Jazz School News, Thoughts and Events.

Practice Tips: One Week To Better Solos

Posted by David Bloom on Mar 22, 2018 1:20:33 PM

Practice Tips
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Topics: inspiration, jazz intro

Jazz School Experience Series: Escaping Yourself to Be You Part 4

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

Wes Montgomery and Jazz

Posted by David Bloom on Nov 29, 2010 12:09:00 PM

Though informed jazz musicians know that Wes Montgomery was one of the greatest guitarists, he was way more than a guitar player - he was one of the greatest jazz players who just happened to play guitar. Whatever Wes played had clarity, direction, patience, vulnerability and a beautiful sound.  It is a shame that for many musicians the most important two facts about him are that he played with his thumb, not a pick, and that he played octaves. These trivial observations are tantamount to looking at Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” painting and only commenting on the frame.

I had the good fortune to see Wes several times, but the one that I will never forget was in 1967 at the Light House in Hermosa Beach California. For ten choruses on the tune “Sunny” each chorus he played was more intense than the previous one, climaxing in the last chorus with an outpouring of pure passion and soul. Everyone was stunned in awe looking like they were kids in nursery school who had just seen fire for the first time. His emotional honesty neutered any negativity in a 200-foot radius, elevating the audience to a place of religious exhilaration. The world was truly a wonderful place for those attending that set and I will never forget it or him.

Wes’s playing was a tribute to the wide range of human emotions. He could make you cry with “For Heaven’s Sake”; excite you to death with “Impressions”; groove you out with “Bumpin’ on Sunset.” In his music he showed us a world of deep feeling and imagination.

Although Wes made numerous recordings I highly recommend that everyone listen to Boss Guitar, The Incredible Jazz Guitar, Portrait of Wes and Live at The Half Note. These are some of the greatest recordings in any category and clearly distinguish Wes from all other jazz players, old and new.
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Topics: wes montgomery, jazz guitar, jazz, inspiration

16 Square Feet

Posted by David Bloom on Oct 17, 2010 7:54:00 PM

I remember when I used to go out dancing in the Division St. bars in Chicago. There were always bouncers standing outside of the clubs to insure that the occupational limit was not exceeded. Their presence was troubling in that these bouncers seemed to make an aggressive proprietary statement with those 16 square feet outside of the club. They acted as if they owned it because they could grant or deny entry.

What I realized years later is that all of us need that 16 square feet. It's a place where we are somebody, where what we think is important, not to just us, but to anyone on our turf - a place where we can feel like we can have power to refuse or to allow, where we can call the shots. Anyone, regardless of his or her station in life, must pass through our gate. It’s a world we can call our own.

Many of us have a space somewhere. It might be at home, at work, a health club, the bandstand, the stage, box seats or wherever. All of these locations may help you feel there is somewhere that makes you feel special, noticed, powerful and important.

There is only one location where you can guarantee to find that 16 square feet, and that is in your mind. That territory no one can take away - it's yours alone. It can be as expansive as 1000 miles or as small as a square inch. It's only limited by the depth of our imagination.

Whether it’s a physical 16 square feet or in your mind, it’s how you feel about it that’s important. It’s all up to you.
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Topics: chicago jazz, david bloom, jazz school, inspiration

Getting going on your practicing

Posted by Phil Bruni on Sep 1, 2010 10:16:00 PM

To me, the single most irritating thing in the world is laziness to get started with practicing, working out... whatever. The easiest thing to do is just sit there watching television, staring at the ceiling, or playing some mind sucking game on your phone. So how do you fix this? How do you not loathe getting started doing something you know you love, with all these other distractions around?

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Topics: inspiration