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I know it's been awhile since I've posted here for “Jack’s Corner”. So here I am, ready to go with a new installment.

I want to talk about my recent reading. I do a lot every day especially that now I practice only one hour, two hours tops, daily. Why, you may ask? Well, for one thing, I feel like I don't need to as much anymore and, besides, I spend much of the time working on my own songs, such as my compositions "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs Without Words". There are twenty-four in each set and each one written in each key; C Major/C Minor, D flat Major/C# minor etc. continuing chromatically and finishing on B Major/B Minor. I have set them for piano, of course, and voiced or arranged them specifically to enhance the harmonic innovations and melodic inventions contained therein.

Currently, I am reading “Leader of the Band: the life of Woody Herman”, a book written by the great jazz writer and lyricist Gene Lees. (Here’s a link) Gene passed away a few years ago and was a marvelous writer, in my opinion. He was a close friend for years of Bill Evans and also spent years as the paramour of Helen Keane, Evans' long time manager.

Woody Herman's story in this over 650-page tome, is full of historical and anecdotal material that is fascinating reading, especially for a guy like me, since I grew up as a teenager during the Big Band era of the 1940s, ending roughly around the mid- fifties. This was a time when Woody was a household name to the American public, and a period when jazz was the popular music of the day! I sort of relive each page of the book vicariously. It was also the time when Herman toured the USA and Europe for almost fifty weeks every year during the same period. I recommend this edition without hesitation to all of you whether you're interested in Woody's career or not; it's just damn good writing by Gene Lees.

Before the Woody book I read Richard Wright’s essays and short stories and even his discussions with Albert Murray. I have on top of my "to read list", Ralph Ellison’s famous and only novel, "THE INVISIBLE MAN". He had started his second novel but for some reason never completed it.

I am a fan of Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and have devoured four or five of his books. I can't keep up with his prodigious output, so he's on a holding pattern right now. But I will catch up soon. As you may know has an hour Fox News TV show five times a week, called "The O'Reilly Factor" (the highest-rated show on Cable news). I try not to miss it. The hour slips by like five minutes!

George Steiner is an intellectual of the highest order and has written a number of great books and several on the philosopher Martin Heidegger which I consider "must" reading for all. "MARTIN HEIDEGGER" BY Steiner is highly recommended as is "Being and Time" which is a dense and extremely difficult book to understand, but worth the effort!

I’ve recently been drawn into the inner workings of the Mafia via several excellent books. One book, "Mafia Son" by Sandra Harmon, was written by a wife of one of the capo di tutti. Another is "My Life in the Mafia" by Vincent Teresa with Thomas C. Renner. Maybe the most interesting book is "Donnie Brasco". It is a retelling of the story of an undercover cop who joined the Mob for six years before he "came out". It's quite an exciting story and a bit hair raising to say the least, and was made into a well known film with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. The DVD is available.

To be continued…………………

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Read Lynn Renee Bayley's piece on Jack for FANFARE magazine at the REVIEWS page! !

Jack Reilly's new Dave Brubeck harmony book is released!

As Published by Hal Leonard Music, Inc - As Jack Reilly did with Volumes 1 and 2 of The Harmony of Bill Evans books, he now explores the harmony of Dave Brubeck through extensive writings, music examples, and audio examples as well.

Fans of Brubeck and students of all jazz styles will find this in-depth exploration fascinating and informative.

Songs include: Blues for All * Brandenburg Gate * The Duke * Her Name Is Nancy * Marble Arch * Thank You (Dziekuje) * The Waltz * When I Was Young * and more.

Also includes CD with musical examples!

You can find it here at Hal Leonard Music!





