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#1347971 - 01/12/10 06:46 PM Jazz Study Group 2: Advanced Players
jazzwee Online   content
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Hello guys and gals, this will be the Grad school thread where learning Jazzers at the Intermediate to Advanced Levels can ask questions, blog, learn, share ideas, post music, discuss more advanced Jazz concepts.

If you're an expert and are beyond learning, and have a Jazz Grammy or think you deserve one, then you don't belong here.

I'm hoping that more advanced players can pop in and share and critique. Just to be clear, I'm not going to be the 'expert' here providing information. I'm just learning too and will use this to blog about my progress and hopefully others will too. So the goal here is that learning together perhaps we can learn from each other.

I'm starting this thread in the Adult Beginner's Forum because it's a lot friendlier here and it is assumed that we're all learning. We don't care how many years you've been playing Jazz. As long a you think you're still learning, you're welcome here.

If you're at a beginning level and want to ask more beginning level questions, please see this thread:

Jazz Study Group: Autumn Leaves, ATTYA, etc.
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#1347984 - 01/12/10 07:05 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Credit to Wizard of Oz for this fantastic link:

Bill Evans Interview - McPartland Jazz
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92185496

Here he talks about Rhythmic displacement as something he specifically worked on.

To me Evan's Rhythmic displacement is just grouping the notes with accents. For example, when I learned this before, in a 4/4 tune, one would group notes in accented groups of three.

But what else is he doing here? This is not the same concept of Brad Mehldau's Rhythmic displacement I think where ideas cross over the barline to a different chord (ahead or behind). Or at least I couldn't hear it the first time if it's there.

Maybe you sharper guys can point out specific points in the recording to listen to.

BTW - the quality of the recording is fantastic. One really gets a sense of Bill's control over the piano. His tone is amazing.


Edited by jazzwee (01/12/10 07:07 PM)
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#1347993 - 01/12/10 07:14 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Evans notes above that he always has a 'structure' (theoretical) figured out for his tune. He pre-plans the concepts.

A very 'anti-Gyro approach' wink
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#1348008 - 01/12/10 07:31 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Good idea jazzwee. All musicians learn until the day they die.

Right now I'm working on 2 things:

1) Playing with singers.

I'm doing rehearsals with a singer, and I don't have much experience playing accompaniment. I'm so used to playing lead where I play the melody and dictate the pace.

With a singer, I need to be listening to where she is is going with the tune, and not dictate the pace. I've found timing to be very important, you can't use rubato as liberally.

I'm going to also be jamming with an opera singer, just meet up and see what happens. That should be interesting!


2) Playing modal pieces.

I'm playing some Wayne Shorter tunes right now, Nefertitti and Infant Eyes. The melodies sound great, but the harmony doesn't follow standard jazz progressions. Shorter throws in these non-functional chords that shift the tone of the piece. Infant eyes uses sus chords alot and resolves by going down a semi-tone major 7th.

What I have most trouble with is balancing the harmony, because say G sus to Gb major 7th isn't used too often as a progression.

Herbie Hancock's Dolphin dance is another I love. It uses more pedal points that don't resolve normally.

I find I need to go over small chunks of the song and really drill into my mind the progressions. You can't just wander aimless on a 2-5-1 over these things.

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#1348015 - 01/12/10 07:38 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Good idea jazzwee. All musicians learn until the day they die.


Agreed -- but I figure we should be exclusionary of anyone with too big of an ego smile

BTW - Dolphin Dance is one my faves and maybe I can try recording where I am with that one of these days. We can compare notes.
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#1348020 - 01/12/10 07:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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One other thing I'm working on (as if I have enough time), is to learn about McCoy Tyner type of stuff from Roger (Lot2Learn). Great stuff. Once you follow the logic of his voicings, it's pretty simple. I jammed on it a little last night.

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#1348028 - 01/12/10 07:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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Would love to hear your version of it jazzwee. Marian Mcpartland herself played it on her show, the one where Christian McBride was the guest.

Big egos are all too common with musicians, just look at some rock stars and the way they act.

Miles Davis was known to be a gruff. Most of the jazz giants seem quite humble. Herbie, Chick, Evans, Oscar, when you hear them talk they respect the music.

