/Tag: Jazz
26 03, 2017

Max on “Swing”

By |2019-04-19T16:48:40+00:00March 26th, 2017|Categories: Daniel|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Excerpt from the book Max on “Swing” by Max Bacon (1934)



SWING. I cannot imagine a better name, for to me it conveys everything that is expressed in the ultra-modern rhythm. And before we go any farther, I want to pass this feeling on to you; because, until you learn what it is that we are to do, it is no use attempting to learn how it is to be achieved.

What, then, is this “swing”, which is the very essence of successful rhythmic playing to-day? Is it rhythm ? It is more than rhythm.

It is the very pulse of rhythm – that which beats within rhythm to give it life.
Unless the essential swing is there, the rhythm will cease to inspire: it may even cease to exist. 
Swing is a very elusive thing, but there is no mistaking it when you hear it. It is a sense of rhythmic balance which moves the whole band as one unit. It is a steady sweeping movement, like the swing of the pendulum of a grandfather clock. To and from: to and from.
That is swing ; and until a band get knack of swinging together, that band will not be a success. The expression of the rhythm is of the same type that you see in that super swing acquired by skilled skaters, dancing upon ice – large regular sweeps. 
Mind you, this swing is very difficult to acquire at first. It does not come all at once, even to the best musicians. I have often heard a bunch of well-known players get together for amusement and – experienced though they are – it will be quite a while before they begin to swing as a unit. In the same way, it sometimes happens that a band noted for its swing will lose it for a time. Lack of concentration, or over-tiredness is generally the cause.
But when once you get “into” the swing of the rhythm, you will find that you keep it, for the simple reason that a rhythmic movement, with its regular pulse, is the easiest to maintain.

What is the best way to acquire swing, you may well ask. First and foremost, it is a question of temperament: you must like it when you hear it and you must want to do it yourself. As you know, most dance drummers have become such because they were “drum-minded” ; they had in “in” them to become drummers. In just the same way, you must have it in you to feel that swing behind the rhythm. As I say, it is a question of temperament. It is, of course, partly what we call a gift. You must have the gift of a drumming mind. But it can most definitely be acquired to those who will.

There are several ways of helping yourself to get swing into your work. First and foremost, you must listen to those bands that are known to excel in this. Compare them with others and notice the difference. Then try and analyze their work and discover how this difference is produced. By this means, you will find yourself gradually “soaking your system” in swing until it enters your very blood and becomes part of you.
Having thus acquired it, the best way to produce it is to play easily. Do not be strained or forced. And to do this, you must, of course, have a certain amount of technique…..

Remember that the drummer has a very important part to play in swinging the band: and a poor drummer cannot swing a band, even if it is a good one. And the reverse of this is equally true.




12 04, 2016

Max Roach Drum Solo Book

By |2019-04-28T00:12:51+00:00April 12th, 2016|Categories: Daniel|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

This inspiring book consists of 40 pages of famous Max Roach solos and is now available to order !  Order on the online shop via the link below.
Limited amount available!  Visit www.maxroachsolos.com

“Daniel Israelsen’s transcription book on Max Roach is a must have for every Drummer. Great notation combined with great stickings gives you a tool not to miss as a student of being the next Drummer in demand!”
– Anders Mogensen (Tim Berne, Jerry Bergonzi, Marc Johnson, Steve Swallow, Bob Berg, Michael Formanek, et al., associate Professor at Carl Nielsen Academy of Music, Odense, Denmark)

Max Roach Drum Solo Facebook page

Here is a list of the 15 transcribed drum solos, which will be in the book:

Blues Waltz
The Scene is Clean
Just One of Those Things
Blues Walk
Sweet Clifford
Gertrude’s Bounce
Parisian Thoroughfare
I Get A Kick Out of You
I Get A Kick Out of You (Alternate Take)
I’ll Remember April (Take 3)
Valse Hot
Flossie Lou
Flossie Lou (Alternate take 2)
Flossie Lou (Alternate take 1)
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing.

Very few people are able to work out what Roach actually is playing, so this would indeed help many drummers around the world to study and discover famous Max Roach drum phrases/licks.

The book has been reviewed and recommended by renown Jazz drummers Anders Mogensen, Ralph Salmins, Trevor Tomkins and Michael Skinner.

Make your way to the website store to order your copy. www.maxroachsolos.com/store


18 10, 2014

Harmony and effective change of colour in compositions

By |2019-05-01T18:03:34+00:00October 18th, 2014|Categories: Daniel|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |2 Comments


There are many ways of thinking about composing, sounds and connecting one chord to another.
I will do my best to explain a useful effect that can be applied as well as concepts which helps me when transcribing, composing and arranging.

First of all, I would like to share some fundamentals; the modes of the Major Scale as I see it, complete with chord symbols and slash chords. I will list these in the original (functional) order, but also in an (Modal) order ranging from the brightest sound to the darkest.

Lydian         (Brightest)Major modes
Locrian       (Darkest)

The order in the picture represents each mode as we play the C major scale from C – B. e.g.
Play all the white notes from C-C on the piano (this is the sound of the Ionian scale)
Play all the white notes from D-D on the piano (this is the sound of the Dorian scale)
Play E-E = Phrygian scale, etc. etc.


