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Module 58

LESSON 1: The Maj7b5 Chord Echo Game – Part 1 of 2

In this video lesson, I introduce you to the maj7b5 chord structure in the form of an echo game. This is one of my favorite chord structures. It has a fresh, clean sound because of the intervals created by the flatted fifth.

I first became aware of the structure when listening to Joe Henderson, but I’ve also heard many jazz pianists use it to create melodies and left-hand chord voicings. This chord structure is a musical breath of fresh air for your ear, which is used to hearing only major or minor thirds in arpeggios.

You might be tempted to write these chords out, but I recommend that you learn this by ear to really internalize this new sound on a deep level.

LESSON 2: The Maj7b5 Chord Echo Game – Part 2 of 2

In this video lesson, I take a concert Cmaj7b5 chord structure and show you how to place it over multiple harmonic settings.

I explain how to use the maj7b5 structure as upper extensions when practicing your chords on the saxophone. Be sure to check out the “Dr. Jeckyll / Mr. Hyde” analogy with the chord at the 5:30 mark in the video.

LESSON 3: The Maj7b5 Chord – Piano Perspective

In this video lesson, I work with the maj7b5 chord at the piano to help you hear the structure clearly in terms of piano voicings over six different chords.

I explore the intervals used in the structure and also explain the piano voicings commonly used with this chord structure.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, C and Eb instruments.

LESSON 4: Trading Choruses and Fours on Satin Doll with Greg

When I grew up in Chicago, I learned so much by sitting in at clubs and trading choruses and fours with the more seasoned players in town. I would try and pick up on the older player’s “vibe” and sometimes continue his idea. It was like we were having a musical conversation.

I wanted to share some of that old-school approach with you in this video lesson. I’m accompanied by world-class pianist Judy Roberts. We play Satin Doll and you can trade choruses and 4’s with me. This is a really fun one! Don’t look at any chords. Use your ear. Watch me and listen and trade with me when it’s your turn. Try to really stay in the moment with me and Judy as we play this classic tune.

LESSON 5: Lessons from the Bandstand – John Young

In this video lesson, I share a story about working with the legendary Chicago pianist, John Young. This is a valuable real-world lesson about listening and interacting with the players on the bandstand.

approx 32 min

Module 54

LESSON 1: The Pivot

In this video lesson, I use Hip Lick #1 to demonstrate an essential device for creating many variations from a very small amount of musical material.

This device is commonly known as “The Pivot.” The pivot involves the use of octave displacement applied to one or more notes in a phrase. I call this concept “high mileage,” because you get so much more from each musical idea when you apply the pivot.

Sometimes the pivot is used to simply modify a phrase in order to make it fit within the range of an instrument. Other times, the pivot is used simply to the benefit of musical variety with the same group of notes in a phrase. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Neighboring Diatonic Seventh Chord/Scale System (Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4)

In this series of four video lessons, I share a new system that I have developed for the creation of scales. The system uses two neighboring diatonic seventh chords to create any mode of any scale.

In the first three videos, I demonstrate the system using the vibraphone, for both the visual presentation of the instrument, as well as the fact that I can let the notes ring into each other, providing a combined sound of all notes from both chords.

In part 4, I demonstrate the system on tenor saxophone.
This is a completely different approach to scale construction, and it’s fantastic for ear training, as it gives your ear an overview of the sound of the scale with the chord arpeggios.

In addition, I break down the system to groupings of four notes, six notes, and eight notes, which provides not only a graduated system for your ear to absorb the sounds but also gives you incredible fluency of technique.

Part 1: Overview and explanation of the system.
Part 2: How to practice with the system to create the major scale.
Part 3: Chord combination formulas for all modes of the major scale system.
Part 4: Demonstration of the system on tenor saxophone.

Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments. Also includes PDF with chord formulas for both major and melodic minor modes.

