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  • Review of Gypsy Jazz Rhythm with Hono Winterstein Vol. 1

    A review of Gypsy Jazz Rhythm with Hono Winterstein | Teen JazzDC Music School, founded by guitarist Denis Chang, is getting ready to officially launch later this year. The online school offers a variety of lessons and materials in the rock, jazz and gypsy music styles through play-a-longs, videos and pdf etudes/charts.

    For the time being, many of the lessons are geared towards guitarists and violinists, but there’s nothing to prevent you from playing the etudes on another instrument. You can also download the play-a-longs to practice reading changes, soloing in different styles, or learn new songs regardless of the instrument you play.

    As a saxophone player, none of the lesson materials are really meant for my instrument, but that didn’t stop me from checking out a few of the courses offered. And even though my main instrument is saxophone, I have a very basic background in guitar, so I opted to take Gypsy Jazz Rhythm with Hono Winterstein Vol. 1.

    A little bit of my background with Gypsy Jazz

    I have been a fan of Gypsy Jazz for some time, and I’ve heard U-Nam (guitarist) practice the style on more than one occasion. I always considered of learning to play it as well so that he and I could play together.

    In fact, not long before I began speaking to Denis, U-Nam had been teaching me a few chords and I had already begun studying one piece in particular, so I had a small understanding to start out. But until I began the Gypsy Jazz Rhythm course, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to go about getting past the beginning stage to really learn and understand the style.

    For those of you who might not be familiar with the style, gypsy jazz is traditionally taught through direct imitation. Typically, musicians would learn the style by ear from family members with little formal music training. More recently workshops, clinics and other learning materials have become available including DC Music School’s online courses.

    Our thoughts on the course:

    First, you should know that the lessons are in French with subtitles (not exact, but hilariously translated). So if you read anything about Selena Gomez or crazy drummers, you’ll know what I mean.

    But aside from the comedy, the lessons are really well structured. Other than having heard the music, a few brief lessons and a desire to learn the style, my background in gypsy jazz was quite poor to say the least. The first video gave me more than one thing that I could work on right away and I was able to progress rather quickly.

    The course features ten chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of accompanying. It also includes a chord dictionary a pdf lesson support materials (the examples played by Hono Winterstein).

    In each chapter, the technique behind accompanying is broken down into smaller, easy to digest steps that allow you to truly understand what is going on. You quickly understand everything from how he coordinates his hands to basic rhythm, etc.

    Things that I feel could be improved:

    Underneath each video, for beginners, the fingering for the chords he discusses could be helpful. For example, in the first video, he plays G to demonstrate rhythm and in the second G and D7. Because the only G that I knew stemmed from pop (and thus was an “open” fingering which doesn’t work with this style), I had to pause the video and go to a separate page where the voicings were located. Having those resources available on the same page might be helpful (not that having two windows open is really that inconvenient).

    Conclusion

    Overall, however, I think that the lessons are really well constructed and extremely helpful. I cannot wait to continue with the other two volumes in the series. Recommended.

    April 7, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1126

  • Review of DC Music School’s Gypsy Jazz Playalongs

    Series: Playalongs

    Publisher: DC Music School

    Publication Date: 2012

    Price: Free (21 tracks recorded at 100 bpm and 150 bpm with PDF chord charts) -or-
    $24.99 (60 tracks recorded at 100 bpm and 150 bpm with an improvisation guide, PDF chord charts, and 8 studies with transcriptions and tabs on popular tunes)

    Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

    DC Music School is an online music learning platform geared towards the gypsy jazz style (although they have a few resources in other genres). I fairly recently interviewed the school’s founder, Denis Chang, and I’ve also had the opportunity to check out quite a few of their resources. I’m a huge fan of the Hono Winterstein Rhythm Guitar Series, and a great supplement to that course (or as a stand-alone product) are his Gypsy Jazz Playalongs.

    There are two versions of the playalong series, a free version that includes around 20 tracks, and a paid version that includes 60 tracks along with a wealth of bonus material. The recordings are good quality, you can definitely use them at a track gig and they are fun to play along to. My only complaint is that sometimes they feel too short! When I really get into it, I am sometimes surprised when the tune comes to an end.

    The tracks (in addition to the Hono Winterstein course) make a wonderful supplement to the other courses available at DC Music School. The violin etudes (which can be played or transcribed for most any instrument) make a wonderful pairing.

    The free playalongs are a great place to start if you’re interested in gypsy jazz. You can access several of the tracks for free at DC Music School or on Youtube, but if you’re really interested in digging in, it’s worth paying $24.99 to get all 60 tracks.

    Recommended.

    The creator of DC Music School is Denis Chang. You can read our interview with Denis and his thoughts on music entrepreneurship here.

    November 18, 2013 • Reviews • Views: 868

  • Review of Jonathan Butler’s Album Merry Christmas to You

    For many, it may be a little early for Christmas music, but guitarist Jonathan Butler is getting a jump start with the release of his first holiday endeavor, Merry Christmas to You. On October 1, 2013, this seasoned smooth jazz veteran released his project on Artistry Music in preparation for his upcoming collaboration with Dave Koz & Friends on his Christmas Tour alongside Keiko Matsui and Oleta Adams.

    Merry Christmas to You includes the talents of Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Shilts, Dan Lutz and Jonathan’s daughter Jodie Butler on vocals. It is a collection of eight tunes from the standard holiday repertoire along with two original seasonal works.

