Recordings posted, next jam June 10th

Recordings from our last jam at Liliana's have been posted.

Release the Sunbird plays the ESC last year, photo by Clay Dewey.

Our next jam is June 10th at the East Side Club. These summer jams at the ESC are going to be great so take advantage of them! We'll be outside and they'll have a Tiki Bar going. Kids can run around, the sun will be shining (of course it will!), the lake is right there. Doesn't get much better.

If you need to read music just remember to bring something to hold it down in case of a breeze.

Tunes for June 2012: "Sandu" and "Out of Nowhere"

Performance Notes by Dan Wallach

Sandu was recorded by Clifford Brown in 1955 on his Study In Brown album.  This tune is a straight-forward 12-bar blues in concert Eb.  This blues employs a more advanced blues progression, including the VI dominant seventh chord in the 8th bar:

|| Eb7    | Ab7    | Eb7               | Eb7               |
|  Ab7    | Ab7    | Eb7               | G-7  C7(b9) |
|  F-7     | Bb7    | Eb7  C7(b9) | F-7   Bb7      ||

In working on this tune, attempt to play more than a “blues scale” solo.  Explore the actual chord changes with extra attention given to the correct thirds and sevenths within each chord.  Also, I will ask that no written music be brought up when we play this tune.  This will encourage all of us to listen to the original recording often and play it as it is on the recording, with good phrasing.  The recording is available on YouTube (below) and Grooveshark.  I highly recommend buying your own recording of this whole album.  I believe it is truly a recording all jazz musicians should own.


Out of Nowhere, is a jazz standard written by Johnny Green.  Despite the leaping intervals of the “B” section, this is not a difficult tune and spans a range of only a ninth. An interesting part of this tune lies in its opening chord progression, which contains echoes of French Impressionism.  I is followed by bVI7–in the original key, Gmaj7 followed by Eb7, then back to the Gmaj7.  Music theorists call the Eb7 an “augmented sixth,” which usually resolves to a V7 – I cadence, however, Green skips this, going directly back to Gmaj7.  The missing V7 is implied by the return to the tonic.

The next four measures of “A” and the first four measures of “B” simply play with the iii7(b5) – VI7 – ii7 sequence. In the fifth measure of “B1,” however, an augmented sixth chord returns for two full measures before resolving to V. In the second “B,”, this does not happen; the ii7 goes to a decorative iv chord, delaying the final resolution which comes by way of a two-measure descending progression which is used fairly frequently:  iii7 – biii˚7 – ii7 – V7 (this is really a circle of fifths in which the vi or VI7 has been replaced by the iii˚7, which also functions as a vii˚7/V – the intervening ii being a decorative delaying mechanism).  Please listen to this version of Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, and Django Reinhardt.


Oleo and Just Friends again this week

Better late than never, tunes from our last jam at the East Side Club are posted. If you're getting ready for our jam this coming Sunday at Liliana's it's worth listening to Oleo, Just Friends, and Michael's commentary after each one.

Michael discussed important topics not previously covered at our jams: developing Forward Motion by practicing using just the 1st 5 notes of each chord, and using strings of eighth notes. He had the players solo using these limitations and they sounded remarkably different. Practicing using limitations is a great way to push your playing in new directions.

This Sunday we'll have a great band once again; Fritz Schenker on keys, John Mesoloras on bass, and Rodrigo Villanueva on drums. In particular, I'm looking forward to hearing and playing with Rodrigo again. His playing at the jam several weeks ago was fantastic! See you there.

Just Friends: G or F

We didn't give you much time to prepare for this week and I apologize for that. Although the tunes were selected some time ago they weren't posted on the Schedule page until a few days ago. Just Friends is not an easy tune to learn in one week, and some of you may also have been surprised we are doing it in G. Because it's performed at least as often in F we'll do it in both keys if we have jammers that have learned it in F. We have done lots of other tunes so if you're not ready for Just Friends plan to play one of those.