THE HARMONY OF DAVE BRUBECK, By Jack Reilly. Hal Leonard, Inc.2013. 88 pp. $24.99.

plus CD of musical examples. Jack Reilly . (Find it easily right here at Hal Leonard Music
Classical, Jazz & Ballet Critic
Fanfare magazine

Jack Reilly is one of the most creative yet lesser-known jazz pianists. I’ve never quite understood the reasons for his lack of visibility, except perhaps that he, like jazz singer Sheila Jordan, maintains a low profile because he refuses to compromise his talent. He won’t play show tunes, modern pop, fusion, or for that matter anything that smacks of populism. He goes his own way, plays what he wants, writes what he wants, and occasionally produces fine educational books on jazz theory such as this one as well as The Harmony of Bill Evans. As a friend and admirer of Evans since the early 1950s as a pupil of Lennie Tristano, Reilly remains fascinated and deeply involved in chords and chord structures as the basis of all the music he plays and/or writes.

Thus this book, although a tribute to Brubeck (who died as Reilly was putting the finishing touches on it), begins in Lesson 1, Polytonal Studies, with examples from his own La-No-Tib suite for piano and an explanation of its basic underlying principles. Reilly not only explains polytonality as a mechanism but, more importantly, how polytonality can be used as a medium of expression in both composition and improvisation. Of course there is always the danger, especially with younger and/or less experienced pianists, of becoming hooked on polytonality as a gimmick, meaning that the cleverness of writing bitonally or polytonally becomes the raison d’être of the music’s existence. Ironically, there was little chance of this happening back in the 1950s when Reilly (and Evans) first emerged, for the simple reason that polytonal and bitonal music was little understood by the general public and, for the most part, shunned. It took forceful individuals like Miles Davis, George Russell, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus to keep at it until such point as it became part of the everyday lexicon of jazz improvisation and composing; and it is not coincidental that all four of those musicians played and recorded with Bill Evans.
As for Brubeck, he gets his due beginning with the second and longer section of the book, titled The Music. I was exceptionally pleased to see a major jazz improviser and composer like Reilly devote so much time to breaking down the structure as well as the harmonic relationships of so many Brubeck pieces. Reilly was extremely fortunate to have Brubeck himself help him analyze these structures via numerous phone conversations during his last year on earth, but the mere fact that this book exists and gives so much theoretical and critical analysis of Brubeck’s music is a minor miracle in itself.

Throughout the years when the Dave Brubeck Quartet was active, Brubeck himself often came under criticism or, worse yet, was completely dismissed by many jazz musicians (I won’t name names, but they know who they are) as a jazz pianist. He was often considered to be bombastic, heavy-handed, and unswinging. Many were the jazzmen who raved about his alto saxist, Paul Desmond, while dismissing Brubeck as a second-rate jazz player (some even had the audacity to ask Desmond to leave the quartet). Thus Reilly’s book restores Dave Brubeck to the place of prominence that I, and thousands of other fans who did understand music and knew he was good, knew that he rightly deserved and still deserves.

Reilly begins his analysis of Brubeck’s music with his very first composition, I Weep No More, written in 1945 in celebration of VE Day. Among the other pieces analyzed here are When I Was Young, The Waltz (with chord voicings by Reilly), The Duke, In Your Own Sweet Way, One Moment Worth Years, Her Name is Nancy, and several themes from the Eurasia suite: Nomad (Afghanistan), Brandenburg Gate (Germany), Dziekuje (Poland), Calcutta Blues (India), and Watusi Drums (Africa). How well I remember the backlash to that album when it came out! “That’s not jazz, it’s classical music…Why doesn’t Brubeck just go write suites and leave jazz alone?” etc. etc. (Yes, I’m paraphrasing. You won’t find these actual quotes on the Internet. But I heard them bandied about all the time back in the early 1960s.) Perhaps one reason why we, like Reilly, can come to appreciate this music so much better today is, to be frank about it, there’s a much better understanding now of jazz-classical fusion and the deep relationship between classical structure, or at least jazz structure based on classical principles, and “real” jazz as improvisation that is also based on classical music. (For the same reasons, such unusual early pieces as Red Norvo’s Dance of the Octopus, Morton Gould’s Boogie Woogie Etude, and even parts of Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige Suite are now considered great and important milestones in jazz, whereas in their own time they were not merely misunderstood but actively condemned as not being jazz at all.)

