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#1011490 - 08/08/08 05:37 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 547
Loc: Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elssa:
Hi Riddler: \:\)

I just wanted to tell you again how much I loved your C-Jam Blues - really awesome! My teacher wants me to work on improv with this one now, and the blues in general. Any tips? Would it be okay if I *tried* to copy bits of what you did, just to get me started? Thanks again! \:\) [/b]
Elssa,

Thanks for the comments!

Here is a short MP3 file that reveals the secret of my improvisation approach:

http://www.box.net/shared/gl8ao0p176

Understood? \:D

So, you see, it goes without saying that I have no objection to you using that file in any way!

As far as tips for improvising over blues songs, I recently listened to a free tutorial on the internet by Steve Neff.

http://www.neffmusic.com/cms/index.php

He recommends that when you use the blues scale, only use the flatted 5 occasionally. In other words, play the minor pentatonic, and once in a while throw in the flatted fifth just as a passing tone. After hearing that, I looked in a few jazz books and found that this is common advice, and in fact I enjoy playing blues a lot more since I started following his advice.

I'm with Jazzwee on the blues licks - I would get bored if I had to practice them.

Bebop licks - that's another story!

Hope that helps, and thanks again.

Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#1011491 - 08/08/08 07:30 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Barb, how do you your comping? What do you play in each hand (voicing wise)? This is a good topic in itself.
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#1011492 - 08/08/08 07:56 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Jazzwee,

Left hand root - right hand 4 note rootless. Inversions will vary to keep big jumps to a minimum.

Major - 3, 5, 7, 9 or the 6 instead of the 5 or 7.

Minor - b7, 9, b3, 5

Dominant - b7, 9, 3, 13

Originally, I had root and 7 in the left hand. Now, I am walking around a bit with the left hand sometimes playing one or two rhythmic approach notes to the next root. It's easier to do that by just having the root in the left hand.

EDIT - For me, the root is needed because there will be no bass player when I comp for my husband on vibes.
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1011493 - 08/08/08 08:11 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
So this is comping for a singer or comping in a combo (play-along)? We can discuss this as there's different strategies here. But this is a good topic to be studying, and could be a good time to discuss Block Chord comping.
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#1011494 - 08/08/08 08:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Jazzwee - I just edited my post as to why I play the root.

With a combo play-along, the bass would be playing and I would comp differently with 3 and 7 in the left hand.

Yes, this is a great topic.
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1011495 - 08/09/08 02:21 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Barb, Sounds like you're taking to right approach when comping for your husband. Something I learned about combo comping is a variant on the block chord.

A typical block chord in a combo setting is:
LH Rootless Chord
RH Root + 5 + Root (Octave Up)

Sometimes you hear improvisational comping where the pianist is improvising in a comping style. One can do this by playing melody notes on the RH, just an occasional one and you play it:

LH Rootles CHord
RH Melody Note + 4 or 5 + Melody Note (Octave Up)

I'm trying to remember who does this a
lot (like a recording) but I can't remember. Typically melody notes are chord tones but it could be any chord tone.

But this makes it more interesting than just a regular block chord. A good comper is creating all these variations of textures so the sound is never constant. Even in a combo setting, you'll see mixtures, changing of registers, playing on the beat, off the beat, long notes, quick jabs.

It shouldn't be too busy and should not get in a way of the soloist.

I'm just imagining a tune like Invitation which stays on the same chord for several measures, playing a plain block chord for 5 measures will sound boring quickly. But aside from varying the chord jabs, changing the RH to some restrained improvisation makes it interesting.
It's truly at art form it itself.

I'm not a comping expert. I'm still working on being solid with this, particularly creating variations. Maybe some of the experts can add some more comping advice as this is an important topic. For a typical piano player, this could be at least 50% of what we do. (I've probably spent 5% of my time on this since the beginning and I have to change this ratio dramatically).

