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Archive for May, 2009

New Recording – Geoff and Angela “Casta Diva”

May 26th, 2009
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My friend, singer and songwriter Angela Molineux and I recorded another song last night, “Casta Diva”. It’s an emotional song that blends the genres of pop and classical in the form of “classical crossover”.

For more info you can check out Angela’s myspace page here.

Casta Diva
composed by Angela M. and Geoff P.
words by Angela
recorded May 25th 2009
Time: 3:00

If you’d like to get an Mp3 of the song you can download it here.

Hope you enjoy and please leave us comments/feedback about this song; we’d really be interested in hearing what you think!

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ol creeper – original piano song by Geoff Peters

May 24th, 2009
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I wrote a short tune this evening – it’s more like a sketch or vignette, and it’s called “Ol Creeper”.

Hope you enjoy it. I was in a pretty mellow mood when I wrote this song!

Watch: On Youtube

Listen: In Mp3, Midi

Learn: PDF Lead Sheet

or use the embedded player below.
Cheers,
Geoff

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Learning how to sing – first steps

May 17th, 2009
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I decided that I want to learn how to sing!

I was flipping through my jazz Real Book (which contains lead sheets for many popular jazz standards) and came across the tune “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” by Duke Ellington. I remember that my late grandmother, who I love very much, said this was one of her favorite songs, and I can see why: it’s a simple and heart wrenching ballad that is so beautiful – it makes me think of all the emotions relating to romance, love, loss, hope, and personal self-worth.

So I realize that learning to sing is a long and many faceted journey, of which I have taken the first few steps today. I sang the Duke Ellington tune for about 15 minutes and then thought that in order to figure out what I should focus on during my practices, I should make a recording of myself singing. By listening back to the recording I will be able to act as a more critical listener and decide what I want to change or improve in my singing.

I also thought that by posting my first singing recording here on this blog, I might inspire or encourage someone else to also take the first steps to learn how to sing. For me it is kind of intimidating to be surrounded by many good singers, each who has progressed along this journey in their own way. But I know that my sound will be unique and I know that all I will need to do is keep listening to myself and working towards the goal of finding my own voice.

Here is my first attempt at singing “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” by Duke Ellington. Feel free to use the player below or get the MP3 here.


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Live Concert Recording: Phil Dwyer Trio at the Jazz Cellar

May 17th, 2009
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Phil Dwyer TrioHere’s a treat for jazz piano lovers. I’m really excited to share a live recording of the Phil Dwyer Trio, featuring Phil Dwyer (piano), Ken Lister (bass), and Jesse Cahill (drums) performing at the Jazz Cellar in Vancouver BC Canada on May 15th 2009.

Here is a little bit more about the musicians (from their Web Sites which are linked below).

Phil Dwyer:

Musician Phil Dwyer has been a force on the international jazz scene for over two decades. A critically acclaimed composer, arranger, and musical director, as well as gifted, intuitive perfomer on both saxophone and piano , Dwyer has performed with everyone from Aretha Franklin, Ian Tyson, and Gino Vannelli to jazz greats like Red Rodney, Ingrid Jensen, Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Jim Hall, Dave Holland, Don Thompson, and many others.

Before returning to his west coast roots on Vancouver Island in 2004, Dwyer spent 15 years as one of Toronto’s busiest studio musicians appearing on hundreds of recording sessions, and working as a commercial composer and arranger. He also was a regular performer at Toronto clubs Top O’ The Senator and Montreal Bistro, with Dave Young, Marcus Belgrave, Renee Rosnes, Carol Welsman, Moe Koffman, Randy Brecker and many others.

Doubling on tenor sax and piano, Dwyer was a member of the Hugh Fraser Quintet when they won the Alcan Jazz Competition in 1987 and the Juno Award for Looking Up in 1988. A long-time partnership with bassist Dave Young has produced a pair of recordings including 1993 Juno Award-winner, Fables and Dreams. Phil was also arranger, composer, and conductor on Guido Basso’s 2003 Juno Award-winning recording, Lost in the Stars. Dwyer has also made three recordings with Robert Occhipinti and was a featured soloist on the bassist’s Juno-nominated Yemaya.

Ken Lister:

Ken Lister has been playing jazz bass professionally since 1983. He is currently based in the Vancouver and Vancouver Island area, where he performs and teaches. Ken has extensively toured, both within Canada and internationally; including Australia, the British Isles, Cuba and South America.

