MONDAY MAY 7  THE NEW YORK JAZZ WORKSHOP BEBOP/POST BOP COMBO BLOG MARK SHERMAN

I was the drummer for combo yesterday, but of course it does not hold the combo back as I love to play, and can control any situation from that vantage point. Having grown up studying with Elvin and playing a lot I can really give the combo the feel it needs, and spread the depth of the rhythmic structure of the music itself. Much of my concept on piano and vibes has arrived as a result of my rhythmic concept, which I got, from playing the drums.

We had Vinnie on bass, a newcomer who played very well, and our other normal diligent players. Dave, Rob, and Matt. We ran through Birdlike (Freddie Hubbard), Black Nile (Wayne Shorter), Beatrice (Sam Rivers), After You’ve Gone, and we attempted to play T Monk’s Pannonica. A difficult set of changes to master. After we played Black Nile the second tune we played, I stopped the band and began to talk about anticipation, and the technique of thinking ahead of the changes, and actually playing ahead in order to command the direction of the line. I demonstrated how being ahead of the changes is always best, and that falling behind is a terrible place to be. Trying to catch the train as it sails by. I demonstrated this a bit at the piano, and then instructed each player to take more choruses of soloing on Black Nile, but this time to play 1-2 quarter notes ahead of the changes. Well I never heard Matt Mayer sound so good. He was jumping ahead and resolving in a way that he never did before. This technique is a vital part of improvisation. Especially when dealing with lots of changes at fast tempos. Playing ahead of where the music actually is in real time is a very effective, and sensible way to be in control of the music and not to get caught by the changes. It has always worked for me, and it was a thrill to hear it change Matt and the others approach on negotiating the changes on the tunes. That anticipation drill helps you lead the direction of the music. After all the music will not stop, so it is easier to be ahead of the game, and use silence or resolution to allow the music to catch you, than for you to be behind the changes, trying to run after the music while negotiating the harmony. Sort of like being ahead of the ball game in the ninth inning, rather than playing catch up ball!!!

Deep stuff really if jazz improvisation is your life as it is mine!!!


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The Places We Feel Free / The Tim Horner Ensemble

2011 Miles High Records  www.mileshighrecords.com

Featuring : Tim Horner – All Compositions, Drums, Percussion, Voice & Viola / Jim Ridl – Piano & Electric Piano / John Hart – Guitar / Martin Wind – Bass / Mark Sherman – Vibes / Ron Horton – Trumpet & Flugelhorn / Marc Mommaas – Tenor & Soprano Saxes / Scott Robinson – Tenor Sax

Tracks:

A Room Full of Shoes

Invisible Heroes

Museum Piece

Mountain River Dream

A Precious Soul Fanfare for the Common

Jims

‘Tis

Spirit

Tha Places We Feel Free

Passion Dancer

 

The Places We Feel Free is the debut recording of drummer Tim Horner, out of NYC. Tim is one of New York City’s finest drummers and Jazz musicians. His disc, ‘The Places We Feel Free’ displays Tim’s musicianship as muti-faceted. He is a wonderful performer, composer and ensemble musician. His compositions (like his playing) are rhythmically vibrant. The tunes are melodically sophisticated, brushed with modern 20th century harmonies. You canhear the thoughtfulness behind each composition. The result is a release that unveils modern mainstream music, performed by an experienced group of NYC veterans that will surely excite the listeners, musicians and all who appreciate modern Jazz.

Everyone who participates on this disc has shining moments. It is so nice to hear Scott Robinson on tenor. If you are not familiar with his tenor playing, he unveils a richness of tone, blended with modern, creative touches in his improvisations. On ‘Fanfare for the Common Jims’, written for Robinson, Scott just rips through the form with ease and excitement! He then turns around plays with great sensitivity on ‘Tis’. He and trumpeter, Ron Horton provide Horner with a front-line that swings, combined with oneness of ensemble. Congrads Jims!

I love vibraphonist, Mark Sherman’s contributions. He plays with a rhythmic urgency that caught my attention—as in right away on ‘The Room Full of Shoes’. The opening cut. The unison’s and trades with guitarist John Hart are melodically sparring and enjoyable to listen to. I love how the rhythm section swings so hard—it gives the soloists the cushion and the necessary creative energy to just play ripping solos! Jim Ridl (piano) swings hard on that opening track on piano as well, creating an exciting and enjoyable listen.

Ron Horton, (Trumpet and Flugelhorn), plays with a richness of ‘sound’ on this recording. He plays with a big and full ‘sound’. His ‘pitch’ and ‘time’ are very good. On a ‘Precious Soul’ and ‘Tis’, his ensemble, and inventive solo’s are a welcome addition to this music.

Guitarist, John Hart on guitar is superb throughout. His electric playing flows, and he is well versed harmonically. I might note–not all electric players can turn the corner and play convincingly on a nylon classical guitar.  His training and experience are well noted. On Horner’s, ‘Passion Dancer’, his execution of Flamenco style is fluid and musical!

