These comments appeared on Frank Singer.com
between 2002 and 2005. They are the original comments and answers. Please visit
the current Comments Page to leave new
Reviews of CDs are welcome there.
If you wish to reach me directly,
please e-mail me.
20 Sep 2002
great site, frank. a lot of hard work went into it, and it is completely
homegrown. not only are you a great musician, but a great web designer as well.
look for my order for the cds. - monkey hollow alumnus
27 Sep 2002
Nice site Frank, good to see such a large amount of .... "content"! I'll be
checking back often, John Trevethan
25 Oct 2002
I love your theory den's overview of Bebop technique. I hope you'll continue
with more theory, esp. analyzing changes (for improvisational purposes). I know
there's lot's of material out there on modal playing/theory, but I'd like to
hear any unique insights or approaches to modal you may have. Also, do you have
suggestions for making the bebop technique cross over into modal playing, or is
it really not compatible? Thanks! --- Bob D.
That's a lot to cover, so I will be brief but concise.
More theory is coming, but there is some "catch-up" to be done first. Learning
web-design took time away from other chores!
As to the modes, bear in mind that there are many other ways of approaching
this, but here are a couple of things to get you started.
Modality is defined by exclusion, which means that the progression can be modal,
and your approach to improvisation may be modal OR non-modal (ie - BeBop).
I always begin my technical approach to modal use of scales to the modal
breakdowns - playing the scales in 2, 3, and 4 note patterns, like: c-d-e-f,
Once you have worked with these breakdowns, the next step is to create more
complex sequences, such as: c-d-e-f-g-e-c, d-e-f-g-a-f-d, e-f-g-a-b-g-e,.....
(played with a break for 8, or without a break for 7).
These sounds can be layered, altered, combined, and manipulated until their
natural sound and feeling-tone connect with your spontaneity.
To create BeBop flavorings, simply treat the modal I chord as the chord for
tensions, passing tones and approaches. In modes, the extension chords can also
be approached, a technique which sounds great!
I have found that these two techniques yield vast variations, and work extremely
well in combination. For a demonstration of the contrast, transcribe the John
Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly solos from the Miles Davis track So What (Kind
of Blue), and compare the two approaches. You will find 'Trane's to be much more
modal, and Cannonball's to be more BeBop oriented.
Hopefully, this will trigger you into finding and "hearing" your own approaches
Thanks for the questions! peace - f
01 Feb 2003
It would be better if you put your cord voicing for the tunes.
I assume that you were scanning the original charts. There are some, listed as
Piano Scores, or just Scores, which contain the actual voicings used. Most are
listed in what is called Lead Sheet format, which contains the melody and chord
changes. This format is subject to the interpretation of the musician playing
the chart. Voicings can then be selected by style, sound, or by transcribing the
voicings from an existing recording. Most of the tunes listed are recorded, so
purchasing a CD with the tune would give you access to the voicings used in
Cat's A Bear. Some tunes are intentionally left open-ended so they can be
stylized and interpreted in different ways, and not necessarily on guitar. If
you have more specific questions about a tune or concept, contact me here or at
Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the music! peace - f
22 Dec 2003
Frank, I don't know you and never heard of you :), but this is some good/decent
music here. Nice job. (I definately wouldn't mind having a CD of some of this
stuff in my collection, and will soon) -Michael
Thanks for visiting my site. I appreciate the supportive comments. I hope you
will check out the 'oFF tHE tOP: standards 1' CD that is for sale through CD
Baby. The link is http://www.cdbaby.com/franksinger. Other CDs are listed
throughout the site, centralized on the NKP page.
I hope that you will hear more about me and those here in the Eastern Great
Lakes Region of the U.S. We are in the process of establishing a regional
presence with our music, including Cat's A Bear,
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm,
One World Tribe, and an assortment of other projects we are involved in. Thanks
again for your interest, and I hope you enjoy the CDs!
peace - f
27 Dec 2003
well.......not good..that's all i can say..actually... very BAD....I'm a pro
jazz guitarist in new york..and well known also..no names mentioned and don't
mean to brag.. but you really need to do some work ..and i'm basically very
shocked at listening to the demo mp3's of your solo playing. I rather not
elaborate. sorry to pass on the bad news.. good luck
Thank you for your comments, critical though they may be. I would actually
appreciate your elaboration. If the playing is as bad as you say, then I can
obviously use constructive criticism to learn to improve. I would also love to
know who you are, so that I can perhaps listen to some of your music and study
it to improve my own playing. Isn't this how the jazz world works?
