The four stages of learning applied to jazz improvisation

By Michael Lake | September 6, 2020 |

Explanations of behaviors abound with quadrants. My favorite, of which many others are based on is the 1. Expressive, 2. Amiable, 3. Analytical, 4. Driver quadrant. We all have dominant parts of our personality that fall into these quadrants, usually more than one. The quadrant I want to explore here is the one that describes…

Dave Brubeck’s true genius

By Michael Lake | September 6, 2020 |

Richie Beirach sent me a Youtube recording of him, George Mraz, and Al Foster playing Dave Brubeck’s In Your Own Sweet Way. I wrote back asking Richie about Brubeck. In truth, I haven’t listened to him much. Watch the video of Richie’s trio playing In Your Own Sweet Way Richie later wrote me this sweet…

Ron Carter on how he’s practicing right now

By Michael Lake | September 3, 2020 |

I interviewed Ron Carter yesterday for the next Jazz Master Summit. He was gracious and full of insight. We spoke on a variety of topics, not the least of which was that second Miles quintet and how they did what they did on stage as well as their preparation for recordings. Early on, Ron told…

One way you will stop yourself from improvising well or at all

By Michael Lake | September 2, 2020 |

Researchers have identified two kinds of mindset. One, they call “Fixed” and the other, they call”Growth”. As you can imagine, they are polar opposites and have the power to determine the fate of your life. Now, if that is too dramatic for you, let’s say that those two mindsets affect how you improvise jazz. Better?…

The Creative Genius of Billy Strayhorn free eBook by Richie Beirach

By Michael Lake | September 1, 2020 |

This is a short eBook highlighting the life and music of Billy Strayhorn. These are the thoughts of Richie Beirach as someoneĀ  admittedly influenced by Billy and considers him to be one of the iconic composers in jazz. This piece came about because of the composition competition during the Summer 2020 Jazz Master Summit. Our…

Unlocking your full musical potential by being present while you play

By Michael Lake | August 31, 2020 |

Last night, I watched a video of pianist Kenny Werner speak at Google about his Effortless Mastery method. In my next life, I want to work for Google. You’ve got to give Google credit for being open to interesting ideas that stretch the minds of its people. This one was on creativity. Kenny demonstrated to…

The Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano free eBook by Richie Beirach

By Michael Lake | August 29, 2020 |

Richie and I created an eBook that highlights the ten most essential modern jazz piano players from Art Tatum to Cecil Taylor. Richie went to great lengths to explain that these are not simply his favorite players, but instead are the ones who paved a new path forward in the evolution of jazz piano. These…

Why the time to build your online audience is RIGHT NOW

By Michael Lake | August 29, 2020 |

At some point in the future, I want to create a product/service that helps musicians with their internet presence and marketing needs. As I look around, so many musicians desperately need help with this important element of their professional lives. Twenty years ago, we all thought, “I need a web site!” So we built one…

The one best way to improve your ear/instrument connection

By Michael Lake | August 27, 2020 |

Last night I was asked for the one absolute best way to connect one’s ear to the instrument in order to improve jazz improvisation. Let’s think about that. Can you imagine a tone right now? Maybe it’s in your imagination or maybe it’s something you hear from a motor or alarm or something external. Now,…

Celebrating One Hundred Years of Bird free ebook

By Michael Lake | August 26, 2020 |

I recorded a conversation yesterday with Richie Beirach and published the result into an eBook paying tribute to Charlie Parker. After all, Bird’s 100th birthday was very recent Richie was his usual candid and insightful self, offering up a rich serving of perspective on Bird’s music, influence, and legacy. If you have been following the…