CAGED System Basics for Guitar (5-Part Video Series)

So many people are curious about the CAGED System so here’s a free 5-part video series to help you out. Please share the post with others if you find it helpful. Thank you!

Download Free PDF here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xtfnfo7rw8h456d/CAGED%20System%20Basics%20-%20Az%20Samad.pdf?dl=0

[More about Az Samad]

Become a patron on my Patreon page:
https://www.patreon.com/azsamad

Get my New Cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police“ out now!
iTunes :
https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book

Get my e-book “Jazz Guitar Licks and Etudes” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book2

Get lesson packs here:
http://www.azsamad.com/lessonpacks

Spotify : (Follow me on spotify!)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0un3T4wxL3rst2M05iVH0r

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[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims


I first met Jared Sims via our mutual friend, jazz pianist Tay Cher Siang. It was at the Thailand International Jazz Camp 2018 and I had received a WhatsApp message from Cher Siang telling me that his friend was at the same jazz camp I was. At one of the events, I realised that a familiar looking guy was sitting about to seats to my left during a Will Vinson Group workshop.

During a suitable moment, I asked him and it was then confirmed. This was indeed THE Jared Sims that our friend mentioned. Later on we had several conversations and we kept in touch since then.

Jared is a dedicated jazz educator & recording artist and I’m very happy he agreed to be part of this series! Let’s learn more about him.

JARED SIMS performs on all of the saxophones as well as clarinet and flute. He has toured throughout the United States and in Europe, South America, Asia and India.

Sims has performed live and recorded with an array of artists that include Han Bennink, Cecil McBee, Bob Brookmeyer, Matt Wilson, Stefon Harris, Landau Eugene Murphy, Temptations, Anat Cohen, Dave Liebman, Antonio Sanchez, Four Tops, Melvin Sparks, Soulive, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), DJ Logic, Kiddus I, Matisyahu, the 10,000 Maniacs, and Noel Gallagher (Oasis). Sims has also performed with large ensembles such as the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

Sims has performed at the Thailand International Jazz Conference, Rochester Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Cleveland’sTri-C Jazz Festival, Flint (Michigan) Jazz Festival, Beantown Jazz Festival (Boston), New Haven (Connecticut) Jazz Festival, Quito Jazz Festival (Ecuador), Telluride (Colorado) Jazz Festival, and Northsea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. He conducted college ensembles at Newport Jazz Festival five times.

Sims has appeared on more than 40 different recordings crossing multiple genres. His jazz recordings include The New York Sessions (2018 on Ropeadope Reccords), Change of Address (2017 on Ropeadope Records) Layers (2016), The New Stablemates (2012 on Arabesque Records), Convergence (released in 2011), and Acoustic Shadow (released in 2009). He other recorded work includes music for theme parks, television commercials, and video games.

Sims has performed on three recordings that were awarded four stars in DownBeat Magazine – Blueprint Project featuring Cecil McBee and Matt Wilson, People I Like with Han Bennink, and the Dead Cat Bounce recording Home Speaks to the Wandering.

Sims has been an adjudicator and directed All State bands in several states. He has given clinics and master classes at UCSI in Kuala Lumpur, the Thailand International Jazz Conference, the Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy (Bangkok), the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium, Cornell University, New Hampshire All State, Emerson College, the U.S. Navy Base in Norfolk, Universidad San Francisco De Quito (Ecuador), Boston Day and Evening Academy, Maine All-State Jazz Festival, and St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada).

Sims earned a doctorate in classical woodwind performance from Boston University. His primary research topic was the Italian composer Berio and his Sequenza pieces. Other research was done in the areas of Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and American popular music. Sims studied jazz and improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music where he had the opportunity to study with the legendary George Russell and Gunther Schuller, the MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Ran Blake, and jazz powerhouses George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi. Sims earned his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.

Currently the Director of Jazz at West Virginia University, Sims is the former Assistant Director of Jazz at University of Rhode Island and has taught previously at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University, and Southern New Hampshire University.

Let’s go on to the interview!

1. What’s your latest project?
I have a new record coming out on Ropeadope Records on October 12. It is called “The New York Sessions” and as the title implies, I recorded it in Manhattan. I have six album release parties that will be in Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; Portsmouth, NH; and Boston, MA.

2. What inspires your music?
Places I go or places that I have lived
Travel
Life Experiences
Embracing different people and cultures
Great artists and great recordings

3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
In no particular order:
Joe Henderson Tetragon

John Coltrane A Love Supreme

Maceo Parker All the Kings Men

Miles Davis Filles de Kilamanjaro

Stevie Wonder Fullfillingness’ First Finale

4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of? 
I think that not many people know about Gene Ammons. He was an amazing musician and saxophonist. He had a great sound on his instrument and he played tunes and he played modal groove music. There is some great stuff he did with Sonny Stitt that is pretty straight ahead:

I really love some of his groove records:

Particularly this track:

5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
The great pianist Paul Bley told me that it only takes an hour to make a record. I wish that someone could have told me that a good record tells a story. Even an instrumental record should have some narrative – some type of meaning or a thread of a story line.

6. As a jazz musician and educator, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge is striking the balance between being as great as possible on the instrument while giving the students a lot of attention. I overcame it by focusing my teaching. At one time I was teaching classical in addition to jazz and working at multiple universities. Now I teach at one school and just focus on jazz and this allows for more of a balance. The other thing to think about is simply having the instrument in hand every day and having the music in the ear as much as possible!

7. How do we reach you?
Website: www.jaredsims.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/THEJaredSims
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaredsims/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JaredSims1
Twitter: @jaredsims
Other Website(s): WVU School of Music: https://www.music.wvu.edu/faculty/jared-sims

Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (18 so far) and come back next week for the next one with singer-songwriter Gabriel Lynch. Till next time! 🙂

Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist

[Creative Fridays] #15: Dylan Lee
Cellist

[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer

[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
Violinist

[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
Ukulele Virtuoso

[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
Jazz Saxophonist

Next Friday:
[Creative Fridays] #20: Gabriel Lynch
Singer-Songwriter
Coming up August 17 2018

[About Creative Fridays]

The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.

This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?

Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!

If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.

Thank you! 🙂

[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.

