Sax Lesson : Transition from Swing Jazz To Bebop

Summary Of Video
This video is the final preparation to learn Bebop, and it explains difference between phrasing of swing jazz style and Bebop. The examples are Lester Young’s solo on ‘Back Home Again In Indiana’ and Charlie Parker’s solo ‘Donna Lee’.
Donna Lee is composed upon chord progression of Back Home Again In Indiana.
Indiana by Lester Young is one of the Aladdin sessions, recorded in 1942. Donna Lee by Charlie Parker here is the one recorded in 1947.
Video explains both similarity and difference of those two solo phrasings and summarize core factors of Bebop phrasings.

Comparing 2 kings of Swing Jazz and Bebop, here comes summary of development of Bebop based on the layer of Swing jazz style.
1 Alternative ideas of Dominant 7th chord with upper extensions such as #9, #11, b13.
2 More appearance of chromatic passing notes and chromatic approach notes.
3 More rhythmic complexity by triplets and 16th notes.

Skype internet video lesson recommendation by my German student.

I got a recommendation letter of my student in Germany. I hope some German saxophonists in suburb would be interested in my lessons.

Lambertus Hinders / Tenor-Saxophonist(Deutschland)
Ich spiele in einer lokalen Jazz-Bigband.
Im Oktober 2012 habe ich New York besucht und ein paar Unterrichtsstunden bei Wataru genommen. Da mir diese sehr gefallen haben,  beschloss ich, sie via Videochat weiter zu führen.
Der Unterricht begann mit grundlegenden Techniken wie Atmung, Zungentechnik und der Einstellung von Blatt und Mundstück. Seit wir begonnen haben, lerne ich hauptsächlich die systematische Solo-Entwicklung im Bebop.
Wataru schickt mir die Unterrichtsmaterialien entweder im Sibelius-Score-Format oder im TIF- oder PDF-Format, die man ohne die Sibelius-Software öffnen kann. Der Vorteil der Sibelius-Dateien ist, dass ich sie in jede Tonart transponieren und so mein eigenes Übungsbuch erstellen kann. Außerdem ermöglicht es das leichte Lernen von Jazz-Phrasen und das Improvisieren von Übungsmaterial.
Besonders interessant ist es zudem, mit Wataru Solos bekannter Jazz-Musiker zu analysieren, wie zum Beispiel die Musik Lester Youngs oder Sonny Rollins‘. Bald werden wir uns intensiv mit Charlie Parker beschäftigen, worauf ich mich schon besonders freue.
Mein Lehrer zeigt mir immer wieder, wie ich die Stücke besonders gut üben kann. Es fühlt sich an, als sei er direkt in meinem Wohnzimmer.
Lambertus Hinders, Leer - Deutschland


Got a sax at a pawnshop? Then, check out my video!!

‘I bought a sax at a pawnshop and I used to play it pretty well.’ I hear such stories one in a while. My question is ‘and why did you stop playing it?’

Through my experience to teach amateur and professional saxophonists, the last year, I started to upload YouTube videos to support people in suburbs of the world, where they can hardly find someone knowledgeable about saxophone and performing it.

An Internet video chat student of mine in Germany is a very hardworking Sunday musician and he drives for 4 hours to join jazz workshops. And he has been studying jazz sax performance with me for 4 years.

First 25 videos I shot in 2016, video number 000-024, are advice that beginners should see. Video 000 starts with how to select reeds and how to put a reed on mouthpiece. Video 001 explains abdominal breathing that is the most important fundamental technique to play wind instruments. And video 008 explains ghost note tonguing with visual image. Some saxophonists of the world have already liked it.

This year, I have started off with a video for intermediate level saxophonist. Video 025 explains chromatic approach note and chromatic passing note associated with basic rhythm analysis of Bebop phrasing. As a matter of fact, I was a teaching assistant of rhythm analysis classes at New School University Jazz And Contemporary Music program in 2001.

I hope my video would help saxophonists who understand my slow English in this world, and those who bought sax at pawnshops would keep playing.

I think a saxophone can be your friend for life. What do you say about that?

Tonight, reunion of the album recording

Tonight, we will be back to Club Bonafide. I have rehearsed a couple of new tunes and the band sounds great. Ticket is available here.