Slash chords

Some might find it confusing and difficult to understand slash chords, but it’s really not that complicated. Composers make use of slash chords, when they wish to present a particular sound or scale. The way they are represented (using a / ), can indicate either:
1. the scale or mode
2. an inversion of a chord, creating a particular sound. This could for example be ‘5 over 1’ i.e. C/F. It could also be Cm/Bb, and this particular voicing, wants to go Aø – D7(b9) – GΔ. The scale representing the inversion Cm/Bb can suggest the use of either C Dorian or the C Aeolian scale. The Bb is not the start of the scale (it’s just an inversion of Cm7).

Here’s the list of the compulsory slash chords related to the Modes of the Major Scale, but using intervalic numbers, which may be an easier way to remember them. This knowledge will help us to determine whether a composer is referring to a particular scale or simply just an inversion.

Ionian – 4 Δ#11 / 1
Dorian –
Phrygian – b2/1     (example Db/C )  or   b2Δ#11 / 1
Lydian – 2/1
Mixolydian – 7Δ / 1   or minor 5/1  (Dm7/G)
Aeolian – b6Δ / 1    (example AbΔ / C )
Locian – b5Δ / 1

Voicing Tip:
Including the 4th in a voicing, often represents the sound of the mode clearer than the 5th.
FΔ#11/C represents C Ionian, but you could in fact play this chord only (4th step of the scale) whilst changing the bass note, according to which mode you wish to represent.

Have a look at this article on jazz chords and harmony by Jason Lyon, which I found a couple of years ago. All good stuff to know. http://www.breitlinks.com/jazz/decipheringchords.pdf

Tritone substitution

Theoretical fact: When we tritone substitute the V in a  II-V-I, we should include the note of that original chord that we substitute. This will give us the most IN-sound to play on the substitution – the Lydian Dominant scale. In the key of C, the G is such a crucial note as part of the cadence to C.
A straight Db mixolydian (Db7) scale would in fact lead to the key of Gb. However, this could be your choice of sound in a specific context. But knowing the importance of the G creating a Db7#11 is important. The Mixolydian scale is a more angular choice, but would sound ok.


Analysis of effective use of contrasting colours in compositions

As mentioned in another post, I have transcribed several Anders Jormin compositions and have found a great example of how to explain and use one of the most notable writing-effects possible. I’m using the solo section of his composition “Seli” to demonstrate this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HiCop-0jIo starting at 8:35 min.







Bar 1 and 2:  introduce minor keys. The phrygian chord leads nicely into the harmonic minor chord on beat three in bar two..
Bar 3: here we are introduced to the relative majors of the minor chords in bar 1.
Bar 4: we are reminded of the original mood as in the beginning of the sequence. The phrygian scale helps the improviser to shape his phrase into the harmonic minor sound at the end of bar 4 before modulating. The note F is held by the phrygian slash chord before resolving to the note E. Coming from DbΔ, the improviser can still use the Ab ionian scale on the phrygian chord because it’s the third degree of Ab, i.e. the Db bass note descending to the C, creates a minor sound, leading smoothly into the F Harmonic minor scale, just before modulating to A minor.
Bar 5: “Resolution”. New refreshing colour / sound to the piece and gives the sequence more shape and adds variety.
Bar 6: Reminder of the relative major sound related to the original mood / key of the piece. It’s very common to improvise using the lydian scale on major chords, but not always the most effective solution – the decision should always be made with consideration to the surrounding harmony and context. context context context. (in this case, Bobo Stenson uses lydian which is the best sounding solution).
Bar 7: this bar functions as a transition, moving back into the minor mood/key of the piece.
Bar 8: a brief movement from major to harmonic minor, which prepares our ears to go back to the top of the sequence..

This is a perfect example of how “naturals” can create the effect of brightness even though the quality is a minor chord. It proves that context plays a big role in what our ear interprets as bright and dark sounds. The resolution of 3 or 4 flats/sharps, brings the most notable harmonic change (“allowed”) from one chord to the next one. It is this harmonic resolution, which creates less tension and causes a sense of unexpected delight to our ears. This effect is possible because of the context in which it is used. Take the Lydian sound for example:
This sound can come across a serious/powerful sound played in a particular context such as in rapid chord changes, but when applied to a modal situation in a slower tempo, the sound may come across as a bright open sound. That being said, the actual voicing of the chord plays a big role on the overall texture. Powerful sound; when voiced in stacks of fourths. (#4-Δ7-3) Another strong voicing is: 1-3-#4-Δ7. A modal voicing would be the slash chord: G/F

The bottom line: adding 3 or 4 sharps (or resolving 3/4 flats) to a current tonality will give us the most notable change of scene/colour, or whatever you want to call it.

Colouristic mood chart



Our end conclusion and findings are astonishing. When creating a curve representing the change of colours used in Jormin’s composition we are presented with a cultural connection showing us a part of the nature from his homeland Sweden – Mountains 😀


Seli curve