Can you use the internet to sustain a jazz career?

By Michael Lake | May 25, 2020 |

This post is a response to a specific thread shared by some musicians on the fate of jazz and the result of so much now being free on the internet. This is a vitally important topic and one on I wish to share my thoughts, using my current internet project as an example of one…

What you do with your brain is ten times more important than what you do with your instrument

By Michael Lake | April 17, 2020 |

I had the pleasure this week of speaking via Zoom to the brass students and professors at Arizona State University. Thank you to Brad Edwards for thinking a little outside the box by inviting me and for setting it all up. In his invitation to everyone, Brad highlighted the book I wrote with Dr. Rodney…

Randy Brecker on practicing during the COVID-19 lockdown

By Michael Lake | April 9, 2020 |

I remember sitting in the back of a large music classroom at the University of Redlands in California almost three years ago. Jiggs Wigham was talking about all things trombone at that year’s International Trombone Festival. Jiggs said something early on that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “I hate to practice.” I…

Richie Beirach's 10 essential tips for jazz mastery

By Michael Lake | April 2, 2020 |

I’ve had the honor over the past few months of getting to know the great jazz pianist, Richie Beirach. Richie’s best friend, Dave Liebman, introduced us after I interviewed Dave for the Jazz Master Summit event and then asked him to help me reach out to Richie to do the same. As I would soon…

The art of living in troubled times

By Michael Lake | March 28, 2020 |

I received an email today from a musician friend who is having a very hard time of things right now. He’s far from the only one, but his emotional outpouring of sorrow and hopelessness inspired me to share my belief in what I’m calling the art. The art of living in times of dark clouds…

When Richie Beirach first met and played with Hank Mobley

By Michael Lake | March 28, 2020 |

Richie sent me his reflection of meeting Hank Mobley for the first time. I was up at Don Sicklers loft one afternoon working on some stuff with Don, and Hank came. Don introduced me, telling Hank that I was a jazz pianist and was playing in a band with Dave Liebman. Hank smiled and said,…

Joe Lovano talks about the courage to have your own unique musical voice

By Michael Lake | March 20, 2020 |

In my interview with Joe Lovano, I asked if he thought there was an element of courage to developing and playing with one’s musical voice that is different and personal. I asked that question because it seems to me that playing like others in the manner that is generally accepted as “how your instrument should…

Richie Beirach’s thoughts on comping for Dave Liebman

By Michael Lake | March 10, 2020 |

I asked Richie Beirach to explain a little about his comping for his friend and colleague of 50 years, Dave Liebman. As usual, when Richie is asked something, he’s never short of an enthusiastic response that nails the essence of the answer. This is what Richie wrote: For most piano players, Lieb is not easy…

Richie Beirach's great lesson from Chet Baker

By Michael Lake | February 27, 2020 |

As I collect interviews for the Jazz Master Summit, I want to post a few interesting excerpts. I think these will help demonstrate some of the value, entertainment, and musical wisdom you won’t find in other places. One example was the tribute to Lyle Mays I asked of Mark Eagan last week. I had the…

Mark Egan remembers Lyle Mays

By Michael Lake | February 24, 2020 |

As part of the upcoming Jazz Master Summit, I interviewed Mark Egan, the bass player of the quartet that recorded those early Pat Metheny albums The Pat Metheny Group and American Garage. That group consisted of Pat, Mark, Danny Gotlieb and Lyle Mays. At the end of my interview with Mark, I asked him to…