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#1594900 - 01/10/11 06:13 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
I say this because I imagine part of the problem is not the actual timing issue by itself, but the timing issue when there is something at stake like sounding good with those you're playing with.


Hear hear.
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#1594946 - 01/10/11 07:41 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

After you've trained yourself, then go back to whatever length lines suit you.



Ya, well who knows how long that will take. Another trouble is that even if I do get it down with the metronome getting 'trained' to play with others seems still to be another task and I wonder if it is actually possible to train without the others present. I say this because I imagine part of the problem is not the actual timing issue by itself, but the timing issue when there is something at stake like sounding good with those you're playing with.


For me it's recording with the Iphone App IRealbook and then listening to what I record. I can hear my timing problems over and over. We'll see if it gets resolved in the long run. But it's hard to get a trio available so this is the only solution.

BTW - I had no confidence with jams until I did the Iphone App thing. So this has been immensely useful to me.


My only lack of practice is when in the real world, the Drummer/bassist creates a different groove or tempo to what you intended, or changes the ending. Happened many times to me. Unfortunately I have no easy way of practicing such.

Yup, it's not going to get solved in a couple of days for either of us, but if we both work on it, maybe we can detect improvements in future postings. That's all we can do.


Edited by jazzwee (01/10/11 08:06 PM)
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#1594947 - 01/10/11 07:45 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Hey Chris, you were commenting on my LH on Stella too. Was it the dynamics? . . . .

Yes, I felt the dynamics were not balanced. Also, a tad bit heavy on the 1's. I think it's very important to breath in one's comping. Yesterday I was at a jam and I found myself fighting with the bassist's lines, the beat fell apart all the time until I 'put-my-left-hand-in-my-pocket', also, I really need to work on laying back, I do tend to push too much (maybe I'm just a frustrated drummer . . . smile )


Well, the problem is that Charleston has one of the chords on 1 and the other on an offbeat. So you're saying really that I shouldn't even do Charleston comping.

I remember you told me to do Charleston on Lullaby of Birdland though.

In your playing, I can see that you don't really focus on a rhythmic role on your LH. Yet many players commonly do, though typically as stacatto jabs. So I admit I'm a little confused on what to do. Sometimes you can't help but jab without thinking just to balance the activity on the RH to to sustain some rhythmic feel.
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#1595105 - 01/11/11 01:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
I say this because I imagine part of the problem is not the actual timing issue by itself, but the timing issue when there is something at stake like sounding good with those you're playing with.


Hear hear.


A pun? Double entrendre? If the latter then yes, I agree, this will help. If the former, bravo!
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#1595409 - 01/11/11 02:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Isn't it a problem of risk taking? I mentioned earlier about how most top players play. They're not pushing to the max technically at all times. Those are done only at a few moments. To our perception though they're pushing the limits at all times. Well KJ probably does but I'm talking about many successful players on a regular gig.

Shouldn't we strive for a baseline that's rock solid? That's different from each of us of course.

Scep, just to my ears even Chris doesn't play with pyrotechnics most of the time. In fact very little. Mostly I hear a musical statement being made. I'm having to reassess what I do too since I have even more technical limitations and I know, from listening to the jams, that I can accomplish more by doing less.

This is a new thinking for me since I'm always pushing myself.
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#1595532 - 01/11/11 06:08 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
I say this because I imagine part of the problem is not the actual timing issue by itself, but the timing issue when there is something at stake like sounding good with those you're playing with.


Hear hear.


A pun? Double entrendre? If the latter then yes, I agree, this will help. If the former, bravo!

Ahh a connoisseur smile
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#1595537 - 01/11/11 06:18 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
. . . Well, the problem is that Charleston has one of the chords on 1 and the other on an offbeat. So you're saying really that I shouldn't even do Charleston comping.


Or maybe decide when and when not to use it, I tend to use it when I'm comping a wind player and we're pushing the beat; like say in the fourth solo chorus.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I remember you told me to do Charleston on Lullaby of Birdland though.

