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.
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.