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July 13, 2018

Donald Fagen released Morph The Cat in 2006. It was the third part of his 'Nightfly' trilogy which followed Kamakiriad in 1993 and the Nightfly in 1982. Fagen himself described the way the trilogy idea developed, as well as some of the thematic connections between the...

July 12, 2017

On Monday 27th July 1959 Thelonious Monk went into a New York city recording studio to record the music for the film 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' by the French director Marcel Romano. He had with him his band at the time, Art Taylor, Sam Jones and Charlie Rouse, and also...

February 20, 2016

Thelonious Monk's music presents jazz performers with a unique challenge. In my opinion, any convincing performance of a Monk piece should be informed to some extent by the particular harmonic language and voicing system which Monk developed. In a Monk composition melo...

April 13, 2015

I recently went through one of my regular phases of listening to loads of Billie Holiday, basically just trying to figure out how on earth she does it. How does she take a trite, corny song and using just a limilted range and very simple musical vocablary transform it...

April 8, 2015

I’ve recently been looking into the the axis system, particularly at ways of applying it to improvisation and composition.

The system was developed by the music theorist Erno Lendvai in his study of the music of Bela Bartok, the basic idea being that chords and ton...

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