June 6, 2015: Brandon Allen

Many thanks to saxophonist Brandon Allen for a session in which we covered:

Mr. P.C.” by John Coltrane
Cherokee” by Ray Noble

Tackling the blues Mr. P.C. first, after a brief demonstration, Brandon discussed the modes to be used over the chords and got us to play through them all, emphasising the importance of knowing your scales etc.

The use of motifs was discussed with Brandon demoing how this is done using relatively simple phrases played with confidence and good rhythm changing them subtly as the chords change beneath them. Great stuff. The co-op members took another run through Mr P.C. using the same technique.

After the break, Cherokee was looped a few bars at a time so that it was possible to get familiar with the chords and their related scales. While not performed at super break-neck speeds, this is still a tricky standard which the co-op managed to perform using this incremental approach.

Many thanks to Brandon for an educational session.

June 15, 2013: Sheryl Bailey Master Class

Many thanks to the stellar Sheryl Bailey for some great tuition in this master class. To start the session, Sheryl performed a couple of numbers with Jon and Pete on drums and bass:

“Mr P.C.” by John Coltrane
“Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham

Mr P.C. Apologies for the quality of the video – I was finding a reasonable position for the camera at the time:

Blue Bossa – wow!:

In an interesting session Sheryl answered questions posed by Mickey which were along the lines of “what can we do to improve”. Some of her answers were: learn your inversions, learn your arpeggios and learn melodic embellishments. Here’s Sheryl talking about arpeggios:

And the use of melodic embellishments (enclosures):

The rest of the session was taken with Sheryl’s extension of the bebop scale called “Microcosmic Bebop Line”. Here is a clip where she demonstrates it and shows a couple of its applications:

Check out her Bebop flow lessons at Mike’s Master Classes for more on that and other topics. You might also want to checkout her Bebop Dojo: Essentials course at truefire.

We closed with a group performance of “On Green Dolphin Street”.

Many thanks to Sheryl for an inspiring session which along with the morning session should give us a few decades of work!