Category Archives: Jazz

Introducing Our New Feature – Spotlight on a Music Student


At FFM, we want to highlight new and aspiring musical talent wherever we find it and where better than the many Music Colleges, Universities and Schools around the world. Our new feature ‘Spotlight on a Music Student’ is an opportunity for you or someone you know to step into the spotlight and share your talent, dreams and ambitions with the musical world.

All you have to do is send us your information, pictures, videos, sound clips and links  and we will compile your feature.

email direct to rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Much love and happy music making,

The FFM team

Advent Window 6 has a real surprise behind it!




Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and David Sanborn on David Letterman:

“We Three Kings Of Orient Are”

BIOGRAPHY

Over six full decades, from his arrival on the national scene in 1945 until his death in 1991, Miles Davis made music that grew from an uncanny talent to hear the future and a headstrong desire to play it. From his beginnings in the circle of modern jazz, he came to intuit new worlds of sound and challenge. While the vast majority of musicians – jazz, rock, R&B, otherwise – find the experimental charge and imperviousness of youth eventually running down, Miles forever forged ahead, trusting and following instinct until the end.

In doing so, Miles became the standard bearer for successive generations of musicians, shaped the course of modern improvisational music more than a half-dozen times. This biography attempts to explain those paradigm-shifts one after another, through his recordings and major life changes.

The factors leading to that process are now the foundation of the Miles Davis legend: the dentist’s son born in 1926 to middle-class comfort in East St Louis. The fresh acolyte learning trumpet in the fertile, blues-drenched music scene of his hometown. The sensitive soul forging a seething streetwise exterior that later earned him the title, Prince Of Darkness. The determined teenager convincing his parents to send him to New York’s famed Juilliard School of Music in 1944, a ploy allowing him to locate and join the band of his idol, bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.




It wasn’t long before the headstrong young arrival grew from sideman to leading his own projects and bands of renown, from the restrained, classical underpinning of the famous “Birth of the Cool” group (Miles’ first foray with arranger Gil Evans), to the blues-infused hardbop anthem “Walkin’”, to his first famous quintet (Coltrane, Chambers, Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones) with whom his recordings on muted trumpet helped him develop a signature sound that broke through to mainstream recognition. His subsequent jump from recording with independent labels (Prestige, Blue Note) to Columbia Records, then the Tiffany of record companies, propelled his career further from a limited jazz audience and a series of late ‘50s albums (Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess, Miles Ahead, Kind of Blueand Sketches of Spain) secured his widespread popularity.

Miles’ group shifted and morphed through the early ‘60s until he settled for a four-year run with his classic quintet, a lineup that is still hailed today as one of the greatest and most influential jazz groups of all time. Their albums together — from Miles Smiles, ESP and Nefertiti, to Miles In The Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro — traced a pattern of unparalleled growth and innovation.

Had Miles stopped his progress at that point, he’d still be hailed as one of the greatest pioneers in jazz, but his creative momentum from the end of the ‘60s into the ‘70s would not let up. He was listening to the world around him — the amplified explosion of rock bands and the new, heavy-on-the-one funk of James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone. From the ambient hush of In A Silent Way, to the strange and unsettling – yet wildly popular Bitches Brew, he achieved another shift in musical paradigm and a personal career breakthrough.

Bitches Brew was controversial, a best-seller and attracted another, younger generation into the Miles fold. Thousands whose musical taste respected no categorical walls flocked to hear Miles, and a slew of fusion bands were soon spawned, led by his former sidemen: Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever. The studio albums that defined Miles’ kaleidoscopic sound in the ‘70s included a series of (mostly) double albums, from …Brew to 1971’s Live-Evil, ‘72’s On The Corner and ‘75’s Get Up With It. The covers listed populous line-ups that reached up to 11 musicians, adding new names to an ever-widening circle of on-call talent.

By the end of 1975, Miles was tired – and sick. A period of seclusion ensued, full years to deal with personal demons and health issues, bouncing between bouts of self-abuse and boredom. It was the longest time Miles had been off the public radar – only amplifying the appetite for his return.




