I WAS DOING ALL RIGHT

An aspiring jazz trumpet player's blog about jazz improvisation and ear training.

April 16, 2022 Jazz Improvisation 2 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2022

This page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2022. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

APRIL 16, 2022

It's been six years since the last time I shared any new recordings, and nearly three years since I started taking jazz improvisation lessons with Garry Dial. The material that I've learned in those lessons has already transformed my playing, but I still need more practice before I can truly pull off a "good" solo. Currently, I'll have an idea and I can't quite execute it, or I find that the idea doesn't quite connect to the next chord change as I intended. There's also some hesitation in my playing, as I'm trying to incorporate all of the concepts that I've learned. I'm fairly confident, though, that I'll overcome many of those issues with continued practice.

In this recording, you'll hear me play "Soon," by George Gershwin (my solo starts on the second "A" section). I wasn't familiar with this tune until yesterday, when it popped up in my daily randomization of Aebersold recordings. Despite some mistakes and the issues I mentioned above, I do think it demonstrates some of the progress I've made in my lessons with Garry. I also like how I pushed through, after the low C didn't come out as intended. In the past, that probably would have derailed the rest of my solo. Before you listen, I should mention that since I'm still learning how to put everything together, I am intentionally playing a note-heavy solo, in attempt to outline each chord change. As I get all of that under my fingers better, I will definitely focus more on musicality, leaving more space, holding some notes longer, etc.

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Soon, by George Gershwin

December 20, 2021 Jazz Improvisation 3 Comments

Jazz lessons with Garry Dial

After contacting Nadje Noordhuis for trumpet lessons two and a half years ago, I still needed to find teachers for ear training, jazz improvisation, and piano, in order to achieve my goal of finally getting a comprehensive jazz education.

Back in 2007, I received an email asking me to add a starting cadence to my online ear trainer. The person explained that a cadence was needed in order to practice an ear training exercise that they had learned from Charlie Banacos. I had never heard of Banacos before, but since the cadence sounded like a good idea, I went ahead and added it to the ear trainer.

Over the next decade, I'd receive several more ear trainer requests from former students of the legendary jazz educator, Charlie Banacos. I now know that Banacos taught much more than ear training, but since he was always mentioned to me in the context of ear training, he was the first person I thought of when I began my search for an ear training teacher.

Charlie Banacos passed away in 2009, but just as Laurie Frink had led me to Nadje Noordhuis, I figured I'd start by contacting one of Banacos' former students. After a Google search on "Charlie Banacos," I ended up at the official Charlie Banacos website, which led me to Banacos' daughter, who then put me in touch with Garry Dial.

When I first contacted Garry Dial via email, I told him that I was a trumpet player looking for ear training lessons. I also mentioned that I was learning piano. Garry wrote back and asked if I wanted piano lessons as well. I responded, "I'm primarily interested in ear training, but perhaps we could add piano lessons at some point in the future." Basically, I wanted to "try him out" with ear training, prior to committing to anything else. In my defense, I knew nothing about Garry Dial at the time, but my lukewarm response to the piano lessons is hilarious to me now -- especially since that's been one of the most rewarding parts of my lessons.

As I'd later learn, Garry Dial first studied with Charlie Banacos in the 1970s, when Garry was a student at Berklee College of Music. After Berklee, Garry went on to play with a variety of bands, including ten years with trumpeters Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan. In 1990, Garry joined the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where he developed their six-year jazz curriculum and taught for nearly 30 years (coincidentally, Nadje Noordhuis is a former student). Up until Banacos' passing in 2009, Garry remained a student of Banacos' and was specifically chosen by Banacos to continue his teachings.

Although I initially thought Garry Dial would just be my ear training teacher, he ended up becoming my ear training, jazz improvisation, and piano teacher. And thank goodness I found him. I've been studying with him for two and a half years now, and he is without a doubt, the most knowledgeable, demanding, and supportive teacher that I've ever had.

Since Garry teaches me so many different topics, I thought I'd give a brief breakdown of each discipline, as it pertains to my lessons. Before I do, I should mention that I'm not allowed to discuss any specifics regarding the Charlie Banacos exercises. In fact, I had to sign an NDA when I first contacted Banacos' daughter.

