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  • A Review of Jamison Ross’s Debut Album Jamison

    On June 23, 2015, drummer Jamison Ross celebrated the release of his debut album, Jamison. The album, released on Concord Jazz, not only features the young artists talents as a drummer and composer, but as a vocalist as well.

    The album is the perfect blend of jazz, blues, and soul and Jamison’s voice has a subtle power to it that captivates the listener, making this debut a very enjoyable listen.

    Jamison is a combination of original music with covers such as Muddy Waters’ “Deep Down in Florida”, refreshed as a new orleans-style tune driven by grungy guitar over a blues form. “Sack Full of Dreams” from Louis Savary and Eddie Harris’ and Les McCann’s “Set Us Free”, and Carmen Lundy’s “These Things You Are to Me” round up the covers on the project, making the album a pleasant blend of classics and new material.

    Jamison Ross is accompanied by his college mates on the project including guitarist Rick Lollar, bassist Corcoran Holt, saxophonist Dayve Stewart, pianist Chris Pattishall, organist Cory Irvin, and trumpet player Alphonso Horne III. Jonathan Batiste also performs piano on four of the tracks.

    Recommended.

    Jamison Ross was the winner the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Award for drums in 2012.

    Get Jamison on Amazon.

    Title: Jamison
    Artist: Jamison Ross
    Date: June 23, 2015
    Genre: Jazz,
    Label: Concord Jazz

    Tracks:

    01 Deep Down in Florida
    02 Martha’s Prize – Instrumental
    03 Emotions
    04 Sack Full of Dreams
    05 Set Us Free – Instrumental
    06 Sweet Surrender (The Hook) – Interlude
    07 My One and Only Love
    08 These Things You Are to Me
    09 Jazz (Aubrielle Ross) – Interlude
    10 Epiphany
    11 Bye Bye Blues – Part I
    12 Bye Bye Blues – Part II

    Get Jamison on Amazon.

    August 12, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 708

  • Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin

    We introduced you to composer George Gershwin in an earlier post and now we would like to share some information on one of his most notable compositions – Rhapsody in Blue.

    The Composition

    In 1923, Paul Whiteman asked George Gershwin to write a jazz piece for his band but Gershwin did not take this request seriously until an article appeared in the New York Tribune on Jan 4, 1924, announcing that he was working on a “jazz concerto” to be premiered by the Whiteman Band at Aeolian Hall in New York.

    The Premier

    February 12, 1924, “Rhapsody in Blue” was premiered by Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra. Inspired by the rattle of the Boston train and James McNeill Whistler’s painting “Nocturne in Black and Gold,” “Rhapsody in Blue” earned him over $250,000 during the Great Depression.

    The performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” was the first that Gershwin would make as a concert pianist performing his own work. “Rhapsody in Blue” was composed in a week’s time. Its style is an assimilation of European and jazz styles with a slight blues appeal.

    The release of the piece had mixed reviews from serious music critics and the general public. “Serious music critics were often at a loss as to where to place Gershwin’s classical music in the standard repertoire. Some dismissed his work as banal and tiresome, but it always found favor with the general public.” (PBS, 1) Rhapsody, however, was the work that defined his career and elevated him to a level of greatness he had not before attained.

    Due to public popularity, the entire concert was repeated multiple times. Then, in a play, “The Vortex,” Rhapsody was introduced to England which soon demanded the piece.

    The Piece

    The piece is known for its opening glissando; the playing of a chromatic scale from the designated first note to the second note in the time allowed. During its premier, Ross Gorman played this on clarinet. The music is compared to high wire balancing with various city sounds. There is a variation of “Rhapsody in Blue” because some segments were too difficult and therefore omitted in its publication. The omitted portions were later discovered and reinserted by Alicia Zizzo, a pianist and composer. “Rhapsody in Blue” combined classical and jazz styles. It was originally written for piano, but was arranged for piano and jazz band later.

    After the composition of “Rhapsody in Blue,” other musicians began to take Gershwin more seriously as a musician and composer. The complexity and genius that went into the composition of the piece, especially when considering it was written in under a week, is incredible.

    August 10, 2015 • Teen Jazz • Views: 884

  • How I Earned More in Tips than What the Gig Paid Playing to a Nearly Empty Room

    At some point or another we’ve all had or will have gigs where the room is nearly empty. You can’t win them all. But, how those gigs turn out all depend on how you behave and how you perform despite whatever disappointment you may be feeling.

    So let me start by saying it’s not easy.

