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Topic Options
#1141129 - 06/21/05 10:53 PM Where to start with jazz?
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
Hi, everyone. I normally post in the pianist corner, so I'm new to this section of the forum. Anyways, I'm 15 years old and I mostly play classical music. But often times when I am practicing, I find myself getting carried away, sometimes for hours, making up left hand riffs, while improvising with the right.

I noticed that most of the threads on this corner were related to jazz, so I thought some of you may know a good route that would help with getting more serious into jazz and improvising. I've looked in some music stores for books that teach jazz, but most of them seemed very basic, like they were for absolute beginners.

Any suggestions?

much thanks,
_________________________
-Carl

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1141130 - 06/22/05 05:33 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
If you've been studying theory for awhile, go out and get yourself Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book.

Then go out and listen to as much jazz as possible. You'll find your way.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1141131 - 06/22/05 06:14 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
fingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 799
Loc: Westchester, NY
In addition to Levine's excellent book, John Mehegan has(had) a series of books which covers most ,if not all of the bases. Moreover, learning how to "apply the theory" is where it gets fun.

The 3 most important rules to remember:

Listen, Listen, Listen.
fingers
_________________________
Playing piano at age 2, it was thought that I was some sort of idiot-savant. As it turns out, I'm just an idiot.

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#1141132 - 06/22/05 08:42 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Another plug for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" which, as far as I know, is 90% of the "Jazz Piano Book" but adapted to be slightly less focussed on Piano (although most of the examples are written out for Piano).

http://www.bassbooks.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=294

Rob.

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#1141133 - 06/22/05 08:51 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
If you are already playing classical, you will probably really enjoy "Let's Play Jazz" which is pretty easy in terms of the notes and ease of left hand but sounds like great jazz when you play the book.
www.letsplayjazz.com
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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#1141134 - 06/23/05 09:32 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
JazzManToo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/25/04
Posts: 104
Loc: Somerville, Massachusetts
I'm going to make another book suggestion for folks with classical training who want to start playing Jazz.

Joy Of Improv Book One: Beginning the Foundation
By Dave Frank (with John Amaral)

Published by Hal-Leonard

Check it here: JoyofImprov
_________________________
Love that #11!

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#1141135 - 06/23/05 01:07 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
Thank you all for all of the suggestions! I will start with some of these materials as soon as I can.
_________________________
-Carl

Top
#1141136 - 06/23/05 02:07 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by ignorant kid:
Thank you all for all of the suggestions! I will start with some of these materials as soon as I can. [/b]
In addition to the other suggestions...

Listen to some of the greats of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

And get yourself a fake book--start learning some tunes.
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1141137 - 06/24/05 09:37 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
You left out the #2 great jazz piano book:

Metaphors For The Musician by Randy Halberstadt (same publishing company as the Levine book)
www.shermusic.com/metaphors.htm
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1141138 - 06/24/05 10:28 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
ignorant kid,

You already know how to start with jazz---and in fact you're already doing it for hours! Good for you.

Jazz is not a method, it's a *way.* And that way is the way of creation, of spontaneity. You're already doing that.

I have the Levine piano book mentioned by Rob. But I'm guessing that if you already know about open voicings and substitutions, you don't really need it. (I did.)

You've already discovered what is at the heart of jazz. Just keep doing it.

Do you also already elaborate on your mistakes? Go back and see what they could become? Old saying: There are no mistakes in jazz. If your mistakes are already opportunities, you know what jazz is.

I'm a life long student and love learning, but really, all even a good book like Levine's can do is show you a few things that are used often in jazz---and I suspect that you may already doing them'-)

Are you already comping? Nice talent to have, when playing with others.

All the best,
DavidH

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#1141139 - 06/24/05 02:11 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ignorant kid:
Thank you all for all of the suggestions! I will start with some of these materials as soon as I can. [/b]
In addition to the other suggestions...

And get yourself a fake book--start learning some tunes. [/b]
By a fake book, did you mean a jazz one or a popular one?
_________________________
-Carl

Top
#1141140 - 06/24/05 02:22 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
ignorant kid,

You already know how to start with jazz---and in fact you're already doing it for hours! Good for you.

Jazz is not a method, it's a *way.* And that way is the way of creation, of spontaneity. You're already doing that.

I have the Levine piano book mentioned by Rob. But I'm guessing that if you already know about open voicings and substitutions, you don't really need it. (I did.)

You've already discovered what is at the heart of jazz. Just keep doing it.

Do you also already elaborate on your mistakes? Go back and see what they could become? Old saying: There are no mistakes in jazz. If your mistakes are already opportunities, you know what jazz is.

