Feb 28 2016

~New CD Release “Soliloquy”~

Our newest CD, “Soliloquy“, features ten original compositions performed by a wonderful group of Kansas City musicians.  This ensemble has been together for just over 7 years now and out of about 60 songs in our repertoire, we picked twelve to record in the studio, ten of which make up this album. The video below contains some of the music from the recording and some photos of the group working together and the Band Camp link at the bottom of the blog post will allow you to take a listen for free.



I’m offering the album in mp3 or Wave format for any modest donation between 1$ and 100$ via PayPal, be sure to mention that it’s for the album “Soliloquy” and I’ll send you a link to the files by email or you can purchase the album at CD baby or iTunes.  There’s also a Band Camp link below so you can listen to the whole album for free if you’d like – Thank you for your support!

The ensemble features:

Matt Otto: Tenor Saxophone and compositions.

Gerald Dunn: Alto Sax

Jeff Harshbarger: Bass

Mike Warren: Drums

TJ Martley: Rhodes

Shay Estes: Vocals (1, 3, 5, 9)

Jeff Stocks: Guitar (3, 7, 9)

Molly McLaughlin: Flute (1, 2, 3, 5, 9)

The CD includes the 10 original compositions:

  1. Chibi
  2. Billie
  3. Brush Creek
  4. Soliloquy
  5. Ayler
  6. Wheel
  7. Shelter
  8. Elocution
  9. Lawrence
  10. Metaphor

Here’s some other relevant information about the album:

“Soliloquy” Jazz Collective Records (JCR)

Nate Espy: Recording Engineer

Nick Crane: Assistant Engineer

Matt Otto: Mixing, Mastering, Producer

Album Art: Jamie Rosenn


A Special thanks to Jennifer Cotter

and all the wonderful musicians, friends

and family who have supported my music

over the years.


This album is dedicated to:

Pamela Otto 5/15/1948 to 6/27/2015


Here’s a Band Camp link so you can listen to, and/or purchase the Album:

Feb 5 2015

New Drones – Arco Bass

I recently recorded new Drones with my good friend Jeff Harshbarger.  Jeff spent an afternoon over at my home studio and recorded all 12 drones with his beautiful acoustic bass and bow.

Jeff Harshbarger

Over the years, I have enjoyed using the Indian classical tambura or tampura drones and thought it would be nice to have some new Drones to practice with using a Bowed Acoustic Bass (arco).

I really enjoy these new drones as the sound of the acoustic bass is both familiar and central to jazz and other forms of western music.

Drones are great for both teaching and practice.  You can use them for ear training, to play scales, chords, melodies, songs, intervals, free improvisation or anything you can think of.

Below is a free drone track (Concert C) you can practice with to get an idea as to how rich and full they sound.  You can support the blog by purchasing the Acoustic Arco Bass Drones below:
Add to Cart

The mp3’s are “zipped” in a RAR file – Once you download them use winrar or 7zip to open the file on PC or RAR Extractor for Mac.

Thanks for your support!


Nov 28 2014

~ Drum and Bass Play Along Dominant 7th Chords

This play along covers Dominant 7th chords in all 12 keys.  I’ve been enjoying using these tracks in both my personal practice and teaching for a while.

The  bass and drums swing at 120bpm in 4/4 time while a dominant 7th shell voicing (root, 3rd, b7th) drones in the background.

This type of play along has been done before, but the use of the live bass and drums combined with a drone of the Dominant 7 shell voicing (root, 3rd, b7) makes it really easy to hear the Dominant 7th sound.

Also, since the tracks have  minimal rhythmic comping from a chordal instrument I find these play alongs less distracting when working on ear training or a specific phrase, scale or melodic idea.

Since each track is only a shell voicing plus bass and drums, you can play any type of dominant 7th chord or chord scale when practicing.

Dominant 7th play along


For example, you can put on the C7 play along (below) and improvise using C7 mixolydian, lydian dominant, altered, b9 – b13, H.W. diminished, whole tone, or any other dominant 7 chord scale, or just play free over the dominant 7th sound.

Each track plays for 5 minutes, and you can pick just the dominant 7th shell drone (root, 3rd and b7th) or the Drum and Bass plus dominant 7th shell drone (24 tracks in all).

You can download the mp3s from CD baby here or find them on any of the common online mp3 distributors.

Below is and sample C7 track you can play along to:



~ Enjoy!

Sep 13 2014

Modern Jazz Vocab. Vol. 3


Improvising over the minor ii-7, V7, i chord progression can be challenging for both the beginning and advanced jazz musician. Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol.3  contains over 1600 Bars of minor ii-7, V7, i- melodies, licks and patterns in all 12 keys. The material is designed to help one develop an aural, technical and theoretical understanding of this common chord progression in each key. The lines use a variety of rhythmic groupings, chord substitutions, triads, triad pairs, chromatics, approach notes, tensions, chord tones, non chord tones, scales,  and both “inside” and “outside” concepts, all with an emphasis on melody.  You can click the cover art to buy the book from LULU press.  Thanks for your support!     Modern Jazz Vocab. Vol. 3   Work on the content as you like. You can focus on one bar or one short melody at a time or just play through the material. I recommend using a metronome and learning to sing the individual ideas that you find most interesting and compelling. ~Enjoy! Matt Otto


Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol.3 ~minor ii-V-i~ PDF:

Add to Cart

Jan 4 2014

~Play Along CD in 7/4

~Buy the 7/4 Play Along CD ~

This is Vol.2 of the Drum and Bass, Roots and Rhythm “play along” which is designed for both practicing and teaching.  Vol. 1 has been well received and I thought one in 7/4 would be a nice addition.  I’ve been using Drones and Pedals along with a metronome for years but now I’ve started using these play along’s for the same basic purposes. The bass player Jeff Harshbarger plays one note (root) for the duration of each exercise while Brian Steever keeps time on the drums. This allows you to practice anything you’d like over the root; a harmony, singing, visualizing, scales, tunes, lines, melodies, or free improvisation. I’ve been using these tracks for a while now,  and I find them much more stimulating and inspiring than using a drone alone.Drum and Bass Roots and Rhythm Vol

Volume 2 is all in 7/4 at tempos 80, 120 and 200 bpm and includes roots in every key. There are 29 tracks in both straight and swing feels and also a few tracks of drums alone from 120 to 240 bpm.  I’ve included a sample track below that you can try out. You can click on the photo to purchase the mp3s from CD baby or send me a modest Donation with a message and I’ll email you a link directly.


Here’s a free track you can try out;  Swing at 120 Bpm in 7 over a B pedal:


~Click Here To Make A Donation. Thank You!~!

~Purchase my book: Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol. 2~

~Buy The Bass and Drums Play Along CD in 4/4~

Jun 26 2012

Broken Waltz ~ 4 Stars in Downbeat!

I’m  happy to announce that the new CD “Broken Waltz” is finished!  In an effort to make the music affordable for anyone and everyone,  I’m offering both the CD and all the sheet music for a modest donation of ANY amount – 1$ to 100$.  This includes both 10 mp3s (flac or mp3) and the corresponding 10 Concert pitch lead sheets (in PDF format).


~Donate with the link below and I’ll send you the recording and sheet music ASAP! ~Thanks for your support! 🙂

 Downbeat Magazine has given the Album 4 stars: here’s the link: Downbeat Review.


~Click Here To Make A Donation for Broken Waltz. Thank You~!


The download links to a RAR file of the recording and the sheet music.

You can open the RAR file with WINRAR or 7zip – both free to use.

You can also click here to buy the recording from CD Baby at the regular price.


This new CD features:

Leonard Thompson on Rhodes

Jason Harnell on Drums

David J. Carpenter on Bass

Brian Walsh on Bass Clarinet

Matt Otto on Tenor/sop sax/compositions

Sara Gazarek on Vocals


The recording includes 10 original songs of mine, many with a folk like quality, reflecting my early musical influences growing up listening to my parents music;  Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, James Taylor, Phil Ochs, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Woody Guthrie and the like.  I’m very happy with how the project turned out.

Produced by David J. Carpenter and Matt Otto

Engineered and Recorded by David J. Carpenter

Mixed by Matt Otto and David J. Carpenter

Mastered by Rob Beaton

Cover art by Jamie Rosenn


Kenny Brooks transcribed my solo on “What Democracy” from this album:

Solo on What Democracy “2000” PDF

What Democracy “2000” Solo mp3


Feb 27 2016

~Lesson 100: Triads

A continual study of triads helps to build an ever strengthening grasp of the underlying structure of both melody and harmony.  Using this simple approach will help you explore all the types and inversions of triads as well as the 6 ways in which you order the notes.


There are 4 basic triad types.

  1. Major (1-3-5 or C-E-G)
  2. Minor (1-b3-5 or C-Eb-G)
  3. Diminished (1-b3-b5 or C-Eb-Gb)
  4. Augmented (1-3-#5 or C-E-G#)

Beyond that any group of 3 notes could arguably be called at “triad”. We’ll just be looking at the basic 4 types.

Next, there are 3 basic inversions.

  1. Root Position (The note C or the Root is in the lowest Voice 1-3-5 or C-E-G)
  2. 1st Inversion (The note E or the 3rd is in the lowest Voice 3-5-1 or E-G-C)
  3. 2nd Inversion (The note G or the 5th is in the lowest Voice 5-1-3 or G-C-E)

Last there are 6 orders of notes.  This is often the part that is overlooked in triad study. (6 note orders for each of the 3 inversions – a total of 18 melodic structures for each triad type).

  1. 1-3-5
  2. 1-5-3
  3. 3-1-5
  4. 3-5-1
  5. 5-1-3
  6. 5-3-1


Here is the PDF the clearly outlines the concept of Triad Type, Inversion Type and Order of Notes all in C:

Triad PDF

Use the mp3 below to sing along, play along or visualize along with. It is based on the Triad PDF above.



Remember to work on this concept in all 12 keys.  Coming up with a daily routine that includes some triad work will help you expand on your basic musical knowledge.

Alternatively, use drones to create different harmonic contexts for your triad practice. You can play over a root, 3rd or 5th from the triad or and other chromatic note to hear how the triad can be used over different bass notes creating different harmonic implications.

Use a piano to generate a pedal or drone or purchase the bass drones here.
Add to Cart


Sep 16 2015

Protected: Blue Bossa

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Sep 2 2015

Protected: Triad add 9

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