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#1501109 - 08/22/10 05:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
snakechaser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/09
Posts: 43
Jazzwee, I had no idea this was a "latin beat", I guess if I'd play it again I would play it a bit differently. What makes this a latin beat actually?

I don't take lessons anymore. I had a jazz teacher the last two years I was taking lessons. He could play pretty good, but he didn't really have the gift of teaching that. Besides, he was really into scales and all. Of course, scales are an easy way of playing jazz, but to me it doesn't feel good. I can't possibly compare myself with one of all those great (jazz) pianists, but most of the classic ones have learnt everything by ear right? Listening, imitating/transcribing, practicing, trying, and all that.
I quit lessons because a teacher can't learn you to listen, or well, my teacher couldn't. I preferred listening myself, and not being obligated to learning 10 different scales in 12 different keys and the like.

What I'm trying to say might be this, that I'd like to use my ears more, and theory less. Or maybe use theory to "hear" things, but afterwards forget about the theory quickly, 'cause music should come from the heart, not from rules right?

I'll try to record some improvisations. Should they be improvised right at the spot, or is it ok to think, try, and retry before recording?

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#1501166 - 08/22/10 07:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: snakechaser]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
snakechaser, there are many approaches to learning to improvise and in my case, the initial stages were more structured. I was taught to specifically play chord tones on downbeats. This is a commonly taught method which was codified in a book by Hal Galper called "Forward Motion". Whether or not you follow a structured method, in the end, you're just training your ears.

My only thought on the final result should be that the notes should fit. You cannot improvise based on a scale alone, but the scale sets the boundaries and it would sound wrong if you're not aware of that, particularly on downbeats. This also makes me aware that I can get away with a lot on non-scale notes on upbeats, particularly on dominants.

I think it is a lot easier with rules myself, because with a tune like Giant Steps, the ears initially don't help much. But think of the rules as just an ear training tool. At this point for me, I don't think much about anything when I actually play. The ears direct the fingers and it feels automatic. It's like I just think of the big picture.

I don't know how to teach improvisation without some guidelines. But I suppose it can be done if someone had some innate skill. I already knew how to improvise at a basic level before I started jazz. Years later, I didn't realize how basic what I knew was smile

Share your process here and we'll all contribute. Maybe with some group guidance you can pick and choose from everyone's style of learning.
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#1501170 - 08/22/10 07:59 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California

As far as the AL Latin Beat is concerned, listen to Boss Nova and there's a particular emphasis on beat 1, 2+, 4+. It's not swing. And your melody as played, from what I recall, as a triplet quarter. It's really nice what you did. If you can pull it out of hat when needed, it's great to shift styles between latin and swing. In fact On Green Dolphin Street does that, as an example.
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#1504947 - 08/28/10 06:04 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
One of the best ways to start learning Jazz is to start with the Blues. It has only 3 chords, a steady beat to swing against and lots of examples to listen to.

Anyone game to working on some blues?

I can get your started with some basics if any of you are interested. Everyone needs to focus on improvising and not so much on the complexities of jazz and this is one of the easiest ways to start.
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#1505326 - 08/29/10 11:55 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
I sure could work on it a little bit.

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#1505674 - 08/29/10 11:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Great. I don't know why I got no response from the 'advanced' group. You would think this is actually easier than a lot of stuff we were working on.

I'm practicing it a little bit right now since I haven't really done blues in awhile.

For beginners, this is a great way to initiate yourself to simple improvisation. So speak up if you'd like to give a try alongside Knotty and I. And I can give you some basic stuff to work on including voicings and scales.
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#1505711 - 08/30/10 01:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Great. I don't know why I got no response from the 'advanced' group. You would think this is actually easier than a lot of stuff we were working on.


Well, maybe for the reason you just stated. In any case, I've been lurking, AND working on my blues a bit the past days too. If I have a chance I'll record and post something, but on the other thread because I know that I won't be satisfied with the basic changes.

Nice to see these threads still up and running!
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#1505791 - 08/30/10 05:04 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: scepticalforumguy]
dissyfingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 140
Loc: Australia
Hi....I've been working on Blue's out off the Tim Richards book.....Improvising Blues Piano....Havent played piano for 55 years and its been a real buzz....also using the Colin Davey...play Boogie woogie piano and the Matthew Ball... Blues Preludes ....all have got me up and running and should be a happy player in 3 years ...Fingers dont work like they use to but have got a few of the triplets to an acceptable speed..use the metro a lot as it helps the counting with on...off beat in 8 to the bar.....Im intrested in any tips ......also intrested in comping chords for 12 bar.......Doug

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#1505799 - 08/30/10 06:04 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
I've come over from the dark side wink having recently discovered Jazz via the Bill Evans album "Alone" and the wonderful album "Jasmine", from Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden.