A good way to learn to comp is to play along with the Aebersold Play Alongs. It really feels realistic, like you're in the band. Something I picked up from Jazz+. If you mute one of the channels (I forget if it is Left or Right), then the piano player is removed from the mix. So I plug my Ipod into a mixer and then I can bring the piano player in or out as needed.

BTW - to prove the point that comping is not Formulaic, master comper Herbie Hancock plays some busy comping sometimes. But it still sounds good. Which goes to show that there's a lot more to this.

Maybe others can suggest good compers to listen to. That's probably the best way to learn.
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#1011496 - 08/09/08 01:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2938
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
On the Aebersold tracks, if you pick up something lie Audacity, it's easy to replace the right track by the left and create a new track. But I'm sure you know that.

Also, I'd like to invite you all to my new blog:
http://jazzitup-knot.blogspot.com/

In which I'll try and track progress, share thoughts and tips.

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#1011497 - 08/09/08 03:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
Thanks for the helpful advice, Riddler & Jazzwee! \:\)

"Understood? \:D "

I'm a little slow at times, but I *think* you're saying that you get inspiration/ideas/licks from other people/recordings? I guess that's what everyone does? Your inspiration/interpretation always comes out a lot better than mine does, though, for some reason. Thanks a lot for the advice about the passing b5, etc.

BTW, do you play Route 66? That's another one I would like to work on - think it would sound good with the improv. \:\)

Route 66 - youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U9OPrBnAKk

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#1011498 - 08/09/08 04:54 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
Here's another one:

Route 66:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImWRDB5vur0

Can anyone help me with the walking bass and improv with this tune? Thanks!

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#1011499 - 08/10/08 12:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Hi Elssa, I know you're looking for a magic bullet but in the end it's about knowing what scale to use for each chord and sitting around on the piano and spending a lot of time seeing if you can create melodies around that scale.

At first, you bias towards the chord tones (1,3,5,7), then you mix in neighboring tones but still always biasing towards chord tones. This is mostly training your brain to make melodies. It's hard.

Then you listen to some masters and see how they handle a chord, then go back to see if it affects your own melody choices.

The second part of this is phrasing. See how they distribute the notes (whole, half, quarter, eights, triplets), or repeat tones. There's some common phrasings in jazz. And sometimes, like a person singing, the phrasing may lead you to melodies.

When you're lost again go back to the chord tones again. Don't be afraid to repeat notes or repeat a pair of notes. Repetition is actually good. Don't be afraid to keep doing this over and over even when you think you're failing.

I listened to several posters here start with simple melodies and you can see improvements in just a couple of weeks. It does take time to make this natural but at some point, your ears take over and the fingers just follow.

The difficulty is that at the beginning, your fingers do the leading and the brain is not originating the melody. Fingers work with patterns and sometimes the patterns lose connections (like in continuous arpeggio playing).

You already know the arpeggios, which is the beginning snippet of a melody. So that's a starting point. But who says the arpeggio has to be sequential? Who says the arpeggios have a different note each time? You'll need to break your fingers off the pattern and have the brain interject.

Now since you're asking about Walking bass, let me tell you that my teacher(s) forbid me to do walking bass early on. The reason is that you brain needs to concentrate on this melody making first. This is why often it is best to learn improvs with shell voicings. It is easy enough to bring walking bass and sophisticated chord voicings back.

Simplify your left hand and don't let the fingers control your note choices. Combine this with constant listening (looking at patterns that players use but put the sound in your brain first -- not the pattern in the fingers).

I've said in my blog that licks/patterns didn't work for me in a mechanical sense (repeating the patterns in my fingers) because my brain wasn't thinking of it. It's better I thought to just listen to the music I liked and I had a better chance of absorbing the patterns that way.

We will pay more attention if it's the music we like rather than what the teacher dictates we study. For example, do you really like the blues or is it just your teacher telling you to study it? It helps if you like or can learn to like it.
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#1011500 - 08/10/08 12:50 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
Thanks, Jazzwee. People tell me for improv start with the blues.. I guess I'm still struggling to know what exactly is the blues. This is what I've done so far:

http://www.box.net/shared/l4pxsml8gk

Is "In the Mood" blues? I'm also playing "St. Louis Blues". I love both those tunes.