[Creative Fridays] #1  : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)

[Creative Fridays] #2  : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #3  : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)

[Creative Fridays] #4  : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)

[Creative Fridays] #5  : Gustavo Assis-Brasil
(Boston Jazz Guitarist/Educator)

[Creative Fridays] #6  : TragiComedy
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #7  : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)

[Creative Fridays] #8  : Pete Teo
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/Filmmaker)

[Creative Fridays] #9  : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)

[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)

[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)

[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)

[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]

[More about Az Samad]

Become a patron on my Patreon page:
https://www.patreon.com/azsamad

Get my New Cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police“ out now!
iTunes :
https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book

Get my e-book “Jazz Guitar Licks and Etudes” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book2

Get lesson packs here:
http://www.azsamad.com/lessonpacks

Spotify : (Follow me on spotify!)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0un3T4wxL3rst2M05iVH0r

And for all my albums:
https://azsamad.bandcamp.com/

Follow Az Samad for latest updates :

Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/azsamadmusic

Instagram :
http://www.instagram.com/azsamad

Soundcloud :
https://www.soundcloud.com/azsamad

Twitter:
https://www.twitter.com/azsamad

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

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[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro

I am so excited to feature Jake Shimabukuro on #AzCreativeFridays today! This is a great honour to feature the ukulele player who basically made me decide to pursue fingerstyle ukulele as a second instrument. Since picking up the ukulele, I’ve had the opportunity to open for Kalei Gamiao’s Kuala Lumpur concert and also perform at the Thailand Ukulele Festival.

I still remember the first time I saw Jake play – it was the now legendary While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover that appeared on YouTube in 2005. I remember sitting in front of my Apple Powerbook G4 laptop in my bedroom at Westland Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts. I was in my very first year as an undergraduate jazz guitar student student at Berklee College of Music then! When I saw Jake play, my jaw dropped and I was mesmerised. I can’t recall how many times I rewatched the same video and each time being fascinated by the immense beautiful and grace of his playing. This was not what I imagined the ukulele to be. Since then, I knew the ukulele was a serious and powerful instrument.

Years later, as a Masters in Music student in Berkeley, California I bought my first baritone ukulele. It was still not the ukulele sound I heard Jake play but was a transitional instrument that helped me bridge the gap between guitar and ukulele. Much later, when I relocated back to Malaysia, I bought my first tenor ukulele with high G tuning. That in a way, was my real foray into the ukulele world.

But enough about me, let’s learn more about Jake:

Almost everyone in Hawaii has strummed a ukulele at one time or another. But at the age of 14, Jake Shimabukuro realized that he was doing something a little different with the four-stringed instrument – OK, a lot different.

Shimabukuro’s wholly unique approach to the ukulele started early. As a youngster growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shimabukuro started playing the instrument at the age of four, learning the basics from his mother, Carol, and then developing his craft further by studying the likes of musical masters such as Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon. As he matured, Shimabukuro also found inspiration from guitar players, drummers, pianists, and singers. Even athletes helped fuel the intensity of his artistic fire.

In 2005, Shimabukuro’s touring career really came to life with a video on YouTube. “I didn’t even know what YouTube was at the time, so I was totally surprised when people started telling me they’d seen a video of me playing ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’” he says. “Before I got a chance to check it out myself, the video had gone viral and a lot of music industry folks seemed to know about it. It was crazy!” Shimabukuro’s deeply beautiful and original take on George Harrison’s love ballad, one which captured colors and moods never associated with the ukulele before, opened the floodgates – now legions of new music lovers had to hear this instrumental marvel – and the 2006 release of Gently Weeps (produced by Mac McAnally), which mixed his own originals with equally adventurous versions of “Ave Maria” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was an unqualified success.

Shimabukuro’s records have topped the Billboard World Music Charts on numerous occasions, and as a live performer he has become one of the hottest tickets around. He’s played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House, and has dazzled audiences at music festivals including Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock Festival. He even performed for that rarest of audiences: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Not too shabby for a humble young man from Hawaii and his trusty ukulele.

Even with the constant demands on his time – Shimabukuro tours roughly half the year and makes frequent appearances on media outlets such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s Morning Edition – Shimabukuro’s album output hasn’t slowed. In 2016, he recorded the all-original Nashville Sessions at Music City’s famed Ronnie’s Place studio with producer R.S. Field (Steve Earle, Webb Wilder) and the ace rhythm section of bassist Nolan Verner and drummer Evan Hutchings. And now he’s returned to the same city and studio – and with the same gang, too (augmented by guitarist Dave Preston) – for his newest record, The Greatest Day, which will be released on August 31, 2018.

I would to thank Van, Jake’s manager for making this interview possible! Jake’s latest record, The Greatest day will be released in Japan (album street date) on August 29. World street date is August 31. Links already up for preorder at jakeshimabukuro.com for CD and vinyl so go there to get your copy today.

Aloha!

1. What’s your latest project?
I have a new album being released on August 31. It’s called The Greatest Day. There are 6 originals and 6 cover tunes. Some of the covers are: Time Of The Season, Eleanor Rigby and If Six Was Nine.

2. What inspires your music?
I find inspiration everywhere. Traveling definitely plays a large part in the creativity process. But most of all, my family inspires me, especially my children.

3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
Guava Jam (Sunday Manoa)

Live At Makaha Bash (Makaha Sons Of Ni’ihau)

Grace (Jeff Buckley)

Tropical Hawaiian Day (Ka’au Crater Boys)

Abbey Road (Beatles)

4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
Gordon Mark – He’s an incredible ukulele player. I’ve always loved his sensitivity on the instrument. He plays beautifully and has a gorgeous tone. I grew up listening to his music and he was a big influence for me.


5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?

This is a tough question. Not sure.

6. As a ukulele performer, composer, and music education advocate via The Four Strings Foundation, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge is keeping a healthy balance between traditional and nontraditional playing. I love exploring different sounds with the ukulele, but I want to always be respectful to the instrument and culture.

7. How do we reach you?
Website: http://jakeshimabukuro.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakeshimabukuromusic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jakeshimabukuro/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jakeshimabukuro
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakeshimabukuro

Thanks for your support!
-Jake

You’re welcome Jake!