    The first singles from the record are Jonathan’s refreshing interpretation of “Sleigh Ride” and his original composition “Merry Christmas to You.”

    Jonathan Butler was born and raised in South Africa as the youngest of 12 children. He began playing the guitar at age seven and began touring not long after. As a teen he earned his first record deal before moving to the UK and then the US. He’s earned Grammy nominations and has had the opportunity to tour with artists such as Kirk Whalum and Dave Koz.

    Get Merry Christmas to You on Amazon

    Title: Merry Christmas to You
    Artist: Jonathan Butler
    Date: October 01, 2013
    Genre: Smooth Jazz, Christmas
    Label: Artistry Music

    Tracks:

    01 This Christmas
    02 Sleigh Ride
    03 Merry Christmas to You
    04 Happy Holidays
    05 Little Drummer Boy
    06 I’ll Be Home for Christmas
    07 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
    08 Sweet Little Jesus Boy
    09 The First Noel
    10 O Holy Night

    Get Merry Christmas to You on Amazon

    October 27, 2013 • Reviews • Views: 781

  • Guitarist Ronny Jordan Interview | Teen Jazz Influence

    Our latest interviewee, Ronny Jordan is a Grammy-nominated guitarist from London England. Mr. Jordan has built his reputation an influential and innovative guitarist over the last twenty years not only as a solo performer, but through tours and performances with artists such as George Benson, Maysa, Mos Def, Courtney Pine, Jonathan Butler, Pieces of a Dream and more. He has been awarded the Gibson Guitarist of the Year Award and the MOBO Best Jazz Act Award and currently has eight albums as a solo artist with a ninth on the way (The Antidote, The Quiet Revolution, Light to Dark, Brighter Day, Off the Record, At Last, After 8, and The Rough & The Smooth).

    Ronny Jordan was kind enough to grant us an interview and share some of his experience as a professional musician. In the following interview he details the steps he took to achieve his current success, his advice for up and coming musicians and a few of his upcoming projects. We hope you enjoy our interview with him!

    The Interview

    When did you first begin seriously studying your instrument?

    I am completely self taught, never went to music school and cannot read music. I started playing at age 4 on a four string ukulele and by the time I turned 8, I started playing a regular 6-string guitar and I did my studying in church playing Gospel music and listening to the music on both the TV and radio.

    Who are your greatest influences?

    My greatest musical influences are too numerous to name. First off, there’s my guitar idols Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christina, Grant Green, George Benson, Eric Clapton, BB King, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Nolan (James Brown), Chuck Berry and T Bone Walker and one or two more. Then there’s the jazz legends Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Thelonius Monk, Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, Donald Byrd and the Count Basie Orchestra to name a few and then there’s also many other influences from the world of Gospel, classic Soul/RnB, Funk, Reggae, World, Folk, Rock and Pop.

    Who or what gave you the confidence to pursue music as a career?

    I was very focused and truly believed in myself even when others didn’t besides I knew back then that I had a style that was very unique, that would stand out on its own..

    Interview with Teen Jazz Influence and Guitarist Ronny Jordan

    What are your thoughts on what it takes to be successful as a performer? Do you think any other skills are needed aside from the ability to play your instrument well?

    Being a good recording artist in the studio is one thing but being a good live performer with stage craft is quite another thing altogether because it’s ultimately what separates the women from the girls and the men from the boys. When it comes to performing live on stage, the performer has to be able to take their performance to a whole new level. Audiences believe what they can see, hear, feel and prove and just having a good record is really only half the story because being able to really deliver on a live stage can only enhance AND increase the performer’s credibility and longevity making him/her into the complete, true artist.

    What are some of your goals musically for the future?

    To continually strive to be a better musician, live performer, writer, producer and arranger, release more albums and play more live gigs and last but not least, finally owning my own recording studio!

    What inspires you to continue to pursue music? Have you ever come close to giving up and if you did, how did you overcome it?


    What inspires me to continue to pursue music is the pursuit of musical excellence and no, I never once came close to giving up music plus I would never do so anyway, not in a million years. So far, my musical journey has been one helluva ride and long may it last.

    What are some of the things you enjoy most about your career as a performer/recording artist?

    Traveling the world, meeting people, meeting my musical heroes that are still here with us, being paid to do what I enjoy the most and making people happy. Needless to say, I am truly blessed.

    What was your lamest gig and how did you learn from it?

    My lamest gig was one that I played called Greenbelt UK back in the very early 90s. My regular drummer bailed out on me at the 11th hour and 59th minute and although the drummer who replaced him is a very good drummer in his own right, it was his very first time playing with me and the band (no rehearsal) and he obviously didn’t know the tunes or the arrangements but that said, he did the best he could. I scolded my regular drummer for not giving me any advance notice and I eventually replaced him.

    What was the best and why?

    My best gig? This one is difficult as there has been a great many but if I had to name one, it would have to be the gig I played in Athens, Greece back in ’96. It was the very last one of my 3 month world tour. That gig was unreal! My band and I performed pretty much every night for three straight months and so by the time we played Athens, the band was so tight, we didn’t even have to look at each other for cues! From the intro to the very last note played, it was pure nirvana!

    Hobbies other than Music:

    Golf, working out at the gym, reading, playing chess/backgammon, table tennis, playing pool and other stuff.

    What would your advice be for an up and coming, young musician?