Like many others here I've decided to go the Blues/Boogie route towards Jazz and I'm going to work through Tim Richards's highly recommended book "Improvising Blues Piano".

I hope to be a regular contributor here as well as taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge from the more experienced Jazz musicians.


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#1505847 - 08/30/10 09:29 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: cruiser]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Experts,

It would be nice if, for the purpose of this thread, you could post a sample of you playing as you would want a beginner to play. Not 5 years from now, but today.

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#1505896 - 08/30/10 11:03 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873

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#1505937 - 08/30/10 12:29 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: knotty
Experts,

It would be nice if, for the purpose of this thread, you could post a sample of you playing as you would want a beginner to play. Not 5 years from now, but today.



Knotty and Scep, I think it is clear that there are two separate objectives here and I personally will treat each thread differently. For the beginner's thread it would be to get a basic blues concept going and teach a few things if we can.

For the advanced thread it is to practice our skills as it is now. As I was practicing this, I realize it will sound quite different in an 'advanced' style and may not be understood.

That's the plan at least and let's see how it evolves.
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#1505940 - 08/30/10 12:34 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: dissyfingers]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: dissyfingers
Hi....I've been working on Blue's out off the Tim Richards book.....Improvising Blues Piano....Havent played piano for 55 years and its been a real buzz....also using the Colin Davey...play Boogie woogie piano and the Matthew Ball... Blues Preludes ....all have got me up and running and should be a happy player in 3 years ...Fingers dont work like they use to but have got a few of the triplets to an acceptable speed..use the metro a lot as it helps the counting with on...off beat in 8 to the bar.....Im intrested in any tips ......also intrested in comping chords for 12 bar.......Doug


Hey dissyfingers (Doug) -- Welcome! Let me prepare a lesson with the basics. We'll start off with Bb Blues. In Jazz Blues, a lot of it is in Bb.

I realize a lot of people are practicing blues via some book like Tim Richards. But remember that the goal here is to improvise so let's see if we can help eveyone make it up.
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#1505953 - 08/30/10 12:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
CMohr Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 1029
Loc: Oregon
Hey all,
Count me in on the Blues, too. My teacher wants me to start improvising and has some great starting ideas, but I really feel like I'm trying to learn Greek at this point. This thread has been such a huge helpful addition to my learning experience.
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#1505991 - 08/30/10 01:49 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: cruiser]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: cruiser
I've come over from the dark side wink having recently discovered Jazz via the Bill Evans album "Alone" and the wonderful album "Jasmine", from Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden.

Like many others here I've decided to go the Blues/Boogie route towards Jazz and I'm going to work through Tim Richards's highly recommended book "Improvising Blues Piano".

I hope to be a regular contributor here as well as taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge from the more experienced Jazz musicians.



Hey Cruiser, we've been having a good discussion of this via PM. I didn't realize you already decided to go to the Blues route. Just note that Boogie is not necessarily a route to jazz playing. I'd probably think of it as a precursor to Rock.

The finger moves of Boogie Woogie are very structured. I personally haven't learned it.

I don't know what's in the Tim Richards book so I will just make a general recommendation. The goal should be to learn to improvise yourself. Many books give you basic vocabulary to copy and copy as much of the lines as you can. That's absolutely fine. But in the end, your goal is that you should be playing it yourself. What I mean here is: Know when to to leave the book.

As a little background, I learned the blues by doing bunch of blues lick etudes, the purpose of which is to learn the stylings of the vocabulary. Then I dropped the book (I did finish it though) and was told to just improvise.

Another thing I spent time on was to compose blues licks on my own. This was very helpful because if you composed it yourself, you will tend to get your fingers and ears more familiar with it.

So it would be great if we can get all of you guys to post some beginning attempts and we can teach you how to improve upon it.

Just remember that everyone starts at the very basic level and it's your willingness to post stuff that will make all of you improve.
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#1505992 - 08/30/10 01:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: CMohr]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1737
Loc: south florida
My practice slate is pretty full for now, but I will try to follow along and use my "me time" at the bench to work on it.

Jim
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#1506104 - 08/30/10 05:12 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: JimF]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
CMohr, it's great that you'll join in. JimF, I hope we can get you involved anyway.