When Miles reappeared in 1981, expectation had reached fever pitch. A final series of albums for Columbia reflected his continuing fascination with funk of the day (Rose Royce, Cameo, Chaka Khan and later, Prince), and the sounds of synthesizer and drum machines (Great Miles Shift Number 8). The Man With A Horn, We Want Miles and Decoy found him still working with Teo Macero and still surrounding himself with young talent, including bassist Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones). In 1985, his album You’re Under Arrest — with unexpected covers of recent pop charters (Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”) – brought the long Davis-Columbia association to a close. He embarked on a new relationship with Warner Bros. Records and producer Tommy LiPuma, scoring successes with Tutu (written in a large part by his bassist Marcus Miller), Music from Siesta (also with Miller), Amandla(featuring a new breed of soloists, including alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza, guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly, keyboardist Joey DeFrancesco, and others) and Doo-Bop (his collaboration with hip hop producer Easy Moe Bee.)

Those titles proved Miles’ farewell, still pushing forward, still exploring new musical territory. Throughout his career, he had always resisted looking back, avoiding nostalgia and loathing leftovers. “It’s more like warmed-over turkey,” the eternal modernist described the music of Kind of Blue twenty-five years after recording it. Ironically, in 1991, only weeks after performing a career-overview concert in Paris that featured old friends and collaborators from as early as the ‘40s, he died from a brain aneurysm.

Like his music, Miles always spoke with an economy of expression. And for Miles, it had to be fresh, or forget it. “I don’t want you to like me because of Kind of Blue,” he insisted. “Like me for what we’re doing now.”




All That Jazz – Writing and thinking with music




Then I found jazz music.

Of course, I didn’t “find” it. But obviously, most young people don’t listen to jazz music. Because it’s not 1950. And I considered myself “young” until relatively recently. I don’t consider myself young anymore, and so a few years back I started getting into jazz music. And not only do I enjoy it, I absolutely love it when it comes to working.

The caveat here is that I mean jazz music without any vocal component. I actually realized some years back that it’s not music that distracts me from work, per se, but rather the singing and lyrics of a song. Because I’m an audible learner, and I’m always listening to words and thinking about them.

But non-vocal jazz is perfect. Electronic music would work for the same reason, and to fit the coder stereotype back in my web development days, I tried to get into this. But it didn’t stick. I think because I just didn’t like the music. For me, it’s jazz when I write at night and classical music when I read in the mornings — another tell-tale sign of growing old, no doubt.

I was thinking about this the other night at a jazz concert. It’s not just that I can work with jazz on in the background (which I’m doing right now!), it’s that it spurs activity in my brain that I seemingly don’t get in other ways. As such, I actually like to bring notebooks to jazz concerts. Because I have so many thoughts that reveal themselves at such times (and obviously don’t want to use my phone to jot them down during a show).

I’m sure a large part of this is simply having time to think. Again, I can listen to jazz and do something else at the same time: thinking falls into this bucket too. But I do think there’s something about the genre that spurs more activity in my brain than normal. I also like it while writing because it lends a unique cadence to my typing — as if my fingers were another instrument, riffing

Photo by Gabriel Barletta on Unsplash

¹ Or really, any noise. Even more distracting than music is when a few people are having a conversation nearby. So I often need to find a balance of a cafe that’s either entirely empty or jam-packed — because crowd chatter, or any “white noise”, doesn’t bother me.



Improvisation is Scary




For some, improvisation is a little scary. It doesn’t have to be with a clever back pocket pattern guaranteed to sound black-cat cool.

As I was planning for the fall, I wanted to include an improvisation activity that would introduce beginners to the idea of creating their own music as well as something to please seasoned improvisers. Thanks to an inspiration while attending a lesson with Bradley Sowash, I came up with a pattern that I call Black Cat Strut.

