Bon Ami by Jim Hall

This is a chart from 2004 which I transcribed for my senior recital – there’s a funny story to go with that but I’ll get into that later. This is beautiful tune by one of my heroes, recorded on his 1995 Telarc release Dialogues and featuring Joe Lovano on tenor sax. Rest in peace, Mr. Hall, you will be missed. Hall_bonami

Solo guitar arrangement…

This arrangement of Radiohead’s “All I Need” off of Rainbows was done for a friend’s wedding.  I left out the last part of the tune because of time constraints on that particular gig.  This one works nice on guitar, I think.  I’ve brought it to the trio and we’re working on adding it to the set.

Blues For Los Angeles by Bill Frisell

Blues For Los Angeles can be heard on Bill Frisell – Gone, Just Like A Train (Nonesuch 1998). This is more of a simplified lead sheet than a strict transcription.  I love this tune!  Bill really says so much with so little (unlike this guy).  It’s a 24-bar blues in E.  I added a bass-clef stave in lieu of chord symbols.  But just in case you wondered, it’s a 3 chord blues: I, IV, I, V, I.  Enjoy!


Introducing Free-Bop Quartet…

My newest project Free-Bop Quartet features Noah Bernstein-Hanley on alto sax, Jim Prescott on upright bass, Mark Griffith on drums, and myself on guitar.  I’ve spent the better part of October 2010 transcribing Monk and Ornette tunes for the band, and after a couple of rehearsals we are ready for our first gig!  The concept originated with my recent obsession with the music of Ornette Coleman.  Interestingly enough the path that led me to Ornette’s music was my nearly life-long obsession with the music of Pat Metheny.  — I highly recommend 3 recordings that highlight PM’s association with Ornette and his music: 80/81 (1980), Rejoicing (1983), and Song X (1985) —

With Free-Bop I wanted to highlight the connection between the linear compositions of the be-bop era and many of Ornette Coleman’s “free-jazz” compositions.  This first gig we are playing a host of Monk tunes, in addition to some Coleman classics.  We are calling this gig: Free-Bop Quartet Presents: Ornamental Monk.  Eventually we will delve into the music of Parker, and others.  If anything, it a great challenge to perform these tunes (I’m getting my rear-end kicked learning this stuff!!).

Here’s a taste:


Power Fade by Neil Mattson

My newest creation.  Not sure where this one came from.  I started with an ostinato, realized it was in 7, thought that was interesting because odd metered compositions don’t come that easily…usually.  From there it took off.  I arrived at the opening harmonic movement by playing around with 2-note voicings of 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths, and added bass notes that complete the triadic structures.  The next part of the tune I was attempting to compose a basic pentatonic line that slides in and out of B minor and Ab major pentatonic, with a bunch of chromatic neighbor and passing tones to spice things up.  This is a technique that my teacher in Detroit, the brilliant Rob Pipho, was hipping me to in my last lessons over a year ago.  I tried to rhythmically displace the pentatonic groupings so as to create a line that is less predictable and pattern-istic — I think it also makes for more interesting tension points along the way.  Forgive the dance beat 🙂

Power Fade (Scratch Demo)