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#1349196 - 01/14/10 06:26 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
beeboss Offline
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I find upper structures useful in all aspects of improvisation. Essentially all they are is subgroups of notes derived from a certain scale, so it is easy to use them any context whether doing single line impro, block chords or accompanying a melody.

For instance a couple of upper structure triads you could use over a D7 sharp 9 are Bb major triad, Ab major triad and B major triad. The first 2 of these are derived from the dimished whole tone scale (ie Eb melodic minor ascending) and the last from the diminished scale (half whole). So, for instance, if you had an Eb in the melody you could use either a B maj triad or Ab major triad in the RH (voiced with the Eb at the top) with the D7 sharp 9 shell voicing in the LH.
And when doing a single line impro using the different arpeggios give a different flavour.
I find these particular triads very useful for creating moving inside voices inside a single chord,. For instance if there is a bar of D7 sharp 9 then you could play in the RH the Bb triad on the first 2 beats and then move to the Ab triad for the 2nd 2 beats. This provides some harmonic interest in a static chord and using just the inner voices can add another level of beauty.
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#1349305 - 01/14/10 11:01 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
jazzwee Online   content
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beeboss, although I don't use triads in a memorized way as upper structures, I think I do something similar but not thinking necessarily of a specific triad interval.

The similarity is my constant visual overlay of a diminished scale over any dominants. Then I find some intervallic pattern over it, rather than a scalar movement. In essence it turns out usually to be sort of triad shape, though not necessarily that exact interval (sometimes it turns out to be an augmented triad).

I've been working heavily on Chick Corea's Matrix the last few weeks, and Chick uses this kind of approach heavily in his dominants. Chick also has some interesting whole-tone shapes and then he weaves in and out from that back to diatonic tones. That's probably the inner voice movement you're talking about. His moves are rather unpredictable.

Of course the approach is different with minor 7 chords, where I typically will limit myself to diatonic shapes or quartal shapes. In major chords, I will do quartal shapes too or some #11 shape.

Neat stuff. I can't say I can do it comfortably in all keys though.
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#1349309 - 01/14/10 11:09 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

The thing about upper structures, at least as far as Levine uses them, it's primary for voicings. I don't know about you but unless I'm soloing, I'm using two handed voicings most of the time, so I can clearly define my extensions without having to worry too much about structures. If I have to play the melody as the top note, then there really is no opportunity to sneak in an upper structure.



Yes, they are two handed voicings, but there is no reason you can't use them as the support of the melody. Perhaps not on every eighth note, but perhaps on every beat. But what do you mean by clearly defining the extensions? If the melody note is the top of the extension as in the C# (see above post) going to a D do you see this as something other than an upper structure?


It least in the Levine context, you place the upper structure triad on top of the LH voicing. When I'm playing the head, there's sufficient time (since this is something one can do in advance and is not improvisation), you can already choose your specific extensions that you prefer and within the limits of available fingers. So there's no need there to think of upper structures.

I think the Levine upper structures were meant as quick comping voicings, that's why the specific use of an easily memorized triad shape. But those upper structures, as Beeboss says, are actually more relevant in a soloing setting since it gives you some visual for looking at possible lines.

So how do you use it? Voicings or soloing shape?
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#1349327 - 01/14/10 11:39 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
.

The similarity is my constant visual overlay of a diminished scale over any dominants. Then I find some intervallic pattern over it, rather than a scalar movement. In essence it turns out usually to be sort of triad shape, though not necessarily that exact interval (sometimes it turns out to be an augmented triad).



The beauty of the dimished scale is its symmetrical structure that makes the conception of the upper structure chords very easy to manage, any shape (chord or melodic) is immediately transposable in minor 3rds will work fine. This leads to a real lot of possible upper extentions.

Over a C7 for instance you can play ...
Eb major triad, A major triad, F sharp major triad
C minor triad, Eb m triad, F sharp m triad, A m triad
Eb7, F sharp 7, A7
Cmin7, F sharp min7, Amin7,
All of the above with b9 or sharp 9 additions
etc

This leads to an exceptional number of voicing possibilities and an exception number of possible juicy single note lines.

I don't think you can extract any augamented triads from the diminshed scale though, although you can find some in diminished whole tone scale and obviously theres a lot in the whole tone scale.
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#1349358 - 01/14/10 12:38 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
jazzwee Online   content
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Beeboss, that is VERY EASY to remember for me. A lot easier than any Levine structure. I use a lot of diminished cycle shapes and I can add this one to my list. Thanks!

So to clarify for others, these triads create the following extensions:

For a C7:

Eb Triad = #9
F# Triad = #11 b9
A Triad = 13 #9

which are basically triads moved a minor 3rd apart and starting from the root. If you stay long on a C7 chord and comping, you can create moving voices while remaining on the chord.

