Mulatu Astatke – Ethio Jazz

Jazz is a wildly syncretic music, blending musical traditions from a large geographical and cultural range. I think this explains its power open doorways of participation between disparate cultures (a power shared today by hip hop). The music of Mulatu Astatke, called the father of Ethio Jazz, is both accessible to American audiences and distinct from American jazz. The compositions on this album are not at all a mere imitation of western chord theory and improvisational styles but an attempt to bring an American music into communication with Ethiopian tradition. It works beautifully.

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Oscar Peterson interview/lesson

Here is a video I have watched several times recently of Oscar Peterson, one of the most prominent jazz piano figures of the mid-late 20th century, giving an interview about his influences. I thought it was really insightful to hear Peterson himself deconstruct his style, as well as talk about about the style of others while providing examples on the piano. I always wonder what is going on the minds of some of these outrageously skilled musicians, and this video shined some light on that.

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Robert Glasper & Metropole Orkest

Robert Glasper is in my opinion one of the greatest jazz artists of our generation. Over the past ten years he has introduced jazz to new listeners by infusing it with hip-hop, rock, and neo-soul. “Gonna Be Alright” demonstrates Robert Glasper’s versatility and ability to expand upon your typical jazz trio.

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Esperanza Spalding


Here’s an awesome video of one of my favorite current jazz performers. We don’t talk much about the vocal aspects, but Esperanza Spalding really shows how appealing and effective the voice can be in jazz just as well as instrumentals. She’s always pinpoint accurate, even in different runs or in her phenomenal higher range. And even though her singing is clearly the center of attention, the instrumentalists are pretty remarkable too.

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Hank Mobley – Far Away Lands (full album)

If you like the vibe of “Venus Di Mildew”, check out “Far Away Lands.” This album really focuses on swing and motivic development. You can hear the use of various bebop scales, pentatonics, blues, etc. Note the use of call and response and overall ensemble interaction.


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Hank Mobley – Venus Di Mildew

As discussed in class, check out this recording of “Venus Di Mildew” as played by Hank Mobley. Note the song was actually written by Wayne Shorter.


  • Hank Mobley — tenor saxophone
  • Curtis Fuller — trombone
  • Lee Morgan — trumpet
  • McCoy Tyner — piano
  • Bob Cranshaw — bass
  • Billy Higgins — drums
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Snarky Puppy – Lingus (We Like It Here)

Posted by Logan Miller

Here is a video of Snarky Puppy performing “Lingus” in one take. I’m sure some of you have seen this, but if not, this is a band of students and graduates from the University of North Texas – Denton. I thought this video had lots of interesting elements, in terms of arranging for so many musicians. I really like the suspensions that are in the horns around 2:38. Additionally, Cory Henry takes a keyboard solo at 4:18 that just isn’t right. Hope you enjoy!​

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Thelonious Monk

Here is a video of Thelonious Monk playing piano in Berlin. Though he is at first playing alone, he does not lack the energy or creativity of a full jazz ensemble. The many “wrong” notes he incorporates into the pieces provide the ear tonal surprises, thus creating a vibrant musical atmosphere. Also, watching Monk play is a delight; the music seems to flow out of him spontaneously. Please enjoy.

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Harry Connick Jr’s Come By Me

Here’s a video of Harry Connick and the band play Come By Me. Listen for the 5/4 bar in his solo to offset the audience’s 1/3 clap accent to the more appropriate 2/4! Also watch the drummer in the back at around 0:43!


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Harmonic Analysis: I’m Old Fashioned

Analyzing I’m Old Fashioned by Mercer and Kern is a great starting point for understanding how composers can make modifications to fundamental chord progression to yield interesting results. system one consists of four chords commonly referred to as a I-vi-ii-V turnaround. Cyclic by nature, it creates a roundabout cadence that temporarily works its way through the relative minor before returning to the tonic chord. Note the use of the tertiary dominant chord on scaled degree sis.

The four chord is used over the tonic to support the melody (Bb) at the beginning of the second system. it resolves to the tonic major seventh chord, then moves towards the relative minor key (D-) via the corresponding ii-V progression E-7b5 – A7. Arriving in D-minor in the next system, we now notice that the composer creates a series of ii-V progressions (D-7 to G7) temporarily borrowed from the key of C major (which is the dominant of F major) before returning to the key of F major in a scalar fashion. in the fifth system, there is a return to a modified treatment of the opening motif which then modulates to the key of A major (note again the use of the ii-V in the fourth measure).

Once in the key of A major, the melody and chords move diatonically up the major scale before using the leading tone to the subdominant of F major to return to the parent key, F. Finally, there is a return to the original melody and a concluding development that utilizes the same rhythmic motives of the opening section of the tune. note that the harmony moves temporarily to the four chord and then cycle back to the tonic chord, even using a pedal C to temporarily suspect the final cadence.

Meanwhile, here is a live performance of  “I’m Old Fashioned” performed by Sadao Wantanabe. Ironically, they play t in the key of Ab (as I mentioned in class today).

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