Category Archives: Practice Tips

Rhythm Section Workshop updates

We’re adding new titles to our Rhythm Section Workshop series. It’s a great way to learn new music that will sharpen your ensemble skills.  Cecilia Coleman’s So You Say (a piano/bass duo version is also available), Jonny King’s Gnosis and composer David Kikoski’s Cecilia are the newest additions. Each title has exclusive Minus You audio tracks so  you can practice and perfect your part while playing along with the other instruments. Some titles have slower versions also, like Carl Perkins’ Mia and So You Say.

New songs, old year: songs for late December

JodiDexter Gordon
A gorgeous ballad by a master of ballad playing.

Please, Let Me Share This With YouDexter Gordon (music) / Rachel Gould (lyric)
Lyrist/singer Rachel Gould’s touching lyric creates a new valuable addition to the singer’s repertory.

Blue WailKenny Drew
A great addition to your blues repertory: an intriguing melody with lots of rhythmic variety.

Minor SceneGene Roland
Another great medium up swinger by an often overlooked great composer/arranger.

Later For YouElmo Hope
A challenging head based on standard jazz changes.

Now, news about next year. We’ll be making some additions to the “Features” column.

One addition will be ETUDES, which doesn’t mean you have to have new specially written music. Some heads also make great etudes. For me, Later For You is a perfect example, and I’ll tell you how I think you can best use it to your benefit: follow Charlie Parker’s advice: “Be able to play every melody in any key.” Elmo Hope’s Later For You exercises both your ears and your technical chops. Here is what I suggest:

B-flat instruments:
(1) Play the melody in A-flat concert (use your regular instrumental lead sheet). Trumpet players will play the B-flat lead sheet melody down an octave, except for one measure before D.
(2) Next play the melody from the E-flat lead sheet: you’ll be learning the melody in the key of F.
(3) Next play the melody from the C treble clef lead sheet: now you’ll be playing it in the key of A-flat.

After you have the melody together in those three keys, pick any other key. Using your “ear,” see if you can play it in that new key. If you’ve really disciplined yourself in three keys, the next key should be a lot easier,

If you already play a concert key instrument, then you should learn the melody in B-flat (from the B-flat lead sheet) and in E-flat (from the E-flat lead sheet).

E-flat instruments, learn the melody in the B-flat instrumental key and the concert version key.

Another useful category I’m working on is SAME CHANGES, where we’ll list the standard changes titles are based on. For example, Later For You is based on the chord progression of “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm.”

And here’s a link I love to browse: the album covers, all on one page.

Happy New Year!

Don Sickler
phone 212-741-1175