Vanderlei Pereira at Predawn Shenanigans Club recording

Vanderlei Pereira at Predawn Shenanigans Club recording

The pianist of my band, Abelita Mateus, is a part of Blue Note Jazz Festival this year with Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience. Bassist, Itaiguara Brandão, has released his own leading album, 'Awakening'. his album is recorded with Dom Salvador, Paulo Braga, and some giants of Brazilian music. And the master drummer, Vanderlei Pereira, is extremely busy and he says he can’t even go to beach these days.   

This is a reunion of my ‘Predawn Shenanigans Club’ recording. Besides their virtuosity, they are keen and deep to understand idea of compositions and make music organic, sometimes sweet or wild. Well, if you will see the show, you will know that. Enjoy sunlight today and come to the club tonight!  

Club Bonafide 212 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022
11PM Saturday June 18, 2016


Have you met Ms. Clarke?

About 10 years ago, I often went to a jazz cafe in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, and joined jam sessions there. The bassist of the house band was strong. I met the bassist. Her name is Kim Clarke. They said she ever performed with Joe Henderson. That did make sense.
I was playing straight ahead jazz back them with my bassist, Scott Shaeffer. After a while, I lost the band by a couple of sad incidents and I stopped playing music.

And then, I started a recording project with a Brazilian jazz bassist, Nilson Matta, who also worked with Joe Henderson on a Grammy Award winning album. Since then, I have been working on fusing my idea of composition and Brazilian rhythmic formulas.
June 10th, I will play at Inkwell (408 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn) as one of PLG Arts organization jazz events. Firstly, I thank the organizer, Rina Kleege, for supporting jazz for a decade in our neighborhood. This time, the band is straight ahead, and I made a phone call to Ms. Clarke, and she will join the show as a bassist. I hope I would sound as strong as she is.

A night at Arthur's Tavern

Recently, I've been having fun playing standard tunes with Yuichi Hirakawa jazz band at Arthur's Tavern in West Village, NYC. It was just a coincident that the band was all-Japanese tonight. And I had a pretty good time playing with Yoshiaki Masuo, a guitarist who ever performed and recorded with Sonny Rollins. The bassist of the band, Kenji, said 'Mr. Masuo has a very clear concept of his music and I can hear it through his sound well. That's why we can make pretty good music together spontaneously.' I see his point. It was a long time ago that I sat in a gig with Mr. Masuo. I think his music has aged with him in a positive sense. It was like 'I will speak slowly so that you will get it. And you may like it. Let's see!'

@ Arthur's Tavern   57 Grove St, New York, NY

By the way, Yuichi Hirakawa jazz band performs every Tuesday, and after that, E. J. Sharpe band plays funky good-and-old-time top 30.  You should check it out.    

Not so straight ahead at Shrine.

I will be playing at Shrine World Music Venue on Tuesday, December 15. It's 6-8PM. We will feature Malik Washington on drums and will play jazz tenor giants' compositions in bit twisted rhythmic approach.  His video below is a bit old but his energy is still the same and his drumming is more sophisticated now. And I got a fantastic artist on keyboard, Yago Vãzquez. We will also play tunes by myself and Paul Sanwald, on bass. I have been in my project with Brazilian jazz rhythm section players for 7 years and this is a gentle fresh start of my jazz straight ahead (yet in odd meters and other TWISTED rhythm). The gig will be streamed at

Shrine World Music Venue      2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030

MC was great?! And my tie looked good.

It was great playing at Club Bonafide. Staffs are very professional and the decor is nice.
The room unites the musicians and audiences well.

Here is a cell phone video by my supporter No.001.

I wrote this tune for my friend's son, named REN which means lotus. Buddha meditated on lotus. And that's why my friend named his son in that way. The rhythm of the tune is from Maracatu, ritual of North Eastern Brazil. A bassist is usually playing behind me so that I don't have any idea who he looks, and it is a pleasant surprise that Oleg Osenkov looks very cool when he plays base. Abelita Mateus sounds great and looks great as always. Vanderlei Pereira is also fantastic on drums. And my red necktie looks good!!  I got a lot of compliment about my MC ( speech between tunes). I think it was a pretty good entertainment. I thank all of the people who came to share the fun time with us.

