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CHORD STUDIES

Module 34


LESSON 1: Four Directions – Thinking Locally and Globally

I often mention practicing in four directions for gaining mastery over your scales, chords and intervals. In this video lesson, I explore and explain the four directions. I describe the difference between thinking “locally” and “globally” when playing a sequential pattern.

This is a major concept that will help you improve your ear and your ability to memorize songs and musical vocabulary. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Finding the hidden Diminished and Augmented Chords in the Chromatic Scale

In this video lesson, I show you how to use the chromatic scale to diminished chords and augmented chords. Although I demonstrate these same chords in different video lessons (playing all of them on piano), this is an alternative approach, designed to help players that find it a real challenge learning the traditional way.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes.

LESSON 3: Exploring Hip Lick #37

In this video lesson, I work with lick #37 from the book “Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1.” This is a two-measure C7 lick that uses part of the bebop scale, contrary motion, sequence and a diatonic enclosure.

The lesson explores the lick from many different angles, taking the first half of the lick as a stand-alone lick. I also demonstrate how to create lots of rhythmic variations on the lick, as well as how to transpose the lick not only to twelve keys but how to make the first half of the lick in one key, while transposing only the second part of the lick. Whether you’re just starting out, and intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, there’s something in this lesson for all levels.
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 4: The “Dooden” Tongue

In this video lesson, I share my technique for this popular special effect tonguing used by Getz, Bird, Pres and many of the top players from the Swing/Bop era. This one is intentionally an “all-ear” lesson, so there are no practice notes on this one.

Be sure and play along with me where indicated in the portion of the lesson where we’ll trade back and forth with the rhythm on the concert G while using the dooden tonguing effect. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Clifford Brown • Max Roach

This amazing 1958 album has so many classics…Daahoud, Joy Spring, Jordu, Parisian Thoroughfare…all on the same album. The beauty and symmetry of Clifford’s playing throughout this album is breathtaking.

Also, check out the interaction between Max Roach and Clifford. Harold Land also is in great form on this album. One of my favorites.

aprox 39 min

Module 29


LESSON 1: Basic Voice leading for a ii – V – I – PART 1 of 2
In this video lesson, I share some essential voice-leading strategies which will transform your chord arpeggios, making them sound smooth and professional.
f you’re used to just arpeggiating your ii – V – I chords as 1-3-5-7, one after another, this video (in two parts) will take you to the next level! Part one of the lesson deals with major ii V I progressions. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Basic Voice leading for a ii – V – I – PART 2 of 2
In this video lesson, I share some essential voice-leading strategies which will transform your chord arpeggios, making them sound smooth and professional.
If you’re used to just arpeggiating your ii – V – I chords as 1-3-5-7, one after another, this video (in two parts) will take you to the next level! Part two of the lesson deals with minor ii V I progressions. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 3: Hip Lick #49
Hip Lick #49 is based on Cmi7. It’s a two-measure lick that outlines the primary notes of the chord (7-5-3-1) while also including some popular bebop elements, such as the opening triplet rhythm on the first beat.
I demonstrate how to use dynamics to liven up the lick and I also play it in 12 keys, descending chromatically. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSSON 4: Why Does My Playing Sound so Choppy (and how do I make it Smoother)?
Many students come to me with the same issue…they want to have a smooth sound when playing eighth-note lines, but no matter how slowly they practice, they still have a “choppy” sound. This is a tricky problem to correct because it has several causes.
I explore the three main reasons for the “choppy” sound issue and provide effective solutions for this frustrating issue. When I show these techniques to my students, it immediately raises their playing level, and many years of frustration go away very quickly.
While it will take some time and effort to fix the problem, with the tips from this video lesson, you’ll be sounding smoother than you ever thought possible. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Marcos Valle – Samba 68
In this video, I discuss one of my all-time favorite albums, Marcos Valle’s “Samba ’68.” It’s deceptive because it sounds so light and fluffy and simple. Actually, it’s incredibly deep, sophisticated writing with some of the catchiest melodies I’ve ever heard.
Each tune is a masterpiece of melodic construction, performed in a charming, relaxed manner, by the composer himself, singing and playing guitar.
The lush orchestrations are by Deodato. Recorded in 1967 and released in 1968, at the tail-end of the bossa nova craze, this is a rare gem of a record.

