Music Highlights - June

Summer is SUCH a busy time that June flew right by in a blink. We listened to a jam band, a pop legend, a master pianist and some classic blues to keep the upbeat tempo of the summer! Our music highlights and musicians start great conversations in class.

A couple updates...
These posts will sometimes contain classic performances from the artists listed, so be sure to watch the videos for some awe inspiring moments. Also, our referral credit is still valid through the month of July, so let your family and friends know that they can get 40% off a lesson when they enroll!



Week of June 2nd, 2016
Blues Spotlight: T-Bone Walker

Songs Played: T-Bone Blues; Call It Stormy Monday, Mean Old World, Evil Hearted Woman, Bobby Sox Blues


T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker

"Modern electric blues guitar can be traced directly back to this Texas-born pioneer, who began amplifying his sumptuous lead lines for public consumption circa 1940 and thus initiated a revolution so total that its tremors are still being felt today.

"Few major postwar blues guitarists come to mind that don't owe T-Bone Walker an unpayable debt of gratitude. B.B. King has long cited him as a primary influence, marveling at Walker's penchant for holding the body of his guitar outward while he played it. Gatemouth BrownPee Wee CraytonGoree CarterPete Mayes, and a wealth of other prominent Texas-bred axemen came stylistically right out ofWalker during the late '40s and early '50s. Walker's nephew, guitarist R.S. Rankin, went so far as to bill himself as T-Bone Walker, Jr. for a 1962 single on Dot, "Midnight Bells Are Ringing" (with his uncle's complete blessing, of course; the two had worked up a father-and-son-type act long before that)." - Bill Dahl, Rovi (

Week of June 9th, 2016
Album Spotlight: Outta Here

Songs Played: Outta Here; The Dump; Squadlive; Back in Effect; Twisted

"Lettuce is a New York-based funk band whose members have become individually successful as well. The collective's driving, goodtime party music and magnetic live performances have been witnessed on recordings and radio programs, in clubs and concert halls, and on festival stages all over the globe. Its founding members include guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnof, keyboardist Neal Evans, drummer Adam Deitch, saxophonists Ryan Zoidis and Sam Kininger, and bassist Erick "E.D." Coomes.

"Lettuce got together in 1992 while still in their teens. They were attending a summer program at Boston's Berklee College of Music and were drawn together by a mutual love of Earth Wind & Fire,Tower of Power, and jazz funk acts like Headhunters. Staying in touch and informally jamming together over the next year, they reassembled formally in 1994 upon returning to Berklee as undergrads. A live set was put together and members went door to door at jazz clubs asking owners to "let us play." Their name derives from those origins." - Tom Jurek, Rovi (


Week of June 16th, 2016
David Bowie
Album Spotlight: Bowie at the Beebs

"The cliché about David Bowie goes that he was a musical chameleon, adapting himself according to fashion and trends. While such a criticism is too glib, there's no denying thatBowie demonstrated a remarkable skill for perceiving musical trends at his peak in the '70s. After spending several years in the late '60s as a mod and as an all-around music hall entertainer, Bowie reinvented himself as a hippie singer/songwriter. Prior to his breakthrough in 1972, he recorded a proto-metal record and a pop/rock album, eventually redefining glam rock with his ambiguously sexy Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy made Bowie an international star, yet he wasn't content to continue to churn out glitter rock. By the mid-'70s, he'd developed an effete, sophisticated version of Philly soul that he dubbed "plastic soul," which eventually morphed into the eerie avant pop of 1976's Station to Station. Shortly afterward, he relocated to Berlin, where he recorded three experimental electronic albums with Brian Eno. At the dawn of the '80s, Bowie was still at the height of his powers, yet following his blockbuster dance-pop album Let's Dance in 1983, he slowly sank into mediocrity before salvaging his career in the early '90s. Even when he was out of fashion in the '80s and '90s, it was clear that Bowie was one of the most influential musicians in rock, for better and for worse. Each one of his phases in the '70s sparked a number of subgenres, including punk, new wave, goth rock, the new romantics, and electronica. Few rockers have ever had such lasting impact." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi (


Week of June 23rd, 2016
Performer Spotlight: Boris Vadimovich Berezovsky
Pianist and Virtuoso

"The Russian Pianist Boris Berezovsky is one of the most virtuous piano interpreter of our times.

"One can tell that for him the borders of keyboard possibilities have not yet been reached.

"Boris Berezovsky brought attention to himself with his daring dexterity at the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He won the Gold Medal straight off." -Medici.TV (!/boris-berezovsky-pianist-and-virtuoso)

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,