Norm Stockton and the Art of Groove

While there are bass guitar instruction books everywhere, none of them seem to tell you exactly how to “make the phone ring” as a bass artist. Norm Stockton, merited bass musician and instructor, understands that that adding personality, emotion and soul to bass music is the most important skill a player can have – he calls this the ability to groove. Norm teaches his students how to transcend the more technical components of the bass to help them create a piece of music that draws the audience in, especially in a setting where multiple instruments are playing together.

“If you don’t already have it,” Norm says in his book, The Worship Bass Book, “I want to encourage you to develop and nurture a passion for the groove. Getting right in there with the drummer and locking down a really solid and great feel is the most fulfilling musical experience a bassist can have, and that is the primary thing that other musicians pursue in a bass player.”

The Worship Bass Book is a fun and practical book that covers the essentials of bass playing, including phrasing, style, drum and bass synergy, and solo arranging. It is a comprehensive look at all things bass in a digestible, yet broadly informative format.

And what’s more, Norm never stops teaching! He has his very own instructional website called the Art of Groove which offers advice, not only about playing the bass, but on how to market yourself as a musician, how to broaden your musical horizons, and how to get the most out of your instrument. Learn how to groove with the free lesson below, and be sure  to grab a copy of Norm’s book.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!

Today would have been the legendary Billy Eckstine’s 100th birthday! Yesterday, Tom Vitale of All Things Considered did a great segment on the talented and suave musician in which Cary Ginell, author of Mr. B: The Music and Life of Billy Eckstine, is featured. Please enjoy the slideshow below!

 

 

 

Audio courtesy of NPR

Images featured from Mr. B

The Pensado Awards

Last Saturday heralded the very first Pensado Awards show, a show designed to “acknowledge today’s emerging brand of music professionals.” Dave Pensado (a hugely recognized professional mixing engineer) and Herb Trawick, co-hosts of the popular youtube show Pensado’s Place created the event to “celebrate the uncelebrated”, or to acknowledge those in the music industry that go unthanked and unrecognized despite their skills. Nick Messite from Forbes wrote an impressive article about the event, which you can see an excerpt of below. Pensado and Trawick are also the authors of the upcoming publication, The Pensado Papers, coming from Hal Leonard this October. Read the rest of the article here!

How The Pensado Awards Leveled The Playing Field – And Spoke Truth To Power

Last Saturday night, in the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, a few hundred people—some of them famous, others far more important than famous—gathered to acknowledge a truth in today’s music industry: the times, to misquote a modern day bard, have a-changed.

Yes, it’s a telling moment when Ron Fair (Chief Creative Officer/Executive Vice President Virgin Records/Capitol Music Group) steps to the podium and proudly proclaims, “This business belongs to the people who love it the most—to the kids not shackled by the old industry models.”

Such a statement—from such a key player—is a powerful validation to the as-of-yet nameless up-and-comers in the music industry; to employ a biblical simile, it’s tantamount to the lion lying down with the lamb.

The venue for this statement was the inaugural Pensado Awards, an event designed to put a public face on those who work behind the scenes in the music industry—men and women who toil in windowless caves for eighty hours a week, who make daily peace with the relative obscurity to which they’ve been relegated, who forego friends and family in favor of deadlines, tinnitus and carpal tunnel syndrome—and who do so, much of the time, to polish the products of pop superstars, many of them vapid and half-talented in nature (in my estimation; no mixing engineer has ever bashed his or her client to me, on or off the record).00120020

But unlike the vast majority of award shows, this ceremony wasn’t about honoring insipid quasi-talents. Instead, the Pensado Awards attempted to give a hand up to the people in this business without whom there would be no business at all: the songwriters, engineers, producers, educators, entrepreneurs, assistants, interns and runners of today and tomorrow (Kendrick Lamar might have been robbed of his Grammy, but he got his Pensado Award).

 

Brazil, Bossa Nova, and Jobim

With all eyes on Brazil as of late, it seems only fitting to celebrate the Brazilian artists that have made contributions to the musical world. One such artist is Antonio Carlos Jobim, whose innovations triggered the musical phenomenon of bossa nova internationally. Below is a more informative look at the Hal Leonard Book Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man.

