Author Archives: admin

On Composition

My first experiences as a composer/arranger probably began when I was somewhere in the vicinity of 8 years old. I would sit at a piano for countless hours on end, experimenting with combinations of notes, chords, sounds, rhythms, and things resembling songs I might have heard on the radio, television, or an LP. Through trial […]

January 20th 2017

I will not be watching the inaugeration of Donald Trump as president of the United States on January 20th. I am appalled that he will be the leader of this country. Donald Trump is a sociopath who has spent his life conning the system and boasting about how clever he is.He stands for everything I […]


Dear friends and colleagues: These are trying times we find ourselves in. The U.S. and the world at large is more polarized politically at the moment than any time that I can recall. The left and right components of political thinking are in separate realities, causing frustration, anger, and in some cases abject hatred. Seemingly […]


An acquaintance of mine used to say “Where are we? Here. What time is it? Now.” Living in the moment. Taking the next logical step. This seems to be an ever changing endeavor as one’s perspective changes on life. But being in the moment is far more desireable than worrying about the future or regretting […]

January 2016

Happy New Year! And what a year it was. Lots of music and interesting moments. Released an R and B Big Band cd Get Up! Recorded a new Yellowjackets cd (Cohearance due out 4/16), released a new etude book “Playing on the Changes” with Alfred Music, released a big band play along app on Fuzzy […]


During the last several weeks I have been traveling quite a lot. Long plane rides are a good time to review music, either new pieces that you need to learn for up-coming situations, or tunes that you might not have played for a while. You might even take a chord or series of chords and […]

The Making of Get Up!

  Get Up! is my 20th cd as a big band leader. Hard to believe that is 200 arrangements worth, and another 100 or so that I haven’t recorded on top of that. I feel like I am getting better at the whole process, and also see that there is lots more to learn and […]

Things to Think About: Handout for my USC students

  This is a beginning of semester handout I distributed to all our jazz freshmen and sophomores. My vision of what students of the music should be working on/thinking about. Hope you find it useful!   1. What a band leader looks for: Players who have a positive attitude, are respectful, communicative, encouraging, show up […]

November 2014

Interesting and troubling times we are living in. Whacked out weather patterns are hitting us in the face, suggesting that climate change is very real and upon us. Anything having to do with people of color, be it immigration reform, unreasonable treatment of people of color by the police, and basically anything a president of […]

George Coleman and Wayne Shorter

George Coleman and Wayne Shorter are two of my favorite saxophonists. They both played in the most important bands of Miles Davis, have strong personalities, are dynamic composers/improvisors., and made/make huge advances to further jazz music. Their approaches are somewhat different, yet they both take the music to a higher level every time they play. […]