Next Jam

Next jam May 3, 2014

We had a cozy jam session on Sunday. Many high school students were out of town on spring break, two jazz concerts overlapped with the jam (jazz violinist Chris Howes at the Brink, The Darren Sterud Orchestra at the Cardinal), and we were not at our usual 3rd Sunday of the month. For those that were there it was great: the band was fantastic and we all got to play a lot!

Everything should be back to normal on May 3rd. The band is Eric Koppa – sax/educator, Dave Stoler – piano, Nick Moran – bass, and Michael Brenneis – drums. The tune-of-the-week is Cherokee. This tune is usually called at a very rapid tempo and involves many key changes. It is a great tune to work on fundamentals and fast tempos. Educational notes from  Michael B-B are below. You may also want to check out articles about playing fast tempos – see here and here. Greg Fishman also has a nice article about playing Cherokee.

Learning to play Cherokee is a long term project. If you haven’t worked on it before it’s good to start now, but don’t be afraid to come to the jam with a different tune in mind. Previous and future tunes-of-the-week are good alternatives. Previous tunes are listed here, and future tunes are on the schedule page which we just updated.

Historical Spotlight

Historical Spotlight – Art Tatum

Born in 1909 in Toldeo, Ohio, Arthur Tatum Jr. is known for his incredible technical dexterity and his near blindness. His formal training came from the Toledo School of Music (where he learned to read sheet music in Braille), but he was primarily self taught … [Read More...]

Tune for May 3


Cherokee, one of the most challenging and omni-present barometers of jazz competency. What are the tools one needs to negotiate it successfully? Arpeggios, and the use of space at fast tempos are critical to a solid improvisational performance on this … [Read More...]

Learning Jazz

Creativity quote

Recent quote from jazz musician Matt Mitchell: "...the assumption that you can't be creative until you've learned [scales] or [chords] or [30 Bird solos] thing I realize the more I teach -- musicians at ANY level can ALWAYS be creative! … [Read More...]