What's slowing me down here is I have to practice my walking bass to get a backing bassline here. I haven't done it in so long (walking bass) that I keep screwing up. I used to have Blues backing tracks (complete with drums) but I've changed computers so many times I can't find them.

If anyone is good at making a backing track, please volunteer. Maybe a 12 bar Blues in Bb at 120bpm, bassline and drums. I can contribute the drums.
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#1506183 - 08/30/10 07:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
dissyfingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 140
Loc: Australia
Hi..Hey...Jazz ...The Tim Richards book is arranged to encourage you to improvise on each piece you learn..it also has assignments..he advises not to neglect these as it will help you to become a convincing improvising pianist....this also has a CD play along tracks - bass...drums and turn around tracks to get the play feel as the way some of its written isn't the way its played...Ive found some Boogie music hard to get the swing of it as its written..
I also have 2 other books of Tim Richards..Exploring Jazz Piano ..1 & 2..These have a plethora of the Jazz standards and several different ways to play them including Autumn Leaves and is set out the same way with improvisation box's and assignments......theres a lot to plow through and plenty of reference material....Doug

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#1506279 - 08/30/10 10:38 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: dissyfingers]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Doug, that sounds good then. What I will post will probably be a little different so it will be interesting for comparison.
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#1506317 - 08/30/10 11:25 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Blues Lesson 1 - 12 Bar Blues - Bb

Here's a pretty standard 12 Bar Blues changes. Variation 1 is the most basic, and Variation 2 is a little more interesting. There are more with chord changes that incorporate ii-V-I's or chromatic chords but that's more advanced and sounds a lot more like regular Jazz. The changes below is in Bb. A lot of Blues are in Bb -- for example check out Thelonius Monk's 'Blue Monk'

Blues Variation 1

4/4
| Bb6 | Bb6 | Bb6 | Bb6 |
| Eb6 | Eb6 | Bb6 | Bb6 |
| F6 | F6 | Bb6 | F6 ||

Blues Variation 2 (My Preferred for Basic Blues)

4/4
| Bb6 | Eb6 | Bb6 | Bb6 |
| Eb6 | Eb6 | Bb6 | Bb6 |
| F6 | Eb6 | Bb6 | F6 ||

Tempo: Shoot for 100-120bpm. That's about the tempo I played as a beginner.


Learning the Changes

The very first thing one has to learn is to really learn the changes by heart and the best way to do this is to comp it first using just whole notes (referred to as 'Footballs').

Have a metronome or a drum track and play the root+7 on the LH. A lot of books teach complex bass patterns which are impossible to apply when improvising. You really need to keep the LH simple if you ever want to start improvising. Too much stuff to think about as it is.

Then on the RH, I will give you a voicing for a Bb6, Eb6, and F6.


Bb

LH
Bb Ab (Root - b7)

RH
Ab C D G (b7 9 3 13)

Eb

LH
Eb Db (Root - b7)

RH
G C Db F (3 13 b7 9)

F

LH
F Eb (Root - b7)

RH
A D Eb G (3 13 b7 9)


So the strategy here is a LH shell voicing and the RH plays a rootless voicing. After learning this with 2 hands. Just learn to play the rootless voicings only in the LH. It's important to learn this with the LH playing a root note first so your ears gets used to jazzy voicings like this.

If any of you get to complete this stage, record it and post it so you have a milestone.

Just as a roadmap, we can take these lessons very far so don't think we're starting too simple here. If you don't believe me, here's the range of Jazz Blues from simple to the most complex:

Duke Elington - C Jam Blues
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlpcJhNyDI

John Coltrane - Bessie's Blues
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMC2bvHk0Bo

Chick Corea - Matrix -
(It's 250+bpm so it's an impossible speed for most of us)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-siRG5Uv9A
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#1509130 - 09/04/10 07:59 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Bb Blues Lesson 2

To show you a sample blues, this first recording was made with me playing a walking bass in the background (which I can provide) to a Bb Blues. The first recording is at 150bpm which is not the basic level. This is called medium swing.

http://www.box.net/shared/htgznvkg2n


To show a more basic playing of Blues, here's my simplified recording at 120bpm.

http://www.box.net/shared/rucgvhf6mn

I want you to note something when I played this. I limited my note choices to only 4 notes for most of the recording until I relented at the end. The point I'm proving here is that it is not the number notes in blues, it's the phrasing that makes it sound like the blues. Watch how the notes are swung and the syncopation.

The only notes I played at the first part as the following black notes: Ab, Bb, Db, Eb. I did change octaves for variety.

