Blog

Thoughts on music, the arts, and interviews with friends.
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One of my biggest problems is not stepping on records and CDs when I wake up. They consume my house and my office, and before my very tolerant wife decides to go back to Philip Glass, I thought I could try and make these stacks of wax more urgent. I have a weird and wonderful collection of LPs, the vast majority being Canadian jazz records and Irish traditional music. It's shocking that some of this music hasn't been re-released. In 2018, after Santa brings me a little bit of gear, I will be dipping my toe in the water of podcasting. In...

Photo: Patrick Boyle Teaching music at university is simultaneously a constant joy and a constant dance of compromise. If I am being completely honest, I can’t teach music. I can show it. I can listen and guide. I can be an example of my own best self, including all manner of new and evolving flaws and inspirations. But I’m not in the business of teaching people how to be themselves. Teachers are in the guiding business. Totally off topic, if Girl Guide cookies were any good, why aren't they in stores all year long? One things great universities do is get people from...

One cold Saturday night in St. John's around 2005, I was kicking through the slush from one gig to another. I lugged a trumpet, guitar, and amp - part Tinker, part Sherpa. And I was angry. Angry that the gigs paid so poorly, that I wasn't into the music, that the crowds sucked, that it was cold, that I'd rather be home practicing. Then at the bottom of McMurdo's lane I bump into drummer Brad Kilpatrick. He could see my perma-scowl. Never one to mince words, young Brad came aboard me stating clearly that the life of a musician is not...

Mark Levine wrote about as comprehensive and practical a book about jazz theory for beginners as I've come across. More than most texts out there, his book highlights specific concepts in context. One such example is this list of Intervallic Movement in Various Jazz Compositions. This is helpful in getting students out of the "My Bonnie" this and "Maria" that for identifying various intervals. I made a Spotify playlist that corresponds with his list. If there's a way I can make this even more practical, please let me know. https://open.spotify.com/user/patrickboylemusic/playlist/3ZKTTsYbPBixysENLKUTku   Intervallic movement in various jazz compositions Ascending minor 2nd Thelonious Monk – Blue Monk ...

Photo credit:  Studio Bee Creative. During my undergrad, I did most of my elective courses in the Summer session so I could exclusively concentrate on music during the Fall and Winter. This was a great move because university in the summertime is a paradise. You get the whole place to yourself. All bathrooms become your bathrooms. One summer, woodwind/jazz prof and master improvisor Paul Bendzsa hired me to clear out his office and organize his vast collection of sounds and scores. He gave me a key, showed me where everything was, and let me go to it. There's no other way to describe my...

Many teachers at the end of summer experience the contradictory feelings of "I can't do this" and "I can't wait to do this." The rumble in the gut is real. Students also live on a dotted line between excitement and fear at the end of August. The hardest thing is a good start, so I've made constant renewal my favourite aspect of teaching. New courses, methods, ideas, and people. Each year is an opportunity begin again, again. Here are four books and one film I like to re-engage at this time of year in order to find my way back into the...

There are the truly great, impossibly lovely gigs at the top. They often have nothing to do with music. If July 23, 2001 was not the very best gig I've ever been a part of, it surely ranks way up there. More than that, it always will remain at the top. I didn't really join The Discounts as much as I started playing every gig with them and never stopped. The list of who has played in that band is very long, but it's always anchored by Neil Conway. Neil is one of the smartest people I know, maybe because his imagination...

16 years ago today, Trimmed Naval Beef released our only album. If there has ever been a "you had to be there" band it is us. We never broke up, we just do other stuff. It was a thrill to ride again at my wedding last summer. There's loose talk of releasing this on vinyl. There's real talk of putting up some of our many, many live recordings, and I am working on that. Flappin' it inya face online at long last. https://soundcloud.com/patrickboylemusic/sets/trimmed-naval-beef-2001-gold-star  ...

My quest for stories, photos, and other jazz related artifacts from Newfoundland and Labrador continues. Speaking of NL jazz, there's a special show at the Black Sheep Monday Aug 7. Click here for details. Pianist Ralph Walker was a central figure in jazz and popular music in St. John's especially. Sandy Morris recalls asking Ralph to learn more about jazz in hopes of playing together someday. Ralph replied "Do you have a car?" Sandy said yes. "Well, you're in the band!" I will offer much more on Ralph down the line, but the reason for posting this gem is to hopefully inspire people to get...

I'd rather be a servant to rhythm than a slave to tonality. Lately, I've working on some ideas I first heard from Kenny Werner and more recently George McFetridge dealing with sequences of random chords. It's time to shake up old habits. There's less excitement for me in progressions that I "know" will work. I think I can hear more than I actually do. That's what I mean when I say I don't wish to be a slave to tonality. I work hard at playing and hearing in terrains that are mysterious and challenging. This exercise is endless fun and maybe you will like it...