Jazz School News, Thoughts and Events.

Steve Rodby Joins Bloom School Faculty.

Posted by David Bloom on Oct 21, 2013 2:44:00 AM

We are very happy to announce that Steve Rodby, 13-time Grammy winner and Bloom alumnus, has joined our faculty. Steve is teaching bass (electric and upright) as well as music production and video editing.

Acoustic and electric bassist, editor and producer Steve Rodby was born in Joliet, Illinois. Steve began studying classical orchestral bass at age 10, and quickly developed an intense interest in jazz and pop music. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in classical bass performance, Steve studied with Warren Benfield (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), renowned jazz bassist Rufus Reid and jazz guru David Bloom. Steve has performed with numerous jazz greats, including Joe Henderson, Roy Haynes, Tony Bennett, Teddy Wilson, Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, George Coleman, Ira Sullivan, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Johnny Griffin and Monty Alexander.

In addition to being the bassist in the Pat Metheny Group for 3 decades, Steve has conducted orchestras, recorded with many other artists in both jazz and pop, and lately has spent much of his time producing and editing, both audio and video.

His work as a producer includes Oregon In Moscow (Oregon's recording with the Moscow Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra) which was nominated for four Grammy awards, six records by Eliane Elias - including Dreamer, Something For You, Bossa Nova Stories - and numerous non-PMG projects with Metheny, including the Jim Hall & Pat Metheny duo record, two Pat Metheny Trio records, the soundtrack for A Map Of The World and the Grammy winner One Quiet Night. He also did extensive production on two Michael Brecker recordings, Nearness Of You and the Grammy winner Pilgrimage. In all, Steve has won 13 Grammys.

Steve edited the video and audio for the Pat Metheny Group's DVDs Imaginary Day Live and The Way Up - Live, as well as other music videos, and several full length concert specials for broadcast on PBS and DVD release, including Anúna's Celtic Origins. Steve produced and edited both the audio and video for world famous classical marimba star Nancy Zeltman's latest productions, music by Messaien arranged for marimba and clarinet. 

More recently, Steve worked as a producer on legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden's Rambling Boy, performed on tour with singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs, and did production work on Maria Schneider's Grammy winning Sky Blue, as well as Pat Metheny's  most recent recordings Orchestrion and Unity Band, and Grammy Award "Best New Artist" Esperanza Spalding's 2 back-to-back Grammy Award winning albums Concert Music Society and Radio Music Society.  

This last year Steve produced 3 albums: Bloom mentee Ryan Cohan's The River, Eliane Elias' I Thought About You, and Internationally Recognised Aliens by The Impossible Gentlemen, a band that Steve has been touring with.

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Topics: jazz courses, chicago jazz, jazz classes, bloom school of jazz

Jazz Vocal class starting Monday July 22 7PM. Enrollment due by this Friday July 19th. Spider is also taking private students. Call for details.

Posted by David Bloom on Jul 18, 2013 3:07:00 PM


Spider Saloff is the winner of five MAC Awards (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) including Best Female Jazz Vocalist, as well as the recipient of the Chicago Gold Coast Award for Excellence in Live Performance and also of a special citation from NARAS (The Grammy's). This World Class artist has taught vocalists at the Bloom School of Jazz for over a decade. As a concert jazz vocal artist, actress, songwriter and playwright with 8 national recordings, Ms. Saloff has been acclaimed world wide. She was featured with Chicago Jazz Orchestra's tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at Millennium Park to an audience of over 26,000. Saloff's Gershwin tribute The Memory of All That headlined in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her concert venues include: Auditorium Theater, Smithsonian Institution, Wilmington Grand Opera, Wallingford Symphony, Illinois State Symphony, Castro Theater, and New York's Town Hall and Lincoln Center.
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Topics: jazz, chicago jazz, jazz programs, jazz classes, Perfect Set Recording Course, vocal, perfect set

Jazz Performance Guidance with Bloom's Laws

Posted by David Bloom on Nov 23, 2011 2:32:00 PM

One problem you may be noticing during live performances is a lack of respect for the show. Each tune should be considered a chapter in a suspense novel, not a series of short stories with no cohesiveness. With my 40+ years of intensely studying the greatest jazz performers of the last century, I've discovered core values and practices that make the live experience of jazz infinitely more interesting and exciting for the audience.

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Topics: jazz courses, jazz classes, jazz education, jazz instruction

Jazz School Experience Series

Posted by David Bloom on Apr 27, 2011 3:45:00 PM

Escaping Yourself to Be You (Part 4)

For civilians and musicians alike, I suggest a one week test: turn off the TV and computer games, use the phone only when it's necessary, and spend the rest of the time doing things that make you think, feel, emote, create or anything that shows an active involvement and appreciation of you life. In one year the average person watches about 1200 hours of TV. Think of what could be learned in 1200 hours in one year. One could become competent in an instrument, learn a language, learn a sport, and take courses or whatever. It's staggering. No one has ever felt or developed pride by watching TV.

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Topics: david bloom, jazz classes, jazz school, jazz schools, inspiration

Jazz School Experience Series

Posted by David Bloom on Apr 20, 2011 6:06:00 PM

Escaping Yourself to Be You (Part 3)

A few specific ideas for musicians as well as civilians to help you escape both the outside and inside negative forces are as follows: For musicians, I have found that a good way to work on escaping preconceived notions, and occupying the present is to play the first two bars of the melody of a ballad twenty times, each phrasing the melody differently, but in a way that is sincere and expressive. They rhythm can be changed, the melody can be broken up differently with different length rests and dramatic dynamics can be used. But do not change the actual pitches; once you change the pitches and the rhythm it is no longer the tune that is was to begin with.

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Topics: jazz courses, jazz classes, jazz school, jazz education

Jazz School Experience Series

Posted by David Bloom on Feb 5, 2011 9:55:00 AM

Escaping Yourself to Be You (Part 2)

I had a student named Peter who had already played with numerous national stars when he first came in for an evaluation. During our first meeting he played only fast notes. It was clear to me that he had spent a lot of time on technique and was an accomplished guitarist but not a strong musician. His self-conscious desire to impress was greater than his desire to express. In his first exercise with me, he was forbidden from playing flurries of fast notes. This restrictive demand was the best thing that could have happened to him. Over time he discovered his individual expression, sense of lyricism and learned that technique must always serve an expressive idea.

Another student, Bob, was an excellent example of the converse. When he walked into the school the first time he had very poorly developed physical dexterity but as I listened to him, he revealed a selflessness and intuition for musical direction and expression. The last thing on his mind was that I was in the room. He ad given in to the music and there was nothing to prove. The music had eclipsed his ego.

Self-consciousness on the bandstand can be heard, and can easily be noticed when the player is looking around the room to see if anyone is watching them while they are playing. They are taking "affirmation inventory" as they play; checking out who likes them or who looks impressed with them. Another example of self-consciousness occurs when a musician plays a barrage of undirected notes that communicate that they have no reason to be played other than to demonstrate to the audience that the player has Olympian technique and is "bad" (meaning dangerous). Hiding ones vulnerability with this desperate and cynical approach gives jazz a bad name. These musicians seem to give in to their worst feelings about themselves, which is, that they can't be appreciated for being themselves and have to put on a dog and pony show to elicit a favorable response.

Great jazz players teach you an appreciation of what you have inside you and what you love. Conforming to conventions, attitudes and behaviors is only about what other people think and do. Discipline, focus, sacrifice and heart are the tools used to respect your own life and to conquer your demons.

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Topics: chicago jazz, jazz programs, jazz classes, jazz school