Again listen to the phrasing, including the repeated notes. Repetition is common in Blues playing and even in Jazz playing. When you try this, you can see that it's not essential to be fancy. Just, concentrate on the phrasing. And don't hesitate to copy what I'm doing. It's pretty typical.





Edited by jazzwee (10/23/10 07:53 PM)
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#1512716 - 09/10/10 08:33 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
ok, I've barely started on my Jazz journey (classics only until recently) and I'm already bogged down, confused and spinning around not knowing in which direction to proceed. My avatar dog was well chosen! confused

In my - over? - enthusiasm, and following the sometimes conflicting advice in this excellent thread (and elsewhere) I've bought:
Imrovising Blues piano - Tim Richards
Exploring Jazz Piano #1 - Tim Richards
The Jazz Piano Book - Mark Levine
Metaphors for the Musician - Randy Halberstadt

And, I've got myself a teacher who is trying to get me to improvise from the off - he's Russian and communication is a bit of a problem! I've decided to put the lessons on hold until I get a clearer idea of how best to proceed.

I thought I'd begin by learning the II, V I progressions in all keys... if only! I'm finding this much more difficult that I'd imagined, not sure if I should be learning all the chords in root position to start with, or what. I've only "managed" the keys of C, F and Bb so far but I'm continuously hesitating over the notes. Perhaps unfortunately, I'm a strictly "by the numbers" kind of person and I want - need! - to make measured, efficient and dare I say it, fast progress.

As you can imagine I'm suffering from a bad case of information overload and so friends, can you help me clear the muddied waters and get me off the starting blocks?

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#1512724 - 09/10/10 09:07 AM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Cruiser,

I like the method you are following: starting improvisation on a simple 2 | 5 | 1 | 1
Is that your teacher's idea? It is in my opinion, the best possible advice.

Here's how I would make it even more specific.

1. Play 4 measures at a time, then stop. Take a 30 sec break, then play 4 measures, stop etc...
2. Play with your metronome set to 72.
3. Play only 8th notes
4. Play in blocks of 4 notes, count in your head 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 and slightly accent the 1st note in the block.
5. Play in these keys only: C F G Bb Eb Ab
6. Write down a couple of lines over this 4 measure progression. Write them down on paper. Once (or more) for each key
7. Figure out the left hand voicing in advance.
8. Play your left hand "block style", whole notes on beat 1.

As far as improv, I would recommend sticking to this for at least 2 weeks. This will allow to digest the 2-5-1 really well in those 6 keys and will be the foundation to improvising on any tune. The result will sound simple, but doing it well should take you a good 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, you should work with your teacher on finding some technique exercises for you. Something to teach your fingers to move at fast tempos. Something to be sure you know your major and minor scales inside out.

Also, you should work on slowly building a repertoire of chord voicings. This is a very slow process, so start simple.

And in addition, you should work on some listening exercises. It is never too early to start learning the great solos. People's opinions will vary on this. Some will recommend Miles or Wynton Kelly, but I think starting there is much too difficult.
Instead start with Louis Armstrong and Lester Young. Learn to sing a few of their solos note for note. Hone in on the pitch, you must sing in pitch. This will teach you to play by ear like you never imagine possible.
Did I mention singing in pitch? People thing they can sing solos, but when they record themselves, it's just mumbling. Unless and until you can sing in pitch the notes that you hear, there is no hope of playing by ear. Your fingers will be playing scales instead.

Randy's book is probably your best purchase, although a bit intimidating. These exercises I recommend are all scattered throughout the book. The issue with the book is that it is too tempting to skip steps.

Have fun!

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#1512876 - 09/10/10 02:00 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: knotty]
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
Hi knotty, and thanks for the comprehensive reply!

Just a couple of questions on what you've written, if I may...

1. Yes, starting with the II, V, I sequences was my teacher's suggestion. Do you think it would be best, initially, to learn (memorize) these chords in their root positions, or should I consider the inversions?

2. I notice you mention "...a simple II, V, I, I" How does the extra "I" fit in?

My "technique" is not bad at present due to the classical work I've done to date.