I'm a life long student and love learning, but really, all even a good book like Levine's can do is show you a few things that are used often in jazz---and I suspect that you may already doing them'-)

Are you already comping? Nice talent to have, when playing with others.

All the best,
DavidH [/b]
Thank you very much for your encouraging post. I am not very familiar with chord voicing, substitutions, and even much theory for that matter (I've had only a few lessons on theory, but I'm taking a class next year). I think books like what were mentioned above would be helpful so that I could understand and apply the theory involved better. But what I REALLY want in addition to that is something to work with, like a fake book or something so that I could use improvisation on actual songs, whereas the ones I make up are just simple riffs that I basically jam with.

As for comping, you'll have to tell me what that means...
_________________________
-Carl

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#1141141 - 06/24/05 04:17 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Carl,

OK, forget Levine for now. Try "Practical Theory Complete, A Self-Instruction Music Theory Course," by Sandy Feldstein. Here' s a link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/det...=books&n=507846 This book should really be titled, "A Basic Overview of Music Theory." I have it and still use it. And the price is right.

I particularly still go back to one of the most basic lessons: intervals. Hum them, and you'll soon be able to hum the melodies to tunes that you like. Harmony is trickier. Maybe try a one-note bass line that sounds good to you.

Fake Books are available at Amazon, too, and you can google "fake book" for other sources.

"Comping" is just slang for accompanying. Could mean that your comping for a singer, could mean that your just dropping back from your featured position, to make room for another player. That's jazz, too;-)

The Levine book is dense and has good excerpts from lots of jazz standards. Levine's publisher is also the copywrite holder for those tunes, so there's a broad selection. Only problem for now is that the advanced voicings (just a hoity-toity word for harmonies) will make a lot more sense after you've gone thru Feldstein.

There's one other study aid I'd like to recommend: The Chord Wheel, by fleser. Here's a link: http://www.chordprogression.com/ By rotating a clear plastic wheel, you'll instantly be able to know which are the chords in any key that you want to play in.

The Feldstein book and the Chord Wheel were all I had when I wrote "The Duke In Three." (pls chk ur PM's) Used them both all the time. $30 will get both of them delivered.

All the best,
DavidH

Top
#1141142 - 06/25/05 10:33 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by ignorant kid:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ignorant kid:
Thank you all for all of the suggestions! I will start with some of these materials as soon as I can. [/b]
In addition to the other suggestions...

And get yourself a fake book--start learning some tunes. [/b]
By a fake book, did you mean a jazz one or a popular one? [/b]
I like the Sher books, as they are clean (print and paper), generally accurate musically, presented in the proper keys, and the books are wirebound (which makes them easy to lay flat or sit on the music stand.) Warner Bros. and Hal Leonard also publish adequate fake books. However, I prefer the wire spiral binding and the quality of the Sher products.

btw, a good resource exists on the Seventh String website....a fakebook index that you can use to find music in a growing collection of fakebooks...
(http://www.seventhstring.co.uk/fbindex.html). I use this company's Transcribe! program, which is also a great resource. When you get into transcribing music off the record, get a copy of Transcribe! Great tool.

Back to fakebooks: IMHO, Try Sher's The New Real Book, Vol. 1. It has a mix of old and new jazz tunes, some standards and a few latin numbers.

To play jazz, you'll want to know quite a few of these songs.

You'll also need to listen to the classic recordings of these tunes. The Levine Theory book has an excellent discography and will help you there.

Also, start listening to the jazz radio station, either where you live, or online. Your ear needs training and this takes time, but it's simple to do in that all you have to do is listen.

Good luck and God bless. We sure do need young jazz players to keep our uniquely American art form alive!

Don't forget to have fun. ;\)
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

Top
#1141143 - 06/25/05 03:25 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
Carl,

OK, forget Levine for now. Try "Practical Theory Complete, A Self-Instruction Music Theory Course," by Sandy Feldstein. Here' s a link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/det...=books&n=507846 This book should really be titled, "A Basic Overview of Music Theory." I have it and still use it. And the price is right.

I particularly still go back to one of the most basic lessons: intervals. Hum them, and you'll soon be able to hum the melodies to tunes that you like. Harmony is trickier. Maybe try a one-note bass line that sounds good to you.

Fake Books are available at Amazon, too, and you can google "fake book" for other sources.

"Comping" is just slang for accompanying. Could mean that your comping for a singer, could mean that your just dropping back from your featured position, to make room for another player. That's jazz, too;-)

The Levine book is dense and has good excerpts from lots of jazz standards. Levine's publisher is also the copywrite holder for those tunes, so there's a broad selection. Only problem for now is that the advanced voicings (just a hoity-toity word for harmonies) will make a lot more sense after you've gone thru Feldstein.