JAZZ IMPROVISATION

The jazz improvisation part of my lessons is done on the trumpet, primarily using exercises created by Charlie Banacos. So far, the focus has been various bebop concepts, with each concept lasting about 3 months. For example, when I worked on approach notes, I'd receive a separate exercise each week, as I worked my way through eleven chord types in all twelve keys. The lessons are thorough, and they tend to be rather challenging. The lessons are also transformative. For the electrical engineers in the crowd, I'd liken the lessons to a schematic diagram. With practice, they seem to rewire my brain to adopt a specific approach.

In addition to a Banacos exercise, the jazz improvisation portion of my lessons will often include a solo transcription that's impossibly difficult for me to play. For example, early on, Garry wanted me to play Freddie Hubbard's "Birdlike" solo AT FULL SPEED! I didn't even come close on that one, but it gives you an idea of the high bar that Garry can set in the lessons.

From time to time, Garry will also have me compose a written trumpet solo that incorporates all of the material that we have covered thus far.

JAZZ PIANO

In my two years of piano lessons with Garry, I have learned four different voicing types, which I can now use to comp and solo on any tune (slowly). And thanks to my ear training, I can now pre-hear the next notes in my head before I play them. Interestingly, I can pre-hear notes better on the piano than the trumpet, yet I never took the piano seriously until two years ago. I think that's due to the visual aspect of the piano, and my ability to see all of the notes and their relationship to each other.

As fun as it is to play through jazz tunes on the piano, I've also enjoyed how deeply the piano has broadened my understanding of jazz theory. Jazz theory, which was previously taught to me solely as a concept to memorize, has now become a living entity, as I play chord voicings, alter chord tones, and play through chord progressions. Knowing what I know now, I don't think schools should bother teaching music theory at all, unless it's done on the piano.

In case it isn't already obvious, I absolutely love playing the piano. Even if I never make things happen on trumpet, the piano is enough.

Speaking of the trumpet, I have finally reached a point in my playing where I actually want to play jazz with other people. This is a big deal for me, because in the past, whenever I played with others, it was always with a sense of obligation and dread. I knew that I *should* be playing with others to improve, but I also knew that I wasn't really prepared. Now, however, I do feel prepared. And I'm happy to say that, as of a few months ago, I've been playing every week with a piano and bass player (I pay them to come over and play). They are both quite a bit better than I am, but I'm able to mostly keep up, and I'm playing better than I ever have in the past.

EAR TRAINING

I've already had a couple of requests from people about the ear training portion of my lessons, so this section is a bit more detailed.

During my first year of ear training with Garry, almost all of my ear training assignments revolved around singing. One of the benefits of singing is that it requires a greater degree of precision than simply identifying something by ear. For example, when I started my lessons, I could easily identify a minor triad by its sound, but I couldn't accurately sight-sing each note of a minor triad against a reference pitch. When I tried, at least one of the notes would be a little sharp or flat and it wouldn't have the correct "minor" sound. Now that I've used singing to fine-tune my ear training, I have a much stronger grasp of the sound of each interval, chord, etc., than I ever had before.

After my first year or so of singing exercises with Garry, he gave me some very challenging listening exercises. In part, they were challenging because the exercises had me listening to piano voicings with root notes in the octaves below middle C. In all the years that I had been doing ear training on my own, I typically focused on notes above middle C (the primary range of the trumpet). Since I neglected the lower pitches, my ability to hear them was much worse than my ability to hear notes in the staff. Similarly, I wasn't very good with notes above my playable trumpet range. All of that is stuff that I'm working on now, though, by incorporating higher and lower octaves when I use my online ear trainer (you can change octaves with the ear trainer's Key Center option).

Some of you may be aware of Charlie Banacos' exercise of a cadence followed by a single note. I had actually learned about that exercise long before my lessons with Garry, and long before I signed the NDA. It's mentioned in several of other web sites and ear training methods, so it definitely isn't a secret anymore. Although I have become very accurate with that exercise, I still use it each day as a warmup before moving on to more challenging ear training exercises. It's an exercise that I'd recommend, especially to anyone who has trouble identifying interval sounds. I even turned it into a sample exercise for my online ear trainer (Sample Exercise: Intervals: Cadence + Note).

I'd say the most important lesson I've learned about ear training is in regard to practice time. Obviously, ear training has been a major focus of mine for many years. I built the first version of my ear trainer back in 2004, and have practiced ear training ever since. I was often so busy with work, though, that I was lucky if I could sneak in five or ten minutes of ear training practice each day. While that was better than nothing, it just wasn't enough time to get significant results.