Wasn't that when you were going to a jam to play that tune? Comping others?
For comping LoB in a not-so-secure setting I would use the charleston, both the starting on the ! but also the variation starting on the 2and

Originally Posted By: jazzwee
In your playing, I can see that you don't really focus on a rhythmic role on your LH. Yet many players commonly do, though typically as stacatto jabs. So I admit I'm a little confused on what to do. Sometimes you can't help but jab without thinking just to balance the activity on the RH to to sustain some rhythmic feel.

Well it's the stabbing I'm trying to work out of my system, I really don't like the sound of it.
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#1595557 - 01/11/11 06:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden

Here's KJ's left hand, comping the first 16 bars on Stella, not the solo but during the melody (from the album "Standards Live" an absolute "must" CD to have!)

Get the LH + RH here!

Look how KJ shifts the beat around, syncopating the melody and then colouring it with a chord.


Edited by chrisbell (01/11/11 07:11 PM)
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#1595570 - 01/11/11 07:14 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Very helpful! Did you transcribe this? Not just for comping but looking at his voicings. Nothing earth shattering which is good to know in any case.

Your voicing comments are really good because so far, I don't think of my LH much. It comps automatically. But I like what's happening just from paying attention to the dynamics and texture. Mostly it's from inattention. I'm seeing changes in myself just by being conscious of it.

As you know sometimes though you have to comp some on beat 1 to establish where you are on the form, particularly in solo piano. I think it was Beeboss that said I played with no Beat 1 for a long time.

I think this is part of the problem where Scep's drummer got so lost on Beautiful Love. Perhaps the issue is to listen. If the rhythm section is not that strong, some Beat 1 comping may be needed. Charleston is a very strong rhythmic beat for swing for example. Although admitedly it is a very strong comping style.
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#1595593 - 01/11/11 07:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
KJ - stuff I picked up

Bar 2-3 - I use this same voicing here. Good deal!

Bar 5 - F7(b9) sub. I guess in general he subs b9 for the dominants. Might be a good use of a b9 upper structure voicing for me.

Bar 7 - interesting that he made a cluster voicing so far down.

Bar 9 - Ebm sub for A7.

Bar 12 he made the Dm a Dm7(maj). I forget you can do that on a minor ii-V.

Mostly his voicings are traditional Bill Evans rootless or even simpler two note voicings.

Let me know if I missed something.
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#1595596 - 01/11/11 07:56 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Scott Coletta Offline
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Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Hey everyone! I'm new to the forum and I have just been looking through some of the posts on this thread. I really like the vibe you guys have going on here. I wanted to share with you my background and goals and see if you guys might have any thoughts about my playing. I did my masters degree in jazz piano at Northern Illinois with Willie Pickens. However, I don't consider myself a professional "player" by any stretch. I am a private piano teacher these days and haven't played out since grad school 4 years ago. I didn't get serious about music until I was 20 (30 now) so I'm kind of a late-comer and haven't got it all together yet. I've definitely learned alot of advanced concepts, but I still feel my performance skills are lacking. Particularly my timing and control, which I think may be partly a problem with technique and partly concentration. I hope to start playing out again someday but I really want to "find my groove" a little better first. Anyway, maybe some of you could check out my website and YouTube channel and give some critique for me. I'm definitely very open minded and can take it smile Plus, I hope I might have some ideas to offer you guys as well! I really look forward to some non-egoic musical comraderie, besides my students!

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#1595609 - 01/11/11 08:20 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Bar 9 - Ebm sub for A7.

You mean: the Ebm(maj)is a sub for an Ab7

Yeah, KJ's voicings is nothing to write home about, but the playing of them, combined with his melodic sense, his rhythmic phrasing . . . well that's something completely . . . . wow!


What would all do without Bill Evans? smile
His legacy sure permeates nearly all jazz piano playing . . .
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#1595614 - 01/11/11 08:31 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Yup, I meant Ab7. Well the good news is that in theory, most of us know what to do with the LH, if we were to play like KJ in a combo. That's less work to do!

I want to comment on Bill Evans though. I watched the documentary Jazz on Netflix, which I've seen parts of on Public TV. This documentary is just about a rewrite of jazz history. So much focus on the older guys and practically ends with Wynton Marsalis.