It’s an accessible improvisation jumpstart that offers tasks for both hands. While the left-hand stays pretty simple it still sounds hip. With the suggested tips, the right hand will get the opportunity to strut its stuff.

Check out this video that shows snippets of improvisers of all levels and ages strutting their chops.

Black Cat Strut is guaranteed to sound pleasing because both hands play something appealing and it’s in minor–always a popular choice for this time of year.

The patterns are suited for anyone at any level because both hands play separately–at least at the first level. In fact, there’s no need to play hands together at all and that’s the beauty of this jumpstart. However, it has just enough sophistication to build on it–suitable for those who are comfortable with improvising.

Here are some tips to help your students CATch on quickly:

  • When introducing the pattern, divide and conquer each part by playing one hand yourself, while your student plays the other.
  • Better yet, divide and conquer in a group lesson. Ask one or more to play the left-hand part and assign others to create right-hand patterns. You’ll have all kinds of cool cats improvising together!
  • Teach the pattern by ear. Provide few visuals for them and repeatedly model snippets for them to echo.
  • Give step by step instructions, adding more ideas as they became more confident with the patterns.
  • Play a pattern on white keys (CDE GA) and ask students to learn and copy it by ear.
  • You’ll notice in the video that fingering is a personal choice for the sake of building a safety net for young improvisers. If given too many things to think about, students might give up.

You (try it yourself!) and your students will have even more opportunity to sound like a pro as I’ve created a chart in iReal Proa must-have app that generates lead sheets and provides an instant backup band.

Detailed instructions for Black Cat Strut can be found here. They include:

  • A colorful, black kitty-cat visual of the keys required for the right hand.
  • The pattern broken down into three skill levels with sequential steps on how to teach them.
  • Grand staff notation of all parts.
  • A link to the video and the iReal Pro chart.

At any level, this improvisation jumpstart is guaranteed to sound purrfect. There’s no need to be scared!

Leila Viss

Hi, I’m Leila Viss, pianist, organist, teacher, author of The iPad Piano Studio and blogger at 88pianokeys.me.
I enjoy teaching piano to around 45 students ranging in age from 6 to 91. I am drawn to discovering innovative teaching methods and successful practice strategies to encourage the average player stick to the bench for life. Customizing lessons for each student is a priority and therefore… [Read more]



Trumpet Legend – Arturo Sandoval




PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM RECIPIENT

10 time Grammy Award Winner
Emmy Award Recipient
6 Time Billboard Award Winner
2015 Hispanic Heritage Award Recipient
2016 Honorary Doctorate recipient in Fine Arts from The University of Notre Dame

A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on November 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.

He is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has been seen by millions at the Oscars, at the Grammy Awards, and the Billboard Awards.

Sandoval has been awarded 10 Grammy Awards, and nominated 19 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award. The latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” that starred Andy Garcia as Arturo. His two latest Grammy award winning albums, “Dear Diz “Everyday I think of you” and Tango “Como Yo Te Siento” are now available worldwide. Arturo Sandoval’s newest CD, Eternamente Manzanero. Performing the music of revered Mexican romantic pianist/singer/songwriter, Armando Manzanero, this is a true labor of love. Performing Senor Manzanero’s music with co-headliner Jorge Calandrelli, the album is a fresh, modern and pleasant take on his beautiful bolero music.

Recently released, is a new book chronicling his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie entitled “The Man Who Changed My Life” Arturo also is the 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Marx Theatre 1986 

Sandoval was a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group Irakere, whose explosive mixture of jazz, classical, rock and traditional Cuban music caused a sensation throughout the entertainment world.

In 1981, he left Irakere to form his own band, which garnered enthusiastic praise from critics and audiences all over the world, and continues to do so.

Sandoval is also a renowned classical musician, performing regularly with the leading symphony orchestras from around the world. Arturo has composed his own “Concerto for Trumpet & Orchestra”, which can be heard on “Arturo Sandoval: “The Classical Album.” Arturo has performed with the foremost orchestras in the country as well as abroad and recorded John Williams’ Trumpet Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra. His classical artistry has earned him the respect and admiration from the most prestigious conductors, composers and symphony orchestras worldwide.

