Monday, December 19, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Some film experiences to share

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Some film experiences to share: I can only speak for myself, but being a jazz musician in Detroit means hard work creating opportunities to perform. Teaching music is ...

Some film experiences to share

     I can only speak for myself, but being a jazz musician in Detroit means hard work creating opportunities to perform. Teaching music is my bread and butter for making a living, while I am attending rehearsals, finding gigs to play, and from time to time playing gigs. Of course I`m always enjoying a nice hot cup of joe, but unfortunately I am not always able to partake in my passion for film. However, during the months of November and December I did have the joy of experiencing some film pleasure.

     From November 2-6, the city of Ferndale hosted the Ferndale Film Festival, at the Ferndale Public Library. Maybe it is just me, but it seems everytime I attend a film festival there is a film about Detroit. Part of me appreciates the attention given to my city, but then I wonder how much of this attention is just a chance for film makers to make their mark, and establish their film careers at the expense of Detroit. Strong From Detroit, by Jeremy Olstyn dealt with the failure of the city`s school system, and some students illegally going to schools outside the city. This documentary follows the usual script of shadowing an African-American student, or city resident as he tells everyone about life in the ghetto. I find Olstyn and his doc to be rather patronizing. Another documentary about Detroit is an Erin Curd doc entitled Gentlemen`s Club. Don`t let the title fool you, Gentlemen`s Club is a documentary about fifth grade boys at a Detroit Public School who belong to an after school program that has a major effect on the lives of the children in the program. The Gentlemen`s  Club is an inspiring documentary that ask questions of race and economic privilege. Angel Connell`s Beneath The Veneer Of A Murder was a disappointment, especially after reading the synopsis, and viewing the trailer; I was expecting something on the order of Hitchcock, but, oh well.

     The film that did deliever was Fractured Minds, by Frank Battiston. This was a disturbing film on the level of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Frank Battiston is a film maker I am not too familiar with, but after seeing Fractured Minds I will be looking forward to seeing more films from Frank Battiston. Other films I recommend finding from the Ferndale Film Festival are Phil Baumhadt`s Tree Of The Valkyrie, and Atroz, by Francisco A. Ivarez.

     My friends and I from the Royal Oak Over-40 Movie Group viewed the Jeff Nichols film Take Shelter. Throughout the film one is left wondering if Curtis ( played by Michael Shannon ) is psychic, or just plain nuts. Take Shelter is about a man who has apocalyptic visions of a destructive storm, and acts upon his fears by building a storm shelter to protect his family, but at great cost to him with the loss of money, his job, friends, and standing in his community. This movie moves at a slow pace, and no one can accuse Take Shelter of having the classic happy Hollywood ending. Take Shelter is not a film I would recommend to my friends. Take Shelter will not make my favorite films list, but J. Edgar will!

     Bravo to another Clint Eastwood film, and Di Caprio was masterful. I think it is safe to say most Americans familiar with J. Edgar Hoover have heard all the stories of him, and let`s face-it; it`s not flattering, and it shouldn`t be. Clint Eastwood give us historical context to understand the story, while Leonardo Di Caprio does justice to Hoover by portraying him as a man shaped by history. This is a film to see, and yes, it is making my list.

     Black Swan is one of those films I missed when it came-out, but thanks to The Association For Psychoanalytic Thought of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society, I was finally able to see some of the film. Films view with the APT are analyzed and discussed, with those in attendance only seeing parts of the film. The discussions are enlightening, and gives one a perspective that may not have been considered. Something I found interesting was the theme shared by Black Swan, and the film that did not make my list of favorites - Take Shelter. Both films share the theme of hallucinations.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Thank you, Himie Voxman

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Thank you, Himie Voxman: Whatever in life we do, we owe thanks to people we have never met. Our success as individuals rest on the shoulders of those who have c...

Thank you, Himie Voxman

     Whatever in life we do, we owe thanks to people we have never met. Our success as individuals rest on the shoulders of those who have come before us. As a saxophonist I say thanks to the late Himie Voxman. I have never met this man, and if I sat next to him on a bus I would not have had a clue who he was. So why am I writing a blog about a man who I could not recognize on a bus? because he was a great influence to many of us who play woodwind instruments; in my case saxophone.

     Himie Voxman was a clarinetist who believed in the possibilities of the saxophone, and carried out his believe by writing saxophone methods for the instrument. Himie Voxman is also known for being the teacher of world renowned concert saxophonist Eugene Rousseau. In 1939, Voxman  joined the teaching staff at the University of Iowa; retiring in 1980. In 1995, the University of Iowa School of Music honored him by renaming their music building the Voxman Music Building. Himie Voxman died on November 22, 2011, at the age of 99, at his retirement residence.

     When I was a music education major at Oakland University, my concert saxophone teacher Dr. James Dawson assigned the Voxman Saxophone Method as my study method. The Voxman method challenged me greatly with sequential studies in all major and minor keys, technique, and studies of expression and interpretation. Voxman has provided not just saxophonist, but all of us who play woodwind family insturments with music resources we can study, play, and enjoy.

     Although I ( and probably others who play woodwinds ) would not have known I was sitting next to Himie Voxman on that imaginary bus, I am thankful to Himie Voxman for gathering and publishing studies for me grow and develop as a  saxophonist. Himie Voxman is one of those people who I have never met, but is responsible for the music studies that make-it possible for me to board that bus to the concert hall where I am playing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Osborn Community Band

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Osborn Community Band: It has come to my attention, and the attention of the world that I live in one of the most dangerous zip codes in the United States - 4...

Osborn Community Band

     It has come to my attention, and the attention of the world that I live in one of the most dangerous zip codes in the United States - 48205. In case you don`t know 48205 is the Osborn Community of Detroit, MI. To say there are problems in my neighborhood is to state the obvious; look at the abandon houses, and sence of hopelessness. It is no secret Detroit has been hit hard during the economic downturn and sub-prime economic crisis. Crime and poverty is what we face daily, and it is easy to toss in the towel and say "that`s all she wrote", but many of us in the Osborn Community refuse to toss-in that towel, and understand easy is the mark of complacency and mediocrity. Community organizations such as MAN (Maintaining A Neighborhood), Detroit 300, and many other grass-roots organizations, non-profits, business, political leaders, and community activist work with the city and police to better our community. It is going to take the people in my neighborhood to improve things, and that is why I have organized the Osborn Community Band, in other words I want to serve where I live by providing music education to youth in the Osborn Community. The Osborn Community Band is my way of serving by promoting art, culture, and enlightenment to Osborn Community residence to help improve our city, and quality of life for those of us who live in the Osborn Community of Detroit.

     The Osborn Community Band is housed at Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts, where we meet every Friday at 3:00pm. Community students in fourth and fifth grade participate in the beginning band program. The Osborn Community Band is not only me, but others who make it possible. Thanks to the Skillman Foundation and Prevention Network, Mr. Ronnie Sims and his staff at Brenda Scott Academy, and the parents of the participating band students.

     This project was funded by a grant provided by a collaboration between Prevention Network and The Skillman Foundation as a part of their Good Neighborhoods Initiative. A goal of the Good Neighborhoods Program is to increase the ability of residents to address critical needs in their neighborhoods and communities on behalf of children.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Ever enjoyed a civet cup of coffee?

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Ever enjoyed a civet cup of coffee?: At $30 to $100 for a cup of civet coffee, this post-bop/avant-garde jazz saxophonist is sticking to his breakfast blend of dark-roast F...

