George Garzone- on the fringe

Most Jazz listeners haven't heard of George Garzone. They don't realize just how many of today's young saxophone lions have been his students. In my opinion Garzone smokes every saxophonist alive. His concept is so advanced, his sound is massive, he swings so crushingly hard, he plays any style, his artistic temperament so fine, his technique so perfect, and his ears are so large. Garzone has it all. Am I sounding like a 'Fringehead' here? Well, I AM A FRINGEHEAD! George is the MAN!!!!!!!! This guy teaches everywhere now; Berklee, New England Conservatory, The New School, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, Harvard, Longy School of Music. How does he even do it? Who knows, but he also runs ten miles every day. I believe that he will eventually be recognized for changing the course of Jazz history, just for the sheer number of important saxophone students that he's taught. If you haven't heard him by now, do yourself a favor and get your hands on some of his recordings. His free trio 'the Fringe' has been playing together every week for over 30 years and has several CDs out. Every time they play it's like one big mind meld. He has a great CD out on NYC Records with Lovano called 'Fours and Twos', a Stan Getz tribute called 'Alone', a quartet recording called 'Moodiology', he's on several of Joe Lovano's CDs, and he is one of NYC's most in demand sidemen. I had the great privilege of studying with George for several years and performing with him several times, he even let me sit in with the 'Fringe'. Eventually he WILL take over the world........


Basic ii-7 V7 chord substitutions

At the end of my last workshop I touched on a very common type of ii-7 V7 substitution. To do this one you simply turn the ii-7 into a secondary dominant of the V7 or V7 of V7. This is an easy sub to make because all you are doing is changing the quality of the ii-7 from minor to dominant (with or without alterations). So here are just a few of the many ways to do that:

D-7 / G7 / Cmaj7 /

D7 /G7 /Cmaj7 /

D7b9 /G7b9 / Cmaj7 /

D7alt /G7alt /Cmaj7 /

D+7 /G+7 /Cmaj7 /

or you could turn the V7 into a subV of V, like so:
Ab7#11/G7 /Cmaj7 /

Once you get the hang of these subs, they will really make your drab two-fives much more interesting. There is nothing more boring to me than listening to someone crank out tired-ass-straight-up-David Baker-two-fives (you know the ones I'm talking about) on each and every tune. I think David Baker's books are really good, but everyone has played out of them by now- SO PLEASE SPARE US!!!!!

Kenny Brooks- Special K

I started playing with tenor saxophonist Kenny Brooks when I was a junior in high school. We co-led quintets together for years. I suppose he was probably the peer that had the greatest influence on me as a player. Both of us studied with George Garzone and listened to a lot of the same cats. We used to play Abersolds for hours on end, really pushing each other to play better. If it wasn't for Kenny B I might have ended up going to North Texas State, where I had a scholarship, instead of Berklee. I would have ended up a "SuperJazz" saxophonist!!!!!!! (cold shudder) BRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

His sound is round and dark, he swings his ass off and his lines are SICK. He was on the road with Charlie Hunter for a while and recorded "Natty Dreds" with him on the Blue Note label. He now has one the most lucrative gigs for a saxophonist today- Rat Dog, a Garteful Dead cover band led by the great Bob Weir. KB had to memorize about 300 Dead tunes for this gig. They are on the road several months a year and getting bigger and bigger all the time. A few other buddies I used to play with in the Bay Area are also on the band- Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane. Kenny B has a nice web site with some good transcriptions and interesting sound clips. He is also a founding member,along with Dred Scott, of a truly great Bay Area Acid-Jazz/Hip-bop group called Alphabet Soup. I miss playing with all these guys a lot.

(KB and I are on Dred's 'Small Clubs are Dead' 1993 release.)

Some of the sidemen that played with our Quintet:
Eddie Marshal, Larry Grenadier, Dred Scott, Jeff Ballard, Kenny Wollesen, Dimitry Metheny, Tom White, John Medeski, Jesse Murphy, Neal Hiedler, Wesley Wirth, Scott Amendola, Matt Gleason, Graham Conah, Alex Candelaria, John Witalla, Liberty Ellman, Dave McNabb, Smith Dobson, Smith Dobson jr.


Coltrane Chord Substitutions

Here is a great article by David Baker on Coltrane substitutions.