“[Tom Jobim] is the great Brazilian artist. He’s our Borges, our Picasso, our Beethoven.”
Veja magazine, São Paolo, Brazil

00333166Antonio Carlos (“Tom”) Jobim is known as the king of the bossa nova. His unforgettable songs have been covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana, but perhaps never so memorably as by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, who introduced the world to Jobim’s global smash “The Girl from Ipanema.”

Since then the sway and appeal of the bossa nova has been a major influence on jazz, pop, and world music, and at its very heart is Jobim. In Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man, his personal, intellectual, and professional history comes alive in elegant and melodic prose from his sister Helena, a poet and novelist of great range and power. Accompanied by dozens of revealing photos, this book is a surprisingly intimate portrait of one of Latin America’s most widely celebrated musicians. Here we see Jobim not only as an outstanding creative artist who regularly worked with stars such as Frank Sinatra; we see him also a man devoted to his family and as an environmentalist deeply concerned about the state of the natural world, in his beloved Brazil and beyond.

The composer of hundreds of songs of inexplicable grace, Jobim recreated the world he lived in not only through mesmerizing music but also through down-to-earth poetry. In Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man, Helena Jobim brings new life to her brother’s vision and voice. It is the story of a true twentieth-century genius

Coming this Fall: Music Marketing for the DIY Musician

At a time when new technologies make it more possible than ever for musicians to attract attention independently and leverage their own careers, DIY advice from a music professional has never been so desirable. Bobby Borg has been down the road of the self-made musician, and he brings his experience and his advice to other hopefuls through Music Marketing for the DIY Musician. According to Borg, publicity is the key!

Stimulating publicity and building good PR (public relations) are the first of many promotional strategies that you can use to help promote your products and services.  Publicity refers to articles, reviews, and comments that journalist write about you because they want to write about you. In other words: Because you “earned” their interest and respect. PR refers to what happens in the minds of your target audience as a result of great publicity. Overall, fans are left with a much stronger image of you, your offerings, and your brand.  So how should you start stimulating publicity and building good PR? Consider the following:

  • 00124611Create an informative press kit (physically and digitally) that includes a biography, picture, current news release (or press release), and a sample of your music. 
  • Create a list of local magazines, newspapers, and blogs red by your target audience.
  • Build relationships with local journalists by first reaching out and complimenting them on their work. 
  • Send local journalists (after getting permission) your press materials and be clear about what it is you want from them: A record review, live performance review, or an interview. 
  • Become part of the local news by being part of your local scene:Attend other artist’s shows, go to award ceremonies, and hang at parties where local press people hang out. 
  • Participate in community activities in which you strongly believe (feed the homeless, 5k run to cure cancer, etc.), and then inform the local press of the good deeds you do.
  • Devise a “publicity stunt” (a sneaky/crazy/daring activity) that gets press people to take notice and write about you. Just be sure not to do anything illegal. 
  • Start your own magazine and write about local bands (including your own).   
  • Capitalize on your school’s paper, newsletter, etc., where you already have an “in.”
  • Publicize (your publicity) by including various quotes and testimonials in your biographies, press releases, and anywhere else that you can.  
  • Hire a talented communications student at a local college to help with some of the above tasks, and/or entice one of your fans to help out with some of the work.  

 As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to generate publicity and strengthen your public’s perception of you. But don’t be mislead: publicity and PR are not as easy as 1 – 2 – 3. They require follow up (over long periods of time) just to get one magazine or blog review. But if you’re pleasant, charming, and have truly a great product, all the hard work will all pay off. 

Check out more advice from Bobby over on his website

Celebrating 100 Years of ASCAP

Bruce Pollock understands the importance of having a “Friend in the Music Business.” ASCAP has been that integral supporter of songwriters and musicians for 100 years now. Bruce contemplates the absolute importance of ASCAP’s contribution to the music business in an article he wrote for Grammy.com, which also includes excerpts from his book – A Friend in the Music Business: The ASCAP Story. Read the rest of the article here.

