Stylistic Subtleties

Fairy productive day, with some unexpected turns.


45 Minutes Green Dolphin St.

15 Minutes flute

20 Minutes scale workout

45 Minutes Tunes

30 Minute hip hop practice


In the morning I started by writing out a solo to Green Dolphin St. It’s a tune with a great harmony; a lot of ii-V’s, a couple of sophisticated elements like triton subs, and overall standard for some cliché bebop licks. The past couple weeks, writing has significantly elevated my thinking and playing. I think a lot more in units/discrete ideas instead of totally winging my way through changes. There are things I know will work, and know how to mix up, and know how to alter rhythmically or inflect melodically. My friend actually asked me after a gig, “have you been doing something different lately? Because it’s rare that I see someone improve so much so fast”.

I did some free improvisation over the tune for a bit and experimented more with getting more simple, more complex, high on the horn, low on the horn, etc. But staying in the realm of things I could imagine ahead of time.

Next, I did a flute workout. Started by blowing just on the head joint and experimenting with tuning and finding just the right embouchure/angle for my best sound. Then, I played long tones from middle B down to low C. I paid particular attention to my embouchure and scrutinized myself in a mirror. I moved on to overtones, again playing around with tiny changes in my embouchure, and forcing myself to not use more air but to change octaves purely by moving certain facial muscles. Wrapped up with a couple full range scales, focusing on keeping a consistent sound across the whole range of the flute.


After a break, I did a hard scale work. Playing in a quintuplet pattern of contrary motion (pattern moves down but I start on increasingly higher notes) with the metronome set very slow, so I was forced to keep my own time largely. Used the half-whole diminished scale. Ran through all three unique scales, and did it up as well as (inverted) down.

Next, I ran through several tunes including Beatrice, Green Dolphin St. and Skylark to test my new mindset on soloing. At certain points I paused to work out ii-V ideas or backdoors, etc. I lack quickness in some keys, I’ve noticed. Overall, was very happy with my playing though.

I had an audition for the “Hopera” Hip Hop Orchestra, a group that is bringing a musical to life with hip hop restyling. So prior, I spent a little time soloing and playing in that style. A softer, slightly understated tone, less complex harmonies, and more groovey rather than commanding. Laying back on the beat a bit. I focused on priming myself for these subtle changes, and I think it paid off;. Will hear back soon.

Happy practicing!

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