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#1695237 - 06/14/11 12:08 AM This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano
rich2k4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 37
http://jbguitarworkshop.com/

it's focused on guitar, but the way that jimmy explains how to play jazz is the best that i have found.

He says it doesn't require learning any type of modes. It is $60 for 3 months. When i studied with him during my jazz guitar period, i learned more about how to play jazz guitar then i did from any private 1 on 1 teacher or other resource.

I'm sure the concepts can be applied very easily to piano.

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#1695322 - 06/14/11 07:39 AM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
cubop Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 28 2012


Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 368
Loc: Norway
rich, I think you have come up with a good idea here. I have checked Jimmys guitarcourse, and it might be good for pianists too. He plays with a real jazzgroove, and that is not too common these days. I have all the learning material I need, but the backing tracks he use on the demos are the best I have heard so far, and one might use his videos as playalongs for piano. I guess you also play piano, so it would be nice to hear your opinion on that.
Jimmy is good at explaining things, so a pianist should find some useful stuff there.

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#1695614 - 06/14/11 05:26 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
rich2k4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 37
well he uses the program Band in a Box to generate his backing tracks. That is a great program for generating backings, as you input the chord progression and it creates a backing for you.

It isn't just about the swing groove that jimmy plays with, but his explanation of improvisation. He doesn't focus on modes, instead, in the simplest terms he focuses more on key centers.

for example, you have the following progression.

Am7 D7 Cmaj7 Gm7 C7 Fmaj7

for the am7-d7-cmaj7 you would do all your improvisation in the key of C (all white notes)

when it switches to Gm7 - c7 - Fmaj7, you switch to the key of F major for improv.

once students get a grasp of improvising using all the notes of the key (in key of C this will be all the white notes) He slowly introduces the remaining outside notes. Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb. Each having a different sound depending on how you use it. He itnroduces one outside tone at a time, and makes sure you get the sound of it in your head so that you can recognize when it's being used.

he also encourages simplifying the chords when improvising.

if you see for example

Am13 - D7#11 - C11

that is still a ii-V-I in the key of C, and you still improvise using the key of C. you don't need to make any alterations to your scale just because the chord is extended. You should still think of it as Am7-D7-Cmaj7

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#1695863 - 06/15/11 04:17 AM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
l.s. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/11
Posts: 12
Am7 D7 Cmaj7 is not a II-7 V7 Imaj in C; if that is really what you meant, then it is a deceptive cadence and would most likely be in the key center of G. If you want to use a single scale over the progression, then a G major scale could work well.

Keep in mind, though, that it is not supposed to be extremely complex, but here you are over simplifying the whole process of improvisation.

l.s.


Edited by l.s. (06/15/11 04:21 AM)

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#1696042 - 06/15/11 12:16 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: l.s.]
rich2k4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 37
oops, my mistake, no clue why i put cmaj7 there. it is G major yeah.

and no, i'm not oversimplifying anything. I'm just talking about the natural progression that Jimmy takes students through. While it may seem very basic in the beginning, you soon get to more complex things, but only if you understand and can play using the notes of the key center first.

you're not the first person to dismiss this course as too basic. It's a common reaction from people who don't really understand what's going on. Jimmy has been playing and teaching jazz for over 30 years. Played with many top names, I'd think he knows what he's talking about.

Pat Martino has a similar method of improvisation, except that for some reason he thinks of each key center in the relative minor. However it's still similar.

Playing in key centers is the foundation from all that i have studied. A lot of students don't seem to realize that.

If you can't improvise well using the notes of the key, for example G major scale for Am7 - D7 - Gmaj7. Utilizing not only the scale, but the arpeggios/chord tones of each chord. How do you expect to be able to use outside tones and other alterations in your soloing in the future?

you start with the basic notes, and then you add alterations 1 at a time. To make sure that you HEAR how each altered note SOUNDS in the context of each chord. Because if you can't learn HEAR and recognize these sounds, then it doesn't matter how many scales you know, it's all useless.

http://jbguitarworkshop.com/sampleLessons.cfm

on that page are some sample lessons. Jimmy plays over a ii-V-I in C major. Using the basic C major scale over the entire progression. On the piano, that would be all the white notes. He emphasizes making melodies with the scale, and also utilizing the chord tones. This is just the very basic steps, the more you improvise using just the basic major scale, the more it gets in your ear, and the easier the melodies you make will become. Again, after this basic foundation he starts to add alterations. But if you can't do the basics, then forget about getting more complex.