LESSON 3: Continuous Tone – Keeping the Air Moving

In this video lesson, I share a strategy that has helped so many aspiring students struggling with playing their chords in a smooth way. Many students tend to stop blowing whenever they are unsure of the next note in a chord to play. When working with one of my skype students, this approach immediately made him sound smoother and more expressive.

approx 35 min

Module 52

LESSON 1: Finding the Money Note (b13) on a Diminished Seventh Chord

In this video lesson, I explore what I call a “money note” over a diminished seventh chord. I call it this because I consider it to be a high harmonic value note.

I have always loved the sound that the major composers utilize in their great melodies. Jobim, Porter, Jerome Kern, Johnny Green…they all have this one note choice in common when it comes to their melodic choice over a diminished chord.

This video lesson is given from the piano to provide you with the full harmonic context of the sound. Includes an echo game working with the sound.

LESSON 2: Using Maj7#5 Chord Structures Over Minor ii v i Progressions

n this video lesson, I share my system for applying the Maj7#5 chord structure over a ii mi7b5 / V+7+9 / i mi(maj7) progression.

This approach uses sounds that highlight the extensions of each chord, resulting in a very rich harmonic flavor. Since the chord structures are all the same (maj7#5) and applied to three different chord types, there’s also a beautiful symmetry to the sound.

I demonstrate the concept using the four directions. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 3: Articulation – Playing with a Fast Airstream

In this video lesson, I discuss one of the common reasons that many aspiring players have difficulty with high-speed articulation. They’re inadvertently slowing down their airstream whenever they move their tongue.

This causes the reed to vibrate at a slower speed and the tonguing feels slow and labored. I demonstrate several phrases with and without articulation and include suggestions for ways that you can practice with these concepts to improve your articulation with a fast airstream.

LESSON 4: Listening Recommendation: Gerry Mulligan – What is There to Say

In this video, I discuss one of my all-time favorite albums, Gerry Mulligan’s “What is There to Say.” This album is great on so many levels…the writing and arranging is superb. Incredible counterpoint and such creative use of the textures in the group.

The solos have a feeling of crackling energy and life to them. It almost feels like a live recording, rather than a studio date. In addition, the engineering is outstanding…it’s like you’re in the room with the group. I also discuss certain aspects of the time feel and how to achieve a relaxed effect at a fast tempo.

approx 30 min

Module 51

LESSON 1: Randomized Minor 3rds Echo Game with the Vibes

In this video lesson, we’ll play the echo game with minor 3rds in the four directions, but also, they’re randomized.

This was one of my main ear-training strategies in my early 20s as I was developing my teaching method. It’s challenging but fun, and it will yield great results.

Why the vibes? The vibes provide a clear, bell-like tone that rings for a long time. I have found this to be excellent for helping players internalize the sounds of the pitches….The notes will still be ringing while you try to match the pitch.

This will allow your ear to compare the ringing pitch of the vibes with the sounds coming out of your horn, and you’ll learn to adjust to match the vibes very quickly.

LESSON 2: Cannonball Adderley: ii mi7- V7 – Melodic Genius Phrase

In this video lesson, I explore the opening phrase of Cannonball Adderley’s classic solo on Autumn Leaves. It’s a iimi7 – V7 phrase – Ami7 to D7 in alto key.

This is a masterpiece of melodic efficiency and beauty. Follow the video by ear and play along with me to learn this essential phrase of classic jazz vocabulary from Cannonball.

Includes PDF Practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 3: Escaping the Conscious Mind of Theory

In this video, I share my thoughts about escaping the conscious mind of theory and playing at the speed of sound. Many aspiring players seem to only play as fast as they can mentally calculate the correct notes for a scale, chord, or phrase.

I’ve even encountered pro players who have come to me for help, telling me that they just can’t stop thinking about theory as they play. I used to play that way, but it was very limiting and musically frustrating.

