Hi there folks, wishing everyone a happy New Year. I had a great little vacation from teaching filled with eating, practicing and hanging out with friends and family. A few gigs coming up that I’m excited about. On Jan. 19th I’ll be at the Blue Whale with Jason Harnell and Joe Bagg. We have a group called Sigmund Fudge with Ryan McGillicuddy on bass but since Ryan is teaching in Korea currently we’re trying it sans bass, hence “Just Fudge”. And then Jan. 29, I’ll be playing at John Pisano’s Guitar Night at Lucy’s 51. All of us jazz guys in LA know what a treasure John is to the scene and it’s always an honor to be asked to play with him. Hope to see some of you guys there!
A few weeks ago saxophonist/podcaster Alex Sadnik contacted me to do an interview on his “Break the Mold” podcast. Alex has been putting together great shows at the art gallery Exhibit A in Long Beach and it seems his desire to showcase interesting local music has spilled over into podcasting. Alex was kind enough to bring his recording equipment over to the house my lovely girlfriend Chelsea and I share in Altadena and had a thoughtful conversation over some Chemex brewed Jones coffee. You can find the interview right here.
When you finish that one you can find Alex’s other interviews with many of my favorite musicians like Jason Harnell, Joe Bagg, Joey Sellers and Ryan MgGillicuddy right here!
It’s been a little while, but I want to continue with my recommended listening list for my students and anyone new to jazz. Again, this is just my perspective on it and I may have left some guitarists off that aren’t on my favorites list. But I encourage everyone to explore on their own and come up with your own conclusions. If you missed my prior posts, you can find them here.
In the seventies we continued to see the influence of psychedelic rock and the sound innovations of Jimi Hendrix, resulting in jazz fusion. Out of Miles Davis’ bands, guitarists like John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock went in vastly different directions. In the straight ahead scene, Joe Pass made strides in solo guitar. And after heavily chops oriented music like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever became the norm, the ECM style emerged which emphasized a calmer, more meditative aesthetic. Here’s a sampling:
A few guys from the 70′s who I think were influential to other guitarists from that era but don’t have YouTube clips of their playing in the 70′s (correct me if I’m wrong):
Next up; the 80′s.
Dee Dee McNeil was kind enough to contact me to do an interview for the Mission Viejo Patch. The Saddleback Jazz Faculty had an upcoming concert (Aug 29) and the intention was that this interview would help promote it. Click here to read the published interview at the Patch.
Here’s the unedited interview, which is a bit longer.
Jamie Rosenn: In 1996, Art Hirahara (a great pianist now living in NY who I went to CalArts with) and I were chosen from a nationwide pool to be part of the Jazz Ambassador program through the United States Information
Agency. We visited Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in the Middle East and Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal in Southern Asia. Our concerts were attended by a widely varied audience of ambassadors, ex-patriots, students, local music fans, local musicians, etc. For the most part we were received very well. Even in Kuwait, where there was a protest around our appearance on the grounds that American music would corrupt their Islamic values, it turned out to be great advertising and the concert was a huge success. Many of the local music fans were unfamiliar with jazz but very polite and interested. Often we would jam with local musicians, which was always fascinating. Trying to find common ground in each others music was challenging but rewarding. The experience was tremendously eye opening for me. It demonstrated how music can be used to unite cultures that are very different.
Rosenn: I’ve been playing with the fantastic organ and piano player Joe Bagg since the late 90′s. We have a trio with the drummer Mark Ferber called Option 3 and recorded a CD a few years ago called “Points Subtracted” (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/
Rosenn: Any style of playing that is found on the East Coast can be found on the West Coast in varying degrees. Having said that though, I have found Boston and New York to be more open to experimentation and individuality.
Rosenn: My father is a psychiatrist and my mother is a psychologist and neither were musically inclined. However they were very supportive of me musically and never discouraged me from pursuing it as a career. My younger sister is involved in painting and art education and is a talented singer and my younger brother is a documentary director-editor/ blues-funk guitarist (www.gaberosenn.com).
Rosenn: I started playing guitar at about age 12 and got a subscription to Guitar Player Magazine. At the time the magazine covered very diverse genres of music and I soaked it up and investigated as much music as I could. I eventually gravitated towards jazz and when I was about 15 started playing in an ensemble at a local musical school in Weston, MA (much like the ensembles I teach at Saddleback now). After experiencing first hand how fun it was I was hooked!
