alone Cooper-Moore (piano), live, New York, 2018   ********** lagniappe random sights other day, Chicago

Saturday, January 16th — music clip of the day

Benny Carter blessed us with an amazing solo on the 1938 recording of his composition “Blues in My Heart.”   The entire performance is miraculous, but one four-bar passage in particular knocked me out, prompting me to shed that phrase in all 12 keys.  Here’s the lick: Benny’s rhythmic vitality propels the piece, his melodic […]

Blues in Benny Carter’s Heart — CRAIG BUHLER JAZZ

I don’t know of a single songwriter who doesn’t want to improve on what they’re doing. But how do you do that? And in the songwriting field, what does improvement actually mean? It doesn’t often take much; sometimes improving just one aspect of your songwriting — the lyrics, let’s say — will take an entire song…

The 5 Best Things You Can Do To Improve Your Songwriting Skills — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

never enough Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Piano Sonata No. 31; Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997, piano), live, Moscow, 1991   ********** lagniappe random sights this morning, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Thursday, January 14th — music clip of the day

It used to be that “repeat-and-fade” was the most common way to end a pop song. There was something nice about it — a sense of “riding off into the sunset” that had the effect of making you feel that the song was still out there somewhere. These days, repeat-and-fade is a lot less common.…

How Important Is Creating the Ending of a Song In Your Songwriting Process? — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

A bass pedal point refers to a situation where you keep the same note in the bass (or left hand of a keyboard instrument) regardless of the chords that are playing above it. Pedal point can make an otherwise boring progression sound much more interesting because when the bass stays the same it will clash…

How a Bass Pedal Point Strengthens a Chord Progression — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

Paul Jacobs (June 22, 1930 – September 25, 1983) was an American pianist. He was best known for his performances of twentieth-century music but also gained wide recognition for his work with early keyboards, performing frequently with Baroque ensembles.

Bach / Busoni / Paul Jacobs, 1979: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland – BWV 659 – Nonesuch H-71375 — davidhertzberg

never enough Andras Schiff (piano) playing (and discussing) Bach (Capriccio in B flat major [Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother] BWV992; Sinfonia No. 5 in E flat BWV791; Sinfonia No. 9 in F minor BWV795; Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor BWV903; Italian Concerto in F major BWV971; Ouvertüre nach französischer […]

Saturday, January 9th — music clip of the day

never enough Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor; Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997, piano), live, Moscow, 1975   ********** lagniappe random sights yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Thursday, January 7th — music clip of the day

I’m a trumpet player, though these days I do more writing and conducting than trumpet playing. Back when I was starting out, I was in final rehearsals for a one-off orchestra I had been hired to play in. I noticed that the principal trumpeter had a small ring of brass — sort of doughnut-shaped –that…

Fine-Tuning Your Songwriting — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

I met trombonist Milt Bernhart* some years ago and learned that, even at the pinnacle of his career, he would take trombone lessons whenever he was home from touring. I was impressed by this and noted that humility is an essential part of learning and progress. My own career has involved writing music in a […]

Dodecaphonic music — the composer/arranger

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox and London City Voices perform a choral version of Henry Purcell’s ‘Dido’s Lament’ taken from the 10th Anniversary Edition of ‘A Christmas Cornucopia’. Donate to Greenpeace:

With special thanks to London City Voices, a non-audition community choir based in London:

“It’s been such an honour and privilege to have been able to create this unique event in collaboration with the London City Voices Choir during this unprecedented time of the 2020 Covid 19 pandemic. I’m deeply touched and grateful to my friend and co producer Mike Stevens and choirmaster Richard Swan for making this possible. Also, to each choir member who took part from their homes through the medium of ‘Zoom’. As a long term supporter of Greenpeace I am deeply concerned by the Global Climate Crisis, which I feel is the most urgent challenge we all have to face, particularly with regard to sustainability for future generations. I very much hope to be able to make a contribution by drawing attention towards this vital issue. Additionally, I feel a tremendous sense of empathy and concern for everyone who has lost a dearly beloved friend or family member this year and hope this recording can offer a moment of shared collective mourning for those whose lives have been taken.” – Annie Lennox

Listen to Dido’s Lament: Listen to the 10th Anniversary Edition of ‘A Christmas Cornucopia’:

These days you might be listening to Handel’s “Messiah,” and even if you don’t know that work, you no doubt know his “Hallelujah Chorus” which ends the second part of the oratorio. “Messiah” is a lengthy work consisting of fifty-three movements, and listening to the entire piece will take you more than two hours. (Most…

The Unfinished Song: Turning Frustration Into Success — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

Keep On Keepin’ On tells the incredible story of music legend Clark Terry—his beginnings as a trumpeter & pioneer in early American Jazz, & his mentorship of Justin Kauflin a blind piano prodigy.

Keep On Keepin’ On: Clark Terry doc is FREE on iMDB for Terry’s 100th Birthday — Essential Trumpet Lessons

This morning I broke out of my usual YouTube routines — videos about kitten and puppy rescues (The Dodo), videos showing excellent cookery (Not Another Cooking Show) as well as music (Davey Tough) . . . and I stumbled upon this superb short film — a loving portrait of teacher / composer / pianist / […]


If you like starting the songwriting process by figuring out a good chord progression, you probably like how chords very quickly convey a mood. And once you’ve got that mood, you find that other things fall into place quickly, especially a song topic, tempo, rhythmic treatment, and so on. But there are some potential problems…

Top 5 Tips for Chords-First Songwriting — The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

more György Ligeti (1923-2006), excerpts from Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Hamburg Concerto for Solo Horn and Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra;  Ensemble Intercontemporain, live, Paris, 2019   ********** lagniappe random sights other day, Chicago

Saturday, November 21st — music clip of the day