aprox 35 min

Module 13


LESSON 1: Dorian Mode – New System Focuses Ear on Chord Extensions
In this video lesson, I take you though my system for practicing the Dorian scale. You may already know the scale, having learned it the traditional way, as the second mode of a major scale, going from the second note of the major scale to the ninth note. While that method does give you the right notes for Dorian, it doesn’t really train the ear to hear the upper extensions of the minor chord contained within the scale. With my system, your ear will be trained to hear the difference between the sound of the 9th, 11th and 13th. This is a really fun system, and in addition to great ear training, it’s also good workout for your technique. If you already know the Dorian scale, you should watch this video to experience the sound of the scale in a new way. If you’ve never learned the Dorain scale, this is the best way to get started! INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 2: The Pencil Trick
In my 20’s, I was transcribing many hours each day. I got tired of putting down the pencil and picking it up again to write a just few more notes. For the sake of efficiency, I just started to hold on to the pencil, even when I was playing the horn. To my surprise, it really helped my technique. Holding the pencil dramatically improved my hand position on the horn. In this lesson, I’ll take you through the process of practicing the “pencil trick,” and also share a few other crazy strategies that I’ve used to getting my fingers in a better position on the horn. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 3: Tritone Substitution Tutorial
In this music theory video, I’ll take you through from the very basic application to of the tritone sub, all the way through the relationship between altered notes on the native V7 chord and extensions of the tritone substitute. PDF extras include scans of the actual sheets I created during the filming of the video lesson. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL

LESSSON 4: Tasting Harmony – Practice Strategies
Many group members have asked me to create a video in which I demonstrate some of my practice techniques for working with the book, Tasting Harmony. In this video, I explain the concept of the book and demonstrate many different ways of working with the play-along tracks. The extras with this video include several pages from the book, some of the exercises from the video, plus the mp3 tracks. ALL LEVELS.

LESSON 5: Road Tips – The E = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “E” as different degrees of major scales.

aprox 42 min

Module 16


LESSON 1: Hearing Your Way Down a 7th Chord
This video lesson will help you to improve your ability to play descending chords (7-5-3-1). Many aspiring players have no problem playing ascending chords (1-3-5-7), but playing that same chord backwards (descending) presents a real challenge. In this video, I explain why the descending chords can be more difficult for some players, and I share my unique approach to help you hear your way down the chords. Includes PDF lesson notes. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL

LESSON 2: 3 Four Contours of 3rds Over a ii / V / I Progression
In this video lesson, I’ll show you how to highlight the third of each chord in a ii / V / I progression to create lines with four different contours. These contours have a powerful effect on the type of melodic line you’ll create. This lesson also shares tips for creating rhythmic and melodic variations in your phrases. If you ever feel like you play good notes in your solos, but your phrases are lacking in clarity of direction, this lesson is exactly what you need to take things to the next level. Includes detailed PDF lesson notes. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

LESSON 3: Hip Lick #7 Video Lesson
In this video lesson, I’ll show you how to work with Hip Lick #7 from my book, Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1. This is a ii mi7 – V7 lick. It’s a one-measure lick with a nice seven-to-three voiceleading move included. Very easy to play, and it nails the changes. Includes tips on hearing the roots of the chords while playing the lick, working the lick in 12 keys and creating a nice variation on the lick. PDF lesson notes included. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSSON 4: 4 Note Tape Measure® Scales
In this video, I demonstrate the four note tape measure scales. This is the first four notes of each major scale, played in the cycle. I play the four notes in four directions: 1. Up 2. Down 3. Up/Down 4. Down/Up. I also discuss and demonstrate some different phrasing techniques for the four note scales, as well as playing each grouping twice for a technical workout. Includes PDF Lesson notes. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.


aprox 37 min

Module 18


LESSON 1: Applying Lower and Upper Neighboring tones to a mi7 Chord
In this video lesson, Greg shares his method for applying lower and upper neighboring tones to a minor seventh chord. This approach provides a simple way to melodically enhance the chord. If you’ve been bored with the same old way of practicing your chord arpeggios, this video lesson will bring new life and energy to your practice sessions. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. With detailed PDF lesson notes for C, Bb, and Eb instruments.

LESSON 2: Coltrane Device – Scales in 3rds with Lower Neighboring Tones
In this video, we explore a great Coltrane device for transforming a common scale pattern in thirds to a very hip jazz phrase by adding lower neighboring tones to the lower notes in the groups of thirds. Very easy to play, and a very high cool factor! INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF lesson notes for C, Bb, Eb Instruments.

LESSON 3: The Cycle
In this video lesson, Greg shares his unique system for teaching the Cycle (also known as “the Circle of 4ths” or “the Circle of 5ths”). Understanding the Cycle is essential for the development of all aspiring musicians. Includes Hip Lick #1 played in the Cycle in 12 keys, plus detailed PDF lesson notes for C, Bb, and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED LEVEL.