However, I discovered that if I played very fast, my conscious mind couldn’t keep up and didn’t even try. This freed me up to focus on the sound I was hearing, as opposed to the theory I had been thinking.

Once I felt what it was like to play by ear, with my fingers responding to the sound, it felt like I had an aural awareness of the chords as I played (at any tempo), without having to think mechanically through the spellings and theory.

This is not to say that you don’t need to know music theory. You do need to know your scales and chord spellings but think about this in terms of spoken language…You’re not spelling out words in your mind and diagramming sentences while you have a fast conversation with a close friend.

The music should be the same way…you need to break free of those chord and scale spellings and play by sound (ear). Since this involves high-speed playing, I also discuss some of my concepts of hand and finger relaxation so that you can learn to play at high speeds without injuring your hands, wrists, and arms.

LESSON 4: Major 6/9 Chord Voicing with 4ths

I’ve had many questions from students about major 6/9 chords, versus C maj7 chords. In this video, I discuss the differences between the two chords, as well as the similarities.

This chord voicing utilizing 1-3-6-9 is a piano voicing that I like. It has a fresh, open sound when played on the saxophone, and it’s a nice contrast to hearing the more common chord voicings in thirds used by most saxophonists. Includes two echo games — one with maj7 and major 6/9 chords for your ear to compare the two sounds, followed by an echo game with just the new voicing.

approx 43 min

Module 47

LESSON 1: Idiomatic Front F Lick

During a Skype lesson, one of my students was having trouble using his front F key on the saxophone. He couldn’t get comfortable with it. I created this lick to show him how I often access the key.

I refer to this as an “idiomatic” lick because it lays so well on the horn. This is not the only way to use the key, but it’s a good introduction to get comfortable with the unique hand position required for front F.

Includes PDF practice notes.

LESSON 2: Major Seventh Chord Inversions

In this video lesson, I play the major seventh chords in all inversions with what I call the “top margin” of my “C” on tenor, with all notes descending: C B G E (Cmaj7), C Ab G Eb (Abmaj7), C A F E (Fmaj7), and C Ab F Db (Dbmaj7).

Playing the inversions in this manner really highlights the interval structures of the chords and improves the accuracy of the ear. This is a great practice approach for ear training and improved control of your major seventh chords.

Advanced level. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 3: Getz Double Note Articulation Effect

In this video lesson, I demonstrate a specialized type of articulation that I call the “Getz Double Note Articulation Effect.”

This is a device that I first heard on an album called “Stan Getz Plays.” It gives the illusion of double-tonguing, but it’s single tonguing with very strategically placed slurs.

Learning to use this effect has really improved my control and speed for articulation. This is a great tool to have in your “special effects” bag of tricks to add something unique to your solos.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 4: The Blues Scale – Part 1 of 2

In this video lesson, I explore the blues scale. This part one video teaches scale construction and application of the blues scale over a dominant and a minor chord.

I share my thoughts on using the scale over the full range of the horn and demonstrate some popular techniques used by the masters with this scale, including sequencing and repetition.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 5: The Blues Scale – Part 2 of 2

This video lesson continues where part one ended, exploring options for adding extra chromatic notes to the scale.

Includes many examples in which I play some of my favorite phrases using the scale with the extra notes.

I also share my thoughts on the overuse of this scale by beginning players and explain why I look at this scale as a sort of musical spice, used to enhance the flavor of a chord progression.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

approx 44 min

Module 46

LESSON 1: Introduction to Major Seventh Chord Inversions

In this video lesson, I share my technique for hearing all inversions of a major seventh chord.

I explain why this unique approach helps the ear to hear the differences between the intervallic structures of root position, first inversion, second inversion and third inversions of the major seventh chord.

Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Major Seventh Chord Inversions Echo Game

In this video lesson, I play the major seventh chords in all inversions with what I call the “bottom margin” of my “C” on tenor: C-E-G-B (Cmaj7), C Eb G Ab (Abmaj7), C E F A (Fmaj7), and C Db F Ab (Dbmaj7), followed by the remaining eleven notes in the cycle acting as the “bottom margin notes.”