Thank you to you and Van for making this possible. I hope you will come and perform in Malaysia in the near future.

Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (17 so far) and come back next week for the next one with jazz saxophonist Jared Sims. Till next time, Aloha! 🙂

Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist

[Creative Fridays] #15: Dylan Lee
Cellist

[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer

[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
Violinist

Next Friday:
[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
Jazz Saxophonist
Coming up August 10 2018

[About Creative Fridays]

The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.

This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?

Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!

If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.

Thank you! 🙂

[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.

[Creative Fridays] #1  : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)

[Creative Fridays] #2  : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #3  : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)

[Creative Fridays] #4  : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)

[Creative Fridays] #5  : Gustavo Assis-Brasil
(Boston Jazz Guitarist/Educator)

[Creative Fridays] #6  : TragiComedy
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #7  : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)

[Creative Fridays] #8  : Pete Teo
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/Filmmaker)

[Creative Fridays] #9  : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)

[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)

[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)

[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)

[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]

[More about Az Samad]

Become a patron on my Patreon page:
https://www.patreon.com/azsamad

Get my New Cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police“ out now!
iTunes :
https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book

Get my e-book “Jazz Guitar Licks and Etudes” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book2

Get lesson packs here:
http://www.azsamad.com/lessonpacks

Spotify : (Follow me on spotify!)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0un3T4wxL3rst2M05iVH0r

And for all my albums:
https://azsamad.bandcamp.com/

Follow Az Samad for latest updates :

Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/azsamadmusic

Instagram :
http://www.instagram.com/azsamad

Soundcloud :
https://www.soundcloud.com/azsamad

Twitter:
https://www.twitter.com/azsamad

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

* indicates required


Book Review: Triad Pairs – The First Step by Tony Greaves

This is the second E-book released by Tony Greaves. You can read my review of his first book here: Book Review: Guide to Developing a Chromatic Approach to Improvisation by Tony Greaves

This new work by Tony Greaves includes:

  • A 35-page E-book
  • A 41-minute instructional video
  • A Podcast version of the video
  • A 15-minute podcast outlining Tony’s personal process of learning triad pairs.
  • A coupon for a discounted follow-up SKYPE lesson with Tony Greaves

Topics Covered:

  • What is a triad pair?
  • How to determine a triad pair’s origin
  • How to layout a triad pair on the guitar neck
  • How to play triad pairs in multiple directions
  • How to voice-lead triad pairs in every inversion and position
  • How to create 4-Note Groupings
  • Applying your first triad pair to a variety of harmonic contexts
  • Applying your first triad pair over a static vamp
  • Applying your first triad pair over a standard blues
  • Applying your first triad pair over a jazz standard (There Will Never Be Another You)

Tony also mentions that those who purchase The First Step will be invited to a private online workshop (date to be determined) in order to help facilitate further development in these studies.

First impressions

Firstly, for USD$20, you’re getting a lot of material to work on here. I’m really happy that Tony did a guitar specific take on this topic with logical fingerings and covered it in a musical context. I’ve seen so many really dry surface level articles or posts about this topic all over the Internet. The fingerings included in Tony’s examples are extremely helpful and include the various permutations for combining triad pairs in a systematic way.

The first time I studied the material, I read through all the musical examples. They are super organised so even if you’ve never really gotten into triad pairs (or have no idea what they are), you’re in for a treat.

The E-Book

Tony is a true educator and does not pull any punches when it comes to explaining the pre-requisites for truly absorbing the material. At the very beginning of the book, he includes an extensive list of scales, modes, triad and technical requirements that go hand in hand in learning the concept. He explains that ‘Triad Pairs: The First Step” is an introductory piece that is leading to his upcoming magnum opus that he calls “Triad Pairs for Jazz Guitar”. Personally I’m really looking forward to this next one as I’ve been following Tony’s work for years and feel that he has A LOT of knowledge and insight to offer.

Another highlight in the book are the 20 Principles of Triad Pairs that distills the essence of what makes triad pairs. These principles begin with the seemingly obvious, “A Triad Pair consists of six distinctive tones-No doublings allowed!” to deeper philosophical takes on the benefits of learning triad pairs for improvisational playing.

Tony then goes into a list of possible triad pairs and 4-note grouping permutations. From page 11 to 26 (the main body of the book), we get to study a triad pair through a systematic examination of the possible permutations as applied on guitar. In this section, we get to learn the fretting hand fingerings in a very thorough manner. Tony notates the examples here in one key via these 16 pages. Serious jazz guitarists will quickly recognize that this is really about 192 pages of material once we transpose the exercises into 12 keys. Included in the E-book is a checklist so that we can make sure we practice and master each triad pair exercise in every key – very handy!

To conclude the E-book, Tony gives 3 etudes for a static vamp, a standard blues and one over the chord progression of There Will Never Be Another You.

The Video

In the very beginning of the 41-minute video, Tony goes through the principles outlined and the book becomes clearer as Tony explains the material in the book. Hearing Tony talk about the principles makes the material much more approachable. He also shares how he views the triad pair concept differently than most people. Tony doesn’t just read the principles out loud but continues to explain beyond the text in the book. As I listen to Tony’s explanations, I see the future possibilities for applying the material in book. Tony also foreshadows his future work, “Triad Pairs for Jazz Guitar” and how his previous book, “A Guide to Developing a Chromatic Approach to Improvisation” works in conjunction with this current book.

After explaining the principles, Tony demonstrates the triad pair example across the entire fretboard and the various directional variations. Seeing Tony play these examples fluidly is very helpful for me. This gives me a visual guide of how I could move my left hand in a similar manner. Very valuable stuff here!

He then demonstrates an etude over a static vamp. After that, he explains the chart included in the E-book. He also explains how to look at the material and how to play the triad pairs over different chords. The next etude over a standard blues includes a performance of it and an analysis of his single note solo over the changes.

The closing etude contains a lot of material to dig into including angular and more traditional jazz vocabulary. Once again, the analysis provides great insight into the lines in the etude.

After going through the entire video, you can also experience the content via the audio version. This is useful as you can revisit the material even during a commute or if you’re like me, when you’re doing the dishes.