Tim Price online sax lessons

I met Tim Price in a internet Jazz chat room about six years ago. We have been corresponding ever since. He lives outside of Philly and teaches in Philly and in NYC along with being a Selmer clinician. Tim is talented multi-instrumentalist who plays all the saxes along with the electric bassoon, flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet. He also makes a point to keep tabs on many heavy saxophonists around the country. He's tuned in to the real players. He's an old school Bebopper who is trying to keep the music Jazz tradition alive, but with a highly developed internet savvy. I wish there were more cats like Tim out there educating the next generation of musicians. He has a nice web site with some really great online lessons. I'm trying to get him out here next year to play some gigs so drop me a line if you'd be interested in taking a lesson with him while he's out here.http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons.html


Joe Viola- 'Yoda of the Saxophone'

Here are some overtone exercises that I got from Joe Viola. They are actually pretty standard, but very helpful. Joe V had a personal way of teaching. He knew how to get each student to do exactly what he wanted. Sometimes he would make me honk like a sick goose to get me to open my throat, I was usually pretty embarrassed because Tony 'Antonio' Hart was always waiting outside for the next lesson. Other times he would put on a little latex finger cover on and go prodding around my mouth to get my tongue into the correct position. When I try to remember exact the things he taught me I kind of draw a blank. Most of the time we just played duets or etudes in unison, he would stop every time my intonation or something else was not right. Aside from being kind of like a 'Yoda' of the saxophone he was almost saintly, he reminded me of what a real priest should be like. He set a high example of spiritual and moral conduct for all of his students and I'm sure that everyone who knew him also probably felt the same way about him as I did.
Once at a woodwind recital at the main performance hall some of his students surprised him by doing a hip-hop number at the end of the show. The students dressed up as rappers, with gold painted chain link necklaces and rapped a hip-hop number about Joe V while Go-Go girls in sparkling skin tight body suits danced on either side of the stage. I was sitting right next to Joe during the unexpected finale and saw that was laughing so hard he cried, he was really touched.

Joe really took me under his wing. He would sometimes take me to classical saxophone recitals at other colleges given by visiting professors. He also honored me by having me sub in his own double quartet (sax quartet + rhythm section). That was some of the hardest sight-reading that I've ever had to do in my life.

Most people don't realize just how many of the great saxophone players of today were taught by Joe; players like Brecker, Branford, George Garzone, and Charlie Mariano. He was right up there with Marcel Mule, Joe Allard and Sigard Rascher. The Selmer factory would bring them all him to the factory when they were working on the Mark VI. I don't think that he really even considered himself a Jazz player, just a woodwind player. He was amazing on ALL the woodwinds. There is an album that he recorded for the Berklee label years ago that he overdubs all the woodwinds- oboe, flute clarinet, English horn, EVERYTHING. He once told me when I asked him about the difference between a classical saxophone sound and a jazz saxophone sound that," A good saxophone sound is a good saxophone sound, period". He wrote only a few books, the ones I really like are his 'Technique of the Saxophone' volume II and his sight-reading studies book. Technique Volume II was so good that it has recently been republished for all the other instruments. You really get a sense of his harmonic and melodic concept in these books, his lines are incredibly cool. George Garzone told me that even though Joe V never really talked much about these things, he got his melodic and harmonic sense from playing out of Joe's books.

Joe knew everything there was to know about every single note on the saxophone. He had tons of alternate fingerings for every conceivable situation that a saxophonist might encounter, for example playing with trumpets or flutes. It is even said that he taught the famous 'Sax Doctor' Emilio Lyons everything he knows about fixing saxophones. More importantly he knew just how to inspire and motivate each student. He was always compassionate, nonjudgmental and was never critical, except when he knew that I really hadn't worked as hard as I could have. Then he would just flash me a quick look that let me know that he was dissapointed in me for not doing my best. I had never had a mentor like that before then and I probably won't have another one.There was only one Joe V, there will never again live anyone who has truly mastered the saxophone to the degree that Joe V did. He was the last of a now extinct breed.

Here are some more articles about Joe V-


Jazz Harmony for Improvisation- chord/scales

Thank you very much to everyone who came to my Jazz improvisation workshop last weekend. I realize some of you may have been a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material presented. With time and the study of your notes you'll be more able to put some of these elements into practical application. This process doesn't happen overnight so be patient!