Ken is a member of the Hugh Fraser Quintet and VEJI (the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation). As a member of the Hugh Fraser Quintet, Ken won a Juno Award for the Best Mainstream Jazz Album of 1997.

Ken also performs with the legendary jazz guitarist Pat Coleman in his trio, with Juno Award winner Buff Allen on drums. In addition to leading his own Sextet, he has performed with many great musicians including Slide Hampton, Chucho Valdes, Kenny Wheeler, Joshua Redman, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Rob McConnell, Ian McDougall, P.J. Perry, Sam Noto, Don Thompson, Tommy Banks, Carol Welsman, Kirk MacDonald, Bob McLaren, Jerry Fuller, Lorne Lofsky, Phil Dwyer, Ingrid Jensen, Misha Piatigorsky, Guido Basso and many others.

Jesse Cahill:

Jesse Cahill is known and respected as one of the foremost drummers on the Canadian jazz scene. He started playing drums at a young age and worked his first professional gigs at 16 in restaurants and clubs in his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia. In 1993 Jesse moved to Montreal to study music at McGill University, graduating in 1999 with a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance.

Influenced by the jazz and R&B Greats of the 1940s, ’50s and ‘60s, Jesse has worked with jazz legends like David “Fathead” Newman, George Coleman, Red Holloway, Dr. Eddie Henderson and Charles MacPherson, as well internationally recognized artists such as Eric Alexander, Joe Magerelli, Jim Rotondi, Ryan Kysor, George Colligan and Bobby Shew. He also performs regularly with top Canadian artists including Tilden Webb, Jodi Proznick, Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, P.J. Perry, Mike Allen, Neil Swainson, Bill Coon, Ken Lister, Miles Black, Roy Styfe and many others.

Jesse is a member of the Juno nominated and National Jazz Award winning Jodi Proznick Quartet. His recording resume includes sessions with Phil Dwyer’s Sax Summit, the Brad Turner Quintet, the Tilden Web Trio and the Chad Makela Quartet. He also has two recordings in his own name: the first, “Night Crawlers: Presenting” on Cellar Live, was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2007 National Jazz Awards, and the second (which Jesse also produced) “Featuring: Red Holloway” is due out in early 2009.

Now on to the music… Phil and the band have generously given me permission to share these recordings with jazz piano lovers and music students on this blog. In his description of the concert, Phil wrote that they would be “saluting some of our favourite piano trios, including Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Errol Garner, Ahmad Jamal and others”. The concert was fabulous!

Rhythm-A-Ning (Thelonious Monk) – version inspired by an album called Trio Music by Chick Corea:

Dolphin Dance (Herbie Hancock):

Misty (Errol Garner) – featuring a new “hip” contemporary arrangement by the band (I really like this version):

It’s Only a Paper Moon (Harold Arlen) – arrangement inspired by jazz pianist Geoff Keezer‘s album World Music:

Days Gone By (Don Thompson) – a beautiful ballad:

Holy Land (Cedar Walton):

Two Bass Hit (Miles Davis) – inspired by Sonny Clark‘s trio recordings:

Hope you enjoy the concert (this was the first set). Please support live music in your community and check out these musicians’ live performances when they come to your area!

Also if you liked the music you can purchase the musicians’ CD’s by contacting them through their web sites: Phil Dwyer, Ken Lister, Jesse Cahill.

Phil Dwyer Trio performing live at the Jazz Cellar in Vancouver Canada on May 15th 2009.

Phil Dwyer Trio performing live at the Jazz Cellar in Vancouver Canada on May 15th 2009.

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New Recording: I Need More by Angela Molineux and Geoff Peters

May 14th, 2009
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My friend, vocalist Angela Molineux, dropped by my place in between her trips to New York and London, and we recorded an original song called I Need More.

We wrote this song around three years ago, and it has been good to let time pass and see how we grew musically since then. I would describe this song as jazz/pop – listen closely for the “Pretty Bunny” line!

Feel free to use the player above to listen, or click here to listen to the song on Imeem.com.

If you’d like to download an MP3 version of the song you can get it from here. Hope you enjoy it!

For interested computer music buffs, we recorded this using a Shure SM-58 microphone, a Yamaha P90 keyboard and a MOTU 8-Pre Firewire audio interface hooked to a Macbook.