Arturo Sandoval’s versatility can be heard on recordings with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Woody Shaw, Michel Legrand, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Bill Conti, and Stan Getz to Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys amongst many others. He has performed with John Williams with the Boston Pops, and in the Super bowl with Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle.

His compositions can also be heard in movies including “1001 to 1” starring Beau Bridges, “At Middleton” starring Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga, Dave Grusin’s soundtrack for “Havana” and “Random Heart”, in the “Mambo Kings” soundtrack with his Grammy nominated composition “Mambo Caliente”, in the soundtrack of “The Perez Family”, “61”, “Mr. Wrong”, the documentary “Oscar”, and “The Family Fuentes” among of others. He also was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to compose the music for the ballet “Pepito’s Story”, “Soul Possessed”, as well as “Oman O Men”, and “The Chocolate Hot Nutcracker, choreographed by Debbie Allen. And as mentioned above, he was awarded an Emmy for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia.

Arturo Sandoval reaches beyond the scope of mere effort. His struggles while in Cuba and since his defection have given him more energy and strength, urging him to accomplish and surpass his childhood dreams. Filled with a virtuoso capability, he desires nothing more than to share his gift with others who feel the same intense adoration for music as he does. One frequently speaks of Arturo Sandoval’s virtuoso technical ability or his specialty in high notes, but he who has seen him on the piano, lyrically improvising a ballad, or has had the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of his music, through his compositions from the most straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz or classical, knows that Arturo Sandoval is a prominent musician, and one recognizes that Arturo is one of the most brilliant, multifaceted and renowned musicians of our time.



Today’s FFM Stage Belongs to Tobias Ennemoser Tuba Beatbox – Simply Brilliant!


Beatbox tuba! What ever next? Please spread the love by subscribing and sharing Tobias' Youtube channel.

Hey, i´m a Tuba Player from Austria Vienna doing new sounds and styles on the tuba. It´s normally not known as a modern instrument, but it made a big development the last years and is getting more and more common in pop and other music genres. The modern or grooving tuba is traditionally based on the New Orleans Brass Bands or Balkan Brassa Bands. I'm normally playing Jazz, other improvised music and music in general . Here I am doing an Instrumental Electro Tuba Beatbox in the styles of Techno, Goa, and Drum n Bass. Tuba: Tobias Ennemoser Sound/Video: Clerck https://soundcloud.com/mantarochenrec...

Musical Legends – Oscar Peterson



Oscar Peterson was one of the greatest piano players of all time. A pianist with phenomenal technique on the level of his idol, Art TatumPeterson‘s speed, dexterity, and ability to swing at any tempo were amazing. Very effective in small groups, jam sessions, and in accompanying singers, O.P. was at his absolute best when performing unaccompanied solos. His original style did not fall into any specific idiom. Like Erroll Garner and George ShearingPeterson‘s distinctive playing formed during the mid- to late ’40s and fell somewhere between swing and bop. Peterson was criticized through the years because he used so many notes, didn’t evolve much since the 1950s, and recorded a remarkable number of albums. Perhaps it is because critics ran out of favorable adjectives to use early in his career; certainly it can be said that Peterson played 100 notes when other pianists might have used ten, but all 100 usually fit, and there is nothing wrong with showing off technique when it serves the music. As with Johnny Hodges and Thelonious Monk, to name two, Peterson spent his career growing within his style rather than making any major changes once his approach was set, certainly an acceptable way to handle one’s career. Because he was Norman Granz‘s favorite pianist (along with Tatum) and the producer tended to record some of his artists excessively, Peterson made an incredible number of albums. Not all are essential, and a few are routine, but the great majority are quite excellent, and there are dozens of classics.