How do you start - 8 bar blues? 12 bar blues?

I know C and F blues scales up and down and sometimes use C blues scale for fills. My teacher says learn blues scale in all keys. Is that necessary to improvise with the blues?

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#1011501 - 08/10/08 01:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
The reason teachers start with blues is that jazz phrasing originated from the blues. There's a lot of truth in that.

Blues is characterized by a minor-major sound mostly distinctly recognizable by the use of the b3 and 3rd of the chord. Or the b5 and 5 of the chord. Beyond that, most of blues playing is surprisingly consistent with playing 1-3-5-7 of the chords. This is something I recommended earlier.

The best way to handle this is top stop thinking of the entire scale as a scalar motion of notes. Instead mix up the chord tones, and think of the b3->3 and b5->5 (either as a slide or separate notes). Slides are more common in boogie-woogie than jazz though so we tend to play them as separate notes.

Let me repeat again: (no pun intended) blues is made of repeats. It's the aspect called Call and Response. Call 3 times (with some variations) and respond on the 4th measure. So you make a melody, you repeat it, and you respond with a melody that takes from the original call. That's traditionally the blues structure. I'll keep it simple in explanation.

Later when you actually are an expert in blues, then forget this rule. But it's a good place to start.

Because blues is made up of repeats anyway (to highlight a melody), then it gives you a lot of leeway to use oftentimes the same note (like b3 for example). C-Jam blues is an excellent example of the magic of repetition. As an opening improv, you could repeat another note other than what's in the melody of C-Jam Blues.

Of course the other thing to note is that Blues swings. So this is an early example of where jazz students learn to swing, especially learning to swing repeating notes.

I went through this phase too where I had to study the blues so I understand its importance.

I'll respond separately to listening to your music.
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#1011502 - 08/10/08 01:26 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
I listened to your music. As expected Elssa, and I'm sure everyone else will agree that you play the music very well. It sounds fantastic!

But we got to get you to improvise. You can't expect early improvisation to sound as good as a good arrangement as you've done in the recordings. So don't be afraid to do something simple in improvisation.

You need to free yourself from the burden of having to sound good. If you swing it, believe me, everything will sound good. No matter how simple. Even repeated notes.

Simplify that left hand and re-reread what I just said above. You can do it.

You've posted with this question here and other threads so I know you want to really figure this out. I hope I can prod you into this. You already have the playing talent.

Believe me there's a lot of joy to opening up a real book and taking any song and just improvising. I just did that tonight and it's really personally satisfying. Better than watching some other person's concert. It will be addicting.
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Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
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#1011503 - 08/10/08 01:29 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Think of the simplicity of C-Jam Blues. TWO NOTES. THAT's ALL IT HAS. You realize the significance of that?

It's not the number of notes. It's how the notes are played.
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#1011504 - 08/10/08 06:42 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1306
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Hi gang. Fellow Joanna ticklers and ivory pushers.

I just wanted to share with you the experience I've just survived. I've been on a jazz-course (interesting, thanks to my Dyslexia that first came out as "Jazz-curse" ;\) ), yep, I spent a week away on a community college somewhere out in the sticks of Sweden. And it was mind blowing.

It's a privately run camp, five teachers from the jazz faculty at the Royal College of Music.

We were divided into 5 groups according to our skills and experience; 3-4 wind players and a git, pno, bass, drums rhythm section.
I soon found myself in the advanced group. And boy did I get to play (as we only had a tenor sax and trumpet as our front line section). We started at 8.45 am and with some breaks, rehearsed and studied until dinner at 6 pm. I kid you not! Hour after hour banging through tunes, working on arrangements, solos, structure, rhythm, scales, and then more rhythm rhythm rhythm rhythm rhythm rhythm . . . .
Our fearless leader is a drum and percussion teacher - and boy did I get into those pesky dotted 8 notes, learning to subdivide.
And do you know what? THIS is the secret to swing, to constructing an interesting solo, to get "it" to sound ehh Jazz.

