Traditional Jazz Improvisation Workshops
We are passionate about the jazz music created pre-1940, as the music was made for dancing. Sugar Swing has teamed up with an inspiring local musician, Brad Shigeta, to host music workshops to help musicians learn and play to the best of their abilities. Hosted by Brad, the ideas presented are intended to help all jazz soloists playing any era, based on lessons learned from pre-1940 music.
How is this different from every program taught in every university and school on the planet? The workshops are fashioned after the infamous Barry Harris bebop workshops in NYC from the 70’s to present day. The workshops are not progressive, so if someone has a busy schedule and needs to miss a week, they won’t feel left behind. There is no pressure at these workshops. There is no question or concept too insignificant to address, and I want to promote a helpful, non-judgemental, and relaxed environment.
The workshops are designed for all vocalists, horn players and rhythm section players with an interest to significantly enhance their improvisational music skills based on long-forgotten methods forged pre-1940. There was a major fork in the road of jazz theory in the early 1960’s that led to the chord/scale method that dominated jazz pedagogy today; however, based on Brad’s experience and study of improvisation books by swing musicians such as Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden and Bud Freeman, it is very clear that improvisation pre-1960’s was based on simple rules that aren’t very widely known or employed. Currently, to get a degree at nearly all jazz universities, it requires proficiency with dozens of scales/modes along with a knowledge of the major, minor (melodic ascending), whole tone, diminished and chromatic scales. Brad believes that that this information is good, but often not as critical to soloing as to the ideas that will be presented. Our vision is to inspire musicians to play incredible solos that are fun, yet simpler to execute that, at the same time, make more sense for all listeners.
About Brad Shigeta
Brad has had the opportunity to become well steeped in both the world of modern jazz (performing with Dave Holland) as well as early jazz (Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, Duke Ellington Big Band, Illinois Jacquet) in New York City for over 15 years. There are many things that I absorbed by playing next to the old master players of this jazz during my years in New York City. Along with that, my schooling at McGill gave me a proficient understanding of the history and theory of Western music, from Gregorian Chant until today. Check out Brad’s website and Facebook page.
Depending on attendance, we plan to eventually divide the workshop time into three sections: a first section of about one hour to beginners, and later sections of about one hour each, to both rhythm section players only, and vocalists only. The workshops are designed so that everyone from professional symphony musicians to an amateur folk guitar player will benefit.
Location: 10545-81 Ave, Edmonton
Fee: $20 per workshop or $150 for a 10-pass
Starting: Currently on hold…stay tuned!
Dates: 1-2x a month. Please see our event calendar for the next one!
*Length will vary from 2-3 hours depending on attendance and evolution of this workshop series.
And don’t forget, you can hear Brad and others performing this music live for dancing and listening exclusively at the Sugar Foot Ballroom nearly every month!
Getting in the know
Please visit our Facebook group of musicians dedicated to the workshops:
Brad Shigeta’s Traditional Jazz Improvisation Workshops
Please check our calendar for the next one:
Sugar Swing Events Calendar
Also, subscribe to our newsletter mailing list!