Rosenn: My compositional process is widely varied. Sometimes I start with a title and see what musical images it conjures. Other times I start with a melodic or harmonic fragment and go from there. Sometimes I think about the players or instrumentation of a group I’m playing will inspire me to compose. Generally, the music I write is performed in groups that I lead or co-lead but Alan Ferber arranged and recorded by tune “Yore” on his album “Playground”(http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/
Rosenn: Thank you! “Outsole” is our second album (http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/
Rosenn: Teaching has changed my lifestyle so that I can pick and choose the gigs that are more rewarding to me musically than before I taught. It’s also great to interact with students who are excited about learning music and exchange ideas with them. Having to explain what has become automatic to me often provides different perspectives that revitalizes my practicing. I can benefit from it as much as them. The drawbacks are that it can tire me out. I teach at Saddleback, Cypress College, Musician’s Institute and Los Angeles Music Academy, so it can
get pretty busy.
Rosenn: We decided on our name because Jason Harnell, Matt Otto and myself all had separate bands with Joe Bagg so this band was “Joe-less”. The caps just naturally evolved over time and somewhere along the way stabilized.
Rosenn: My main projects are with Option 3, JoE-LeSs shOe and a third group called Sigmund Fudge with Joe Bagg on electric piano, Ryan McGillicuddy on bass and Jason Harnell on drums. Sigmund Fudge is due to record very soon. People can keep track of my gigs, CD’s and projects at www.jamierosenn.com.
Rosenn: My advice would be to keep and open mind and listen to a lot of music. Pay attention to what really impresses you and see if you can figure out why. Also spend some time imagining what you would sound like if you could play at the level you would like to eventually get to. What does it sound like? Keep whittling away, defining that sound in your head and you’ll have a clearer picture of what you need to do to achieve it.
As promised, and in a surprisingly timely fashion, here’s part 2 of my recommended listening list. This one’s going to focus on the 60′s, a decade where the role of the guitar started to diversify. Again, the names are links to the artist’s wikipedia entry.
My main motivation for putting this list together is to inspire guitarists who are just getting into jazz and want to know a bit more about the history. I would like to mention to you guitar guys, that guitar is just a small part of jazz history and you can only benefit from checking out all the greats, regardless of what instrument they play. Maybe a future post will go into more depth. So with that in mind…
Jim Hall (again!)
…and a precursor to what’s about to happen in the 70′s:
Ok, that’s it for now. Next up, the 70′s!
Way back at the beginning (30′s and 40′s)
From the 50′s
I might have to put a separate post together with a bunch of my favorite Jim Hall clips since his innovations spanned a number of decades and there’s so much great stuff! But here’s one of my favorites that displays how different his playing was compared to other guys in the 50′s.
In the next post … the 60′s and 70′s!
JoE-LeSs ShOe CD RELEASE PARTY!!
Happy New Year! Come help us celebrate the official release of JoE-LeSs ShOe’s second album, “OutSoLe” this Sunday, January 9th at the Baked Potato. Kick off the New Year right with a healthy dose of “ShOe” and a giant, mutant-sized potato…
JoE-LeSs ShOe CD Release Party @ The Baked Potato
This Sunday, January 9th, 2011
Two sets – 9:30 and 11:30 PM
$15 cover charge/$10 for students
3787 Cahuenga Blvd West
Studio City, CA
JoE-LeSs ShOe is:
Matt Otto – sax
Jamie Rosenn – guitar
Jason Harnell – drums
Check out the new CD at:
In 1997, a few years after I graduated from CalArt’s, my friend Koki (who was a jazz drummer that I went to school with) asked me to start doing reviews for a magazine he was working for called Bird Jazz Magazine. It was owned by a Japanese business man who loved jazz and had a dream to start a magazine. It lasted about a year and was a crazy experience for me. I didn’t have any experience writing reviews but Koki knew I had a bunch of CD’s and my English was better than everyone else’s in the office. I eventually became the editor and the magazine was getting national distribution. I loved getting free CD’s (I almost did a cartwheel when a promo version of the Complete Miles Davis 60′s Quintet box set came in the mail) but the politics involved with reviewing and editing got to be a drag. I stayed on for about five editions and then went back to being a musician. One of my favorite fun facts from that job was that my pen name I used when I reviewed albums I hated was Richard Muncher.
One series I enjoyed writing was “Behind the Standard” which traced the history of a standard and detailed a number of interesting versions. My writing may have been a bit dense at times (if I were to do it again I would cut way back on the adjectives) but I usually got good feedback from musicians who read it. Looking back on these articles, they really reflect my taste more than a comprehensive, historical approach. Here’s the first in the series from the February issue in 1998. Hope you enjoy it.
