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, March 5, 2016

Jose at Musika - Luma Cover

Jose at Musika, the band that I currently play in, will be launching its album entitled “Luma” on March 5, 2016. The launch will feature guest performances by the following bands:

Antimano
Dhruva Tara
Maryzark
Carlo Ordonez of Kastigo
Clubhouse
Soil & Green
Jana Garcia
Agos
Unmute
Coming Up Roses
Mooncake

The likelihood that I’ll be playing with another band (*ahem* Clubhouse *ahem* among others) is a possibility.

The launch will hosted by DJ Acey and will be held at Mang Rudy’s Tuna Grill and Papaitan, Yakal St., Makati City. There will be an entrance fee of Php 200 (includes one free drink), and a copy of the album costs Php 250 which will be sold at the gate.

Jose at Musika is Jose de los Reyes on acoustic guitar and vocals, Wilbert Tan on lead guitar, Robert Taylan on bass, Jazz Magday on drums, and yours truly on piano/keyboards.

“Hoy Adik” Live @ Black Kings Bar

About a day after the UE campus gig, I got an invite from Bong Cervantes (bass player extraordinaire and DJ at Pinas FM 95.5 MHz) to attend the first anniversary celebration of Bongskie Prods, the local live indie band production outfit he runs. Since Clubhouse was on the billing for the gig, I expected that the Clubhouse guys were going to ask me to play as well. Since my synth and keyboard amp are always in the trunk of my car, I’m always up for a performance.

After performing Clubhouse songs, something that I didn’t expect happened. I was up on stage and Clubhouse was about to perform the song “Hoy Adik” by Bong Cervantes. And so it happened that I was about to perform the song cold, without any rehearsal whatsoever. I didn’t know the song at all! Fortunately, I was able to listen to it, figure out the patterns and the song structure, as well as listened for cues where I could play. Thankfully, I was able to play through the song without any incident, hence the video you see here courtesy of Bong Cervantes/Bongskie Prods. Enjoy!

Multitasking Onstage with Clubhouse

Hello, folks (a.k.a. the 20 or so more or less readers of this blog)! It’s been some time since I’ve written a proper post so here goes:

About a week ago, Choy Marasigan (singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist) of the local indie band “Clubhouse” asked me to play with them at the University of the East – Caloocan for a campus show. He said he didn’t have a lead guitar player so he asked me if I was willing to play for that show. I said yes and then also offered to play guitar as well since I did know how to play a number of their songs in that capacity. I’ve always wanted to try doing that sort of Kerry Livgren, Robert Henshall, Tony Banks, or Geddy Lee-styled multitasking so I asked him if I can play guitar as well. Choy was probably hesitant to say yes to yours truly playing lead guitar as well but he did.

I am not so sure if I’m ever gonna do multitasking onstage again. I might do it again if I can get a band together to play my solo artist stuff (something I am having a lot of trouble with). I would say the experience of doing that was very fulfilling. However, it was a pain carrying a lot of gear myself. I probably need to train to strengthen myself to keep on doing such on a regular basis. Maybe if I start earning enough to afford a roadie to help me in such times, it would literally take a load off of me.

Anyway, I enjoyed playing that day with Clubhouse for a bunch of college kids. See for yourself in the videos below:

The first song was “Mundo”:

Second song was “Nais”:

Many thanks to Choy Marasigan of Clubhouse for inviting me, and thank you Nathan Avante (drums) and fellow session player Bong Cervantes (bass) for playing onstage with me.

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.