WHOA! What happened to the innovations of Bill Evans, Lennie Tristano (not even in the film), Herbie (very little mention), Chick (not mentioned)? These players change the way we play jazz TODAY. They were certainly within the time frame of the documentary and were already making a big presence in those days.

This is the Wynton Marsalis view of Jazz. The modern artists are probably fringe players to him. Bill Evans on the fringe of JAZZ? This is just an unimaginable rewrite of jazz history.
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#1595616 - 01/11/11 08:35 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Hey Scott, it sounds like you fit right in. If you're already a jazz master, then this is not the place for you smile I haven't checked out your videos yet so I'm relying on what you said.

This is the only thread where we are not afraid to expose ourselves and pick on each other for ideas and critique. I don't we're all very friendly though so I don't expect fist fights smile

Many times we work on the same tunes and that's where we really get some good discussion going.

I'm glad you're here and join the fray. Seriously though, guys like Beeboss, are pretty highly advanced on this thread. So I'm usually the one scraping the bottom of the skills barrel...
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#1595620 - 01/11/11 08:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Scott Coletta]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Hey Scott,

You've got some really great stuff up on your site. Obviously you've learned how to get around the piano quite well. I was really impressed with your voicings and melodic ideas in your solo pieces, and thought that you played competently with the trio. The mix was a bit off, so it made it seem the drummer was just kind of there but not really contributing to the energy and it kind of felt a bit flat in that regard. Great intro to Blue Monk though! I still have yet to hear the 4tet stuff so I might comment on that later.

As far as I can tell you've self-assessed very accurately too. Timing and control are issues that seem to plague many players, myself included, so I'd be interested in furthering the conversation as to what you and others are personally doing to master this aspect of playing.

So, welcome. I'm sure the others will be chiming in soon.
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#1595630 - 01/11/11 09:21 PM 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
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Isn't it a problem of risk taking?

Yes. I think this is one aspect of the problem. The trio tunes I've posted all have examples of me playing at the edge (and lots over) of my understanding of how to create interesting rhythms and lines. As you can hear, sometimes the lines work, and sometimes they are not quite there. So, is the problem that I don't understand what I'm doing, or is it more that I can't properly execute the ideas?

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

I mentioned earlier about how most top players play. They're not pushing to the max technically at all times. Those are done only at a few moments. To our perception though they're pushing the limits at all times.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Maximum technique as in speed? Well of course not. But maximum technique as in groove, feel, musical ideas, then I think I beg to differ.
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Shouldn't we strive for a baseline that's rock solid? That's different from each of us of course.

Well this is where the risk taking is. I know what I CAN play. But I'm not so certain of that what I'd like to play is going to come out right. So, I take the chance. It's in these risks that I'd like to get to a higher level of playing. And just to be clear, I'm not just talking about speed, but also about the aforementioned qualities.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

This is a new thinking for me since I'm always pushing myself.

Well, if your goal is to ensure you always sound good with others then yes, play well within your capabilities. I'm not certain that if I just play to sound good that I'll get any better at the things that I don't sound so good at.
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#1595631 - 01/11/11 09:22 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2940
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Hi Scott,
Nice stuff on your site. Another Marylander here. The quartet production was really cool.

Scep,
I'm constantly struggling with timing and control myself. Lately, I'm going back to the metronome. A good old exercise is to put it on 2 and 4 and start blowing. At slow tempos, this can be really challenging.
For a real challenge, click the metronome on 1 only. Obviously, you have to keep the clicking slow, but this is really pushing the sense of time.

imho, time is best practiced really really slow. As the tempo goes up, the nuances start to blur out, and the practice becomes muddied. Putting the met on 2 and 4 at 60 bpm or even slower can do some good, I think.

++

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#1595643 - 01/11/11 09:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: knotty


Scep,
I'm constantly struggling with timing and control myself. Lately, I'm going back to the metronome. A good old exercise is to put it on 2 and 4 and start blowing. At slow tempos, this can be really challenging.
For a real challenge, click the metronome on 1 only. Obviously, you have to keep the clicking slow, but this is really pushing the sense of time.

imho, time is best practiced really really slow. As the tempo goes up, the nuances start to blur out, and the practice becomes muddied. Putting the met on 2 and 4 at 60 bpm or even slower can do some good, I think.


