I recently wrote an article for Downbeat magazine’s September 2018 “Woodshed” column on substitutions for diminished chords. I got a little overly excited at all the possibilities, so unfortunately Downbeat had to edit the article down a bit. Below is a link to download the unabridged version for free.
Thanks to Downbeat editor Ed Enright for graciously giving me permission to print the full article on my web site.
Let’s cut to the chase. Most of you know me as a pianist. What am I doing in the picture above sitting at a Hammond B3 organ?
The fact is I’m celebrating. I was just named Rising Star Organist of the Year in the 2018 Downbeat Critics poll . I know people always say, “This is a great honor and I am humbled,”, butreally, this is a great honor and I am humbled!
I’ve actually been playing organ for quite some time. In fact, I play organ on several tracks on three CDs you can check out: Two are Billy Mintz CDs: Mintz Quartet(2013) and Ugly Beautiful (2017) . There’s also an organ burner duo with Billy on Relent , from my 2011 CD Sides, Colors . Check them out!
Note: In a nod to my occasional piano work 😉 , I came in at #16 in the Rising Star Piano category. Seriously I’m very pleased to receive this acknowledgement, especially given how many phenomenal pianists there are on the scene right now.
As always, thank you for your support, especially the poll participants!
I also jotted down a few thoughts. In them I talk about my friendship with Marian as well as a bit about the other musicians on the CD, Steve Wilson, Virginia Mayhew, Bill Mobley, Harvie S and Billy Mintz:
Bill Evans rehearsing his trio. It’s really interesting to observe his process and priorities. I also caught myself wondering why he needed to go over some of the rhythmic figures with the drummer when they seemed so obvious. Then I remembered that these figures were not a set part of the jazz vocabulary yet, because Bill invented them!
My favorite quote: “Don’t put yourself into any tension about any of those [rhythmic figures] because I’d rather have you miss them and be relaxed.”
Karrin Allyson has been at Birdland this week. Last night she very generously invited me to sit in on a duo version of Marian McPartland’s Twilight World, which we play on my upcoming CD, One for Marian.
It was a great pleasure to perform this song live with Karrin. It was also wonderful to hear Karrin’s spot-on interpretations and remarkable artistry and craft. She is truly one of the best singers around, and a fine songwriter as well. Her band was terrific, including a gifted young pianist I was not familiar with, Miro Sprague.
My tribute to my friend and mentor, the great Marian McPartland will be released on June 10th, 2016 on Thirteenth Note Records. The CD, entitled One For Marian: A Tribute to Marian McPartland, features my arrangements of several of Marian’s most beloved tunes for sextet featuring some of New York’s best: Steve Wilson and Virginia Mayhew on saxes and woodwinds, Bill Mobley on trumpet and flugelhorn, Harvie S on bass and Billy Mintz on drums.
The recording also features special guest vocalist Karrin Allyson!
In a few weeks I’ll be recording a tribute CD featuring compositions by one of my jazz heroes, Marian McPartland, a great pianist, good friend and tireless jazz advocate whom we lost a little over two years ago. Marian always said she wanted more people to record her compositions, and they certainly deserve to be more widely known. Her writing was lyrical, challenging and original. Over the years I recorded a few of her pieces in solo piano and trio formats, and I’m glad I did that while she was still around to hear them. For this recording, I’ve reworked several of her compositions for sextet. We have a wonderful band and a legendary producer and I can’t wait to tell you more soon!