Dan Haerle presented a masterclass and concert on Monday, Jan 29, 2007 as a part of the USF Monday Night Jazz Series. I was fortunate enough to be playing in a combo right before the masterclass, which meant Mr. Haerle was able to coach our combo for a short time.
The masterclass was a primer on the process of creating greater and greater interest in solos by progressing from the most basic form of the tune to more complex ways of bringing out its unique qualities. In this case, the tune was Blue Bossa and Haerle showed how, in its most basic form, the tune could be played with a C Melodic Minor Scale and a Db Major scale. He pointed out that the modulation to the b9 Maj was probably the most interesting feature of the tune and how, by using scales other than the modes of the tonic (Db for the four bars in question), he could create sounds that were interesting while remaining diatonic.
The highlight of Mr. Haerle's visit was the evening concert of Haerle originals with Jack Wilkins, T Sax; Mark Neuenschwander, Bass; and Steve Davis, Drums. Hearle's originals were evocative and full of unexpected surprises. The rhythm section rarely laid out a 4-to-the-bar swing, relying instead on rhythmic interplay. Hearle's deadpan humor elicited more than a few chuckles between numbers and he was careful to provide program notes (for the students in the audience, he said) for every piece.
Haerle's appearance is the first of three Monday Night Jazz offerings this semester. Ben Jaffe of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dick Hyman will be at USF in February and March Respectively. More information about the Series can be found here.