Yes, this is all good advice. I've been doing this too, and have also had the metronome play 'and' on various parts of the bar. You're right about playing slow too. There is a certain skill to being able to execute lines that don't sound like they're out of the groove when doing slow things.
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Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1595682 - 01/11/11 11:06 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: knotty


Scep,
I'm constantly struggling with timing and control myself. Lately, I'm going back to the metronome. A good old exercise is to put it on 2 and 4 and start blowing. At slow tempos, this can be really challenging.
For a real challenge, click the metronome on 1 only. Obviously, you have to keep the clicking slow, but this is really pushing the sense of time.

imho, time is best practiced really really slow. As the tempo goes up, the nuances start to blur out, and the practice becomes muddied. Putting the met on 2 and 4 at 60 bpm or even slower can do some good, I think.


Yes, this is all good advice. I've been doing this too, and have also had the metronome play 'and' on various parts of the bar. You're right about playing slow too. There is a certain skill to being able to execute lines that don't sound like they're out of the groove when doing slow things.


Thanks scep and knotty for checking out my stuff and commenting. I've been listening to you guys. I like what I hear.

Scep, you have pretty good control as far as I can tell. Your tone really "pops"... kind of reminds me of Oscar Peterson, but with your own voice of course. Only feels slippery at times as far as your bass lines with the trio, but the overall feel is really cool. I especially like Footprints.

Knotty, you have a great sense for melody in your lines. I think some more rhymthic variety would be cool. It might be that you need to keep playing steadily to hold on to the changes. I have that problem sometimes. Just a thought. But you certainly aren't getting lost and you're right in the pocket rhythmically. Do you have any solo stuff?

I'm going to check out for tonight but I'd like to talk more about what you guys have said about the metronome and what I've been trying to do to clean up my timing.

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#1595720 - 01/12/11 12:29 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Scep, I'm glad you're parsing my comments because sometimes I feel it's getting skipped.

I don't think there's any doubt that we strive for MAXIMUM MUSICALITY at all times. And this includes Groove too.

My comments, if I may explain it further, has to do with complexity. Musicality <> Complexity. It's the complexity that trips us. Most of us. Because the reality is that the complex needs more woodshedding and we bring it out too fast. The result is often worse.

Now just to be clear, I'm not suggesting by any means that we begin to play within a strict boundary with no risk taking. I'm just saying that many of us posting here tend to do it too much. I'm as guilty as everyone else.

It's all ego you know. If we don't play fast lines and chops then somehow we're not cool players. Well, when the groove is lost or we miss a beat, that is more devastating of an effect than not showing off chops. But playing triplet 16ths or 16ths at the end of the phrase with a space for resynching to the rhythm section may be necessary. So maybe it's done in shorter bursts.

I was explaining that this great player over here does that a lot. And you forget he's doing the 16ths in bursts. In fact, he may have played 16ths only 5% of the time. Obviously he could have played more but didn't. So if a top level player doesn't feel the need to overdo, then it can't be bad.

Isn't the most basic skill that separates the top level players from the rest is time? It really is, particularly in jazz. Very few have that exactness of time. Even some who claim to be good really aren't because their time isn't so hot. This is so obvious even from my jams.
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#1595727 - 01/12/11 12:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Hey Scot, Youtube playing was great. Your Blue Monk trio was much better than you made it sound. It sounded great. I think you stayed in control and the time wasn't bad at all until you do something super fast. But even that didn't trip you up. You took some risks. Lines were good and good phrasing.

That LH was coming down hard though. Scep and I just got censored for that one smile

Now obviously this was a few years back so your playing probably changed. But from my humble opinion, maybe some more dynamic contrasts between the foreground melody and the comping, and more evenness on the chord voices.

I'm curious about your background Scot. You don't sound like a classically trained player. You sound like many of us. LOL.

And a big welcome to our little thread.
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#1595740 - 01/12/11 01:05 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
KJ - stuff I picked up

Bar 2-3 - I use this same voicing here. Good deal!

Bar 5 - F7(b9) sub. I guess in general he subs b9 for the dominants. Might be a good use of a b9 upper structure voicing for me.

