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This month, it's back to the etudes, and this one is over the jazz standard "There Will Never Be Another You". This etude focusses on leaning into tension notes with the chord changes (often times notes that are a half step above or below a chord tone). This practice, as well as using long, syncopated notes, creates a playful tension that can make your improvising sound exciting! I highly recommend taking this and adding it over your favorite songs, even just isolating practicing playing delayed resolutions on their own.As a more general practice, I myself try to highlight a musical decision I can make, and practice "over-doing" that concept over all of my favorite tunes, even over every single chord it fits in. This builds a muscle memory that you can apply naturally during real time improvising. And, once you get that down, try creating sequences of these that mix up the rhythm or which tension note, and even integrate this alongside another musical decision you've been working on!
This month, I wanted to highlight an album that I'm almost certain you wouldn't expect! While I know that I focus heavily on the bebop and blues part of being an improviser, I find myself inspired by all types of music within our beloved genre. This month's album is Tigran Himasayan's "StandArt". Tigran Hamasayan is an Armenian pianist who began studying jazz at age nine. He his known for his application of Armenian folk music into his jazz compositions, and his use of highly complex rhythm and polyrhythm. He often composes and arranges works that are in odd meters, or uses quintuplet and septuplet divisions as a staple of his writing. This album is a wholly unique take on standards. If you look at the track list, you will see common standards like "All the Things You Are" and "Softly as In a Morning Sunrise". Once the tracks start, however, you're greeted by a cascade of rhythm and harmony that creates a fresh take on these classic songs. The one thing that sets these arrangements apart to me , however, is that you can still hear the song within them!As a final note, I'm so excited to be back home after six months of touring with Michael Bublé, and I'm happy to have some free time to accommodate a few new students. Should any of you be interested in diving deeper into any of the concepts we've talked about, or are interested in anything that I can offer, feel free to reach out to me and we can coordinate time. I am also happy to accommodate students that are of any economic situation, so please let me know if you have need for financial accommodations!