    Study hard when it comes to education, learn a trade or two plus a few languages and have a Plan B just in case things don‘t work out in the music industry. Take the “walk before you run” approach by first becoming a semi pro until a deal is signed then go full time as long as the money’s right… Avoid drugs, alcohol excess. Learn as much as possible about how the recording industry works and operates because knowledge is power and practice as much as you can so you can make your mistakes in private.

    Where can we find more information?

    http://www.ronnyjordan.com

    I’m also on Facebook, Twitter & My Space

    New releases and projects coming up:

    The first single off my upcoming new album “Straight-Up Street (Deluxe Edition)” will be released with a video in late November followed by the new (9th) album’s release in January 2014. On the live music front, there are plans to tour Africa, Europe, Australia & New Zealand, Japan and other parts of SE Asia and of course North America.

    October 5, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 1006

  • Denis Chang of DC Music School Interview | Music Company

    We’d like to introduce you to Denis Chang, a fantastic guitarist and the founder of DC Music School, an online music instruction website. DC Music School features a variety of lessons, etudes, and play-a-longs in the jazz, rock, gypsy, and techno styles for beginner to advanced students.

    The lessons are 100% digital, meaning you can access the videos and lesson content immediately online after purchase. It also keeps the price of the courses down (right now courses are around $24.99).

    Currently, the website predominantly features gypsy jazz musicians and lessons, and although they will expand into additional genres, I love that they offer instruction in a genre that materials typically are not easily accessible.

    We took a few of the courses for a test ride and you can check out our reviews here:

    We’re really excited about what Denis is doing with DC Music School, and from our experience with the courses, the quality of the lessons is outstanding. We can’t wait to see what the school will have to offer in the near future.

    Without further ado, our interview with Denis Chang of DC Music School.

    Tell us a little bit about the DC Music School? What do you offer?

    The idea behind DC Music School is to create a non-mainstream online site that offers authentic, high quality music instruction, in various genres, and various instruments. Non-mainstream, in the sense that I like to take risks and explore genres that other companies might not find commercially viable. As such, while we appreciate all the financial support that we can get, our absolute top priority is to produce the very best lessons possible. By non-mainstream, I also mean that I don’t subscribe to the conventional wisdom that seems to dominate the world of music education (and everything else in life, it seems). For instance, there is an idea that all that’s necessary in learning to play music is knowledge of theory and technique. I think those are certainly great things to have, but music is far more than that; it is a language, and a language is more than vocabulary and grammar: it is a way of thinking and an entire culture of its own. In the DCMS lessons, I like to explore these intricate details.

    Furthermore, I strongly believe in the spirit of sharing. The site offers a number of free lessons that are only possible when people support the paid products. It’s my way of saying thanks!

    How will the courses work?

    Students basically choose a product that interests them and pay a one time fee to access the product. The product can be a playalong series, or video lessons. The video lessons include accurate transcriptions of relevant examples and backing tracks when relevant.

    What gave you the inspiration to start the company?

    As to why I decided to create my own site: basically, prior to that, I had produced a series of DVDs for another company featuring myself, and also other high profile musicians. At that time, I did not know as much about standard music industry practices as I do today. Unfortunately, though I harbor no ill will towards the company (they did not any better themselves), nor do I have any regrets (it was all a learning experience), I found out that, from a standard music business perspective, I was severely short-changed. So I basically decided to take things into my own hands. In doing so, I can make sure that the artists who work with me are fairly compensated; even with the free products, each artist is compensated! Most important of all, I can directly take control of every aspect of my products to ensure the highest possible quality.

    One of my other reasons for doing this, is because many mainstream competitors lack quality control and only tackle mainstream projects; often at the expense of quality. For example, I would never hire a bluegrass fiddler to teach bebop jazz violin, nor would I hire a rock guitarist to teach classical guitar. The idea is absurd, but it is common practice; it goes back to what I said earlier about conventional wisdom, where one assumes that knowledge of theory and technique allows one to play any style of music.

    You’re getting ready to officially launch the school this fall, what are some of the things we can look forward to with the launch?

    It’s a work in progress , but I’m hoping to make the site much more interactive. At the moment, the BETA site boasts well over 5000 unique registrations from over 50 countries! All this, since the summer of 2011, with very little advertisement beyond word of mouth and youtube. I would like for students to be able to interact with each other. As great as technology is, the truth is, nothing will ever replace the feeling of playing with real people. A fellow from Singapore contacted me not too long ago looking for people with whom to play Gypsy Jazz. Through my sales records, I was able to connect him with other Singaporeans interested in the style; I would love to do something like this for every genre and for everyone around the world!

    You feature a variety of performers as part of the school from diverse backgrounds. How did you go about selecting the musicians who teach the classes?

    I have a huge list of artists that I would love to work with, but basically, I go for artists that have a unique style, or have something that I believe is worth sharing. The artists that I like are the ones who have the same vision as me: that music is more than scales and arpeggios; every genre is a language of its own with a distinct culture. These are usually players who place a heavy emphasis on listening to music, transcribing music, and surrounding oneself with like-minded musicians. There is definitely a HUGE emphasis on ear training. Furthermore, I choose artists that are respected by their peers in their particular genres. This is particularly important to ensure that the lessons are 100% authentic.

    What are some features or courses we can look forward to in the future?

    For one thing, I would like to develop more playalong tracks, in various styles.

    At the moment, my site mainly features a series called “In The Style Of” that obviously focus on the style of the particular artist.

    I would like to eventually develop a series that focuses on learning the nuts and bolts of a particular genre. This fall, I will actually be heading into the studio to develop one on Gypsy Jazz (a genre made famous by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt); it will be extremely comprehensive. This is something that I would like to do for all sorts of genres and instruments.

