The Art Of Jazz Seminars: A Profound Gas

The Art of Jazz “Jazzinars” at Bemis School of Art were a profound gas!

Peter Gunn albumWhen pianist composer Henry Mancini wrote music for the 1960’s Television detective series Peter Gunn, one of the songs was titled “Profound Gas.” (a very cool tune, by the way.) Back then, those who were hip described anything that was pleasing or exciting as “it’s a gas.” A profound gas then would be something exciting, deep and intense!

Our recent “The Art Of Jazz seminar series at Bemis School of Art! was definitely a profound gas and, Bemis has asked us to do another series starting October 1 . What made our “jazzinars” at Bemis exciting, deep and intense and why should you care?

As a music lover and supporter of jazz and the arts, you will be happy to know that our seminars are making a big difference. The Art Of Jazz launched it’s first “jazzinars” in 2011 with a purpose of attracting more people to jazz and to increasing people’s enjoyment of the art. Those sessions ran for a year and a half and were a fun success.  This year our seminar series became the first jazz appreciation course ever offered at Bemis School of Art. Here’s some highlights.:

  • Our pre-course survey indicated 50% of those that participated were “new to jazz” and the other half were “experienced jazz fans.”
  • Our post-course survey asked participants to rate their experience and results on a scale of 10 with 10 as very much or excellent.
  • Participants rated their seminar experience an average of 9.8 on a scale of 10.
  • Participants said that the degree to which the seminar increased their ability to enjoy jazz was an average 9.6 of 10.
  • Both newbies and experienced jazz fans reported greatly improved their enjoyment of jazz!

What made the learning experience so deep and satisfying was the use of streaming media with intimate conversation about the music and about ourselves. Participants all got a Spotify account and we used live streaming of Spotify in the classroom sessions. That enabled more personal learning assignments and gave us the the ability to listen together, stop to discuss and then restart.

When the participants attended the live Jazz Soirée that was part of the course they completed additional listening assignments which we discussed at the next class session. The conversations that triggered were profound!

On October 1 2014 TAOJ will start the next jazzinar series called Engage Jazz and it promises to transform your ability to enjoy jazz. Whether you are a newbie or an old pro please consider joking us for Engage Jazz.

What Makes Swing Swing?

What is Swing?

Swing, in jazz, has multiple meanings. The word refers both to a style of music and a musical technique.

Swing:  A style of music that was popular from roughly 1930 until around World War II. The music of the swing era, performed mostly by big bands, reached broad audiences over the radio, on records, and in dance halls nation wide. Here’s sample of big band swing by Count Basie:

Swing: A particular lilting rhythm that produces a propulsive feel or groove.
A song played so that it “swings” does not have equal emphasis on each beat. When “swinging it” players give some beats more weight and a little extra something: They demonstrate an ability to hit the beat early (anticipate) or late (lay back) and yet maintain the overall timing precisely. Players who “really swing” have a finely calibrated internal clock and great precision. When the members of the band are all doing this together the band really swings!

Defining Swing: You cannot always define Swing, something is either swingin’ or it ain’t…It’s the particular “feel” within the music.  Big bands, small bands and even individual players can make music swing. Musicians can choose to  play songs in straight rhythm or swing rhythm. Any song can be “swung” weather it is a slow ballad or up-tempo tune. A great example of a player who can swing almost anything is pianist Monty Alexander.

Jazz Standard: Jazz standards are musical compositions which are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by music fans.Not all jazz standards were written by jazz composers. Many are originally Tin Pan Alley popular songs, Broadway show tunes or songs from Hollywood musicals – the so-called Great American Songbook. The jazz standard repertoire has some overlap with blues and pop standards.

Elevate Your Listening – And a real piano!
July 12  at 8:00 PM The Jazz Soirée will present an interactive concert of jazz standards played in swing style. The concert is in the second floor Music Room at The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and we’ll be using the grand piano. (Yes, electric keyboards are fun and easy to transport but this is the real deal!)

