I have been a performing jazz musician for over 20 years. In that time I’ve figured out what tools and concepts that helped me the most in learning how to play jazz. My courses are meant for all instrumentalists and vocalists as well.
Jazz Improvisation is an art and a science. To learn how to improvise well you need to learn the fundamentals and you also need to let go and have fun with the music.
Jazz is like a language and to learn how to speak in that language you need to develop your vocabulary and learn the mechanics of constructing phrases, melodies and solos.
In this course, I will be bringing you resources and showing you how to speak the language of jazz effectively. I will also give you some context into how this language developed. This will help you to be able to use what you know in more specific performance situations.
Dr. William E. Smith (W.E.S.) is an active musician, producer, composer, author and educator who has released nine albums and several singles as a solo artist and with his group, The W.E.S. Group. He is a published author (Hip Hop as Performance and Ritual, How to Be an MC, Jazz as a Language, Making Money in the Music Business, Compose & Produce Music Like a Pro) and is an assistant professor of music technology at Bowie State University. Prior to that, he taught classes at Howard University, was the music industry coordinator and online ethnomusicology program coordinator at North Carolina Central University and was the jazz ensemble director at American University in Washington, DC.
He has recorded and performed with a number of musicians in a variety of genres: Gospel Artists: Hezekiah Walker and Fred Hammond, Jazz Artists: Donald Byrd, James Moody, Kenny Burrell, Gary Thomas, Antonio Hart, Antoine Rooney, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mike Phillips, Cynda Williams, and Malcolm Jamal Warner, Ethiopian Artists: Wayna, Aster Aweke, Gigi. Dr. Smith has also opened for: DMC from Run DMC, McCoy Tyner, Ravi Coltrane, Jon Henricks, Cassandra Wilson.
Aside from performing at many jazz festivals and events in Anguilla, Bonaire, St. Lucia, California, New York, United Kingdom, Morocco, India, and South Africa, W.E.S. is an avid composer. He has written music for TV and film including the Steve Harvey Show, Jimmy Kimmel Show, and Bravo’s Real Housewives. He has composed music for various multimedia performances including Step Afrika’s “Migration” and several fashion shows.