The WoodShed – “Right Brain”

Welcome to the WoodShed! Here, you will capture a glimpse into what I’m currently working on. Excellence is achieved through persistence, hard work, dedication and consistency. This is true in every facet of life; music is no different. My mentors, both living and deceased engrained this in me, “there is no end”. You don’t just say “I’ve arrived and now I can rest”, there is always something to work on. The most important thing to remember is to stay in the game, you can’t win if youre not playing, pun intended. So join me as we pursue excellence. Feel free to email me at with ideas and suggestions.

Phrygian (12/19/15)

The Phrygian scale is a beautiful sound.  To me, it sounds Spanish, like classical guitar spanish.  I hear the chords moving like E, F, G, F, E, all major triads.  Of course there are a number of other uses of this scale or ways to conceptualize this.  I will elaborate more when I have time, but for now, check out this audio clip of my practice session last night.

Language (12/17/15)

If I could only add another 10 hours in the day…   I am in such a growth spurt right now.  It started about two years ago after meeting my mentor, teacher and friend, Bob Mintzer.  He gave me some concepts which has resulted in a lifetime of work.  Most really good musicians are good because they know that there is no finish line.

Here are my current studies:

  • Pitch / Intonation
  • Articulation (Attack/Sustain/Decay)
  • Language (Bird, Stitt, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, George Coleman, Coltrane, Miles,)
  • Melodies & Intervalic relationships
  • Classical pieces with emphasis on dynamics, expression and technique
  • Harmony
  • Piano (Voice leading, arranging and composition)

As you see, this a lot of work.  It is bearing great fruit.  However, as is the case with children, it takes time to internalize the many new facets of language and to assimilate in a conversive manner.   It also requires patience.  Sometimes it can take up to a year to get something to become a natural part of your musical conversation.  Patience is a valuable asset.  I have to tell myself to be patient as these elements become a natural part of my ear and voice.  The greats have invested a lifetime of very hard work.  The more effort I put into becoming a master, the more I appreciate the masters.

Practice (08/08/14) – Here is a quick video of me practicing while on a break at Miami International Aiport.  No excuses!  You can always find time to practice no matter what, you just have to want to: