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Join us for the final ESG of 2018 – we got five of them in this year! Many thanks to Del and Dave from the Academy of Scoring Arts, and to the staff at Vitello’s, and special thanks to the entire board of directors of the ASA for underwriting this series of master classes. Details below, see you there!

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8TH, 2018 – 10am – 12:30pm


Hone your harmonic superpowers while hanging with your cool LA colleagues and ingesting large quantities of caffeine!

On Saturday the 8th we’ll start off by listening to and giving feedback on demo recordings and scores that were sent in to the ASA. Then I want to spend some time talking about chord substitutions and linear jazz harmony, with a particular focus on jazz piano voicing techniques and keyboard harmony.  I’ll have examples from the masters going back to the 1920’s.


The first half will have been a fitting preparation for the second half of the class, as I will then introduce one of my favorite musicians, L.A. keyboardist, fellow caffeine lover, and overall cool guy Jeff Babko. Jeff will talk about his multi-faceted career as a live and studio performer, and give us some insights into how he approaches his art in today’s musical environment. This is one not to miss. So lock and load people, let’s get to it!

About Jeff Babko:

Pianist/keyboardist Jeff Babko is a native of Southern California, and has remained on the west coast throughout his career. Babko constantly balances many musical and professional hats, as an in-demand recording musician and touring keyboardist.

After graduating from the University of Miami’s distinguished Frost School Of Music, Babko began working with international superstar Julio Iglesias on a series of worldwide tours. He also appeared in Iglesias’ “Tango” longform video.

After leaving Iglesias, Babko began regularly touring Asia and Europe super-drummer Simon Phillips. Soon after, he joined guitarist Robben Ford’s band, and later extensively toured and recorded with Larry Carlton. With Carlton, Babko performed for the King and royal family of Thailand in Bangkok’s royal palace. Listeners can enjoy Babko’s recorded work with Ford and Carlton on their joint effort, Live In Tokyo, as well as on some of their individual recordings (see “other people’s rekkids” section). Babko also backed Carlton with Japanese B’z guitar superstar Tak Matsumoto on their Grammy award winning recording.

Other tours included Europe with the L.A. supergroup TOTO in 2000 (including the “Live In Sofia” television special), and also with Grammy award winner Shelby Lynne.

Television work began with Martin Short’s syndicated talk show in 1999/2000, and later on the Wayne Brady daytime show. For the past 15+ years, most significantly, Babko has been the musical arranger, a composer, and house band member on ABC TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. He’s backed up countless rock, pop and jazz artists on the show, and has produced much of the music for its comedy segments (including co-writing “I’m F**king Ben Affleck”).

Always keeping one foot dipped in comedy territory, Babko has been the touring musical director and accompanist for Martin Short since 2002, and also performs with Mr. Short & Steve Martin, also joined by the Grammy award winning bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers. Look for their Netlfix special in 2018!

In 2010, Babko recorded (“100 Miles From Memphis”) and toured with Sheryl Crow. The “100 Miles” band, dubbed “The Thieves”, recorded a live set from the Pantages Theatre, which has been a televised mainstay since its release. Another ongoing touring and recording situation has been with James Taylor, and Babko can be heard on Taylor’s “Covers” record, including its single, “It’s Growing”. Babko joined Taylor on the 2017 stadium tour with Bonnie Raitt, performing at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, among other legendary ballparks.

Other recent recording highlights include Jason Mraz’ “Love Is A Four Letter Word” and Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”, Nathan East’s 2 solo albums, as well as Smokey Robinson’s “Smokey & Friends” record of duets, produced by Randy Jackson for Verve Records. You also have heard Babko on recordings from Alanis Morrisette, Maná, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Jennifer Nettles, The Madden Brothers, and others.

Babko has four solo albums out under his own name, including 2012’s critically acclaimed “Crux”for Tonequake Records, featuring Mark Isham, Tim Lefebvre and Matt Chamberlain. His 2007 release “Mondo Trio” w/ Jeff Coffin and Vinnie Colaiuta is considered a classic “drum fusion” record. The collective supergroup “Band Of Other Brothers” with Will Lee, Dave Matthews Band’s Jeff Coffin, Nir Felder and Steely Dan’s Keith Carlock was a critical favorite and the band headlined the Iridium in NYC in 2017.

Babko can be seen on Steve Martin & Martin Short’s Netflix special, released in May 2018. He also runs his own studio, TudorTones, with his wife, studio violinist Songa Lee. Also, Jeff hosted a podcast from TudorTones featuring fellow keyboard players called “The Caffeinated Keyboardist.” (http://caffeinatedkeyboardist.podomatic.com).

