Friday, September 28, 2018

Practicing

     How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice is required for anyone who plays music. No doubt practicing music daily can be monotonous, but is  necessary to achieve musical goals, dreams, and aspirations. Effective practice is deliberate, reflective, and exploratory. There are no tricks to practicing, but there are techniques musicians employ for skill development. In this blog I will shed light on some issues musicians should consider for practicing.

     Create an atmosphere for practicing. You want to be comfortable practicing, but not practicing in a "Lazy Boy" rocking chair. Ideally you want a chair that is ergonomic to you and your posture. Also, you want a practice environment that is quiet, so you can think and focus.

     Musicians should work to develop fine motor skills such as fingering exercises. A quality method book recommended by a music teacher is a good start. Practice techniques should develop skills in aural awareness, visual, and processing. Using a metronome is a valuable tool, but students should not become depended upon using a metronome, but only for timing issues and concerns. Tap your foot or toe to keep time while playing music.

     There are 15 major scales, but in a 12 tone system three scales/keys are enharmonic. Learning all 15 major scales fluently will take some years of study, but no time better than the present to get started. Learn a scale. Once you have mastery over that scale make it part of your daily warm-up. Let your method book or teacher be your guide.

     As you develop skills in music your exercises and solo pieces become more complicated. Slowly work through while learning your solo. Once you are comfortable playing through your music, begin placing expressive qualities such as articulation markings, dynamics, and other expressive markings into your solo. Next, begin speeding-up your tempo.

     A thorough knowledge of scales and chords is essential for improvisation practice. Improvisation is a highly developed skill that requires many prerequisite studies before trying. I recommend discussing with your teacher, or partnering with a jazz musician to learn improvisation.

     Get a music teacher. A music teacher can provide you with years of knowledge and expertise in learning your instrument, and music in general. Daily practice is important, but knowing what to practice is essential. A music teacher can put you on an organized and systematic plan for learning your instrument and music.

   

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Detroit`s Music Scene and Historical Overview Befo...

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Detroit`s Music Scene and Historical Overview Befo...:      Detroit`s music scene is a broad generalized description of a music community that has created so much. It is best to narrow a discussi...

Detroit`s Music Scene and Historical Overview Before Motown

     Detroit`s music scene is a broad generalized description of a music community that has created so much. It is best to narrow a discussion of Detroit`s music scene as I will do in this blog.

     During summer one can hear live music at various festivals sponsored by corporations, neighborhood and community groups, churches, and other groups sponsoring activities where music is front and center. Detroit has venues to see music and especially jazz performed. Cliff Bell`s is a jazz and cabaret club established in 1935 by a prohibition era gangster. Today you can hear jazz performed at Cliff Bell`s by some of Detroit`s finest musicians from experimental quartets to blues. Baker`s Keyboard Lounge is Detroit`s oldest jazz club. Opening its doors in 1933 as a sandwich shop, Baker`s grew into a lounge that booked local pianist. Eventually, Baker`s would hire local and international jazz musicians beyond a pianist.

     Detroit has been a major contributor to hard-bop and post-bop jazz, not because there is something in the water, but due to its history that goes back to 1898 with the publishing company of Jerome Remick & Company. Society bands from 1917 - 1922 performed ragtime, light classics, and popular songs. Society bands provided training for musicians going into big bands. Training musicians during the society band period from 1917 - 1922 led to stylistic developments for jazz from 1923 - 1929. During this period Jean Goldkette`s Victor Recording Orchestra and Mc Kinney`s Cotton Pickers were highly documented for their roles in developing big band jazz.

     Detroit`s auto industry drew thousands of blacks from Alabama, Mississippi, and other southern states to migrate north. This migration north also included musicians. Due to racial discrimination blacks could only live in certain parts of Detroit. One area was Detroit`s lower east side neighborhood called Black Bottom. Black Bottom was named for its rich and dark soil. With an increase of Black Bottom`s population Hastings Street and St. Antoine became Detroit`s cultural hub. Cultural impact on Black Bottom`s Paradise Valley ranks with Harlem and New Orleans for music. Paradise Valley`s Graystone Ballroom is referred to as Detroit`s cradle of jazz opening its doors in 1922. During its hey day of big band jazz the Graystone Ballroom hosted battle of the bands that would draw crowds of up to 7,000 people.

     Currently, you can hear jazz at Detroit`s Jazz Festival, New Center Park, Motor City Wine, Grand Circus Park, and other places throughout the city and region.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Relevancy Of Music - Social Messagers

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Relevancy Of Music - Social Messagers:      Young people under age 18 spend more than six hours per day listening to music. Music can shape our values, actions, and perspective on...

Relevancy Of Music - Social Messagers

     Young people under age 18 spend more than six hours per day listening to music. Music can shape our values, actions, and perspective on world views. Music does not replace books, or any other way of learning and forming opinions, however, music provides an alternative for understanding social issues. Music appeals to our emotions, and has power to expand and open our minds to new thoughts, and ideas.

     Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon - February 21, 1933 - April 21, 2003) was a singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights movement activist who was versed in a wide range of musical styles such as classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Eunice Kathleen Waymon changed her name to Nina Simone to make a living in music, and disguise herself from her family members who described her music as "the devil`s music". In 1964, Nina Simone changed from American Colpix to a new record distributor - Dutch Philips. This marked a significant change in content for Nina Simone`s recordings, making it possible for Nina Simone to record "Mississippi Goddam"- a political song in response to the June 12, 1963 murder of Medgar Evers, and the September 15, 1963 Church bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Alabama. "Mississippi Goddam" was only one of many protest songs written by Nina Simone.

     There are three areas of Bob Marley`s life that defines him: 1) his experience with racism as a mixed-race man, 2) growing-up in Kingston`s Trenchtown slum, and 3) his Rastafari beliefs. Bob Marley remains an influential figure for using music to spread a Rastafari message. Bob Marley`s music brought listeners from around the world to embrace Rastafari, which currently has an estimated one million followers around the world that embrace Rasta philosophy.
     For more information on Bob Marley check the following resources:
* "Bob Marley: The Untold Story" - Chris Salewicz (2009)
* "Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley" - Timothy White (1983)
* "Marley" - directed by Kevin McDonald (2012)
* "Bob Marley: Freedom Road" - directed by Sonia Anderson (2007)

     Gil Scott Heron was a singer, novelist, musician, lyricist, poet, and political activist who created the phrase "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Gil Scott Heron inspired generations of fans in
soul and hip-hop. Lauryn Hill`s "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was inspired from the film "The Education of Sonny Carson", and the novel "The Mis-Education of the Negro", by Carter G. Woodson.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Introducing Morayo Vessel

     Success in music is achieved by keeping busy. Nigerian born vocalist and guitarist Morayo Vessel is doing just that. Morayo Vessel has lived most of her life in the Houston, TX area of the United States.

     Morayo Vessel has worked with various Houston, New York, and international artist, and advertising companies. Morayo Vessel has been involved in the music community before 2013 in Katy, TX, in the Houston area. Morayo Vessel has recorded consistently since 2015, starting with her R&B/Soul recording "Adupe".

     "Said & Done" was a self produced recording project that predates "Adupe". It appears Morayo Vessel`s Go Fund Me campaign was a success, and "Said & Done" was released on January 22,2017. Morayo Vessel`s latest project is a collaboration with artist/producer Johnny Drille called "Happy". Happy is a feel good love song written by Morayo Vessel, and was released April 20, 2018 by Showgear Records. Comments posted on Facebook is consistent - beautiful song/music is used to describe "Happy".

     Currently, Morayo Vessel resides in New York City, NY. I wish Morayo Vessel great success and a sustained career in music. Please go to iTunes to purchase music from Morayo Vessel.

   

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: The Black Arts Movement

Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: The Black Arts Movement:      One of my greatest professional experiences was my performances with poet Ron Allen. We performed poetry and music with social and poli...

The Black Arts Movement

     One of my greatest professional experiences was my performances with poet Ron Allen. We performed poetry and music with social and political meaning. My experience working with Ron Allen was in the early 1980`s. Ron Allen`s performance poetry was part of a Black Arts Movement that was essentially over in 1975, but continued into the 1980`s.

     The Black Arts Movement was a group of politically motivated artist in poetry, art, drama, dance, and music during the Black Power Movement. Poet Imamu Amiri Baraka was recognized as a leading figure in this movement. After Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, Everett LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) became interested in black nationalism, and founded Black Arts Repertory Theater. The Black Arts Movement began in 1965 when Everett LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka opened Black Arts Repertory Theater in Harlem.

     Amiri Baraka was a Cultural Nationalist. Cultural Nationalist represented poets, novelist, visual artist, and actors to represent black history and culture. Revolutionary Nationalist were represented by the Black Panther Party. Both Cultural Nationalist and Revolutionary Nationalist were supporters of the Black Power Movement. In music there was collaboration between Cultural Nationalist and black musicians in jazz. Cultural Nationalist saw jazz as a black art form, and viewed jazz as more political than soul, gospel, and rhythm and blues. Also, black aesthetic was present in improvisational spontaneity of jazz.

     Music in African American communities is based on spiritual merit, not solely on musical ability. Baraka stated jazz has a divine and other worldly purpose that translates into human experience of being inherently political. Black music is intrinsically connected to social circumstances. The blues is a collective consciousness and spirit that is an undercurrent of Black music, and speaks to experiences of Black people.

     The Black Arts Movement ended in the 1970`s when Amiri Baraka became a Marxist. Black Arts Movement does not exist today, but its power as a movement can be herd today in current day rap and hip hop music.