Category Archives: Improvising

Chasing the Trane

Chasing the Trane is a new documentary film by critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld.

The film is produced with the full participation of the Coltrane family and the support of the record labels that collectively own the Coltrane catalog. Scheinfeld brings his strong story-telling skills to the creation of a rich, textured and compelling narrative that takes the audience to unexpected places.

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, CHASING TRANE brings John Coltrane to life as a fully dimensional being, inviting the audience to engage with Coltrane the man, Coltrane the artist.

Here’s my video review of the film.

What is a Lydian Dominant Scale?

There are lots of Jazz Scales that have great names and the Lydian Dominant is one of them.

But what is a Lydian Dominant and how do you practice it?

Watch this video to find out how I work out on my Lydian Dominant Scales and what they have in common with a Melodic Minor and Altered Scale.

Chris Potter Masterclass

I’m a big fan of Chris Potter, like many contemporary saxophonists I can be inspired and intimidated by his incredible musicianship, technique and command of the saxophone.

I really enjoyed watching this masterclass from a Jamey Aebersold Summer School, (that’s Jamey of the 1, 2, 3, 4 on piano at the start.)

I’ve been to a number of classes that Chris has given and I’ve been VERY fortunate to share a few beers with Chris at Ronnie Scott’s and backstage at various different gigs over the years, (check out my review of this gig with Chris, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner and Chris Cheek.)

Some things I wanted to draw your attention to from this Masterclass,

  • Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve
  • A good tone and good time will see you through most situations.
  • Music, especially jazz is self-expression.
  • Be able to melody VERY WELL!
  • Whatever you can find that makes it fun, do it and keep on doing it

IT IS SAID TO BE ‘PLAYING MUSIC’ SO LET’S PLAY!

The big ‘take home’ for me out of this was recording myself when I practice.  I’ve advocated this for a while with students, but I’ve been a little reluctant to do it myself.  However, last night I setup a folder and tried to put into practice some of the ideas that Chris talks about.

What do you think about Chris Potter’s playing and what he says in this class?