And I bet some people went into this thread, saw that the lessons were for guitar, and were like "oh well this is for guitar, i play piano!"

The language of music is the same no matter what instrument you play. C major scale, or a Dm7 chord are the same no matter if it's played on guitar or piano.

Just from that sample lesson, you can pick out the phrases he is playing on the piano, the notes are the same. You can learn some cool phrases by just transcribing what he is playing there. Doesn't matter if it's played on guitar, the notes are the same. Do you think the best jazz players only took phrases from other jazz players who played the same instrument as they did? No Way! the good ones took lines from everyone, guitar players, piano players, bass players, etc


Edited by rich2k4 (06/15/11 12:38 PM)

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#1696491 - 06/16/11 03:00 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
l.s. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/11
Posts: 12
Quote:
you're not the first person to dismiss this course as too basic. It's a common reaction from people who don't really understand what's going on. Jimmy has been playing and teaching jazz for over 30 years.


I am not dismissing Bruno's course nor described it by saying it is to basic. In fact, I didn't even mention the word "basic" on my post for the simple reason that I didn't talk at all about the course - or the method - itself, as I know every person has a different approach to pretty much everything. Whatever it is, if it suits you or anyone else, that's great, no arguing about it. What I did was to point out the mistake on the progression you wrote, as that might lead to confusion and blur the point you're trying to make, and that's all.

However, you are oversimplifying the whole process of improvisation when you say that:
1)
Quote:
"He says it doesn't require learning any type of modes"
or 2)
Quote:
"he also encourages simplifying the chords when improvising.

if you see for example

Am13 - D7#11 - C11

that is still a ii-V-I in the key of C, and you still improvise using the key of C. you don't need to make any alterations to your scale just because the chord is extended. You should still think of it as Am7-D7-Cmaj7"
or 3)
Quote:
"for the am7-d7-cmaj7 you would do all your improvisation in the key of C (all white notes)

when it switches to Gm7 - c7 - Fmaj7, you switch to the key of F major for improv."


For 1) I bet Jimmy Bruno knows all the modes upside-down. Since every mode exists within every major and minor scales, I would, also, dare to say he probably mentions, at some point, something like "learn to play the scales starting in every note and in every position of it". Then, again, when one gets more advanced and want to play modal tunes, one needs to know the modes; if one wants to reharmonize a tune or to know which extension can be played over a particular chord within a particular progression, one must know the modes (e.g. you probably wouldn't write Am13, for in that case the 13th is part of the basic scale used in that progression, thus making it unnecessary to write - Am13 is normally used for a modal kind of playing; G11 is used as a suspended chord). For all those reasons, saying it does't require learning any type of modes is oversimplifying things, for you gotta know them for one thing or another, even if you decide not to think about them and only think about the key center when you improvise.

Quote:
If you can't improvise well using the notes of the key, for example G major scale for Am7 - D7 - Gmaj7. Utilizing not only the scale, but the arpeggios/chord tones of each chord. How do you expect to be able to use outside tones and other alterations in your soloing in the future?

I'm not denying it nor mentioned (again) one doesn't have to know the key scale and the chord tones, I'm saying it is simplifying the whole process of improvisation if you say it doesn't require learning any type of modes (again, even if you decide not to think about them and only think about the key center when you improvise), for one also needs to know the chord/scale relationship (modes, using another word), otherwise, "how do you expect to be able to use outside tones and other alterations in your soloing in the future" if you don't know which notes to alter? Or which "key scale" to use?

2) Simplifying the chords is one thing, simplifying the "thought" is another one completely different. What you meant - and forgive me if I'm mistaken - is probably simplifying how to "think" on that progression. Therefore, saying that to improvise on Am13 - D7#11 - G11 one only needs to play the Gmajor scale, is over simplifying things, for 1) A-7 - D7#11 rarely goes to Gmaj7, but 2) considering it really goes like you said, if you only play the G major scale, you wouldn't be playing the main note that the dominant chord is trying to show you, which is the G#, thus making the Gmajor scale a "wrong" - or less appropriated - scale to be played there. And the way you wrote your progression - the chord symbols you've used - does not simplifies the chords at all.

3) And lastly, but not less important, just saying "you switch to the key of G or Fmajor for improvising" is true, but it does not explain, for example: "hey, handle the 4th with care", or "if you wanna use the 4th of the scale, try not to finish a phrase on it if you are on the Imajor7 chord", or "if you wanna use the 4th of the scale while on the Imajor7 chord, try to start the phrase on the upbeat", ... etc.