You might also want to assess a more current work. My solo CD, released last
year, has a separate web site,
http://www.standards-1.com, where you can hear
clips of the recording. Two-minute clips are also available for listening at
Just a reminder, also. The mp3 clips are there for free, for downloading and
listening. My primary intention here is to present material not slated for
release, strictly for the enjoyment of my fans and listeners (yes, believe it or
not, I do have fans!). The work that I sell is more current, and due to further
study and experience, of a higher quality. I hope you will consider contacting
me here, or at email@example.com, or at least considering adding further
comments to elaborate your position.
I wish you much good luck, although it doesn't sound like you need much luck
anymore. I appreciate your taking the time to post your comments. I hope to
learn from them.
peace - f
31 Jan 2004
I agree with Frank, let's hear his pro-style! I think that "pro jazz
guitarist's" comment was non-practical and idiotic. There I said it...
Thanks for the support! I must say, in
my experience it is unusual for a New York musician to not stand more directly
behind their statements. Nonetheless, I try and improve from any criticism I
might receive, however nebulous it might be.
In my opinion, the object of criticism is to teach and support each other in any
way we can, which I actually prefer to call 'critiquing'. The music business can
be harsh and difficult, and it is not always in favor of the musician, so
helping each other in any way possible seems to be the best course.
In that spirit, best of luck to all of us!
peace - f
29 Mar 2004
Post and Response
I have posted this exchange here on the website because I could not successfully
reply to the sender via return email. I hope this reply gets to the original
sender, but if not, perhaps it may help others.
I have recently came across your web site and I find it real informative with
great examples. I recently heard about the hexatonics through some musician
friends of mine. I was given a sheet with all the possible chord qualities of C.
Next to each chord quality was two triads that can be used. I am not really sure
how to practice these triads against the chords and get it into my ear and
playing. Would you have some suggestions as to how to go about doing this?
Thanks for contacting me. I am glad you are getting interested in hexatonics -
it's a great sound!
First, the general definition of a hexatonic scale is the combination of any two
MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE triads, but most typically these will be two major triads a
whole step apart. If you are looking for that "hexatonic sound", this is
generally the way to get it. Having said that, any combination of triads will
produce a similar effect. For C, the typical hexatonic scale is created from the
D major and C major triads. (You could also use D and Em, Em and F#o, F#o and G,
G and Am, Am and Bm, or Bm and C.)
Following our example of D and C major, we would create a scale: D E F# G A C -
the combination of the two triads. Then, initially, anything you can do with
another scale you can do with this one. Hexatonic scales are also "true chord
scales", meaning they are made from chord tones and tensions, or are considered
modal, and therefore have no avoid notes, so you can play patterns as well as
other ideas. If you are familiar with modal breakdowns, like D E F#, E F# G, F#
G A, G A C, A C D, C D E..., then simply apply these to the scale. To work with
your ears, either hum the root of the C chord while playing your lines, or
record or have a friend play the chord and sound your ideas against it.
One of my favorite ways to use the scales is to create passing tone lines from
them. Passing tones move in between chord tones, but in the case of hexatonics
we use an "overlay" concept, meaning we will play as though the chord tones of
the D triad are the notes to pass between, and the notes from the C triad are
the passing tones. This produces three "cells": D-E-F#, F#-G-A, and A-C-D, which
can be played in either direction. Choose a rhythmic resolution (the number and
type of note for your measure). In this example I will use the rhythmic
resolution of one measure of 8th notes, which will give us 8 events for each
chord. Thus, I can create lines for C such as the following:
D E F# A D C A D
D C A G F# G A F#
A D C A F# E D (rest)
F# D F# G A D C A
And so forth. As long as you create focus on the D triad notes, and pass through
the C triad notes, you will hear the sound of the D chord being focused on over
top of the C chord being played by the rhythm section. This is a characteristic of
the hexatonic sound.
For more, try listening to McCoy Tyner, especially the "Passion Dance" cut from
"The Real McCoy", and anything else in this era. McCoy also used the hexatonic
sound in some of his later work with the Coltrane quartet that did "My Favorite
Things". I also use hexatonics in several of the cuts on Cat's A Bear's "Tito:
In Search of a Revolution". The charts are online in my original music section,
so you can see how I write them into melodies.