LESSSON 4: 6 Note Tape Measure® Scales
In this video, Greg plays the six note tape measure® scales in all four directions (up, down, up/down, and down/up). He also discusses and demonstrates some of his own practice strategies, such as playing them high-speed and also playing them very slowly. Includes PDF for C, Bb, and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Road Tips – The G = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “G” as different degrees of major scales.

aprox 46 min

Module 19


LESSON: Blue Bossa Solo – Part 1 of 4 – Mind Transcription
This is part one of a four-part video series in which I call my “Mind Transcription” series. In this series, I share my ideas and strategies for soloing over the chords of popular standards and jazz tunes.For this lesson, I’ve chosen the changes for Blue Bossa.In part one of this four-part lesson, I comp the chords at the piano, discuss the importance of hearing the chords at the piano, explore and explain voice-leading strategies from both the 7th and the 5th, and start the analysis of my original solo over the changes. I also discuss my thoughts about playing the roots of the chords over your solos.PDF practice materials to be used with all four parts of this lesson are attached to this video lesson. Materials include:
1. Three voice-leading example sheets
2. The solo I created on the changes of Blue Bossa
3. MP3 play-along tracks (short demo version and long rhythm-section only version)Includes PDFs for C, Bb, and Eb instruments.

LESSON: Blue Bossa Solo – Part 2 of 4 – Mind Transcription
Part 2 of 4 continues with an in-depth analysis of the solo, advanced voice-leading moves. This portion of the lesson ends at the half-way point in the solo (includes letters A through B).
PDF practice materials, including three voice-leading example sheets, the solo, and mp3 play-along tracks, are attached to Part 1 of this lesson. Includes music for C, Bb, and Eb instruments.

LESSON: Blue Bossa Solo – Part 3 of 4 – Mind Transcription
In part three of this lesson, the theoretical analysis continues from letter C of the solo. I discuss “high mileage” from using major second intervals in multiple harmonic settings.This portion of the lesson also includes a brief discussion of the diminished scale and diminished whole-tone scale.

PDF practice materials, including three voice-leading example sheets, the solo, and mp3 play-along tracks, are attached to Part 1 of this lesson. Includes music for C, Bb and Eb instruments.


LESSON: Blue Bossa Solo – Part 4 of 4 – Mind Transcription

In this fourth and final part of this video lesson on the chords of Blue Bossa, I discuss the harmonic minor scale as used in the solo and give some voice-leading practice assignments and suggestions.

PDF practice materials, including three voice-leading example sheets, the solo, and mp3 play-along tracks, are attached to part 1 of this lesson. Includes music for C, Bb, and Eb instruments.


LESSON: The Double Enclosure (Zig-Zag Effect)

In this video lesson, I show you what I call the “double enclosure.” I add lower and upper neighboring tones to add heightened chromaticism to the enclosure. This creates a sort of musical “zig-zag” effect which is really fun for the ear.

Includes PDF lesson notes for C, Bb and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.


LESSON: Transforming Diatonic 7ths into a Swingin’ Phrase

In this video, I’ll show you how to take a common chord exercise of diatonic 7th chords, transforming them into a swingin’ phrase full of rhythmic drive with stylized elements of dynamics, articulation, and vibrato.

This is a fun, simple exercise that can really improve your time feel. Includes detailed PDF lesson notes in C, Bb and Eb. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.


aprox 55 min

Module 22


LESSON 1: 6 Essential Elements – The Six of Diamonds
In this video, I share what I consider to be the six essential elements needed to sound like a professional player. I demonstrate the elements through an original blues tune, titled “The Six of Diamonds.”
The six essential elements are: 1) Notes 2) Rhythm 3) Articulation 4) Dynamics 5) Terminal Vibrato 6) Timbral Shadings. The importance of each element is explained in the video lesson. Includes detailed PDF lesson notes in C, Bb and Eb. ALL LEVELS

LESSON 2: Breathing – Video Lesson
In this video lesson, I share my approach to breathing. If you’ve ever felt short of breath while playing or felt that your tone was a bit thin, this lesson is a must. In addition to the technique of breathing, I also discuss jaw position on the mouthpiece while breathing, as well as my thoughts on long tones. ALL LEVELS. Includes PDF text notes with bullet-point lesson summary.

LESSON 3: Getting more impact from your short notes
In this video, I share my approach for getting more impact from short notes. There is a big distinction in the way that a pro player approaches short notes in the middle of a phrase.

The issue is whether the short note is slurred into or tongued as it is played. I demonstrate the two approaches and provide examples to help train your ear to clearly hear the difference between a “low impact” and “high impact” short note. If you want pro-like short notes in your lines, this lesson is essential, and a total game-changer. ALL LEVELS. Includes PDF lesson notes.


