Boud for Thought

Jam Session Rep Lists 

Virtually immediately after you start playing jazz music you start getting pressure to know "all the standards".  I remember a giant daunting list at the back of a popular jazz theory book (that I don't recommend) that said "Learn all of these before you move to New York!".  Scary stuff.  In reality, being a human jukebox is only one of many vocations out there in the music world.  I know great musicians that have very little common repertoire with me.  This is getting more common just because there is so…Read more

All - Never Took 

Here is the another video of a solo piano arrangement of a pop/punk tune.  The first one you can find by clicking here

I went to see the documentary about the band All and the Descendents "Filmage" when it came out and immediately became one of my favourite music movies.  Musicians that I looked up to lived a very tough life on the road, playing music for food and gas.  20 years after first hearing their music, it all makes sense to me now, and I still have a soft spot for all of their records.

https://www.

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Modern Bootlegging 

First of all, the very word "Bootlegging" has to do with clandestine action, and what started me thinking about this issue was the extremely overt and non-secretive manner in which people currently are reproducing live music.

We have all had that thought when someone holds their phone up to record a shaky, badly lit chunk of video from a live music performance. What are they thinking? Do they lack the presence to enjoy the experience without proof they were there? Do they love their phone more than the…

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7.5 beat time 

My love for North Indian Classical music began when I took a course taught by Vinay Bhide at Carleton University in 2002. His introduction to Indian music was aimed at all Western musicians, but to me seemed geared even more towards jazz musicians since so much of the excitement in Hindustani music comes from improvisation, usually over a pre-determined or standard form.  Their idea of form differs, but not as much as you might think. 

Although the amount of great reading materials is rapidly growing, I most…

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Bodyjar - Five Minutes Away 

For three of my posts in this series I wanted to record solo piano versions of songs that aren't covered by solo piano very often.  This exercise of figuring out a vocal melody and harmony and making an arrangement is something I get my first year university students to do- there's nothing better than working out a song you love.

The first one is by Australian group Bodyjar- I saw these guys play sometime in the late 90s at a tiny club in downtown Ottawa that doesn't exist anymore, the Liquid Monkey maybe? …Read more

Forbidden Musical Devices 

During World War II, Hitler's regime forbade certain musical ideas and devices that didn't conform with their idea of artistic music.

From New Dutch Swing

It [de jazzwereld's guideline for entertainment music in 1940] was mostly a detailed roster of forbidden devices and practices: plunger mutes, growls, smears and other dirty timbres, ostinato basses, background riffs repeated more than three times, charts written by black musicians, washboards, the use of the word 'jazz' were all off-limits.

How many…

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Simple Triads 

One of the first theory lessons I like to teach is that there are only 12 major chords and 12 minor chords.
Learning these is attainable in a relatively short amount of time.

To simplify this further I start with the six "3 White note chords":
C, Dmin, Emin, F, G, and Amin

And the six "White-Black-White chords":
Cmin, D, E, Fmin, Gmin, A

With these second six we start to have the potential for some unusual and more offbeat chord progressions.

The remaining chords can be thought of as "black-white-black" (6), "all…

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RIP Gunther Schuller 



I had the great opportunity to perform this piece with the composer himself conducting during my time at NEC.  Without him I don't think any of us working in jazz full time with a large part of that work coming from post-secondary education would be doing what we are doing.

I hope to get back to writing some of my thoughts on music for my online community of students and fans now that the school year is over.  Have a great summer everyone.

Jazz Standards- 16 you should know. 

This past weekend I moderated a jam session for Jazzworks at the new Ottawa Bluesfest Music School.  I prepared a handout on tunes to know that I wanted to make available to all my students and those who couldn't make the jam.

For the last few months I have been looking over many other people's lists of standards, as well as pooling my peers for their opinions on the matter.  There are tons of great lists out there, from the great book by Ted Gioia to lots of websites.  I even remember coming across regional…Read more

Learning how to Learn 

After missing a week of my self-imposed schedule of weekly thoughts on music, and already being 24 hours behind and dangerously close to missing another I thought it might be good to whip off a quick note about something I have been meaning to mention for a while.

I've been slowly working my way through Learning How To Learn by Idries Shah, a book that was recommended by Dave Holland during a masterclass at the New England Conservatory.  I've been reading it slowly because it is one of those books of…Read more