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Russell Garcia – The Professional Arranger Composer

A significant number of jazz composers and arrangers I know and admire have credited Russ Garcia and his book, “THE PROFESSIONAL ARRANGER COMPOSER – Book 1” with having had a significant impact on their development as writers. I have owned a copy of this landmark, and hugely influential book for decades. I’ve looked through it […]

Thoughts re Boxing Day 2020

‘Twas the night of Christmas Day Or was it the night before Boxing Day That’s a label I’ve never understood. Is it a day to put presents back in boxes and return them to the store? Or prepare them for eventually regifting? Or is it the day when families enter the ring in big baggy […]

Bird Lives

I am currently (re)reading “Bird Lives” by Ross Russell. First published in 1973, this book is considered by many as one of the gold standard jazz biographies. In this case, the biography is of Charlie Parker who died just months shy of his 35th birthday. He was a genius of the first order; an incomparable […]

Antidotes for Pandemic Anxiety

I’ll start with an understatement: these are difficult times. Reading or watching the news have become risky business in the sense, that starting or ending your day engaged in catching up on things can lead to low mood or a sleepless night. At least that is how it has become for many. It is like […]

The “New” Normal

The New Normal There are times when I hear people write or say, “When will we find the new normal”. Usually in the context of hoping for an earliest possible end to the current pandemic. So I start wondering about “normal”. What ‘normal’ are we hoping to resurrect? Being able to go to the grocery […]


Poison and Beauty

Poison and Beauty ©2020 Paul Read   In a world pulsing with Poisons, abusive self interest And colossal self-destructive Ignorance Pretense And nonsense   Unsurpassed beauty may be found not just in spring gardens. And not just in the museums of Paris Or jazz clubs in New York or Toronto Or films at Sundance or […]

Music: So Humans CAN be angels!

My daily activities often begin with reading the news of the day over breakfast or listening to podcasts, watching news – on a seemingly endless cycle- on television. I, and I suspect many others, find it easy to become discouraged. Our species, capable of such great kindness and love and empathy, also succumbs to evil […]


The power of human imagination is tremendous, when one chooses to use it. For me, this is important and even essential while composing music. You imagine specific players playing in a specific situation and in your inner ear you hear their sound and you can imagine the situation to great advantage (when all your circuits […]

My Lessons with Gordon

Who was Gordon Delamont? A major figure in Canadian music history, Gordon (Gord) Delamont was a great and influential teacher. His list of notable students reads like a Canadian jazz composer/arranger all-star team. Wikipedia lists the following partial list:  Peter Appleyard, Gustav Ciamaga, Ron Collier, Jimmy Dale, Hagood Hardy, Herbie Helbig, Paul Hoffert, Moe Koffman, Rob McConnell, Ben McPeek, Bernie Piltch, Paul Read, Fred Stone, Norman Symonds, Rick Wilkins, Maribeth […]

Living with illness and Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve started to read Mark Vonnegut’s “Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So”. Those who know me well, know that I have had a life long obsession (too strong a word? – probably not) with the work of his father, Kurt Vonnegut. Mark’s first book “The Eden Express” (1975) made a huge impact […]