• Making a Living in Your Local Music Market Book Review

    Title: Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition)
    Author: Dick Weissman
    Genre: Music Business Advice
    Pages: 272 pages


    Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) is a music business and career advice book written by Dick Weissman. It is geared towards up and coming musicians looking to make a career in their local music market in lieu of (or in preparation for) the mainstream music market.

    Weissman details several major regional music scenes for music in his book, sharing how musicians can make a living in their own backyards.

    Some of the topics in Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) include: why you need a contract, whether or not you should hire a personal manager, why copyright your music, dealing with contractors and unions, producing your own music, how to secure grants, and creative ways to find local gig opportunities.


    I bought this book several years ago while I was still in school. As a poor college student, I was only able to afford a used copy that I bought online and so the version that I purchased was a little outdated. There have, of course, been updated versions released since the edition of the book that I read but in all honesty, the advice offered in this book is almost identical to that which you’ll read in any music advice article published ten minutes ago (minus information detailing online sources of income). It’s amazing how little the core advice offered to musicians has changed over the past few decades.

    The book is a little different than several other books that I read in that it suggests ways to make a living as a local musician (rather than as a musician who tours or gets signed by a label). Either way, as someone who has a few years as a professional musician under their belt, there wasn’t a whole lot that I haven’t already learned from other authors or from personal experience. At the same time, however, Weissman did present a few ideas that I had not thought of and tips for creative ways to approach things that I’m already doing. For that alone, the book was worth reading.

    Even if your goal is to do more than work as a local musician, this book still offers a lot of great advice for when you’re just starting out and need to make ends meet until your career really takes off. Whatever your long-term goal may be, this is an interesting read that can help you come up with ways to make a living as a musician.

    4 Stars. Recommended for those starting out.

    Get Making a Living in Your Local Music Market: Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition) on Amazon

    April 22, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1983

  • Joey Sommerville Overnight Sensation Review

    On October 28, 2014, trumpeter Joey Sommerville released Overnight Sensation, his fifth solo album on Jayvox.

    The album consists of nine originals amongst the ten tracks, and the trumpet player is heard sharing production duties with keyboardist, Jeff Lorber. Guests including Earl Klugh, Jeff Bradshaw, Elan Trotman, and Eric Essix make an appearance on the project, sharing their voices and playing on this unique project.

    The album opens with the title track, “Overnight Sensation,” a groove-driven and funky cut that draws you in. He then steps back and slows it down with “Desire” before changing things up again with the rock-inspired rendition of the classic Duke Ellington composition, “Caravan”, featuring Jeff Bradshaw on trombone.

    The standout song on the project is surely to become what it’s name implies. “The Next Big Thing” is a contemporary jazz and funk-infused track with Elan Trotman and Joey Sommerville sharing the melody with Jeff Lorber’s trademark groove and sound behind the wheel.

    Atlanta-based musician, Joey Sommerville, was a spotlight soloist on the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning Cirque du Soleil album “Alegria.” He’s written and produced a Top 20 single for Bob Baldwin and an album by Rhonda Smith with performances from the likes of Prince, Sheila E. and Fred Hammond. When he isn’t performing as a jazz trumpet player, he can be heard doing voice spots for companies such as BMW, Coke and Ford.

    Get Overnight Sensation on Amazon.

    Title: Overnight Sensation
    Artist: Joey Sommerville
    Date: October 28, 2014
    Genre: Jazz
    Label: Jayvox


    01 Overnight Sensation
    02 Desire (feat. Earl Klugh)
    03 Caravan (feat. Jeff Bradshaw)
    04 Red Cups Up
    05 I Just Wanna Be With You
    06 The Next Big Thing (feat. Elan Trotman)
    07 Rebecca of Birmingham (feat. Eric Essix)
    08 Karma
    09 Forever
    10 The Passport Life

    Get Overnight Sensation on Amazon.