Bar 7 - interesting that he made a cluster voicing so far down.

Bar 9 - Ebm sub for A7.

Bar 12 he made the Dm a Dm7(maj). I forget you can do that on a minor ii-V.

Mostly his voicings are traditional Bill Evans rootless or even simpler two note voicings.

Let me know if I missed something.


I also see he used Fsus7 F7 instead of Cm7 F7. Pretty typical sub.

I'm going to try re-recording this with some changes in voicing and comping and see where I stand.

Hey Scott, want to give Stella a shot too? It's more fun when several do the same tune.

Chris already posted a rendition.
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#1595808 - 01/12/11 04:42 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I also see he used Fsus7 F7 instead of Cm7 F7. Pretty typical sub.


Yes, but really I should have put the bass line in also, because the Standard Trio's greatness does depend all their independent voices playing together, and their interplay is amazing.
PDF with the first 16 bars again, this time with bass Check out how they interplay.

For those of you interested, here's the midi file (from Finale)
N.B: this will sound with straight 8's unless you can change your 'swing' setting.

Audio rendered within Finale (yes Finale has cheesy sounds, yes I have access to a horrendous amount of sample libraries, but I prefer the internal sounds whilst working in Finale, it focuses my mind on the content and not the groovy sounds of my 30 Gb piano) smile
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#1595815 - 01/12/11 05:13 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Scott Coletta]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta
Hey everyone! I'm new to the forum and I have just been looking through some of the posts on this thread. I really like the vibe you guys have going on here. I wanted to share with you my background and goals and see if you guys might have any thoughts about my playing.


Hi Scott, welcome to this merry bunch of ivory ticklers!
Of all the tunes you have posted, I dug "My Favourite Things" the most, why? because it felt like it's you with your own voice.
"In a Sentimental . . " is also really nice. I feel that you are much more relaxed here then on your recital recordings (which I totally understand.
What I would like to hear more of is counter punctual playing, touch and nuance, a bit more variation in that department and . . . wow!

This is something that I think is lacking in many jazz pianists, and I do believe that it's due to not practising/studying/playing classical music.
I also believe it has to do with the fact that - for instance - in a trio setting, the bass and drums also need to nuance their playing. It's not just enough to play quiet (like we're doing a ballad so we play quiet -"we're-sensitive-cats") and then everything else is pedal-to-the-metal. As much as I like keyboards and fusion, I hate to have to push a pianos sound in order to compete with loud guitars, excessive sax players and obnoxious drummers
I recall an interview with Bill Evans, when asked what does he do when people are talking and disturbing his gig, does he play louder? "No, I play softer and softer until they all shut up" smile
_________________________
I never play anything the same way once.

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#1595862 - 01/12/11 07:55 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1310
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I want to comment on Bill Evans though. I watched the documentary Jazz on Netflix, which I've seen parts of on Public TV. This documentary is just about a rewrite of jazz history. So much focus on the older guys and practically ends with Wynton Marsalis.


I agree, there's several article on the interweb criticising the documentary as being very biased.
_________________________
I never play anything the same way once.

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#1595891 - 01/12/11 08:55 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2940
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Scott,

Thanks for the nice comment. I think I know what you mean. The 'in the pocket' thing is really a random thing. Monday last week, I've never felt more in the pocket. It was like magic. Things were happening. Last Monday, with the same band, I setup the recording gear so I would not miss it again. And nothing happened. It's like everyone was tired or something. So I'm not gonna bother and post.

I don't have any solo stuff. Too hard for me. And to tell you the truth, I don't enjoy it quite as much as having folks over all the time and laughing. No classical training hurts a lot for solo playing.

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#1595919 - 01/12/11 09:41 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Thanks jazzwee! I agree that I got carried away on Blue Monk. Also, I have been trying to learn to relax more with the left hand. I've mostly been focusing on playing solo piano, where I need more LH to hold things together. It seems that becoming more comfortable with this has helped me relax a little more with space in the LH.

