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Kenny Werner: Effortless Mastery In Motion

Dan Bilawsky By

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Werner uses a re-harmonized "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" as his entryway into a discussion on harmony, noting that it's his favorite subject. He then gets into an explanation on the importance of the root and chord type when it comes to harmonizing/re-harmonizing. An exercise in random chord selection is then broken down, serving as a way to learn, write and push beyond a comfort zone. Werner then works outward from there, expanding on where to go by using different chords.

Discussion of the third interconnected topic of the day—rhythm—is prefaced by Werner's statement that many players often (falsely) assume rhythm will be there if the rest of the concepts are worked out. He also notes that most of the more interesting stuff happening today is related to rhythm. Something as seemingly simple as a strong string of eight eighth notes serves as a taking-off point. Then he starts to toy with variations on the patterns, inserting a single rest into the mix and displacing rhythmic patterns, creating variation in delivery of the same idea(s). Werner ups the ante when he gets to odd time signatures and metric modulation, helping to shed some light on how to develop comfort in these areas.

The material discussed on this DVD is applicable to players of any and every instrument, but it's solid gold for pianists, as they can directly connect to what Werner's doing and saying throughout. Bonus material, including PDFs and an interview with Werner, prove helpful, adding value and additional insights. While both of these discs use the Effortless Mastery tag as a launching point, there's little-to-no redundancy here. These discs truly complement one another.


Personnel and Production Notes

Effortless Mastery: The 4 Steps

Personnel: Kenny Werner: piano; Jon Nellen: drums; Aaron Shragge: trumpet; Brad Rouen: guitar; Todd Porter: saxophone.

Production Notes: Director/Producer: Falk Willis; Cinematographer: Mike Doyle; Camera Operator: Greg Harriott; Video Editors: Mike Leuis, Nate Stephens; Audio Engineer: Dan Stringer; Interviewer: Dr. David Schroeder; Still Photography: Mike Doyle.

Effortless Mastery Of Melody, Harmony & Rhythm

Personnel: Kenny Werner: piano.

Production Notes: Director/Producer: Falk Willis; Cinematographer: Mike Doyle; Camera Operator: Greg Harriott; Video Editors: Mike Leuis, Nate Stephens; Audio Engineer: Dan Stringer; Interviewer: Dr. David Schroeder; Still Photography: Mike Doyle; Original Artwork: Zoe Matthiessen; Graphic Design: Vince Perretti.

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