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Our harmony downloads are proving popular so here’s another Jazz Harmony PDF. This sheet is titled “Practise Worksheet – intermediate” but it’s vital for all serious Jazz/Commercial pianists to know these chords inside out.The first exercise is a simple series of II-V-I progressions in closed position, around a cycle of fifths. These are vital and even if I’m playing a weird large chord with loads of extensions and no root-I’m still am aware of the closed position voicing underneath it all!When this is familiar, move on to the next exercise which then opens out these chords using an interval of a fifth in the base and adding the 3rd and 7th (or 7th and 3rd) above. These voicings are absolutely vital to good jazz piano and indeed, good arranging. This style of opening out a simple chord uses the least amount of notes (in Jazz harmony) to the greatest effect. The next exercise goes on to add extensions to these chords, utilising a bass note in the left hand and chord in the right.The final exercise is to play the previous chord shapes in the left hand with the intention of leaving the bass notes to the bass player so as to allow the right hand to improvise. There we have it-most of Jazz harmony, all on a single sheet of paper!Jazz Harmony PDF download 
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We had a fun job this week, to provide the brass arrangement for top producer Michael Gray. “You Got Me Twisted” is a great crossover Dance track, with -as you woud expect-superb production values. He needed a riff from a Michael Jackson track transcribed, transposed and arranged for trumpet. We altered the original to fit the rhythmic style and it was a pretty simple job musically, but when you arrange for studio sessions there’s always different things to consider than arranging for live music.One thing that I always like to do is to notate the “drop in” times on the part. This is the time from the start in minutes and seconds at each prominant section of the arrangement. This makes it easier for the arranger and producer to know exactly where each section is-  musically and from a recording point of view. Ok, we didn’t actually need it this time but it’s always best to cover every base rather than waste time/money on a session.When you arrange for recording musicians you can also add more parts than you could live so we had 3 trumpet parts which we then recorded using different mikes. Essentially the part only need a single trumpet but we used 2 on the top octave and doubled the part an octave below to thicken the sound. The producer now has a minimum of 6 tracks to mix as he likes.
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If you create your own podcasts then you will certainly need great music to accompany your fabulous new show. There’s actually a great choice of music available on the Internet for podcasters but there’s two vital things to watch out for: is it legal? and is it good quality?To be sure that your podcast music is “podsafe” or legal, you really need to buy music from a royalty free music library or independent musician who specifically gives you the rights to use his or her music. The SMARTassMusic standard license gives you the right to use our music as much as you like in your podcasts and many other projects too! And did I mention….there’s free tracks too and yes, you’re welcome to use these in your podcasts absolutely free.The other important point is that of quality. Our music is crystal clear audio quality and available for instant download as both WAV and high quality MP3 files (192kbps). You shouldn’t sacrifice quality for bandwidth when producing your podcasts and any audio compression less than 128kbps containing music, is going to be noticably poor. Good luck with your podcasting!
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I had a great night out on Wednesday with a Jazz gig at The Woodman, in Sevenoaks, Kent. They put on regular evenings of Jazz with top name players and on this occasion we had the great Roger Beaujolais on vibes (a much neglected, wonderful instrument), Jo Fooks on sax, Bobby Worth on drums, Pete Ringrose on bass and myself (Jim Treweek) on piano. A personal thanks to everybody involved in setting up these gigs, including the audience who  really support the venue and the musicians.
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Well, the Sugababes single we worked on has risen to number 3 in the UK charts……..…will it make it to number 1? ..…possibley  not then…………oh well :-)
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It’s been a hectic weekend of gigs, starting Friday night in central London at the Cafe De Paris. This is a great venue and the gig was fun, playing keys in a band for a  party for Sony. I didn’t get to bed until 3am and at 38 this takes it’s toll a little more than when I was 21. Saturday’s gig was a swing band and again I didn’t get to bed until 3am. Sunday morning, and I’m beginning to feel the effects a bit.. the trouble is that I have two gigs to play today. The afternoon gig was a simple Jazz duo for a birthday party but it turned out to be a great gig. It was with Tim Robertson on bass. He’s a great player and it made playing really easy. The difficulty was that after my lack of sleep I’d developed the biggest headache I’ve had in years which was making me sweat, turn pale, then green and want to throw up over the piano. Having said that, I’ve rarely enjoying playing the piano quite as much as on this occasion! By the end of this gig I really was feeling like death so I tried to get a half an hours sleep in the car and set off for the evening’s gig. I arrived at the evening venue, after a quick detour in order to throw up :-( I didn’t look or feel too good and really didn’t think I’d be able to sit through a concert style gig-where it does tend to look obvious if you run off stage or indeed, throw up on the piano. After a couple of cups of black tea the gig was under way. The rhythm section was myself (James (Jim) Treweek) on piano, Buster Birch on drums and Pete Ringrose on Bass and the guests artists were Joe Fooks and the great Jim Mullen. Jim is one of the UK’s greatest guitarists and is a total joy to play with and to listen to. He’s a great guy and a wonderful guitarist with a faultless ear but overall he has a real uplifting, joyous way of playing. If you get the chance to hear him, please do.Again, I’ve rarely enjoyed a gig quite as much and by the end I’d even managed a small beer :-)Must be feeling better.
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