Peterson started classical piano lessons when he was six and developed quickly. After winning a talent show at 14, he began starring on a weekly radio show in Montreal. Peterson picked up early experience as a teenager playing with Johnny Holmes’ Orchestra. From 1945-1949, he recorded 32 selections for Victor in Montreal. Those trio performances find Peterson displaying a love for boogie-woogie, which he would soon discard, and the swing style of Teddy Wilson and Nat King Cole. His technique was quite brilliant even at that early stage, and although he had not yet been touched by the influence of bop, he was already a very impressive player. Granz discovered Peterson in 1949 and soon presented him as a surprise guest at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert.

Peterson was recorded in 1950 on a series of duets with either Ray Brown or Major Holley on bass; his version of “Tenderly” became a hit. Peterson‘s talents were quite obvious, and he became a household name in 1952 when he formed a trio with guitarist Barney Kessel and BrownKessel tired of the road and was replaced by Herb Ellis the following year. The PetersonEllisBrown trio, which often toured with JATP, was one of jazz’s great combos from 1953-1958. Their complex yet swinging arrangements were competitive — Ellis and Brownwere always trying to outwit and push the pianist — and consistently exciting. In 1958, when Ellis left the band, it was decided that no other guitarist could fill in so well, and he was replaced (after a brief stint by Gene Gammage) by drummer Ed Thigpen. In contrast to the earlier group, the PetersonBrownThigpen trio (which lasted until 1965) found the pianist easily the dominant soloist. Later versions of the group featured drummers Louis Hayes (1965-1966), Bobby Durham (1967-1970), Ray Price (1970), and bassists Sam Jones (1966-1970) and George Mraz (1970).

With Respect to Nat

In 1960, Peterson established the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, which lasted for three years. He made his first recorded set of unaccompanied piano solos in 1968 (strange that Granz had not thought of it) during his highly rated series of MPS recordings. With the formation of the Pablo label by Granz in 1972, Peterson was often teamed with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels Pedersen. He appeared on dozens of all-star records, made five duet albums with top trumpeters (Dizzy GillespieRoy EldridgeHarry “Sweets” EdisonClark Terry, and Jon Faddis), and teamed up with Count Basie on several two-piano dates. An underrated composer, Peterson wrote and recorded the impressive “Canadiana Suite” in 1964 and has occasionally performed originals in the years since. Although always thought of as a masterful acoustic pianist, Peterson has also recorded on electric piano (particularly some of his own works), organ on rare occasions, and even clavichord for an odd duet date with Joe Pass. One of his rare vocal sessions in 1965, With Respect to Nat, reveals that Peterson‘s singing voice was nearly identical to Nat King Cole‘s. A two-day reunion with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown in 1990 (which also included Bobby Durham) resulted in four CDs. Peterson was felled by a serious stroke in 1993 that knocked him out of action for two years. He gradually returned to the scene, however, although with a weakened left hand. Even when he wasn’t 100 percent, Peterson was a classic improviser, one of the finest musicians that jazz has ever produced. The pianist appeared on an enormous number of records through the years. As a leader, he has recorded for Victor, Granz‘s Clef and Verve labels (1950-1964), MPS, Mercury, Limelight, Pablo, and Telarc.

Pianist Oscar Peterson was the biggest name to emerge from the golden age of jazz in Montreal.

If this has been helpful to you, please help us by clicking on our sponsor’s ads. It won’t cost you anything but we will get a few pence per click.

Much love and happy music making,

Roger Moisan







Today’s FFM Stage belongs to New York City’s Stephanie Jeannot


Please give a warm welcome to NY jazz singer and song writer Stephanie Jeannot. Check out and subscribe to Stephanie’s channel below and listen to her music on Spotify.

Stephanie Jeannot
Stephanie Jeannot live in NY
Stephanie Jeannot
Singer song writer Stephanie Jeannot
If this has been helpful to you, please help us by clicking on our sponsor’s ads. It won’t cost you anything but we will get a few pence per click.
Much love and happy music making,
Roger Moisan







An online magazine with free promotional spaces for all musicians world wide with a huge global audience. By musicians, for musicians and free from exploitation