    April 15, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1932

  • DW3 Vintage Truth Review

    On March 17, 2015 DW3 celebrated the release of their sophomore album, Vintage Truth on the Woodward Avenue Records label. The project, with its twelve tracks, serves as a tribute to the late Ricky Lawson who produced and recorded on four of the tracks from the album.

    The DW3 frontmen, Billy Mondragon, Eric Mondragon and Damon Reel, are joined by Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Greg Adams, Paul Brown, Elan Trotman, and Ricky Lawson. Their rhythm section and horns include the talents of Charles Streeter, Steve Carias,  Rick Marcel, Carnell Harell, Tracy Carter, Darryl Williams and more.

    Vintage Soul is a collection of DW3’s most popular songs selected over their many years of performances. “I Can’t Tell You Why”, the popular song by The Eagles was produced by guitarist Paul Brown. Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed”, Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing” and The Mamas & The Papas “California Dreamin'” can also be heard on the project.

    The dynamic energy and signature harmonies listeners have come to expect of the trio certainly carries over into their most recent project. From the spirited “Let the Music” to the laid-back and soulful “I Can’t Tell You Why”, fans certainly get to take the essence of these popular SoCal based performers home with them.

    In 2011, DW3 made their debut at #16 on the US Billboard charts with “On the Floor”. In 2014 they were Grammy nominated for their background vocals on the Dave Koz Summer Horns album and they have been the resident party band for The Smooth Jazz Cruise since 2004.

    Our Favorite Track: She Keeps Runnin’

    Get Vintage Truth on Amazon

    Title: Vintage Truth
    Artist: DW3
    Date: March 17, 2015
    Genre: Smooth Jazz, R&B
    Label: Woodward Avenue Records


    01 Let the Music feat. Brian Culbertson
    02 Tribute (Right On)
    03 I Can’t Tell You Why
    04 Hold Me feat. Greg Adams
    05 Dance with Me
    06 Overjoyed
    07 California Dreamin’
    08 When You Cry feat. Dave Koz
    09 She Keeps Runnin’
    10 Square Onw
    11 So Amazing
    12 At the Club feat. Elan Trotman

    Get Vintage Truth on Amazon

    April 8, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1851

  • A Review of Indigo by Dan Siegel

    Pianist Dan Siegel’s latest solo release, Indigo, was released fall 2014. It includes a collection of ten original compositions in the jazz style.

    Accompanied by Yellowjackets veteran Will Kennedy on drums, Bob Sheppard on sax, guitarists Allen Hinds and Mike Miller, percussionist Lenny Castro, vibraphone player Craig Fundyga, and bassist Brian Bromberg, Siegel takes listeners on a journey across an array of soundscapes.

    The listening journey begins with “To Be Continued,” a mellow track with Sheppard’s fluid tenor playing taking the lead on melody. “Indigo” is a track that gets your head moving with the guitar on lead, and “Beyond” is next with a a beautifully written melody played by Dan Siegel with an acoustic guitar keeping accompaniment. “Spur of the Moment” has elements of the big band swing genre with it’s horn section playing around the melody.

    This is definitely an album I plan on keeping in my playlist for some time.

    Siegel shares production credit with Bromberg, and their chemistry in the study is certainly present on this release. The various textures and arrangements on the project keep you on your toes from track o track.

    Dan Siegel made his Top 10 Billboard debut with his second release, “The Hot Shot” and hasn’t looked back since. In addition to his work as a film and television composer, he has played with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Boney James, Joe Sample, Bela Fleck, John Patitucci, Berlin, Chaka Khan, and Philip Bailey.

    Get Indigo on Amazon

    Title: Indigo
    Artist: Dan Siegel
    Date: November 07, 2014
    Genre: Jazz
    Label: DSM


    01 To Be Continued
    02 By Chance
    03 Indigo
    04 Beyond
    05 Far and Away
    06 If Ever
    07 Spur of the Moment
    08 First Light
    09 Consider This
    10 Endless

    Get Indigo on Amazon

    April 1, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1894

  • Lawson Rollins Traveler Review

    Guitarist Lawson Rollins released Traveler, his fifth album as a solo artist on February 17, 2015 by way of Inifinita Records. Accompanied by Mads Tolling, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Tico, Dave Bryant, Cameron Stone, Scotty Morris, Joshua Levy, and Karl Hunter, the composer delights listeners with twelve original tracks.

