“Hora Decubitus” (a.k.a.”E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too”) comes from my favorite Charles Mingus record, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus from 1963. The tune is a E-flat minor blues with a harmonic twist. Each chorus of the melody adds a new layer of counterpoint. I love to teach this tune by ear in my large group improvisation workshops. Below is my transcription of the horn parts. Enjoy!
The ‘card came’ removed my usual block of being terrified to make s*** up (is it good?) and I felt really free. It was just inside my comfort zone and I was pleased with my own contribution.
– Kendal Seager, violin
Game Symphony Workshop participant
Stop trying to beat everyone else. True success is creating work that no one else can replicate. Don’t aim to be the best—aim to be the only.
When you’re truly unmistakable, the competition becomes completely irrelevant. You’re not the best option, you’re the only option
– Srini Rao, Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best
Keith Jarrett doesn’t have any competition. If you want to hear Keith’s play live, there is no substitute for the man himself. Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Bill Frisell, Roy Hargrove, and Pat Metheny are have carved out their own categories. They are unmistakable.
Are these musicians objectively the “best” at what they do? It’s an irrelevant question. These renowned artists have stepped out of the world of measurement into a universe of possibility.
Graphic novel author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi wrote a succinct description of the creative process that resonated with artists all over the world:
It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quality and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.
Adam Grant, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
Courtesy of Flickr/Gwenn Seemel
Earlier this month a group of classically-trained adult musicians came together to launch the Game Symphony Workshop. The program is designed to unlock and unblock creativity, ease fears, build community, and generate new music.
The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony (which is on sale until Friday, June 15th on Amazon).
The bridge of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” is a chain of dominant chords that moves around the circle of fifths:
I had an exhilarating and inspiring weekend with thirteen musicians for the maiden voyage of the Game Symphony Workshop!
The event brought together a diverse group of musicians, including professional orchestral players, band directors, university students, and amateur musicians. The two day workshop at Seattle Pacific University culminated with the premiere of sixteen original pieces. The performance featured an improvised film score, abstract soundscapes, meditative minimalism, musical settings for poetry, solo improvisations, and Soundpainting, a sign language for live composition.
I’m fascinated with how artists reconcile creating art with earning a living. Being a starving artist isn’t inevitable, but being passionate and skilled doesn’t entitle us to earn a living. The saying “do what you love and the money will follow” just doesn’t cut it!
No shows booked at the moment.