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Americana the Beautiful

Notable LA Americana sightings in the last few days: Steve Martin and Edie Brikell blew everyone away with their tune on Conan last week. Steve drove the tune with a cool repeating lick on banjo–the rest of his touring band was there, plus a string quartet, and plus myself on piano and my Conan band mate Michael Merritt on bass. This Steve and Edie show were also headlining at the Hollywood Bowl later in the week. Then on Friday I went to the Bowl to hear Lyle Lovett and his Large Band…holy crap what a great band–four horns, lots of geetars,…

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Digging Upon “The Contemporary Arranger”

Sebesky Contemporary Arranger

I know I’m a tad obsessive about jazz arranging. Why else would I sit around in my free time and read textbooks. I picked one up the other day, Don Sebesky’s “The Contemporary Arranger”. I had it in school; my edition from the 80’s is still out “on loan” to someone, I have no idea to whom…so I bought the latest edition from the 1990’s…it’s shocking how the music jumps off the page. The first page has a little excerpt and talks about economy in orchestration, and the little example blows me away–worth the price of the whole volume. Who…

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An Overseas Review: Scott Healy – Glenn Alexander Quartet “Northern Light”

"Northern Light" by the Scott Healy - Glenn Alexander Quartet

It’s cool to have “Northern Light” by the Scott Healy – Glenn Alexander Quartet reviewed in the Continent. From what I can glean from my knowledge of Italian with some help from Google translate, it’s a positive review of what my longtime friend and musical partner, Glenn Alexander, believe is a fine recording. The review nails the “time and place” vibe of the late 80’s NYC sound that was so striking when we “re-discovered” this unreleased record last year. Come to think of it, the “time and place” thing is important on my ensemble record too…hmmm… I don’t agree with…

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Yesterday I made another blog post in my jazz composition blog, professorscosco.com. It’s another in a series about linear harmony, a really dry subject, but one that I believe is ignored in schools. Many writers I’ve heard recently are obsessed with chords and scales, and counterpoint is just in service of the chord progression. I like it when the lines are the chords, or maybe you can’t tell what the chords are. I’m finding that although it’s a little dull using my own music for demonstration (due to copyright restrictions and hubris), I’m compiling a body of examples that will…

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  I have a jazz composition blog, ProfessorScoSco, and of course this one, which you are reading now. So I publish a post in the other one, now I’m compelled to tell the world about it here. I am definitely spending too much time on shameless self-promo, but I actually enjoy writing about music theory, probably because I love the sound of my own voice. Perhaps it’s therapeutic too – but I do recognize that most of the theory crap I learned in school is useless, and wasn’t applied to anything concrete. I have a series going on Linear Harmony,…

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I “rediscovered” Dave Holland’s music while dusting…

Dave Holland "Seeds of Time" Cover

Rediscovering a piece of music, or an artist’s body of work is a double-edged sword. At first comes the thrill of the (re)discovery, but soon thereafter the pangs of remorse and regret as I count the years since I last heard said oevre… Such is my experience today as I inauspiciously rediscovered the music of Dave Holland, for I was just thumbing through a dusty stack of vinyl wondering why I would ever let that stuff take up my valuable real estate. Seeds of Time was my favorite album for a while in the late 80’s; it’s a quintet date…

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