You're right about augmented triad being in whole-tone when used in dominants. I was taught to use that in dominants and as a maj/min sound in Minor 7 chords. I never really worked out where it was derived from.
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#1349386 - 01/14/10 01:08 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Spectical, I'll repeat my background here since this is a new thread...and to encourage everyone to do the same.

I've been studying jazz and piano for a little over 5 years so far. I've had a teacher 100% of the time during this period and have been with my latest teacher over 3 years. I'm been lucky to have a Jazz master as a teacher and it has really accelerated my development. Sometimes it got a little frustrating (like at the 3rd year of Jazz), as it felt like an impossibility. And now I realize that certain skills needed time to develop and when it clicks, things move VERY FAST. So, I'm at a pace of geometric improvement this year.

One usually gravitates to a teacher based on a desired style, and in my case it's been Modern Jazz. So that's my bias.

Now my main problem is that I don't have much of a setlist because I've always worked on more difficult tunes first and they take much more time. My teacher's idea of a "basic" tune is All the Things You Are. So bring on tunes like Dolphin Dance, Very Early, Windows, Stella, Invitation...but I'll need a leadsheet on A-Train and Satin Doll.

Right now, top development issues on the active list are: soloing on the LH, and being more in the pocket.

My main focus for the short run is Chick Corea (Matrix, Spain) and in some ways connects to McCoy Tyner after seeing Chick's intriguing use of quartals. So that's my Jazz story.

I have played Guitar for 40 years though so I'm not exactly new to music...
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#1349764 - 01/14/10 08:03 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
hey for augmented triad do you mean something like C E G# B? And tritone and 4th, C F# B.... I use that sound alot, picked it up from Mr. Hancock himself.



Augmented Triad arpeggio would only be the C E G#. For example, playing an Eb7, I will use an augmented triad arpeggio of Eb B G (this is played going down from Eb); Bb7 played Bb F D. Also on a minor 7th chord, let's say Fm7, I will play Ab E C (played going down -- same shape). These are the first three chords of ATTYA. When used on a minor chord, it gives a Maj/Min sound. On dominants it implies a whole-tone sound and a modernish 2-5-1 pattern.

Now the Tritone+Fourth interval, like C F# B (exactly) is a voicing interval I use and you move this around the diminished root cycle (minor third movements), starting with the 3rd of the dominant7. So the first voicing (E Ab Eb) will be a #9, next is #9, #11, next a 13, last is b9. These become alternate voicings for a C7.

This is pretty similar to what Beeboss was talking about, except it's just a different shape.
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#1349792 - 01/14/10 08:24 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Ok everyone,

I'm questioning this shape concept now. I use(d) it all the time, especially with things like C F Bb, or the tritone E Bb Eb, as well as using other shapes too, such as as 2nd and a 5th or fourth ( C D G, or C D A) but what I neglected for much time was the real upper structures of a major or minor triad in the root and inverted positions. Once I started playing them consciously, yes they begin to appear as shapes rather than 'Im playing a D over C7 now'. But it took me the realization that the shapes I was choosing ala Chick or McCoy made me sound too much like them. This is perhaps why I don't always like listening to them--I find that I'm not hearing things that make me go wow.

So, if you play by shapes, do you also consider the shape between your thumbs? That is kind of where I've taken myself back to because of the upper structures need this consideration.

Whenever I just want to play without thinking too much I'll use the shapes, and I'll continue to sound a certain way. But when I try to include the upper structure theory I'm now eager to hear what comes next as I play.
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#1349800 - 01/14/10 08:33 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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sceptical, I'm not too reliant on the shapes myself because I actually think of what it is, i.e. #9, b9 #11, b9, etc.

Again it depends on what it is you're doing. Are you soloing with the structures or using them as voicings?

Depending on one's use, these could expose some areas to address. As comping voicings, they provide moving voices so one is not stuck to a plain vanilla rootless chord.

But when I solo, I've learned to rely on my ear a lot so these shapes become more of a vocabulary source, I find.
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#1349815 - 01/14/10 08:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Posts: 873
jazzwee, interesting use of the aug triad. I tend to think of them more as a Cmaj7 #5 chord. For dominant chords, I've worked out a way to think of the altered notes as it relates to the key, rather than the chord.
Actually, I've worked on that tritone + 4 shape enough so that when I play, my hands gravitate toward the shape without me thinking of the chord name. I just know the sound. Kind of like what Taylor Eigsti was talking about.