Behind the Standard
All the Things You Are
by Jamie Rosenn
When Jerome Kern wrote his ballad, “All the Things You Are” in 1939 for what was to be his last Broadway musical, “Very Warm for May”, he had no idea it would become a staple in the modern jazz repertoire. In fact he thought that the variety of key changes in the refrain and the melody’s somewhat unorthodox intervallic structure made the song “too hard for the public” to grasp. Apparently, so did Oscar Hammerstein II, the song’s lyricist, who tried to pull the song from the musical. Ultimately, the musical bombed but the song became one of Kern’s greatest hits, staying on the hit parade for weeks.
Dance versions of the tune started surfacing in the early forties by Tommy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo, but it wasn’t until around 1945 when the tune became a vehicle for improvisation. Musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would call the tune at jam sessions, and found that the song’s harmonic complexities would weed out the musicians who were from the swing era and were used to more static chord progressions.
Since then, “All the Things You Are” has become a favorite among jazz standards. The success of the tune with jazz players lies in its harmonic structure. The shifting tonal centers are varied enough so that the musician is challenged yet they are not so difficult that the improviser is burdened. The tune’s chord changes have not only inspired countless improvisations but also many new melodies have been composed over it’s changes, thus producing new tunes.
Here are some of the more colorful versions of the songs history:
Using the “Bird & Diz” introduction as a starting point, Parker discards the written melody and takes a highly inventive chorus before passing the ball to a young Miles Davis. After Miles takes a half chorus, Pianist Duke Jordan improvises on the bridge laying heavily of the #5 of the Gmaj7 which was a somewhat uncommon sound for the day. Miles takes the last A section out while Bird plays lines behind him.
This essential recording features the all-star line up of Charlie “Chan” AKA Charlie Parker on his white plastic alto , Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Taken at a relaxed tempo, this version contains some classic quotes by Bird and Diz, a nice Bud Powell solo and an overdubbed Mingus solo (apparently the bass was inaudible on the original tape) on top of some backround horn figures.
If Kern thought the odd intervallic pattern of the original melody doomed it from public acceptance, I’m sure he would have thought that this one didn’t stand a chance. Although credited here as Konitz’s tune it has also been credited as pianist Lennie Tristano’s. Taken at a brisk pace, this tune features wide intervals with a jagged, asymmetrical phrasing and is one of the many examples of how Tristano’s pedagogy could be applied to standards. Also check out Tristano’s 1955 version of “All the Things…” with Konitz on “The New Tristano”, Atlantic.
Kenny Dorham’s classic hard bop head on “All the Things…” changes with the Bird & Diz introduction. It features solos by Dorham and Hank Mobley and plenty of triplets and press rolls from Art Blakey.
Counterpoint abounds in this reunited, piano-less quartet fronted by a very Pres influenced Mulligan. For another piano-less version, listen to Mulligan and Paul Desmond on the 1962 recording, “Two of a Mind” on Bluebird.
A truly schizophrenic version of Mingus’s re-composition that starts out with Mingus dedicating the tune to “all mothers” in front of an imaginary audience. The groups dynamic interaction, Eric Dolphy’s expressive playing and Mingus’ rubato sections and blazing triple meter sections were pushing the boundaries of jazz ensemble playing at a pivotal time in jazz history.
A pleasingly strange rendition of Kern’s classic. Coleman Hawkins states the melody while Rollins plays strikingly dissonant lines in between his phrases. Hawkins’ vibrato gives away what era he from but his melodic ideas sound as fresh as ever. Paul Bley’s piano solo is a very daring foray into polytonality while Rollins’ solo utilizes short, choppy phrases and jabs that are often reach outside the realm of tonality. Also recommended is Rollin’s version on the landmark 1957 Village Vanguard live recordings on Blue Note.
An up tempo duo version with Evans playing electric piano and Eddie Gomez on bass captures both in a rhythmically playful mood. For more of Evans’ take on this tune, check out his 1963 solo version and his 1963 live trio version, both available on the Complete Riverside Recordings.
Jarrett’s interactive approach to the piano trio along with his dynamic touch, lyrical and inventive melodic sense make this a superb rendering of the tune . Also listen to his inspiring solo piano introduction on the 1990 “Tribute” version also on ECM.
Liebman’s post-Coltrane flavored head on the classic changes plus a few tritone subs here and there. Dave Holland and Jack Dejohnette provide sensitive and always interesting accompaniment while Liebman’s soprano solo makes use of space and the occasional growling utterance. Holland can also be heard playing “All the Things you Are” on Pat Metheny’s breakneck 1989 version on “Question and Answer” on Geffen.