I spent a whole day soloing on one note! Well, octaves were approved, but our teacher said to me, "I'm going to challenge you NOT to play" and that's after I just played a smoking solo on Impressions. "try and put all that energy on getting that one note right, using different rhythms, let the drums and bass carry you, trust your fellow musicians". It was a revelation, it freed my mind up so much that when I did start to play more notes they came out just perfect.
I've never had a standing ovation for a solo but that night (we had to perform our ensemble work for each other every night) I got one, it was sheer magic.

Another great thing about this camp was that we spanned 18 - 80. There was the young ones, hot with scales and distorted amps and the dudes 70 - 80 year-olds) that have been playing swing since their teens.
It was an honor and a privilege to listen to these gent's of the gentle swing.

Playing so much each day has changed my . . everything. An start of an ability to hear in between the bars, to hear the subdivisions, to finally "get" what the old-timers have been talking about.
My wife asked me "didn't you get tired? Didn't your hands get tired?" and my answer was no.
All that work that I've spent this last 1,5 years, re-training my hands, doing loads of research into piano technique finally payed off, I can literally play for hours at full power with absolutely no pain in arms, fingertips, elbows what-so-ever.

So yes, I've been blessed this week with the "curse" of Jazz. Just wanted to share that with you.
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#1011505 - 08/10/08 06:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1306
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
About that second chord in T 4 J B's.
It's an Gm6/9 with the D in the bass.
It's also used in A Child is Born by Thad Jones amongst others.

Route 66? ah well Nat\'s version still out swings them all. ;\)
_________________________
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#1011506 - 08/10/08 12:02 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 547
Loc: Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elssa:
Thanks for the helpful advice, Riddler & Jazzwee! \:\)

"Understood? \:D "

I'm a little slow at times, but I *think* you're saying that you get inspiration/ideas/licks from other people/recordings? I guess that's what everyone does? ...[/b]
Elssa,

Yes, I have never "transcribed" from a recording, but I'm sure all of my improvising is derived in some way, mostly indirectly I guess, from music I have listened to. In this particular case, the derivation was pretty direct, I'd say. \:D


 Quote:
Originally posted by Elssa:

BTW, do you play Route 66? That's another one I would like to work on - think it would sound good with the improv... \:\)

[/b]
I haven't played Route 66, but as far as the walking bass line is concerned, you might want to look at this guide:

http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/jazz/Improv/219/244BasslinesBb.pdf

Personally, I find it very difficult to mprovise while playing a walking bass line, so I would probably pick the simplest bass line and practice it till I could play it in my sleep, then try improvising over it. The ultimate goal, of course is to improvise the bass line too, but that's hard for me now.

Great job on the blues-boogie recording!

Glad to see this thread coming back to life after a period of dormancy.

Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#1011507 - 08/10/08 12:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Chris - What an experience you had. That was an exciting blow by blow of your week. Will you be going back next year for more fun? \:D

What has little Beatrice been up to lately?
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1011508 - 08/10/08 01:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1306
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
I might do.

Bea has been keeping us on out toes.
_________________________
I never play anything the same way once.

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#1011509 - 08/10/08 06:45 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
Thanks for the good advice all. \:\) I guess the blues has a lot of different patterns and "freedom", so I shouldn't worry about 8 bars or 12 bars or whatever? But you do have to follow a specific blues chord pattern or just follow whatever blues song you're doing? I was just playing one of my favorite songs, "Stormy Weather" and doing a lot of bluesy half step slides with b3, etc. I'm also playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". I'm just trying to figure out what exactly is the blues and what is the best way to improvise with it?

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#1011510 - 08/11/08 12:57 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Chris, that sounded like fun and lot of hard work. It is reassuring to know that even experts like you can still benefit from a jazz camp.