I find when improvising, I don't want to be thinking chord names and progression, but the sound that is coming out.
I tried playing Dolphin Dance in another key today, to get away from the preconceived chord voicings I was using in the normal key. Came up with some unusual sounds but it was fun.

btw, did you check out that young girl's version of DD?

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#1349853 - 01/14/10 09:28 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
Wiz, that augmented pattern cannot be overused, the way I use it as it has a particular sound. And typically it cannot be used with the head because the Major/Min might clash. But it's just an example of the "shape" searching we were doing on that other thread.

Typically on Major7 and Min7 chords, I'd be thinking more along the lines of Eigsti's diatonic shape movement, like triad or inversions. So this is a variation away from that.

Yeah that Tritone+Fourth pattern is also pretty embedded in my playing now and can do it as a moving voice. All I really think about is that when I use that shape, I think of a H-W diminished as my scale.

Quartal shapes are still excellent of course of Major and Minors. In that Roger (Lot2Learn) video, he plays the Cm chord by starting the quartals on the root, then the 9th, then the minor 3rd. That was a new application to me (never really studied McCoy much before).

I really liked your Shapes thread as it makes you keep an open mind on these. I just have to build up my "shapes" collection. Beeboss, just added one to my list. When you did your shapes thread, we didn't really discuss specifics so at least now we have a few here.

But I know that this is filler too so one can't over-focus on it. In the end, IMHO, it's still the solo lines that count.
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#1349857 - 01/14/10 09:32 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
sceptical, I'm not too reliant on the shapes myself because I actually think of what it is, i.e. #9, b9 #11, b9, etc.

Again it depends on what it is you're doing. Are you soloing with the structures or using them as voicings?

Depending on one's use, these could expose some areas to address. As comping voicings, they provide moving voices so one is not stuck to a plain vanilla rootless chord.

But when I solo, I've learned to rely on my ear a lot so these shapes become more of a vocabulary source, I find.


Ok, I'm confused. What distinction are you making between soloing and comping? Are you talking about solo piano, or quartet setting or...?
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#1349859 - 01/14/10 09:33 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Speaking of lines, this guy has some real "tasty" lines, puts a smile on my face:

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

Peter Martin, very underrated player. Backs up Dianne Reeves and Chris Botti.

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#1349865 - 01/14/10 09:40 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7099
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
sceptical, I'm not too reliant on the shapes myself because I actually think of what it is, i.e. #9, b9 #11, b9, etc.

Again it depends on what it is you're doing. Are you soloing with the structures or using them as voicings?

Depending on one's use, these could expose some areas to address. As comping voicings, they provide moving voices so one is not stuck to a plain vanilla rootless chord.

But when I solo, I've learned to rely on my ear a lot so these shapes become more of a vocabulary source, I find.


Ok, I'm confused. What distinction are you making between soloing and comping? Are you talking about solo piano, or quartet setting or...?



Comping - structures are used to create moving voices while staying on the same chord. Great for ballads since there's a lot of time spent on each chord. Also modal tunes.

Soloing - the structures are used as starting points for playing ideas (i.e. incorporating the specific notes of the structure in the solo, although not necessarily in any particular order).
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#1349871 - 01/14/10 09:45 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz

btw, did you check out that young girl's version of DD?


You keep posting these and I'll have a phobia of posting my version smile She's great!
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#1349884 - 01/14/10 09:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Wiz, you must know DD pretty well if you can play in different keys. I know I can't do that because some of the voicings can be a bit unusual.

So are you going to post where you are on it?
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#1349887 - 01/14/10 09:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Soloing - the structures are used as starting points for playing ideas (i.e. incorporating the specific notes of the structure in the solo, although not necessarily in any particular order).


I see. What I'm doing is actually opposite of this. The melody is dictating the upper structure, or at least that's how I'm trying to approach it. When I do it the other way around the the solo ideas take a much different turn. It is really just changing my mind about what comes first. I realized that the chords were coming first before, and the limited chords I knew may have kept me soloing in a certain way ie quartal chords make me do things in my solo that I may not be hearing in my head. But now that I'm concentrating on the solo, the chords will have to follow that. So the +11, b9s etc will just be melody notes and the chords all of a sudden say 'Hey! I'm not really that useful as just a Dominant, I can actually help the melody if I include the accompanying upper structures!'

Then the melody and the chords lived happily ever after.

I think I'll post a recording tonight to illustrate if you like.
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#1349895 - 01/14/10 10:05 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Scep, I didn't realize you're composing. I was of course thinking in terms of playing a Standard. I don't think any of my commentary applies to composing. It would be too limiting.

It's from searching that you discover these shapes (like the augmented-triad).
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#1349900 - 01/14/10 10:11 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz

btw, did you check out that young girl's version of DD?


You keep posting these and I'll have a phobia of posting my version smile She's great!