Bonus Podcast

Tony includes a valuable 15 minute podcast documenting his personal experience learning the material that he teaches in this E-book. In the podcast, Tony goes through his notes from a practice session. Hearing the thought process behind his practice session during one day is really insightful. Also helpful are the actual photos of his handwritten notes that is included. Personally, I find hearing his process as a great addition to the core material. It shows the backstory and in a way the origin of this work.

Suggestions for Students

If you buy this E-book, I would suggest going through the material in this order:

  1. The E-book
  2. The Video
  3. The Bonus Podcast and Practice Notes
  4. Practice (and revisit the video and/or audio)

I definitely would recommend experiencing all the material first in an overview prior to practicing. I think this would help give the aspiring triad pair jazz improvisor an idea of the journey they are about to embark on.

Conclusion

A lot of instructional material actually does not include the instructional part. Some are just randomly assembled exercises or boring dry exercises without any relation to real music. With Tony’s new work, you’re getting not only the content (and the context) but an educator who is clearly passionate about the topic. Tony wants to challenge his students to really internalise and master the material. This is designed to help you become more successful. The material is not easy but seeing Tony’s playing (and results) it’s clearly worth the work involved!

PROS: Strong useful material with lots of things to practice. The video is extremely helpful as it turns the E-book into a guided private lesson or master class in this topic. Having video, audio and the PDF makes this an amazing learning experience.
CONS: None
TLDR: If you’ve been playing some jazz guitar, familiar with bebop and more traditional vocabulary, buy this to level up your jazz language. This is a bargain for what you’re getting.

Buy the e-book here:
Store

[Read more Reviews]

Review #24

Book Review: Beyond Chord Melody by Martin Taylor MBE

Review #23

Book Review: Daniel Donato – The New Master Of The Telecaster: Pathways To Dynamic Solos

Review #22

Course Review: Understanding & Applying the Chromatic Scale by Frank Vignola

Review #21

Book Review: Movable Shapes – Concepts for Reharmonizing ii-V-I’s by Sheryl Bailey

Review #20

Video Review: Accompanying A Vocalist by David Cook

Review #19

Book Review: Developing Bebop Lines by Jeff Ellwood

Review #18

Book Review: The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist by Sean McGowan

Review #17

Video Review: Essential Percussive Guitar Riffs with Jon Gomm

Review #16

Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

Review #15

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Review #14

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Review #13

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Review #12

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Review #11

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Review #10

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

Review #09

Book Review: A Guide to Developing a Chromatic Approach to Improvisation by Tony Greaves

Review #08

Course Review: Fundamentals of Picking by Fretboard Anatomy

Review #07

Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

Review #06

Book Review: The Tao of Badass Guitar by Ben Higgins

Review #05

Book Review: Bach Scales by Jon De Lucia

Review #04

Book Review: Extended Scale Playing for Guitar by Joe Puma

Review #03

Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev

Review #02

Book Review: Voicing Modes – A Chord Voicing Approach to Hearing and Practicing Modes by Noel Johnston

Review #01

Book Review: The Outside Sounds and Substitutions of Modern Saxophonists for Jazz Guitar by Kevin Miller

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
  • Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
  • Would you like me to review your book/course?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.

Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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Music Review: Snowmelt by Zoë Keating

The latest release by cellist and composer Zoë Keating, Snowmelt draws you into her sonic universe within 17 minutes. According to the Bandcamp page, the EP features “four songs from the end of a long winter”.

Forte opens with strong vocal-like bowed notes that goes into a harmonised texture, windy and melancholic. Then, the rhythmic layered pizzicato answered with syncopated phrase builds a rhythmic counterpoint for the full harmonised melody. The B section’s melody has a folk like simplicity before more layers go on top building up the bowed melodies that sing. Then, the original phrase comes in strong, forte I guess? The bridge section introduces a new texture before the high register dreamy line enters. Answered by a low note, the original theme appears again. Closing the piece is a chorale-like phrase as the rhythmic pizzicato stops and a dreamy ice cold harmony closes the piece.

Icefloe is the second piece. Contrasting in mood from the rhythmic Forte, this piece is an exquisite embodiment of the title which refers a large pack of floating ice. Up to this point, I was already feeling cold by listening to the various choices of sound that Zoe used in this loop dense piece. The delays in the background and swells added to the feeling of ice. There is such a strong sense of intention and clarity in Zoe’s compositions and this piece is a great example of it.

Heading into Possible, the low rumble percussive notes set stage for the looped notes. Then, quickly bowed upbeats (first alone then harmonised!) create a very dreamy setting for the melodic theme that enters after two minutes. The effects that Zoe uses are very tasteful to further illuminate the sonic universe of Snowmelt. One of my favourite moments of the EP occurs at about 3:27 as the intense bridge like build-up makes way to a 1980s rock-tinged sparse bass line with a vibe that is still thematic and yet allows us to imagine something different. Then, we are greeted a the tasteful recapitulation with the effected notes and a low rumbling note that dies suddenly.

Nix begins with a lullaby like melodic statement. At this point, I wonder whether is this the part where we say farewell to winter? The childlike statement provides a base for an impressionistic recap of themes from the previous pieces (at least from my ears – I didn’t transcribe it!) As the childlike base get filled up, we hear more melodies and the contrapuntal textures come in with a canon like feel in the bass line that doesn’t resolve. Hence, perfection!

TLDR: Experiencing this EP is a real delight especially if you love dreaming in sound and are open to listening to stories without words. A beautiful masterful work by Zoë Keating, this EP is one for any fan of instrumental music, film music or just beautiful music, period.

Thank you Zoe for making such amazing music. I hope to catch you in concert someday!

Rating: 5/5

Get the EP here:
https://music.zoekeating.com/album/snowmelt-ep

[About Zoë Keating]

Zoë Keating photo by Sally Montana

Cellist and composer Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. Zoë is known for both her use of technology – which she uses to sample her cello onstage – and for her DIY approach, releasing her music online without the help of a record label.

A cellist since the age of eight, Zoë pursued electronic music and contemporary composition as part of her Liberal Arts studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. After graduation she moved to San Francisco and fell in love with the startup culture of the late 1990’s, finding a career as an information architect and data analyst while moonlighting as a cellist. Zoë eventually combined her love of music and technology, using a computer to live-layer her cello and performing for late-night crowds in her San Francisco warehome.