Thanks for the rest of the advice - I've taken note of it smile

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#1512938 - 09/10/10 04:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Hey Michael,

1.
* That's why these are 2 exercises. In 1, you learn as many voicings as you can. You do that slowly. Play the chord slowly and hear all the tones you use. Rooted, rootless, drop 2s and 3s, everything goes. In this exercise, you are simply learning to hear the sounds of a chord. The most complex chord is the dominant 7. Lennie Tristano use to bring his students a list of 90+ voicings for C7. The idea is not to master or own those voicings. But to hear them well in all keys. So you do that without pain, just play the chord slowly and enjoy the sound, then move on to another.
* In the context of improv, which is what you are talking about now, you want to choose a voicing that works in advance. The same voicing does not work for all keys, so you you need to just choose one. In C, for example
F A C E | F A G E | E G A D
works well. Once in a while, you can change and try something else, but first be sure to get that LH voicing out of the way so you can focus completely on composing melodies with the RH. That's why you're not adding exciting rhythms in the LH. Not yet. That's also why you're not playing fast. Because you want to play the best possible melodies. Randy recommends playing at 20bpm, if you read "how slow is slow". I've been taught 72. It's enough to have fun and much easier than 20bpm!

2.
The typical jazz progression is 4 measure. 1 measure of minor 2, 1 of 5 and 2 of I. so 2511. Sometimes 2 bars of 2, 2 bars of 5 and 1 bar of 5. Check out jazz standards, it's everywhere.

3.
you are learning a basic block of jazz, which is major 2 5 1 1 in 6 keys.
Next you will learn the other 6 keys, and after that, you will learn the minor keys. So you can count on almost 2 months playing nothing but this simple 2 5 1 progression. But again, master it because that will be the foundation to everything else jazz.

4. Technique.
If your technique is good, and you don't need to practice scales, you can replace them by the Omnibook. These are written Charlie Parker solos. It's a treasure of jazz vocabulary. You are learning the phrasing of Jazz with Charlie Parker. You are also learning to play lines that don't necessarily work well on piano. That will be beneficial technically and will get you out of the scalar approach. Yes, that's another book ... smile. Talk to your teacher about that. Many jazz musicians have studied the Omnibook, so he may have an opinion.

Playing stuff from sheet is good too, especially if you read well. There's tons of good stuff you can learn in parallel, that will also teach you the art of arranging. Bill Evans transcriptions are a great start. There are books for all levels.

Record yourself for feedback. You might struggle with the feeling in 4 or the phrasing without realizing it. You won't sounds like Bud Powell, but that will be a good start.

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#1513545 - 09/11/10 08:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
dissyfingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 140
Loc: Australia
Hi Knotty...Thanks for your input ..theres a lot sense in your construction of how to go around the way to get the exercises done to overcome the practice of jazz...I personally like to listen to phrasing of players and copy it..my favorite being Erroll Garner ...Doug


Edited by dissyfingers (09/11/10 08:48 PM)

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#1513900 - 09/12/10 05:18 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: KHZ]
pianoamore Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 5
Hi KHZ,

Staying with just the root in the left hand provides a couple of benefits at this stage:

1) It minimizes distraction from the current priority of playing the appropriate right hand chord inversions that keep the melody on top

2) It gives you an opportunity to hear the root motion of the chord changes as you proceed

If confidence is at a point where the tune is being played fluently in this manner, then certainly steps can be taken to create further interest with the left hand.

One good approach is to play the 1,2,3, and 5 of each chord as quarter notes in a walking bass style. For example, first chord being F-7, the left hand bass would be F G Ab C (that completes one measure)... second measure (Bb-7) Bb C Db F, etc. Sticking with the 1,2,3,5 pattern for a while will lead to confidence as far as getting that left hand moving. Also, the essential foundation of the chord is being emphasized (in other words, the triad is being outlined). Wonderful tune for this in that the cycle of fifths gives that left hand a fun workout. Hope that helps a tiny bit.
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#1513913 - 09/12/10 05:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: cruiser]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: cruiser

I thought I'd begin by learning the II, V I progressions in all keys... if only! I'm finding this much more difficult that I'd imagined, not sure if I should be learning all the chords in root position to start with, or what. I've only "managed" the keys of C, F and Bb so far but I'm continuously hesitating over the notes. Perhaps unfortunately, I'm a strictly "by the numbers" kind of person and I want - need! - to make measured, efficient and dare I say it, fast progress.




Cruiser, I know a lot of people don't have the patience to re-read this entire thread so I will summarize some points here that can be applicable to you.

If you look at the structure of this thread, I start off with the idea of "shell voicings", which is just 1+7. It is not too hard to learn shell voicings as there are only two sets really, for ii-V-I's, and that is 1+7 and 1+b7. This is just a shape that is easily remembered.

Then from shells, we start filling in other chord tones (5 and 3) and then you are able to comp.

Once you reach this point, you can at least comp all the tunes in a Real Book.