The disc is also programmed very well, with an assortment of time feels and variations of ensemble. The compositions also display beautiful variation. For example, listening to ‘The Places We Feel Free’, (dedicated to bassist, Bob Bowen), (a ¾ metered tune), ‘Places’ features nice open harmonies as it features a section for bassist Martin Wind to improvise. His solo is set up nicely by guitarist, Hart and vibraphonist, Sherman as their unison melody leads to the conversation with Wind. It is beautifully done. Sherman is great once again and Tim’s cymbal work is superb!

Horner not only writes in an assortment of time feels, he plays each style with the up-most capability. He is one of our modern masters when it comes knowing what the music needs from the rhythm section. His contributions are played with passion and conviction! His time feels so good. It makes you want to play if you’re a musician. It makes you want to move if you’re a listener. He is a superb musician!

You will listen to this disc multiple times, I can promise you if you are a lover of creative mainstream Jazz. Tim’s debut is not successful on one level, but on many levels. He has waited to release a musical statement, which clearly demonstrates his great understanding of the Jazz idiom! Congrads Jims!!

Tim Horner recording date. The Band


Promo video

Last week my usual rhythm section of Allen Farnham, Dean Johnson, and Tim Horner got together for a gig at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair N.J. The crowd was great, I sold about 8-10 CD’s and everything just went well. How amazing it feels to play with this group as we come back together and the music is magical, with great purpose. Nothing to be said, just hit the music. I have 3 or 4 new tunes that the band addressed in addition to the maybe 40 other originals this band performs. Anyway I just get up there and call tunes like I was calling standards, but they are mostly original tunes. It’s a great feeling to have that confidence with your musicians. It is a setting that makes me most comfortable in this music. For me the dream is to play the music a lot and get better and better at it. This band allows me just that opportunity. The comfort zone of a regular group is a really special feeling, as many times on the road alone I experience the opposite extreme. That is me picking up a rhythm section I hardly know for a gig somewhere across the globe, with one quick rehearsal/sound check and then a concert with some of my originals and standard arrangements. I often must avoid playing certain originals, as they require more attention of which there is none, as a quick sound check does not do much for digging deeply into the music. However there is another way to look at it. If the players you are hiring are true masters of the language and the music, although they are new to your music, they can bring their individual craft, spontaneity, and personality into the situation. I can give you a perfect example of that. Last year I played a concert in California while on a west coast tour at Occidental College in Pasadena. Well the rhythm section I called was John Cambell, Tony Dumas, and Joe Labarbera. WELL! These guys swung my music into paradise, their way and it was incredible. John Cambell spent years with Clark Terry (flat out a bebop master), I met him on a Mel Torme gig at Carnegie hall years ago. Tony Dumas played with Freddie Hubbard, and I can see why. Joe Labarbera, needs no introduction as he was with Bill Evans for many years and has made a mark with his crisp, loose, identifiable style of drumming. It was an honor to play with that rhythm section. They sounded so seasoned. Anyway the music was incredible and I would play and or record anytime with those guys, but of course the originals did not have the life experience they have with the aforementioned quartet of Farnham, Johnson, and Horner. Six years together has made the music do something different. Something unified. I can’t tell if it is the personalities, playing ability, time on the road together, or a combination of all these things, but there is something special about the longevity of this band. Things get pretty intense onstage and the music goes different places every time we play.

Later in the week we played a quick set at The Zinc Bar. The money was not as good, but the music was even better! Looser and looser. Can’t wait until the next gig with the Quartet. Also The Quintet DVD of the band with Joe Magnarelli will be up for sale on my site and globally in a few weeks. I am quite excited about that. Check my site for my schedule.

Dr. Ed Joffe, Joel Weiskopf , Pete McGuiness, Roseanna Vitro, Joe Magnarelli, Tim Horner, Andy Eulau Bobby Malach, Mark Sherman, Allen Farnham. and Paul Meyers. On December 14th I took the red eye from San Jose California to New York City just in time to go home for 1 hour, and go out to New Jersey City University where I have been teaching for the last 3 years. I felt it was very important to basically go with no sleep for 24 hours, to make it to the final semester juries for all the jazz students at NJCU. Of course 5 of the students are mine, but the rest study with the professors above. Our fearless leader Ed Joffe has built a tremendous jazz department, as he has surrounded himself with an incredible faculty of professors, who all put their individual hearts into this program. I am sure anyone of these teachers would have done the same thing I did to honor their commitment to the program. Personally I love to give to these students everything I have, with my 30-35 years of professional experience, Juilliard education, and vast touring experience. I know Ed Joffe has done the same with his countless years of dedication to the program, and as a Juilliard graduate as well feels very strong about this program, as when both Ed and I attended Juilliard, there was no jazz program. Now of course they have a thriving jazz program, but NJCU is right there with all the top programs in the New York area offering great private instruction, combos, big band, and many jazz masters coming to do master classes and performances with the NJCU big band. I highly recommend this program for all aspiring jazz students. You get a great jazz education at NJCU!! Bravo Dr. Ed Joffe!!