Tag Archives: Jazz Education

Au Revoir, Miles

The moment is finally here.  In seven days, we put the AJW’s Miles Davis season to bed. It didn’t feel like it would ever end, back in September of last year.  Then, we were looking at an unbroken sea of 124 dates.  Today, there are five left. Over the last nine months, I learned a …

Advertisement

Continue reading

How to Make a Million Dollars Playing Jazz

Start with two million… I know, ancient, right?  But there is a reason the conventional wisdom is just that. A while back, a friend told me he had been talking about me with his private students.  I assumed it was just another instance of someone offering me up as a cautionary tale, but no.  He …

Continue reading

Remembering Marty Allen and Bill Kirchner

No, not the comedian and the saxophonist.  Those are two different fellows. Marty Allen was a pianist and dear friend who moved to Austin from the Bay Area some seventeen years ago.  A remarkably gifted musician with a highly original approach, Marty worked with many people, and as a soloist, until he died unexpectedly of …

Continue reading

Funny How Time Slips Away

In 1975 (a mere 37 years ago, but who’s counting), I was an undergraduate in the UT School of Communications, which had recently relocated to a monolithic rust-colored building at the corner of 26th and Guadalupe, where it remains today.  And considering the education I received there, rust is a particularly appropriate color choice. At …

Continue reading

Herding Cats for Fun, Not So Much Profit

  Best thing about being leader of a professional jazz ensemble: the players are all accomplished enough to make their own musical decisions. Worst thing about being the leader of a professional jazz ensemble:  same thing. But if you’re an easygoing guy like me <hey, quitcher laughing over there>, that’s not the worst thing in …

Continue reading

Babes in Bopsiland

One of the things I appreciate about the AJW project is how it encourages the presentation of types of music that may be outside my comfort zone as a player. I mean, we have done Monk, Gershwin, Jobim, Ellington, Rahsaan, etc. Now we’re doing Miles, which is to say four distinct musical movements as we …

Continue reading

I won’t dance…

Last week, I was in a classroom full of fourth graders playing sax and talking about jazz and Miles Davis, when a young man raised his hand and asked: “Do you have any power moves?” I paused for a moment, which gave him a chance to elaborate: “you know, like sliding across the stage on …

Continue reading

Musings on Miles

Next Wednesday is the 20th anniversary of Miles Davis’ death.  I trust you have the altar in your home prepared, the candles ready for lighting. This year for Season Eighteen, the AJW is presenting Miles’ music for elementary school students.  That’s a tough one on a variety of levels.  I had some thoughts going in …

Continue reading

Serendipity & Second Chances

The path leading me to the life of a jazz musician was not without its twists. I always loved music, and began playing in middle school.  But I dropped out of band in high school because I hated to march and didn’t see the point of playing yet another Percy Grainger air for wind ensemble.  …

Continue reading

To Shtick or Not To Shtick

Isn’t that always the question? I could lie and say that the reason we do comedy bits, costumes, signs, singalongs, whatever, in our shows–is solely because we want to make jazz performance kid-friendly.  That is one reason, no doubt.  But the truth is–I enjoy it too. There, I said it.  I’m renouncing the Marsalis Oath …

Continue reading