Given that you had a percussion guy, did you do a lot of stuff in unusual time signatures?

Perhaps you can share some tips for us.
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#1011511 - 08/11/08 01:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elssa:
Thanks for the good advice all. \:\) I guess the blues has a lot of different patterns and "freedom", so I shouldn't worry about 8 bars or 12 bars or whatever? But you do have to follow a specific blues chord pattern or just follow whatever blues song you're doing? I was just playing one of my favorite songs, "Stormy Weather" and doing a lot of bluesy half step slides with b3, etc. I'm also playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". I'm just trying to figure out what exactly is the blues and what is the best way to improvise with it? [/b]
Elssa, standard blues is in the 12 bar format. 4 (Call)-4(Call) -4(response). The form is very fixed but in jazz many chord substitutions are done to the middle measures but the main chords stay the same.

This is the base pattern of 12 bar blues.

|I7|I7|I7|I7|
|IV7|IV7|I7|I7|
|V7|IV7|I7|I7|

Like I said earlier, Blues does well with repetitions. As far as phrasing, I'd start off with C-Jam blues. That's a simple phrasing but very swinging. Just substitute a few different notes in there. Do you understand what I mean here? C-Jam has a very distinct phrasing. Even if the tune is a different blues tune, you can steal from the phrasing of C-Jam and just change the notes.

Just play the root in your left hand and forget all the fancy stuff.

My main point here is that it's not too much what notes you pick at first but how you phrase it that makes it sound good early on. It doesn't matter what notes you pick. It could be Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb but phrased with proper swing, it'll sound cool.
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#1011512 - 08/11/08 01:24 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
 Quote:
Originally posted by knotty:

Also, I'd like to invite you all to my new blog:
http://jazzitup-knot.blogspot.com/

In which I'll try and track progress, share thoughts and tips. [/b]
Thanks for sharing that Knotty! I liked your rendition of Shadow of Your Smile Nice voicings.
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#1011513 - 08/11/08 02:36 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
Thanks again, Jazzwee: \:\)

"It could be Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb but phrased with proper swing, it'll sound cool."

I see what you mean now...Yeah, I guess even a simple nursery rhyme can swing, with the right phrasing: \:\)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUYpUogn91U

I'm going to work on that C-Jam Blues/phrasing.

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#1011514 - 08/11/08 03:01 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
Hey Elssa, actually, there is a jazz version of Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb by some woman Jazzer. I saw it on TV. And it was in some unusual time, as I recall (not 4/4). \:D

And on another website, there's Twinkle-Twinkle rendition, jazzified \:D

Notes don't have to be complicated. If C-Jam can be made famous with just repeating two notes then it can't be that bad. How about 'One Note Samba'? (but it's not swing...) \:D

This is why the very first lessons of jazz are about swing and phrasing (and why Blues is taught early on). In fact, that's why this thread has a pretty big focus on swing.

Personally, I wouldn't be embarrased at all of making a solo with just a few notes, as long as it had an interesting phrasing. Of course Ella is a master of phrasing so you got the point. In the beginning stages, I had to be master this in it's simplest form.

I posted somewhere that Bill Evans had a comment on this. He calls playing something complex, but without the background and knowledge to really play it as "approximation" and how this will just cause the player to fail.

Then he played something simple (a few repeated notes with nice phrasing and) and it sounded good. He says one should play simply first.

My teacher told me a long time ago to desist from comping with complicated left hand stuff first. The RH has to be mastered completely before playing them together.

From experience though, it didn't take long for my LH to get back in the mix. But my brain had to be trained to isolate the thought processes for melody making and the less distractions, the better.
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#1011515 - 08/20/08 11:28 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1306
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by jazzwee:
Chris, that sounded like fun and lot of hard work. It is reassuring to know that even experts like you can still benefit from a jazz camp.
Given that you had a percussion guy, did you do a lot of stuff in unusual time signatures?
Perhaps you can share some tips for us. [/b]
Well, one interesting part was that he didn't want to do anything "fancy" with us. He thought that's what we do anyway, and would like us to focus on the simple fact (not) of getting the music to swing. We did however, work on Take Five, a piece that I've always loathed thanks to all those meaningless jams, and actually came to like it again. Teach' wanted us to play it slow, and I mean slow, so as to get in touch with the wave movement of the pulse.