By the way: would I be able to recognize that mistake in your progression if I am one of the people who don't really understand what's going on? In my opinion, these kind of affirmations shouldn't be used, they sound too pretentious.
The rest you say on your last post has nothing to do with my previous post or this last reply. You're defending the method you like and things you believe in and that's fine with me.

Take care!

l.s.

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#1696792 - 06/17/11 02:10 AM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 295
That looks interesting. I'm all for making things simple. Sax is my main instrument and I play piano on the side to help my sax playing.

In my experience I made the most progress in my improvisation through a teacher who gave it to me simple. Kind of like what Jimmy Bruno's course looks like. He just gave me simple patterns that outlined the chords, and then later some easy ways of taking it outside.

Like he said it's not the difficult things that will get your playing going, it's the simple things. If you have to think too much it takes you into a different part of your head and constricts your playing. You want to play free and using simple concepts facilitates that.
_________________________
Monk - We See
Bach - Two Part Invention No.12

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#1697045 - 06/17/11 01:14 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: l.s.]
rich2k4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 37
No jimmy never mentions anything about "playing from every note of the scale" In fact, he says he has never thought of modes in his entire playing career, and all of his jazz friends don't either. His good friend Joe Pass wouldn't be able to tell you if something was phrygian, locrian, or saturnian from mars.

To really break it down, Jimmy teaches to play jazz from a "from the streets" perspective, not a academic way.

So if you want to learn the "street" way of playing jazz, then give Jimmy a try. Personally, i prefer the street way, because these are the players that are actually out there doing it. It beats being someone locked up in his dorm room at a music school, jamming all of this complicated theory into their heads, playing some stock licks, only to come out of school and not really be able to play anything that is worth a damn.

When i studied jazz in the past, i advanced my jazz playing more in 3 months with Jimmy, then i did with any private jazz teacher i had. I remember at one point i was studying on Jimmy's site and taking private lessons at the same time. When i used the concepts presented by Mr Bruno at private lessons, my teacher mentioned how my playing and phrasing had dramatically increased in a span of only a few weeks, he asked me how did i learn that stuff. I lied and said that our lessons somehow clicked more during the last few weeks. But in fact it was mr Bruno's explanations of things that made me go " A HA!"

My private teacher would focus too much on modes. We would analyze a piece and he would say "ok over this chord you use dorian, over this chord you use a phrygian dominant, over this chord use an altered scale" I don't know about any of you, but I don't know how anyone can play effectively by thinking about that many scales during a piece. My hands would freeze up, because i was thinking of the next scale to play, rather than just playing.

It would even get to the point, and i've seen many people here fall in to this same trap, where we would analyze a basic ii-V-I with modes. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!??!?? "ii-V-I in C major, oh well you use D dorian for the Dm7, G Mixolydian for the G7, and C Ionian for the Cmaj7" I'll say it again ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!??!? I don't know how more inefficient you can get. Here is a eye opener.........D dorian, G Mixolydian, and C Ionian......ALL HAVE THE SAME NOTES!!!!! It would make much more sense to use the parent scale of C major, along with the arpeggios of each chord, instead of fooling your brain into thinking you have to play a "different" scale over each chord.

Hey, you want to get a little bit more complex? Are you saying this is too simplified? Well Jimmy now starts to throw in the 5 outside tones (black keys on the piano) Lets start with the note Ab. So now you have the C Major scale + the Ab note. First he says "practice using this note over the G7, only when the G7 comes around" So he gives examples, when the G7 comes around he plays a line that includes the Ab, sometimes he stops on this Ab. He tells you to practice making melodies using this Ab over G7, and try to get the sound of the Ab over G7 in your ears. The more you use it, the more you get a feel of how to make it sound good. You are essentially learning how to use the b9 over the V7 chord. Jimmy goes into the theory of it a little bit. He then tells you to try to use this Ab note over the Dm7 and the Cmaj7. It may sound bad, it may sound good. He tells you to mess around using melodies and to try to make this note sound good over those 2 chords. He is getting your ears accustomed to the sound this note produces over different chords, no need for any mode. You start to learn what works, and what doesn't...by ear.

He then says to do this in all 12 keys. so in the key of G, this b9 note which was the Ab in key of C now becomes an Eb. Do the same process for all 12 keys.