    One almost feels as though they need to get their passport ready as Lawson Rollins brings us along on his journey to Spain (“Barcelona Express” and “Meeting in Madrid”), France (“Café Paris”), Germany (“Berlin Bossa” – my favorite track), among other popular travel destinations.

    Opening with the exciting and energetic title track, “Traveler,” Lawson Rollins takes listeners on a global adventure by bringing us across Europe. Rollins then leads us back to California with “Marching West” and “Journey Home”. Each of the tracks on the project are tied to a certain place where the guitarist and artist has either lived or visited, those places which have inspired his prodigious career and music.

    Lawson Rollins won the 2014 USA Songwriting Competition’s “Best Instrumental Song”, placing third overall in the contest. He has also topped the most-played charts for Sirius Radio’s Watercolors and was offered a guest DJ hosting spot. He began his career as a solo artist in 2008 with “Infinita” after performing as Young & Rollins alongside Daniel Young.

    Get Traveler on Amazon.

    Title: Traveler
    Artist: Lawson Rollins
    Date: February 17, 2015
    Genre: World
    Label: Infinita Records


    01 Traveler
    02 Barcelona Express
    03 Café Paris
    04 Berlin Bossa
    05 Meeting in Madrid
    06 Marching West
    07 Journey Home
    08 Beyond the Bayou
    09 Across the Moors
    10 Metropolis
    11 Ancient City
    12 City Electric

    Get Traveler on Amazon.

    March 16, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1919

  • A Review of ShaShaty’s Brighter Day

    On March 3, 2015, saxophonist ShaShaty will be celebrating the release of his sixth album, Brighter Day on the newly formed A.H.I. Records. The album features the talents of Steve Oliver, Will Donato, Spyro Gyra, and Taiwanese vocalist Usay Chu.

    With eleven tracks ranging from the romantic ballads “My Heart Yours” and “I’m Always Near” to the Indian motif in “Mumbai” and the funky “Let’s Go!”, Brighter Day is ShaShaty’s first original release in several years.

    Stand Out Tracks

    “Brighter Day,” the title track from the album features an uplifting and spirited arrangement with ShaShaty on alto sax. The saxophonist didn’t stick to just one voice on the album, opting to record alto, soprano, and tenor and showcase his diversity as an instrumentalist.

    “Dream Ride,” the single from the album, hit radio stations this past month. It opens with a catchy bass riff, guitar swells, and a horn section with ShaShaty easing listeners in with a few fills before settling into the verse.

    About ShaShaty

    Originally from Miami, Florida, ShaShaty now resides in Los Angeles. His past performances include dates with Carlos Santana, The Mavericks, The Bee Gees, Gloria Estefan, Michael McDonald, Peter Cetera, George Benson, Dave Koz, and more. He has performed on the national television program “Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda” as well as on PBS alongside Al Jarreau.

    Get Brighter Day
    on Amazon

    Title: Brighter Day
    Artist: ShaShaty
    Date: March 03, 2015
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: A.H.I. Records


    01 Dream Ride
    02 Let’s Go
    03 Song of Hope
    04 Late on 91
    05 My Heart Yours
    06 Mumbai
    07 A Million Miles
    08 August
    09 I’m Always Near
    10 Brighter Days
    11 Float Away

    Get Brighter Day
    on Amazon

    March 2, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1550

  • What We’re Listening to This Month | Feb 2015

    Every few months we try to feature a few songs or albums that we’re listening to here at Teen Jazz. We’ll showcase the playlists of our host, Shannon Kennedy, as well as a few of our Teen Jazz Artists, Contributors and Influences. We hope you enjoy getting an inside look, and even more importantly, we hope you discover some great music!