Now, Zoë has a devoted, global audience. Her self-released albums have several times reached #1 on the iTunes classical chart, she has over 1 million followers on Twitter and her grassroots approach and artists’ advocacy has garnered her much public attention and press. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and serves on the boards of the Magik Magik Orchestra and CASH Music, a nonprofit organization that builds open source digital tools for musicians and labels.

Zoë has played and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, Tears for Fears, DJ Shadow, Dan Hicks, Thomas Dolby, John Vanderslice, Rasputina, Pomplamoose and Paolo Nutini. She has composed music for ballet, theater, film and radio and lends her music regularly to film, tv, dance productions and commercials. In 2014 she began composing for television, working on the scores for the A&E series “The Returned” and for “Manhattan”, a drama about the making of the atomic bomb. She is currently writing music for a pilot on Showtime.

In 2014, Zoë’s husband Jeffrey Rusch was diagnosed with stage IV non-smoker’s lung cancer. While she halted her music career to care for him and their four-year old son, their struggles with health care and insurance became the new subject of her blog. Jeff died in 2015 and Zoë continued to advocate on his behalf for patients, data portability and the simplification of medical insurance, culminating in a meeting with President Obama in October of 2016.

In 2017 Zoë moved to Burlington, Vermont. Her latest recording, a four song EP called “Snowmelt”, was released on June 30, 2018 and she is working on another.

“…a distinctive mix of old and new — layers of sound, that feel more like orchestrations than a solo instrument. “ – National Public Radio

“Swoon-inducing. Like taking a triple-shot of Absinthe before stepping outside of the bar just in time to see the sun exploding.” –SF Weekly

“… uses live looping to transform solo performances into multipart masterpieces.” – Electronic Musician

“…sublime minimalist music with a pop sensibility” – San Francisco Weekly

Awards:

Creative Capital Foundation, 2009. Performing Arts grant
San Francisco Artsfest, 2005. Emerging artist award
Belle Foundation, 2005. Artistic development grant
World Economic Forum, 2011. Young Global Leader

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Have you released an EP or album of music (within the genres of jazz, instrumental music, especially instrumental guitar and/or fingerstyle guitar)?
  • Would you like me to review your EP/album?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For Physical CDs: Please e-mail me to inquire for my mailing address.
For Downloads: a link to the music (Dropbox or equivalent webhosting), not WeTransfer or any site with limited time download as I may be travelling and not have access to fast internet at all times.

Depending on whether I dig the music, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I CANNOT guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

Music Review: Musiktari (Demo Version) by The Fuze

From time to time, I get Facebook messages from young local Malaysian musicians to listen to their music and give feedback. Recently, this Demo EP Link came in via a message from Luqman, the lead guitarist of the band. The message was very polite and respectful instead of demanding messages that I’ve gottten in the past.

I agreed to listen and I ended up listening to the entire MUSIKTARI Demo EP  in a sitting during the first time. It reminded me of the sound of my teenage years. A strong vibe, enough energy, well thought out music and parts with good drive. This didn’t seem like a haphazardly assembled product, there was a strong sense of love for the music within the recording. It’s music I would listen to.

So there I was listening.

I ended up liking all their social media pages, their Soundcloud page, their IG, their Facebook page and I listened to their Demo EP all through. Anyhow, let’s talk about the music.

This is 5-track Demo EP. The opening number appropriately called  “Intro” began with some spy film samples that went into a strong surfy drum part, surf music basslines, layered guitar parts and some wonky out of tune spy film piano lines. It had enough deliberate power to draw you into the band’s world. This was the land of retro tremolo guitar spy surf vibes.

The second track Eveny introduces a psychedelic vibe as we hear vocals for the first time. There are some nice keyboard pads and effected arpeggiated guitar. The pronunciation in the vocals reveals the fact that this is a Malaysian singer with a Malaysian accent but there is a charm to it. The bridge section with the wordless vocals creates a good contrast before going back to the chorus.

High energy drums come back with the third track Philosophy. A very distinct style is kept here as I can hear the band’s direction in the EP. The rhythmic hits on the tracks with the counterpoint between the guitar licks, bassline and distorted vocals is charming and catchy.

Track 4, Shunta Semalam begins with an out of tune sounding rhythm guitar part but with strong drive. Eventually, the Malay lyrics come in pushing in with the bass and drumbeat. At this point, I starting hearing more personality in the music. For me, I would personally love to hear the band explore and write more in Malay. The vocals sound stronger, more melodically expressive and the lyrics come across with more personality now that the pronunciation is not in the way of the music. The outro part had a Beatles vibe before going into a nice guitar solo quoting part of the song’s riff expanding and going off with a nice tremolo picked line descending into the final chorus. There’s something special in this song and in this band captured right here.

The closing track, Bad Reason – goes back into English lyrics which at this point is still nice but is somewhat of a drop in the vibe since it kind of peaked at Shunta Semalam. It’s not that this track is not cool, it’s actually super cool but I heard the potential of the band with the Malay lyrics just a track before.

TLDR: If you like alternative indie pop (as they described themselves, if you know what that means), have a listen to the band. Get their CD if you dig it. Info on how to buy the physical CD is below and you can listen to the entire EP on their Soundcloud page embedded below.

Look out for The Fuze, Malaysia.

Rating: 3.7/5

How to buy:
You can get the physical copy of the CD by contacting the band directly via their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/thefuzeband/

[About The Fuze]


The Fuze is an alternative indie pop band from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Established in January 2018. The name Fuze was inspired from “FUSE” which is an important to an electronic or electric system. The band use this metaphore to deliver our music passionately.

The Fuze’s music are influenced by bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Bittersweet, Hujan, Maroon 5, The Killers, Muse, Tipling Rock.

The Fuze music has an alternative indie pop undertone combined with many other genre like Brit-Pop, Indie Rock and RockNRoll.In July 2018, The Fuze has produce their first EP named “MUSIKTARI”.

