Tag Archives: jazz

Revealing Ellington’s “The Clothed Woman”

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The original Columbia recording of Duke Ellington’s piano feature The Clothed Woman is from December 30th, 1947, and is available on “The Chronological Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 1947-1948.” Ellington had performed the piece a few nights earlier at Carnegie … Continue reading

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Top Down #6: Melodic Motion–Space is the Place

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You can give your writing rhythmic tension by varying the “groove” under a melody, melodic line, or syncopated figure. You can also create space for counterlines and more music material under, after and around your melodic figures. This adds a … Continue reading

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Top-Down #5: More off the Grid

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When your phrases breathe and have some space, counterlines and background figures come more easily. When you write from the top, everything fits, because you decide how much space to allot each element, then you fill in the rest. When … Continue reading

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Both Sides Now: Two New/Old Releases on a New Label

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Two recordings I played on and co-produced are now available on iTunes; CDs are available through Hudson City Records. Northern Light is from 1991, and I’m still am trying to figure out why we waited two decades to put it … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #2–Cells and Solos

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Writing “free” notation in jazz for pitched instruments is a challenge. While rhythm section players are used to making up their parts (reading chord changes, following ensemble figures with rhythmic notation), there might be some head-scratching at the session in … Continue reading

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Living in the Big City

Last week I stumbled upon a wonderful blog. On a seemingly daily basis composer and critic George Grella engages his talent, intellect and great ears and writes about a wide range of music topics from Classical to the Avant-Garde. I … Continue reading

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Posted in Free Jazz, Jazz Composition and Analysis, Jazz history, Theory and Harmony | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #1–Rhythmic Cells

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I’ve written a lot of ensemble music where my intention was to create an improvised texture, or a feel of rhythmic and melodic freedom—fully notated music that sounds non-metered and non-harmonic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. In many instances … Continue reading

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Donald Fagen Interview-Keyboard Magazine, 5/06

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I had the privilege of interviewing Donald Fagen for Keyboard Magazine back in 2006 after the release of his third solo record “Morph the Cat”. It was the first of a few features I did for Keyboard. Here is a … Continue reading

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Last Night–One Attempt

So I tried it out again. I performed The Clothed Woman live with my trio last night. I played it last winter, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that performance. Last night it was better. Now I think I can end … Continue reading

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Posted in Duke Ellington, Free Jazz, Harmony, Jazz Composition and Analysis, Jazz history, Jazz piano, Solo piano, Theory and Harmony | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Serious” Improvisation-Surfing the Third Stream

I’m writing a piece for string quartet and 3 percussionists. In this piece I want to have the players improvise in certain passages. This creates many challenges, not the least of which is how to notate improvisation. I’ve done this … Continue reading

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