Playing the inversions in this manner really highlights the interval structure and improves the accuracy of the ear.

This is a great practice approach for ear training and improved control of your major seventh chords. Advanced level.

LESSON 3: Hip Lick #73

In this video lesson, I explore Hip Lick #73 and demonstrate how I adapt the lick to change it from a Bossa Nova style lick into a Swing style lick, with extra notes and less syncopation.

Hip Lick #73 is based on a popular chord progression known as “Parallel Major to Minor.” This means that the chord changes from Cmaj7 to Cmi7. Many of the old standard songs, including Green Dolphin Street, I’ll Remember April, How High The Moon, I’m Glad there Is You, etc., use this chord progression.

The video concludes with and ECHO GAME of the lick in all twelve keys, played in the cycle. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments. Intermediate Level.

LESSON 4: Echo Game with Random Chord Types

I’ve had many member requests for a video in which I play the “big five” chords in the cycle, but randomize the chord types instead of just playing them in a preset order.

In this video lesson, the first half is designed for intermediate players and I reveal each chord type after I leave space for you to echo the chord arpeggio that I have played. The second part of the video is slightly more challenging.

I randomize the chords again through the cycle, but this time I don’t reveal the type played. The final part of this echo game is for more advanced players, with the randomized chords descending from the seventh.

This is an excellent way to improve your ear and your ability to focus on the unique sound of the “big five” chord types: maj7, dominant 7, minor 7, half-diminished and diminished chords. Intermediate & Advanced level.

approx 30 min

Module 45

LESSON 1: Tools of the Composer – Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned”

In this video lesson, I share my interpretation of a very powerful editing device used by Jerome Kern on the bridge of his famous standard, “I’m Old Fashioned.”

Kern takes something that would have been a very ordinary scale two-note pattern in thirds and transforms it into a memorable melody by editing out one of the notes in the pattern. T

his lesson explores this editing technique and shows you how to apply the concept in your own playing. Includes PDF practice notes for C, Bb and Eb instruments.

LESSON 2: Tools of the Composer – Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba”

In this video lesson, I share my interpretation of Jobim’s use of common tones in the melody over the first four measures of his hit song, “One Note Samba.”

Jobim uses what I call “dual citizen notes” (common tones) to bring out four different flavors from the same repeated note. He achieves this effect by maintaining a repeated pitch in the melody while the chords move downward in half-steps.

I explore this sound and share my approach to transfer this very cool sound to the saxophone. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 3: Maj7#5 Chords w/Echo Game

In this video lesson, I share my strategy to help a student to the first two chords on the bridge of the popular Brazilian tune, The Girl From Ipanema. I use two upper structures to bring out the sound of the progression.

The first is the very familiar mi7 chord. I use the mi7 chord over the maj7, acting as a 3-5-7-9. Then, I simply lower the root of the mi7 chord to achieve a maj7#5 chord shape. I use the maj7#5 chord shape as 7-9-#11-13 over a dominant chord.

While this may sound complex, it’s very easy for your ear to hear the musical logic of this approach. Includes PDF practice notes for C, Bb and Eb instruments. Echo Game starts at 7:48 into the video lesson.

LESSON 4: If You Can Hear It You Can Have It

In this video lesson, I share a story about a new Skype student who has a music degree and great reading skills, but his ability to play what he hears is not yet fully developed.

After speaking with him about his training, he revealed to me that his former teacher told him to never listen to the sounds in his head and instead, to play by memorizing numbers for the notes. This is contrary to what I learned from Joe Henderson, James Moody, Mark Colby, and all of the many incredible teachers who shared their knowledge with me.

I explain in the video that it’s not just about hearing the sounds, but developing your musical memory and improving your ability to focus on the music.

approx 30 min