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Have you released an EP or album of music (within the genres of jazz, instrumental guitar and/or fingerstyle guitar)?
  • Would you like me to review your EP/album?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For Physical CDs: Please e-mail me to inquire for my mailing address.
For Downloads: a link to the music (Dropbox or equivalent webhosting), not WeTransfer or any site with limited time download as I may be travelling and not have access to fast internet at all times.

Depending on whether I dig the music, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I CANNOT guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina


The first time I saw Nisa Addina perform live was when we both shared the same stage at Comic Fiesta 2014. She was performing with her band Pretzel Heart and I was doing a solo acoustic guitar set of Final Fantasy, Studio Ghibli and Chrono Trigger music. Later on, we again shared the stage at No Black Tie for her performance with the band Flourescent Collective. Although we’ve been on the same stage, we have never performed together, yet! It’s been interesting seeing Nisa’s work especially since she embarked on her journey studying at Berklee College of Music. Let’s learn more about her:

Born on the 27th of October 1996, Nisa Addina is a contemporary violinist hailing from Malaysia. Having been born and raised in the city of Kuching from the state of Sarawak, Nisa represents East Malaysia and its culture through her music, having played various differing styles to a broad audience in various parts of Malaysia and the world. From wowing a small crowd at private functions to impressing audiences in sizable auditoriums, Nisa brings about a flavour or musical taste that is both intriguing and unique.

​Nisa Addina emerged as the Junior Grand Champion in the instrumentalist category at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California in 2011. She has also played with the Permata Seni Music (PSM) ensemble of Istana Budaya from 2010-2011 under the tutelage of principal conductor Mr Mustafa Fuzer Nawi. While studying in Berklee, the young violinist has performed and recorded for many compositions and arrangements and has gained experience from recording techniques to jazz vocabulary.

​Some of her other achievements and milestones include, but are not limited to:

  • Represented Permata Seni Muzik during the launching of the Permata Ekspo at KLCC in December 2011
  • Youngest representative of Malaysia to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), 4th Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAFEST) in Bandung, 2012

Youngest representative of Malaysia to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), 5th Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAFEST) in Johor, 2012

Some of her notable performances include, but not limited to:

  • Fluoroscent Collective in the Borneo Jazz Festival 2017, Malaysia, May 2017.
  • Performed the Sarawak Sukma theme during the launch and closing in Sarawak, 2016
  • Sound of Music 2.0 Charity concert featuring South Norfolk Youth Band and 2nd Runner up of Korea’s Got Talent, Sung Bong Choi, 2016
  • Performed in the Jacob Collier Project Orchestra with Jacob Collier (Youtube) at Kresge
    Auditorium in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dec 2016
  • Johor International Music Festival 2012
  • Launching of Asean International Film Festival Awards (AIFFA) 2013
  • Global Women Summit 2013 dinner at Istana Negara
  • Launching of Malaysia’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2013
  • Global Women Summit 2014 in Paris, France
  • Nisa has released a debut EP “Yakina” produced by Syafiee Obe and an album dedicated to the Malaysian music icon, Tan Sri P Ramlee produced by Azlan Abu Hassan & top Malaysian Berklee Alumni Helen Yap, Aubrey Suwito & Jenny Chin.

​Playing the violin as her primary instrument, Nisa holds an Associate Performer Diploma in Violin from ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Limited), as well as an Associate Diploma in Violin Performance from IMEB (International Music Examinations Board).

Prior to holding these qualifications, Nisa received tutelage from Mr Marcus Leong, her first violin teacher from 2003-2013. She also complemented her violin education with masterclasses from Ms Lynnette Seah of Singapore, and the late violin maestro Mr Idris Sardi of Jakarta.

Nisa was a student at International College of Music (ICOM) under the Berklee Transfer Program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is currently studying jazz and doing a double major in Performance and Contemporary Writing & Production (CWP) in Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA.

1. What’s your latest project?
I did a P.Ramlee tribute album with producers Helen Yap, Aubrey Suwito, Azlan Abu Hassan, & Jenny Chin.

My latest project was Iced Gem Biscuits. It is on Spotify via alias Lyrit Embrium. This song was a final project for my Electronic Production class in Berklee. We were required to upload our final projects on Spotify. P.S. during the bridge I included the Datun Julud motive (traditional sape tune) as a shoutout to my homies in Sarawak!

2. What inspires your music?
The musicians around me inspire my music. Seeing my hardworking friends out there motivates me to do the same. But more importantly, most of the time my music is heavily influenced by my feelings toward a certain situation I’m going through, or at least try to relate as much as possible to my music so I could give it the feel it needs.

3. What are your 5 Desert Island Albums?
My 5 Desert Island Albums are:
Discovery by Daft Punk

Snö by Snail’s House

Wallflower by Jordan Rakei

Cosmic Messenger by Jean-Luc Ponty

Voyager by Moonchild

4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
I’ve been telling my friends about An Endless Sporadic, they’re a progressive metal band. One of their songs is a bonus track in Guitar Hero 3 called Impulse. They had Jordan Rudess featured in they’re latest album Magic Machine.

5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
I wish someone told me that music has no boundaries when I just started out. I was really anxious about my music because of all the rules out there. I realized later that there isn’t really a right or wrong, it’s more towards if it works better or not.

6.As a a violinist, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
As a violinist, it was hard to relate to other common band members like the typical rhythm section. I struggle with being a bandleader most of the time. When I first started out performing with a band, I didn’t know other violinist to look up to who did the same thing. After playing with so many people, I tried to observe how they would handle a group of people and manage them properly. Another challenge is blending the violin tone with a band. I had a lot of trouble getting the right tone, especially when the violin is plugged in, the natural acoustic tone is sacrificed to a certain degree. I tried a few pick ups, had to splurge and found that the DPA was best for the natural acoustic sound, but I also kept my Schatten bridge pickup on because the DPA isn’t suitable outdoors. I also realized how important it was to have my own DI and effects pedals, like how guitarists handle their gigs too.

7. How do we reach you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nisaaddina/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nisa_addina/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/NisaAddina
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nisa_Addina
Other Website(s): https://soundcloud.com/lyritembrium

Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist

[Creative Fridays] #15: Dylan Lee
Cellist

[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer

Next Friday:
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
Ukulele Virtuoso
Coming up August 3 2018

[About Creative Fridays]

The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.

This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?

Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!

If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.

Thank you! 🙂

[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.

[Creative Fridays] #1  : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)

[Creative Fridays] #2  : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #3  : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)

[Creative Fridays] #4  : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)

[Creative Fridays] #5  : Gustavo Assis-Brasil
(Boston Jazz Guitarist/Educator)

[Creative Fridays] #6  : TragiComedy
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter)

[Creative Fridays] #7  : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)

[Creative Fridays] #8  : Pete Teo
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/Filmmaker)

[Creative Fridays] #9  : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)

[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)

[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)

[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)

[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]

[More about Az Samad]

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https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

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http://www.azsamad.com/book2

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Book Review: Four Etudes for the Right Hand by Gyan Riley

The first time I saw Gyan Riley was at a concert at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, California. After that initial concert, I tried to catch him live every chance I got up to the time when he relocated to New York City. I also managed to take a private lesson with him when he was still based in Oakland, California. It was such a great lesson and I still remember his advice that helped me develop a much more secure right hand technique for scale playing. Recently, I was going through my books and found this particular one that I bought at a house concert performance he did in San Francisco. I remember going back and forth, trying to decide which of his books to get and settled on this one. I’m glad I did!

This 15-page book by guitarist and composer Gyan Riley is a masterpiece. It contains 4 etudes that challenges the right hand and introduces different musical challenges.

Etude 1: The Odd Arpeggio is preceded by a page of right hand exercises related to the groupings that Gyan explores in the piece. In a way, this compact volume not only gives you the piece but also gives you an opportunity to prepare for the etude. Gyan’s skill as an educator shines here as he cares for the guitarist attempting these pieces.

For Etude 2: The Inner Voice, Gyan gives exercises in balancing different voices by marking certain notes in red to highlight which voices need more stress. These exercises are challenging for me and definitely have helped me develop my right hand control whenever I come back to study the piece.

Etude 3: Trillemolo, a Homage to Agustin Barrios Mangore is one of my favorite pieces in the volume. It explores different variations of right hand tremolo technique to produce both trills and tremolos.

Concluding the book, Etude 4: iPick is a Homage to John McLaughlin. This piece introduces Gyan’s single-string rasguedo technique, picking with the “i” finger. An interesting musical piece, it alternates between harmonics, scalar lines with some chordal stabs. Throughout the book, Gyan always focuses on musically developing each piece even in these etude settings.

In short, this is a great book to add to your classical guitar library for study and technique development. I bought my copy from Gyan years ago in person but now you can get a digital copy right from his website.

Pros: Great pieces, musical and beautiful.
Cons: None.
TLDR: For intermediate to advanced classical and fingerstyle guitarists interested in developing their technique beyond the standard classical repertoire, this is a good book to invest in.

How to buy:
Buy it online from Gyan Riley himself right here:
http://gyanriley.com/music.html

[Read more Reviews]

Review #24

Book Review: Beyond Chord Melody by Martin Taylor MBE

Review #23

Book Review: Daniel Donato – The New Master Of The Telecaster: Pathways To Dynamic Solos

Review #22

Course Review: Understanding & Applying the Chromatic Scale by Frank Vignola

Review #21

Book Review: Movable Shapes – Concepts for Reharmonizing ii-V-I’s by Sheryl Bailey

Review #20

Video Review: Accompanying A Vocalist by David Cook

Review #19

Book Review: Developing Bebop Lines by Jeff Ellwood

Review #18

Book Review: The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist by Sean McGowan

Review #17

Video Review: Essential Percussive Guitar Riffs with Jon Gomm

Review #16

Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

Review #15

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Review #14

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Review #13

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Review #12

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Review #11

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Review #10

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

Review #09

Book Review: A Guide to Developing a Chromatic Approach to Improvisation by Tony Greaves

Review #08

Course Review: Fundamentals of Picking by Fretboard Anatomy

Review #07

Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

Review #06

Book Review: The Tao of Badass Guitar by Ben Higgins

Review #05

Book Review: Bach Scales by Jon De Lucia

Review #04

Book Review: Extended Scale Playing for Guitar by Joe Puma

Review #03

Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev

Review #02

Book Review: Voicing Modes – A Chord Voicing Approach to Hearing and Practicing Modes by Noel Johnston

Review #01

Book Review: The Outside Sounds and Substitutions of Modern Saxophonists for Jazz Guitar by Kevin Miller

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
  • Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
  • Would you like me to review your book/course?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.

Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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Book Review: Beyond Chord Melody by Martin Taylor MBE

This book written by Martin Taylor MBE with Joseph Alexander is published by Fundamental Changes. It contains two parts with a total of 13 chapters. In addition to being an amazing insightful book with systematically arranged musical examples, it also comes with 130 audio examples and 2 bonus online videos featuring Martin demonstrating key techniques. There’s an immense amount of info in the book!

The book is divided into two parts, firstly introducing Martin’s view of the fretboard. Then, the second half covers Martin’s 7 step approach to arranging for solo guitar.

The first part has a very logical progression, beginning with one string scales in the lower strings. As we move on, Martin adds guide tones and creates movement in the the voices. As the book progresses, Martin introduces how we can add melodies to these structures to decorate them. Some parts appear to be deceptively simple and some other parts are challenging (to play and to visualise at times, depending on your level). After examining major scale harmony, he goes into minor scale harmony and then dips into the CAGED System.

The second part of the book uses a contrafact of Autumn Leaves entitled Autumn Breeze to teach Martin’s arranging technique. Via step by step examples, it became clear to me that this entire book has distilled Martin Taylor’s genius into a a very compact usable package. This is extremely valuable material that can be applied again and again over different jazz standards. Along with Martin’s existing DVDs or transcriptions, this book could possibly be valuable to reverse engineer Martin’s arrangements.

As I played the notated musical examples, I realised that this book would be easier to digest or read if you played a guitar that has easier access to the higher register. There’s a huge melodic/harmonic range covered and therefore if you’re an acoustic guitar player with a guitar without a cutaway, you may need to transpose some examples to make them playable.