LESSON 4: Diatonic Triads
In this video, I share my system for learning and practicing diatonic triads. These triadic chord structures often get overlooked, but they’re essential for all players.
They have a different feel than the larger seventh chords, and they’re very versatile. ALL LEVELS. Includes detailed PDF practice notes in C, Bb and Eb.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Stan Getz – Jazz Samba
In this video lesson, I share some of my thoughts about the innovative way in which Stan Getz introduced the new Bossa Nova style to the world. Also includes a short demo of Getz playing diatonic triads.

aprox 40 min

Module 25


LESSON 1: Hip Lick #8 – Video Lesson
In this video lesson, I’ll show you how to work with Hip Lick #8 from my book, Hip Licks for Saxophone, Volume 1.
This is a popular ii mi7 – V7 lick that starts on the 7th of the mi7 chord. Also includes a brief theory discussion about ii / V chords. PDF includes detailed practice notes as well as the lick written out in all 12 keys plus. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 2: Embracing the 4th of the chord
In this video lesson, I demonstrate how I like to use the 4th of the scale or chord to create tension and then resolve the note to the 3rd or 5th. Many aspiring players have been told that the 4th is an “avoid note.” This is very bad advice because all players need to know how to deal with this note when it comes up. You can’t just ignore it or avoid it.
I recall that I was given this advice in school, only to put on a Sonny Stitt record and hear him using the 4th extensively, especially over dominant chords. Includes detailed PDF lesson notes for C, Bb and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 3: How to get a full tone on the Palm Keys
Many group members have written to me, asking for a video lesson teaching them how to get a big, powerful sound on their palm keys. In this video, I share my unique approach to getting a full, big tone on the palm keys.
The video features a demonstration of the “pro” approach and the “amateur” approach to the palm keys. In this lesson, I explain and explore the reasons for the thin, pinched sound of the aspiring player, and I show you how to fix these problems by shifting your tongue and throat position and changing your air support.

If you’ve ever had trouble getting a nice sound on your palm keys, this video will be transformative. Includes PDF lesson notes. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL


LESSSON 4: The Coltrane Triplets
In this video lesson, I share what I call the “Coltrane Triplets.” This is a way of practicing your chord arpeggios with triplets.
It’s great for your technique, and it also provides a nice rhythmic feel to your chord practice. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.
CLICK HERE to download PDF lesson materials

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Dave Brubeck – Time Out
In this video, I discuss one of my all-time favorite albums, Dave Brubeck’s monumental 1959 recording, “Time Out,” featuring the great Paul Desmond on alto.

aprox 33 min

Module 31


LESSON 1: Ogden Avenue (Take the A Train) – Melodic Embellishment
In this video lesson, I demonstrate the concept of melodic embellishment, using my composition “Ogden Avenue” from “Jazz Phrasing for Saxophone, Volume 1.”
This is a medium tempo swing piece based on chords similar to “Take the A Train.” In the lesson, I’ll show you how I embellish the original melody by connecting ideas with additional notes or sequences. This is an essential skill for all improvisers. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL, Includes PDF notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Cake, Frosting & Sprinkles – Part 1 of 3 – Lower & Upper Neighboring Tones on Triads
This is part one of a three part in-depth lesson on the usage of lower and upper neighboring tones.
I use the fun analogy of cake, frosting, and sprinkles to show you how to apply lower and upper neighboring tones on major and minor chords. The upper and lower neighboring tones are an essential part of the musical language.
Once you’ve learned how to apply these concepts, your playing will have a new level of fluency and polish. Includes extensive practice PDF notes for each of the three videos. Includes parts of Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 3: Cake, Frosting & Sprinkles – Part 2 of 3 – Lower & Upper Neighboring Tones on Triads
This is part two of a three part in-depth lesson on the usage of lower and upper neighboring tones. I use the fun analogy of cake, frosting, and sprinkles to show you how to apply lower and upper neighboring tones on major and minor chords.
The upper and lower neighboring tones are an essential part of the musical language. Once you’ve learned how to apply these concepts, your playing will have a new level of fluency and polish.
Includes extensive practice PDF notes for each of the three videos. Includes parts of Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Part two focuses specifically on the usage of the upper neighboring tones.

LESSON 4: Cake, Frosting & Sprinkles – Part 3 of 3 – Lower & Upper Neighboring Tones on Triads
This is part three of a three part in-depth lesson on the usage of lower and upper neighboring tones. I use the fun analogy of cake, frosting, and sprinkles to show you how to apply lower and upper neighboring tones on major and minor chords.
The upper and lower neighboring tones are an essential part of the musical language. Once you’ve learned how to apply these concepts, your playing will have a new level of fluency and polish. Includes extensive practice PDF notes for each of the three videos.
Includes parts of Bb, Eb and C instruments. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Part three focuses on combining the lower and upper neighboring tones, how to apply both upper and lower neighboring tones to minor chords, and includes extensive playing examples.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Count Basie – E=MC2
One of my all-time favorite Count Basie albums, E=MC2. Neal Hefti arrangements. The band is just smokin’ on this one. I love the close miking, as well. Feels like we’re in the same room with the band. The Basie band conveys such power, but it’s never forced. Beautiful buoyancy to the feel. Great solos. A great addition to any serious jazz collection.

aprox 35 min