    I would also really love to delve into the classical music world.

    What advice do you have for a music entrepreneur (someone starting their own music business)?

    I could say quite a lot about this; it’s going to be hard to condense my answer. Well, if you’re going to be running your own business of any kind, it takes a particular kind of personality; you have to be able to keep calm should situations arise. This is extremely important; if one thing experience has taught me, it’s that you will run into all sorts of people. People you thought only existed in reality TV shows. This means you have to be emotionally prepared to deal with them. You cannot let your emotions get the best of you. Your goal is to build a strong reputation. It only takes one negative review to destroy years of work. You need to fight hard to protect it. To give you an example, one of the artists on my site originally hesitated to work with me. He actually called up another artist that I had worked with in the past to get his opinion. Fortunately for me, what he told him was something along the lines of: “Denis can be trusted, if he promises something, he’ll do it, you don’t even need a contract”. I was very touched by this, and this is exactly what I mean by building one’s reputation.

    Basically, keep your emotions in check, if you find that you’re the kind of person who always has to get into arguments, you might want to avoid starting your own business!!!

    Also, be patient, and be prepared to take risks. When taking risks, make sure that you’re ready to accept the consequences should things not pan out the way you want them to. Unfortunately, in order to make money, you need to spend money. You’re basically an investor, and you have to be prepared for the worst case scenarios at all times. I have to admit that It can be very stressful, but that’s the price of running your own business.

    What would your advice be to an up and coming performer?

    Like my previous answer, reputation is everything. The people who get away with being able to have a bad attitude are very few; for everyone else, treat everyone with professionalism and respect. When hiring musicians, I go for the ones I get along with (of course, they need to have a certain level as well). I’ve had opportunities to hire more well known musicians or more accomplished musicians, but in my book, I go for the ones who won’t give me attitude. This leads me to my next point: if you’re not the bandleader, be humble; a very important rule is that the leader is always right even he or she is wrong. It seems like a harsh rule but it’s the truth; if you don’t like this rule, then it is your choice not to perform with said bandleader. I’ve had the opportunity to play with some of my idols and some of the world’s best musicians simply because I was able to follow instructions without questioning them. That’s not to say you can’t give your opinion, but if a bandleader insists on doing something a particular way, let it be.

    Another important tip: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

    This has always existed but it seems that the Youtube generation has given birth to a breed of “musicians” who are trying to become famous in hopes of getting gigs or product endorsements. Don’t worry about that, worry only about your craft by working hard on it. If your craft is good, only then will people take notice. The fame and glory comes as a result of hard work not the other way around.

    Playing gigs can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing as well. It is only good when one has truly put in the work into becoming a capable musician. It can have a devastatingly bad effect if one starts performing when one hasn’t reached a certain level. Playing gigs helps one build confidence but when one hasn’t reached an adequate level, it will only build delusional self-confidence, and you will never progress as a musician. Usually, you’ll end up playing bad gigs anyway, and keep wondering why you can’t get that high profile gig you’ve always wanted. I know it sounds harsh, but my observations have proven to be correct time after time. One musician that’s featured on my site, Tcha Limberger, talks about how he spent one year relearning to play violin correctly and not allowing himself to play any gigs for this very reason!

    Where can we check out the courses and find more information about DC Music School?

    www.dc-musicschool.com is where one can check out my stuff. I also highly recommend that people check out my youtube channel
    www.youtube.com/dcmusicschool for tons of clips and also videos showcasing talented artists!

    September 18, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 928

  • Guitar Player Andreas Erd | Teen Jazz Artist

    Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

    I primarily use my Mensinger Passenger (Strat model) right now as my main axe. I run that through a huge pedal board which I can explain to you if you pm or e-mail me 😉
    Amp-wise I’m currently using a Hughes & Kettner Statesman 50 Watt Head connected to a cheap but great sounding Harley Benton 212 cab. For club gigs and stuff I’m planning to get a Mesa Boogie Express combo or something similar.

    Guitar Player Andreas Erd

    Located in Linz, Austria

    • Guitar
    • Playing since the age of 3 or 4

    Youtube


    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

    [What’s this?]


    What are you doing with music right now?

    I’m currently doing my community service, so I’m working for almost no money (yiha!). But in May 2014 I’m planning to attend a music college here in Linz. I’m also doing a lot of gigs right now and try to practice as much as possible.

    Who are some of your influences?

    I think my first influence ever was Joe Satriani. At about 15 I got into all the Jazz stuff. Currently I’m absorbing everything that’s just good music, no matter what the genre is called.

    Who do you/have you studied with?

    I’m completely self-taught, so I guess I studied with/learned from all my great heroes. 😉

    What do you plan on doing with music in the future?

    I hope to somehow make a living out of it, because music is THE thing that I do because it brings me joy. So hopefully I can someday make it as a session/live musician or guitar teacher would be great too!


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

    August 26, 2013 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 819

  • Guitarist and Composer Chieli Minucci | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    Today on Teen Jazz, we have a very special guest. One that I’ve had the honor of performing and recording with, and this is actually his second interview with us at Teen Jazz. He’s done quite a bit since the last interview, so we wanted to catch up with him.

    Our guest, Chieli Minucci, is an established guitarist in New York. He has been renowned for both his skills as a diverse performer and as a Emmy award winning composer. With impressive credits and an extensive discography, Minucci has been successful in many genres of the music industry including performance, recording, composing for various artists, himself, musicals, et al. and much more.

