Melomina's Delight - Minor Tonic to Dominant (i - V7alt)

PicturePrincess Melomina von Melodicus
This minor Tonic - Dominant (i - V7alt) exercise is the third in a series, and works in tandem, more or less with the posts from 02/25/2014 and 03/10/2014.

Checking them out, particularly the former, might not be a bad idea

The premise of all three exercises is to familiarize oneself with Melodic Minor, both technically and aurally, over a basic minor i - V7 cadence; which as explained in the first post, happens to be the first eight bars of the well known and oft played standard, "Softly As In a Morning Sunrise".

As in the first post, this exercise utilizes all 7 diatonic scale tones of the D and Bb Melodic Minor scales, alternately; D MM for the tonic (i) D min. chord and Bb MM for the altered dominant (V7alt) A7alt chord, each lasting a measure apiece.

The difference here is that the scales are laid out in directionally alternating diatonic 3rds; ascending / descending, etc., in an ascending direction and descending / ascending on the way back down.


Chops Duster! - Fingerbuster!

Picture"Hey look Ma......! It really works!!"
Contrary to the condition of the gent's digits in the picture below, this is a mild version of a "fingerbuster" (I'm not referring to the Jelly Roll Morton composition of the same name).

A "fingerbuster" could be considered as an instrumentalist's version of a "tongue-twister" which is usually defined as a group of words, or a phrase, that is considered to be difficult to execute.

While the degree of difficulty
varies with both the phrase and the ability of the practitioner, constant repetition, in any case,  at a slowed down tempo, usually serves to iron undo the knots before gradually bringing it back up to speed.

This particular "finger-twister" appeared out of the blue recently while I was doing my saxophonistic due diligence, and it gave me "the finger".


TSG Tenor Saxophone Play - Test

I am taking this opportunity to happily announce here that I am now a proud endorser for BRANCHER-FRANCE Saxophones.

I had the good fortune of meeting Msr. Pascal Brancher, Mr. BRANCHER-FRANCE himself, maker of fine saxophones and accessories, in March 2014 at the Frankfurter Musikmesse (Frankfurt Music Fair).

The Brancher stand was located directly across the isle from the Bari Woodwinds booth  (manned by Jim Cavanaugh and Ron van Ostenbridge) whose Bari Hybrid mouthpiece and synthetic reeds I have been playing exclusively and endorsing for a number of years, going back to the days of the company's founder, the late Wolfe Taninbaum.

So meeting "the Branchers" was kind of like meeting the people next door.  I had never even heard of the Brancher brand before this, so I was certainly not familiar with their line of horns.


All Aboard!
Take A Ride on the "South Indian Line"

"People get ready, there's a train a-comin''. Don't need no ticket, just get on board "  - The O' Jays

(...and If you actually get to where you're goin' in one piece. you'd better thank the Lord!)

The exercise here is a page from my personal workbook (as is most of the stuff I post, I guess).

In order to kill two birds with one stone, I thought I'd create` these lines for myself as a method to get closer and more personal with this odd meter Carnatic composition "South Indian Line", and post them here, to share with my fellow masochists


    2 B Continued...
Continuous Melodic Minor ii-V7-i
3 Scale Exercise

The purpose of this minor ii-V7-i exercise, which utilizes 3 Melodic Minor scales (in directionally alternating diatonic 3rds), is at least three-fold:

1) Because Melodic Minor has no "avoid" notes, one can start and resolve the ii-V7-i cadence on each and any scale degree.

2) To smoothly connect, by whole or half step, from one scale to the next, moving in the same ascending or descending

3) Most importantly, to help train the ear to the sound of Melodic Minor in general and to the sound of this type of polymodal ii-V7-i in particular, as well as to build instrumental technique.


'Trane Fare for Slonimsky - A Diminished
Scale Sequence

PictureA Beautiful (Musical) Mind - Times 2
Here's another symmetrical scale exercise.

This time, it's 2 minor 7th chords a tritone apart,  a pair of 4 note patterns, which reveal all 8 notes of a diminished scale.

I was sure this pattern, which has its descending version in retrograde of its ascending form (second two measures), was contained somewhere in the depths of Nicolas Slonimsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns".

But it wasn't!

PictureIguana play some scales
Musically speaking, a scale (in German "Tonleiter" or "tone ladder") is an ordered set of pitches, either ascending or descending.  Such scales can be expressed stepwise (horizontally) or intervalically as  arpeggios (vertically).

The subject of this exercise is the arpeggiated version of
the Melodic Minor Scale starting on it's 4th scale degree (Lydian Dominant), over a minor ii-V7-i root movement.

A wealth of information on Melodic Minor harmony can be found in previous
posts on this blog, together with ii-V7 exercises.

Hey everybody, I'm back!

Did ya miss me?!

I know, I know!

I've been doing some shopping, and I picked up this badass pair of kicks which I'll be sportin' whilst I shed these "Slick Licks That Stick!"

(OK, so they're not really my shoes!)

This X-Centric Gonzatonic b2 exercise download, based on Shape #5 from tenor master Jerry Bergonzi's great book, Vol. 2 - Pentatonics (Advance Music), is the inverted form of an exercise contained in an earlier post, and the explanations can be found there.

Keep 'em spit shined & polished and they'll carry you far!

    Download PDF
Treble Clef                                 Bass Clef

B. Stern

Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" - The Last Eight

PictureSmokin' Joseph
I've been wanting to post something on the subject of Joe Henderson for a while now.

Joe Henderson, as quiet as it's been kept, is not only one of the greatest tenor saxophonists of the musical genre we know and love as "Jazz", but one of it's most prolific composers, as well as one of it's truly unique and creative improvisational voices.

- Curacaoan of Reknown -
A Conversation with Guitarist / Bassist Roy Louis
- Part 1-

Guitarist / bassist (or bassist / guitarist) Roy Louis has been a close friend and
musical colleague for almost 40 years.

As I discovered, it's not easy interviewing your long time friends, as the conversation can can very easily get sidetracked into many different cracks and crevices of shared experience.

"Man, do you remember.......?" became the common theme, only to realize, half an hour later,
that we'd gone way off on a tangent.

*     *     *    *     *     *

Roy Louis is a native of the island of Curacao (pronounced KEWR-ə-sow)
formerly of the Netherlands Antilles, which has a unique place historically and culturally in
the overall picture of the Caribbean and Latin America. Aside from it's predominately European and African cultural influences dating back to colonial times, the average Curacaoan is usually well versed in Dutch, Spanish, English, as well as the island's native Creole language, Papiamentu.

This unique and diversified Caribbean culture began molding Roy Louis, the artist, at a very young age. Beginning his musical career semi-professionally at age 6, and being completely self taught on electric bass and then guitar, Roy, is without a doubt, the most purely
"intuitive" musician I have known.

Here's Part One of my conversation with "my boy", Roy!