Haha! Just remember it's not a competition. If I had to play some classical stuff now I'd sound like a complete beginner. I get inspired hearing these kids really digging jazz.


I wish I could post right now but I don't have a recording device. Looking to get a high quality one soon, but as the holidays have just ended I'm tight on budget.

scepticalforum... Would like to hear your songs and what you're working on. Got any jazz ballads that you know well to try it on?

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#1349904 - 01/14/10 10:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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I am composing, but I was actually talking about improvising over changes in a standard. I think you'll see what I mean when I say iii vi ii v I: What voicings/extentions do you use where and why? The basic changes are there, but depending one what you are wanting to do will dictate the type of iii, ii, v, etc. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

But now I'm even more curious. "It's from searching that you will discover these shapes..." How is that different than hunt and peck? I don't think you mean that do you?
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#1349906 - 01/14/10 10:19 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Registered: 08/12/09
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I know the melody to DD well, but just play it starting in C major, as it's a key that I am very familiar and can throw in lots of stuff. If I had to do it in B I'd be lost.

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#1349943 - 01/14/10 10:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Ok. I've decided to post a recording of me fumbling through some upper structure stuff, and how I'm trying to have the melody (and improv) guide my chord choices. Don't expect a performance here. It's just me playing some chords and then explaining why.

http://www.box.net/shared/4hpndsjpaf

And, no, this isn't indicative of a finished piece. But how do you like the tuning of the piano? Just freshly tuned about an hour ago!
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Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1349947 - 01/14/10 10:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz

btw, did you check out that young girl's version of DD?


You keep posting these and I'll have a phobia of posting my version smile She's great!


Haha! Just remember it's not a competition. If I had to play some classical stuff now I'd sound like a complete beginner. I get inspired hearing these kids really digging jazz.


I wish I could post right now but I don't have a recording device. Looking to get a high quality one soon, but as the holidays have just ended I'm tight on budget.

scepticalforum... Would like to hear your songs and what you're working on. Got any jazz ballads that you know well to try it on?





I know nothing anymore, unless you want to hear me play something without upper structure stuff. I could post some recordings that truly are mediocre, but really, you'd want to hear something that I'm not thrilled about? If so, I will because it's almost as if I'm now divorced from that part of myself. The trouble is I'm not at that new level yet, just peeking into the possibilities.
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Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1350022 - 01/15/10 12:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
Dolphin Dance

So here's my one-shot try here...it's massively full of errors and that's screwing up my time. Also much too fast. That's the effect of the "Red Dot". This thing is so difficult that if I don't play it a lot it can really mess me up.

http://www.box.net/shared/02jhkp6bmb
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#1350037 - 01/15/10 12:28 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
If we were posting perfect stuff, we wouldn't be in this thread. So guys, the point is that were not Jazz masters and it's from sharing that we can get to test our skills and move to the next level.

So bring it on -- whatever it is.
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#1350072 - 01/15/10 12:58 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Where are you using the upper structures then? I thought you were incorporating them into standards. Or are you trying out the new sounds and seeing how they can fit? That's always the first step, I need to work out new voicings and such before I put them into songs.

That's the fun part and experimenting with new sounds and what you like or don't.

btw, your link isn't working.

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#1350081 - 01/15/10 01:09 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Posts: 873
jazzwee, nice playing! Clean lines and I like the harmony. I'm going for a much freer interpretation, where the melody is interspersed into some improv. I've heard some versions of Herbie playing it where you could barely recognize it but then he'd throw in a line and you knew it was DD.

Are your voicings worked out from a lead sheet or your own?

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#1350086 - 01/15/10 01:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Posts: 7099
Loc: So. California
Wiz, thanks. Actually this tune really works with a free form solo piano approach like what that girl does. I'm really rusty with this tune but you've encouraged me to clean it up. Played slowly it could be good for a gig.

Leadsheets don't give you any clue to the voicings here. So long ago, my teacher used this tune as a platform to investigate these voicings. I vary it a little bit since we did it kind of big picture. But I liked the lush voicings for solo piano. As you can guess the harmony here is quite complex.

But before you set aside playing this the standard way, make sure you've listened to the original Herbie version (Maiden Voyage album). His solo was so simple but so poignant. It's such a classic.
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#1350091 - 01/15/10 01:24 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
The link is working again, but I'm taking it off tonight, because it was a demo of what I was doing, and some things I'm trying now, but they're not successful yet...so I didn't want this out there for too long.
http://www.box.net/shared/4hpndsjpaf
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Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1350093 - 01/15/10 01:26 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
And Jazzwee,

Nice stuff there. I love the piano sound too. Are you adding reverb? You use an H4 don't you?
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Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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