The Schedule page lists not only dates and band personnel but the tunes as well.  It is now complete through August so we encourage you to look ahead and prepare well in advance.

Vocal Stylizing Workshop w/ Mary Stallings open for registration




Presented in association with the Madison Music Collective

When:  Thursday evening, May 31, 2012, Workshop from 6:00-8:00 PM, with an optional vocal showcase from 8:00-9:00 PM


Where:  Edgewater Hotel,Wisconsin Avenue atLangdon Street, in DowntownMadison


Program Description:  This workshop is aimed at helping vocalists set a mood, tell a story, and shape phrases, and generally work toward developing their own unique sound.  The workshop will be facilitated by Laurie Lang, jazz bassist and Director of the Madison-based Improvisational Music Workshop. Following introductory remarks by Mary Stallings and Ms. Lang, the program will proceed through three segments.

  1. The workshop will begin with a “group sing” of “Night Mist Blues” (Ahmad Jamal, composer), which appears on Ms. Stallings’ new CD, “Don’t Look Back” (High Note Records, 2012).  All participants will be expected to learn this song in advance and to be fully prepared for a jam on it.
  2. The “group sing” will be followed by a “master class” in which Ms. Stallings demonstrates through her singing (and with support from her pianist, David Udolf) the principles, characteristics, and practices of jazz vocal styles.  During this segment, each participant (if they wish) will sing a song of their choosing and receive feedback from Ms. Stallings on how to further stylize their approach.  Participants choosing to sing in this segment will be expected to provide a chart or music in their key for the pianist to accompany them.
  3. The workshop will conclude with an optional vocal showcase in the Edgewater’s Cove Lounge that’s open to friends, family members, and the general public, at which participants can perform their workshop song (and perhaps one additional song).

Registration Fee:  $50.00, payable in advance

Registration Deadline:  Thursday, May 24, 2012

Registration Limit:  To maximize personal attention to participants, registration will be limited to a maximum of 16 registrants. Participants will be selected on a first-come basis, with confirmations being sent immediately upon receipt of the registration form and fee payment.

For more about Mary Stallings:

 Madison Music Collective, PO Box 2096, Madison, WI 53701-2096





(To Register:  copy, paste, fill this out and snail mail the registration form, sending it, with your registration fee (check payable to “Madison Music Collective”), to Laurie Lang,3014 Diane Drive,Middleton,WI 53562.  Registrations will be accepted (up to a limit of 16) through day’s end, May 24, 2012.


Registrant Name __________________________________



Registration Mailing Address _________________________



Registrant Phone # _______________________


Registrant Email Address __________________________________

This week's tunes: Oleo and Just Friends

Another fun session at the East Side Club last week. And Rodrigo, what a drummer! To hear a drummer of his caliber up close and for free is fantastic, but to be on the same stage making music with him is unreal. Take a listen to the recordings which are now posted.

We'll be back at the East Side Club again next week. There will be two changes: we'll have Michael BB as our educator for the first time, and we won't have a horn player in the house band. Michael has a tremendous knowledge of jazz and music of all kinds, has taught privately for years, and has published his own teaching materials. I've learned a lot from playing music with him and I'm sure everyone else can, too.

Without a horn player to lead us everyone needs to be on the ball. So practice those tunes! Oleo is a rhythm changes tune, same as Lester Leaps In which we did in the past. Just Friends may require more work. Make sure you're practicing it in the right key - we are doing it in G (it is commonly done in F as well).

Here's a video of Just Friends I like, especially the scatting by Chet. Every note is perfectly placed in terms of pitch and time. I've found scatting to be very useful for improving my improvising. It forces you to really hear melodies and be precise with your ideas. Then I try to play these ideas on my sax. My goal is to get away from finger wiggling and play just the melodies I hear in my head.

Both Chet's and Stan's solos are also good examples of pacing ideas. Check out the amount of space in their solos. The space brackets ideas and makes them stand out, and also allows you time to think about your next idea. You'll feel more relaxed, and produce stronger melodies with less finger wiggling.