Spirit of the Snail video with melting snowball poem

Spirit of the Snail is a syllable-based melting snowball set to music; the poem is about simply staying present and draws upon shamanic snail symbolism…

When one dawdles sweetly and considers how
calm, stillness, and contemplation reveal
the detailed beauty of slow motion,
obviousness resurfaces.
Slowness seems necessary,
in all simplicity.
No one can lock up,
deep in its shell,
the spirit
of the
snail!

vegan broccoli salad and Teddy Wilson

Welcome to Jimi’z Café, a place for simple recipe ideas for the hungry, vegan and gluten free jazz musician!

Well actually, a place for all people with taste buds who enjoy eating healthy food and caring for our beautiful planet in general… And I’ll make a point of pairing each recipe with some of my favourite jazz music for you to discover and enjoy whilst cooking. :)

So, let’s dive in! Here’s our first one: a tasty vegan broccoli salad accompanied by master pianist Teddy Wilson’s on “Fools Rush In.”

Jimi'z Café - vegan broccoli salad photo © Jim Funnell
Jimi’z Café – vegan broccoli salad
photo © Jim Funnell

Now, ingredients… For the dressing:

  • soy sauce;
  • rice vinegar;
  • olive oil;
  • safflower oil;
  • tahini.

For the salad:

  • broccoli (boiled or steamed for just a few minutes);
  • garlic;
  • linseeds;
  • cilantro.

Oh, and let’s not forget: Teddy’s inimitable swing!

She’s Out of My Life arrangement on Jazz Magazine staff playlist

The arrangement of Tom Bahler’s hit song “She’s Out My Life” that Jim Funnell contributed on saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa‘s debut album Woandering has been featured in a monthly playlist curated by the staff at Jazz Magazine, France’s foremost publication entirely dedicated to jazz.

playlist Philippe Lopes de Sa / Jim Funnell
Jazz Magazine
2017-07

Philippe Lopes de Sa / Jim Funnell
She’s Out of My Life

“Not only are the eleven original compositions by this saxophone and piano duo remarkable, but this arrangement of Michael Jackson’s hyper-emotional ballad (“Off the Wall”, 1979) will not possibly leave you indifferent.”

Where? “Woandering” (philippe-lopes-de-sa.com / cdbaby.com)

Le Baiser Salé concert announcement on Le jars jase jazz

20170217 Baiser Salé
Double bill concert “AfuriKo + Jim Funnell’s Word Out” at Le Baiser Salé (an inimitable Parisian jazz club when it comes to jazz with a world music flavour!) announced on jazz critic Guillaume Lagrée’s blog “Le jars jase jazz:” Jazz concerts selection in Paris and Île-de-France for February 2017.

Getting into the Altered Sound

Let’s take a look at a few things that can be done when an altered dominant chord presents itself in a tune (e.g. Eb7alt). The first thing to know is that the altered chord derives from the altered mode, otherwise known as mode VII of melodic minor. But to break out of the diatonic sound of the scale and gain a little freedom with it, here are a few tricks…

There are 5 different triads that can be used as numerators (the denominator being the basic chord sound, i.e. combinations of chord tones 1, 3, and b7) to get a solid sounding upper structure triad voicing for an altered chord:

  • bIImi
  • bIIImi
  • bV
  • bVI

getting-into-the-altered-sound_screenshot-1

You can then combine both minor triadic upper structures and both major triadic upper structures to form two hexatonic scales, which can be used as interesting melodic devices:

  • bIImi / bIIImi
  • bV / bVI

getting-into-the-altered-sound_screenshot-2

Now, if you take a closer look at both these hexatonics, you’ll notice that they have five notes in common. These notes make up a pentatonic scale (bV major pentatonic, a.k.a. bIII minor pentatonic), which can also be used as an even more angular melodic device.

getting-into-the-altered-sound_screenshot-3

Click “Download File” below to hear the midi examples notated above. The full PDF document is also available here. Enjoy!

“Meditative practicing” technique

The following “meditative practicing” technique comes in really handy when far away from your instrument.

All you have to do is choose a notated piece of music that you’ve got memorized and try and play it in your mind as precisely as possible, hearing it, and even feeling the touch of the piano (this also works if you play another instrument: just mentally recall the feeling you experience when playing your particular instrument). For pianists, Bach’s Inventions work well because they consist of two contrapuntal parts, which are already challenging enough to hear simultaneously with the mind’s ear. But you can choose virtually any piece of music. When a passage seems unclear, go back and “replay” it again, slower if necessary (just as you would when you practice on your instrument) until you’re able to hear each note, as well as each item of expression attached to each note, with utmost precision.

This technique certainly requires sharp concentration and thus works best in a calm environment. But if practiced correctly, its benefits are certainly to be felt as soon as you return to the piano (the following day for example – it’s always good to allow the mental exercise to fully sink in during the night…): overall, your knowledge of the piece will have been considerably strengthened; your memory won’t fail you and you’ll be able to concentrate on musicality right off the bat.