    When you’re playing to an empty room, it’s hard to find the energy to put on a good performance. There isn’t an audience to play off of or interact with and so it’s easy to slip into putting on a mediocre show. Especially if they’re not paying attention.

    But here’s why you shouldn’t let that happen.

    A smaller audience gives you the opportunity to connect on a more intimate level with your listeners. Don’t miss out on that opportunity!

    First, I recommend gauging the room before following my suggestions. If the room would rather focus on their meal and not on the music, it might be better to let them do that (if you don’t want the venue manager to be upset with you).

    But if they’re watching you or applauding after you finish songs, make them a part of your performance.

    Let them call out requests in between songs, get a dialogue going with them. It’s an experience they’ll likely remember and a great way to build relationships with your audience.

    Don’t be afraid to talk with those enjoying your music from where you’re playing – just don’t get too carried away and leave too much space between songs.

    Perform as though you’re playing for a large audience. Play like you’re on a stage and not tucked away next to the bar. You never know who’s watching!

    I recently had an experience where I performed in a restaurant to a small crowd. Rather than letting it get the best of me, I decided to make the most of the situation.

    One of the couples sitting near to where I was playing applauded after a song I played and I asked them if there was anything they wanted to hear. They asked me to play something that I really enjoyed playing, which I did, and it opened up to use chatting briefly between songs.

    In turn, this got the attention of some of the other patrons in the room and they began to change seats so that they too could engage with me.

    It ended up being a fun night and in a way, an almost private and personal concert for those that were there. I didn’t do it to earn tips – I did it to create an awesome musical experience for the people that were there. But it did end up in me tripling what I made that night because of the tips I received.

    I am really grateful to have had that experience and for the kindness the people there that night showed me. I am glad that I had the chance to meet them and get to know them.

    What about you? Have you ever had any musical experiences that could have gone poorly but you managed to turn them around? I’d love to hear about your music experiences – both the good, the bad, and the ugly – in the comments!

    August 5, 2015 • Music and Career Advice • Views: 770

  • We Want to Work With You + August Ad Space

    In case you missed it, here’s a video of one of our latest Teen Jazz Artists, Carlos Vargas. Find out how to apply to come an artist here. You may be featured in our next post!

    We Want to Work With You!

    If you have a music product or a new album coming out soon, or you’re looking to get more attention for your existing catalog, let’s talk about working together!

    For as little as $5 a month, you can advertise with us on Teen Jazz. And that $5 goes a long way. Not only will you have a featured ad on our site, but you’ll also get social media mentions throughout the duration of your sponsorship.

    Work with Us

    Who advertises with us? Music companies (accessories, gear, instruments), artists promoting a new album or their artist website, music publishing companies, music stores and resellers, music promoters, concerts and other music events.

    Who reads Teen Jazz? Up and coming musicians from around the world ranging from their teens to adulthood. Our readers are musicians just starting out in the music industry and even those who are already established and are looking for more information on the music business.

    If you’re interested in checking out some of our sponsored posts, see what we’ve put together for Claude Lakey, Lessonface, and KDI Music.

    Ad space is available for one month ad slots, but if you’re interested in purchasing several months up-front, we offer bonuses based on the amount of time reserved.

    We currently have two sidebar ad spaces available – learn more here.

    We’re Also Looking for Contributing Writers

    We are also currently looking for guest posts. You can find more information and our guidelines here.

    Have questions? Feel free to leave us a note in the comments or send us a message.

    August 3, 2015 • Resources, Teen Jazz • Views: 734

  • Why It’s Important to Stretch as a Musician

    Maintaining your health and keeping your body in shape while on and off the road as a musician is essential to a long-lasting career. By not taking care of your body, you could inhibit your ability to perform and so it’s important to be fit.

    One of the best things you can do to help keep your body in shape is to stretch. The repetitive motion that playing an instrument requires can make your muscles and body tense, so stretching is a great way not only to prevent injury but to ensure your fingers, arms, neck and back maintain their flexibility.

    You also risk injury if you push yourself to hard playing an instrument without any breaks or stretching. Just a few of the injuries that can occur are tendinitis, carpal tunnel, and thoracic outlet syndrome. You can find out more about music-related injuries and what can cause them here.

    This is why it’s important to take short breaks during long practice sessions or rehearsals to stretch every so often, drink a bit of water, and to give yourself the proper amount of time to heal if an injury occurs.