Let me know how you do with this, and if my directions are clear. Good luck, and
enjoy the sounds!
peace - f
25 Sep 2004
Greetings. I am a pro musician visiting your planet, researching the music of
primitive developing cultures. I am very well known throughout the galaxy. I
don't mean to brag. My name is not important since I am not well known on Earth.
I was basically very shocked to hear your music. I never expected to hear such
music on such a primitive planet as Earth. I'd rather not elaborate. Suffice it
to say that I think your playing is out of this world. The Tonemasters of the
Eternal Vibe salute your dedication to bringing higher vibrations to the lower
density realms. Perhaps we can arrange a tour of some of the hot spots at the
Greetings, Tonemaster of the Eternal
Thank you for your kind words, and for considering our planet for your research.
We here at Naked Kitty Productions think our music is a cut above, but we never
thought we would rise to the heights of Galactic notice. We hope it brings joy
and harmony to the galaxy, which is also our goal here on the planet Earth.
Music which vibrates at a higher rate inspires a corresponding rise in
consciousness. My crew here lives by the words 'One Mind At A Time', which means
that we seek to raise the consciousness of those who are ready, so they may do
the same to those with whom they come in contact. As I am sure you can see,
there is much work to be done. It is gratifying to be noticed on so grand a
I look forward to my tour - may I bring a few friends?
peace - f
24 Jan 2005
Hi... I really looked forward hearing "off the top" ( by the way, a Jimmy Smith
record with george benson has the same name. ) But I kinda agree with the "pro"n.y.
guitarist, I was disappointed. I`ll try to briefly explain why... First of all,
why did you play Donna Lee like you did? If you`re going to play the tune that
fast, you gotta work with phrasing and TIME!!! And your picking, Sounds sloppy.
The melody was not that good played either. The sweeping part is bad. And all
the things you are: a lot of the lines sound uncompleted. They`re "correct", but
they don`t sound good. And the picking-technique on this one too is bad. Try to
slow things down to the tempo you feel comfortable with, that goes to all of
your tunes. And try to swing. If you listen to the great solo-guitarist like
Pass, Benson etc, they play very cool and soulful. This is what I missed most on
your album, beside all of the meaningless "burning". I hope you`ll consider
these few things if you`re going to release standards 2. Take care. Michael
Thank you for your comments regarding "Off The Top: Standards 1". I am very
sorry that you were disappointed by the CD.
First of all, please note that the CD can be returned within fourteen days
directly to CD Baby on a full money back guarantee. If you have passed the
fourteen day mark, please contact me directly at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I
will arrange to have you return the CD directly to me for a full refund in US
Dollars, by personal check. I would rather you get your money back than keep a
CD that you are unsatisfied with.
As to the question you ask regarding Donna Lee - why did I play it the way that
I did? Well, Michael, basically I play the way that I do because it's fun. I am
a bit surprised that you criticize the "time" - I assume you are indicating that
there is inconsistency here. Quite a few bass players (for some reason it seems
to be bassists) have told me they use the CD to play along with because the time
is locked and they can work on tempo. Perhaps my phrasing problems disturb the
time in a way that makes it sound inconsistent to you. Your other critiques are
noted - and I see your point. If I ever record Donna Lee again I will consider
In general, I do play fast, and that is both because I hear that way and because
I find it fun to play. My intention with making the CD was to play a set the way
I would normally. I also wanted an honest representation of how I was playing at
the time. That is why I took first takes on everything except There Will Never
Be Another You and Miami Beach Rhumba. I made a decision many years ago that I
would push my playing to the edge and take risks, and this includes not allowing
a lot of retakes on the CD. I have of course received many complaints in the
past regarding slowing down and playing less notes. I have to stay true to the
way I perceive my music, and I do realize that cuts down on the number of
listeners I reach. I am sorry that you will become one of those, but I cannot be
for everyone and still accomplish my goals in music.
Being in the Jazz world and in other styles of music has made me realize that I
will probably not appeal to the mainstream jazz listener as much as some. I did
listen to (and see live) Joe Pass, and studied his playing. I certainly listened
to Benson, and other masters such as Wes Montgomery. My influences also include
players like Art Tatum, John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, Eric Dolphy and others who
push the envelope of mainstream. These influences and interests come out in my
playing as much as the mainstream ones, and perhaps this is also unappealing to
I did think I was swinging on the CD, so perhaps my perception of swing needs
work. Do you have examples in your playing that you could point me to? I assume
you are a guitarist since you discussed the sweep picking and other technical
devices. Please point me in the direction so I can learn. I am also surprised
that you found the ballads unappealing. I did try to balance the disc, as I
would a live set.