Next he might introduce the Eb note in the key of C. and tells you to use it over the Cmaj7........WHAT!???? Eb OVER CMAJ7!???????? MY THEORY BOOK TELLS ME THIS IS WRONG!!! well take your theory book, and throw it out the window. We are focusing on connecting your fingers to your ears here. By playing around using the C major scale + the Eb note over the Cmaj7, you will notice that depending on how you phrase the note, it sounds bluesy. But you wouldn't have ever figured this out had you not experimented with using the Eb in different ways over the Cmaj7. Now use the Eb over the Dm7 and G7, notice how they sound over those two chords, the ii and the V. Make a mental note of the sound, experiment using the note in different ways. It may sound bad, it may sound good, but only you will know by experimenting and making these decisions based on your ear.

And everything slowly builds and builds until you become a really good jazz player. Everything builds on concepts that came before, so if you don't understand one concept, it's hard to move on.

I don't mean to make such long posts, but I just want to give everyone a clearer picture of what the course offers. You can't really get this info from the sample lessons, so hopefully this overview helps people decide. This applies to all instruments, not just guitar. The only downside with not being guitarist, is that you won't be able to make videos to submit to Jimmy for review of your playing. However, maybe you can e-mail and ask if it's ok for a Piano player to submit videos. Jimmy should be able to know what you are playing based on sound alone, but i do know he plays some keyboard.

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#1697067 - 06/17/11 01:56 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
I hear you. This guy, Jimmy, you like him. Learned a lot.

This bit:

Originally Posted By: rich2k4

It would even get to the point, and i've seen many people here fall in to this same trap, where we would analyze a basic ii-V-I with modes. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!??!?? "ii-V-I in C major, oh well you use D dorian for the Dm7, G Mixolydian for the G7, and C Ionian for the Cmaj7" I'll say it again ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!??!? I don't know how more inefficient you can get. Here is a eye opener.........D dorian, G Mixolydian, and C Ionian......ALL HAVE THE SAME NOTES!!!!!


I always thought that too.

Funny. I thought I was the only one.

How to make C major complicated in 18 easy lessons...

I working on both guitar and piano just now and have spent my budget already. Next time money comes round, I may well try it out.

smile
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1697089 - 06/17/11 02:38 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
lechuan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 180
Very interesting.

When first learning to improvise, I was having trouble keeping all the modes and current key in mind.

Tim Richards book's indicate the scales (key) that could be used to improvise different sections of the piece. This solidified the concept to me of what was really go on in a ii-V-I. Making this mental switch allowed me to start thinking more about being musical than switching modes at every chord change.

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#1697134 - 06/17/11 04:29 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 698
Loc: Chicago
Sounds like this system worked for you, but so many people assume that if it worked for them it must be right for everyone. In jazz, you need to find the system that works for you.

Personally, I'm not too keen on thinking of II-V-I as all on the I for a couple of reasons:
1. In most pieces, you'll see a lot of II-Vs, but they don't resolve to the I until the end. That means you have to have a mental translator going. E.g., here's Eb- to Ab7; that means I play Db maj. I'd rather have something to call upon that is based on the chord I'm looking at.
2. Notes sound different over different chords. If it's D-, I like emphasizing the e, which is the 9th, because it sounds cool over a minor chord. If I'm thinking of the whole passage as C major, I miss all of that.

But that's just me!

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#1697179 - 06/17/11 05:37 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: jjo]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: jjo
Sounds like this system worked for you, but so many people assume that if it worked for them it must be right for everyone. In jazz, you need to find the system that works for you.

Personally, I'm not too keen on thinking of II-V-I as all on the I for a couple of reasons:
1. In most pieces, you'll see a lot of II-Vs, but they don't resolve to the I until the end. That means you have to have a mental translator going. E.g., here's Eb- to Ab7; that means I play Db maj. I'd rather have something to call upon that is based on the chord I'm looking at.
2. Notes sound different over different chords. If it's D-, I like emphasizing the e, which is the 9th, because it sounds cool over a minor chord. If I'm thinking of the whole passage as C major, I miss all of that.

But that's just me!


Sure. However you think, not all notes of a scale are equal. This applies whether you're thinking 'C major' or 'G mixolydian' - there are certain notes you will prefer to land on.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1697199 - 06/17/11 06:24 PM Re: This may be good help for those interested in jazz piano [Re: rich2k4]
knotty Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 3014
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Here's one of the best Jazz pianists ever showing how it's done:
http://www.box.net/shared/uqg5prls3oku4e1hkpab

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