Rhythmic Foundations With Miles Okazaki


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Guitarist Miles Okazaki, long time collaborator with Chris Potter, Steve Coleman and many others to start a weekly rhythm class at the New York Jazz Workshop. The class will be held In New York every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 pm at 853 Rehearsal Studios, 853 7th Avenue, (between 54th and 55th street).

This course is a survey of the fundamentals of musical rhythm and time. It serves to strengthen and test rhythmic foundations for advanced students, and to build basic musicianship for less advanced students.

Primary questions that the course will explore are: what it time? How do we perceive the passage of time? How does the quantizing and marking of time become “rhythm"? How does “rhythm" become “music?" We will examine all questions with specific exercises and examples from musical literature.

The class will begin with looking at examples from folkloric music from Africa, India, Europe, and several other world traditions. We will be looking for commonalities in rhythm in ancient thought and tradition. Then we will continue into modern traditions and applications, looking at artists in the 20th century such as Thelonious Monk, Gyorgy Ligeti, James Brown, Sonny Rollins, Conlon Nancarrow, Steve Coleman, Meshuggah.

The course is not as concerned with “jazz" vocabulary as much as making sure that each student has a solid foundation in rhythmic concepts. We will pursue two main technical directions: “linear" and “contrapuntal" rhythm, meaning rhythms occurring in a single layer, or multiple layers.

Instruments and paper are not necessary, as all work will be done with clapping, singing, and memorization. All Levels are welcome.

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