New CD – Reunion

Alto saxophonist Andy Ehling and I have released our second album, “Reunion”.

We recorded ten original compositions in Kansas City over two days.

Nate Espy and Nick Crane at Rooftop Media engineered the session.

The band includes Andy Ehling on alto sax,Matt Otto on tenor sax,

Leonard Thompson on rhodes, Brad Williams on drums and Ben Leifer on bass.



You can support our project by donating or buying the CD from

CD baby, Itunes, or any of the normal online retailers.

You can also listen to the CD for free on Band Camp (link below).



~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:

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!


~ 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!