Cyd Smith Workshop & Swing Jam - November 17, 2018

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Cyd Smith Workshop & Swing Jam

Saturday, November 17th, 2018 

10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Intro to Swing Workshop: Jumpin' at Jazz Night School

The swing feel is one of the foundations of jazz. In this workshop we’ll explore the basics--as well as the subtleties--of 1930’s and 40’s swing feel by delving into a Count Basie riff tune. Riff tunes, such as C Jam Blues, are a great way to lock into a swinging groove, as well as being an open door into improvisation. If "improvising" is still a scary word for you, riffs are your answer. Less complicated than the melody, less daunting than scales, riffs help you instantly sound like you know what you’re doing! And even for more advanced players, riffs are a great way to add energy and variety to any solo!

This workshop is for beginning and intermediate musicians who want to

  • learn how to implement swing groove as a rhythm player AND as a lead player
  • practice playing as an ensemble: listening while playing, being in our ears rather than our eyes (in other words, we’ll try not to use charts too much).
  • do lots of playing, not so much talking

Guitar and uke fretboard diagrams provided-mandolinists and ukes are also welcome!


1:00 - 3:00 pm - Swing Jam for Beginners (Suggested donation)

Are you curious about swing? Is it different than mainstream jazz? From gypsy jazz? If you have ever listened to the Count Basie big band, the Nat King Cole Trio, the early recordings of Ella Fitzgerald, or Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, then you know the answer. Swing's infectious dance rhythms, vast repertoire of songs written by such masters as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George and Ira Gershwin, and its adaptability to many kinds of instruments and vocalists give it its own distinct flavor and appeal.

 It’s great music to play with others, and in this jam we’ll make it easy. We’ll choose songs with no more than 4 or 5 chords, keep the tempos slow, and focus on good jam etiquette and listening-while-you-play skills. Not only is swing great music for horns, it works beautifully with all kinds of stringed instruments, so bring not only your clarinet but your guitar, ukulele, fiddle, or mandolin! And bring your voice—I’ll provide lyrics to some simple songs. 


About Cyd Smith

Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Cyd Smith began studying classical guitar in her early teens and majored in music at Stanford University. Early on in her musical explorations she discovered the rich treasury of American vintage popular and folk music, especially  the jazz and swing music of the 20’s, 30's, and 40’s. Ever since she has delved deeply into the guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters of those eras. All these influences feed into her own genre-blending/bending songwriting.

Over the years she has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Rebecca Kilgore, Casey MacGill, Russ Barenberg, Mary Flower, and Laurie Lewis. Her passion for teaching swing—and in particular making it accessible to beginning students-- has made Cyd a favorite teacher at music camps through the US. The long list of camps she has taught at include the Puget Sound Workshop, Augusta Heritage Blues and Swing Workshop, Centrum Vintage Jazz Workshop, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop, Alaska Acoustic Guitar Camp, Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop, California Coast Music Camp, and many more.