Ever enjoyed a civet cup of coffee?

     At $30 to $100 for a cup of civet coffee, this post-bop/avant-garde jazz saxophonist is sticking to his breakfast blend of dark-roast Folgers. One of the world`s most expensive coffee, the civet coffee ( also known as Kopi Luwak ) is a low production coffee that can sell anywhere from $160 to $600 per pound.

     The civet coffee is made from the beans of coffee berries, which is eaten by a weasel called the Asian Palm Civet. These coffee berries pass through the weasel`s digestive tract, and produces proteolytic enzymes that seep into the beans. The beans pass through the weasel`s intestines, and are defecated, while maintaining the shape of the beans.

     Needless to say these beans are gathered, and thoroughly cleaned. After being cleaned the beans are sun dried, lightly roasted, and brewed. This process produces a coffee that is aromatic, and less bitter.

     Kopi Luwak is produced on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi in Indoesia. Other civet coffee producing countries are the Philippines, East Timor, and Vietnam.

     Civet coffee is a rare luxury item, and gourmet food product that is out of my reach. Unless I sell a great number of CD`s I`ll have to stick with my Folgers dark roast, or coffee from my friends at Mc Donald`s on Gratiot and 7 Mile in Detroit. By the way, if you want to help me purchase a $30 cup of civet coffee, you can purchase my CD - Meaning, Truth, and Understanding online at, but encourage you friend to buy my CD because that is one expensive cup of coffee.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Two for Ryan: My opinions on two films starring Ry...

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Two for Ryan: My opinions on two films starring Ry...: If you are a Ryan Gosling fan this is your year. During the past month or so, with the Royal Oak Over- 40 Movie Group I have had the pl...

Two for Ryan: My opinions on two films starring Ryan Gosling

     If you are a Ryan Gosling fan this is your year. During the past month or so, with the Royal Oak Over- 40 Movie Group I have had the pleasure of seeing two films starring Ryan Gosling; The Ides Of March, and Drive.

     George Clooney directs and acts in The Ides of March, but Ryan Goslin is in the starring role as a campaign press secretary to Clooney`s character running for president, and in the last days of an Ohio presidential primary that is over-come by a sex scandal that threatens Governor Mike Morris bid for presidency. Of course a sex scandal can derail someones chances for the White House, but is Governor Mike Morris the bad guy, or a victim of disloyalty?

     We are introduced to Gosling`s character (Stephen Meyers) at the beginning of this film as a campaign press secretary, and underling to Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Stephen Meyers is a young press secretary who is very smart, but alittle green to the nasty world of politics. As the film goes on he becomes introduced to Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei), and before long the two are rolling in the hay. During their fling Stephen discovers Ida`s relations with Governor Morris. As the film develops Governor Morris understandably denies knowing Ida after she commits suicide, but how righteous is Stephen? Paul Zara`s diatribe and firing of Stephen Meyers was a great narrative on Stephen Meyers lack of loyalty, and calls into question all the actions of Stephen Meyers.

     Clooney does a great job as director in blurring the lines between right and wrong. It would be simple to paint Governor Morris as a sex craze, power hungry villian, and Stephen Meyers as a victim of circumstance, but Clooney doesn`t do that; he shows us complex multi-dimentional characters who have purpose, and stand for what they believe. By the end of Ides of March Stephen Meyers goes for being the films protagonist to the antagonist.

     Although I would never invite Stephen Meyers to my home for dinner,  Ryan Gosling  was great in this film by creating a non-sympathetic character. I enjoyed this film because it was a story of honesty and ethics, and asks who are we to judge. Needless to say there was also great acting by Paul Giamatti as Tom Duffy.

     Does The Ides of March make my list of favorite films, I have to say yes. This film was well written and directed, and with a stellar cast it should be apart of your list.

     Drive on the other hand was entertainment, especially if you are a car buff. In Drive, Ryan Gosling plays - well I don`t know who he plays, but he is not a nice guy. Drive keeps the Gosling character a mystery, but we do know he is a part-time stunt car driver - "It`s only part-time" as he likes to say. When the Gosling character is not rolling-over Chevys, Dodges, and Fords, he is a full-time get-a-way driver for outlaws in L.A.

     This movie was fun, especially the car chases. One car chase scene was memorable to the classic car chase scene in Bullet. Great to see the fast cars, but this movie is NOT near making my list.    

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shopping for a saxophone for your child?

     While on Twitter the other day I came upon a post asking whether or not to purchase a saxophone from an unknown instrument maker. Of course my answer was no, because you do want to purchase an instrument from a name you can trust. So, what do you look for, and how do you purchase a saxophone?

     If your child is just starting-out in an instrumental program, and has no (or very little) experience you want to look for a student-line instrument. Saxophones can be, and are expensive! A student-line alto saxophone can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $1,000.00, and those are the student models. If your child is learning on tenor saxophone it`s going to cost more. So no, you do not want to go with an instrument from an unknown saxophone maker.

     Parents, you have some options on credible brand names both new and used. If looking for a used saxophone some trusted names are King 613 and Cleveland models, Bundy, and Vito. The best student-line saxophones are from "The Big 4". These are the best student-line saxophones, but also the most expensive. These saxophones can cost anywhere from $1,000 - $1,500. The Big 4 are:
1. Yamaha
2. Selmer (Paris)
3. Keilwerth
4. Yanagisawa
If you don`t want to spend $1000+ on one of The Big 4, some other saxophones worth looking at are Vito, Beuscher, Jupiter, and Selmer (USA).

     There are saxophones you want to say away from, or think twice before buying. Saxophones unknown by music professionals, e.g. saxophonist and music educators are instruments you probably want to avoid. Be cautious of saxophones at a price less than $500.00; cheep is not always good. Saxophones made in China should also be avoided.

     Many people purchase instruments from the newspapers, pawn shops, on-line, and exercise other options and choices. I recommend going to an established music store. Music stores make instruments available with rental programs, rent-to-own options, and purchasing plans. Another reason for dealing with an established music store is for the products and services they can offer. Music stores are a very valuable resource to music students, music educators, and parents.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League Novice Adult...

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League Novice Adult...: For 2011, this year marks the first year the Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League has hosted a Novice Adult Recital. Why a Novice Adul...

Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League Novice Adult Recital

     For 2011, this year marks the first year the Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League has hosted a Novice Adult Recital. Why a Novice Adult Recital, and not simply an Adult Recital? The MDML organized the Novice Adult Recital for those adults taking-up music lessons for recreation - recreational music making. The Novice Adult Recital creates an opportunity for adult recreational music learners to perform with others who are playing for the joy of making music, and not performing on stage with someone who is a doctorial canidate for music performance, or someone making a career out of music.

     Held at Evola Music in Shelby Township, MI, on Sunday, October 16, 2011, fine performances were given by all who participated. I want to give a special acknowledgement to Mark Brown, Esq. who studies alto saxophone with me. Mr. Brown is a wonderful student who is making fine progress, and his performance today reflects that progress. Mark Brown performed Robert Schumann`s Traumerei, arranged by Sigurd Rascher for alto saxophone. Mark was accompanied by Mr. Walter Pookrum on piano. After the two performed Traumerei, Mr. Brown played When Sunny Gets Blue as an unaccompanied saxophone solo. Both solos received much applause from the audience.

