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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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Beth Hart on “Conan”

It’s always great to play real Hammond B3 – no “clonewheels” allowed… Yesterday I had the opportunity to play with vocalist and pianist Beth Hart on Conan.I played one of Lon Cohen’s Hammond B3’s, a 1959 with a percussion mod. I used my own Leslie 122, first modified by Al Goff and then worked on in LA by keyboard guru Frank Rich. I first played Hammond when I was about 6 yrs old at my grandma’s house. She had a M3, and she taught me the drawbars and the legato organ technique. She also taught me how to turn it…

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