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Discovery-Germany

 

As we continue our Discovery series-this week we will stop in Germany. Like many of the other Western Europe destinations we have visited with this series; Germany is famous for many things from music, art, architecture and history.  Germany has been home to some great jazz musicians born there as well as those who have made their home there. This wonderful country has embraced jazz in its various forms and is home to a number of clubs, educational institutions and jazz festivals.

As with our past locations, the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

Germany has some of the world’s greatest musicians playing at their jazz festivals every year. If you take a look at the Jazzfests.net link you will see a ton of major jazz festivals. There are so many on this list I lost track of how many there were (and maybe it is possible not all were listed too)!

One of my favorite jazz trumpet players (regardless of their location) is Till Brönner. If you have not checked him out you need to check out his version of Little Sunflower below. Like mentioned with other great Western European countries; Germany has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

Till Brönner– trumpet
Frank Möbus– guitar
Nils Wogram– trombone

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Germany. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great German musicians and see what this great country has to offer in terms of Jazz.

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Discovery-Washington, USA

 

As we continue our Discovery series-this week we will take a trip to the great Northwest of the United States to the state of Washington. Seattle, the state’s largest city, is a city known for the music it has produced as well as being the home office for one of the world’s most recognized coffee brands. Washington is also home to some great jazz musicians and some of the greatest public schools that produce these musicians. Some of the names listed below you may already know, but I hope to focus on some that you may not.

As with our past locations, the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

I mentioned above that Washington (specifically Seattle) is home to some of the best public school systems in the country for jazz musicians. Since the Essentially Ellington competitions started in 1995, two of Seattle’s public high schools have won the competition the majority of the time (Garfield and Roosevelt High School)! Many of their graduates continue on to some of the premier jazz institutes around the world. I had the chance to hear one of these bands play at the 2001 North Sea Jazz Festival when I was there and was blown away by their musicianship.

Like mentioned last week with Colorado; Washington has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

Cuong Vu– trumpet
Andy Clausen– trombone
Chris Icasiano– drums

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Washington. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great musicians from Washington and see what this great state has to offer in terms of Jazz.

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Discovery-Colorado, USA

 

Up until this week our Discovery series has been locations other than the United States. This week I wanted to start adding in some locations from the U.S. to the series starting with where I live- Colorado! I believe Colorado (specifically the Denver/Front Range area) is one of the greatest beds of jazz talent you will find. Many famous jazz musicians were born and raised in the area and a number of international jazz artists currently make their home here too. You could dedicate an entire website to all of the talent that comes from Colorado. Hopefully my friends and colleagues will not be too upset if I forget to mention them!

As with our past locations, the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different areas. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

Many of the videos below were recorded live at what I believe to be one of THE BEST jazz clubs in the world…Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge. It boasts many awards (for food as well as best jazz club), it frequently has some of the best jazz musicians in the world play there and has a great owner and staff that work hard to promote this music.

For the Discovery list I am going to include myself because today happens to be the day that my band (the Jason Klobnak Quintet) releases our album Mountain, Move. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, GooglePlay, Spotify, etc. I hope you check out our promo below and support the album. Part of the proceeds go towards helping getting women and children out of human trafficking. Each month on this site I will be featuring an organization that proceeds will be going.

Like mentioned last week with Italy; Colorado has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

Jason Klobnak– trumpet
Josh Quinlan– sax
Aakash Mittal– sax

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Colorado. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. Below is a list of some AMAZING jazz musicians you will find in Colorado. I  highly encourage you to look them up and see what this great state has to offer in terms of Jazz.

Colorado Jazz Musicians (in no particular order):

Ron Miles, Greg Gisbert, Diane Reeves, Jovan Jackson, Tia Fuller, Brad Goode, Al Hood, Bob Montgomery, Eric Gunnison, Nelson Rangell, Lynn Baker, Todd Reid, Jeff Jenkins, Ken Walker, Mike Marlier, John Gunther, Rich, Chiaraluce, Paul Romaine, Mark Simon, Dave Devine, Greg Garrison, Bijoux Barbosa, Keith Oxman, Gabe Mervine, Jon Parker, Ian Hutchison, Paul Mullikin, Elijah Samuels, Annie Booth, Alwyn Robinson, Matt Fuller, Josh Moore, etc. This list could go on forever, but these were just a few that popped into my mind as I was writing. Hopefully you check some of them out!

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Discovery-Italy

As we continue our Discovery series-this week we will take a trip to Italy. Famous for many things from music, art, architecture and history; Italy is also home to some great jazz musicians. This wonderful country has embraced jazz in its various forms and is home to a number of clubs and jazz festivals. Many famous jazz musicians have come out of Italy (jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava was one of the first to come to my mind), but I wanted to focus on two young musicians and one of my favorite jazz pianists.

As with our past locations, the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

Italy has some of the world’s greatest musicians playing at their jazz festivals every year. It seems like every major city in Italy hosts a major jazz festival. Take a look at the Italy Chronicles and you will see how many festivals they have had so far in 2013!

Like mentioned last week with Russia; Italy has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

Dado Maroni– piano
Rosario Giuliani– sax
Mauro Gargano– bass

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Italy. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great Italian musicians and see what this great country has to offer in terms of Jazz.

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Discovery-Australia

This week’s place of Discovery is none other than Australia. The world’s 6th largest country is home to a number of great jazz musicians, clubs and festivals. As with our past week’s location (France), the goal is to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area (or they in yours). Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

One of the world’s greatest jazz festivals (which I hope to go to some day) is the Melbourne Jazz Festival held in Melbourne, Australia annually since 1998. The festival hosts international and local jazz musicians and is a highlight to a vibrant city.