     After the Novice Adult Recital many in the audience approached Mark Brown complimenting his playing. One or two also commented that Mark should be performing in the Adult Recital; not the Novice Adult Recital.

     I am focusing my blog on Mark Brown, Esq. because he studies saxophone with me, but I do want to say bravo to all those who performed at the Novice Adult Recital. I truly enjoyed all of the performances, and it was wonderful having the chance to hear the works of American folk music, Faber, Burgmuller, Saint-Saen, and Debussy.

     See you Tuesday, Mr. Brown.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: My Film Review: Higher Ground

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: My Film Review: Higher Ground: If you are looking for mindless entertainment with a religious theme, you will not want to see Higher Ground. There is nothing simple a...

My Film Review: Higher Ground

     If you are looking for mindless entertainment with a religious theme, you will not want to see Higher Ground. There is nothing simple about this film; no black hats and whites hats, and no winner takes all. Higher Ground is a story told by Corinne ( Vera Farmiga ), and her struggles with belief and faith. Corinne never losses her faith, but she does question it. Corinne is an intelligent multi-dementional character who others view as being "luke-warm" with her belief and faith, everyone with the exception of Annika ( Dagmara Dominczyk ), and her mail carrier.

     Higher Ground does however treat many of the films other characters as one dementional; following the religious patriarchs, with Corinne`s husband Ethan ( Josha Leonard ) as a card carrying member of followers. During the film the wedge between Ethan and Corinne widens as Ethan gets stronger in his faith, while Corinne just refuses to drink the kool-ade.

     Higher Ground is not making my list of favorites, but this film is worth seeing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

African American Art and Culture: The art music of Charlie Parker

     Bebop started at Minton`s Playhouse by black musicians, and Charlie Parker was the spirit of the bebop movement. Known as the black jazz capital, Minton`s Playhouse in Harlem is where bebop began. The jazz scene was taking place at Minton`s Playhouse in Harlem, and on 52nd Street ( aka The Street ). Minton`s Playhouse was a laboratory for bebop, where great musicians like Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker would play. The Kings of Minton`s never played "ordinary music"; they played bebop to eliminate players who couldn`t play.

     Once bebop developed it began moving to other clubs on 52nd Street. Around 1945, black musicians were playing on 52nd Street for the money, and for media exposure at clubs such as the Three Deuces, Kelly`s Stable, and other clubs on 52nd Street. These clubs on 52nd Street were becoming more important to musicians than the clubs in Harlem.

     Charlie Parker was a virtuoso, and an important figure to other musicians who were looking to Charlie Parker for direction. With his strong, bright, and individual sound, Bird was also one of the great blues and ballad players. Charlie Parker composed  bebop masterpieces including Ko-Ko, Cherokee, My Old Flame, Billie`s Bounce, Embraceable You, Parker`s Mood, Lover Man, Yardbird Suite, and many others.

     Jazz is black music, and bebop was about change and evolution. Bebop was not about being safe and standing still. Bebop is one of the most enduring styles of music from the United States, and an American underground art and culture that was played after-hours, fast and aggressively, and aesthetically shocking. Bebop was self-defining black culture, and bebop lines were fractured with passing tones, and was difficult to count and play.

     As for Charlie Parker he was on a decline by 1954. According to Miles Davis, Charlie Parker had become fat, tired, not showing for performances, and playing badly. He was even banded from Birdland ( the legendary club named in his honor ) after an argument with the owners. Charlie Parker died March 12, 1955, but his music continues.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Who could ask for more... Keith Gamble performance...

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Who could ask for more... Keith Gamble performance...: It was a beautiful sunny day in September. The River-Walk way in Downtown Detroit looked pristine and peaceful. A testiment to a first ...

Who could ask for more... Keith Gamble performance for the Wayne County Public Library

     It was a beautiful sunny day in September. The River-Walk way in Downtown Detroit looked pristine and peaceful. A testiment to a first step in a city truly intent on making a comeback. This event was a celebration of the Wayne County Public Library. In attendance was a large group of visually impaired individuals and their caretakers. Individuals who understood and appreciated true jazz music. So enthusiatic and spirt filled was the group that others who just happened to be in the area stopped and stood and listened to the creative sounds.

     Never have I heard my husband and his group perform better. They played jazz standards and original tunes. During intermission during the two set performance, there was a Jazz interpretation of the "Flintstones Theme". Jazz, a wonderful audience, and a beautiful September Day; who could ask for more...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Too change, or not too change; that is the question: Saxophone ligatures.

     Hey clarinet and saxophone players, does your mouth piece and ligature make that much of a difference? Yes it does; what you choose as your set-up does make a difference in over-all sound and amplitude. Many of us (if not all of us) has started on a nickel or metal ligature. On my Selmer Mark VII tenor saxophone I play using a metal two screw inverted gold lacquared ligature that works just fine. We do have choices though, and exercising that choice may be a wise decision.

     What choices do we have? You can always stick with the nickel or metal two screw ligature, which is the standard ligature that comes with your clarinet or saxophone. Other choices include the Selmer single screw inverted metal ligature, the Harrison or "H" ligature made by  Rico, a fabric or leather ligature, or ligature  types from other ligature and mouth piece makers. You just have to do your homework when choosing.

     If a single reed woodwind player is having intonation and tone quality problems, a new ligature is not going to make a difference, but if intonation, quality and production is not an issue, a new ligature could assist you in producing the sound you are looking for. I have an eight grade saxophone student who has recently been promoted to Level III of the Music Teachers National Association/Metropolitan Detroit Musicians League standards. My student is developing into a fine player; he has a good sound, and plays well in-tune, but I am recommending my student move to a fabric ligature. A fabric ligature produces a subdued sound quality due to producing little or no vibration. My goal for this student is to produce a warmer quality of sound, and the fabric ligature should achieve this without having to go into a new mouth piece.

     Sam Sanders, who was an excellent saxophonist, and my jazz/improvisation teacher at Oakland University shared with me in a conversation or lesson, not to get hung-up in purchasing a drawer full of mouth pieces that you will never use (except for the first day you make the purchase). Mouth pieces can be vary expensive, and a waist if you have mouth pieces collecting dust in a drawer. When investing in a mouth piece (or mouth pieces) consider your options, and that option my be not purchasing a new mouth piece, but getting a new ligature.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Under the Tent and in the Woods: Rivard Plaza and Harper Woods Library performances.

     I love living in Detroit during Labor Day holiday, because it is a great opportunity to spend time with family, and attend to Detroit International Jazz Festival. I Had a chance to see some friends in performance at the festival, such trumpeter Rayse Biggs with his group, and other national and international artist such as Curtis Fuller, and a group from Japan called Virtical Engine. Although I was not fortunate enough to grace the stage of the 2011 Detroit International Jazz Festival, I do have two performances scheduled for September  I would like  you to attend. September 20, 2011, I will perform for seniors for a gathering hosted by the Wayne County Library, and in performance at the Harper Woods Library on the 28th of the month.

     Being honest I do not know if my performance under the tent is open to the public, or a private function for seniors sponsored by the Wayne County Public Library, but if you are interested in attending I recommend you call Maria McCarville, Directior of Libraries at (734)727-7310 for details and information. This is going to be a fun performance. Band members and I will an opportunity to fellowship with those in attendance, and enjoy the fine lunch provided by the Wayne County Public Library. After we eat lunch it will be time for us to play. At this time I have not made the set list for this performance as of 09/05/11, but I can tell you I am planning on our jazz quartet to perform mostly jazz standards. This event will begin at 12 noon, under the tent at the Rivard Plaza, on the Detroit River, in Downtown Detroit.

