Harmony and Improvisation – Stretching the Envelope

Sunday, March 19, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Harmony and Improvisation – Stretching the Envelope
Age Adult
Event Type Workshop
Department Theory and Improvisation, Composition and Arranging
Day Sun
Instructor Jeff Gardner
Status inperson event


In this harmony and improvisation workshop, Jeff Gardner introduces fresh ideas for expanding the boundaries of jazz harmony through the use of 20th-century contemporary techniques. 

Topics include:


1. Non-common practice combinations of added tones 

2. Polytonality (including use in a tonal context)

3. Non-diatonic bass tones (slash chords on the border of polytonality)

4. Pandiatonicism

5. How to use modes mixed with blues and other standard jazz forms. Includes pentatonic, symmetrical, and synthetic modes

6. Twentieth Century contemporary music as a mine of ideas for jazz and contemporary music.

7. Intervallic structures – chords and lines. These are based on intervals and do not necessarily yield themselves to harmonic analysis. Twelve-tone systems may be applied to jazz but are only sometimes the most interesting or relevant intervallic systems for our music. However, the techniques used by Schoenberg are extremely interesting to the jazz and contemporary musician. These include inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion.

8. “Directed Compositional Exercises” – a series of compositions to be executed by the students based on different parameters of contemporary music, mixed with forms and techniques associated with jazz.

Praise for Jeff Gardner’s books and instructional materials:

“Besides being one of the great pianists of our time, a brilliant composer, Jeff has released a series of books over the years that are important to the development of every pianist, non- pianist, and educator. I highly recommend (Jazz Lines) for all serious students and educators!” – Donald Brown

“Jeff’s piano book is one of the most comprehensive books on any subject you will ever encounter for any level pianist – it’s all here!” – David Liebman

“This is an immense work, complete and of the highest level, of unquestionable value to all those interested in music in general and jazz in particular” – Martial Solal

“With the publication of Popular Music Harmony Vol. I – Cycles, and Vol. II – Cadences and Harmonic Sequences, Jeff Gardner’s reach and impact as an educator and harmonic guru becomes universal. Jeff is clearly an educational author of major significance.” – Mike Holober

“As a method book for budding improvisers on any instrument it should be required reading” – Paul Bley

About Jeff Gardner

Jeff Gardner was born in New York. He studied jazz with Jaki Byard, Charles Banacos, Don Friedman, and John Lewis, classical piano with Ruth Schontal and Ivan Tcherepnin, and harmony with Nadia Boulanger. He has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Gary Peacock, Norma Winstone, Rick Margitza, Rosana Eckert, Eddie Harris, Steve Lacy, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Sheppard, Paulo Moura, Dori Caymmi, Nelson Veras, Leny Andrade, Toninho Horta, Drew Gress, Anthony Pinciotti, and the Piano Quartet with Martial Solal, Jaki Byard, and Paul Bley. Jeff has played in clubs and festivals on 5 continents with his own band and as a solo artist, performing his compositions – a mix of Brazilian and Latin rhythms with jazz and contemporary classical music. Jeff has released 20 CD’s as a leader. His latest releases are a duo with Brazilian vibes player Arthur Dutra and a compilation CD – “Stories.”