this is a BLOG mostly about experiencing music


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Bob Brookmeyer, conviction, and the Bb major scale 

When I started studying with Bob I was deep into Lee Konitz.  I was aware that Bob came out of the same generation and pool of musicians, meaning both were post Basie/Lester Young players associated with the "cool school."  

I did my best to sound soft, airy, and hip in the first lesson.  He wasn't having it.  

     He told me to play a Bb major scale - the first scale I ever learned - as loud as I could.  Then he asked me to do it again, then again, then again.  Nope, never got it right that first…

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If you are reading this, you are an artist (no Kumbaya here)

We need to stop thinking of "the arts" as a separate entity that we get to enjoy after work is done.

"The Arts" should not be thought of as a supplement, icing on the cake or a cherry on top of a "well-rounded education."    STEAM instead of STEM if you're lucky and have a budget.  

They are essential, but only not because they allow you to see beauty in the world or be inspired or show you what could be - though of course these are tangible benefits.

Practicing "the Arts" (in school or at home) is…

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Coltrane, jazz education, and attempting to be cool

This was originally a late-night facebook rant.  Not my most articulate moment but I still agree with the sentiment!

"I recently woke up and starting listening to John Coltrane for the first time in years. I've never thought of myself as a "Coltrane" guy - probably because I'm definitely a Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins guy, so traditionally your not supposed to be both. (what a ridiculous thought!) but i realized that i've listened to a ton of Coltrane in my life, and I love him!  Sometimes jazz education gets…

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The "problem" with yesterday's perfect practice session...

...is that you will practice again today, and you expect it to be that wonderful.  I remember having such a session as a student in college.  I began with long-tones, leading into a very slow free improvisation, leading to more complex free playing into a tune of some kind.  My mind was buzzing and I moved onto my technical exercises, etc., eventually moving back to a free improvisation to end it.  I felt amazing and was so excited to share what had happened with my teacher the next day.  I felt like I had…

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Why Jazz and Skateboarding are the same thing.

I've been a skateboarder longer than I've been a jazz musician.  The two activities have sort of simultaneously occupied different spaces in my brain for most of my life, but never really interacted.  Lately I've been thinking about the connections between them, and what that might say about the sort of person who likes both.  Here are a few thoughts:   

1.  I've always viewed both skateboarding and jazz as sort of subversive, anti-establishment activities.  Within the history of both, there are varying…

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