Here are some of the key points that I covered:

Rules for finding scales for dominant and majors chords-
1. Any alteration implies a #11
2. b9 implies a #9 and vice versa
3. b13 implies no 5

To quickly find scales for these chords-

C7 #11 - up a fifth melodic (G melodic minor)

C7 b9 (or #9)- up a half step diminished (C# dim)

C7 b13 (or +)- whole tone from root

C7 b9 b13, or C7 alt, or C7 #9 b13, or C7 b9 #9 b13 #11- up a half step
melodic minor

C7 b9 b13 natural 11- up a 4th harmonic minor

C-7(b5)-up a half step maj (C# maj) or up a minor 3rd melodic minor (Eb
melodic-) or down a whole step harmonic minor or up a 4th harmonic minor (Bb Harm.)

C sus7 (b9)- down a whole step melodic minor (Bb melodic)

C maj7 #5 - down a minor 3rd melodic minor or down a minor 3rd harmonic minor

You may add the related ii-7 before any add any related V7 after any two.
You may add #11s to any major or dominant chord.

When analyzing a tune to determine appropriate scales for blowing first look at the dominant seventh chords and where they are resolving. Look only at the root motion, the quality of the next chord (maj, min, ect) is not important. If the V7 is moving down a 5th to the next chord then you have the freedom to alter that chord (WT, Dim, Alt, Lyd dom). If it is moving down a half step then only alter the V7 as far as the Lydian dominant (up a fifth melodic). Also the V7 may not go directly to it's resolution, there may be a delayed resolution - example: /C7/ G-7 F7/ the C7 is still resolving down a fifth (by way of the G-7) and can be altered by the improviser.

Remember that if you add alterations to a dominant 7th chord, start less altered and add alterations.
For example- If you are playing over two bars of G7 going to C you may play a straight mixolydian in the first bar and then play a G7#11 (D melodic-) for the first two beats of bar two and an G7 altered dominant (Ab melodic-) in the last two beats of the second bar. You would not want to start with the G7 altered dominant and THEN play a straight mixolydian before resolving in bar three.

~Use brackets to mark ii- V7s and dotted brackets to mark ii-7 subV7s (example: D-7 C#7)

~Draw arrows from V7 to I resolutions (example C7 to Fmaj, or C7 to F7, or C7 to F-7)
~Draw dotted brackets for ii-7 to subV7s (example- D-7 to C#7)

Bob Mover's Bebop Chord substitutions

Here are some subs from sax master Bob Mover. These are all classic bop substitutions that he got from cats like Lee Morgan, Lee Konitz, and Bird. Bob will be in town from NYC for a weekend in October at the Blue Monk.
He will also be giving a master class and teaching private students while he's here. I would highly recommend checking him out. I first found out about him when I was a teenager while searching through the miscellaneous M section. He was one of the few alto players I had heard that was based in the Bird school yet had taken Bebop one step further. His harmonic concept was much more like a pianist's, with long snaky lines that moved all over the place harmonically. One of his first recordings was a quintet date with Lee Konitz done he was just 21 years old. Bob was really giving Lee a run for his money and at times you could barely tell the two of them apart. I looked him up when I moved to NYC in '97 and we did a lot of hanging while lived in NYC. He found me an pad in his building in Jersey City. The place became sort of a Bebop apartment building with four serious bop saxophonists there at one time. It was Bob and I plus two other talented young students of Mr. Mover along with the late great pianist Tony Castellano. The alto-ist was named Josh Benko (who now has a regular gig at Small's) and Kengi was the tenor player (who is truly scary). Someone was always practicing! The next door neighbors were ready to kill us. I often heard things yelled from next door like, "Shut that thing up or I'll shove it up all the way up your ass!". Bob and I will be shooting his clinic in the TV studio for an educational DVD. If you'd like to take private lessons with Bob or if you're interested in attending his master class while he's here in October please send me an e-mail.

Check out his web site at: www.bobmover.com
Videos of Bob's new band

ii-7 V7 chord substitutions-

/G-7 / C7 /F maj7/

/ Ab melodic- / Db melodic- /F

/G-7 Ab7#11 / Db maj7 Db mel- /F

/Ab-7 / G mel- Db mel- /F

/G-7 Ab-7 / Gbmaj7 Db mel- /F

/B dim / Bb dim /F

/G-7 Bb-7 / Db-7 /F

/Ab-7 Db7 / Db-7 Gb7 / F

/Ab-7 Db7 / Bb-7 / F

/Ab-7 Db7 / Bb-7 Db-7 /F

/Ab mel- / Bb mel- / F