There's one other study aid I'd like to recommend: The Chord Wheel, by fleser. Here's a link: http://www.chordprogression.com/ By rotating a clear plastic wheel, you'll instantly be able to know which are the chords in any key that you want to play in.

The Feldstein book and the Chord Wheel were all I had when I wrote "The Duke In Three." (pls chk ur PM's) Used them both all the time. $30 will get both of them delivered.

All the best,
DavidH [/b]
Thanks for the suggestion. The theory book sounds like a good idea and I could get a good head start on my theory class next year.
As for harmony/melodies and such, I can play fairly well by ear, so hopefully that will come nicely into play.

I haven't done any serious accompanying yet, but I plan to accompany the school chorus next year (if they'll let me ;\) )

As far as voicing goes right now, I have a fairly elaborate book on jazz chords and voicing and such.
_________________________
-Carl

Top
#1141144 - 06/25/05 05:27 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Carl,

If you're going to be comping, you might want to take a look at tri-tone substitutions. There's info about them on the web.

All the best,
DavidH

Top
#1141145 - 06/27/05 01:29 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
Oh, and go listen to as many good jazz CDs as you can! Start out with Bill Evans. \:\)
_________________________
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com

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#1141146 - 06/27/05 04:13 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
What about the Jamey Aebersold series? ii-V-I and others?

I've heard they're a wonderful way of learning to improvise with Standards or particular well-known progressions.

http://www.aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc

Also, Band In A Box is another good improv tool if you have a PC near your piano.

Rob.

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#1141147 - 06/27/05 06:56 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
nickd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 146
Loc: France
Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen...

Get the idea ;\)

You CANNOT listen enough to the music you want to be able to play. No book in the world will teach you how to "swing" a piece of music, and only non-stop listening will get you where you want to be.

Books and sheet music are a great reference point, and I still use them a lot, but jazz is essentially an aural skill, and you need to develop your ear-hand skills, not your eye-hand skills.

For every hour you spend reading, you need to spend two hours with the books closed just trying to play. Try finding melodies from any starting note...try working out walking bases... Listen to an old standard (a slow Billie Holiday, perhaps) and try to work out the "real" melodie, the notes she actually sings, the different solos... It's a lot of effort, but well worth it.

Also listen to the great melodic soloists on other instruments (sax, trumpet...) to get a feel for melody and timing, and try to play their solos.

You should also mess around to see "what happens" when you add or remove notes from chords...when you sudenly change the rhythm. You also need to practice "disaster recovery" - which means carrying on playing when you make a mistake and seeing if you can recover the melody and/or rhythm.

Technically, it's worth doing exercises to develop the independance of your hands (I'm sure someone here can suggest techniques or books). Similarly, you need to work on speed and fingering, and I use the Czerny "School of Velocity" (against my better judgement ).

nick

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#1141148 - 07/28/05 01:29 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
Hey kid if you didn't ask you would never know. I have posted three replies that might help. All are here at the pianist corner. 1. piano lounge music from CHT, 2. ear training and jazz from Kateriniparalia, and the last when to play jazz with other people from the same person. review my answers and if you have any questions ask away. dpvjazz

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#1141149 - 08/03/05 03:03 AM Re: Where to start with jazz?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
So much good advice above. I envy your age and talent. There is a world of fantastic music for you and consider you have nade a very good move to start your own improvisations.

As 'nickd' said, listen to as much and wide scope of music. You may like more traditional jazz piano or not. Just try and see what pleases your ear the most. Do not forget the impact of rhythm and beat, as to me, they form a solid background to the love of this music.

The very modern jazz is, to me very complex and needs a great technical understanding.Ultra modern jazz players may have a fairly low number of true understanders of their playing. My own personal view. I would not attempt too much on the technical aspect too soon. Nothing wrong with it but try to understand how this jazz piano has evolved. There is no stipulation that decrees a following to some of the present day form.

I have a recording of John Pizzareli (spelling?)playing guitar plus vocal at the Montreal Jazz Festival a few years ago using the Beatles music. There was a large orchestra. The pianist was a Ray Kennedy and he was brilliant particularly on one song when he and John P were swapping phrases, Ray got it perfect in copying John on the guitar phrase. The audience went mad .....fantasic.

So your piano learning of the classics and the fact that you are a proper trained pianist rather than I, who cannot read a note, like some other jazz pianists. You have a lifetime of pleasure awaiting you.

The vibrations, the creativity of your own music, is something that will sooth your soul for the rest of your life.

Alan

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#1141150 - 08/07/05 07:33 PM Re: Where to start with jazz?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
RE band in a box, I hope they have improved it recently. Some of the tracks on there were awful last time I checked.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

Top

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