    The Interview

    So, welcome back Chieli! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

    It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you Shannon.

    When did you first begin seriously studying your instrument?

    Well, I started as a piano player when I was a little kid, like 6. I took lessons and stuff and switched to guitar when I was, around 8. And in the beginning I didn’t study, but I did study guitar for about 3 years. I think I was about 10 or so when I started taking lessons and I’ve always been interested in music like a hobby since then, so later on in school, you know, I studied musical stuff – theory, solfeggio, arranging, writing, all kinds of stuff. I just really love the whole thing.

    Your father was also a talented composer. Was he a big influence for you when you were getting started?

    I think so. You know, just having music around the house – not just playing music – but, seeing somebody play it on the keyboard. My father was a pianist. I’m sure it had a big influence on me. It was great and he was writing music too. So there’s a whole idea of making up silly melodies and fun songs and I was into that really away.

    That’s really cool. Can you tell us a little bit about some of your other influences?

    Well, I mean, I’ve been influenced in music by many, many composers and performers and I’m mostly influenced by stuff outside of music. Because everything is related to everything, as you know. But mostly as a teenager, I think, probably we develop our personalities, mostly. And during those years I liked a lot of progressive rock music coming out of England at the time so probably the biggest influence for me was the Beatles when I was a kid but I got into music that was a little bit more composition-oriented. Groups like Genesis and even started to listen to some so-called jazz fusion music in my late teens. But I would say that I really didn’t discover jazz music in a personal way until I was in college. Mostly what I liked before that was just blues based guitar stuff like Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, you know, the guys that were taking over the world at the time. I loved all of them.

    That’s really cool and you can hear a lot of those early influences in your music. You’ve found a really unique way to really fuse those with what you’re doing with Special EFX and your solo recordings as well.

    I think the only kind of concept that I had when I started Special EFX with my partner was that we wanted the energy to be high but we wanted to stay away from distorted electric guitars so I made a deliberate decision to go more into acoustic guitar sounds since the early days of the group. I mean, that’s evolved since then because many years have passed. But in the beginning, if you listen, if people listen to the first few records that we did, the emphasis is not on guitar hero kind of playing at all. It’s more on group sounds and that kind of thing. More arrangement, more band oriented, not one guy standing out. Everyone was kind of equal as far as the sound of the group went.

    So since we started about Special EFX. Let’s talk about some of the current projects you’re working on. Special EFX is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary with the release of Genesis?

    Yeah. Yeah, this year is really 30 years since we did our first live shows and actually a little more than that. And we put out the CD Genesis on my old record label, Shanachie. It’s just brand new, so it just got going. And I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all goes with it. Actually most of the live performance stuff that’s supposed to follow up is just starting.

    I’d love to talk about the new album, but can you first tell us a little bit about how Special EFX got started?

    Sure. The group that started actually, it’s Special EFX for those that don’t really know us too well was two people. And with George Jinda who was the percussionist came from Budapest Hungary, and he’s sadly no longer around. He’s been gone for over 10 years now. For the group, the group is me with a band and the band is Lionel Cordew, Jerry Brooks, Jay Rowe and various other people that come and go. But the core members of the band are those guys and they’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s been really great.

    As Special EFX, I think Genesis makes 20 albums?

    Yeah, something like that. 18 I think. There were a couple of records that were put out, you know like the “The Best of Special EFX” that didn’t have new material on it, but were new releases.

    Well, either way, you’re quite the prodigious recording artist.

    Yeah, I’ve been around. I like to write. I tell a lot of people that I can, for every 20 songs there are pieces of music I like, there’s maybe one that’s sort of good. I hope. There’s been a couple of tunes along the way that people have really enjoyed and that’s great.

    And Genesis came out on, was it May 21st?

    Uh yeah, I think that’s date.

    You team up with a few members from another project that you’ve been a part of for the last few years with Lao Tizer and Karen Briggs…

    Yes. As a matter of fact, I just did a show with Lao the night before last. Yeah I play in the band with Lao and I helped him make his records. I write with him also. But, you know, I’m just sort of a guest star in his group which is really nice. I met him when he was young and now he has like seven or eight records out.

    So you do the Special EFX group and you perform with a bunch of other artists and you’re really well established in the smooth jazz genre, but in addition to that you also have toured and recorded with pop artists like Jewel and Celine Dion and you’ve won Emmy’s for The Guiding Light and Dora the Explorer. So how do you balance all these different things that you do? Because they’re, you know, really diverse.

    Well, thank you, yeah. Well, what you do is you take things one at a time as they come. They’re not all happening at the same time. The way that it’s worked for me is I had a period in my career where I met a record producer in New York named Ric Wake. And Ric was the producer for Celine Dion, Mark Anthony and Jewel, Anastasia. He did a lot of pop and rock artists and he brought me in to guitar work on a lot of these projects which was really great. I haven’t worked with him for a few years, but I did have those few years in particular where he was calling a team of us. We were working on a lot of music. It had nothing to do with jazz, it was just purely recording.

    And you know I should say this, a lot of musicians that people see performing have multiple sides to their career like that. They write. They produce. They perform. They write many kinds of music. A lot of times you’ll find that. Like for instance, right now, tonight I’m performing in New York City with a trio. It’s a very interesting trio. It’s drums, myself and a Chapman Stick Player Steve Adelson. And we’re going to play a couple of original songs from each of us and a couple of jazz standards also. It’s just the live aspect of playing music. Getting out there. That’s really what it’s all about. That’s the most important thing I think.