Then we move on to two-handed voicings with a melody and even recently there's a lesson to help practice that. These are the absolute basics as you cannot really even improvise if you cannot recognize the positions (automatically) of chord tones like 1/3/5/7.

This thread focuses on really just 3 tunes. Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are (ATTYA), and the Blues. I can assure you that even if you only worked on these 3 tunes for 2 years you would be doing well. Everyone wants to keep starting something new and pushing themselves on tunes outside of their limits. But that is a recipe for failure.

The basics in these 3 tunes are found in 90% of all jazz tunes. I personally spent a year on nothing but Blues. I'm sure I spent more than a year on Autumn Leaves. I still work on ATTYA regularly, even now.

There are so many problems to be solved that we have to make progress a bit at a time.

Notice also that there's not a big focus on rootless voicings on the early part of this. The reason is that some of this is a major distraction. In order to improvise, your RH must really be the focus of your brain.

I've noticed that people who have posted Tim Richards stuff and others have complicated basslines and comping. This is great if you're playing the tunes as written but really it doesn't help in improvising at all.

My teacher told me specifically to IGNORE THE LH until I showed some significant progress in the RH. Remember the point of Jazz is improvisation. Improvisation is RH driven.

Obviously we need to work on other things on the side to develop technique and use for the LH but at least when working on improvisation, all you need to worry about right now is a shell voicing. And start improvising.

I have laid out here the progressions for Autumn Leaves and the Blues and both are excellent platforms to start improvising. I really recommend that everyone lurking here just set some simple goals first and see how you can come up with simple lines on the RH.

And what do you start with in the RH? Chord Tones. And think of the Phrasing. Listen to my simple Blues example. Phrasing (which includes swing) is half the battle.

If I am to critique all of these books, it's that there needs to be more focus on actual improvising rather than short term results. Jazz, I find, cannot be learned by an Alfreds style book.

If you post improvisation here, we can critique and that's worth more than anything else. Start with the Blues, or Autumn Leaves. Take your pick!
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#1513919 - 09/12/10 05:53 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
I just wanted to note that when this thread first started, many people started improvising AL and I was amazed by some of the results in just a few weeks. The rate of improvement was geometric. But after a few tries, I haven't heard any more submissions. You can all look back to all the people who posted a few years back and you'll see what I mean.

We haven't seen anyone submit lately and maybe there's a fear factor. But if you don't have a jazz teacher, the feedback is the essential element. You cannot learn jazz by yourself.

I've had a teacher the whole time (till this day) and I pass what I've learned in this thread. The thread is organized somewhat like my learning process with my most recent teacher, who also happens to be a world class jazz pianist.

So I'm happy to share. Please take advantage of me. I don't charge anyone anything and I paid a lot of bucks to learn smile
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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#1513932 - 09/12/10 06:17 PM Re: Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc. [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Improvising

I'll pass on some early advice to me on improvisation. Part of the reason for playing a shell voicing in your LH, is train your ears to fill in the missing parts of the harmony and then to have that harmony show up in the solo.

If you listen to some good solos, you will find that even without a rhythm section, you can follow the harmony of the tune just based on the lines on the RH. This implies, therefore, that the harmonic elements are to be found in the solo and those harmonic elements are based primarily on chord tones.

After a couple of years with other teachers, I started off improvising for my new teacher (then) and I sounded awful. Basically, I was choosing notes from the scale but it did not sound coherent.

For example, in Autumn Leaves, a ii-V-I is Am7 D7 GMaj7. In theory, this ii-V-I is represented by a single scale. The G Major scale.

But is it really that simple? Just try this simple ii-V-I. Play a simple shell voicing on the LH. In your solo, just pick random notes. Try this:

On Am7, focus on B D F#
On D7, focus on E G B
On GMaj7, focus on A C E

Listen to this closely. Now, try this again but this time choose notes that belong to the chord.

On Am7, focus on C E G
On D7, focus on F# A C
On GMaj7, focus on B D F#

Which sounds better?

Why?


If you are playing a shell voicing in the LH, there's a missing chord tone that renders the ii-V-I incomplete. That's pretty important. Can you guess which note it is? Can you focus on that chord tone on the RH? Can you always hear that chord tone automatically in a ii-V-I so you automatically seek it in your ear?

Did you know that improvising is about training the ear and then the ear goes about directing your fingers?

Did you know that one you have learned to improvise as I have that I don't think at all of where my fingers are going and that I could play with my eyes closed and let my ears direct where I go? Did you realize that anyone can do this?
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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