One of the more interesting of Reilly’s comments comes on pp. 45-46, when discussing In Your Own Sweet Way. To quote: “We’re definitely on slippery slopes in this tune. Section A can be analyzed as all in G minor or all in B-flat major. If you accept the G minor analysis, then the Roman numerals will be: Gm: II IV | I etc. And if you accept the B-flat analysis: VII IIIx7 | IV, etc. Does it matter? Yes and no! Yes, if you are a composer and want to understand major keys, their relative minors, and the use of secondary dominants…No, if you’re not so inclined to the intellectual/theoretical elements behind Dave’s thinking. See if I care!”

Yet there are many little insights scattered throughout this handy volume, and not just by Reilly. There are many anecdotes and sidelights written by Brubeck himself (would that Reilly had been lucky enough to get input from Bill Evans before he died!) and, on p. 66, comments by Brubeck’s son Darius, mother Elizabeth, and brother Howard on the pieces from the Eurasia suite. To be honest, I found these comments to be some of the greatest treasures of this collection and thus of interest even to the non-professional musician. More to the point, one realizes in reading Brubeck’s own comments one of the reasons why, perhaps, he was undervalued for so long. He was extremely modest about his music and not prone to bragging about it, let alone arguing its merits with critics or fans with ears of stone. I was lucky, once, to be a guest on a jazz radio program where the host talked to Brubeck live via the phone. The man’s humility and graciousness always overrode his desire to be more widely liked or understood. Brubeck always felt that his music spoke for him much more eloquently than he could with words, thus he only spoke up when prodded. Now there is this book, and Jack Reilly’s superb analysis of his music, to rebuild Brubeck’s credentials as one of the finest jazz composers of his era.

The accompanying CD is instructive and fascinating, but not always easy to follow with the printed music for the simple reason that Reilly sometimes improvises beyond the end of the written music. Essentially, the scores reduce the music to its basics, with slow-moving chords so the ear can catch what is going on. There are no pauses of silence between most of the tracks, which sometimes confuses the ear, and in at least one case (Her Name is Nancy) a pause within the track. Sometimes, Reilly plays melody notes entirely different from what is in the score, for instance in Nomad (Afghanistan), where the opening bar is marked as four C-sharps in the right hand but Reilly plays C-sharp, A above, A, C-sharp, with different underlying chords on all four beats, not the single block chord held for four beats as notated. In the second bar he plays a melodic line of four quarter notes, B, G above, G above, B, not the notated eighth notes in the score. Thus you need to keep watching your CD player to figure out where you are. Well, he’s a jazz musician, not a Midi!

This is an excellent book for anyone who wishes to analyze Brubeck’s music harmonically or structurally in any way. For the intermediate jazz student it is even more valuable as a teaching and learning tool.

Harmony of Bill Evans Vol. 1 re-released, now with CD!

Jack Reilly's The Harmony of Bill Evans Vol. 1 has been re-released in its second edition by Hal Leonard.,Inc. The new version has a CD now included with the examples of the porrtions explained and notated in the text with a bonus: Jack has included, as track 26, an18- minute recording of himself playing Evans classics in a wonderful medley:

I Should Care, My Bells, Resurrection (by Jack Reilly) My Funny Valentine, Time Remembered and Peri's Scope.

The tunes were recorded in London at the Royal Academy of Music in 1990. You can order at HAL LEONARD MUSIC!


FOREWORD by Jan Stevens for "THE HARMONY OF BILL EVANS- VOL. 2" Book / CD package


“Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.” -- Felix Mendelssohn

The incomparable pianistic innovations of Bill Evans (1929 – 1980) continue to be celebrated by jazz fans, and closely studied by serious musicians worldwide. During his over twenty-five year recording career, he changed the approach to the sound of the piano itself in jazz by his touch, and his attention to pedaling, phrasing and dynamics. His remarkable approach to the possibilities of interplay within the piano-bass-drums trio is well-documented from the late 1950s on. READ THE REST HERE


After the acclaim recived by VOL.1, Hal Leonard, Inc, (the world's largest music publisher) has the new, much talked-about book "THE HARMONY OF BILL EVANS VOL. 2" by master pianist -composer Jack Reilly (with Foreward by pianist Jan Stevens of the Bill Evans Webpages site). Bill Evans died in 1980 but the compositional legacy he left behind is still growing. This expansive study shows how and why.