Since studying with Garry, I spend at least an hour on ear training every day. I break that up into three sessions. The first session is all listening, which occurs while I do yoga and other activities. That session will include hands-free ear training exercises, like the cadence followed by a note, which I mentioned earlier. Other exercises include singing notes over a chord progression (similar to sample exercise: Outline Chord Tones: Single Key). In my exercises, however, I practice singing non-chord tones as well. For example, while listening to a C-7 chord, I'll sing a major third (E natural), as well as all of the other intervals.

My second ear training practice session of the day is all sight-singing. When I started with Garry, we focused on singing intervals by relating them to a C reference pitch. From there I moved on to chords. I still practice some of that each day, but now I also sing a wider variety of things like four-part Bach chorales (a suggestion given to me by Dave Douglas), as well as jazz chord progressions (I take a page of the Real Book each day, sing the melody, outline the chord progressions, sing a solo, etc). I originally used solfege in my sight-singing, but since all of my exercises at that time used C as the root, my solfege became fixed to a C key center. To break myself of that, I started using "ba" or "da" for all of the syllables. As of a couple of weeks ago, Garry has had me return to solfege, but this time I'm using moveable "Do," as I sing the melodies of jazz standards.

My third ear training session of the day is done on the trumpet (and sometimes piano). Most of that uses custom exercises that I created, based on the Charlie Banacos material in my lessons. I can't share those exercises, but I can recommend things like playing jazz licks and random melodies on your instrument by ear around the circle of 4ths/5ths (Sample Exercise: Melodies: Play by Ear in 12 Keys). You can also try to outline chord progressions by ear, after you've established a key center and/or listened to a reference pitch (again, Sample Exercise: Outline Chord Tones: Single Key). I also practice playing jazz licks over random chord changes by ear. For example, if the lick starts on the 3rd of a chord, I listen for the 3rd of each random chord and start with that note.

To my amazement, I'm now at the point where I can wake up each day, go to my ear trainer, and sight-sing 10 random notes (using an exercise like this). I don't use a reference pitch and I'm correct nearly 100% of the time. Note, there's nothing wrong with using a reference pitch. After all, reference pitches are the backbone of "relative pitch." I just don't seem to need them when I get up each morning. I do, however, use reference pitches throughout the remainder of the day. That way I can check myself and make sure I don't get thrown off, especially if I've been working in a specific key for a while.

My ability to play the trumpet by ear has also improved a lot, but not quite to the level of my sight-singing. That's partly due to my old habit of doubting myself as I play. In the past, I'd occasionally hear a pitch and I'd think it's one note, then wonder if maybe it's a different note, then change my mind again and get the note wrong. That process has become so ingrained into my trumpet playing, that it's hard to break free and actually trust myself. The good news is that, more often than not, my initial belief is now correct. Hopefully it's just a matter of time before I can build confidence and trust my ability to play by ear on the trumpet.

THE LESSON PROCESS

If you're thinking of studying with Garry Dial, you might like to know a little about the lesson process.

Initially, my lessons with Garry took place at his apartment in NYC (the same apartment where Bill Evans celebrated his 50th birthday party). At the end of each lesson, Garry would give me a written assignment, which I would then practice and demonstrate at the following lesson.

At the onset of COVID, my lessons with Garry shifted entirely to a correspondence format. For the correspondence lessons, I pay for four lessons up-front. Each lesson comes via email, and a week later I respond by sending him recordings of myself doing the various exercises. Several of Charlie Banacos' students took lessons via this same correspondence method -- although back then they used handwritten instructions and cassette tapes.

During COVID, Garry also added the option for one-on-one Zoom lessons. If you decide to take lessons with Garry, I'd definitely recommend Zoom for the first handful of lessons, since you'll probably have a lot of questions. Zoom might also be your preference if you'd rather avoid the wait between submitting a correspondence lesson and receiving an email reply from Garry. Sometimes Garry responds on the same day, but most often it takes a few days before he replies (I use that time to review some of the older material). Also, while Garry is extremely knowledgable when it comes to music, he isn't exactly the most computer savvy person. Between his typos and cryptic descriptions, it can be a bit of a challenge to decipher a lesson via email. Thankfully, Garry also includes a recorded audio file that explains each part of the assignment. Unfortunately, those instructions are sometimes hard to understand too! Personally, I enjoy the, "can I figure this out?" aspect of the correspondence lessons (it's like a lesson *within* the lesson!), but it might be frustrating for some.