An inspired reading from three true originals. Bill Frisell’s notes sometime sound as if they’re melting during his solo. Charlie Haden takes a beautifully poised solo where he develops each motive out of the previous one. Paul Motian sounds like he’s joyfully inventing at his set the whole time.
This is a conversation I usually have to have with all my students whether they want to improve their sight reading or not. There are plenty of great conceptual reasons to get your reading together, however you are much more likely to learn something when there are ramifications if you don’t succeed. If you could put yourself in a situation where if you didn’t sight read well you would be yelled at, fired, embarrassed, docked pay, left in some unfamiliar part of town without a ride, etc… it would add extra importance to the task at hand (some ideas- start a reading group, get a cruise boat gig, teach a class on reading, join Buddy Rich’s ghost’s band…). When a student does ask me for help with reading, I usually assume that they’ve been humiliated to the point of asking me for help. Humiliation is truly one of the great motivating factors.
I’m by no means an expert sight reader but I have made significant progress over the years. In my experience, there aren’t really any shortcuts. You learn through the experience of doing it regularly. I take a three tiered approach to practicing reading:
1. Ètudes – The concept here is to work on the same thing for an extended amount of time. Don’t memorize it (always look at the page and not your instrument) but do get used to the way the piece sounds and definitely take note of your problem areas and feel free to work on them. The etudes I usually find myself coming back to are Bach’s Violin Paratitas, the Cello Suites and the Two Part Inventions (sometimes I’ll record one part and play against it).
2. Sight Reading – Here, the concept is to read something I’ve never seen before. This could be music from fake books, chorales, clarinet method books, snare drum books…anything so long as I haven’t read it before. First, I scope out the key signature, the range (this will allow me to figure out where a good position on the neck would be), and any road map issues like D.S.’s and codas. Then I turn on a metronome and play through it without stopping. I take note of any problem areas and sometimes allow myself to briefly work them out before trying it again. I play it until I feel like I have a handle on it before affixing an explosive device on it and hurling it out my window (it is important to destroy any evidence of you having played that piece – also make sure that anyone who heard you practice it is properly “taken care of” as well).
3. Original ètudes – Having taken note of my problem areas in the first two processes, I write ètudes to address those areas. For instance, I noticed I was really uncomfortable reading from the A on the D string to the A on the B string in 7th position. So I’d fill up some manuscript paper with notes in that range. Or let’s say I was fine with F sharps but G flats would take a second to register. In that case I’d make sure to pepper the étude with a bunch of G flats. You could make an étude with no flats or sharps, make maybe five copies of it and then fill in different accidentals for each one. If you notice particular rhythms are consistently throwing you, take note of those rhythms and write them out and incorporate them into the études. Or practice scales using those rhythms. Self criticism and resourcefulness are key to improving.
Let me know if these ideas are helpful and if you have any interesting ways that you work on your reading chops.
I can never give an absolute answer to that question regarding who your favorite Beatle is but I can say with certainty that it was because of John Lennon that I started playing guitar in 1981. Before John Lennon was killed, my fifth grade class’s musical taste ranged from “Rapper’s Delight” to… well, that was about it. After Lennon’s death my friends and I got slightly obsessed with the Beatles. We wanted to start a band and since I had a guitar in the back of my Mom’s closet I decided I’d play guitar. There were about ten of us in my pack of friends so we were going to have clarinets and xylophones and timpanis and anything else that looked interesting in our school’s band room. Our band never came together but I did stick to guitar and it eventually wound up knocking out my other hobby of cartoon caricatures.
As tragic as it was to lose such an enormous talent so early, this event no doubt gave birth to a generation of artists who grew up measuring themselves against the high level of artistic integrity displayed by Lennon/ the Beatles. Many of my friends’ entries into music were from big brothers who were into Kiss or Van Halen. I often think how lucky I was to have the Beatles be my first meaningful musical influence.
If you haven’t seen this short film about a 14 year old Beatles fan interviewing Lennon in his hotel room…enjoy.
Just switching things over. It may be a bit of a mess for a while but hang in there. Thanks!
Howdy. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the LAJC Spring Fest at Vitello’s. It turned out to be a lot of fun (despite my last minute pedalboard abandonment due to random effect freak-outage).