At Bonafide, 11/11

A midtown jazz venue was closed down and reborn as a real deal jazz club by a bassist, Richard Bona. I am going to play there on November 11th. We will celebrate a new CD, Predawn Shenanigans Club, featuring the pianist of the recording, Abelita Mateus and drummer Vanderlei Paraira. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the bassist of the recording but I got Oleg Osenkov, who has been playing with us. 

When they soft-opened the club, Bonafide, the master Brazilian guitarist, Romero Lubambo, performed at the opening celebration. Mr. Lubambo joined my first recording and I guess my kind of music is close to the musical direction of the venue.  

Please come over with your friends and family! The venue and I set the cover as $15! We will hit it at 10PM. The music we will play is on video page of this site!

It's going to be a bit wilder!

November 11, 2015           Address: 212 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022
                                                                   Phone:(646) 918-6189




A Film Scoring Gig The Night Before Thanksgiving

My friend, Lily van Leeuwen, has sent me an image file. I think it was about 2 years ago. I had a very strange gig. Lily was producing a film based on a script by her friend, Mia Taper. She told me to record a sax solo for a short film. And firstly, she said 'any old tune is fine', I said 'I don't get it. At least, I should read the script'. After all, I offered my original tune for the film so that they didn't need to deal with the copyright registration. Fortunately, Lily personally liked one of my original tune, "Green Eyes" and she thought it was good for the scene. Now, my struggle started after the discussion because she told me to change the way to play sax according to the character of the drama and story. I have never allowed anybody to tell me how to play my original tunes before or after that.

The story is about an African American saxophonist and his family. My recording was going to be used for the scene the man tries to seduce a stranger in front of him at a jazz club. Well, that's what I always try and never make. I mean I am not very good at it.

Anyways, I didn't think I did well. And I didn't hear about the film from her for a long time after the gig. A year later, I got Facebook text from Lily. She was at the 2014 NYU film festival. The film got an award that is The Best Original Score. YES, the film had no music but my sax solo.

And about a year after that, I was checking out my past works and she sent me the official letter. I remember that we didn't have very long time at studio because it was the day before thanksgiving. But she never gave up to tell me what she wanted until the last second. That's what I like about artists. I can see her dream through her eyes every time I see her.


The Ninja Reunion

At Flushing Town Hall on September 18, 2015

At Flushing Town Hall on September 18, 2015

I guess the support members of Tokyo Jazz Orchestra didn't know why I was doing a lecture about scale and melody, and combo performance before the big band show. It was because the Flushing Town Hall requested us to have a bit of opening stuff only by Japanese musicians. I played my original composition, "Black Current" that is on both of my albums, "Blue Morpho" and "Predawn Shenanigans Club". The drummer on the stage, Yuichi Hirakawa, came all the way to Flushing only for the 30 minutes of opening performance with us. Also I got two musicians from Japan.

In 2010, I had a concert at Museum of the City of New York. The museum had a photo exhibition titled ‘SAMURAI IN NEW YORK: THE FIRST JAPANESE DELEGATION, 1860’ I made a quintet instantly with Yuichi Hirakawa, Toru Dodo, and very good Japanese jazz artists and I played some tunes including this Black Current, as an pre-event in celebration of Asian-Psific American Heritage Month.

The exhibition was about Samurai, and I was like ‘why don’t I name the band after bad guys of a ninja anime?’ And I actually named the quintet, Akatsuki. You don’t get it if you don’t follow the anime, Naruto.

Anyways, this tune, Black Current, has a kind of Asian sound so that it works well at such events. For the drummer, Yuichi, it was the tune he played only once five years ago, but he sounded great. Yuichi Hirakawa is playing at Arthur’s Tavern in West Village every Tuesday. Check him out!!




Learned with real succesors.

Celebrating 55th Anniversary of New York city and Tokyo as sister cities, a jazz big band performed in New York a couple of nights. I expected more than a half of the band to be Japanese musicians from Tokyo, but it turned out the band had a lot more New York local support musicians than ones from Japan. I had to lead the rehearsals of this East Meets West, Tokyo Jazz Orchestra in front of Ms. Linda Hudson, a jazz pianist and jazz critic, who has her own big band. The first show was at such a beautiful concert hall of Flushing Town Hall on September 18th, 2015. And second one was at The Interchurch Center in West Harlem on September 19th.

