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Sad commentary on the perception of what is right or wrong in jazz... 

There's a discussion on one of the jazz guitar forums using E natural on an Fm7 chord in cantalope island.

I had posted this clip.

At the beginning of my solo I play C F G Ab G E and sustain the E natural.

A guitarist on this forum posted that the E natural was a sour note.

I posted that it we considered melodic minor to be a sour note we'd have to go all the way back to 1933 harmony.

He replied, "Straight minor or m6 is one thing; that's an Fm7 in Cantaloupe."...

I replied that martino and pass and others have been using this sound over min7 chords for over 80 years. But it points out one of the shortcomings of online forums. Somewhere along the line, this guitarist was told that you can only play over the exact chord in the rhythm section and that anything else is wrong. 

And he's not the only jazz forum member who posts things like that. I've heard from dozens of folks in the last couple months saying you can't superimpose chords that aren't being played by the rhythm section.

And one poster said on the same forum, (talking about my clip) 

“If he leaned on the maj. 7th over an m7 chord for a few beats as he did over the vamp, don't think many would say it worked.”

Just curious who's teaching these methodologies?

And why do people who are student level players have such strong opinions that they feel the need to pontificate about what is right or wrong about someone's solo?

And why do people feel like it's ok to make negative comments about someone else's playing in a public forum?

This is one reason that I do not allow criticism or negative comments in my forum, .

Too many times, i've seen student level players put down others - when it's actually the student who needs to do more work…

Ruckus over chord substitutions 

I posted this video on thegearpage(dot)net. It caused a lot of churn, chest beating, and claims that the chord substitution theory I teach is invalid. (See my article on Dodecaphonics). In the gearpage thread, one poster claimed over and over again that the chord substitutions were invalid and another poster hijacked the thread and kept attempting to change the whole point of my dominant 7 chord substitution method with his preference of using min7 chords over a Maj7 chord.

I don't mind a meaningful conversation but on guitar forums, there is so much chest beating and thread hijacking that it really gets discouraging.


artists struggling with mental health issues and internet bullying 

I wanted to write a little bit about mental health issues among artists/musicians. As someone who's been honest and up front about my own mental health issues, I just wanted to get some things off my chest and start a dialog.

During a recent struggle with mental health and just prior to my spinal surgery in May 2023, I was prescribed a number of anti-depressants and sadly, most had really bad side effects - not the least of which was extreme insomnia. So I eventually ditched them because I wanted to go into the surgery - well rested. 

People often say that artists and musicians need to have thick skin. I'm sorry but WHAT??? Artists are, “who they are”, because of their sensitivities, their heart, their expression. So we're supposed to just turn that off autoMAGICALLY when someone says horrible things about our art, our playing, our personal life?

Once, on a well known guitar forum, someone started a hate-thread about me. People jumped in to add fuel to the fire saying stuff like,

  • he thinks he's so great
  • you can tell he's an @sshole by the look on his face in his videos
  • he's not really a jazz player
  • he just plays fusion, not jazz
  • he just plays a lot of notes
  • people who compliment him are just being nice
  • he's an {insert derogatory comment}
  • he's ruining his kid's career by posting videos of his guitar playing

Amazingly, this went on for a week and it was 10+ pages long. There were some folks who jumped in and defended me… But many friends and supporters stayed silent. A funny part of internet bullying is that people are hesitant to jump into the fray because they don't want to be attacked. 

Eventually, enough people wrote in to the moderator - that he deleted the thread. But this went on for 7 days straight and even though I tried not to look, I periodically checked to see if anyone was coming to my defense.

I probably slept about 2 hours a night during this period and of course, my mental health was horrible during this time. 

And I wish this were the only case. I've been doxxed, had calls with death threats, had stalkers sending derogatory emails from throwaway accounts, been subject to deep fakes of my face on porn and other bullying - some too horrifying to publicly post about.

So when people advise artists to just “get a thicker skin”, i push back. Instead of getting a thicker skin, I want bullying to be out in the open and called out for what it is.

Because the truth is, people with mental health issues have taken their own lives when confronted with internet bullying. 

Why then would an artist be expected to shrug it off and develop thick skin???

Maj7#5 over dominant 7? 

The Maj7#5 chord works great over altered chords. For example, play the (Ab)Maj7#5 over the 3rd of an E7Alt to outline all the juice notes of the chord (particularly The #5, #9)

Here are a couple diagrams. 

first one is the AbMaj7#5 hexatonic 

Second one is the same scale but with Analysis over E so you can see the alterations