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Jazz Showcase losing its lease

Chicago’s Jazz Showcase, the venerable club owned and operated by Joe Segal for nearly 60 years, is losing its lease. It will be forced to move January 1, 2007. The Jazz Showcase has been located at 59 W. Grand Avenue in Chicago (just west of the Magnificent Mile) for the last 10 years. Its home for the previous 14 years was at the Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue. A new home for the club hasn’t been announced yet. One hopes that Joe will keep the Jazz Showcase going–it is the second oldest jazz club in the United States (only the Village Vanguard in New York City is older). Virtually every major artist in jazz since the 1940s has played at the club.

Read this related story in the Chicago Tribune for more information.


August 28, 2006 Posted by | Jazz, Music | Leave a comment

Jazz Practicing Resources

I just discovered a great educational resource for jazz musicians–I am surprised that I haven’t seen this site before. distributes play-along MP3 files for jazz practicing. They have tracks for drummers, bassists, vocalists, horn players, pianists, and vibraphonists. Here is the page for bass materials, and here is a example of the ii-V-I sequence chart.

The most effective way to become a fluent jazz musician is to get some face time with other musicians. Play-alongs simulate this experience and allow musicians the opportunity to work on certain tunes, chord sequences and patterns by themselves. This sort of work is necessary to really develop jazz chops, and it is the sort of work that would be very difficult (excruciatingly painful for your otherband mates) to do with other musicians. Working with play- alongs allows a developing (and expert) jazz musician infinite repetitions on a given sequence. Having developed fluidity and jazz language chops with the play-along tracks enables the musician to open up, experiment, andcommunicate once he or she gets into a live situation, rather than honking out lame lines.

Working with play-alongs is also a valuable exercise for classical musicians. I also use tracks like this in my own teaching, and I recently created three podcasts consisting of MIDI-generated practice tracks for double bass players:

Jason Heath’s Double Bass Scales – Practice Tracks

Jason Heath’s Double Bass Solos – Practice Tracks

Jason Heath’s Double Bass Orchestral Excerpts – Practice Tracks

These tracks of mine serve a valuable need (learning how to play in tune and in time), but it is a different need than the tracks available at I’d encourage any jazz student to check out this cool site. I have added a permanent link to on my music links page.

August 21, 2006 Posted by | double bass, Jazz, Music, Uncategorized | 1 Comment