Category Archives: Playing Music With Others

Charlie Parker @100

Saturday, 29th August 2020 marks the 100th Birthday of Charlie Parker. Parker, (nicknamed ‘Yardbird’ or simply ‘Bird’) is quite simply one of the most important saxophonists who has ever lived. His mastery of the instrument and the music has arguably never been surpassed and the influence he has had on every saxophonist, even every jazz musician that came after him is legendary.

Sadly, owing to Covid-19 I can’t be at his graveside with others this Saturday as I had originally planned. There’s various videos on YouTube of others doing this over the years, but it simply won’t be possible for me, or many others to play ‘Happy Birthday’ to Bird this Saturday.

However – I’d like to do a little bit of a last minute ‘challenge’ and get as many saxophonists as I can to play Parker’s ‘Now’s The Time’

Submit to [email protected] and I will publish the video at some point on Saturday – our little way of marking Bird’s 100th Birthday, even during these difficult times.

If you really want to get to grips with this then have a look at my Now’s The Time Transcription Project.

Download the lead sheets

Bb / Eb Lead sheets (one file)

Download the backing track

With Melody

Without Melody (just backing)

What to do

  • Record the Head x 2
  • Record as many solos as you can manage, (maybe include your favourite Charlie Parker phrase?)
  • Record the Out-Head

Honest Introspection

I frequently mention to students that YOU can be your best teacher if you learn to listen.

In this episode of #DansVlog I show you how I create a Honest Introspection from a gig I did at the Hot Numbers Jazz Cafe in Cambridge.


Silent Night – Christmas Project

It’s time for a Cambridge Saxophone ‘Christmas Project’. This year I want EVERYONE to get involved and so I’ve chosen something that everyone should feel comfortable contributing to.

What I would like you to do is the following:

  1. Watch the video lesson.
  2. Download the correct music for you (click here to access the folder on Dropbox, mail me if you don’t have access).
  3. Record yourself at the end of the week playing along to the recording, AT THE CORRECT SPEED!

The speed is really important – rather than ten videos of the same thing, I want to create one recording, with each of us playing a few bars each. That way those of you who are less comfortable can still contribute, and there is enough in this to pose a small challenge for more accomplished players.

If you’re not sure how to record the video on your iPhone or iPad click here. To record direct to YouTube from your webcam, click here.

One final thing: I got my dates mixed up – you have TWO WEEKS to complete this, but it would be nice to have it out BEFORE Saturday, 20th December!

Stapleford Jazz Collective

One of the most common targets from all my students at the start of the year was to reach a standard where they are able to make music with other people.

With this in mind I decided, in partnership with Woodwind and Reed, Cambridge and the ACE Cultural Foundation to launch the ‘Stapleford Jazz Collective’ at the brand new Stapleford Granary Arts Centre.

We meet on the first Wednesday at each month at 7.30pm

The ensemble is open to all musicians who have reached grade three or above and it is a fantastic opportunity to get together with like minded individuals and make some music, just for fun!

As someone who has lead various ensembles of different age groups I’m really looking forward to this and encouraging ALL my students to get involved.

If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.