As for my background... Before starting college I only played piano for myself. I started taking lessons when I was 5 but never took it seriously and I didn't have the greatest teachers. I played a fair amount of classical, but never had a a teacher who emphasized technique much...plus I stopped lessons when I was 11. After that I mostly played around with rock, got into guitar and some "garage bands". I got back into classical at 18 with a couple of good teachers in college but I only stuck with it for a couple years before finding my way to jazz which I've been trying to figure out since then. That pretty much sums it up.

I heard your playing on Stella... sounds good! I think you've got pretty good control and a good ear for ideas. I've been playing around with Stella off and on for awhile. When I get a chance I'll video it and put it up.

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#1595921 - 01/12/11 09:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Knotty... I avoided playing solo for a long time! It is hard. But you'll get there.

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#1595938 - 01/12/11 10:06 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta
Hey everyone! I'm new to the forum and I have just been looking through some of the posts on this thread. I really like the vibe you guys have going on here. I wanted to share with you my background and goals and see if you guys might have any thoughts about my playing.


Hi Scott, welcome to this merry bunch of ivory ticklers!
Of all the tunes you have posted, I dug "My Favourite Things" the most, why? because it felt like it's you with your own voice.
"In a Sentimental . . " is also really nice. I feel that you are much more relaxed here then on your recital recordings (which I totally understand.
What I would like to hear more of is counter punctual playing, touch and nuance, a bit more variation in that department and . . . wow!

This is something that I think is lacking in many jazz pianists, and I do believe that it's due to not practising/studying/playing classical music.
I also believe it has to do with the fact that - for instance - in a trio setting, the bass and drums also need to nuance their playing. It's not just enough to play quiet (like we're doing a ballad so we play quiet -"we're-sensitive-cats") and then everything else is pedal-to-the-metal. As much as I like keyboards and fusion, I hate to have to push a pianos sound in order to compete with loud guitars, excessive sax players and obnoxious drummers
I recall an interview with Bill Evans, when asked what does he do when people are talking and disturbing his gig, does he play louder? "No, I play softer and softer until they all shut up" smile


Thanks Chris! I actually just got a new piano, a 5'9" Kohler & Campbell, after having only an electric for the last 4 years. I have been trying to get a better recording of My Favorite Things on the piano to replace the one on my website. Below is the best I've gotten so far. It's a little more up tempo, and I changed the LH during the improv. Let me know what you think.

I have studied classical... but not much! You are right though about the missing nuances in many players. I've always just thought that some players have it and some don't, but either way is fine with me. Just a different approach.

My Favorite Things - http://www.box.net/shared/xffjrbyc9y

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#1595947 - 01/12/11 10:23 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: knotty


Scep,
I'm constantly struggling with timing and control myself. Lately, I'm going back to the metronome. A good old exercise is to put it on 2 and 4 and start blowing. At slow tempos, this can be really challenging.
For a real challenge, click the metronome on 1 only. Obviously, you have to keep the clicking slow, but this is really pushing the sense of time.

imho, time is best practiced really really slow. As the tempo goes up, the nuances start to blur out, and the practice becomes muddied. Putting the met on 2 and 4 at 60 bpm or even slower can do some good, I think.


Yes, this is all good advice. I've been doing this too, and have also had the metronome play 'and' on various parts of the bar. You're right about playing slow too. There is a certain skill to being able to execute lines that don't sound like they're out of the groove when doing slow things.


I used to practice alot with the metronome and found that even though I could stay with it overall, I was missing the pocket. In grad school, I was awakened to the idea of subdivion, which I of course understood, but didn't pay attention to. The idea of keeping swing by subdividing the beat into triplets was a revelation. Professor Ron Carter (not the famous bass player) taught me the concept of doodle tonguing, which really helps with getting the feel.

I haven't practiced much with a metronome lately but should probably revisit. Mostly, I have turned my focus towards playing what I know. I think of it as censoring my playing, instead of reaching for every concept I hear, I try to only play what I can see... if that makes sense. It's kind of along the same lines as the earlier discussion about musicality and complexity. It seems that my biggest problem is trying to play things that I can't play and that's what kills my timing. I've been trying to learn to appreciate what I know more and stay connected to it artistically and avoid letting my ego push me into thinking things aren't good enough. Easier said than done!

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