    For many musicians, the long breaks necessary to properly heal after an injury are hard to adjust to, if they’re even possible, so the key is prevention.

    Here are just a few stretches that you can do to help prevent injury:

    1. First, before we go into any specific stretches, I’d like to point out that you should not bounce while stretching. If a stretch is difficult for you, take it slow and only push yourself to the point of mild discomfort at most.

    2. You should also warm up on your instrument before you begin practicing any intense or repetitive passages. Not only is this good for both your technique on your instrument, but your body as well.

    3. Stretch your left and right shoulders. First, start by raising your right arm in the air as though raising your hand. Drop your arm behind your head, reaching for your left shoulder so your head rests in the crook of your elbow. Push your head back gently against your arm while trying to keep your right hand on your right shoulder to increase the stretch if needed. Do the same with your left arm, reaching for your right shoulder.

    4. Shoulder rolls. Do eight shoulder rolls in each direction (16 total) with both arms simultaneously. Be sure not to just move your shoulders in circular motions, but to really push down, forward up and behind to maximize the stretch.

    5. Arm circles. Do eight arm circles in each direction with both arms simultaneously. Just like with the shoulder rolls, make sure you push outward as much as you can.

    6. Do neck rolls. Do eight rolls to the right and eight to the left. Push your head down towards your chest, each of your shoulders, and your back as far as you can as you roll.

    7. Touch your toes. From the standing position, roll your body forward slowly as though you are folding towards the floor one vertebrate at a time. Keep your legs straight and reach towards your toes. If you can, try touching your palms flat to the floor. If you can’t, just reach down as far as your body will allow. Roll back up slowly, one vertebrate at a time. Do this at least once more.

    For all the above stretches I suggest going as slow as possible to maximize their effectiveness.

    When you practice, minimize the time you spend sitting. If you play an instrument you can practice standing up, do so. Or, at the very least, spend part of the time sitting and part of the time standing. If you play an instrument that requires you sit like cello, drums, or piano, stand for a moment whenever you have a chance (maybe at the end of a passage or song).

    Remember, that the repetitive motion required of your body when you play an instrument can be harmful to your body, so be sure to take frequent breaks, play with good posture, and listen to your body when it tries to tell you something.

    What are some of the stretches you do to prevent muscle tightness and to keep your body in top shape? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

    *Please note that I am not a medical professional. If you have any pain when playing an instrument, please see a doctor.

    July 29, 2015 • Music and Career Advice • Views: 679

  • “Automating” Your Gigs

    Getting ready for shows can be stressful – especially when their big or important events.

    There are a lot of different things that go into preparing for a gig. There’s practicing your parts. Making sure you have all the equipment you need. Having the right clothes and shoes to change into. Making sure that you have the directions to the venue and that you know where to go once you arrive.

    Sometimes, depending on the gig, you also need to do things like create a setlist, make sure you have your playlists loaded onto your MP3 player or laptop and that they’re charged, that you have sounds setup on your keyboard, or presets ready on your effects pedal or board.

    In a way, it’s a lot like packing for a trip each time you go to a gig. But it’s a lot more stressful.

    So how do you make the process of getting ready to go out and perform less stressful?

    You automate as many of the tasks required of you in advance.

    Automating is “converting (a process or faculty) to a largely automatic operation.”

    This means, the more you standardize the things you need to do prior to a gig, the more automatic they’ll become and the less you have to worry about forgetting something.

    So what are some of the things you can do to automate your gigs?

    1. You can create a set list that you only need to make minor changes to depending on the venue, the length of your sets and so on. This does several things to help make gig prep stress-free. It not only allows you to keep books with essential charts, notes, and lyrics for other musicians, but it also ensures that you perform your best stuff. As you perform, pay attention to the songs your audience likes to hear and begin tailoring your setlist to fit their preferences. You can always make small changes or add new songs, but why change something that works?

    2. Pack your music equipment in ready-to-go bags and place them in locations that enable you to load in and out more quickly. I have a bag with the cables and equipment I need for track gigs ready and accessible. I know that if I have a gig, I can just grab that bag and that I don’t have to worry about searching around for cables each time an opportunity comes up. I also keep a mic cable in a bag with my wireless so that I have it if needed.

    3. Create a standard rider and contract so that you have it available to you when gig opportunities present themselves. Why spend the time creating a new one each and every time you are contacted for a show? Of course, like all else, these need to be tailored, but if you have the bulk of it ready, the time you need to spend on it is greatly reduced.