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“Writing outside the Box” – ASMAC Master Class with Scott Healy – Sept 23rd 2017 – 11am-2pm

Join ASMAC for an exciting Master Class with Grammy nominated composer SCOTT HEALY! “Writing Outside the Box Techniques for Expanding Jazz Composition” Saturday, September 23rd 2017 – 11am – 2pm The Evergreen Stage – 4403 West Magnolia Blvd Burbank, CA 91505 $25 Members & Students / $40 Non-Members The master class on September 23rd will explore some of the ways a composer can extend the harmonic, rhythmic, orchestrational and emotional language of large ensemble jazz writing. Topics will include linear harmony, plastic meter, “off the grid” writing, controlled and notated improvisation, spatial and box notation, layered counterpoint, and techniques borrowed…

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The Return of the E.S.G.

…as opposed to MSG, MDA, MMA or ESL…

Announcing the THIRD meeting of the newly-reformed Ellington Study Group LA, now officially underwritten (thank you very much!) by the Academy of Scoring Arts.

The first two last fall were very well-attended;  we rebooted a bunch of material from past (pre 2015) classes, added some stuff, and got into it even deeper…Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”, Gil Evans’ “Blues for Pablo” and “St. Louis Blues”… with more to come, including works by Bob Brookmeyer, George Russell, and of course my main man, Sun Ra.

This class is for pro’s: film composers, legit composers, jazz composers, jazz and classical instrumentalists, rockers, or any interested party with a bit of a background in theory and harmony. While some of these folks (mainly the composers) don’t do “music community” involvement very well, when they get together it’s pretty cool. As it turns out, lots of people know lots about writing, everyone has great ears and a love of music, and I end up learning just as much as the attendees.

More info, including materials from past classes is available at ellingtonstudygroup.com.
Join the E.S.G mailing list:

Here’s the agenda for the third meeting on Friday, December 18th, from 10 am to noon at Vitello’s in Studio City.

We’ll visit “Concerto for Cootie”, and revisit “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” by Ellington, glean some more scoring and comp techniques from a time when the only rule was there are no rules. We’ll move quickly to Gil Evans’ Miles Ahead, and continue our discussion of  “Blues or Pablo”, which will feature a detailed analysis of voicing, composition and orchestration techniques. This piece is a primer in Gil’s techniques–and there are a few choice passages where he moves the music forward through orchestration – this adds a third dimension to the music.

I also want to touch on a few pieces which we’ll listen to without the score…something from “The Individualism of Gil Evans” (by Gil Evans), or perhaps a record I just rediscovered, an early small big band session by Bob Brookmeyer. Or both. Or maybe something from George Russell. Or Sun Ra.

I’m expecting a good turnout like the last two sessions. There will be handouts as well as copies of analog scores to look at, in addition to the projection. See you there! Scott

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“Live at Kilbourn Hall” Release

Live at Kilbourn Hall featuring Scott Healy with the Eastman Chamber Jazz Orchestra is scheduled for a mid-September release. Recorded on March 20th, 2014, at Eastman School of Music, and featuring a handpicked student chamber jazz ensemble, Live at Kilbourn Hall contains some brand new and previously unrecorded compositions and arrangements, performed live, in one take, onstage in a world-class recital hall. More info will follow, please join the mailing list for more info and updates on the pre-release and release…or visit Hudson City Records.

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Keyboard Magazine “Hudson City Suite” Review by Jon Regen

Triple Threat Jazz Composer review-Hudson City Suite

Scott Healy: Triple Threat Jazz Composer / Arranger / Keyboardist …Healy reveals himself to be a composer of serious sonic merit. Keyboardist, composer and arranger Scott Healy surprises with this seductive new release. Best known for his blues-tinged keyboard work in Conan O’Brien’s Basic Cable Band, here Healy reveals himself to be a composer of serious sonic merit. The album blends Healy’s unique brand of boisterous band grooves and horn-laden harmonies, while simultaneously saluting familiar forbears such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Gil Evans. Check out Healy’s “Summit Avenue Conversation” for an example of this triple threat in action….

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Again with the Linear Harmony? Too dry….

Linear Harmony #5: Block and Layered Counterpoint This is a new blog post at professorscosco – it’s dry as a bone but you composers will get the point. If you want an enjoyable read and fun content go read the Huffington Post. Click for the original article. I’m revising a piece for my ensemble, perhaps for a recording in the near or far future. I’ve used “Take it Inside” in many posts because it’s a good example of linear harmony. It’s also free and I have the score. During the process of taking this tune apart I’ve seen many missed…

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