Again, I am very sorry that you are disappointed by the CD, and I hope you will
return it for your full money back. Thank you for your honesty, and for
identifying yourself to me. Good luck with all of your endeavors.
peace - f
25 Jan 2005
Hi again... yeah, I`m a guitarist... thanks for taking time to read my critic. I
understand the things you mention, but I still kinda disagree. But I still don`t
understand your time and phrasing on Donna Lee? The tempo you set at the
beginning at with the walking bass, does not match the "theme" tempo in my ears?
Yeah, it`s fast, but anyway...It seems very "rushing" My favourites like Benson
and Martino also play long flowing (fast) lines, but they`re more distinct in
their playing I think. But they`re especially gifted though :) Anyway, good luck
with your playing. Michael
Hi again, Michael!
Wow, Donna Lee seems to have really upset you! I'm sorry again that you didn't
enjoy the music. I also reiterate that you may email me at
and I will arrange to refund your full CD Baby purchase price if you will simply
return the CD. Just email me to make arrangements!
I am not sure what you mean by matching the "theme" tempo. Do you mean to say
that the time changes from the melody to the bass line, or do you mean that the
feel doesn't match? I am curious. Truthfully, it has been a few years since I
played the music on the disc, and I haven't had time to listen to it recently,
so I will have to check it out with your critiques in mind.
I love Benson and Martino also, and find their fat sounds and poppy lines
interesting and fun. Excellent players both, and great influences. I have never
considered myself "gifted", so perhaps that's the lack that you are hearing in
my playing. I was not a "natural" player - I had to work for every line and note
that I play. I have a knack for composition in that it's fairly easy for me to
come up with something, but that never seemed to transfer to the playing except
in the ease of having ideas to play. I also thought my time was pretty good, and
have had others say so as well, but perhaps you are hearing a lack that I need
to pay more attention to.
I do very much appreciate your taking the time to communicate with me regarding
your critiques. I have to say that I give more credence to your comments since
you are willing to go into detail and sign your name. Do you have some
recordings out there that I might listen to? I would be curious to hear how you
interpret the music we are discussing.
Thanks again for being up front, and remember, just email me at
to return your copy of "Off The Top" for a full refund.
peace - f
25 Jan 2005
Hi I hope I didn`t offend you. That was not my intention at all. I just wrote
what I thought. No, it hasn`t upset me at all :) I just didn`t quite catch your
interpretation of Donna Lee. You asked what I meant; well, I think when you play
the theme you "cut" a lot of endings. The melody should be clearer, I think
maybe it has something to do with sweep-picking at some of the phrase-endings.
But I hear you like to play fast, that`s cool :) Regarding, your time, Body &
Soul sounds really good. Much more relaxed. And much better phrasing. I`m a
quite young jazz-guitar student from Norway. And a lot of the things I
mentioned, is things I work a lot with, and which I consider some of the most
important things regarding any kind of music really. But, anyway, again hope I
didn`t offend you in any way. Great site by the way... here`s a link to my music
(my compositions): a demo from last year, hope to record something new soon...
Please don't worry about offending me. I am from New Jersey (if you don't know,
we are somewhat thick-skinned, being kind of crammed in between New York and
Philadelphia). Of course, it is difficult to have your work critiqued, but
without this there would never be any growth. My best teachers and fellow
musicians have always given me honest appraisals of my work, and it has helped
me grow continually.
I am glad to hear that there some redeeming features on the disc for you. Please
understand that in addition to being the artist, I am also the head of the
company that sells the product. Naked Kitty Productions has been in existence
since 1982, and we have always backed up our products with a money-back
guarantee. My primary concern was that you had paid for something that you were
dissatisfied with, and that was never our intention. We try to represent our
music with samples and descriptions that are as accurate as we can make them.
This is a personal business for those of us involved, and we try to take good
care of our customers, and that's you! (Thanks, by the way.)
I must say your initial agreement with the "pro ny" guitarist led me to believe
you were dissatisfied. "...very BAD...shocked..." was a little hard to take,
even for a guy from 'Jersey. I hope I am a little above that assessment in your
eyes! I also think he was speaking of the mp3 samples on the free page, which
are things put there for fun, for students to use to learn tunes and techniques,
and because they will never end up anywhere else (like a CD). I guess I am less
reticent to show my musical growth than maybe I should be. I guess I hope it
will help others on the path to realize that everybody starts at the beginning.