In Jack Reilly's second volume, he provides a deeper appreciation and understanding of Evans' compositions. This book and CD package (only $29.99 USD) includes two important theory chapters (which stand out on their own merits, brilliantly) , plus ten of Evans’ most passionate and melodically gorgeous works. The voicing charts for all ten songs are more complex than in volume one and pianistically more demanding, yet always worth the effort. The subjects of modulation and key relationships that are discussed in each chapter will help the player memorize faster and improvise with more facility; not an easy task when performing Evans' music.

The "Lament for Bill" in chapter 13 is the author's tribute to the genius of this great artist.

The accompanying CD will add to the enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of the written examples. This a powerhouse book that will a prove to be a deep and indispensible experience for pianists of all stylistic persuasions as well as serious Evans fans. There is much to learn and enjoy here!

Songs include: Your Story • Laurie • For Nenette • My Bells • Maxine • Song for Helen • Turn Out the Stars • Very Early • Waltz for Debby • and more!




In the eyes of anyone interested in the technical aspects of Bill Evans, this will make for fascinating reading and, hopefully, some challenging playing too. Reilly is the renowned teacher and performer whose students include such as Bill Charlap, and whose achievements have taken in albums as well as tours in the U.K. The fact that he also had an early acquaintance with Bill, long before the latter became famous, obviously lends weight to his intention in explain the inner mechanics of Evans’ music.

It’s worth noting though that this is basically a theoretical essay with examples, rather than just a series of charts linked by some “and-then-he-wrote” text. Of the many illustrations provided, only two seem to be Evans’ own arrangements of his originals, while another eight are Evans tunes arranged by Jack Reilly. Then there are three more pieces which are, in fact, Jack Reilly originals, marked as such, that somehow reflect the Evans style, and the Reilly thesis about how it worked.

The dense theoretical section occupying the first half of the folio may be tough reading for some, and some of the examples in this section are clearly intended to be illustrative, rather than pieces that make music in their own right. But they enhance appreciation of the Evans tunes, as do Reilly’s examples on the accompanying CD.

----Brian Priestley

CLICK HERE for a free MP3 of "Lament for Bill" by Jack Reilly!


by Jack Reilly. Check it out here! An ITALIAN version is now available. Same price, plus overseas postage!

JAZZ PIANO SOLOS book (revised) by Jack Reilly

This just- released book contains inventive, high quality piano arrangemments of well-known standards and some original pieces, and are for mid-intermediate and advanced piano students and players.

Hal Leonard, Inc. ($9.99)

In stores now, or more ordering info here

Series: Piano Solo Songbook
HL #00310159

Song List:

* All The Things You Are (two versions) * Body And Soul
* Clara's Bell * Halloween * Here's That Rainy Day* I Can't Get Started With You * I Concentrate On You * I Could Write A Book * I Thought About You * My Shining Hour * November * Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head * Ruby, My Dear * Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most * Tenderly * Waltz For Fall


ForFor a touching tribute by JACK REILLY to the great musician HALL OVERTON go here

Check out Jack Reilly's new SHOWCASE page at Allaboutjazz.com - and download the FREE track from the "Innocence" CD!
While you're there, you can also read their exclusive interview with Jack.

" He's (Reilly) certainly a rare individual and plays and writes with utter conviction in styles ranging from free form improv through bebop and mainstream and even into classical music." --- Duncan Heining, Jazzwise (UK) magazine£

Check out Jack's complete
catalog of CD recordings:

See the CD PAGE for audio samples and more information.

You can now also purchase any of these CDs at cdbaby.com

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