January 10, 2015: Damon Brown International Quintet

Many thanks to Damon Brown (trumpet), Jesse Davis (alto), Paul Kirby (piano), Martin Zenker (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) for giving us a master splendid master class.

To start the session the group performed a couple of numbers:

An unknown blues.
I’ll Remember April” by Gene de Paul.

The group then took questions from the co-op members.

The co-op members were given the opportunity to perform a bit to get some advice from the visitors. A valiant septet performed “Sonnymoon for Two” followed and a larger group that performed “All Blues”.

Sage advice was given by all the visitors:

Know your instrument: learn your scales in thirds, fourths, etc.

Listen to Jazz.

Tune Up.

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!

January 19, 2013: Eric Alexander/Vincent Herring Quintet feat Harold Mabern

The Vincent Herring (alto sax), Eric Alexander (tenor sax) Quintet featuring Harold Mabern (piano) with Milan Nikolic (bass) and Joris Dudli (drums) visited us to give a master class.

Harold Mabern
Eric Alexander, Vincent Herring

Proceedings started with the quintet giving us a fantastic performance of Benny Golson’s “Stablemates”.

With Vincent Herring taking the lead, it was suggested that the attendees should form groups each of which could take it in turn performing tunes for some constructive criticism from the esteemed visitors.

We managed to rustle up three groups of six or seven players, the first of which performed “All The Things You Are”, the second “Autumn Leaves” and the last “Tenor Madness”. Kudos to the many members who got up and played without preparation or even a lead-sheet to fall back on.

Among the topics discussed by the visitors were Tone Production on the alto sax, the use of Motifs to create interest and structure in a solo, the use of diminished scales and the importance of being able to comp.

Eric Alexander talked about knowing your stuff:

Harold impressed on us the importance of really listening to the masters that have come before such as Tommy Flanagan for masterful comping and Kenny Burrell.

Finally the visiting quintet took the floor to perform “Tenor Madness”.

The Cambridge Jazz co-op would like to thank Eric, Vincent, Harold, Milan and Joris for coming to visit us and giving us a truly memorable day.