Anne and I enjoyed the concert last Thursday in The Hague at Savanna. Host Niels Tausk, doubling on bass and fluegelhorn, invited us to play a set of jazz standards with him and drummer Niek de Bruyn. It was big fun to perform for such an attentive audience of jazz lovers and students. Great also to hear everybody play during the session afterwards!
For many years I have been working on a guitar method that focusses on jazz improvisation. There are many great guitar methods and jazz books out there like the David Baker books, the Bergonzi books, the guitar methods by Mick Goodrick, Ted Greene and George van Eps and many, many more. All these books give valuable information on specific musical or guitar related subjects. So why bother and come with yet another method?
Harmony, rhythm and melody are all connected and it’s impossible to separate them. Because the guitar is more limited as a melody instrument than let’s say a saxophone and more limited as a chord instrument than the piano, we must concentrate on ways that can compensate for these natural handicaps. One of the big problems is that we can’t see things as clearly on the neck as a saxophone or piano player on their instruments.
Chord intervals can serve as mediators here between harmony and melody. As an example let’s take scales. Instead of moving our fingers up and down the fretboard without thinking, we may use them to spell out intervals. And instead of playing 4 or 5 note guitar chords all the time, it’s also possible to work with two notes only -the very same intervals- and use them to create melodic movement when playing harmony. Off course the idea itself is not new. Bach used this principle as it seems in his Inventions (where only two voices create that effect!). Thelonious Monk, Bill Frisell, John Coltrane, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz and countless others rely heavily on intervals when comping or improvising melodies.
A typical study book spans between 100 and 200 pages, organized into chapters that present different aspects of a method or theory. The reader can only benefit fully from what is offered when all has been read. The Lyrebird Series © is a collection of short articles that each can be mastered within a week. Every single study focusses on the jazz repertoire itself as the starting point for where ever the music wants to take us. In approximately 15 pages you go from the melody and harmonic framework that is the tune to building an improvisation with rhythmic variations; and from an analysis of intervallic movement to finding melodic comping ideas based on our earlier improvisation. Included are reading and listening suggestions. Style features come from the discussed tunes themselves. So working on a tune like “Night in Tunesia” (Dizzy Gillespie) will make it necessary and logical to talk about bebop scales, while working on a tune like “Inner Urge” (Joe Henderson) will lead us to studying pentatonics. Combining inside harmony with the playing outside concept will be necessary when looking at a tune like “In ‘n’ out” (Joe Henderson), etc.
All studies or articles are intended for the serious guitar student, amateur and professional alike. It is presumed that users have an elementary knowledge of tonalities and modes. Apart from that the information offered in every study should be pretty much self explanatory. As an extra facility I will offer the possibility of workshops for music schools and conservatories as well as private online lessons. Feel free to contact me for more information.
Better than ever before! Vocalist Anne Thomas asked me to play on her CD, she became the love of my life, we got married and had children. Recently we started playing again as a duo.
The repertoire consists of our favorite songs from the American Songbook, the best from Brazil, folk songs by Joni Mitchell and many more.
Gé Bijvoet and I started working together in 1993 when I joined the Dick de Graaf Septet for a tour in Canada, traveling from Westcoast to Eastcoast. Years later we would meet occasionally at gigs, sometimes in the company of saxophonist Ad Colen. Everytime we were stunned how easy it was to play together. So it seemed only natural to pick things up where we had left them.
A great starting-point for our cooperation are the arrangements Gé has been writing on well-known and less well-known jazz standards. It’s our ambition to make these beautiful pieces sound fresh and alive again. There will be recordings and concerts in the near future. To be continued!
Together with bassist Udo Pannekeet I have been busy since January, writing new repertoire for our trio with drummer Marcel Serierse.
I’m thrilled about working with Udo. We supplement each other wonderfully and I truly feel that our pieces could not have been written by one of us individually.
Back in the old days jazz musicians would write one pagers, that basically served as vehicles for improvised solos. In the last twenty or so years wonderful players and composers like Chris Cheek, Matt Penman, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel have presented a new composing style that shows lots of worked out details and arrangement.
When writing Udo and myself aim at being melodical and compact. On the other hand we feel that music composed now should reflect our own time.