Born: May 12, 1967 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Jeff Rzepiela is a multi-instrumentalist, performing on flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor saxophone. He can be heard performing with The JazzSchool Big Band, The Musicians Warehouse Big Band, The Swing Solution Big Band, and with Leanne Weatherly.
In addition to his performing activities, Jeff enjoys teaching jazz improvisation. His methods focus on studying his own transcriptions of solos by jazz greats to extract the essentials of improvisation.
Jeff's musical studies began in earnest at Duke University under the direction of Artist-In-Residence, Paul Jeffrey. Paul has a long history as arranger and saxophonist with such jazz legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk and lessons with him emphasized the importance of transcription and respect for the jazz tradition. The opportunity to host a jazz radio program on Duke's WXDU radio also gave Jeff access to a large record collection from which to learn jazz history from Armstrong to Zorn.
Jeff continued his studies at the University of California -- Berkeley. Here he performed in numerous small ensembles as well as playing lead alto in the Wednesday Big Band. It was here that studies with Dave Le Febvre introduced Jeff to a wealth of big band literature and his first lessons in arranging.
His nickname, Scooby dates from his days in Berkeley. A friend commented that every time he saw Jeff, he was snapping his fingers and humming a jazz tune. His friend's term for that was scooby-ing and the name eventually stuck.
Willing to teach:
Lessons focus on two major topics to develop improvisation abilities:
1). Study of harmony through a guided series of exercises designed to target chord tones and incorporate chromaticism. These exercises are developed using standard chord progressions (e.g. I Got Rhythm, Autumn Leaves, etc.)
2). An in-depth study of solo transcriptions. Methods for transcribing are discussed. A method of learning solos and extracting key ideas is presented. Learn how to incorporate the ideas of jazz masters into your improvisations.
All levels are accepted. Beginning students focus on developing musical fundamentals. Intermediate and advanced students study repertoire with an innovative method of MIDI files designed to learn tunes, solos, and ear-training.