'm working on, what I've been thinking about, and anything else I find interesting or cool.

I just finished composing some original music for a short documentary film, Beirut

Key-oriented perspective

It's very common in jazz education to encourage a chord-oriented perspective on improvisation. In many ways, this makes a lot of sense and can be a valuable way of analyzing the music. However, it runs the risk of one failing…

"Bill Evans"-derived Rootless voicings for guitar, part 2

Here are more rootless voicings for guitar, based on the "Bill Evans" left-hand style voicings.

These are mostly drop-2 chords, so unlike Evans's close voicings, these are open voicings. This does change the character of the sonority considerably; if the…

Added-Note Triad Applications

The uses of triads for an improviser are nearly limitless. As I hinted at in my previous post on digital patterns, adding a note to a triad to create a four-note group can create a lot of possibilities.  The…

Digital Patterns

Okay, I haven't posted in a year. Here's a little worksheet of common patterns that are often used by modern improvisers. John Coltrane was probably the first to make notable use of these kinds of patterns, which he did on…

Ear Conditioning

Here's an (IMHO) excellent exercise that trains your ears and works on connecting your hearing and improvising. I forget where I got the initial idea, but this the the procedure I've developed and found helpful:


Take a chord progression (maybe…

Maj7#5

Update: I linked some parts to my previous posts on Augmented Scale ideas.

Over at the All About Jazz forum, someone asked for suggestions about how to approach Maj7#5 chords. As this is a sound I'm fond of and…

Guitar Players: Learn all the notes--update

As a follow up to the previous post about how to learn the notes on the guitar neck, I made a graphic to visually represent the "white notes" on the guitar.  This is what you should 'see' when you look…

Ear Training

Ear training is obviously an extremely important pursuit for improvising musicians.  I spend a significant portion of my practice time on ear training activities, and try to find ways to incorporate an ear training aspect into all of my practicing…