The FluteDaddy quartet for this performance features a masterful rhythm section that really knows how to swing. Keyboard whiz David Hanson will be playing the grand piano, with classical/jazz bassist Marc Neihof and first call drummer and clinician Michael Marlier.

Come swing with us!

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Joseph Liberti

Make Mistakes – Be A Better Drummer

Mistakes Are Opportunities To Find Your Voice

I think I know a lot about mistakes because I have many years of experience making them.  Fortunately I also have a lifetime interest in learning and I’m willing to try new Ideas. Master drummer Paul Shaw recently shared an idea me about how to deal with mistakes in a new way.

Paul is conducting a clinic for drummers of all skill levels – from beginner to working pro -and the clinic is titled: “Paying Attention To The Mistakes: Practice Strategies for Developing Your Own Sound. I interviewed Paul and questioned him about mistakes. Paul answers my questions and talks about the clinic in the video below:

Are you are drummer? know one?

Do you play any other band instrument and want to lead or play better with a small ensemble? Or are you a music fan and want to increase your enjoyment by getter deeper into the art? Paul says,”Any one can benefit whether they are a beginner, a working pro or a music fan.”

Paul’s Drum Clinic and the interactive concert immediately following will be held August 9 at The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Register for either Paul’s drum clinic or the “I Got Rhythm” concert for $20 and you get both.


Flamenco Jazz?

You might call this music flamenco jazz or world jazz but whatever you call it you will find it delightful.

flamenco jazzTomorrow night, Thursday June 26 at 7:00 PM The Art of Jazz will host the award-winning San Franciso group  David Correa and CASCADA at Soirée Events 1003. S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs. The group comes our way once a year. Treat yourself to some uniquely enjoyable sounds.

Video and tickets here.



Exploring Styles of Jazz

Who wants to explore the various styles of jazz?

70% of the people enrolled in The Art of Jazz Seminar Series that begins tonight at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, that’s who.

jazz stylesLooking at the pre-seminar survey answers is exciting.  60% of those who registered are brand new to jazz and about half the class is in the under 50 age group. It is great to see fresh interest from a broad demographic. They have asked questions like, “what makes jazz, jazz?” and How do I know what I’m listening to?”

We will be addressing those questions and we will focus on learning the “inner game” of jazz and listening in a new way. Using a combination of live and streaming music, learning activities and discussion we will explore styles and jazz and ways to engage jazz at a personal level. See:

I am proud to say the seminar, created in 2011 by The Art of Jazz is now offered by Bemis School of Art  If you want to have a great personal experience and transform your ability to enjoy music especially jazz, it’s not too late. You can register online or just walk in tonight and register at the door.

Come join us and jazz up your life!

Click here for course details and to enroll.

New Store and Rewards Program

The Art Of Jazz Announces A New Store and An Awards Program For Music Lovers.

Our mission is to promote the art of jazz. We do that by providing extraordinary live music events, jazz appreciation seminars and contributions to non-profit organizations that provide school instruments. Your purchase of tickets and enjoyment and sharing of our events helps us fulfill our mission. Thank you for your support.

New Store

Tickets for music events and seminars will now be found in on new store at

Our New Rewards Program

  1. Each purchase of tickets or other products earns rewards points. EG purchase of a $15 ticket earns 150 points
  2. When you refer a friend to and they purchase tickets, you earn $5 that can be used to purchase tickets or merchandise. Your referred friend benefits too by getting a 50% discount on their first purchase.
  3. You can share The Art Of Jazz on social media and those fans can receive a 10% discount on tickets.

It’s Simple: Help us build a network of new fans and customers for the Art of Jazz. The more you participate, the lower your cost for tickets for great music events!

The reward earned for each purchase is show on the checkout page. Once you have established an account with The Art Of Jazz or have made a purchase you can check your awards totals and redeem for tickets from your own account page.

In the future we will be adding CDs, books and other merchandise to our offerings and all will earn rewards.

The Art Of Jazz Jazzinar – At Bemis School Of Art

The Art Of Jazz Seminar Series

Sax and butterflyDiscover The Jazz In You!

