Ed Saindon's Four-Note Groupings Technique

 Vibraphonist and Berklee professor Ed Saindon sent me some of his articles on Jazz improvisation. He has developed his own concept based on four note groupings, which obviously must have been shaped by being a four mallet vibes player. Here's how he describes it:

"Four-Note Grouping is an improvisation technique that uses major and minor triads along with specific passing notes as a means of generating lines. The concept of Four-Note Groupings allows the lines to be more “out” and stretch the possibility of available notes over a chord due to the structural integrity of the triad-based line. Another benefit of this concept is that the improviser can work on the concept and specific sound of Four-Note Groupings without falling into the trap of playing licks and repetitive phrases. The fact that this is a broad concept and there are many possible four-note grouping choices creates a “deep well” from which an improviser can draw."

Coming from the “four mallet school,” Ed Saindon has developed and continues to refine a pianistic approach to mallet playing which involves a consistent utilization of all four mallets along with a variety of dampening techniques. Saindon has absorbed and transferred the influences from the piano lineage that stretches from Waller and Tatum up to the present. Originally a drummer, Saindon began playing the vibraphone along with piano while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1972-1976. 

As a concert artist, Saindon has traveled throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. He has played and or recorded with Ken Peplowski, Warren Vache, Kenny Werner, Mick Goodrick, Fred Hersch, Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Louie Bellson, Howard Alden, Herb Pomeroy, Dick Johnson, Dave McKenna, Marvin Stamm, Michael Moore and others.

In addition to performing, Saindon’s other passion is music education. In addition to being a Professor at Berklee where he has been teaching since 1976, he is also active in the field of music education as a clinician and author. Saindon is a clinician for Yamaha and Vic Firth giving clinics and residencies on vibraphone, marimba, piano, drums, jazz theory and harmony, composition and improvisation. Berklee Press has published his book Berklee Practice Method: Vibraphone and German publisher Advance Music recently issued his new book Exploration in Rhythm, Volume 1, Rhythmic Phrasing in Improvisation. 

In addition to writing books, Saindon has authored many articles on music education, jazz theory and improvisation. He is currently the vibraphone and jazz mallet editor for the International Percussive Arts Society’s magazine Percussive Notes. His articles have appeared in many publications including Downbeat, Percussive Notes, and Percussioner International.
Recordings as a leader include Swing on the Sunnyside featuring trumpeter and legendary educator Herb Pomeroy and clarinetist Dick Johnson, The Great American Songbook featuring clarinetist Ken Peplowski, trumpeter Warren Vache and trombonist Dan Barrett, Key Play featuring pianist Kenny Werner and Ed’s most recent release, Depth of Emotion featuring soprano saxist Dave Liebman.


Gregory Dudzienski said...

At first glance, it looks a lot like Bergonzi's stuff...

ed saindon said...

Hi Greg, You're right, it's definitely an extension of Jerry's first book Melodic Structures (which is probably my favorite book out of his series). I added my own twist to the concept of four note groupings and added the four note grouping chart which lists the available groupings based upon chord type as well as a few choruses on Stella. I've been using the concept with my students at Berklee at they've been getting a lot out of the concept. I have them write out solos based upon the application of four note groupings which helps them get the four note grouping technique in their playing. Ed

Gregory Dudzienski said...

Very cool, Ed. I really enjoy Jerry's books as well and "Melodic Structures" really helped me turn a HUGE corner in my own change playing years ago. I still use it as a strategy for learning new tunes and when I am feeling "out of control".

I'm looking forward to checking out your stuff more in depth!




jazz world said...

Yes, it is pretty cool. It adds to the already big world of improvisation.

jhonb said...

I saw some video of him.He is really supreme.I like his jazz music.He always inspire me.Take care yourself.