Banff Day of Rest


This Morning.

There’s almost no way of getting caught up on the blog about the workshop going on in Banff. I have had so much joy playing with my fellow co-conspirators here.

This week it seemed that the topic on everyone’s mind was motivic development, generating material, how to work on it, how to make it musical. How to make the most impact with the material you’ve got.

With one brief excursion by Hank Roberts into the intricacies of Bebop Laundry.


Hank talking about grooves and the personalities of intervals.

With apologies for the blurriness of my photos…


Donny McCaslin talking about generating ideas for intervalic practice and how to apply it in a musical context. He also went into how he worked on changing up his rhythm by teaching himself to phrase in unusual groupings of eighth notes. Among many, many other things. It was mind-blowing.


Jeff Parker gave a phenomenal class in which he, among other things, demonstrated how the advent of hard disc recording changed his approach to improvising. He also talked about the importance of Chicago to his own musical identity, describing the music and practice of many of the legendary forces coming out of the AACM. Jeff says that Sun Ra’s “My Brother The Wind 2” is the reason he bought his ring modulator.

Matt Brewer talked about listening to what your fellow musicians are playing, and grabbing onto that as a basis for new melodic permutations. Robert Rodriguez gave a great class on how to broaden vocabulary by taking small motives and rhythmically transforming them.

Between that, and the rehearsals, the studio sessions, and four sets a night in the club, there is quite a bit of music going on. I didn’t mention that the composers workshop decided to meet at 8am because there was no other time. Where else in the world?