About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lesson #4

Continuing my practice of summarizing my lessons with Dave Frackenpohl to get a handle on my new assignment and help others who may be on the same path.

I've been working on:

  • Dorian and Mixolydian scale patterns.
  • Using Maiden Voyage as a vehicle for practicing arpeggio patterns and "thinking" in Dorian mode.
  • Learning the second half of Wes Montgomery's solo in Fly Me to the Moon from his Road Songs album.
  • Learning Out of Nowhere.
  • Working through three choruses from the F Blues exercise in Galbraith's Guitar Comping book.
  • Learning Now's the Time.
  • Solidifying my time with a metronome exercise. Click here to read about the exercise.
Today's lesson went well. I was pretty solid on everything, despite not having as much time to practice as usual.

Here's my assignment for the next lesson:
  • Bebop scale. To expand my musical vocabulary, I'm learning the major bebop scale. (Just add a half step between the 5th and the 6th.)
  • Comping rhythms. To give me some more comping ideas, Dave has given me a series of rhythms to use for comping. There's nothing drastic here. I'm just expanding what I already use.
  • Blues project. My jazz blues playing isn't terribly strong. To shore up this weakness, we're starting a blues project. I'm working on Bag's Groove. I already know the tune. To improve my solo chops, I'll be transcribing some Miles Davis choruses. This is the beginning of a long term blues project.
  • ii-V project. To add to my bag of tricks, Dave gave me a sheet of ii-V licks. My assignment is to learn two or three of these licks and insert them into my solos wherever I can. You can bet that I'll be overusing these licks on my next quartet gig! That's the way to learn them, though – just use them over and over. As usual, they'll sound forced at first, but they will eventually find their way into my brain and begin to flow naturally in my improvisations. This is a long term project.
  • Galbraith F Blues comping exercise. I've worked through nearly half of the F Blues exercise. I'll add to more choruses for the next lesson, and then I'll nearly be finished with this one. This Galbraith Guitar Comping book is great! There's no way I could remember all the new chord forms in a live playing situation, but one or two new chord voicings always stick with me whenever I'm working on these exercises. It's nice to be able to add chord voicing options.
  • Wes Montgomery solo. I've finished memorizing the Wes Montgomery Fly Me to the Moon Solo, which is played in octaves throughout. Now I'm learning it again without the octaves. I will continue to run through the solo playing in octaves, but when I learn it without the octaves, I'll be able to glean more licks to use in my single line improvisations.
  • Nostalgia. This bebop tune uses the same chord changes as Out of Nowhere, which I learned for today's lesson. My assignment is to learn the tune, and then transcribe and learn Fats Navarro's trumpet solo. I learned a new word today – contrafaction. When someone takes the chord changes from a song and writes a new melody over the preexisting chord changes, it's called a contrafaction. Now you know.
As usual, I have a challenging new assignment. This is all great stuff!

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