    That’s where my hobby, my love for music came from is live concerts and you know, listening to people perform. I especially like to listen to jazz artists perform now when I go out. I like to hear people improvise and see what they can do, especially older style jazz I love. So my taste in music has evolved over time. I like a lot of kinds of music and so my records tend to be kind of eclectic. And I like to play different kinds of music too. Like right now one of the styles of music I’m digging into is more of a Gypsy Jazz style like Django Reinhardt and old school style which is a struggle for me because I didn’t grow up playing that. But it’s just part of the journey. We’re all on this kind of musical journey together, right? I mean, you too.

    Yeah definitely. So what gave you, or who or what gave you the confidence to really pursue music as a career?

    I don’t really know if I had confidence. I told a couple of friends of mine I’m good at rowing the boat but I’m not too good at steering it. I’m surrounded by people who just show up and do it. So that’s a good spirit to have. Having confidence to do it… Confidence comes and goes. That’s just one of those psychological terms, I think. It’s what I’m familiar with though. I’ve been playing and practicing guitar for many, many years, so I’m willing to give it a shot.

    Oh, yeah. I definitely think we can all relate a little bit to that. So why don’t you talk a little bit about what inspires you to continue doing music?

    That’s a good question. Well, I guess part of it is that it’s what I know and love. And I can see that there’s a whole wide world that hasn’t been touched by me and I want to dip into. I like the kind of people meet in music a lot. I like artists. I like people who write and are creative and who travel. So I think we’re all like-minded. I also meet those kind of people who are not musicians. So it’s not delegated to only music. I mean, they’re a lot of interesting people in other fields, but I generally find that there’s just something unusual about people in the music business and I like that. I just love playing music. I just love listening to and playing music.

    And that’s really important to have that love of music because that’s what really keeps you going. If you’re looking for something else like money or fame, that’s small picture. That’s not big picture but having that drive and that passion to to pursue music is really important.

    It’s true.

    Have you, just because, you know, our audience is younger musicians and sometimes they get frustrated with practice or they’re not seeing enough progress… So, have you ever had an experience where maybe you felt giving and what got you through that?

    Yeah, I still have that happen on occasion. I mean, like, not completely giving up but on a small scale, sometimes I’m practicing music but I just don’t feel like I want to practice. Or if I just don’t feel like I’m in the mood for it. But I need to get it done because I need to memorize a piece for instance, or maybe I’m working… Like tonight, for instance, I have to play a piece… It’s a Wes Montgomery guitar piece that I haven’t really learned it that well yet, but I’ve been working on it the last couple of weeks just so I could get really familiar with it so I can flow. But I don’t really always want to play it when I’m rehearsing at home. I like to get together and play it with the band, but that will happen on stage tonight.

    Sometimes I don’t get discouraged with music per say, I get discouraged with the business of music. That’s a whole nother subject of course, but it’s one thing to love music and travel and write and all of this, but there’s an element of business involved that keeps that machine going also. And it’s a group effort. It’s a team effort. And you know, it’s like anything else. It takes a lot of pushing and encouragement to keep everybody motivated to keep the whole thing going. So sometimes I lean on people, you know, if I don’t feel I’m playing enough shows with Special EFX, I’ll call up other people and say, “listen, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. If you want to work on something, let me know.”

    Then I get motivated by being bored, I guess. I don’t wanna, like you know, last year I think I did about 50 shows, all kinds of different shows and that to me was very satisfying. There were points where I needed to take a break, that’s how busy I got.

    It’s always better to be busy than not.

    Yeah, yeah. You know, I get in trouble if I’m not busy.

    So what are some of your goals musically for the future.

    I have two that I’m working on. One of them has been an ongoing goal. I’ve touched it a little bit. I like to write music for pictures. And I’ve been working with a music production library and we’ve been writing music for subjects. Like for instance, writing music for country-style or latin or electronic music and it’s commercial. In other words, it’s supposed to be composed for usage in commercial use or in a movie, but what I’d like to really is to do more actual film work. You know, write to picture. Short-film, long-film, independent film. I feel like I’m really overdue to do more of that. I’ve done a little bit of that.

    And the other thing that I’m working on is developing a big music program in China. I know that comes out of left field, but I’ve gone over there five times in the last year and a half and I’m trying to help develop in Shanghai, like a music production situation. Like help open up a studio and run it and get people educated in there and do music production and do television music production. And just get this whole thing going if I can help. So I’m going back there in October to do a tour and at the end of the tour I’m going to meet with people who are financing the project and see if we’re gonna go to the next phase which would actually be building a recording studio in Shanghai.

    That’s really amazing. How did that get started?

    A long flight. It got started because of a woman over there who is a singer who is acting as my agent over there. And she got me over there and then I started meeting people because that’s what happens when you travel. So some of the big plans that I have over, to do the studio, came from other people that I met. But the touring is come from the singer. Actually she’s the singer on the new CD. Her name is Xu Feiyu and she’s on the song called “Mirage” and the song called “Wishing.” And yeah, she’s a really great singer and a wonderful person and we’ve done a couple of concerts together with Special EFX even, and it’s been really great. There’s a lot of stuff going on.

