Blog Archives

La Mer… Qu’on Voit Danser…

Got a few projects on, so I’m taking a little holiday from blogging for a couple of weeks. Hope my dedicated 51.2531 readers (it says here) will be able to handle the disappointment. Hey, I’m sanguine about it – the only

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in c) Musicianship, e) Rants & Ramblings

Rooting for You

Piano students experience a great leap forward in the authenticity of their sound when they discover the classic rootless voicings. For a breakdown of what they are (and why they are what they are) see Rootless Voicings from Scratch. They

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes

Composing Solos – or How to Cheat

I have often found it a very useful exercise to sit down and precompose a few choruses of soloing over a tune that’s captured my imagination at the time. It’s pretty obvious to say, really, but improvising is ultimately nothing

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes

Transcription: Tommy Flanagan on Eclypso

This is a transcription of the two-chorus solo that pianist Tommy Flanagan takes on his own composition Eclypso (solo starts at 0:45). You’ll find it on the 1959 album The Cats. This solo makes a good study for any number of reasons,

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in h) Transcriptions

Finding Your G Spot

No, it’s not that kind of article. But it’ll probably drive up the hit count a bit… So set spam filters to maximum and we’re going in… Go to your instrument and play a single simple G, nothing more. Listen

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in c) Musicianship, i) Reviews

A Shaw Thing – Connecting Pentatonic Scales

Mention pentatonics in jazz and people will probably immediately think of Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. They might also think of trumpeter Woody Shaw, who developed pentatonic playing to an incredible level. Woody’s kaleidoscopic approach involved zipping across multiple tonalities on

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes

Four-Note Scales from Melodic Minor

Well, can we call a four-note scale a scale at all? Possibly not, particularly the ones we’ll be looking at, since the even spread of four notes is more reminiscent of an arpeggio than a scale. But conceptualising them as scales can be

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping
Books for Sale
...appetising young books for sale...
Wednesday Gig/Jam


We play every Wednesday night, 9 to 12.30, at Toulouse Lautrec in Kennington, South London. It starts as a gig then becomes a jam. We welcome and accommodate all, but please do have a squizz at Thoughts from the Piano Chair of a Jam Session.
Illustration by Sue Harding

June guest soloists
7 Sara Dowling voc
14 Ed Riches gtr
21 Duncan Eagles tenor
28 Tom Ridout tenor

More info on guests here


For London-wide jazz llistings see