     Wednesday, September 28, 2011, at 6:30 I will be appearing in the Community Room of the Harper Woods Public Library, at 19601 Harper Avenue, in Harper Woods, MI. This program is called "A Night of Jazz With Keith Gamble", and will feature post-bop and avant-garde jazz performances, with me talking about the pieces being performed, and entertaining questions on my compositions. Performing with me on the 28th is Mike Evans on piano, Donnie Wilson on bass, and Michael Brown on drums. Our set list is ready for this performance, and we will perform mostly my original works. Audience will have an opportunity to hear three pieces from my 2010 CD recording - Meaning, Truth, and Understanding, three pieces from my 2006 recording with the performance poetry ensemble called Creative Tradition, from the CD - Do I Have To Live Like This?, an avant-garde jazz piece entitled Exalted One, and other piece to round-out our set.

     I hope to see you at one, if not both performances. I will have copies of my CDs - Meaning, Truth, and Understanding, and a few of the Creative Tradition recording - Do I Have To Live Like This?  While at the performances please sign my mailing list.  We`re going to have a lot of fun on the river and in the tent on the 20th, while the 28th promises to be an evening of high energy and artistic creation.      

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Come join us at the 44th Soul Day Celebration

     Committed to our community in Northwest Detroit, and our artistic, cultural, and intellectual awareness and growth as African-American people, Clarence Harris began Soul Day 44 years ago at the field of Northwestern H.S. Mr. Harris is at it again, as he has organized and prepared another year of community enlightenment with the 44th Annual Soul Day Celebration for 2012, at the Sam Bishop Playfield, at Grand River and Lawton. The theme for this years festival is "Always Protect What You Have, Just Add To It!".

     This years Soul Day festival will feature the scholarship of Akinjide Bonotchi Montgomery from Detroit, Dr. W. Richard Campbell, and Brother Otim Larib, both from Atlanta, GA. Musical highlights will be drummer Michael Brown & Even Exchange Band, and yours truly. Soul Day will have many other educational workshops, presentors, bands, and vocal artist.

     I will be performing under my name; Keith Gamble (although listed as Keith Gamble Quartet). We are scheduled to perform at 9:30pm, on Sunday, August 14, 2011. Joining me on stage at Soul Day will be pianist Mike Evans, Donnie Wilson on bass, and Michael Brown on drums. Both Mike Evans and Donnie Wilson appear on my CD recording - Meaning, Truth, and Understanding. From Meaning, Truth, and Understanding, Side Effects, Right Hemisphere, and Cycle of Life are on our set-list. If you are a fan of the performance poetry group Creative Tradition, you will hear music form the Creative Tradition repertoire on this set-list. It is going to be an exciting set of post-bop and avant garde jazz music.

     The 44th Annual Soul Day Celebration runs from Friday, August 12, through Sunday, August 14 from 9am to midnight. All activities are FREE to the public, and all ages are welcome. Say hello and thanks to Mr. Harris, and I look forward to seeing you at SOUL DAY.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spring Recital 2011

     What is Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons? Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons is the division of Keith Gamble Music that gives private music lessons. As the name infers, Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons is a specialist in woodwind instruments - clarinet, flute, and saxophone. Although I and Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons can and do give lessons on piano, percussion, and brass instruments, Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons focus is on woodwinds.

     One of my woodwind students is Mr. Oliver Newell. Oliver Newell is an adult student who takes lessons on flute and jazz studies. Oliver was a student of mine back in the 1990s when I was owner of K.G.Musical Services in Detroit. K.G.Musical Services had contracts with Martyrs Of Uganda Catholic School to teach band and general music. Oliver was a student in the band program at Martyrs playing flute in the beginning band. In addition to playing in the band program at Martyrs Of Uganda, Oliver became a private flute student of mine. With Olivers` participation in the band program at Martyrs Of Uganda Catholic School, and his private instructions with me, Oliver ascended to an upper intermediate level of study. Oliver Newell also worked part-time with K.G.Musical Services, and was also a member of the company sponsored band called the K.G.Crew. While in high school Oliver was also a member of the U of D Jesuit H.S. band and/or orchestra. Since graduating from U of D Jesuit H.S., Oliver Newell has graduated from College in California, is raising a family, running his business. and has picked-up his flute to study the art of jazz. Oliver Newell was Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons host for this years 2011 Spring Recital.

     This years June 5, 2011, Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons Spring Recital introduces students, families, and friends to pianist Hans Barbe; piano accompanist for this year`s recital. Hans and I have worked-out a barter arrangement where Hans will accompany my music students, while I will play some free of charge performances. I have performed a couple of non-paid performances at the Phoenix Cafe in Hazel Park, MI, where Hans is part-owner. Post Bop/Avant Garde Jazz saxophonist Keith Gamble will play other performances at the Pheonix Cafe, while Hans Barbe will continue to provide background accompaniment to soloist at future performances and recitals.

     For four Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons students and families our 2011spring recital was very special. Amir Rhine-Sims (drums), Lakyra Flowers (piano), Erickson Van Cleave (piano), and Jayden Newell (alto saxophone) participated in their first recital. Fine performances by all four. Other performances followed our beginning students. These were a combination of solo and duet performances, i.e., Mr. Mark Brown (alto saxophone) playing John Coltrane`s Naima, and the Fire & Ice Saxophone Duet - consisting of alto saxophonist Christopher, and Landon Van Cleave playing works of Keith Snell, Mozart, and Prokofiev. Some of the recitals` most exciting performance came from clarinetist Kenseye Fort, with Hans Barbe accompanying on piano in performance on a Raymond Loucheur piece entitled "A Bird Cage". After Kenseye performed A Bird Cage, Kenseye was joined by his friend clarinetist Ray Cahshen as a clarinet duet. Kenseye and Ray gave us lively performances on Mike Mower`s "The Kipper", and a second piece I am unable to name at this time. Recital host Oliver Newell closed the recital performance with J.S. Bach`s Chorale From Cantata 1, and Wayne Shorter`s Nefertiti.

     Thanks to Christ The King Catholic Church for granting the use of their facility. I also want to thank my students, families, and friends who came out to  support our young musicians, and adult instrumentalist. Thanks to our accompanist Hans Barbe, and our recital host Mr. Oliver Newell.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Enjoyed my dark roast

     I did it! yes, after 12 visits I finally got my free large French roast (dark roast) coffee. Those of you who know me - knows how I drink my coffee; plain - no cream or sugar. See, I have a Biggby Coffee coffee card, and after 12 visits you get a free cup of coffee. Of course I purchase something, I mean that blueberry muffin was calling my name.

     As a coffee snob I just had to share this with you, and I hope some day you and my friends can sit for a cup of coffee and discuss music, film, and other exciting topics. By the way, if you ever get a chance to catch one of my gigs, and feel ever-so incline to buy me a drink, get me a coffee with Irish cream.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Documentary - To Educate A Girl

     As an educator I know the value of education, and it`s not just simply to get a job, but how to think. Don`t get me wrong, I am not diminishing the importance of seeking employment; getting a job is something to be celebrated, especially in times of economic and political uncertainty. I am saying education allows you the opportunity to live your dreams by creating your dreams, and giving you the intellectual and practical tools you need to bring those dreams to reality. But just how accessible is education to everybody? I would say here in the United States education is very accessible to American citizens. Sure, there are debates and arguments regarding the quality education in the US, but in general, education is accessible to Americans. How accessible is education to others around the World, especially for girls?