    Shannon Kennedy, Teen Jazz Host

    Joshua Redman Elastic

    This has been one of my favorite albums since high school and I’ve recently started listening to it again. There are so many great tracks on this album but if I had to pick just one, it would probably be “Oumou”. It’s one of the few on which he plays alto. I could definitely listen to Elastic on repeat. It definitely sticks with you.


    Yellowjackets Time Squared

    Still going for a bit of nostalgia here. I’ve recently been getting back into the stuff that I loved as a teen. This is another great album that I listened to until I wore it out back in high school and I am so glad I gave it another listen.


    Khalil Fong Back to Wonderland

    This one’s a little different. As many of you may know, I study languages in addition to doing music. One of the languages I study is Mandarin, so I sought out artists from China and Taiwan (music can be a great way to develop your comprehension and speaking in a language). Khalil Fong is an impressive songwriter and vocalist and I’m really digging his music.


    Olivia Castle, Teen Jazz Artist

    I am a big fan of Classic by Mkto at the moment, I love the message and it has a great beat. Another current favourite is Make Someone Happy, the Jamie Cullum version from his new album Interlude – it is a stunningly good song.



    Greg Chambers, Teen Jazz Influence

    Brian Culbertson- XII

    I love the “live” feel of this album- it seems to start with sort of an impromptu jam, has a stellar horn and rhythm section throughout the CD, great vocal performances (esp. Avant), great drum and bass sequencing.


    Euge Groove – Livin’ Large

    Absolutely love the 2nd, 7th, and 8th tracks on this CD. Euge always plays with an uncanny level of expression, soul, and feeling and everything about this CD just works!!


    Julian Vaughn – Breakthrough

    I think Julian will be one of the dominant artists in this genre, if he isn’t already- it certainly helps that I got to know him a bit at NAMM and enjoyed collaborating with him! I think I pretty much wore out this CD and love Marcus Anderson’s and Darren Rahn’s sax work on it too.


    Dave Koz – Saxophonic

    This album is probably one of my all time favorites and DK is certainly a huge inspiration to me- I particularly love this album for the variety and the way that the personalities of all the instrumentalists really shine through.


    U-Nam, Teen Jazz Influence

    Bounce” Craig Sharmat

    Probably one of the most fresh and exciting songs, I’ve heard in a long time. A very clever mix of Groove “A La Stevie Wonder” and Gypsy Jazz; they called that Funky Django. Great musicianship on this track, the guitar has a beautiful sound and Craig is playing a very nice mix of Gypsy Jazz and Funky licks on his acoustic guitar.


    “That’s Right” George Benson (from the album That’s Right)

    One of my favorite songs on one of my favorite George Benson albums. Released in 1993 and recorded at Prince’s Paysley Park Studios, with Prince’s drummer Michael Brand and the Petterson’s “Funky” Brothers (Ricky and Paul). The song was actually co-written by one of my very good friends, drummer Michael White ( which plays on most of all my albums). GB is delivering one of my favorite guitar solos mixed with intricate jazz licks, lightning-fast arpeggios and some Funky licks with a sense of timing, command and rhythm that only George has the secret to executing.


    Summertime” DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince

    Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince’s big first hit, based on Kool and the Gang’s “Summer Madness”. A very smooth fresh/fun hip hop groove tune that actually gave me the idea for a remix of my new single “Throwback Kid”. It actually made go back to listen to early Kool and the Gang Jazz/Funk albums from the 70’s…

    February 23, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1685

  • Recap & Review of NAMM 2015

    This year was my tenth year attending NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants convention held in Anaheim, California from January 22-25, 2015.

