The 9 Essential Books for Jazz - Sent in from the JazzMemes Community

Uncategorized Feb 13, 2020

We recently polled our #JazzMemesFamily on Instagram asking them what are their essential books for jazz. The question was left open to include instructional jazz books or books written on the topic of jazz and music. We collected the most popular responses that were sent in and categorized them into two categories Performance and Theory/Concept. If you're new to jazz or haven't checked some of these books out, they're a great starting point to further your jazz education. Let us know in the comments which books you would add to this list.

Performance

  • The Realbook - A collection of sheet music containing some of the most widely recognized jazz standards. Great to learn tunes from if you aren't at the level of transcribing everything by ear. Don't bring on a gig or jam session unless you want to be vibed. 
  • The Omnibook - Essential study for learning the bebop language through one of its masters, Charlie Parker. Includes Parker's most famous bebop head,...
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Play for Someone You Love - A Lesson from Louis Armstrong

Uncategorized Feb 07, 2020

How do you get over the fear of making a mistake on a performance?

How do you let go of all the things that are on your mind and bugging you when you need to perform?

Rich Matteson, best known as a jazz educator and euphonium player with the Dukes of Dixieland, posed these questions to Louis Armstrong during a break in their recording session.

The answer as Louis Armstrong saw it was simple: 

“I always play for somebody I love. That’s all. You play for somebody you love, all the time. I always play for Him because he gave me the talent, I play for Lucille because she’s my wife and if I make a mistake she’s understands. They all want to listen, that’s cool. If they don’t want to listen, it’s still cool because I was going to play for Him and her anyways.”

Why does playing for someone you love make you play better?

As Rich Matteson says in this full interview:

“When you play for someone you love, you automatically try to do...

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What the Navy SEALs can teach you about New Year's resolutions

Uncategorized Dec 27, 2019

So, here’s the bad news: Your New Year’s resolutions suck. 

The good news is that it’s not totally your fault, and I’m going to show you how to take your vague resolutions and change them into easy-to-follow goals that you will actually accomplish.

I believe that if you want to get better, you should learn from the best. Lucky for you there’s already a highly-successful organization that has developed a tested system for creating bulletproof goals: the Navy SEALs and SMART goals.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I’ll breakdown each part and then apply it to a few common New Year’s resolutions that I saw this past week on social media.

Common New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Start going to the gym
  2. Stop eating carbs
  3. Get better at guitar

Any of these sound familiar? Write down three of your own resolutions to work on as you read along. Let’s get started.

SMART Goals

Specific

Your goals...

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How to Train Your Ear Without Your Instrument

Imagine you’re in a bookstore one Sunday afternoon and, for whatever reason, you happen to notice the music playing in the background.  Maybe it’s a classic rock song that you haven’t heard in awhile or a jazz standard; the genre doesn’t really matter. Can you listen to the song and know what the chord progression is? When the guitarist is soloing do you instantly recognize the scale being played or what specific notes make up the melodic riff?

If you’re hesitating to say ‘yes’ to these questions, then keep reading because I want to share a simple concept with you that will have a profound impact on your ability to recognize chords, progressions, and scales by ear which you can implement today.

To start, there are two kinds of pitch recognition: perfect pitch and relative pitch recognition. Having perfect pitch is the ability to recognize the exact note being played and having relative pitch is the ability to recognize the...

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Our "Artist of the Month" is Melissa Aldana!

Take Five

We asked Melissa Aldana your top five questions, here are her answers...

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently?

Balance Action Saxophone, One of the best horns I have ever tried.

Also I really love my Matt Marantz Custom Mouthpiece / Da'ddario reeds and Silverstein Ligature... it is the perfect set up! 

 


 

Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story?

I used to do a gig when I moved to NewYork with a Friend of mine from Barcelona, Spain.

We used to play in a super fancy Spa and we did it just duo couple of times a month .

The worse part was that we had to play inside of the Spa where all the pools and saunas where while everyone else was just chilling..lol

 


 

Q3: What's one concert you've attended that has had a lasting impact on your life?

Well I recently saw Miguel Zenon presenting his latest album " Sonero " at the Jazz Standard and he is somebody that I have always look up too.

His writing and...

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"Take Five" Q&A with James Francies!

We asked James your top five questions, backstage after his recent Jacksonville show with Pat Metheny and Nate Smith. Check the video to hear his anwers!

 

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"Take Five" Q&A with J3P0!

j3p0 newsletter take five Aug 31, 2019

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently? 

I recently purchased a Minimoog Model D reissue. Holy smokes does that thing sound good! It’s like playing an acoustic instrument, or a Hammond B-3. I love creating the classic sounds on it that it’s known for, but it’s also fun to just tweak away and create new sounds. It’s a great instrument for both live and in the studio. It has a hefty price tag, but if you’re really into synths, it’s totally worth it. The best app I’ve purchased recently is the Sonic Project’s OP-X Pro II. FANTASTIC Oberheim emulation. I have in my possession a Matrix 12 and this VST definitely clocks in as the most faithful emulation, at least to my ears.



Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story? 

See #MyWorstGig storyhere!


 

Q3: What's one concert you've attended that has had a lasting impact on your life? 

I remember hearing Joshua Redman trio with Sam Yahael and Greg...

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"Take Five" Q&A with Danny Janklow!

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently? 

The best gear I’ve gotten lately has been my new Yamaha 82z Bronze Artist model alto saxophone. It’s truly made my life better in all regards. I loved playing my Mark VI and was fortunate to grow a lot on a great vintage horn, but, switching to an ergonomically advanced instrument has helped in my ability to relax more and still get a bigger sound and more control of my registers - especially consistency in pitch!

Also, my AEA NUVO N-8 microphone has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I’m able to get the live gig/recording sound every time I use it. It sounds like me - no innate frequencies that are out of wack. It’s enabled me to record more from home and also to build my virtual online studio and reach many of my fans in lessons from all over the world.



Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story? 

See #MyWorstGig storyhere!


 

Q3: What's one concert...

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"Take Five" Q&A with Sirintip!

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently? 

I recently got this pedal from TC Helicon called the PerformVE and it has completely elevated my solo looping game. Now I can basically do everything I hear from reverb/delay to playing drum grooves and involving more complex harmony with the vocoder feature.



Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story? 

See #MyWorstGig story here!


 

Q3: What's one concert you've attended that has had a lasting impact on your life? 

Probably Bobby McFerrin live at some New York venue the first time I visited the city in 2010. The way he uses his voice to translate his musicality will forever be my biggest musical goal. He totally changed the game of what a singer’s role is meant to be.


 

Q4: What's a specific skill/exercise/technique that has taken your singing to the next level?

Composition and arranging. Developing my composing skills has helped me in all areas from knowing how...

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"Take Five" Q&A with Cyrille Aimée!

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently? 

My favorite toy is the BOSS RC 505, or "Rupert the Looper" as I like to call it.



Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story? 
I guess just watch the video when I'll have one!


 

Q3: What's one concert you've attended that has had a lasting impact on your life? 

There have been of course many impacting concerts throughout my life so I'm going to go with the latest one : I saw Spanish gypsy singer Concha BUIKA in Spain last fall, and couldn't stop crying for the whole show. She is an incredible story teller and musician. She lives all her songs and gives everything with each performance. I saw her two more times since that one show and have always been so inspired and touched.


 

Q4: What's a specific skill/exercise/technique that has taken your singing to the next level?

I would have to say the exercise of always challenging myself. Learning new things, going for competitions and trying...

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