Among those support members, there were such wonderful musicians who lead their generation, such as Lessie Vonner on trumpet, Corey Wallace on trombone. To me, the most stunning musician of the band was a tenor saxophonist, Camille Thurman. From now on, I will change my schedule to see her shows as possible. It's not because I want to copy her way to play (it's simply impossible anyways). Her sound comes through my skin and rock my heart so easily. That's so joyful. The picture is at the Interchurch Center with her and a young clarinet player, Zoe, who studies with Ms. Hudson. My job was a pain in ass but it was nice hanging out with such beautiful people.     

With Paul Sanwald...

I played with my friend, Paul Sanwald, on June 20, 2015 at The Drawing Room in Brooklyn. There is pretty nice Steinway grand piano. It's on the third floor of a building in downtown Brooklyn and probably, it's not easy to get crowd from street and the place might need some time to be established as a neighborhood jazz spot. I personally thought it might be good to have afternoon jazz shows that were friendly to children. Well, I don't think the owners would like the idea. I hope I can play with this band again sometime soon. By the way, a couple of people from my hometown said I got fat, seeing the video of recent recording. Yes, it is because I was eating 4 meals everyday for about a week to get stamina for the 12 hours recording session. I look like this picture now. It's not too bad, right?    

Mastering Engineer, a son of Les Paul...

The recording and mixing engineer of my Predawn Shenanigans Club Project is Marc Urselli. He has ever worked on a couple of Grammy Award winning recordings of Les Paul. Marc recommended me several mastering engineers, and one of them was Gene Paul, a son of Les Paul. 

And I checked out the wikipedia page about him.    Well, I found a chart of his work ever and it turned out that he has worked with projects of Benny Golson and John Coltrane and so many of the legends. What I was concerning about was not the skill of those engineers but their experience with sound of real wind instruments. Because there are less and less jazz recordings with good horn sound and also less chances for everybody to see live performances of good horn players. Having checked his past works, I asked Mr. Paul to be my mastering engineer and it looks like he enjoyed working on my music. My request was to do the least things with the deepest consideration. He certainly took my message. I designed my CD cover myself and people are printing my CD at a factory somewhere now.   

70 years old microphone

Yesterday, I got the final mix of my recording project at Eastside Sound studio in Lower East Side in NYC. Here is a picture of the microphone I used at the recording. It is called RCA-KU3A. The engineer, Marc Urselli, said it is made in 1940s to 50s. It is pretty big like a soda can and top part is deformed. 


The day of recording, I asked to set two microphones on my sax but Marc was smiling and setting just this huge guy. He said 'let's do microphone check and tell me if you need another one'. I was expecting something like an old Neumann microphone but it's far beyond that. My friend DooSoo Kim will edit video of this recoding and I will put it on this site. You will see me playing with my eyes closed. And the saxophone bell sometimes went off of the microphone but it didn't matter.    

Now, I have to decide about mastering engineer. When we had the second rehearsal for the project, it was snowing hard. It feels like early summer now. I have to push everything forward.  

Cafe's weird song of Japan

Currently, I am moving my website from to And I'm reviewing a lot of old stuffs. Today, I happened to find a picture of Cafe da Silva and Romero Lubambo when they joined my recording project years ago.

The day of the recording of Album 'Blue Morpho', the master percussionist, Cafe da Silva, was singing in Portuguese and Japanese, and I asked Nilson Matta what Cafe was singing in Portuguese part. Nilson said 'Cafe is singing like I went to Japan and girls were beautiful and food were delicious, and random bullshits'. It seemed that Cafe improvised a song but it didn't have a form or any harmony. And he asked Romero Lubambo, who was setting up for the recording, to harmonize the weird song of Japan. The master guitarist, Mr. Lubambo, instantly caught the melody and harmonized it in some seconds. And Cafe was very happy singing 'arigato-itadakimasu......connichiwa-gochisosamadesitaaaaaa...'

Those master musicians were super relaxed until the engineer rolled the first take of the day. It was at the studio owned by a very good man, Manfred Knoop.