Music Highlights - May

As individual people with individual tastes, we tend to find a genre of music that we really enjoy and stick with that genre. Passion Studios wants to expand every student's musical horizons, knowledge and repertoire, so the students creativity can thrive and draw influence in an eclectic environment. At the end of every month, I will create a blogpost highlighting these musical masterminds, with the biography's directly linked below the quote. If you enjoyed an artist that was played in class and don't remember what artist was, remember to check up here for a thorough list of artists, songs played in class and mini biography!

We listened to jazz, jazz contemporary and classical music this past month in the studio. As always, feel free to reach out to me anytime regarding your favorite artists and what you've heard in class. I look forward to more fantastic artist spotlights and growing with my students.



Week of May 9th, 2016
Jazz Spotlight: Thelonious Monk

Songs Played: Monk's Dream - Take 8; 'Round Midnight; Body and Soul; Ruby, My Dear; Straight, No Chaser

Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, September 1947

Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, September 1947

"The most important jazz musicians are the ones who are successful in creating their own original world of music with its own rules, logic, and surprises. Thelonious Monk, who was criticized by observers who failed to listen to his music on its own terms, suffered through a decade of neglect before he was suddenly acclaimed as a genius; his music had not changed one bit in the interim. In fact, one of the more remarkable aspects of Monk's music was that it was fully formed by 1947 and he saw no need to alter his playing or compositional style in the slightest during the next 25 years." - Scott Yanow,

Week of May 16th, 2016
Album Spotlight: Aja by Steely Dan

Songs Played: Black Cow; Aja; Deacon Blues; Peg; Home at Last; I Got The News; Josie

Steely Dan in concert in Luzerne, Switzerland

Steely Dan in concert in Luzerne, Switzerland

"Most rock & roll bands are a tightly wound unit that developed their music through years of playing in garages and clubs around their hometown. Steely Dan never subscribed to that aesthetic. As the vehicle for the songwriting of Walter Becker and Donald FagenSteely Dan defied all rock & roll conventions. Becker and Fagen never truly enjoyed rock -- with their ironic humor and cryptic lyrics, their eclectic body of work shows some debt to Bob Dylan -- preferring jazz, traditional pop, blues, and R&B. Steely Dan created a sophisticated, distinctive sound with accessible melodic hooks, complex harmonies and time signatures, and a devotion to the recording studio. With producer Gary Katz,Becker and Fagen gradually changed Steely Dan from a performing band to a studio project, hiring professional musicians to record their compositions. Though the band didn't perform live after 1974, Steely Dan's popularity continued to grow throughout the decade, as their albums became critical favorites and their singles became staples of AOR and pop radio stations. Even after the group disbanded in the early '80s, their records retained a cult following, as proven by the massive success of their unlikely return to the stage in the early '90s." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine,


Week of May 23rd, 2016
Classical Spotlight: Frédéric Chopin

Songs Played: Nocturne en me bémol majeur, Op. 9, no. 2; Nocturne No. 8 in D Flat Op. 27, no. 2; Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9, no. 2

Portrait by Maria Wodzińska, 1835

Portrait by Maria Wodzińska, 1835


"Although a few major pianists, notably Glenn Gould, have dismissed his music as excessively ornamental and trivial, Frédéric Chopin has long been recognized as one of the most significant and individual composers of the Romantic age. The bulk of his reputation rests on small-scale works that in other hands would have been mere salon trifles: waltzes, nocturnes, preludes, mazurkas, and polonaises (the last-named two groups reflecting his fervent Polish nationalism). These works link poetically expressive melody and restless harmony to high technical demands. Even his etudes survive as highly appealing concert pieces by emphasizing musical as well as technical values." - James Reel,