Jazz Music and Improvisation Guide Books

As I mentioned earlier, I recently presented to the Piano Pedagogy Group. The piano teachers in this group are currently working on their Grade 10 or their Piano Pedagogy certification through Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada or London College of Music . They are all classically trained (translation: improvisation, lead sheets and chord charts are scary). This is a list of the "How To" books that I use whenever I teach and play contemporary music (e.g. pop, rock, Latin, jazz, ragtime) that I shared with them:

Conservatory Canada Contemporary Idioms Syllabus

How To Play From A Fake Book look inside How To Play From A Fake Book By Blake Neely. For Guitar, Piano/Keyboard. Piano. Instructional. Instructional book. Standard notation and instructional text. 88 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.220019)Smp_stars40 (1) ...more info
Lead Lines and Chord Changes look inside Lead Lines and Chord Changes By Ann Collins. For Piano. Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Early Advanced; Late Intermediate. Book. 80 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.199)...more info
Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise look insideListen! Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise By Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Beginner, intermediate. Book & CD. 104 pages. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz (JA.V01DS)Smp_stars30 (22) ...more info
Volume 3 - The II/V7/I Progression look insideListen! Volume 3 - The II/V7/I Progression By Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Beginner, intermediate. Book & CD. 100 pages. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz (JA.V03DS)Smp_stars40 (6) ...more info
Boogie Woogie for Beginners look inside Boogie Woogie for Beginners Arranged by Frank Paparelli. For Piano/Keyboard. Keyboard Instruction. 48 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.120517)Smp_stars40 (2) ...more info

There are a few more in my "To Check Out" pile. I'll add them once I've had a chance to go through them a bit.

Sherry Kennedy "Little Secret" CD Release Party February 2013

If you're looking for something musical to enjoy next month, come on out to my vocal coach Sherry Kennedy's CD release party. Deets as follows: Sherry Kennedy CD Release Party

Sherry is a Calgary-based singer, recording artist and vocal coach. Album review to come - stay tuned!

Here's a video of Sherry Kennedy in performance:

Practicing Piano Technique by the Root

This is more for the advanced students, music teachers and anyone who wants to learn jazz chords and scales. Instead of practicing your technical exercises by key, practice them by their shared root. For example, play through:

  • C major Scale
  • C major Modes
  • C minor Scales (natural, harmonic, melodic, jazz minor)
  • C minor Modes
  • C Penatonic Scale
  • C Blues Scale
  • C Whole Tone Scale
  • C Octatonic Scale
  • C major tonic chord/triad
  • C minor tonic chord/triad
  • C7 (dominant 7th of F major)
  • Cm7 (ii7 of B-flat major)
  • Cm7(♭5) (viiø7 of D-flat major)
  • Cdim7, A.K.A. B#dim (viio7 of D-flat/c# minor)
  • and so on.

This was one of the first things I learned when I took jazz piano lessons with jazz pianist, clinician, adjudicator and examiner Derek Stoll.

Calgary August Music Festivals 2012

There are quite a few summer music festivals coming up in August, here in Calgary. Here is just a sampling of what's ahead:
Inglewood Sunfest (August 4):  This annual event in Calgary's historic Inglewood is free. You can listen and watch various street performers, check out the local vendors and enjoy some great food. 
Afrikadey (August 5 - 11): This annual festival celebrates the culture, traditions and music of Africa. This year's event features performances by Alpha Yaya Diallo, Emmanuel Jal, MFive and more. Tickets are available on the Afrikadey website.
Calgary ReggaeFest (August 15 - 18): In addition to live music by international Reggae musicians, attendees can enjoy food, arts and crafts and the beer garden. There are also plenty activities for children and youth, including basketball, sand magic and face painting. Featured artists include Amoy, Bryan Art, Cherine Anderson, Chester Miller, Hawkeye, Jermaine Cowan, J.k. & the Relays, Makeshift Innocence, New Kingston, Redeye Empire, Roots Syndicate, Souljah Fyah, and Ultimate Crew. Tickets are available for purchase from the event website.
Other festivals worth checking out include the Marda Gras (August 12), GlobalFest (August 16 - 26), and ExpoLatino (Aug. 24 - 26) . You can be sure there will be some live music to enjoy!
Special Note from Maestro: Fellow canines, be sure to check out Marda Gras! I scored lots of swag the last time I went. I also listened to some great jazz.
© 2012 by Musespeak. All rights reserved.

Pia no Jac Eat a Classic Album Review

→Pia-no-jaC← from Osaka, Japan, present a driving fusion of jazz, rock and J-pop on this This piano-cajón duo's sophomore album.
→Pia-no-jaC← was founded in 2005 by pianist Hayato Tatsunari and percussionist Tadahiro “Hiro” Moritomi. →Pia-no-jaC← is a combination of Hayato and Hiro's instruments: “piano” and “cajón”.


The duo performs over 150 concerts a year. They have toured in France, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Tickets for →Pia-no-jaC←'s “Back in the Japan Tour” in 2010 sold out within five minutes. The duo is currently on tour throughout Japan (“First Light Tour 2012”).


This jazz group's music is a fusion that incorporates J-pop, Jazz, Rock and Classical. Hayato and Hiro describe their music as “hybrid instrumental” and they seek to entertain audiences with their technical ability, showmanship and humour shine through.


→Pia-no-jaC← has worked with several heavy hitters in the Japanese entertainment industry, including commercial creator, Michihiko Yanai, composer/director Joe Hisaishi, ARASHI and SQUARE ENIX. The duo has released nine albums to date.


Eat a Classic Highlights


Eat a Classic injects a fresh twist to well-known classical pieces, including Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".


“The Swan Lake” (Track 3) is a slow sultry jazz number. There is a wide dynamic range to this piece, soft and melancholy for the main theme and impassioned for the riffs. Some very bluesy riffs break out on piano between statements of the main theme. The percussion varies slightly in between the statements of the main theme. The balance between the two instruments is superb.


“Habanera” (Track 5) pays homage not only to Georges Bizet but Dave Brubeck. The syncopated driving rhythm steadily builds up to the main theme, which is filled with octaves and fifths, as well as twisting and turning triplets. The middle section is calmer, Coquettish. When the A section returns, it's more intense, with the percussion pushing the piece to a climax.


“Ode to Joy” (Track 6) starts dark and stormy in a minor key before the main theme is introduced. This number displays a wide range of dynamics, moods and rhythms. Like the rest of the CD, it is technically challenging and musically exciting.


Eat a Classic is an upbeat album that shows that displays a fun side to classical music. The album is a classic (pun intended) example of Pia no Jac's “hybrid instrumental” style.


Eat a Classic Track Listing


1. Fugue in G minor (BWV 578) – J.S. Bach
2. Trepak from The Nutcracker - P.I. Tchaikovsky) and Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld - J. Offenbach
3. The Swan Lake, Op. 20 (Act 2) – P.I. Tchaikovsky
4. Prelude from Act 1 of Carmen – G. Bizet
5. Habanera from Carmen – G. Bizet
6. Symphony no. 9, Op. 125 (4th movement: "Ode to Joy") – L. van Beethoven


Label: BounDEE, 2009
Catalog Number: B001MT1JWQ

Check out Eat a Classic or some of Pia no Jac's music by clicking on the CD icon below:

Eat A Classic / Pia-no-jaC

(c) 2012 by Rhona-Mae Arca, Musespeak(TM). All rights reserved.