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.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lesson Recap 6/9/14

I just returned from a good jazz guitar lesson with Dave Frackenpohl at GSU. I was ultra-prepared for this one. I wish I could say that about every lesson.

Dave gave me a lot to work on for this lesson, which included:

  • Satin Doll: 3-note comping exercise. This was pretty simple, and it was a good warm-up. These 3-note voicings are a good reminder that there is power in simplicity. I don't have to try to play every note of every chord. Even in a setting where the guitar is the only instrument, simple 3-note voicings often sound best.
  • Joy Spring: This is a workout! The melody is challenging on guitar (at least for me), and the chords are a little tricky to improvise over (at least for me), but I love this tune. It sounds so happy! Dave clued me into a simple Coltrane approach for when the chords come at you two to a bar. If you can't think of anything else to do, it's quite effective to outline the chords with a 1-2-3-5 pattern. That's an idea I'll be incorporating into other songs. Next assignment: Continue this song to build speed and work out some 1-2-3-5 Coltrane patterns.
  • Body and Soul: I did pretty well at this playing in the key in which I sing it (Bb). I've been singing it in this key so long that I had forgotten that the stock key is Db. Next assignment: Learn it in Db.
  • Bernie's Tune: This is a fairly easy song to learn, but it highlights my lack of dexterity. I can play pretty stuff all day long, but my fingers aren't very nimble. Next assignment: Dave gave me some scale patterns to practice. Over the D minor, I'll be practicing a D dorian bebop scale, and over the Bb7, I'll be practicing F dorian bebop and F melodic minor. It'll sound like mindless scale practice for a while, but it'll help speed up my technique.
  • Saint Thomas: I transcribed the classic Jim Hall solo, from his duet with Ron Carter. Aside from being a terrific solo, this is a great exercise in using voicings with octaves and 6ths. Next assignment: Memorize the solo and work it up to speed.
In addition to the assignments listed above, I am to memorize Angel Eyes, B├ęsame Mucho, and Song for My Father

Despite playing well today, most of my next assignment is a reassignment of the tunes I just played, but I don't mind. In repeating these songs, Dave is prodding me to dig deeper into the music and improve my technique. The work I put into these songs directly affects my understanding of the rest of my repertoire. I'm looking forward to further exploration in a couple weeks.

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