    I think the important thing is, you know, it doesn’t really matter what age you’re at, or where you’re at in your career, it’s all part of the whole story. I mean, when I was in my early 20s and we were just getting Special EFX started, there was a lot of stress trying to book gigs and play shows and practice. Same thing now. Like the evolution of your life. What was that song… You know I just heard that band, Tears for Fears. I heard Everyone wants to Rule the World on the radio and there’s a great line in there, a great lyric. “Welcome to your life, there’s no turning back.” Right? It just says it all. You know, whatever you want to do, this is America. You can just push forward and give your best shot. Because there’s opportunities out there as long as you’re willing to take the action.

    So what would your advice be for an up and coming musician?

    The same advice I would give to an established player. It’s the most important to perform live in front of an audience not only rehearsals to mingle with other people as one of the things you do. Of course practicing, learning, studying is good. But to get to play with other people is extremely important. That’s what makes it most fun also. So, you know, that’s it. It’s a combination of that and practice. And I would say that any time I’ve had a guitar student, I’ve told them that it’s not just about learning how to play the instrument, but commingling with other musicians also.

    It depends on what somebody wants to do. Like, for instance, Shannon, if you want to be, like you wanted to play on tour with Paul McCartney, the best thing you could do is to just practice. To perform, be seen by people and maybe somebody will say “hey, you’re a great player, I have a job for you” or “I have a project for you that you might like, that you might be good for.” And that’s it. It’s what they call networking, right? But you’ve got to also know your stuff. It’s important to practice and take lessons if possible, or if you don’t take lessons practice and work with other people and learn and be open minded and try to have some diversification in the way that you play.

    You know, I mean, I don’t think that I’m a great straight ahead jazz player, but I’ll try my best. I’ll jump in there with those guys and play. I’m not a very good judge of my own playing, so I just show up and play. But the thing is, if I say “no, I won’t do it,” then I’m never going to learn. So it’s important to just try things and say yes and if somebody says “hey, can you play country music on your saxophone…” of course I can! So you just get over there and learn on the spot in front of them. Who cares? That’s how you learn. It’s like jumping in the swimming pool. You’ve gotta learn to swim or you don’t.

    That’s true. Say yes and figure out how to do it later.

    Yeah, that’s important and you can always ask people to help you if you’re not sure what you’re doing, but you’ll never find out if you don’t jump in with both feet. That’s the important thing, so.

    Yeah… Well, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to the interview with us.

    Yeah, yeah it was great. Great to talk to you. I think we’re going to try to do something in Southern California probably in the spring. We’re working on putting together a run of shows, so I hope I get to see you then Shannon. Okay, let’s keep in touch.

    That’d be great. Thanks Chieli.

    Have a great day.

    You too.

    Bye.

    Bye bye.

    So that was our interview with Chieli Minucci. Thank you so much again Chieli for being on the show with us. If you’re interested in learning more about him and his music, you can visit chielimusic.com. We hope you enjoyed the show. You can visit teenjazz.com or teenjazzradio.com to learn more about us or check out some of the other interviews and podcasts that we’ve done in the past. Thank you so much for tuning in.

    August 24, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 935

  • Review of Jeff Golub’s 2013 Album Release Train Keeps a Rolling

    On his latest release, Jeff Golub collaborated with keyboardist Brian Auger to create Train Keeps a Rolling, a collection of 11 original compositions and covers in the soul, jazz, blues and rock styles. Train Keeps a Rolling is due for release on August 13, 2013 through Entertainment One Music. It is his 12th record as a solo artist and his 3rd with Entertainment One Music.

    Train Keeps A Rolling was co-produced by Golub and Bud Harner who has worked with the guitarist as co-producer on his last five records. In addition to Golub on guitar and Auger on rhodes an B-3, the album features the talents of Steve Ferrone on drums, Derek Frank on bass, Luis Conte on percussion, Mindi Abair on alto sax, Nick Lane on trombone, Dave Woodford on bari sax and flute, and Steve Madaio on trumpet. Vocalists Christopher Cross, David Pack and Alex Ligertwood also make guest appearances on the album.

    The album opens with “The Cat,” a soul-jazz 60’s influenced tune with a bit of blues vibe. The song was written by Lalo Schifrin for the movie Joy House in 1964 and was recorded by organist Jimmy Smith that same year. Golub’s and Auger’s give the track a modern twist with Golub taking over the melody in the place of the organ.

    Second on the album is a previously unreleased Brian Auger original entitled “Isola Natale” and it is followed by the title track, “Train Keeps a Rolling,” a composition from Jeff Golub and Chris Palmaro. Golub and Palmaro also collaborated on “J&B.”

    The album also features a few tunes from Auger’s The Oblivion Express including “Happiness is Just Around the Bend,” and “Whenever You’re Read.” Auger also wrote a tune specifically for the project entitled “Shepherds Bush Market.”

    In addition to the album’s original music, Golub and Auger make a few covers their own as part of this project. In addition to Lalo Schifrin’s aforementioned “The Cat,” are Willie Dixon’s “I Love the Life I Live,” Paul Carrack’s “How Long,” The Police’s “Walking on the Moon,” and the album’s first single, “Pusherman” by Curtis Mayfield.

    Train Keeps a Rolling is certainly an interesting and diverse collaboration between Brian Auger and Jeff Golub, and although the guitarist steps into the “soul-jazz” genre, his blues roots are still apparent in the album’s arrangements and his playing.

    Jeff Golub was born in Ohio, but launched his career in NYC during the early 80s. He has toured with musicians such as Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, and Gato Barbieri. He released his first album as a band leader in 1988 and has since released numerous chart topping albums both as Avenue Blue and as Jeff Golub.

