Writing & Musings

Triadic Chromatic Approach to improvisation

Whenever you get a bunch of musicians together, usually someone shares a revelation related to the music. The trombonist Richard Baker told me about an improvisation technique that the tenor saxophonist George Garzone has been working on for decades. He calls it the Triadic Chromatic Approach.

Here's what George says in a master class:

"I took the four groups of triads—major, minor, augmented and diminished—and figured out a way how to improvise with them using random inversions with a half-step coupling in between each triad. By doing that, you borrow from the 12-tone row. If you repeat yourself by playing two first position, two root position or two second inversions, you will cause the triad to shut itself down, and you start to cause repetition."

In its simplest form, if you play a triad on C (C E G) you can then play a semitone up or down from the G. The new note is part of a different triad, but can't be the root note (because the same inversion cannot be repeated). So no Ab or Gb triads allowed. There's more explanation on the JodyJazz website.

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Kenneth Wilkinson


Feel free to use the contact form to discuss having lessons in my teaching studio (classical and jazz). An audio system is available to record and listen to material we study.


Workshops relate to, and improve, your instrumental performance. Recent workshop sessions include:

How do I sound like that?
An exploration of mouthpieces and reeds (classical and jazz), timbre and sound production.

A safe, non-threatening, comfortable approach to improvisation!

An introduction to jazz improvisation for (often anxious) players, with little or no experience.

Reed Alteration

A workshop demonstrating techniques to hone and fine tune your reeds.
Quirk Duo


The Quirk Duo is saxophonists Sarah Markham (Yamaha and Vandoren performing artist), and Kenneth Wilkinson. Between them they have a performing career spanning sixty years, enjoying many genres including solo recitals, opera, orchestral, jazz, pop and chamber music. The Quirk Duo is a distillation of those experiences, an exploration of possibilities.
Quirk Saxophone Quartet


The Quirk Saxophone Quartet is made up of like-minded saxophonists:

Sarah Markham - soprano
Kenneth Wilkinson - alto
Chris Jolly - tenor
Sarah Hind - baritone