    The above three suggestions are just some of the ways you can “automate” your gigs and make the process less stressful.

    If you have any methods for automating your performances, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

    July 27, 2015 • Music and Career Advice • Views: 836

  • Madalyn Sklar’s Twitter Smarter Podcast

    Each month we try to share a website or resource to help you improve either your music playing or music business and this month I’d like to share Madalyn Sklar’s Twitter Smarter Podcast.

    If you’re struggling with social media marketing strategies, or just what to do with your Twitter in general, then this is definitely a great resource for you to check out. Madeline offers a ton of really great information that she’s tried out herself, and she does an excellent job presenting it in a clear way.

    This resource is great for anyone looking to improve their Twitter strategies; it isn’t just for musicians. So if you need help with Twitter, regardless of what you do, this is definitely something you should check out.

    She’s also interviewed a ton of industry leaders from a variety of backgrounds including Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn, Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s, and tons more.

    Check out the podcast.

    Did you miss last month’s resource? Read about it here.

    PS > We’d love to hear about your favorite resources for music or on the music business. Feel free to let us know what you enjoy using in the comments below!

    July 22, 2015 • Resources • Views: 796

  • Common Mistakes Made By Young Saxophonists

    Hi everyone, this is Rheuben. I’m going to talk to you about some of the common mistakes made by young saxophonists. And the first thing that happens with most young saxophonists and the most important part of this is that they do not put the mouthpiece far enough on the neck.

    On every mouthpiece, saxophone, reed, or player combination, there’s a thing we call the “sweet spot.” That means the placement of the mouthpiece where everything responds the best, intonation is the best and everything works. That “sweet spot” can be a fraction of an inch out or a fraction of an inch in.

    Now often times you’ll see people who play real tight [their embouchure] and they’ll have their mouthpiece out at the end of the neck. If you’re only on this far [shows], that’s all that you’re covering with the mouthpiece, the instrument will not respond very well. [The mouthpiece should] be on at least 3/4 of the cork, in that general area and then move it in and out that [fraction of an inch] to find the “sweet spot.” [The “sweet spot” changes slightly for each mouthpiece and/or player.]

    One of the other things that we tend to do as young musicians, or as all musicians actually, on the alto saxophone, for example, we tune to the middle F#. That note on the alto sax is an average of 30 cents sharp. So, when you tune to that, that means that you’re going to pull the mouthpiece out too far and then you’re going to have a flat low register. So what you want to do on the alto, the strongest tone, and I learned it from my friend Dan Higgins is the middle B. Right in the middle of the staff. Tune that B and then go up to the F# and you’ll hear the interval better. Then you won’t have the tendency to be sharp.

    If you just pull the F# straight out of the air, it’s going to be sharp. So on any instrument, you want to find the best note to tune and you want to make sure the mouthpiece is on the instrument far enough to respond. And I will be covering things in other videos shortly. Thanks so much.

    July 20, 2015 • Music and Career Advice • Views: 833

  • Steven Davis What Happened to Romance Review

    On June 23, 2015, vocalist Steven Davis will release his first big band album, “What Happened to Romance” on his label, First Second Records.

    The fourteen-track album includes a collection of original music and covers of Johnny Mercer’s “Day In, Day Out” and Irving Berlin’s “All By Myself.”

    Davis, a Nashville native, traveled to New York City to create “What Happened to Romance”, penning several of the tunes alongside The 88s’ Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno. The album was recorded with The After Midnight Orchestra which features members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands. The arrangements, assembled and directed by Andy Farber, bring a classic elegance to the project.

    On “Young Love,” the closing track on the album, Steven Davis really shines as a vocalist, bringing an energy to the song that has you snapping along. “Love Comes Right on Time” is a great lead-in for the project and gets you in the mood for some great American Songbook-esque listening.

    The track “Perfectly Perfect” was featured in a commercial for the German mobile banking application, Centrally Numbers. Steven Davis’ recent performances include the I Create Music ASCAP Expo and the Durango Songwriters Film/TV Expo.

    Get What Happened to Romance on Amazon.

    Title: What Happened to Romance
    Artist: Steven Davis
    Date: June 23, 2015
    Genre: Jazz, American Songbook
    Label: First Second Records

    Tracks:

    01 Love Comes Right on Time
    02 You’re Gonna Fall in Love With Me
    03 What Happened to Romance
    04 This Time
    05 Perfectly Perfect
    06 I Found Love
    07 Let’s Keep It a Secret
    08 Day In, Day Out
    09 If You Were Mine
    10 Close Your Eyes
    11 If I Could Give You More
    12 All By Myself
    13 Sometime Soon
    14 Young Love

    Get What Happened to Romance on Amazon.