You don’t get to be around for 100 years in the entertainment industry by living in the past. John LoFrumento, CEO of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which joined that rarefied rank earlier this year, certainly agrees.00333038

“The question really is: ‘How should ASCAP be positioned as we go forward?'” says LoFrumento. “If all we can say about ourselves is, ‘We are 100 years old,’ then we’re in deep trouble. What we should say about ourselves is: ‘We are in the first year of another 100-year run.'”

With an ongoing mission that includes protecting “the rights of ASCAP members by licensing and distributing royalties for the nondramatic public performances of their copyrighted works,” ASCAP has remained relevant by expanding into the realms of talent discovery and development, augmenting its original mission with a mix of conferences, workshops, showcases, networking events, and annual awards.

The ASCAP Foundation’s Musical Theater and Television & Film Scoring Workshops have emerged as highly regarded proving grounds for young talent. Launched in 2006, the annual “I Create Music” Expo has become ASCAP’s signature event. Taking place in April, the 2014 expo featured keynotes, panels on a variety of topics, performances, networking receptions and exhibits, with participants including GRAMMY winners Shane McAnally, Amy Grant, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Jermaine Dupri, among others.

“The performance panels are always really popular,” says Lauren Iossa, ASCAP senior vice president of marketing, who helped conceive the expo. “But the business panels are the key to a new writer’s success.”

Long-lost Queen and Brian May’s Red Special

This Fall, Queen will be releasing their long-anticipated, long-lost live album – Queen: Live at the Rainbow ’74.  Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor have resurrected the archival recordings: remixing and remastering the March 1974 gig and two similar shows from November of that year. Appropriately, this Fall also heralds the release of Brian May’s Red Special: The Story of the Home-made Guitar that Rocked Queen and the World, coming in October from Hal Leonard Books.

This Fall, not only can you get your fill of Queen on double CD, double vinyl, deluxe 4XLP, and more, but you can also invest in a comprehensive look at the hand-made guitar that helped give Queen its unique, legendary, and incomparable sound. 

Brian May and his father Harold started to hand-build an electric guitar in 1963. Brian dreamed of a guitar that would outperform any of the existing commercially made electric guitars; his father had the technical knowledge and skills to help make the dream come true. Brian played his guitar on every Queen album and in all of Queen’s live shows around the world. This book is accompanied with original diagrams, sketches and notes dating from the building of the guitar, as well as a great selection of photographs including Brian on stage with his guitar, close-ups and x-rays.

 

 

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“My dad and I decided to make an electric guitar. I designed an instrument from scratch, with the intention that it would have a capability beyond anything that was out there, more tunable, with a greater range of pitches and sounds, with a better tremolo, and with a capability of feeding back through the air in a ‘good’ way’.”

 

 

Interview with Scott Binder

Below, Scott Binder discusses his new book Make Some Noise: Become the Ultimate DJ with the SAE Institute in Istanbul.

00120756
 There are books on how to become a DJ, books that talk about beatmatching, mashups, how to perform in nightclubs – even one that claims it can teach you everything in two hours. Make Some Noise is a complete DJ book that has been created on the cutting edge and goes beyond any current book on the subject. Yes, it teaches the basics, but it goes beyond the how-to, discussing DJing while playing with a live instrument as well as goal setting, marketing, and choosing your music genre.
Make Some Noise blends together practical advice and tools for learning the craft, along with an inspirational message that will help encourage you in regard to your own dreams and aspirations about becoming a DJ.

Listen: Cary Ginell on “Inquiry”

Cary Ginell recently was a guest on Inquiry on WICN radio in Worcester, Mass., and the subject was Julian “Cannonball” Adderly and Ginell’s book, Walk Tall.  (Keep an eye out for the next book from Cary Ginell in the Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series, The Evolution of Mann: Herbie Mann and the Flute in Jazz!)

>>LISTEN HERE<<

Walk TallCannonball Adderley introduces his 1967 recording of “Walk Tall,” by saying, “There are times when things don’t lay the way they’re supposed to lay. But regardless, you’re supposed to hold your head up high and walk tall.”