The Art Of Jazz “Jazzinar” is not just for jazz fans, intellectuals or musicians. it is an adventure in music that welcomes all and that will reward you with an increased ability to enjoy all kinds of music and give you an insider’s perspective of the art of jazz.

So…engage the art of jazz. Taste the many flavors. See the colors of every style. Feel the many different rhythms. Get inside jazz and discover that jazz is inside you.

What is jazz, really? In some ways we recognize a special quality in jazz.  We say things like “that’s jazzy” about clothes that are stimulating in colors or styles. When we want to put a new shine on something, we say: “let’s jazz it up.” Yes, jazz is stimulating but it is far more than bright sounds and bright beats. Jazz is an art form that invites you to engage and offers constantly new pleasure.

The art of jazz was born in the USA in a perfect storm of social conditions and timing that brought together rhythms from around the world, classical music, blues, marching music, folk music and the popular music of the time. While this seminar is not a history course, we will revisit the origin of jazz to understand the core elements that make up the art.

One of those elements, improvisation – spontaneous creation of new melodies, harmonies and the moment – offers an opportunity to connect more deeply with the music and our creative self. So, in addition to delighting us with fresh sounds, an engagement with jazz can nourish us and leave us inspired.

In the last 100 years jazz has evolved into many new styles and forms. Do you like rock? You will find jazz-rock exciting. Are you into folk music? You may be amazed at the wonderful new sounds of world jazz. Maybe blues or funk is your thing.  There’s some funky jazz that will knock your socks off.

The Art Of Jazz Seminar Series will provide ways to discover new music that you will love, new ways to listen to and enjoy music more, a fresh understanding of what you are listening to and a personal relationship with jazz that will nourish you and continue to grow over time.

Oh, and did I mention fun? Our previous classes always seemed to have lots of smiles, laughter and good times. In this seminar we will use live and recorded music as well as  interactive exercises to explore music and we will have fun. Come join us, meet some great music and great people and have fun!

The next “jazzinar” series begins at Bemis School of Art on June 25.

Click here for course details and to enroll.

Joseph Liberti
The Art Of Jazz

Bach, Brubeck and Jazz

For entertaining jazz listen to Johan Sebastian Bach or Dave Brubeck!

Bach and Brubeck, both great musicians and composers, were adept in the use of counterpoint. Counterpoint, a technique that developed in the 1600′s, might simply be described as two or more voices playing independent yet harmonious musical lines.

Here’s a You Tube video featuring one hour of the best of Bach – a fine example of baroque classical music.

Some say there is nothing new, that we just reinvent. If you have ever enjoyed listening to baroque classical music you have heard counterpoint – separate melodies and rhythms woven together to create a more interesting and beautiful song. Three hundred years after the beginning  of the Baroque period counterpoint showed up in the music of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Modern jazz Quartet, or the music of Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker and many more.

Here’s a well done, albeit dated, BBC Dave Brubeck Documentary that is worth the watch. Listen for the counterpoint even in piano solos.

And here is Baritone Sax man with trumpeter Chet Baker playing some counterpoint in a Caregie Hall concert:

Neither Bach or Brubeck will be present Friday June 6 when The Jazz Soiree presents Sunshower, but they will be well represented in the baroque improvisations and the jazz arrangements of award winning composer/guitarist Tom Taylor performing with flutist Joseph Liberti, and jazz/classical bassist Marc Neihof. Be prepared for delightful surprises with jazz renditions of Bach and Brubeck and even Bobbie Gentry.

At the beautiful and intimate
Soirée Events Venue,
1003 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, 8:00 PM to 10:15 PM. Tickets $15buy jazz tickets

International Jazz Day – Monday April 30

Today is the first International Jazz Day –  A global collaboration among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Herbie Hancock and the Thelonious Monk Institute. Jazz day aims to deliver 24 hours of jazz around the world. beginning with a sunrise concert at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and closing at sunset with another all-star show at the U.N. General Assembly Hall. Both shows will feature the day’s mastermind, Herbie Hancock.

More: The Detroit News: