The jazz studies program hosted saxophonist Thomas “Tommy” Poole during its virtual jazz forum session on March 8, which explored metric modulations in jazz improvisation.
Over the last three decades, metric modulations have become much more prominent in recorded jazz. Artists such as Chris Potter, Ari Hoenig, Jerry Bergonzi, Jean-Michel Pilc, Kenny Werner, and countless others show that metrically modulating has become a standard device in the modern day improviser’s toolbox. Research and pedagogy on this topic are, at present, sparse. In this presentation, differing types of metric modulations will be labeled and defined. Examples of specific types of metric modulations were extracted from recorded improvised solos for purposes of analysis. Finally, pedagogical approaches to performing some of the more common modulations (modulations based on the triplet and dotted quarter) were demonstrated.
Tommy Poole is director of jazz studies and assistant professor of music at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is an active saxophonist and woodwind doubler in a variety of genres. He has recorded as saxophonist on numerous commercially available CDs ranging in style from classical, to jazz, to pop. He has performed professionally with Rosemary Clooney, Ramsey Lewis, Johnny Mathis, Arturo Sandoval, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Andy Montanez, Glenn Monroig, Diane Schuur, Jack Jones, Joe Williams, Mercer Ellington, Marilyn McCoo and Dianne Reeves among many others.
Poole’s arrangements and compositions have been featured on at least eight CDs. His first three CDs as producer featured compositions, arrangements and performances by Poole and received critical acclaim from All About Jazz, JazzEd Magazine, Outside in Music and JazzTimes Magazine. Poole’s latest CD, “Solid Gold” featuring Michael Dease (2017) received four stars from All About Jazz. Dan Bilawsky of JazzEd Magazine writes, “the OSU Jazz Orchestra ably demonstrates its might and musicality in a multitude of environments across ‘Solid Gold’ . . . Poole’s ‘Out Front’ uses infectious lines in fifteen and four to serve as foundational material, his sweeping arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘Discussao’ is pure Brazilian beauty, and his spirited stab at ‘After You’ve Gone’ serves as the perfect send-off while further diversifying his portfolio.”
Poole has presented recitals, workshops or served as guest artist, guest conductor, all-state clinician and/or adjudicator at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State LA, Eastfield College, Pittsburg State University, Slippery Rock University, Augustana University, Northeastern State University, Los Angeles City College, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and The University of Illinois (Urbana). He has served in similar fashion for countless national and international conferences and jazz festivals including the Jazz Education Network Annual Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, and the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival. His research on metric modulations in jazz has been published in Jazz Inside Magazine. He served as president of Oklahoma Jazz Educators (OKJE) from 2015 to 2017 and is a member of the Jazz Education Network, North American Saxophone Alliance, College Music Society and Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association.
He received his Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and his Master of Music from The University of Miami.