Thank you for the link to your samples. Your music sounds excellent - full of
the things you discuss. I hope you will release more in the future. If you set
up a web site and have a links page, please consider exchanging links. My link
information is at
http://www.franksinger.com/frank_singer_link.htm . I am glad you appreciate
the web site. I webmaster a few more as well - the music from this region that I
am affiliated with is at
http://www.jdhopkins.com including the Jazz Fusion collective improvisation
group J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm, and my jazz group Cat's A Bear has a web site
. I also play in a world group called One World Tribe, at
http://www.oneworldtribe.com . That's not jazz, but it's some jamming music!
Thanks, Michael, for taking the time to engage with me here. I appreciate your
input, and hope to hear from you again.
peace - f
26 Jan 2005
Hi. Thanks for listening to my music :) Great if you have any inputs??? Things
to work on etc... Sorry, I regret putting "agree with pro n.y. guitarist". I
wrote a little too fast without thinking. Yeah, we`re planning a website with
our music and info, trading links is good. Good to know that I didn`t offend
you, that was not my intention at all. (By the way, the version of Donna Lee was
the sample on your website.) And your chordal intro to There will never be
another you is really great. take care Michael
Listening to your music was a pleasure. Like I tell most players, once you have
developed your technique and knowledge to be able to play what you hear, then
everything else is about finding your own voice in the music. Keep digging into
your playing until you make it uniquely yours. We all recognize the great
players by their sounds and styles, making up their individuality in music. That
is the goal to which I aspire - to play as much like Frank Singer as I can! The
composition was excellent as well - nice music.
I am glad that we straightened out the situation with the samples - you were
listening to music that was twenty years old and done for a demo for some reason
I don't even remember! The cut on "oFF tHE tOP: standards 1" is still fast, but
hopefully cleaner and more "swinging". The backdrop to the mp3 cut is also an
old sequence that I did for practice purposes. That's what the funky time feel
was - a clunky practice sequence that was mixed too low.
I hope you will consider checking out the music on my CDs - the quality is far
better recording- and playing-wise. As I now(!) state on the mp3 page - I don't
give away the music I am selling! I do like to provide some fun things for folks
to listen to, and that's what the mp3 page is about.
Take care, and keep up your music - you will go far I'm sure. I hope to hear
from you again soon.
peace - f
04 Mar 2005
hello frank my name is erica i am from marksville L.A. and i have alway,s wanted
to be a singer can you help me thanks very much
Thanks for paying my web site a visit. I assume you mean from your comment that
you wish to be a vocalist, not change names. Since we are not in the same
geographic location and I am not a vocalist by trade, I can only offer insights
into my experience as a background vocalist and freestyle Hiphop artist.
The first task for any vocalist is to become familiar with and tune the
instrument, which can involve many things. Health is vital, of course, as the
entire body is the instrument, so drinking lots of water, keeping your food
intake clean and healthy, and exercising are all part of a good vocalists
routine. There are many fundamental breathing techniques that need to be
acquired, such as abdominal or diaphragm breathing and relaxation of the jaw and
throat area. Also, learning to use mouth shape, stance, and throat opening to
sing in tune and with a full voice, which also involves ear-training, is part of
the path to song.
Personally I think the more you understand about music the better, both from a
practical standpoint such as reading and writing it, and from a theoretical
standpoint, so that understanding chords and harmony as well as melody becomes a
part of your music. Certainly knowing how to sight sing will be a plus in much
Most important, you have to do it. Music has a physical aspect and a mental or
imaginative aspect. Listening to music and seeing music performances can enhance
your imagination, but your body requires daily practice. One of the hardest
things for musicians is to keep finding the time to develop their strength,
endurance, control and safe technique. Sixty-five percent of all musicians
suffer from occupational discomfort and pain at one time or another in their
playing careers. It is very demanding on the body, so building your skills is a
physical path as well as one of experience. Performing is very similar, in that
the more you do it the more comfortable and prepared for it you are. In many
ways, you have to "get in shape" to play.
Seek help, and seek a community of musicians and singers. Find people around you
who are doing what you want to do, and learn from them. Some may be teachers,
and lessons are an excellent way to get on your way. If they aren't teachers
themselves, usually working musicians know who the teachers are in your area.
There is music theory in the Theory Den section of my website, and my friend
Cheryl Hodge has a vocal book available at her website,
http://www.jazzboulevard.com . Most of all, follow your passion, for that is
what will keep you motivated to move forward.
Good luck to you, keep me posted, and take care!
peace - f
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