Planets from my house part 6

My night started off with thoughts of jazz and beer. Brother Thelonious is great for both.


Eventually I stayed up long enough to keep up with my latest hobby… Looking up. My kid calls Jupiter “daddy’s planet”, which lets me know the level of my geek is strong.

This may potentially be the last time I post about which planets I can see from my house. In general I feel the pictures I take with my iPhone does no justice to how cool I think this event is. The idea that I get to watch this pattern unfold before my very eyes is simply awesome. I think I’ll start saving up for a telescope. Perhaps my kid and I will enjoy looking up.Planets from my house part 6


Love this post, reminded me of why I love Charlie Parker. Lots of good stuff from Good Music Speaks.

Good Music Speaks


Charlie Parker


ParkerI still remember the first time I heard a recording by Charlie Parker.  I was 15 years old and the band director at the school was going to teach us to play “Billie’s Bounce”, or at least the melody of the tune.  I don’t know what I thought Jazz was before I heard that record, but my brain soon learned, once I listened to the alto saxophone of Charlie Parker.  My ears could barely listen fast enough to hear what was happening, I simply could not imagine someone who could play like that, let alone improvise as he went along.  Simply put, it was a musical epiphany.

Charlie Parker, “Billie’s Bounce”

That day set me on a listening quest that led me from Bird to Diz, Miles, Monk, Clifford Brown, Coltrane, and on and on.  I bathed in bebop, tuned my radio to the jazz music…

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Clark Terry RIP

One of my favorite moments as a trumpet student was listening to Clark Terry warm up back stage before a performance. He is also responsible for helping to shape my view of music and becoming a musician. In a master class his quote to the class about improvisation was “first you must imitate, then you can innovate.” As a young musician I thought I should apply this to every facet of music in my life.

He was amazing.



NPR’s – A Blog Supreme has a great piece about him and his career.

NPR – Clark Terry

Miles Davis on my mind

While having a conversation with a students I said “I’m not the biggest Maynard Ferguson fan in the world, but I really like his recording of I Can’t Get Started With You.” The student gave the impression that there are not enough Maynard fans around here, and that we worship Miles Davis. I looked at him and smiled and said “Yeah, Miles…can’t say enough about him”. The students then went on to say that he thought Miles Davis was cool but “he was so bad at the trumpet”. I smiled again and went on to tell the student that there is a misconception about Miles Davis the trumpeter that is simply not true. Miles Davis is not a bad trumpeter.
In my opinion one of the greatest things about Miles Davis is his sound. As a young student I heard his recordings and thought to myself, I can sound like that. I did my best to mimic his playing on the Kind Of Blue recordings with a fair amount of success. After those tunes I didn’t try to play any more of his transcriptions, I thought I could move on to more technical solos…and I did. A few years later a trumpeter I was studying with assigned some Miles Davis transcriptions. I didn’t think anything of it; so l listened to the recording and started playing along and figured out that I couldn’t keep up with Miles. I found a written out transcription of the solo and started working on it.
The next week I went to my lesson a told my teacher of the trouble I had with playing these transcriptions. He basically said, “yeah…Miles Davis was a bad ass trumpeter and people don’t give him enough credit.” He could play in every register, and at any dynamic with the same clear tone. He was such a giant in the development of jazz that we overlook the way he played his instrument. I think this is a misconception we need to correct.

I am currently listening to this album while I write.

Miles Ahead