Saturday, January 23, 2010

7notemode and Barbara Lister-Sink

As you know I have been trawling through lots of jazz based sites lately and there are a number of fantastic Youtube based player/teachers uploading thoroughly helpful and informative renditions and explanations of standards. Some examples include Lot2learn, jazz2511 and 7notemode. Anyway 7notemode is an advocate of the Barbara Lister-Sink method and uploaded this vid of a session he had with her which led me to investigating further what she has to say about playing the piano too. It is well worth viewing her YouTube videos and in particular that in which she plays Debussy and Rachmaninoff where her silky, smooth and seemingly effortless technique is a delight to watch and listen too.
Her method is based round her own ideas, the Alexander Technique and Russian Release method of piano pedagogy. I know a bit about Alexander Technique as my first guitar teacher ended up training as one so I was exposed to it and still use the little I have learnt today for myself and in my teaching.
During my training as a guitarist with my second and main teacher Stephan Bulmer, I was taught much of what she speaks about in reference to the use of the whole body in relation to the instrument and tension free structures. So I have been able to apply a little of what she talks about and I think it has already made some difference. Well worth a look!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Jazz Piano Book

The Jazz Piano BookI have been surfing all the online jazz piano sites recently and have come up with some ripper resources and very helpful information.
There are some great start up lessons on Scott Ranney's site Learn Jazz Piano and has useful resources and reviews the best piano lesson sites online. Somewhere along the way one of the many sites I visited recommended Mark Levine's "The Jazz Piano Book" as the best seminal resource available. So I "acquired" it and having worked through the first few sections, can recommend it highly as the explanations and examples provided are very clear and informative. I really feel like I am understanding the jazz process far more than my futile attempts to do so many times on the guitar. It all makes so much more sense on the piano and I am absolutely delighting in the new vistas that are opening up for me, following my decision 6 months ago, to take up the piano seriously! I have just completed an order for an official copy of "The Jazz Piano Book" along with 2 of his other publications "The Jazz Theory Book" and "Jazz Piano Masterclass with Mark Levine" which delves exclusively into Drop 2 voicings. Magic!

Monday, January 4, 2010

TwentyTen is born!

On the weekend, Michelle and I finally got around to seeing local band MoodSwingz play a gig at the Matilda's Meadow Winery.
My mate and former colleague Colin Reeves, who is an awesome and talented musician, is the guitarist and it is always a pleasure to hear him play.
The band also features consummate music man David Rastrick on trumpet/cornet, guitar, bass - you name it he probably plays it!
Holding down the bottom end are the inimitable Joel Barter on drums with sidekick Mark Tupman doing a great job on bass.
They were sounding tight and comfortable with the music they were playing so we had a great time even getting up on the dance floor to shake booty for a few songs!
Although nicely funky, alot of the music was a bit all sweetness and light so in the last 24 hours I have whipped together a composition with a little more edge for them which I hope they might like enough to include in their repertoire. It is based around a descending progression I wrote on the guitar sometime ago and I have added a contrasting B section to round it out and for the soloists to have a good time with.
Created in the "Oh, so capable and brilliant Sibelius", it is called TwentyTen and is available on Sibelius Music in full score and all the parts.