If you do end up taking lessons with Garry, maybe you could avoid mentioning the part where I make fun of his computer skills :-)

December 24, 2016 Jazz Improvisation 6 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2016

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2016. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

DECEMBER 24, 2016

My weekly jam session group has been playing "Beautiful Love" lately, so I thought I'd use it for one of my jazz improvisation recordings. I don't have an Aebersold play along track for this, so I ended up using a backing track provided by LearnJazzStandards.com, which you can find here on YouTube.

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Beautiful Love

Although my endurance has actually been pretty good lately, this clip comes at the end of my practice session and I can't quite hold on for the full two choruses. Fade out to the rescue!

JULY 3, 2016

In my daily practice routine, I always try to set aside some time to play along with actual recordings. This gets me out of my comfort zone as I try to blend in, as though I'm another musician in the band. I've been doing this for several years, but as my ability to play by ear has improved, the results are finally worth sharing. Actually, I should let you be the judge of that...

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Airelle Besson - The Painter and the Boxer

In the clip above, I'm improvising along with Paris-based trumpeter, Airelle Besson's, recording of "The Painter and the Boxer," from her recent album, "Radio One." This track popped up in Apple Music, as part of their "A-List: Jazz" playlist. When it came on I thought... "ooh, that sounds interesting," so I picked up my horn and started recording. The clip captures my attempt to improvise while listening to the track for the very first time.

I hadn't heard of Airelle Besson prior to this track, but I've since learned a bit more about her and I've listened to the entire "Radio One" album a couple of times already. If you like what you hear in my recording, you should definitely give her album a listen. As you might imagine, it sounds a lot better without me getting in the way.

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #44, Autumn Leaves

Before you listen, I should state that the audio quality of this recording is even worse than usual. I know, I didn't think that was possible either! My guess is that I was standing too close to the microphone. Or maybe I accidentally turned on Garageband's kazoo filter. In any case, try to pretend that I have a warm smoky tone. And while you're at it, you could pretend that I didn't miss those notes at the end of the solo.

I like that I took my time in this solo, without trying to play a bunch of notes, as is sometimes tempting at slower tempos. There is a brief sixteenth-note run, but I cut it short after deciding that it wasn't necessary. Other than that, I think it's ok. I won't have a chance to record for a while, but hopefully I'll be able to post a few more clips before the year is over.

August 30, 2015 Jazz Improvisation 2 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2015

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2015. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

AUGUST 30, 2015

I've been traveling a lot lately, so I haven't had much time to record myself. Now that I'm home, I decided to fire up Garageband and see if I could record anything worth sharing. I like bits and pieces of these solos, but each have their moments of cringe -- my signature sound!

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #40, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise

This is my second time recording "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise." The first time was back in 2006. Unlike 2006's recording, today's version eases into the improvisation a bit before building. It also extends through two choruses. There are elements of today's solo that I prefer (like the nice high C!), but I can also hear myself getting a little anxious as I tried to hold on through the second chorus without making any major mistakes that would ruin the clip.

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #34, There Is No Greater Love

I've enjoyed "There Is No Greater Love" ever since I first heard Sonny Rollins' version on "Way Out West." I love how slowly he takes the tune, giving him time to really dig into the changes and explore the harmony (I also really like the version on "People Time" by Kenny Barron and Stan Getz).

Unfortunately, when I first tried playing "There Is No Greater Love," I found it rather challenging to play over the first four measures of the "A" sections. Rather than play something that made musical sense over the entire four measures, I'd end up playing four different one-measure solos due to the movement of the chords. I've stuck with the tune, however, and I'm finally at a place where I can occasionally play a decent solo. This might not be the best solo I've ever played over "There Is No Greater Love," but I think it meets my goal of at least making some musical sense.

May 16, 2014 Jazz Improvisation 4 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2014

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2014. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

MAY 16, 2014

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #50, Nardis

As I explained in my 11-year anniversary article, in 2013 I bought a new laptop and I lost the ability to use my old Firewire recording interface. That's why 2013 passed by without any new jazz improvisation clips. At the end of 2013, I solved this issue by buying a new Scarlett 2i2 USB recording interface. And after waiting six months, today I finally decided to use it!

In this clip, you'll hear me play a solo to "Nardis," a tune written by Miles Davis. Actually, since Miles never recorded "Nardis" and since Bill Evans played "Nardis" all the time, I figured it was actually Bill Evans who wrote "Nardis," with Miles snagging the publishing credits. In this YouTube video, however, Bill Evans sets the record straight. Miles Davis wrote "Nardis" for Cannonball Adderley, but the tune because associated with Bill Evans when "no one else seemed to pick up on it."