Keith Jarrett on the other hand needs to lose the attitude, esp his insistence on complete silence and no flash photos from the audience. One cough and he'll stop playing mid song. His outburst at the Umbria jazz festival a few years back was infamous. These are the very people who are making him rich.

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#1348034 - 01/12/10 07:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Would love to hear your version of it jazzwee. Marian Mcpartland herself played it on her show, the one where Christian McBride was the guest.


Wiz, I thought we were buddies. Now you put me in the same sentence with Marian McPartland. Am I supposed to play Dolphin Dance at her level? ha smile
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#1348035 - 01/12/10 07:58 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
What I have most trouble with is balancing the harmony, because say G sus to Gb major 7th isn't used too often as a progression.


I don't understand what it is you don't understand. Understand?

Balancing the harmony with...?

Ok, I actually found one in the Mark Levine book...but there is no Gsus to Gbmaj. Was it the Gbmaj to Fsus you are talking about in bars 5 to 6? In any case, have you tried looking at the chords as groups rather than independently? What strikes me is that one voicing can be used for about two or three chords at a time, with the notes of the chords changing functions depending on what the bass is doing.


Edited by scepticalforumguy (01/12/10 08:27 PM)
Edit Reason: found a copy!
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#1348049 - 01/12/10 08:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Wiz, if I see | Gsus | GbMaj7 | then I'd assume it's chromatic and look for the common tone, which in this case would be F right? The rest I just imagine the chord tones a half step away.

There's a tune I used to do. Along Came Betty (Benny Golson), which had a lot of these chromatic chords and it's good to focus on the common tone to connect ideas.

That seems to simplify it for me.
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#1348053 - 01/12/10 08:26 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Wiz, if I see | Gsus | GbMaj7 | then I'd assume it's chromatic and look for the common tone, which in this case would be F right? The rest I just imagine the chord tones a half step away.

There's a tune I used to do. Along Came Betty (Benny Golson), which had a lot of these chromatic chords and it's good to focus on the common tone to connect ideas.

That seems to simplify it for me.


+1
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#1348080 - 01/12/10 09:14 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Ok, I've got something else: Scale theory! Seriously though. Try this.

Forget the number thing I was talking about for a bit, and look at the notes F, G, Bb and C on the piano. That's your scale until you get to the A7 chord. After that A7 Chord, which is the transition you will use the notes Eb, F, Ab and Bb as your scale notes.

If you play your melody with only those notes on the Infant Eyes changes (until the pedal section which is another set of stuff) you'll get the quartal melody stuff you may be seeking. But maybe that wasn't your question?

Then you can put the numbers back in and see how they fit if you like. wink
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#1348103 - 01/12/10 10:00 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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I haven't really done Wayne Shorter much, maybe because he's not a pianist. I love his compositions too, though Footprints is probably the only one I know well (will have to change that...).

Is Wayne Shorter into quartals too? I know his music is Modal, but for example, Maiden Voyage is clearly quartal in nature with all those Sus chords and of course the voicing.
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#1348189 - 01/12/10 11:39 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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There's nothing new under my jazz sun, apparently!

Word just in: "...jazz musicians think of scales, or modes, when they improvise, because it's easier than thinking chords." Any guess who, among others may have said this? initials ML, pg. 59, para 3. TJPB, if anyone knows this guy.

I got this book probably over 20 years ago when it was first published, and only now do I come to realize what he is talking about!

So it turns out I'm not nuts, or even original (not that I thought numbering notes was original.)

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Is Wayne Shorter into quartals too? I know his music is Modal, but for example, Maiden Voyage is clearly quartal in nature with all those Sus chords and of course the voicing.


I'm still not sure how others play Waynes Infant Eyes, but it really works as a with thinking about entire sections of bars with one set of melody notes. But in the Mark Levine example that got me interested in playing this tune, it appears that it may not have been intended that way.

Anyone else know?
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#1348229 - 01/13/10 12:22 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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What you are talking about with trying to use the same melody notes within several bars is exactly the "theme" idea I was talking about with your numbered notes thread. It's what my teacher calls a step above thinking of modes, scales, or even chord tones.