     To Educate A Girl seeks to answer this question - what does it take to educate a girl? This documentary from producers/directors Frederick Rendina and Oren Rudavsky is in response to the United Nations global initiative to provide girls with equal access to education by 2015. To Educate A Girl had its debut at the October 10, 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival, with a LINK TV broadcast premiere on June 24, 2011, and was rebroadcast on June 28. This is an important documentary to see, and you can view it now by going to

     As a father of a beautiful daughter who means the world to me, I want my daughter to have equal access to education, and other opportunities open and available to all. Let me know what you think; post a comment to this blog.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Does Christianity keep African Americans believing in fairy tales?

     I found an on-line article in the Examiner - San Francisco, at entitled Christianity Keeps African Americans Believing In Fairy Tales (San Francisco, Oct. 14, 2010). I urge you to go to the link and see what Deborrah Cooper has to say.

     I have notice many times people speak of the Church in generalizations, and this seems to be what Cooper is doing in her article. Cooper ask the question whether or not the Black Church has outlived it usefulness to Black Americans? Does this question deserve a response? The Church represents salvation in the name of Jesus Christ - our Lord and Savior, and is based upon our Faith in the Holy Trinity; Faith, not fairy tales. So, how does the Church outlive its usefulness? it doesn`t! not for believers.

     Ms. Cooper goes on to pin-point  problems in the African American community by talking about statistics  saying "statistically, Black people are the most religious ethnic group in the nation, yet have the highest rate of incarceration, poverty, infant mortality, single parent homes, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS". Look, we cannot deny these problems exist in our communities, but our problems also stem from an unique history that to this day still negatively effects us economically, educationally, psychologocally, and sociologically. If anything, those problems sited gives more relevance to the importance of Christianity developing Faith, and serving the needs of believers and non-believers.

     Church is not a hindrance to Black achievement; it celebrates it. The Black Church has provided a templet for many of us to learn how to function in business, politics, and other areas of human endeavors. Cooper talks about limitations placed on our minds, achievements, and relationships, thanks to Christianity, but it seems to me having Faith increases those areas of our lives.

     At the end of the day each person is responsible for what they believe or do not believe. I believe the 66 books of the Bible are the sacred words of God given to us as an account of history, poems, songs, and stories that many of us live by, because we do believe, and we choose to believe. For non-believers who choose to view Christianity as simply fairy tales, you have the right to do so, especially in a free society, but for those of us who believe, we call it Faith. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Clarinet and saxophone players; what kind of reed are you using, and why?

     Someone once told me a long time ago that reeds are like underware; very personal. I don`t think reeds are so personal we can`t talk about our favorite brand(s), but I do think reeds are personal from the standpoint of us as clarinetist and saxophonist finding our artistic voice. I have to say on tenor saxophone  the Rico Royal - #3 is my personal favorite.

     I enjoy the Rico Royal because it is for my money the most consistent, enjoyable, reliable, and trustworthy reeds I have played. The Rico Royal works well in classical, jazz, and vernacular music styles, as I said, the Rico Royal is consistent!

     Rico Royals are reeds that are products of Rico Reeds, which is a division of D`Addario & Company, Inc. The Rico Royal is one of seven classical tenor saxophone reeds produced by Rico. Characterist of the Rico Royal  is its traditional French filed cut for increased response, especially in the low register of the saxophone.

     That`s my choice, but what is yours? Post your answer in the comment section of this blog, and please, join my blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Arguments on When a Jazz Fest is, or is not a Jazz Fest

     The couple of days ago I came across an interesting on-line article in All About Jazz. I suggest you read the article by John Kelman, by going to and see what he has to say. I also suggest you read the post and comments on Kelman`s article, which also led me to post three comments where I share my opinions.

     So, what do I believe? I believe jazz festivals should remain jazz festivals, just as a blue grass music festival, rap, or classical piano festival should remain true to its audience and supporters. In John Kelman`s article entitled - When is a Jazz Festival (Not) a Jazz Festival? points to non-jazz artist participating in jazz festivals around the World, which goes against my belief, and understanding as to what a jazz festival is. Of course festival organizers deal with the complex issues around funding jazz festivals, with both private and public resources; money. Should festival organizers by-in to corporate dictates regarding jazz festivals by allowing festivals to resemble pop concerts, or should organizers maintain an artistic integrity of a 100% jazz festival.

     I am interested to read what you think. please leave a comment this blog.


Monday, May 16, 2011

My Thoughts of Meek`s Cutoff

     Meek`s Cutoff takes place during the early days of the westward migration on the Oregon Trail around 1845. Meek`s Cutoff is a story of three wagon teams of families making the journey West, but hiring an "experienced" mountain man - Stephen Meek. As it turns out, Meeks` claim of being an experience mountain man who knows of a short cut to get these three families West puts them in danger of hunger, thirst, and an erosion of faith. As time goes on they cross paths with a Native American, who they capture. The story is interesting because it places these three families in a situation of who to trust; an unreliable guide, or a man these emigrants deem as their natural enemy.

     I enjoyed the rugged and untamed scenery of the West, which provided the tension and practical problems these families had to face. Wordrob and props seem to be very authentic, especially the period musket. Also well done was the acting of the main chacters; Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, and Rod Rondeaux as The Cayuse.

    Unfortunately I found Meek`s Cutoff to be very slow paced. Also of concern of mine was the ending. Meeks`s Cutoff cannot be accused of exploiting the basic Hollywood ending, but the ending just kind-of left us hanging. I am sure that was Director Kelly Reichardts` intent, but it just did not work for me. As for the film overall, Meek`s Cutoff is not making my list of favorite films.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Urban Theatre

     About a week ago I received a newsletter from Shawn P Entertainment (May/June Newsletter), and I was truly captured by Lanette M. White`s post entitled  L-BOOGIE SPEAKS...The State of Urban Theatre. Go to to see the post that I agree with.

     L-BOOGIE SPEAKS points to the quality of urban theatrical productions by saying there is a downward spiral of productions regarding scripts, and acting. It does seem as though the majority of African-American productions are centered around a "Big Mama"; the Black Church, and a "Boys in the Hood" theme, with clownery, or loud and out of control behavior. Don`t get me wrong, I think these productions should be staged, but as L-BOOGIE SPEAKS ask; can we be more creative with our presentation? Do we have other stories to tell other than big mama, the church, and the hood? I think we do. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spend Some Time With Continuum Jazz Ensemble

     Just finish rehearsing with Continuum Jazz Ensemble a few hours ago, and I tell you; you gotta come check us out. Continuum Jazz Ensemble features the artistic performances of leader, and drummer Dave Cheney, Ian Bigsby on guitar, Miles Butterfield on bass, and myself - Keith Gamble on tenor saxophone and flute. Continuum Jazz Ensemble is scheduled to play the following places:

Baker`s Keyboard Lounge, in Detroit - May 5, 2011, from 7-11:30pm
Baker`s Keyboard Lounge, in Detroit - May 19, 2011, from 7-11:30pm
Scarab Club, in Detroit - June 18, 2011, from 7-11:00pm
SterlingFest, in Sterling Heights, MI - July 28, 2011, from 10am-1:00pm

If you come out, you`re going to hear some exciting music from a wonderful band. Continuum Jazz Ensemble is a must see.

