“I don’t get Jazz- and I WANT to!”

Understanding Jazz One of my fellow salsa dancers expressed this to me a few months back, and I believe it warrants a discussion. First of all, this person is honest with their feelings about the subject and has an open mind. They are ready to experience something

Read more

Penta Workout by Tenor Saxophonist Bobby Stern

The Power of Pentatonics in Jazz While surfing for Jazz Blogs one day, I came across the #6 rated jazz blog in the world authored thoughtfully and thoroughly by Alto Saxophonist David Valdez: http://davidvaldez.blogspot.com. Reading his blog led me to another fantastic jazz educator and blogger, Tenor Saxophonist Bobby Stern. His blog

Read more

Joel Frahm Soprano Sax Solo Transcription from Manuel Valera’s ‘A La Interperie’

by Russ Nolan (note: if the manuscript is not clear in full-screen mode, you may try to rewind or you can download the .pdf file here: A La Interperie-Joel Frahm Solo Transcription A Complete Conversation in Jazz by Joel Frahm Again, with his permission, I would like to share one

Read more

Playing Over the Bar Line using Pentatonics

by Russ Nolan Using Pentatonics to Connect the Chord Changes The phrase ‘Playing Over the Bar Line’ means starting a melodic/improvised line over one chord change and continuing it over into the next change (or more). It is the opposite of what many beginning improvisers (including myself

Read more

Joel Frahm Tenor Sax Solo Transcription from Live at Smalls

by Russ Nolan (note: if the manuscript is not clear in full-screen mode, you may try to rewind–worked for me– or you can download the .pdf file here: Joel Frahm-Short Rack Solo-Smalls Live ) Short Rack Tenor Solo by Joel Frahm With his permission, I would like to

Read more

Jazz Composition and Improvisation—One and the Same: Part 3

by Russ Nolan Jazz Composition and Improvisation:  The Melodic Development of Sonny Rollins More Oleo Examples from Part 2:   Link to this post!

Read more

Jazz Composition and Improvisation—One and the Same: Part 2

by Russ Nolan Jazz Composition and Improvisation: Melodic Development of  Sonny Rollins’ Oleo Let’s take Sonny Rollins’ classic, ‘Oleo’ as a musical example. I picked Oleo for two reasons: 1) It is an example of melodic development in itself, and 2) It’s common to just ‘run changes’

Read more

Jazz Composition and Improvisation—One and the Same: Part 1

by Russ Nolan Jazz Composition and Improvisation: Two Speeds Composition and Improvisation are one and the same, just at different speeds. Composition is Improvisation out of time and Improvisation is Composition in real time. Every piece of music is a penned improvisation and every improvisation is a

Read more

Teaching Jazz As A Language Part 3: Are You Relevant?

by Russ Nolan Teach Jazz Students to be Relevant Jazz as a Conversation Finally, as important as it is to give beginning improvisers the proper tools to build with, it’s equally important to reinforce the idea that these tools are only the means to the end, not the

Read more

Teaching Jazz As A Language Part 2: The Bebop Scale

by Russ Nolan Teaching Jazz As A Language: Using the Bebop Scale for Longer Phrases If the students show a basic understanding of the Blues Scale, I will move on to the Bebop Scale. One of the dividing lines between high school jazz students and college jazz

Read more