    NAMM 2015 | Teen Jazz

    The NAMM show is a fun music event held annually and is a great time to catch-up with friends from around the world, see exciting new products from music manufacturers, and mingle with some of the most renowned names in music. The event lasts four days, Thursday to Sunday, but we only attended the first two days of the show. So rather than doing a twopart review and recap, I’m going to try to fit it all into one post.

    Some of the cool things we saw at the show this year:

    1. Friends and Fellow Musicians, of course! We got to hang out with Mindi Abair, Eric Darius, Darren Rahn, Lin Rountree, George Benson, Tim Price, Ryan Saranich, Arno Haas, Rob Tardik, Carson Freeman, and so many others.

    2. Seeing Funkadelic perform. It was so crowded, but we stood behind the stage and watched them on the screen. It was pretty cool seeing such a legendary band perform.

    3. The Diamond Sax from CE Winds. Wow. Check out Charles McNeal’s video below.

    4. Of course, I still love the Antigua Winds Copper Sax. You can see it in my quick montage video above.

    5. Yamaha’s new Sternberg products. The UR12 was pretty neat. It is a 24-bit/192kHz converter that offers outstanding audio fidelity with a D-PRE mic preamp. It is iOS compatible and can run on mobile battery or bus power.

    6. SaxRax Sax Stick. The new SaxRax sax stick is a pretty cool new way to play bari. It allows you to play either seated or standing without using a neckstrap. That means all the weight of your sax is on the stand rather than your neck and shoulders. Since I spend quite a bit of time in the studio on bari, this is definitely going on my wishlist.

    What about you? Did you go to NAMM? If you saw anything you thought was cool, please tell us about it in the comments!

    February 2, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1446

  • Groove LTD feat. U-Nam and Shannon Kennedy

    I try not to use this space [Teen Jazz] for shameless self-promotion. I have my own website to do that, but every once in a while I have a project that I am a part of that I am just to excited about not to share.

    Over the past few months, guitarist U-Nam and I have been working on a new collaboration – Groove LTD. This past week we released our first single “It’s Only Love”, a cover of the Barry White classic made popular by Simply Red.

    The single is currently going for adds at smooth jazz radio stations around the country and we would be absolutely thrilled if you called in to your favorite local station to request the song. Just ask for “It’s Only Love” by Groove LTD.

    In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of the song on either iTunes or Amazon OR you can get an exclusive, limited edition copy signed by both U-Nam and I here.

    Thank you again so much for all of your support. Happy New Year!

    Groove LTD can be found here:

    January 14, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1714

  • How to Get More Ideas While Improvising Jazz Review

    Title: How to Get More Ideas While Improvising Jazz
    Author: Mark Mercury
    Genre: Music Performance
    Pages: 97 pages


    How to Get More Ideas while Improvising Jazz is a quick and easy read that offers 50 techniques for boosting creativity and inspiration while improvising. Written by Mark Mercury, the book is geared to the intermediate level player who may run out of ideas while soloing or practicing.

    Each of the 50 ideas has step-by-step instructions laid out so that the performer has a clear understanding of the material and how to make it a natural part of their musicianship.


    I think that one of the biggest hurdles at the intermediate stage of our music development is that of finding the inspiration and ideas for both practice and improvisation. How to Get More Ideas while Improvising Jazz is a great resource to overcome that and I enjoyed going through the various exercises throughout the book. It very nicely varied my daily practice routine.

    Mark Mercury suggests a variety of techniques including putting limitations on your solos (like length or chords) and focusing on different aspects of your playing. It’s a really creative way to stretch your approach to improvisation and offers students a great selection of material to work on.

    If you’re looking for new material to work through or ways to improve your improvising ability, this book would be a great addition to your music library (and it’s just $3.99 on Amazon).

    5 Stars. Recommended for those starting out, at the intermediate level, and upper intermediate level.

    Mark Mercury is a composer, pianist and educator with experience in film and television scoring and jazz performance. You can read his guest post on Teen Jazz and learn more about the author here.

    Get How to Get More Ideas while Improvising Jazz on Amazon

    January 12, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1535