     Be on the look-out for our upcoming CD; it should be out by our June 18 Scarab Club performance. If you have purchase my CD - Meaning, Truth, and Understanding (available online at, and Street Corner Music at 26020 Greenfield, Oak Park, MI ) you will hear Continuum Jazz Ensembles` interpretation of my composition Side Effects. We`re looking forward to seeing you at our performances.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shopping For A Student Instrument

     Do you have a child in band, strings, or orchestra? if you do your child may be playing a school assigned instrument, or large instrument everyone would expect a school to invest in, i.e., a tuba, concert bass drum, or some other kind of large instrument, otherwise parents have to purchase or rent instruments themselves for their children. But parents, if you have to purchase(or rent) an instrument do you know what your are looking for? Unless you have played in band, strings, or orchestra chances are good you do not know what you are looking for when it comes to musical instruments. My goal in this blog is to assist parents or guardians in making that purchase. Yes, of course I want to invite you to my spring recital, and recruit new woodwind music student(I have to make a living too!), but I also want to educate parents and guardians about purchasing a student instrument for their child(ren).

     When purchasing an instrument I recommend going to an establish dealer of musical instruments; go to the music store. Check your yellow pages, or go on-line for a music store near you, but go to a music store! Why, because your local music store employees knowledgeable people who are musicians themselves, and can be your resource in answering questions you may have regarding your instrument. When you purchase your instrument from a music store they can honor any implied warranty, and act on your behave for instrument maker guarantees; can a pawn shop do that? What about eBay, or anyother on-line seller? again, I recommend your local music store.

     Another resource to consider is your music teacher. Ask your school band director, or independent music teacher to assist you in purchasing an instrument. Your childs` music education professional can offer advise, or come with you when you make your purchase; just ask, and you may be pleasently surprised.

     Why go through the trouble of going to a music store, and talking to the music teacher? You do not have to purchase your instrument from a music dealer, or work with a music teacher; you have other alternatives, but I recommend this course of action to protect your money and investment. If you are not careful you can loss money by purchasing a shotty instrument that cannot be serviced, or simply put - you can be scammed! Go to , and click-on to "Why You Should Not Buy A Cheap Musical Instrument Online" for more information.

     I hope you find this blog useful, and  if you have any questions, or if I can be of any service to you when you embark on you journey of purchasing a musical instrument for your young musician please let me know. If you are in Detroit, MI on June 5, 2011, you are invited to my Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons Spring Recital. Go to my website for more information in the calendar section  at . If you live in the Detroit area and are looking for a music teacher who teaches clarinet, flute, and saxophone, please contact me at for more information.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Opinion of Folgers Classic Roast

      I was reading an article/review of Kenneth Davids from Coffee Review : : The World`s Leading Coffee Buying Guide, and he made comments on instant coffees. Davids review of instant coffee in general was not flattering, but had kind words for Nescafe' Taster`s Choice, and Starbucks VIA - both Colombia. I am a Starbucks fan, so I am happy that Davids confirmed my coffee tasting belief in Starbucks. Unfortunately Davids was not so kind on the Folgers Classic Roast instant. Being honest, I cannot speak-on Folgers instant coffee (or any instant coffee; I don`t enjoy instant), but I can speak on Folgers Classic Roast in the aroma seal canister.

     My day begins with a dark Folgers Classic Roast. It says dark, but the Classic Roast is actually a medium roast coffee; richer than the breakfast coffee, the Classic Roast has a bold, and robust taste that is perfect for breakfast. I would like to see what Kenneth Davids has to say about Folgers Classic Roast in an aroma seal canister. I would also like to hear from you regarding your favorite coffee or coffee experience. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Film Panel Discussion - Up In the Air

     A friend of mine from the Detroit Indie Film Group recommended group members attend the panel discussion of "Up In the Air". This April 3, 2011 panel discussion was hosted by the Association For Psychoanalytic Thought of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society called Reel Deal. Held at the Bloomfield Twp. Library this panel discussion dealt with issues of unemployment, organizations dealing with lay-offs, and the emotional impact of employees whose job is to lay-off those being laid-off.

     Up In the Air stars George Clooney who plays an always traveling organization man who visits company offices, and fires employees who`ve been laid-off.

     If you have not seen this 2009 Jason Reitman film, I recommend to rent it today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Think Bill Cosby Is Right!

     Although I am almost two years behind, I feel a need to say something about the August 27, 2009 article I read on-line at Post Bourgie, by guest contributor Jeremy R. Levine at Social Science Lite. The article entitled Racial Inequality and the Rhetoric of Responsiblilty addresses Brown University economist Glenn Loury`s "Culture, Causation and Confusion: Why Bill Cosby is Wasting  His Time" with the rhetoric of responsibllity. I have a problem with Mr. Lourys` assertion.

     It has been about two years since I last heard Bill Cosby on public access TV in Detroit give his diatribe addressed to the Black community. Bill Cosby received a lot of flack about "airing our dirty laundry" from the African American community, but he is right! Glenn Loury speaks of Black communal responsibility by disagreeing with the likes of Bill Cosby, and President Obama. "This rhetoric of `black communal responsibility` suggest that the solutions to racial inequality are cultural, and the illdefined `black community` should therefore bear the burden of `fixing` its collective deficiencies." Yes, we in the Black community are going to have to fix our deficiencies by paying close attention to our culture. We need to be very concerned about the embracement of an anti-intellectualism, heathenism, and vulgarity that is accepted in our popular culture, and diminishes our soul, humanity, and our greater African American culture and heritage. Loury goes on by referring to us as an "illdefined `black community`". Illdefined? I think we are Welldefined by our shared history in America since 1619.

     Loury tells us the "black community", black culture", and "black leaders" are political constructs. I think he is right, but I disagree that those terms are void of intellectual definitions. The act of slavery in which other nations agreed upon were external forces that defined  "black". Most importantly we define "black" because we live our lives. Chicago sociologist Mario Small has argued that "there are multiple black communities and multiple black cultures". Is anyone supprise with that? African American culture is not monolithic, but we belong to the same struggles.

     Glenn Loury goes on to point-out the black community cannot be counted upon to solve problems without instutional means. I just disagree with Loury. One of the biggest institutions we have is the Black Church. We also have those important voices to sound the alarm, and inform; voices such as Al Sharpton, and Bill Cosby.

     You can see this article yourself on Racial Inequality and the Rhetoric of Responsibility by going to .

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

     March 23, 2011 was a sad day for film fans because of the loss of Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth Taylor was born in England in 1932, and became known as an American actress who lived a glamorous lifestyle, and was known for her beauty. Elizabeth Taylor is also known for her eight marriages, but I chose to remember Liz Taylor for her social activism in Aids awareness, research, and cure. Taylor was also an activist for Jewish causes.

     Elizabeth Taylor was a two time  academy award winner in BUtterfield 8 in 1960, and in 1966 for the film Who`s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I have to say there are three Elizabeth Taylor films that I enjoy from her filmography:
1. Giant (1956), with Rock Hudson, and James Dean.
2. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), with Paul Newman, and Burl Ives; written by Tennessee Williams.
3. Who`s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966), with Richard Burton, and George Segal.

