A healthly dose of dissonance – Garzone hits London

At long last, George Garzone has recently performed and led various masterclasses in London. Its great to hear the American masters of line, and in particular guys like Garzone and Liebman who challenge our tolerance of dissonance. Of course we have our own harmonic Merlins (check out Jean Toussaint’s harmonic concept, Julian Siegel, Phil Robson, Russell Van Den Berg and others), but such severe and thorough manipulation of tonality seems to be less fashionable these days…

George has a thorough concept (Triadic Chromatic Approach), but also offers great advice about improvising. As with Lee Konitz, despite a serious reputation as a teacher, there is little published or available the internet, George claiming to have learnt much as he went along. In my own research I have only stumbled across accounts of lessons, the most lucid of which I have condensed and posted on this site – click here.


Another sad loss – Pete King

Peter King, the longterm business partner of Ronnie Scott, dies aged 80.
Both Ronnie and Pete were incredibly kind to me, on one occasion Pete paying me twice for a night at the club because “you need the bread son”. The great British drummer Tony Levin told me that this wasn’t uncommon and that behind the formidable exterior was a privately kind heart who quietly and not infrequently helped musicians in their difficult times.

The end of an era.

Some obituaries:
Daily Telegraph
London Evening Standard
The Times

Jeff Clyne RIP

The great British bass player Jeff Clyne passed away on November 18th at the age of 72. A key figure in British jazz for over 40 years (appearing on recordings such as Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood, Tubby Hayes’100% Proof and albums by Ian Carr’s Nucleus) Jeff was much loved for his kindness and gentle humour.

Jeff Clyne 1937-2009

Forever open to all things, Jeff could be heard in the broadest range of musical settings, from Blossom Dearie, through Ronnie Scott to the free-form and experimental music of Trevor Watts, as well as his own band, Turning Point. Jeff Clyne was also active in jazz education in the UK pretty much from the beginning, co-directing the Wavendon Summer School as well as being professor of jazz double-bass at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

On a personal note, I am very saddened to hear of Jeff’s passing. Besides being one of the great British bass players, he was an immensely kind man without a bad word to say about anyone. He was also present at the worst (best) case of giggles in a teaching situation I have ever experienced, lasting several hours and into the next day! I owe him masses and consider myself very fortunate indeed to have known him.

You can read or contribute tributes at Jeff Clyne Remembered on FACEBOOK – click here.

Videos, broadcasts and podcasts

Some videos, interviews, broadcasts added… the marvellous Marian McPartland Piano Jazz programmes, interviews with Coltrane, Lester Young and Liebman, plus some practice advice from Joe Lovano and Steve Coleman. Click here…

Second degrees: there’s no going back – article in the Guardian

New rules on second degrees make it too expensive for most people to have a career change – see Anne Wollenberg’s article in the Guardian (Tuesday 3 November 2009). The implications here are serious for music students).

So much for lifelong learning!