Tag Archives: Lights Out Jazz

“I Loves You, Porgy” never sounded better.

Trumpet and Violin, how can you really go wrong?


Since 2004, Chris Botti (pronounced boat-tee) has become the largest selling American jazz instrumental artist.  His trumpet playing has crossed over successfully to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his continued association with PBS has produced four #1 Jazz Albums, as well as multiple Gold, Platinum & Grammy Awards.


Joshua Bell has enchanted audiences worldwide for better than two decades with his breathtaking virtuosity and beautify rare tone.  At the age of 14 years, he came to national attention in high acclaim by an orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.   Now, Joshua is comfortable playing violin as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra leader.   His restless curiosity and multifaceted musical interests have taken him in exciting new directions that have earned him the rare title of “classical music superstar.”  “Bell,” Gramophone stated simply, “is dazzling.”

Chris Botti and Joshua Bell.. they blend perfectly together! Peaceful with grace.


Fusion Jazz Rock comes alive at that hands of Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld

Stevie Wonder is renown for his writing a plethora of great tunes.  And Jeff Beck is a master as taking ownership of other people’s songs by shaping and sculpturing the musical notes into a sound piece that causes the listener to want more.

Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld
Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld playing "Cause We've Ended As Lovers"

Wonder’s songs are renowned for being quite difficult to sing. He has a very developed sense of harmony and uses many extended chords utilizing extensions such as 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, b5s, etc. in his compositions. Many of his melodies make abrupt, unpredictable changes. Many of his vocal melodies are also melismatic, meaning that a syllable is sung over several notes. Some of his best known and most frequently covered songs are played in keys which are more often found in jazz than in pop and rock.  For example, “Superstition”, “Higher Ground” and “I Wish” are in the key of E flat minor, and feature distinctive riffs in the E flat minor pentatonic scale (i.e. largely on the black notes of the keyboard).

Jeff Beck began working with Stevie Wonder and created the original drum beat for “Superstition” while in the studio with Wonder.   After writing the song Wonder offered it to Beck to record, but at the insistence of his own manager Wonder himself recorded it first. Beck was instead offered “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers,” which he recorded on Blow by Blow in 1975.  Jeff Beck would later record his own version of  “Superstition” as a part of the album Beck, Bogert & Appice.

But here, you will hear and see Jeff Beck play the song given him by Stevie Wonder “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” and observe the incredible musical talent of Tal Wilkenfeld as she plays a solo on her bass.

Tal Wilkenfeld

She also has her own band where she demonstrates her musicality using a fusion of writing styles as heard in this song: “The River

Tal Wilkenfeld plays fusion jazz rock on bass
Tal Wilkenfeld - if a young woman is going to play bass like this.. couldn't she be fat, or ugly, or smelly, or something ? L.O.L. Tal is an awesome bass player!

of Life” from her first album “Transformation.”  Like many songs of this type, the chord arrangement is not complex, the elements of the song have lots of drama played with dynamic expression.  The melody is estab
lished early with Tal on her bass, and then the song grows with inclusion of a saxophone solo that is laced with complex drum and bass playing dynamics.  The piano lays down nice jazz chords to give the soloist space to play through.  What starts as a calm song turns into a rambunctious, energetic tune.

Tal Wilkenfeld – bass
Wayne Krantz – guitar
Seamus Blake – tenor sax
Geoff Keezer .- piano
Keith Carlock – drums

Guest appearances by percussionist Samuel Torres and Bassist Oteil Burbridge

Denny’s Chocolate Malt: a song for Keil to be a modern day knight

Smooth Jazz style song written in 2000: Denny's Chocolate Malt
A song for Keil: Denny's Chocolate Malt (Oct 2003)

The year is 2003:

My son, Keil (born 9-5-95), and I now share nearly every Thursday night together alone as Father and Son to discover what it means to be a modern-day knight (this is a method I’m creating to teach Keil how to be a Godly man).  One of the rituals that has become our favorite is going to Denny’s to buy and share a Chocolate Malt. Well out of that experience I got this music idea that I’ve named: Denny’s Chocolate Malt.

While you listen to the song, here are some of the thoughts that Keil and I shared.  Interestingly, Keil memorized much of this:

Knights are renown for chivalry.  But chivalry exacts a heavy toll upon its followers; it demands submission, obedience, and courage.  Knighthood is one of the major achievements of the human spirit.

Raising a modern day knight considers vision, direction and solid answers to questions such as:

  • What is a man?
  • What are a man’s responsibilities?
  • What does a man believe?
  • How does a man behave?
  • What should a man try to achieve?

Raising a modern day knight is an attempt in social and spiritual competence in three phases:

Raising a modern day knight is based on a clear, distinct vision of manhood.  By training boys from an early age, imparting a code of conduct, and marking their progress with ceremony and celebration, adolescents become men.

A modern day knight believes a real man is one who:

  • Rejects passivity
  • Accepts responsibility
  • Leads courageously
  • Expects the greater reward…  God’s reward.

Thank you for listening and having a read.

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I welcome some musicians who like this and smooth jazz in general to consider helping me make a new recording of this song.