Of the three my favorite is Who`s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? This film has powerful acting between Taylor and Richard Burton, with George Segal and Sandy Dennis contributing greatly to the films` tension. Taylor and Burton portray an aging alcoholic couple with anger and pain directed against each other. Burton and Taylor play George and Martha respectively, and they give us a couple that are a true definition of codependency.

     I have a question for you. What is your favorite Elizabeth Taylor film, and why? After you answer that question, I have a trivia question for you, and that question is - when talking under the large tree in Who`s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, what kind of drink does George pour into Nick`s (George Segal) glass?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding Info on American Band Instrument Tenor Saxophone

     Responding to an on-line friend by-way of Twitter I stumbled upon a fellow saxophonist asking about his Indiana Band Instrument tenor saxophone. He gave the all important serial number, and then I went to work. My friend of the tenor saxophone you have a vintage instrument that was made in 1919 by the Indiana Band Instrument Company. You will never find Indiana Band Instrument Company tenor saxophone - #17255 looking under Indiana Band Instrument, but you will find it by searching Martin Band Instruments.

     Without going into the complete history of Martin Band Instruments, and generally speaking, Martin took controlling interest in Indiana Band Instrument Company in 1928. Indiana Band Instrument Company operated separately until 1942. Indiana Band Instrument Company produced Martin stencils. Stencils are saxophones built by a saxophone maker for another company. That purchasing company places their stencil and engraving on the saxophone.

     It appears you have an original Indiana Band Instrument Company tenor saxophone with the serial number #17255 that was made before Indiana Band Instrument Company was bought-out by Martin. Sounds like you were given a valuable gift.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Can You Learn To Play Jazz From A Book?

     I was reading a thread from the discussion forum of the North American Saxophone Alliance, which I am a proud member, and I came across a thread promoting a jazz method book. I will not mention the name of the method, or author, but I am sure the method is an excellent resource. As I was reading through the review of the book and  testimonials I began thinking about my jazz education, and the jazz education of my peers. Our jazz education came from playing with jazz musicians, while studying our instruments and music with proven studies.
     My first experience with jazz comes from my family. I remember as a child listening to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Yusef Lateef, and other jazz and blues artist, while also listening to Motown, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, the Stylistics, and so many others. When I started playing saxophone in high school I learn to play jazz by being in the Northwestern H.S. stage band; New Detroit Jazz Development Workshop under the direction of Marcus Belgraves; the RAPA House jam sessions led by my music teacher Mr. Ernest Rodgers, and having the opportunity to play with other musicians and young student musicians such as Kenny Garrett . After graduating from Northwestern H.S. I attended Oakland University as a music education major. Oakland`s jazz program was led by Marvin "Doc" Holiday who directed the jazz program with arrangements from Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, and other jazz masters. Doc Holiday also brought-on practicing jazz artist from Detroit to provide us with applied lessons and improvisation. My teacher was Sam Sanders. Sam taught orally, and you would have to write-out the studies yourself.

     Learning jazz comes from a life style; you have to live it. Jazz musicians love jazz because we are apart of a community that supports each other, and passes down the art to the young from an oral African tradition. Of course we use music and arrangements, but older musicians transmit jazz by sharing their knowledge of the art at jam session; correcting and giving advise to younger musicians, and sharing with the young their stories of jazz musicians, clubs, the history of jazz, and their lives as jazz artist.

     Can you learn to play jazz from a book? yes, but to learn JAZZ is a way of life, and a life one has to commit too, especially if you want to play as an authentic jazz artist.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons 2011 Spring Recital

Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons 2011 Spring Recital is scheduled for June 5, 2011. Host Oliver Newell; adult student of flute and jazz/improvisation studies has scheduled our recital for Sunday, June 5, 2011, at 3:00pm, at Christ The King Catholic Chruch, in Detroit. Christ The King Catholic Chruch is located at 20800 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48219.

I am very excited about this recital. We have two students who did not perform for the 2010 Christmas Recital, and a new piano student who has joined the Keith Gamble Music community that will be performing. Clarinetist Kenseye Fort is planning an exciting duet performance, and we will have another performance from our saxophone duet. Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons is instituting a new teaching strategy to better enhance music instructions, and I will present my new teaching strategy to students and families at this recital.

I am looking forward to seeing all my students in performance, and having the opportunity to meet everyone who attends. See you at our June 5 recital.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

North American Saxophone Alliance Region 5 Conference

     On Friday and Saturday of February 25 and 26, I had the opportunity of attending my second saxophone conference. Held at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, the NASA conference presented some of the most interesting works to be found in the concert saxophone repertoire. If I have to make a general statement I would say some of the music and performances I liked, and some I did not.

     I bill myself as a post-bop/avant-garde jazz saxophonist, which means I enjoy avant-garde music. I discovered I enjoy avant-garde jazz, but not avant-garde concert music. I found many of the 20th and 21st century pieces to be artistic repetitions; sounding the same. Christian Lauba`s composition entitled HARD, and performed by soprano and tenor saxophonist Geoffrey Deibel was in my opinion an assault to my sensibilities, especially when Geoffrey began kicking-over music stands on-stage. There were many performances and presentations I greatly enjoyed, such as Thomas Liley`s presentation on The Saxophone in the Orchestra, and The Cleveland Duo & James Umble.

     The Region 5 Conference ended with a final recital in the auditorium, and if I had to describe that recital, I would say - WOW! NASA - Region 5 organizers saved the best for last. This final show could truly be enjoyed by everyone in the audience; not just serious saxophonist, but the lay-person who does not play an instrument. Outstanding performances from the Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble, under the direction of Frederick Hemke; tenor saxophonist James Bunte, and Thomas Haines on guitar, playing the works of Thomas Haines; Farrell Vernon; Otis Murphy playing soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, being accompanied by his wife Haruko Murphy on piano performing the works of Roberto Molinelli; Debra Richtmeyer; Chicago Saxophone Quarter, and closing the conference with Sousa`s Stars and Stripes Forever, performed by the Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bolivar Blues, by Thelonious Monk

     I love my friends on facebook because I get the chance to come across some great stuff, like the 1963 youtube of Thelonious Monk`s 1963 Japanese performance of Bolivar Blues. Charlie Rouse firmly establishes the piece with his Texas tenor tone, and relax interpretation of the melody. Rouses` solo is blusey and well crafted. If you get a chance, also check-out drummer Frankie Dunlops` solo. Dunlop plays a drum solo that is melodic, as he takes his time and develops a meaningful solo that speaks.

     You can find this gem on youtube, and it is time well spent.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My thoughts on What Ever Happen to Baby Jane?

     What Ever Happen to Baby Jane? is the disturbing 1962 film directed by Robert Aldrich that borrows from the Sunset Blvd and Psycho play-book. This film spot-lights two of the greats; Betty Davis, and Joan Crawford. Both Davis and Crawford play the Hudson sisters.

      Aldrich sets-up wonderful narration throughout the film to establish character motivation. Baby Jane at the beginning of the film is exploited, and spoiled by her father, who cashes in on his favorite little girl by parading her on stage, and selling Baby Jane dolls in the image of Baby Jane. As time goes on, Baby Jane strives for stardom in Hollywood, but she is basically rejected while her sister Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) becomes the recognized film star. At the height of her career we see Blanche Hudson purposefully run down by her car; crippling Blanche for life, and setting-up the cruelty Baby Jane dishes out.