Like mentioned last week with France; Australia has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

James Morrison-trumpet

Dale Barlow– sax

Joe Chindamo-piano

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from Australia. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great Australian musicians and see what this great country has to offer in terms of Jazz.

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Discovery-France

In last week’s post we talked about the importance of getting out and supporting live music. I also mentioned that we would be starting a new series called Discovery where I hope to introduce you to 3 new musicians each week from different parts of the world. My hope is you will find some new discoveries, support them by buying their albums and by attending their concerts if you are in their area. Another benefit is for you to hear new musicians and how they approach their instrument and jazz. You never know where you might find your next favorite line!

Our first stop on our Discovery journey is to one of my favorite places to visit…France! There are a number of great jazz clubs to check out if you are in France. One of my favorites is Duc des Lombards in Paris. France has been the home to a number of jazz musicians known and unknown. Hopefully the musicians below are people you will start checking out (if you have not already).

Jean Michel Pilc-piano

Geraldine Laurent-alto sax

Christophe Leloil-trumpet

These are just a few of literally hundreds of great jazz musicians you can find in and/or from France. If you have checked out these musicians above, be sure to check out their websites and albums to support them. I would also highly encourage you to look up other great French musicians and see what this great country has to offer in terms of Jazz.

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Myth of Arrival

In this week’s post I wanted to talk about the myth that I find young musicians (and some older) falling prey. That is the myth of arrival. That myth says that you can reach a point in your development (regardless of what skill, gift or talent) where you have “arrived” and there is nothing left to improve or that it is pointless to try and improve. Unfortunately, this place of arrival is subjective. Who really determines if you have “made it?” Do you determine that? Your teacher/mentor? Your family? Critics? I truly believe if you were to poll a room of musicians they would probably come up with different answers. Hopefully, at least one, would answer what I believe to be true: There is no place of arrival.

We will always have areas in our playing and improvisational abilities that can be better. That is why we practice. I have heard stories of jazz greats in their 90’s still practicing. When asked why in the world they were still practicing at their age there response was something like this: “I am always learning.”

A problem we face as musicians is we let the rewards of reaching our goals numb our development. We get accolade, a good review, a promotion, a better gig, a high-five/pat on the back, etc. then become complacent and give less effort to try and grow. The myth of “I have arrived” sinks in. Granted, not everyone falls prey to that myth. But, that does not mean the temptation to fall into it is not there. I have seen some give in to that myth after playing and practicing for a month to those that have been playing for 30+ years.

How do we avoid falling into this trap? I wish I could say it is simple, but it is not. We have to constantly push ourselves towards improvement. Don’t get me wrong, we need to enjoy those moments when we reach our goals. Celebrate them! But, don’t live there! Find a good teacher, mentor or friend that will help keep you in check and encourage you to reach farther.

From one musician to another-I am in this with you. I know there is much more to learn and much to improve in my playing. If you have falling prey to this myth you CAN get out. Take inventory of your playing and be honest. Find things to work on and improve. Then take action and watch for the trap of the arrival myth when you bust through your next goals!

 

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Independence

While I was pondering what I should write about this week I was reminded of a post that was made two years ago around this time and is also written about in more detail in my book, Breaking the Monotony. In the U.S. we celebrate our Independence Day on July 4th which is later this week. I thought this week a re-post was in order. I hope you enjoy!

“Hey Everyone! Welcome to Week #5’s tip-Independence in Improvisation. Today (July 4th, 2011) in the U.S., we celebrate our Independence Day and what better day to talk about independence in improvisation than today? This is a topic that I don’t hear talked about enough in jazz education when discussing improvisation. This week’s tip is something that I try to work on at least once a week and encourage everyone to do the same.

Independence in improvisation could have a few different definitions, but the one that I’m applying refers to the ability to improvise effectively with no accompaniment. A few years ago I had the honor to take a lesson with jazz trumpeter, Ron Miles. We talked a lot about melodic considerations while improvising, but the topic that dominated the majority of our discussion was the ability to improvise when no one else is around (or when the rhythm section drops out for a chorus). This not only works on your time, but makes you focus on the melody and chord changes on a deeper level.

In our modern age of technology, we have become very dependent on our digital “rhythm sections.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE using Aebersold’s, Band-in-A-Box and my current favorite…iReal Book for the iPhone. As a matter of fact, I use them on a regular basis. However, we become dependent on having something else feed us the changes and dependent on it keeping time for us. It can cause our improvisations to become reactive instead of proactive. When we’re playing on the bandstand, we’re playing with other musicians who are making music with us. If we’ve spent all of our time with a digital rhythm section, it becomes more difficult to interact with the REAL musicians on stage. The more time we spend working on a song independently, the more freedom we have with that song. It’s become so ingrained that we don’t have to think about it on the bandstand and our focus can move from what I’m playing to what we’re playing.

For this week, take the song(s) that you’re learning and improvise with no backing track of any kind. If this is your first time utilizing this concept, it will probably be a little difficult for the first couple of times. However, after a short time of working on it, when you play it with a rhythm section you will feel a new level of confidence and a sense of freedom to interact with those around you.”

I hope this week’s tip has been as helpful to you as it has been to me! Be sure to go to Jason Klobnak Music to grab your copy of Breaking the Monotony or Targeting: Improvisation with Purpose. Every book sale and donation helps the JKQ with our Midwest tour expenses coming up in August. More details on the tour will be coming soon!

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