Tricky Sam Nanton: It Don’t Mean a Thing

Check out Tricky Sam Nanton’s solo in the Duke Ellington band. He had a great vocal sound on the trombone that nobody has equalled since. His solo starts at 1:11. A short clip from some of the greatest pop musicians of the 20th century in the US. Info about the tune and some of the musicians below:

Nicholas Barron: Performance As Practice

Chicago singer-songwriter Nicholas Barron is another musician who told me, "I never practice." What he meant was that he didn't do conventional kinds of practice, the kind required by classical and band music. Check out how he got so good….

Jazz Guitarist Bobby Broom Talks Practice

It was mainly about the music and just wanting to get it right. ~ Bobby Broom ~ I’ve done a lot of interviews with stellar musicians like Bobby Broom about music practice, but this was one of the coolest, not only because I’m a big fan of his, and not because he speaks so eloquently and…

Plays Well With Others: Group Practice

All of last week I was immersed in practice in all its various guises and all but 30 minutes of it was in group practice. Here are a few suggestions from my latest book, “The Practice of Practice,” to keep in mind when you’re practicing with somebody else. They’re either questions you can ask directly, if it’s appropriate (often it’s not), or questions to keep in mind as you’re listening to those you’re practicing with.

“There is No Magic Trick, You Just Have to Do It” (Stephane Wrembel on Practice)

Stephane Wrembel was one of 20 stellar professional musicians who shared his take on practice with me, and one thing he said sticks out more than anything else. He stressed that there is no magic trick, no gimmick, no special technique to practice. He said, “You just have to do it.” Even after talking to so many people about practice, it’s not clear to me whether learning to practice can be taught. Everybody I spoke with said that, for the most part, they just had to figure out how to practice. It’s an intensely personal exploration. Still, I do believe that the more information you have while you’re learning, the better.

SoundSlice: YouTube Learning Goodness

If you’re like me, you get a lot of learning done on YouTube, but isolating a passage and repeating it, let alone notating it in some way, is difficult if not impossible. Not any more! Check out SoundSlice.

SoundSlice is a fantastically useful tool geared towards guitarists, but it’s useful for anybody who learns by watching video. Adrian’s done many cool things as a programmer (check his site), and has an album out of his most popular fingerstyle tunes here, most of which you can also find on SoundSlice, like the Beatles tune, Yesterday. Check out the link to Yesterday for a good example of how the site works.

Have a Plan, Man! (Axiom Brass)

This ain’t your momma’s brass quintet (vid below). They play contemporary stuff and a great example is a cool section in Anders Hillborg’s Quintet that sounds like a backwards recording. One of my favorite brass ensemble pieces in recent years is the Pacquito d’Rivera’s Three Pieces for Brass Quintet, especially Wapango. Visit their web site to catch that Hillborg clip, or just spend a dollar to buy the mp3. Better yet, get the album, New Standards.

Colin Oldberg: Principal Trumpet, Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra

Colin Oldberg is a stellar musician. He plays principal trumpet for the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of Axiom Brass, a brass quintet out of Chicago. Colin has toured with the Chicago Symphony and earned a spot in the first YouTube Orchestra. He was gracious to talk about his own experience with practice for over an hour. Thanks, Colin!

Opening excerpt: The Axiom Brass Quintet: Colin Oldberg, trumpet; Dorival Puccini, Jr., trumpet; Matthew Oliphant, horn; Kevin Harrison, tuba; Brett Johnson, trombone.

here’s the mp3 of Wapango, one third of Pacquito D’Rivera’s Three Pieces for Brass Quintet, courtesy of Axiom Brass Quintet. If you like it, support these fantastic artists and buy the whole CD or mp3. It’s great stuff! Go see Axiom Brass live, too, for an even better musical experience.

A Small Pond in a Big Fish. Place and Music Practice

There’s a reason jazz musicians (and other musicians, and actors, chefs, etc.) move to NY City, Chicago, or other large metropolitan areas. They are places, as Russell Malone says in this short vid, where there are more opportunities to get your behind kicked. And when you’re learning and striving to get better, that’s exactly what you need.

Jazz Guitarist Bobby Broom Talks Practice

Bobby Broom Interview on Practice (mp3)

Bobby Broom is a jazz guitarist you should know about. He’s a great guy and a fantastic musician, but you don’t need to take my word for it. His latest album with The Deep Blue Organ Trio, Wonderful!, celebrates the music of Stevie Wonder and has been at the top of the jazz charts this fall. Musicians with more street cred than me also like his playing. Bobby Broom has played with several of the grand-masters of jazz: Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Kenny Burrell, and a lot of others.

Annoying the Neighbors: Place and Practice

Ever since I picked up the trumpet, practice has been a never-ending search for privacy. Mostly a failed search, too. When I was a kid learning to play, my parents banished me to the garage, and this was a great thing, even though the garage was unheated and we lived in Alaska. It gave me a space to explore without fear of annoying the hell out of anyone within earshot. It also let me escape fear of judgment and gave me the freedom to really explore the instrument and my relationship with it. Now I live in Chicago. No garage. Not even a house. I’m in an apartment and have neighbors on five sides.

Nicholas Barron: Chicago Singer-Songwriter on Practice

A talk with Chicago singer-songwriter Nicholas Barron who has an interesting take on practice. Check out the site for a free mp3 of Nicholas’s music.

In the course of the interview Nicholas said, “That’s what a lot of people do; they practice in a room and they don’t get anywhere. It’s really about practice being life, and life being practice.” Check out the whole interview if you want to understand what he means.