     Betty Davis brings-it on at every turn as it is hard to watch Baby Jane torture Blanche, and murder Elvira Stitt ( played by Maidie Norman).

     The narration happens throughout What Ever Happen to Baby Jane? and sets us up for the big discover and supprise at the end of the film. The supprise end is eye-opening, but the real excitement is the tension between Baby Jane and Blanche. I for one appreciate the complexity in which Crawford plays the narcissistic, but reasonable Blanche.

     This film is dark, creepy, and disturbing. I enjoyed seeing this film for the first time from start to finish. What Ever Happen to Baby Jane? goes into this saxophonist film scrap book.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Continuum at the Cadieux

     Come check-out Continuum Jazz Ensemble at the Cadieux Cafe` in Detroit on the 8th of February. Continuum Jazz Ensemble is an exciting band that consist of Ian Bigsby on guitar, Miles Butterfield - bass, myself - Keith Gamble on tenor saxophone and flute, and the leader of Continuum Jazz Ensemble - Dave Cheney on drums. Show time begins at 9PM.

Monday, January 31, 2011

End of the Line For Creative Tradition

     That phrase, "end of the line" is used quite often in the Billy Wilder film Double Indemnity as the dramatic triangle goes bad. This is not the case with the performance poetry/avant-garde jazz ensemble Creative Tradition, but as of the week of January 23, 2011, Creative Tradition is no longer a performing ensemble. Due to the low volumn of performances, it was decided by urban folk poet Wardell Montgomery Jr., and I to disband Creative Tradition.

     Wardell and I will go our seperate ways  as artist, but we are continuing our friendship, and love for our respective arts. I will be calling upon Wardell to join me in various avant-garde jazz projects where he will provide spoken word in selected compositions, and I am hopeful that Wardell will call upon me from time to time.

     Those of you who are Creative Tradition fans, or supporters of performance poetry, you can still pruchase Creative Tradition`s CD - Do I Have To Live Like This. You can purchase your CD from Wardell Montgomery, or myself by emailing me at You can also go to Street Corner Music at 26020 Greenfield, in Oak Park, MI. I do urge you to get a CD, because once they`re gone that`s it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meaning, Truth, and Understanding

     People ask me why Meaning, Truth, and Understanding for a CD title? I view these words as being important to our metaphysical and cognitive existence. Meaning is one`s purpose or intention. As an artist I believe the role of an artist is to create, preserve, and promote the art that an artist participates. I am passionate about post-bop jazz, and enjoy playing avant-garde jazz and free jazz. Based upon the definition of Meaning, my artistic purpose or intention is to expand the music`s repertoire, and provide continued performances of post-bop, and avant-garde jazz well into the 21st century.

     Three pieces from Meaning, Truth, and Understanding are great examples of  "Meaning". If Meaning is purpose or intent, Black Men Used As Guinea Pigs, and Side Effects are intended to be outright post-bop pieces. Both pieces are apart of a hard driving acoustic jazz tradition. Black Men Used As Guinea Pigs has modal material that creates tension, and goes into bop chordal progressions, while Side Effects is post-bop with a hard-bop spirit. Cycle Of Life is an avant-garde jazz piece in performance. Yes, Cycle Of Life is post-bop, but my solo on the recording is avant-garde with  a hard blowing approach, and multiphonics produced by the tenor saxophone.

     If one reads my bio (, it should be clear I perform in a number of genres. I enjoy all the genres I play and teach: Classical (Western Art Music), Gospel, Pop/Top 40s cover, Big Band, Saxophone Ensemble, Concert Band/Wind Symphony, Reggae, Motown, and Funk, but my true passion is Jazz. Specifically post-bop and avant-garde jazz. Is Meaning, Truth, and Understanding a genuine post-bop, or avant-garde jazz recording? No. Clearly Meaning, Truth, and Understanding has post-bop compositions such as Black Men Used As Guinea Pigs, and Side Effects, and an avant-garde jazz piece with Cycle Of Life, but what about February Spring? I will leave that for the listener to decide.

     Although Meaning, Truth, and Understanding is not 100% post-bop, or avant-garde jazz, Meaning, Truth, and Understanding does remain loyal to the jazz genre. Right Hemisphere deviates from the acoustic jazz tradition with the use of an electric bass and keyboard, but conforms to a jazz standard. As for February Spring, and Good and Evil, I will leave it up to you; the listener to afix a proper labeling.

     Wynton Marsalis said it best - "jazz does not come to you; you have to go too it". I think that describe Meaning, Truth, and Understanding. You, the listener has to bring forth a musical intelligence. Based upon your prior knowledge of art, culture, jazz, and music, what is your perception of this recording? What insight can you share with the rest of us? That`s "Understanding".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meaning, Truth, and Understanding CD Release Party

     My December 19, 2010 CD Release Party for Meaning, Truth, and Understanding at the International Institute in Detroit was a great success. If you like to read more about the Meaning, Truth, and Understanding release party, go to the Jazz Society of Greater Detroit website. Look for my entry entitled "What A Party!" You can read my write-up on the party, and go to the photo link to view pictures. More CD Release Party photos  can be found on my website at on the calender link. Click photo on the December 19 date to view pictures.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2010 Keith Gamble - Woodwind Music Lessons Christmas Recital: Highlights

     I enjoy recitals because it creates an opportunity for my students to perform, while demonstrating their musical growth and progress. Such as the case at my 2010 Christmas Recital at the International Institute in Detroit on December 19. Thanks to all my students who participated.

     There are performances from the recital that deserve special mention. Alto saxophone student Landon Van Cleave had  wonderful  performances on Nicholas Chedeville`s Three Renaissance Pieces; performing all three pieces with great confidence. Landon followed the Three Renaissance Pieces with Handel`s Gavott. Landon would appear later in the recital performing an alto saxophone duet with his cousin Christopher. This was their second performance as a duet, with their first performance as a group being in the Metropolitan Detroit Musicans League Ensemble Festival in October, also at the International Institute. Christopher and Landon performed Keith Snell`s Ten Easy Duets For Saxophone, No. 9, and The Carman`s Whistle, by William Byrd with great balance and ensemble. Returning flute and jazz studies student Oliver Newell put-on a concert himself performing  my piece called Pecuniary Blues, and Wayne Shorter`s Footprints. Oliver was accompanied by Mark Croft on keyboad, and Ronnie Overton on bass. Another fine performance was that of clarinetist, and Wayne State University Music Major Kenseye Fort. Kenseye performed two beautiful and exciting pieces unaccompanied; Rene Challan`s Flirtation, and Arabesques, by Paul Jeanjean.

     I want to say a special thanks to accompanist Walter Pookrum, Mark Croft, and basses Ronnie Overton. Thanks also to Chef Darryl Spear for providing us with  fine, and tasty refresments. Thanks to my wife Patricia, and daughter Victoria for helping to make this recital a success.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CD for Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Fans

     If you enjoy post-bop and avant-garde jazz, you need to check-out my new CD; Meaning, Truth, and Understanding. Meaning, Truth, and Understanding contains six of my pieces that I have composed. I`m saxophonist Keith Gamble from Detroit, MI, and if you choose to follow this blog I will give you more insight on who I am as time goes-on.

     You can download Meaning, Truth, and Understanding on bandcamp, at, or go to my website at to download. While at my website check me out; you can send an email.