Spice Up Your Diminished Chords – Complete Version

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.

Diminished Chord Substitutions: Embraceable You

I recently wrote an article for Downbeat magazine’s “Woodshed” column on substitutions for diminished chords. The article will appear in the September 2018 issue but it’s available online now.

I’ve recorded a short re-harmonization of George Gershwin’s tune, Embraceable You, using the techniques I discuss in the article:


This is such a beautiful tune that I wouldn’t want to change it too drastically.

You can download a free lead sheet showing the dominant seventh substitutions I’ve used to replace the diminished seventh chords at the link below:

The originals chord changes are underneath. The reharmonized ones are on top.

Check out the article in Downbeat and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

I Won the DownBeat Critics’ Poll

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!