You know him as one of the world’s preeminent choral composers and conductors, as well as a former member of the King’s Singers, but like so many of us, even Bob Chilcott was forced to put down his baton this year and find other ways to make music.
Chilcott focused his musical attention on teaching piano and theory to his eleven-year-old daughter, Becky, and her friend, and ended up also writing a set of three short jazz-style pieces for the piano to help show his students and other early intermediate learners explore the technical building blocks of music and develop their musical instincts in a way that would also be fun.
The results, A Little Jazz Piano, is a short piano suite featuring Chilcott’s celebrated jazz style in three movements: “Bobbing along,” “Becky’s Song” and “Walking with Ollie.”
While this coincidence might seem puzzling or even contradictory at first, it is exactly what lends Sikora’s approach the nuance and balance to successfully bridge the gap between theory and practice. InJazz Harmony: Think – Listen – Play – A Practical Approach, Sikora sets out to mold musicians who can adapt to anything, regardless of how novel and unexpected it may be. To achieve this, he establishes a close relationship between theory, the ear and our instrument, forging a dialogue between theory and spontaneity that helps musicians connect with music both intuitively and analytically.
The 1999 recording The Melody at Night, with You is one of Keith Jarrett’s most popular records. Originally created as a gift to his wife, his versions of songs from the Great American Songbook plus the traditional “Shenandoah” are permeated by a special atmosphere that makes the recording one of his most personal audio documents. Jarrett dispenses with the jazz soloist’s conventional emphasis on dexterity, the “clever” phrase and the virtuosic sleight-of-hand, and instead strips these songs to their melodic essence to gently lay bare their emotional core.
After many years of preparation, the sheet music for The Melody at Night, with You has now been published by Schott Music with Jarrett’s approval and the support of Jarrett’s label, ECM.
Teaching Music through Performance is a best-selling series of books and CDs that are theoretical, practical, and analytical. Written, researched, and compiled by scholars with a wealth of teaching and conducting experience, this series enables conductors, educators, and students to move beyond the printed page toward full musical awareness. Sheet Music Plus had the opportunity to learn from the publisher what inspired the creation of the series.
The first edition of Volume 1 was for band and was released at the Midwest Clinic in 1997. This year, 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the series. The Teaching Music through Performance series now includes 26 volumes, 16 for band, three for jazz, three for orchestra, and four for choir. In addition, each volume has accompanying CDs.
The Jazz Piano Solos Series has proven wildly popular among pianists. Each volume features a collection of 20-24 exciting new piano solo arrangements with chord symbols of the songs, which helped define a particular jazz style. The difficulty of the arrangements varies somewhat, and though they can be quite challenging at times, they are always eminently playable. Pianists possessing an intermediate ability or better will find the majority of the selections well within their reach. For the more challenging arrangements a little extra practice may be needed, but it’s time well spent. The series, which is published by Hal Leonard, currently has 47 volumes, including jazzy arrangements of Disney tunes, pop standards and Gospel music, with more in production!
In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, I decided to write a post about one of the jazz greats. I am not a jazz musician and unfortunately, my classical music education barely scraped the surface of jazz. However, the question of “Who to write about?” was an easy choice, because I share an alma mater with the legendary Dave Brubeck. We both went to University of the Pacific, formerly College of the Pacific. I even had the chance to meet him my freshman year, well, more like run into him…literally. I was coming out of a class and there he was, right in front of me. Dave Brubeck. I must have looked shocked and embarrassed and he just smiled and asked, “How are you?” I will never forget that smile. He must have been 86 then. more “10 Interesting Facts about Dave Brubeck”…
Imagine this: you’re a famous jazz player; you’re busy on the road going from gig to gig. One day you come up with a great tune and want to write it down and orchestrate it for your ensemble, but orchestration takes a long time. So instead, you write down the melody and then write out the general chords and any potential rhythms. When you read it during the gig (for the first time no doubt!) you and your bandmates have a general outline of what needs to happen – everything else is improvised. Because improvisations are different everytime, writing down the “correct” way of playing any tune in the old days was impossible.
As jazz grew in popularity, everyone wanted to hear all the popular songs, but the problem was that many of these tunes were hard to find or unpublished. Eventually, lead sheets were circulated from band to band and that became the standard way of notating tunes.
The original fake book, known as The Real Book, contained illegally reproduced, copyrighted songs. It was meant to be used as a textbook of standard jazz tunes. The publishers wanted to pawn off the tunes in the book as “real” versions of the songs. However, legal battles ensued, so any other future books had to have a different name. Thus, the term fake book was born from The Real Book. It also has a double-meaning in that the performer is “faking” his way through the song because the arrangement is not the same as the original version.
Teachers, students, professionals and dreamers, welcome to the jazz reference mecca. This is comprised of some of the great literary resources, DVDs and method books for the aspiring jazz musician. Learn the keys of success from people who have success in the profession. With these must-have resources, you’ll be jamming, gigging and living the jazz life in no time.
1. How To Listen To Jazz by Jerry Coker – To play jazz you must learn how to hear jazz. The great Jerry Coker beautifully explains how to train your ear and what to listen for in jazz music.
Hi Sheet Music Plus Fans! We hope that your 2012 been full of great lessons, performances and musical accomplishments. Now that the holiday season is finally upon us, this is the perfect time to start looking for music gifts for your students, friends, teachers and colleagues. Check out these great gift ideas below:
Did you know that Sheet Music Plus sells CDs? We have 8,000+ recordings under the Naxos label including greats like Bach, Mozart, Debussy and more. Listening to recordings of great performances is an important part of growing as a musician, so why not add a few to your holiday shopping list!