Tips? hmmm not sure there, I/we worked such basic rudiments as listen to one another, and practice/rehearse everything slow, but still with a swing - that in particular was an eye (ear) opener for me. Hmm the tip that comes to mind is don't focus on notes but on rhythm.
Our teacher demonstrated everything on all the different instruments; he can't play piano, but he played a solo using three notes, but a lot of different rhythmic displacements putting my knowledge of all those scales and chords to shame!
Yep, Rhythm it is. That and combined with dynamics and phrasing is the secret.
But oh oh oh it's so difficult!! \:D
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#1011516 - 08/21/08 02:45 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6988
Loc: So. California
That's a great explanation Chris. I hope that people also notice that we spend a good amount of time teaching the swing and phrasing in this thread.

At some point this last year, my ears finally picked up on the phrasing in a positive way. Meaning it took a higher focus. It came from my teacher having me insert changes in my phrasing. The change in the phrasing changed the mechanics of everything, because for me at least, it stopped sounding like me (and what I felt was mechanical playing) to sounding like someone else that I enjoyed listening to.

Of course the problem is that I can't always sustain this at a high level. But I working on getting good phrasing with just simple notes and making sure that's a reliable platform.

I think that when my phrasing improved (and lot of this has to do with rhythmic development too and how well one can subdivide), it changed the note selection automatically. When I'm listening to what I'm playing and it sounds good phrasing wise, the note selections improve too. Funny thing, and I can't really explain why.

I was telling Elssa earlier about C-Jam and it's phrasing. Well that's one example. There's a large vocabulary of phrasing that one has to develop I think, and in a lot of ways it may be more important than the actual notes.

Some improvisation is based on simple arpeggiations, but the rhythmic rearrangement of such a simple thing creates a new product.

I think it is quite true that
RHYTHM IS MORE IMPORTANT.

And I'd say not just in jazz but improvisation in general (although more important in jazz due to swing).

Thanks very much Chris. Your comments are timely and befitting of what's been discussed recently.
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#1011517 - 08/21/08 06:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1306
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks Jazzwee for that feedback.
There was a lot of sharing in our ensemble, another thing that strikes me is that I have no idea what the other members do for a living (well I do now, at least one of them), we were all so focused on playing and "getting it right". There is no better camaraderie than "anytime you need a drummer call me, I'll be there". Anyhow - our fearless leader was talking about what is the "correct" way of counting; he made the observation during all the ensembles (we were 5) evening performance. "Next year I'm going to have a course in how to tap one's foot!". He meant that some ensembles, even thought they had good players, failed to make a satisfying performance. They all were tapping their feet individually - and not together, in the music.

I'll post some of the rhythmic phrases we worked on.
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I never play anything the same way once.

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#1011518 - 08/23/08 12:08 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
Jazz Mallets Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 15
Loc: North Carolina
Hi Everyone,

I decided to make my first Piano World post in the best AB thread. I’ve been lurking here since my wife, Swingin’ Barb, joined the thread in January. I am a jazz vibist. (Ok, it’s not a piano, but, I am playing on the same keyboard path.) I have learned a lot here – thanks to Jazzwee, Chris, Jazz+ and all of the contributors to the thread.

As Barb has mentioned here, we plan on performing as a vibes/piano duo within the next year or two. I am the improviser and scat singer of the duo.

I look forward to posting some of our playing in this thread. Your feedback to help us improve would be very much appreciated.

Tom
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#1011519 - 08/23/08 01:32 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2938
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Hey Tom,

Welcome to the gang, can't wait to hear what you guys come up with.

Take care!

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