La Catedral, Allegro Solemne, Barrios, Trio

Here’s a video of my trio performing La Catedral, Allegro Solemne by Agustin Barrios Mangore.

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Craft Beer Pub Jazz Sessions, Brighton

The Brighton Craft Beer Pub Jazz sessions kick off Sunday 8th November!  Each week from 5.30pm til 8.30pm, I’ll be joined by special guests showcasing the cream of Brighton and Sussex’s jazz talent.

This week I’ll be joined by Steve Thompson on double bass playing Latin tunes covering Brazilian Choro, Argentinian Milongas, Venezuelan waltzes plus a sprinkling of jazz!  Feel free to bring your instrument or voice and sit in with us each week!  Here’s us as a trio…

Here’s a selection of line ups to be expected during the following weeks at the Craft Beer Pub, Upper North St,Brighton.

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Classical Guitar Recital, All Saints Church, Hove

I will be performing a classical guitar recital at All Saints Church, Hove, East Sussex on Wednesday 24th June between 1pm and 2pm.  Featured in the performance, will be pieces by Bach, Villa Lobos, Tarrega, Lauro, Barrios, Pernambuco, Nazareth, Cardoso and more.  There will be a heavy leaning to the classical guitar music of Latin America, particularly Brazil.  Contained in the program, will be recognizable concert master pieces made famous by great classical guitar maestros such as Julian Bream, John Williams and Segovia.

Admission is free with tea and coffee available.  Feel free to bring sandwiches!

All Saints Church, The Drive, Hove, BN3 3QE

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Modern Jazz Guitar Harmony 6/6/15

Jazz guitarists such as Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lage Lund, Jonathan Kreisberg, Gilad Hekselman have taken jazz guitar into the 21st century.  There has been a linage of great, innovative jazz guitarists over the years from Charlie Christian, Django Reindhart, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Pat Metheney and more through to the current young guns taking the New York Jazz scene by storm.  The likes of Lage and Gilad are still in their twenties, in fact our very own Dave Drake from the Brunswick Jazz Jam moved to New York and is now playing with Gilad and co.

I’ve always been interested in Jazz guitar harmony, chords and solo guitar.  I love all the shredding but the tasteful use of chords is interesting to me and I always love the sound of new exciting guitar chord voicings.

Having listened extensively to Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery and all the other greats from the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s has helped guide me and inspire my practise.  These guitarists are amazing musicians and true musical legends, in fact myself, Vic & Laurent got to see Pat Martino at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club recently and he’s still on fire!

However, I’ve been checking out these new kids on the block and they have completely blown me away.  Their use of intricate modern sounding lines and harmony is totally fresh sounding.  Mike Stern says “I need to practise more than ever as these guys are kicking my ass right now!”

In the previous jazz guitar masters’ playing, I can hear extensive use of the drop 2 voicings etc… but what the hell are the new cats doing?

Well I’ve been exploring quartal harmony for years and use it in my playing and we shall come onto that soon in due course.  I’ve been hearing different chords in these new guitar styles too which are not quartal harmony chords but something else.  What though?!!!!

So I sat down and painfully and slowly tried to transcribe chord voicings, it was sheer infuriating hell :/  I managed to get some and then work from first principles to see how they arrived at these voicings, and I applied inversions and came up with sets of chords I’d never played before.

I’d also heard some cool voicings which sounded different to standard guitar chord voicings in classical guitar music such as in the music of Heitor Villa Lobos.  I learnt some of the tunes from the score and went aha!!!  Villa Lobos was using similar voicings spanning the 20’s to the 40’s as these hip young cats of the noughties (and teenies? Is that the decade we’re in now?)

So anyway, I’ve worked out a thorough, systematic approach on how to derive these chord voicings and start using them in tunes both for comping, solo guitar and mixing with single note lines.  From this class on Saturday June 6th, you will greatly benefit in these areas….

1.  Expert knowledge of chord tones
2.  Excellent knowledge of the guitar neck
3.  Fresh modern sounding jazz guitar voicings
4.  Technique, some of them are quite stretchy!
5.  Intervals
6.  Knowledge of the notes all over the guitar neck
7.  Good prep for the upcoming classes on quartal harmony

When I hit on these new chords, it was really exciting for me and I’m still trying to squeeze them in more and more in my live playing.  I played some at the Jam last Tuesday and got some raised eyebrows from Eddie Myer.

So all you have to do for prep is to memorize the drop 2 voicings in this video for F major chords and inversions on the bottom four strings.  You’ve looked at these before so should be ok.  But really look at EVERY note in EVERY inversion and KNOW what chord tone it is!  We will derive the new voicings from these.  It’s gonna be fun and exploratory.

Of course, revise these ones below too, but the above video is really our start of first principles for the upcoming work.

Fminor bottom 4

F7 Bottom 4

SO see you Saturday 6th June 11am at the Brunswick! £20 (non changeable, refundable).  Advanced booking advised.

Lets start of quest for modern harmony n raise a few eyebrows on our gigs we do!

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How to nail a Jazz standard!

Sussex Jazz Guitar school is this Sat 11th!  11am at the Brunswick.  We are up in the little room so advanced booking preferable to be sure.  We will be looking at how to really nail a jazz standard so that you embed the harmony, melody and other important aspects of the tune so that you will never forget it!

We’ve learnt so many concepts over the time the Jazz school has been running.  This week we will be analysing a tune and pulling together concepts previously learnt plus some new ones of course 🙂

We shall look at the traits of a jazz tune and which other jazz standards share these traits.    Working in this way will help you improvise more freely, be able to transpose into any key, play the melody anywhere on the neck and plenty more giving you a real sense of achievement that you’ve actually mastered a tune.

We’ll basically look at loads and loads of angles of things to practice over a tune.  You could spend weeks working on these and choose which concepts you are weakest on or would like to improve the most to get the most out of your playing.
Here are the prep steps!
Again, everyone can take it at their own pace so don’t worry if this looks a lot.
same goes for in class, there will be plenty to work on with students working at their own level.

Step 1.
Revise all major scale positions.
Make sure you can play all these in Bb (shift all 2 frets down)

Step 2.
Listen to the melody of Cherokee, from any version on spotify or youtube or my video below. Sing the melody at home along with the recording and without. It’s really singable with a clear melody!
Then play the melody as below, the A section is more or less based on Bb major scale.

Step 3.
Check this out!

CHEROKEElead

Step 4.
Remember about “3rd away” Substitutions.
Here’s some random examples to refresh your memory!

Focus on what the chord from the 3rd will be for different chords…

Cmaj7 ……………..Emin7
Dm7……………….Fmaj7
G7……………….Bm7b5

Gmaj7…………….Bm7
Am7……………….Cmaj7
D7……………..F#m7b5

Fmaj7……………….Amin7
Gm7…………….Bbmaj7
C7…………….Em7b5

Here’s a video of harmonised major scales where the 3rd away subs are derived from.

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