Check out Angela’s Myspace page for more music from her.

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Ambrose Akinmusire – Trapped in a Dream

May 13th, 2009
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I discovered an amazing track entitled Trapped in a Dream by jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. In this article on San Francisco Bay Area jazz musicians, David Rubien writes:

Akinmusire – a graduate of Berkeley High School’s renowned jazz program with degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Southern California and the Monk Institute in Los Angeles – seems to be the most academically inclined of the bunch, but the opposite is true. He’s actually an iconoclast who’s thrived just because he’s made everyone come around to seeing things his way.

Feel free to use the player below to listen to Trapped in a Dream, and visit Ambrose Akinmusire’s web site or CDBaby to purchase his album Prelude to Cora.

Trapped In A Dream – Ambrose Akinmusire

The thing that strikes me about Trapped in a Dream is how the music really suits the name of the song. While I am listening to it, I feel like I am dreaming. There are flashes of insight: at times the chords seem to be leading somewhere purposeful, but then return back to the comfort and lull of a deep dream-filled sleep. The way it ends is with a hypnotic drum sequence which suggests to me that I am soon going to wake up and face reality again.

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Jazz piano practice: Lee Morgan’s Ceora, Melodic Minor Scale, Autumn Leaves

May 13th, 2009
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Another practice tonight. I am all fired up about attending Phil Dwyer‘s Academy of Musical and Culinary arts (PDAMCA) this summer in Qualicum Beach BC.

I worked some more on Ceora like I did the last few practices and then felt that I was playing the same sounds over and over again, and wanted to change things up a bit. So I thought I would investigate the melodic minor scale. The melodic minor scale is the same as the major scale except the third degree is “flatted” as in a minor scale. A piano friend Stephen Pong recommended to try playing the scale starting on the 7th degree, and playing the dominant seventh chord starting on this 7th note. I also tried playing fifths in the left hand and going up and around the melodic minor scale in some exploratory ways. This is a totally new sound for me, and I really am glad to finally be exploring this interesting scale.

Here is an excellent article with other chords to play with the melodic minor scale (click here).

I then brought out my vocal mic and tried playing Autumn Leaves in the key of Fminor (for a change!) while singing. I did a bit of scat soloing and stuff which I didn’t record but it was fun anyways. (Click here for Chick Corea and Bobby Mcferrin doing an amazing duo version of Autumn Leaves).

Feel free to click below to listen to my practice in Midi format:
ceora and autumn leaves.mid

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One Mouse Button or Two – Mac design philosophy

May 13th, 2009
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I feel like writing down a few thoughts about Macs. So here goes:

I used to think that Macintosh computers were “dumbed down” because they only have one mouse button. (Well admittedly, you can use a PC mouse with a Mac if you want to use a second button). I remember the days of 386’s and Windows 3.1 when the Three button mouse was the coolest thing.

I started using computers on the first Macintosh (and even a bit of Apple II+ before that). Then I switched to PC’s and never looked back (so I thought) until a few weeks ago when I realized that I couldn’t record music anymore with PC’s – their latest firewire drivers (Vista) don’t work very well with my fancy MOTU 8-Pre audio interface.

So I bought the White Macbook; it cost around $1300 including tax from London Drugs. It made a very good first impression – everything worked instantly and I was able to get up and running really fast. And I love the design of the laptop: how it looks and how it “feels” when I use it. I am quite happy using the single mouse button for casual things, and then plugging in my Zero Tension ergonomic mouse when I am going to do some more intense clicking.

iMovie is amazing; it makes video editing a breeze, and Logic is so much better than Cakewalk. Long live the Mac laptop!

Browsing the Apple site, I found an interesting article on how A.R. Rahman, the famous Indian movie composer, used Logic Pro to create the soundtrack for the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

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Jazz Piano Practice – Lee Morgan’s Ceora and some technique

May 12th, 2009
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I did another practice on the tune Ceora by Lee Morgan as well as some technique (major scales, practiced slowly and at different speeds to build strength and evenness). Practice recorded in Midi format, available below:

ceora and some technique.mid

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Short Jazz Piano Practice on Lee Morgan’s Ceora

May 11th, 2009
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I did a short practice before going to bed on the tune Ceora by Lee Morgan. Feel free to cick below to listen in Midi format.

> Ceora practice (tune by Lee Morgan) – jazz piano practice by Geoff Peters Midi file

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