This sums up the life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, a man who used a gargantuan technique on the alto saxophone, pride in heritage, devotion to educating youngsters, and insatiable musical curiosity to bridge gaps between jazz and popular music in the 1960s and ’70s. His career began in 1955 with a Cinderella-like cameo in a New York nightclub, resulting in the jazz world’s looking to him as “the New Bird,” the successor to the late Charlie Parker. But Adderley refused to be typecast. His work with Miles Davis on the landmark Kind of Blue album helped further his reputation as a unique stylist, but Adderley’s greatest fame came with his own quintet’s breakthrough engagement at San Francisco’s Jazz Workshop in 1959, which launched the popularization of soul jazz in the 1960s. With his loyal brother Nat by his side, along with stellar sidemen, such as keyboardist Joe Zawinul, Adderley used an engaging, erudite personality as only Duke Ellington had done before him.

All this and more are captured in this engaging read by author Cary Ginell.

Make Some Noise

Below is an excerpt from Make Some Noise: Become the Ultimate DJ by Scott Binder, published by Hal Leonard just last month.

What is DJ’ing?

With the recent developments in technology, DJ’ing has turned its attention to the computer generation. This has opened up a world of possibilities and is changing the culture right before our eyes, Of course, there are a lot of traditionalists who believe that the art form of DJ’ing is being lost in the technology, but I disagree. It’s simply providing yet another platform for the craft to evolve and expand. True, mixing records is a craft that takes much longer to perfect than mixing on a computer-based system, but I believe that the computer system provides opportunities for DJs to incorporate instruments, drum machines, synthesizers, and any other controller one sees fit. This opens a world to DJs truly creating a live show. Even if a DJ has no intention of including live elements or controllers into their sets, I have no problem with the computer-based mixing systems. Sure, one can incorporate live instrumentation on the traditional setups. I am one of those who do that. But technology makes this possibility even easier. After all, there is much more to DJ’ing than beatmatching and mixing. Does this mean I personally would DJ on a computer-based program without playing an instrument? No, but I think that if we resist change we are closing ourselves off to what lies on the other side as we sift through the ever-changing landscape of the music world.

To become an ultimate DJ, one must master all levels of DJ’ing. And in my opinion, DJ’ing consists of these elements: mixing and beatmatching, programming amazing sets, incorporating live instrumentation, and crowd interaction. If you master these elements, you will separate yourself form 99 percent of the DJs out there. Sometimes good DJs excel at mixing but completely lose sight of their crowd. Other DJs are great at connecting with people on the dance floor but lack proficiency at mixing or programming their sets. It doesn’t mean a DJ is necessarily bad if he or she doesn’t master all levels of DJ’ing. A good DJ is pretty good at most of the facets of DJ’ing but isn’t a master of any of them. Is it a bad thing to be a good DJ? Not at all, but being great means mastering as many levels of the craft as possible. Modern DJs are at their best when they are turning their shows into true live performance, and mastering all of the levels illustrated in this book will help you do that.

Make Some Noise

There are books on how to become a DJ, books that talk about beatmatching, mashups, how to perform in nightclubs – even one that claims it can teach you everything in two hours. Make Some Noise is a complete DJ book that has been created on the cutting edge and goes beyond any current book on the subject. Yes, it teaches the basics, but it goes beyond the how-to, discussing DJing while playing with a live instrument as well as goal setting, marketing, and choosing your music genre.

The book also features a collection of one-page spotlights from some of the biggest DJs in the world, providing you with the opportunity to learn from the best of the best. These DJs include Infected Mushroom (1,073,271 likes on Facebook), Judge Jules (102,871 likes), R3hab (413,237 likes), Todd Terry (22,733 likes), DJ Chus (57,076 likes), Max Graham (180,293 likes), Umek (1,612,019 likes), Bingo Players (293,612 likes), and Prok & Fitch (22,663 likes).

Make Some Noise blends together practical advice and tools for learning the craft, along with an inspirational message that will help encourage you in regard to your own dreams and aspirations about becoming a DJ.