Bruce Katz’s “The Breakthrough Blues Piano Method”

Breakthrough Blues Piano Method Cover

I have been working with jazz pianist Steve Nixon (http://freejazzlessons.com) for a while now, and I got myself the opportunity to work with his Blues piano mentor: the legendary Bruce Katz! This new piano lesson DVD called the “Breakthrough Blues Piano Method” features my detailed transcriptions of Bruce’s Katz’s techniques as well as examples of his own blues improvisations. So, if you’re interested in getting your blues playing to another level, go visit http://www.freejazzlessons.com/breakthroughblues/ to get yourself a copy of this course.

Jose at Musika “Luma” Album Launch Live @ Mang Rudy’s: The Entire Set on Video

For those of you who missed the album launch last March 5, 2016, there is still yet a chance to watch and listen to our set. We managed to acquire some videos of the entire set we performed that night (eight songs out of nine from the album).

“Jose at Musika” is Jose delos Reyes on vocals and acoustic guitar, Robert Taylan on bass, Wibert Tan on lead guitar, Wowoo Ranada on percussion, Jazz Magday on drums, and yours truly (Mark A. Galang) on keyboards.

Jose at Musika Live at Conspiracy Garden Cafe 10/15/2015

Here’s last night’s clip of Jose and yours truly playing at Conspiracy Garden Cafe in Quezon City for an event by Beehive Productions. Many thanks to Abby Clutario, Eric Tubon, TJ Trinidad, and Andy Saunar of Beehive Productions for inviting us. Many thanks as well to a wonderful audience last night consisting of the bands Clubhouse, Paincake Patrol, Eight Moons of Jupiter, and God Bless the Unicorns plus friends:

Debut Gig with JOSE at Musika

Just yesterday evening, I have started occupying the keyboardist chair for indie band JOSE at Musika, fronted by singer/songwriter Jose de los Reyes. Hours before that, I was on the radio station, playing live with, again, with JOSE at Musika, and then experienced my first radio interview as well. So, as you would see, I’m now JOSE at Musika’s keyboard player.

I got the gig when my friend, Archie Padolina (drummer for Basilica and my teenhood band Jacob’s Ladder), said that there JOSE at Musika was looking for a keyboard player. I auditioned for it and got the part. Short story, huh?

Anyway, here’s JOSE at Musika’s set (featuring yours truly on the keys) for a charity event called Vanilla Volume 2 by Matchbox Sessions (a nonprofit charity) at Triple Well, Makati:

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XVII. “At Ease with You”

I recently got this KORG KARMA workstation just right about the end of a relaxing vacation. I then decided to mess around with it once I got home and see what I can do with it. I thought to myself it would be nice to try and write a more or less picturesque description of what went on during that time I spent on vacation.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XVI. “Elevator Jazz” Jam

A good way to spend a break from transcribing music to jam freely to some random backing track found on YouTube. It’s one way to have fun and try to develop/enhance chops.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XV. “Esperando” Suite

Waiting can be boring and tiresome, especially when you have to wait for hours. What’s an example of a thing I can do to make good use of time? Improvise a suite of solo piano music on my sister’s piano:

I. While I Wait for You

II. Rain in the Evening

III. While I Continue to Wait for You

IV. Just Messing Around

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XII. “Genevieve Dances”

It’s been a while since I posted about my story as a “single” guy, and here’s one part of it.

Before I proceed, you should know the lady that has been for the most part the inspiration behind many of my solo piano improvisations from the past few days is NOT Genevieve. Genevieve is a friend of hers who, upon discovering that yours truly is a composer, issued a sort of challenge for me to write some music based on the name “Genevieve”. So, I went about figuring how to do it. I decided to use the name “Genevieve” as a melodic idea by assigning each letter notes or chromatic scale degrees. I made a diatonic and a chromatic version:

Letter Diatonic Chromatic
A 1 0
B 2 1
C 3 2
D 4 3
E 5 4
F 6 5
G 7 6
H 1 7
I 2 8
J 3 9
K 4 10
L 5 11
M 6 0
N 7 1
O 1 2
P 2 3
Q 3 4
R 4 5
S 5 6
T 6 7
U 7 8
V 1 9
W 2 10
X 3 11
Y 4 0
Z 5 1

After coming up with this table, I spelled out “Genevieve” with numbers from both diatonic and chromatic charts to come up with two tone rows:

G E N E V I E V E
7 5 7 5 1 2 5 1 5
6 4 1 4 9 8 4 9 4

The top row of numbers is the diatonic version and the bottom row is the chromatic version. I chose the chromatic row as melodic basis for my improvisation. To make things simpler for me, I used a C chromatic scale as a point of reference, and this led me to devise a melody that is based on both Db Major and Db Lydian, and so the melodic theme for “Genevieve” spells out F-Eb-Db-Eb-Ab-G(natural)-Eb-Ab-Eb. To get the mood of the piece right, I asked “Her” about a general overview of who Genevieve was as a person. She said Genevieve was a pretty girl, the heartthrob among her peers who was a ballet dancer. Genevieve was also described as nice but feisty and energetic. This made me decide how to go about the particular rhythms to form the melody and accompaniment for “Genevieve” as you will see in the video of my performance.

Oh, before I go off track, remember Genevieve’s lady friend? Things between us are going rather well. That’s all I can say for now.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XI. “Your Hand Upon Mine” (08/10/2015)

We met one Friday evening after that emotional roller coaster. It was the second time we were talking and spending time face to face, an unforgettable moment. We ate and drank. Our minds met in the most cohesive way. We held each other’s hands for the first time in 18 years. It felt warm, comforting, reassuring, and secure. As midnight approached, it felt so intense that it was as if fireworks lit up the sky. It was the happiest I’ve been in years. How our minds meet and how her hand felt upon mine seem to make perfect sense. What will we make out of this, only time will tell. We were just enjoying that present moment, and in that instance we were very happy.