Performance-based class in blues improvisation using recordings and transcriptions of traditional and Chicago blues, swing and bop blues, gospel, funk, and rock styles as principal resources. Emphasis on adapting those techniques to develop a personal style. Weekly assignments include practicing blues-based exercises and learning solo transcriptions. Other performance skills covered include turnarounds, pacing of solos, and implying reharmonizations in improvisation.
The four-course sequence in rock improvisation is designed to cover all skills relevant to creative performance in that idiom. Major techniques discussed in this course include pacing, rhythmic density, melodic and rhythmic embellishment, chord scale practice, and nonharmonic melody notes. Students will learn what and how to practice and will develop the skills necessary for individual and group improvisation. Various styles of rock (progressive, blues, classic, contemporary) will be used for demonstration, practice, and performance activities. Classes will be instrumentally balanced with students of similar improvisational backgrounds. Students will be required to perform each week.
The repertoire of this class includes contemporary displays of funk, jazz, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian styles. The emphasis of this course is twofold. One focus is developing the capacity to mix these styles in a contemporary setting while maintaining the integrity of the stylistic roots. The other is the creation of the original compositions that will serve to explore the joining of different styles as evidenced in the subject material. There will be a requirement of four original compositions from the students and performance and preparation of songs from eight outside composers. The original compositions can be individual or collaborative.
A study of basic blues playing in the jazz idiom. The 8-, 12-, 16-, and 24-bar blues forms; improvisational techniques applied to inner form; solo analysis of leading and legendary blues players; weekly performed and written homework; weekly solo playing. Recommended for the beginning to intermediate improviser interested in this idiom.
Performance and analysis of jazz-rock/fusion music. Improvisational and compositional techniques will be discussed. Some of the major players and groups analyzed will be the Yellowjackets, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, and Chick Corea. This class will perform original compositions in an end-of-the-semester final performance.
Performance and analysis of Latin/jazz music and related song forms. The class will include analysis of source music and its influence on contemporary composers and performers in the idiom. Concentration on samba, calypso, bossa nova, and contemporary Latin grooves. Some of the musicians discussed are Claudio Roditi, Clare Fischer, Chick Corea, and Paquito D'Rivera. The class will include a rhythm section plus varied instrumentation and will perform in a recital at the end of the semester.
An ensemble/class for the performer who also composes. A survey of compositions/concepts will be introduced; weekly composition assignments will be performed by the class and critiqued by the instructor. The purpose of this course is to develop originality through experimentation over a broad stylistic base.
Course work will focus on the performance and development of advanced rhythmic vocabulary within the jazz idiom employing the following genre styles: Afro-Cuban; South American (Brazilian, Argentinian, Venezuelan, Peruvian); Iberian (Spanish) rhythms such as flamenco and its various palos; and Spanish folklore rhythms such as Aragonese Jota, Sevillanas, txalaparta, and its odd time signatures. Performance will include compositions by instructor as well as other composers and students. Students will participate as leaders, performers, and composers/arrangers, and will have a chance to experiment with grooves created from the vocabulary studied.