    Get Train Keeps a Rolling on Amazon

    Title: Train Keeps a Rolling
    Artist: Jeff Golub with Brian Auger
    Date: August 13, 2013
    Genre: Jazz, Blues
    Label: Entertainment One

    Tracks:

    01 The Cat
    02 Isola Natale
    03 Train Keeps A Rolling
    04 I Love The Life I Live
    05 Pusherman
    06 How Long
    07 J&B
    08 Happiness Is Just Around The Bend
    09 Shepherds Bush Market
    10 Whenever You’re Ready
    11 Walking on the Moon

    Get Train Keeps a Rolling on Amazon

    August 1, 2013 • Reviews • Views: 928

  • Guitarist Parker Moss | Teen Jazz Artist

    Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

    I mostly play a Fender Stratocaster that I bought when I was about 13 years old. I play through a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a 2×12 Fender Deville.

    Why did you begin studying music?

    Ever since I can remember I’ve been in love with music and I’m always trying to learn more and more about Blues and Jazz music and artists.

    Who are some of your influences?

    My two biggest influences are Pat Metheny and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

    Guitarist Parker Moss

    Located in Barrie, Ontario

    • Guitar
    • 14 years of playing
    • Doubles: piano, bass and drums

    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

    [What’s this?]

    What are you doing with music now?

    Currently I am a studio musician in the Toronto area. Solo artists/bands that need a guitar player will hire me to come in and play guitar parts for them.

    Who have you studied with?

    I’ve studied with two local guitarists. Marvel Potvin and Dave Chun. Both of them are incredible guitar teachers.

    What would you like to do with music in the future?

    I would really love to be able to continue what Im doing right now and also play my solo music in bars and other small venues and be able to make a living doing that.

    Would you like to add anything else?

    If anyone needs a guitar player in the Barrie or Toronto area I can be reached at (705)-790-3737


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

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    Apply Here

    July 1, 2013 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 759

  • Review of BWB’s Album Human Nature

    Eleven years ago guitarist Norman Brown, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun came together to create the album, Groovin’, and the “supergroup” BWB. The group has once again joined forces to release Human Nature, a tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

    The album becomes available on June 18, 2013 and is supported with a tour around the country that extends into the end of the year (this is according to their calendar at the time of writing, the tour may go on longer). The musicians on the album in addition to Brown, Whalum and Braun include Sheléa on vocals, John Stoddart on keys, Braylon Lacey on bass, Khari Parker on drums, Lenny Castro on percussion, and Ralph Lofton on organ.

    Human Nature includes tracks that span from Jackson’s early days as part of the Jackson Five (Shake Your Body, I’ll Be There, Who’s Lovin You) to his prolific career as a solo artist (Human Nature, Beat It, She’s Out of My Life, The Way You Make Me Feel, I Can’t Help It, Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror, and Another Part of Me).

    The project was the brainchild of trumpeter Rick Braun, and the album Human Nature grew from there. It was merely a matter of picking songs from Jackson’s catalog, and with all his fantastic songs, it was certainly no easy feat. BWB, however, is not the first to pay tribute to the legendary Michael Jackson. “You take Miles Davis,” Whalum says, “for him to record a Michael Jackson song [like ‘Human Nature’] says something. It’s a validation. We’re not the first musicians to take a serious approach to Michael’s music. But for us it’s an honor because the feeling of the music communicates so beautifully. That’s ultimately what music is supposed to be about.”

    BWB’s versions of Michael Jackson’s songs each differ significantly from the original versions. The title track, “Human Nature,” is slower than the original and the arrangement is sparse in comparison while “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” takes on a Latin Vibe. Rick Braun arranged “Beat It” with a reggae beat, Whalum and Stoddart changed the meter on “I Can’t Help It,” and “Who’s Lovin’ You” is adapted to a more bluesy feel.

    Human Nature is a diverse collection of Jackson’s music performed by three of the most popular artists on the contemporary jazz scene – Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun and Norman Brown.

    A little bit more about each of the artists:

    Saxophonist Kirk Whalum grew up in Memphis Tennessee where the local music scene played a big part in influencing his performance and style as an artist. He attended Texas Southern University in Houston where he began his career as a performer. Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to perform and record with artist such as Quincy Jones, Barbara Streisand, and Whitney Houston. He was awarded a Grammy in 2011 for “Best Gospel Song.” He has over twenty albums as a solo artist.

    Rick Braun hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania and is a graduate from the Eastman School of Music. He has a diverse musical background having performed with fusion group Auracle, written “Here With Me” for REO Speedwagon, and over 15 records as a solo artist in the jazz and smooth genres.

    Norman Brown was born in Louisiana but raised in Kansas City where he picked up the guitar at the age of 8. After high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. He released his first album in 1992 and then followed it with a gold-certified album in 1996. In 2002 he received a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental album for the album Just Chillin’.

    Get Human Nature on Amazon

    Title: Human Nature
    Artist: BWB feat. Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown
    Date: June 18, 2013
    Genre: Smooth Jazz, Pop
    Label: Heads Up

    Tracks:

    01 Another Part of Me
    02 Billie Jean
    03 Human Nature
    04 Beat It
    05 Who’s Lovin’ You
    06 She’s Out of My Life
    07 Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
    08 The Way You Make Me Feel
    09 I Can’t Help It
    10 I’ll Be There
    11 Man in the Mirror

    Get Human Nature on Amazon

    June 21, 2013 • Reviews • Views: 1149