www.BurnettSchool.net – In addition to the music clinics before Youth Jazz rehearsals we will produce a live interactive series of free online jazz improvisation learning sessions via Zoom. 


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Best reasonings I have been able to deduce are as an improviser we apply compositional music theory in real time on our instruments in collaboration with the other musicians playing at the time. 

Similar to, but not exactly like, what I have read Bach and his colleagues did in live performances where figured bass was the only notation. 

As a composer you’re writing out your own improvisation for each part of the score and literally dictating exactly what each musician is to play to the Nth degree. 

Of course that process will take a significant amount of time. Especially before notation software and computer programs. 

Want to straighten out your improvisation solos and learn to create solos beyond memorized patterns and hard-wired licks?

Burnett School of Music

I contend and regularly prove in jazz clinics that every competent musician can naturally improvise. You just don’t think the same while improving as you do when you’re taking a theory test in class. Same information, different process. That’s the issue. 

Some people get straight A grades in classroom music theory courses and can’t improvise because of the way it’s inherently taught to them, not because they can’t improvise. 

Hope to see you soon, Mr. B🎷

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*Photo: My brother’s grandson noticed we had the same shoes!


www.BurnettPublishing.com – Youth Jazz is preparing for it’s third season after two successful previous years producing a unique young artists program in association with a broad spectrum of arts businesses, internationally known artists, composers, and our program sponsors.


The 2021 Kansas City Area Youth Jazz season welcomes two new ensembles that will include both high school and college jazz artists, a new Associate Musical Director to our program, and in addition to our founding relationship with BRC Audio Productions in Kansas City, Kansas we’ve officially engaged a wonderful new partnership with Kansas City Public School’s Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in Missouri.


With all of the moving parts this season, we decided to keep the composing residencies among our staff this year. I will be composing primarily for “The Bill Crain Ensemble” which I’m going to direct and both Rev. WM Thornton and Mr. David Cunningham will be writing for “The Leon Brady Ensemble” that they will be leading.

We also plan to utilize standard jazz selections if needed for any concerts or gigs that potentially could come up if we have our original music for the album together near the end of the season.

I’ve begun sketching out the elements and a multi-segment work based upon the instrumentation of the auditionees we’ve had so far. Official 2021 Fellowships will be announced here on May 17.

CHART PREVIEW: “DEFRANZO LOOP (The Return)” by Christopher Burnett (BMI)

*Here’s a mock-up MIDI demo audio clip of the introduction into the opening theme stated by flugelhorns.

Re: Defranzo Loop (The Return) – I plan to orchestrate and arrange through-composed solos for most everyone in the ensemble. And, I am considering having a list of Real Book tunes/standards on call in case we get the original music together enough to have a live concert at 424 Lounge prior to the recording session on August 1st. It may also be possible to do a live stream of the original music if it’s ready in time before we end the season.

Burnett Publishing (BMI)

COMPOSER’S NOTES – Bill Crain Ensemble compositions I am sketching out:

1 Defranzo Loop (The Return): A multi-movement jazz work that goes through various types of musical situations. From “Third Stream” through-composed segments to straight ahead swing and jazz blues. Segments of this work are: I. Atlantic Crossings II. East Coast Blues III. Navy Lodge IV. The Return with improvised solo space for piano, trombone, tenor, alto, bass, and drums.

2 Saudade (Micah’s Tune): A medium-tempo modern jazz samba written for our son, Micah and orchestrated for the 2021 Kansas City Area Youth Jazz Bill Crain Ensemble. Solo space for trombone, piano, tenor, and drum set. Sketched melody and changes but only finished in 2021.

3 Analog Networking: Up-tempo modern jazz with an interesting yet approachable modal chord progression and thoughtfully unique eighth note driven melody that succinctly states the theme to make way for the improvisational work. Solos for those who can play over the changes (piano, bass, alto, tenor, and trombone – drums). Tested with my CbQ but never performed or recorded.

4 Avery and Hayden: A contemporary straight eighth note composition with nice melody and harmonies. Solo space for trombone, tenor and piano. Inspired by our youngest grandchildren at pre-school and grade school age. It’s a brand new work from my 2021 composer’s notebook.

Thanks, Mr. B🎷