    July 15, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 859

  • I’m a Musician, Do I Really Need to Go to College?

    In the US, college is often something that we feel we have to do. Regardless of what our future vocation may be, college is the next mandatory step after college. And a rather expensive one at that.

    For many majors, that’s very likely be true, but as a musician, one might argue that a college degree isn’t totally necessary.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think that obtaining your university diploma is an incredible accomplish and an even more incredible experience. It’s absolutely something that you can be proud of doing.
    + College Audition Tips for Saxophonists
    + College Auditions and Applications

    Despite this, however, if your goal is to be a musician, college might not be as necessary as you think. If your goal is to get out and play, no one is going to ask you to see your diploma. They might not even ask you where you went to school. If you’re talented and professional and you do a good job on the gig, that’s all that matters.

    If you plan on being a musician, you don’t need to go to college, especially at the price it costs and the estimated salary you’ll be earning unless you hit it “big.” For most musicians, college is an unnecessary expense.

    But as someone who has been working in the music industry for nearly a decade (part of which was while I was at university), I’ve seen it become increasingly harder for musicians to support themselves making a full-time living in music. As unfortunate as it is, it might not hurt to have something to fall back on until your career in music takes off.

    Remember that if you choose to go to college, your major doesn’t have to be in music. In fact, studying something like business and marketing could be incredibly beneficial to your music career. A lot of the skills you’ll learn in those classes are ones that you can apply to your music business.

    You can, of course, choose to major in music if you wish, but your career options can be limited once you graduate if you take that path. If you can’t imagine doing anything other than music after school, then by all means pursue your dreams. I, myself, majored in music, so who am I to stop you?

    But if you’re open to the possibility of expanding your skill sets and broadening your knowledge, considering another a major (with a minor in music, perhaps), might be something to think about.

    If it happens that you need to take another job after college, or you decide to take another job to help support your music career, that option is more likely to be open to you if you study another field.

    You should also consider the possibility that your career will be in music, but not in the way that you expected it to be. Perhaps you end up working at a music-related company such as an instrument manufacturer, an instrument sales shop, a record label, or an artist management firm. Some of those options might not be available to you if you don’t have a degree, and so, it’s definitely important to take that into consideration.

    That being said, there’s always the argument that it isn’t good to spend hours away from your craft at a job that isn’t music. Every hour should be spent practicing, writing, and hustling to get gigs to give your career its best chance.

    I’ve had experience with both ends of the spectrum. My husband and I are both musicians with extraordinarily different education backgrounds. My husband dropped out of high school to go to a music conservatory and is a successful musician without any sort of diploma. I am on the completely opposite end of the spectrum because I have a Master’s degree (in music). For me, personally, I found going to college valuable but my husband didn’t. We are both professional musicians, we both work regularly and neither of us regret the paths that we took to get to this point. It’s a decision that only you can make.

    As I mentioned, I understand both sides of the argument. Neither route is easy and it’s a very personal decision. One that no one else can make for you. It’s all about what your financial and personal needs are, your goals, and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to have a music career.

    Reasons Why You Should Go to College if You Want to Be a Musician:

    • A few more years of training
    • Developing other skills and discovering new interests (GE courses)
    • A backup plan just in case performance doesn’t work out you’ll have the qualifications to get another job to help support your music
    • Networking; to meet other talented, up and coming musicians your age
    • Burn-out is a real thing and you risk leaving yourself without any other option if music doesn’t work out for you
    • The experience
    • You’re interested in working in the music industry as something other than a performer

    Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Go to College if You Want to Be a Musician:

    • Procrastinating (literally “buying” yourself more time – surprisingly a huge reason people go)
      fear – real life after school can be intimidating
    • Because you need a diploma – you really don’t if you are certain you only want to pursue music full-time
    • You’re already working successfully as a musician and you would have to stop working to take time off for college (in that case, you can do it online or come back to it later)
    • Most colleges don’t provide you with the proper tools for actually working in the music industry (business, networking, playing in diverse genres, legal stuff like copyrights, etc.)

    Further Reading: http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/a-little-music-industry-career-advice.html

    Why did you/didn’t you go to college? Or, why do you want to/not want to go to college? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, but please keep the conversation civil!

    July 13, 2015 • Music and Career Advice • Views: 1202