I read through the entire book in several sessions to have an overview of the material. Now, as I revisit the book to add more thoughts in this review, I definitely would see this as a valuable textbook for guitar instructors who intend to help their more ambitious students to learn beyond standard chord melody technique. The book delivers on the title! For those intending to use this as a self teaching method, I would recommend taking it slowly maybe only 1 to 3 examples per practice session so that you can really understand Martin’s concepts.

I personally see myself working on the first part to really visualise the fretboard in a more intuitive manner. Even though I’ve been playing and arranging solo guitar for many years (and opening for Martin’s Kuala Lumpur concert some years ago), I found this book to be something that I’d like to keep on my music stand as a part of my practice routine. Once you start transposing the examples into different keys, the whole book become an even bigger work to dig into!

So yes, if you’re into chord melody – or beyond chord melody – get this book and start woodshedding.

Pros: Great systematic method, lots of written examples and food for thought.
Cons: You may have to surrender your social life. Joking not joking :p
TLDR: If you’re interested in developing chord melody playing beyond standard ‘harmonise the melody note with a block chord approach’, this is a good investment. Recommended for fans of Martin Taylor and Joe Pass as well as anyone who is bored of the typical chord melody playing.

Thank you to Joseph Alexander and Fundamental Changes for the complimentary review copy. Thanks to James Taylor for connecting us!

How to buy:
You can get the book here:
https://www.fundamental-changes.com/book/martin-taylor-beyond-chord-melody-jazz-guitar/

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[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
  • Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
  • Would you like me to review your book/course?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.

Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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Music Review: Norihiro Kikuta – Oporo

Music Review: Norihiro Kikuta – Oporo 

As the first note of Into The Tunnel swells into existence, Norihiro Kikuta welcomes us into the musical world of his second album Oporo. Consisting of 14 compositions, these miniatures range from 5 seconds to 4 minutes and 16 seconds each. Together, they present an impressionistic journey that reminds me both the haiku sensibilities in Japanese culture as well as the brief attention span of the Instagram era. Sparse steel string guitar melodic lines walk across the sonic backdrop of the swells in the first track.

Grand Central opens with strong acoustic guitar harmonics and ends with a low register chord.

Waltz introduces the first glimpse of a groove element in this record. This track has fun with the playful rhythms and electric guitar leads with some octaves hinting on his jazz influence. Towards the end of the piece, the harmonies develop along with the feedback in the delays before disappearing.

Tuesday, a short piece goes into Instagram guitar territory with J Dilla styled beats, a reflection of the current guitar generation’s fascination (including me actually) with these kind of sounds, looping and grooving.

Hudson River consists of some watery arpeggios before ending. J-M-Z is a mood in 21 seconds.

For How Many Days of Summer, the repeated arpeggios provides a structure for the sneaky textures.

Prospect Park has a glimpse of Pat Metheny’s acoustic work circa One Quiet Night. Birds sounds like the title, playful. Itsukara is one of my favorite tracks from the album with a feeling of longing within the harmonies. Gelato! captures the experience well. Coney Island is a quick document of the experience going to Coney Island I imagine. For Hancock Street, Norihiro plays chords spaced out evoking space and peacefulness. Later on, he grazes on some crunchy chords giving a bit more of a bite. The closing piece, Akarui Mado introduces some piano playing a reflective chord progression almost bordering on New Age but ends quickly, sudden.

This Haiku like collection of pieces to me is a reflection of Norihiro’s Japanese background coupled with the American experience. Definitely not easily placed in a particular genre, he brings in a variety of influences to capture his experiences over the years. For the video gaming, Instagram posting, YouTube generation – this is music of the times. Snippets of experience and emotion, private and deep, public yet introspective.

For those interested in a musical experience that is deeper than it initially seems, I would strongly recommend checking out Oporo. This is a musical diary of a creative musician who is on his journey to create great things in the future. Catch him now and join him as he develops his musical craft.

Rating: 4/5

Get the album here:
https://norihirokikuta.bandcamp.com/album/oporo

[About Norihiro Kikuta]

Norihiro Kikuta is a Japanese guitarist and composer. Norihiro has been developing a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists in New York City, incorporating jazz, funk, and classical music elements to create his signature sound.

Inspired by Chicago blues music at an early age, he began performing professionally at 18 years old. After cutting his teeth on gigs throughout Tokyo, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston MA, where he honed his guitar playing and production skills from 2005 – 2008. While there, he collaborated with influential professors and highly acclaimed musicians such as David Fiuczynski, Matt Jenson, Jim Kerry, Dennis Montgomery, Winston Maccow, and Mick Goodrick. He also earned an achievement-based scholarship, helping him to complete his education. He graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music in 2008.

He eventually relocated to New York City, where his musical career has progressed both as a leader and a sideman, touring and recording throughout the USA, Canada, and Japan. He has worked with legendary New Orleans band The Wild Magnolias, Russell Batiste (of The Funky Meters), Hey Exit (of Of Plants), The Frightnrs (Daptone Records), Matt Jenson’s Liquid Revolution, Erin Barra (Ableton), Jeanine Truly, and internationally acclaimed producer, Rozhan Razman (Riro Musik), among others.

As a private guitar instructor, Norihiro has worked with Soul Arrow Music, Inc. in Tokyo and Amadeus School of Music in New York City. He teaches beginning-to-intermediate guitarists, specializing in an accessible approach to jazz theory and chord structure.

Norihiro released his critically acclaimed EP, Vegetable Soup, in 2012. The album features Josh Antonucci (vocal), Ayumi Ueda (crystal bowl), Brendan Landis (beats), and Adam Tressler (guitar). The music has been described as “fresh and diverse … lyrical and rhythmic,” mixing acoustic ensemble writing with electronic music, pop, and jazz influences.

Currently, he works with Norihiro Kikuta Trio, featuring bassist Daniel Ori and drummer Jeff Fajardo, in major jazz clubs throughout New York City.

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Have you released an EP or album of music (within the genres of jazz, instrumental guitar and/or fingerstyle guitar)?
  • Would you like me to review your EP/album?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For Physical CDs: Please e-mail me to inquire for my mailing address.
For Downloads: a link to the music (Dropbox or equivalent webhosting), not WeTransfer or any site with limited time download as I may be travelling and not have access to fast internet at all times.

Depending on whether I dig the music, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I CANNOT guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