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I was fortunate to be accepted as a pupil of John Mehegan, the highly regarded author of a pioneering series of Jazz education books and a teacher of jazz at the Juilliard School of Music. After a year’s study with him he suggested my writing a book on the subject of blues piano, an area that he had not analyzed in his books. With that in mind I entered the composition department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and eventually obtained my Master’s degree in composition based upon my Barrelhouse Piano Sonata and upon my research into early jazz piano techniques. At that time I also began work on my Barrelhouse Piano Concerto, which I composed on a grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. My research into early jazz piano techniques culminated in the publication of two books: The Art of Blues Piano Improvisation (renamed The Blues, Barrelhouse & Boogie-woogie Workbook) and Blues & Boogie-woogie Piano Styles (both books published by Ekay Publishers.)

After graduation I continued to compose works in the jazz vernacular, especially in the third movements of my twelve duo and six trio sonatas, as well as in my eleven piano concertos.

Record Review:Blues Piano Improvisations: “California Breakdown.” Cadence, 01/83
California Breakdown is a record to savor at the end of a long day. The music reaches inside you, grabs at your emotions, and literally cleanses your soul. It is strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. Strongly recommended!

Record Review:Blues Piano Improvisations: “California Breakdown.” Oakland Tribune, 06/83
He may use an academic approach to research on the blues as an art form, but there’s nothing stuffy about this album. At first he recalls the original jazz-blues piano greats, then heads off in his own direction with no pretensions, just playing for the joy of it.

Blues & Boogie Piano Styles

The Blues, Boogie and Barrelhouse Piano Workbook
"A unique text with perhaps the most comprehensive analysis on folk blues piano techniques published. Also included is abundant instruction on the barrelhouse, ragtime, and honky-tonk piano styles. It is a well conceived text offering a wealth of formidable instruction."NAJE Educator, 1980