Hi folks, we’re excited to be playing at the Baked Potato on Sunday, June 12th. Word on the street is that there’s a new album in the works as well! Hope to see you soon!


JoE-LeSs ShOe is back at the Baked Potato in L.A. on Sunday, Jan. 11th, 2015! (see calendar for detes) Hope to see all you ShOe lovers….

Here’s a tracklist of the tunes on “Midsole” with some commentary from the composers. You can pick up a copy at:


or https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/midsole/id906488342!

1. Du Bois – “This was written as a dedication to the civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois”. – Matt Otto

“Perhaps the most extraordinary characteristic of current America is the attempt to reduce life to buying and selling…. Life is not beauty except beauty for sale. Life is not art unless its price is high and it is sold for profit. All life is production for profit, and for what is profit but for buying and selling again?”   – W.E.B. Du Bois.


2. As You – “A few years ago, I received an email out of the blue from fellow ShOe’r, Jamie Rosenn requesting/suggesting I write a tune. There were some very specific requests regarding form, tempo, meter, etc. I compose by singing, so I broke out my trusty (iPhone) 4 track recorder and began singing all the various parts; melody, bass line, etc. The result was a pretty, asymmetrical 4/4 ballad previously titled, “As You Wish”. For Midsole, I rearranged it, played it a bit faster, changed the meter to 7/4 and voilà! “As You” was born”. – Jason Harnell















3. Nuptially Speaking – “This was written about a week after my wedding in the summer of 2013. It was my first tune as a married man, hence the title. My initial idea was to write a blues that went to the dominant before going to the IV chord (sorry for nerding out here) and it quickly morphed into something else. I’m a giant fan of Steve Swallow’s use of asymmetry and that influence was probably a factor here, especially on the bridge”. – Jamie Rosenn















4. Joplin – “I wrote this for the survivors of the 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado that took the lives of 162 people and injured thousands of others. I wrote the melody while in the emotional space I felt after the event and hoped the song would convey a bit of that feeling”. – Matt Otto



5. Tonsils – “It’s hard to believe, but this tune was written in 2002. It hadn’t actually gotten that much use and when we were gathering material for “Midsole” it occurred to me that it would be a great shOe vehicle. I think when I wrote it I was envisioning sort of an Ornette/Dewey  free with time vibe (although I’ve played it as a Rhythm Changes before too).You could probably think of it as call and response and the response takes over on the bridge. I wanted it to sound like it hurt your tonsils to play it”. – Jamie Rosenn



6. Thaw Night – “is a composition based on the the standard What is this Thing Called Love? The rhythm of both the melody and bass part was taken directly from Jason Harnell’s composition What Thing?, and the title is a related anagram.  In part, the piece was an effort to write a contrafact in 11/4″. -Matt Otto

“…is a contrafact based on the old standard, What is This Thing Called Love? It’s an AABA form in 11/4 (7/4+4/4) and a collaborative effort by me and shOe bandmate, Matt Otto. “Thaw Night” (another anagram) was inspired by my composition, “What Thing?” – Jason Harnell


Bird and shOe










7. Indolent Fowl – “Speaking of nerding out… one of the nerdiest things a jazz person can do is write a a new melody on a classic chord progression (called a “contrafact”) and then refer to it with some clever little title. Sorry guys. This one is on Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird”. I know. I should be punished”. -Jamie Rosenn



8. Trance – “Trance was written a couple of years ago on an afternoon hike. I’d been listening to a bunch of Indian music (Zakir Hussain to be exact) and feeling really inspired by the depth and complexity of that music. I guess you could say this is my take on an Indian raga. It’s a rhythmic cycle that repeats indefinitely and is subdivided 7/4 (2+2+3) + 7/4 (3+2+2) + 7/4 (2+2+3)+ 6/4 (3+3). It’s a 27 beat cycle”. -Jason Harnell