Usually, my audio clips are mixed down to "mono" so the trumpet and backing tracks are merged. I thought that Garageband did that for me in the past, but I couldn't figure out how to do it in the latest version. I don't particularly like the separation. It makes it too easy to nitpick my playing!

August 4, 2012 Jazz Improvisation 7 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2012

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2012. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

AUGUST 4, 2012

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #108, Recorda-Me

Ever since my poor performance at the International Trumpet Guild conference, I've dedicated a decent chunk of my practice time to memorizing tunes. One of the tunes that I've memorized is "Recorda-Me," by Joe Henderson.

Before I recorded this jazz improvisation clip, I promised myself that no matter how bad I up sounding, I'm still going to share something from the recording session. As you'll hear in this recording, I stayed true to that promise!

The two choruses don't really fit together at all, but that's because I didn't like what I played in the first chorus. This happens a lot when I record. I'll try an idea, and if it doesn't go anywhere, I'll move on to a new idea in the following chorus. Typically, in these instances I'll only post one chorus, but since neither of these are a winner in my opinion, I decided to share them both.

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that I've been out of town for the past 5 weeks. I brought my trumpet with me, but I only ended up practicing about once a week. Consequently, I'm still a bit rusty as I work to rebuild my chops. Isn't it convenient that I always have an excuse when I don't like my playing? Yes, it is convenient.

MARCH 13, 2012

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #33, El Gaucho

Today I'm sharing two choruses of me improvising to Wayne Shorter's composition, "El Gaucho." In the first chorus, I was trying to capture some of the light and floating qualities of Wayne Shorter's recorded solo. I'm not sure it comes across all that well, but there are a couple of spots where you can hear faint glimpses of Wayne's trademark style in my solo. Or maybe you'll think, "That guy tried to play like Wayne Shorter and failed miserably." In either case, you thought about Wayne Shorter while listening to me. Mission accomplished.

In my nine-year anniversary article I mentioned my recent root canal and how I thought the temporary tooth had strengthened my chops. Well, it appears that I may have celebrated too soon. I've had my new crown for a couple of months now, and all the progress I thought I had made seems to have vanished. The new crown has subtle differences in shape from my previous crown and those tiny differences seem to have made a big difference in my playing. I'm not exactly rebuilding my embouchure, but I am struggling to recapture what little upper range I had just a few months ago. I guess it's mostly a matter of endurance. Where I once could play ten minutes of notes above the staff during each session, I can only play five minutes now. You'll hear a nice example of my post-five-minute range during the second chorus of my solo.

August 21, 2011 Jazz Improvisation 10 Comments

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2011

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2011. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2022

AUGUST 21, 2011

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #59, Caravan

For the past few months, I've been playing weekly (and weakly!) with that in-house jam session from a couple of years ago. We've played "Caravan" a few times, and since I haven't totally hated my playing, I thought it would be a good tune to record and share on this site. No, this recording isn't of a group performance. It's just me and an Aerbersold track, and actually, it was quite a bit more challenging than playing with live musicians. With a live group of musicians, I can play a short phrase and leave some space for the rhythm section to respond with a rhythmic hit or a variation on my riff. Obviously, the recording won't respond to my playing, so those same short phrases end up sounding kind of empty and pointless.

After a few takes, I settled on the two choruses that you'll hear in this recording. As you might notice, my chops sound pretty tired. I've been having a lot of problems with chop fatigue lately and I'm not sure what to do about it. I'll also talk more about that in my upcoming anniversary article.

APRIL 25, 2011

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #53, Joy Spring

It's been over six months since I shared my last jazz improvisation recording, so here are two full choruses of Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring." I first tried playing "Joy Spring" back when I was in college, but I really struggled to play over the shifting chord progressions. This past weekend I decided to give it another try and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could keep up with the changes and play something that didn't sound entirely tragic. I think that sums up the two choruses that you'll hear in my recording from last night: not entirely tragic.

The first chorus is a bit sparse and somewhat pleasant sounding. In the second chorus I thought I'd channel my inner Clifford Brown and try some faster lines near the end. Unfortunately, it appears that I don't have an inner Clifford Brown. Or if I do, he hasn't practiced in a very long time. The first of the fast phrases is actually pretty good, but by the third and final attempt it's downright comedic as the notes spill out of my horn in a jumbled mess.

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