I have 3 gigs coming up at Blue Whale and I’m looking forward to each of them. First: the return of JoE-LeSs shOe on Weds, April 28th. Second: Ryan McGillicuddy’s quartet wit
h Adam Benjamin on keys and Jason Harnell on drums on Sat May 8th and third: singer Sharmila Guha’s trio with Eric Sittner on bass. Hope to see you at some of them!
Hi there folks. A few updates to the site to mention. I added a bunch of clips to the video gallery and put up some new pictures in the picture gallery as well. Knock yourselves out!
Playing trio with bass and drums has always been one of my favorite settings. Friday the 26th of March I’ll be playing at Blue Whale with a really terrific rhythm section consisting of Jeff D’Angelo on bass and David Hocker on drums. These guys are great listeners as well as players so it should be a lot of fun.
I’ve been very fortunate to do a few gigs with the Luckman Jazz Orchestra led by Charlie Owens. Our next concert is Saturday April 10th at the Luckman Auditorium at Cal State LA and is a tribute to Duke Ellington.
Hi there internet peeps. Thanks for checking in. A few things I want to mention breifly; First of all the passing of the amazing musician Jimmy Wyble. Jimmy was an incredibly unique guitarist and person alike. Everyone who heard him and met him was charmed. Look for an upcoming post about Jimmy. I’ll miss him.
Second, I have some gigs coming up that I’m excited about. Sat. Feb 27 I’ll be at Blue Whale with a variation of Sigmund Fugde. Kneebody’s Adam Benjamin will be filling in for Joe Bagg, along with Ryan McGillicuddy on bass and Jason Harnell on drums. I can’t say enough nice things about Blue Whale. I’ll be there with my trio March 26th as well. More about that later.
Tues, March 2 I’ll be at Vitello’s on John Pisano’s Guitar Night with John, Ryan McGillicuddy and Tim Pleasant. It’s always an honor to play with John.
I had a couple of really fun gigs with Eric Rasmussen’s Tristano Band last month. Here’s a bootleg of one of ‘em. The personnel is Eric Rasmussen – as, Jamie Rosenn – gtr, John Sims – b, and Jason Harnell – d. You can listen to it and download here while it’s still posted: Eric Rasmussen Band @ Metropol 11/13/09 by jamierosenn
Also be sure to check out Eric’s three CD’s on Steeplechase which you can find here.
Thanks for checking in! One of my favorite musicians to play with, Matt Otto is back in town from Kansas City and I’m looking forward to doing a show with JoE-LeSs shOe at Jaunita’s in Eagle Rock. If you haven’t been to Jaunita’s…come on out! Great Mexican food and a relaxed hang. We recorded shOe’s second CD right before Matt left this Summer and we’re hoping to mix it while he’s back. If you don’t own our first CD it’s on sale at CD Baby until the end of December. Get’m right here.
Hi folks. Things have been busy for me. Still doing a lot of teaching and playing. I recently played a tribute to Freddie Hubbard with the Luckman Jazz Orchestra which featured Bennie Maupin and Alphonse Mouzon among others (pictured below). Challenging and very rewarding! A few noteworthy gigs coming. The Los Angeles jazz Collective is doing a festival at Cafe Metropol which will feature both JoE-LeSs shOe and Sigmund Fudge. JoE-LeSs shOe will be recording at the end of the month for our upcoming 2nd CD. We’re really excited. We have a new batch of tunes that up the quirk factor by eleven. I’ll keep you updated about the release details when they come in.
?Our trio with Jason Harnell, Matt Otto and myself (working name: Joe-less Shoe) is doing a fairly last minute gig at Club Tropical on Monday 06/19/06. The attached picture is what we would look like if you’d been on a 2 day peyote journey and ended up in Jason’s office after we rehearsed. Hope to see you there (at the gig, not in his office). Also if anyone’s been keeping track, I’ve been messing around with the webpage (changes in the design and the photo gallery section). I’ll probably put a few more movie clips in there soon.
Howdy. A few things to report. Joe Bagg, Mark Ferber and myself are getting ready to put out a cd (we’re just getting it mastered and then we’re on to the final production stuff). A few clips are available at the sound clips section under the very temporary name “Options”. That group is playing July 31st at 2nd St. Jazz. And I just recorded with the Saddleback jazz faculty under the direction of Joey Sellers. We got some good takes and I’ll keep you posted on when that surfaces. Ok, that’s about it for now.
So as you can tell the new site is up. I’m still working on getting some sound clips up in a fairly stylish way but it will happen soon. The movies section is new and there’s a direct link to my myspace page. If you have any comments let me know. That’s it for now. See ya.