9. Bi-Tonal Color –  “Bi-Tonal Color is another collaboration by me and Otto. Over email, I wrote the rhythm(s) and Matt wrote the melody and chords. The tune is in 3/4 with a tricky Coda section (by Matt) in 5/4+5/4+5/4+5/4+2/4. Oh yeah, the title of this one is an anagram of the word “collaboration”. – Jason Harnell

“The complete melodic rhythm of this piece was written by Jason Harnell.  I took his written rhythm and wrote a specific melody and harmony derived from a major 7 b13, b9 scale.  The title is a anagram of “collaboration”. – Matt Otto



We just want to let everyone know that our new album “Midsole” is officially available. You can get it from CDBaby here:

Joe-Less Shoe: Midsole

or iTunes here:


Come help us celebrate the release of JoE-LeSs ShOe’s brand new CD, “Midsole” next month! We’ll be playing a couple of gigs in August and would love to see you!

-Saturday, August 16th at The Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA www.steynberggallery.com

-Friday, August 22nd at The Blue Whale in Los Angeles, CA www.bluewhalemusic.com

Big news, folks! JoE-LeSs will be releasing our third album this August and we’re hitting the road! Here are the CD release gigs we have lined:

-8/16/14 Stenyberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA, 8PM www.steynberggallery.com

-8/22/14 Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA, 9PM www.bluewhalemusic.com

Woo hoo!!

9/10/13 JoE-LeSs ShOe had a fantastic time in Kansas City. Over the course of four days, we did two gigs, a clinic, a radio interview and recorded our 3rd CD! Needless to say, it was a super productive and fun few days. The trip kicked off with a gig at the intimate listening space, “Take Five” in Leawood, Kansas, where we tested out much of the new material that we were going to record the following day. Lots of diehard jazz fans came out to “Take Five” and Jamie even sold a few JoE-LeSs t-shirts. The next day, it was off to Kansas University for clinic/master class, followed by a radio interview at Kansas City’s KKFI. During the course of the rather hilarious interview, Jamie endorsed the John Water’s film, “Desperate Living”, I sang the theme to the The Incredible Hulk (composed by my Dad, Joe Harnell) and a caller called in asking how many drummers were playing (just me.) Ha! After the radio interview, we hit the studio for a full day of recording, followed the next day by a gig at Kansas City’s premier jazz club, The Blue Room. The Blue Room is connected to the American Jazz Museum and we had the good fortune of performing on Charlie Parker’s birthday! What a thrill it was to play Bird’s music in his home time…at the American Jazz Museum…on his birthday!! The place was packed and lots of Kansas City’s finest musicians were in attendance, many of whom sat in. What a night! The trip wrapped up the following day with one more recording session and the completion of JoE-LeSs ShOe’s third album. Look for it later this year. It’s gonna be a doozy. Special thanks to my good friends and band mates, Matt and Jamie for making this happen and for being such amazing musicians. You guys are the cat’s pajamas.

Bird and shOe

Here’s our revised schedule. Clinic at KU on Friday, Aug. 30th just added! Hope to see some KC friends…

This Thursday Aug. 29th at Take 5 ; 7pm – 9pm

Friday, August 30th at clinic/masterclass at KU;
12:00pm – 2:00pm performance and QnA.

Saturday, Aug. 31st at the Blue Room (tribute to Bird); 8:30pm -12:30am

That’s right kids, the ShOe will be traveling out to Kansas City, MO in Aug./Sept. to do some gigs and record our third album! Here’s what we’ve got so far. Check back soon for updates on added gigs, clinics, etc….

8/29/13 JoE-LeSs ShOe in Kansas City, MO at Take 5 Bar and Music Space
5336 West 151st Street Leawood, Kansas 66224
913-938-5550 www.takefivecoffeebar.com/Music_and_Events

8/31/13 JoE-LeSs ShOe in Kansas City, MO at the Blue Room
American Jazz Museum 1616 East 18th Street Kansas City, MO 64108
816-474-6262 or 816-474-2929 www.club.americanjazzmuseum.org/

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