It requires some thinking of the structure of the music in advance (exactly what Bill Evans was saying in the video above). Searching for common tones and such. Dolphin Dance would be a great example of where this is applicable because the jumps in the chords and modulations will make you forget where you are. Now I don't seem to get lost in Dolphin Dance and the melodies are in my ear and not in my fingers anymore.

Wiz -- I haven't had time yet to record but I tried playing Dolphin tonight and apparently I can still play it. So I'm shooting for some free time to do it.

You may want to record where you are with it. I spent quite a bit of time studying the voicings to use in it and my teacher with the bionic ears picked it out from the recording, hopefully exactly (where practical to use in solo piano).
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#1348262 - 01/13/10 01:04 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee

What you are talking about with trying to use the same melody notes within several bars is exactly the "theme" idea I was talking about with your numbered notes thread. It's what my teacher calls a step above thinking of modes, scales, or even chord tones.


I see. Ok, then let's take the discussion from there when I am talking about this scale theory thing. It has occurred to me for a long time that the only successful way to move through changes was to find that 'hidden scale' or the theme as you call it. If this isn't somehow prevalent in the soloing, then it can sound like one is really just moving between different scales.

As for planning ahead, I think that is how it must have happened for me, too. I had to play through Infant Eyes a few times to see if I could help Wiz, and the notes just kind of floated up as the structural basis for why the chords were there. I'm not sure I have ever really done it on songs that I've played a billion times. I think this is because I become programmed to wanting to sound good, rather than to look for a superstructure and deal with how the whole song really works.

I'm finding it harder these days too, NOT to sound like the people I'm listening to. In some ways this is pretty cool, but in other ways I don't like being called or thinking of myself as a poor imitator of someone. I don't even want to be a good imitator, and have never sought that.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

...and my teacher with the bionic ears picked it out...



How unfortunate. Both ears?!? Was it some sort of industrial accident? I've read about things like bionics, but have never met anyone that actually has them.
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#1348345 - 01/13/10 05:30 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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hey guys...good discussions here. If I could play Dolphin Dance 1/10th as good as Herbie I'd be very happy. And McPartland is quite the player herself. I love her enthusiasm for jazz, it shows in her interviews. She does a special improv for certain guests, called "A Portrait for..." when she's in the mood. Totally improvised and cool.

As for Infant Eyes, I saw it first from the Levine book too, then heard the recording. Beautiful song. Yeah it's the Major7 to Sus progression, I forget the exact chord as I didn't have it with me.

What I find hardest for these types of songs is memorizing the chord progression. Especially DD, the melody is in my head, but sometimes the left hand takes a second to react as I'm trying to remember where it goes.

sceptical...I think I finally got your numbering system, it was just a different way of saying it. Thinking of melody first and foremost. I sometimes envy those horn players who only need to think of 1 note at a time while playing, Miles had it easy!!

I need to buy a recording device. I borrowed my friend's for my older songs but don't have it now. That's my excuse so I want to hear you play it first! hahha...kidding.

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#1348349 - 01/13/10 05:45 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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I just finished listening to a killer version of Dolphin Dance, Herbie's trio with Jack D and Dave Holland.

You can get it here:

http://urge2burge.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/hancockhollanddejohnette-montreal-2662003/

btw, that site is like being a kid in a candy store. I did some recordings from the public radio here and sent him some, he's got pretty much anything you'd want to hear.

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#1348521 - 01/13/10 11:50 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
jazzwee Online   content
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Wow -- great site Wiz! Listening to that version of DD. Nice to be able to get an MP3. Very different from his other DD versions. They're all great.

The original version though is almost delicate in it's simplicity.
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#1348749 - 01/13/10 04:35 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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I just found a version of DD done by Bill Evans, on his album I will Say Goodbye. Never knew he did a cover of it. I'm going to try and have a listen.

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#1348964 - 01/13/10 08:52 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Who wants to talk about how upper partials have changed their lives? I do!!!

And no, I don't want to hear your denturist stories. I'm talking about the other ones.

Anyone use these in all 12 keys? I'm just beginning to realize their potential just very recently.

I have a question for those that already do use them: How do you think about improvising over them? Do you assign one scale ie the half diminished scale, or a melodic locrian, or do you actually look at the notes in the upper partial and go from there?

Thoughts?
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#1349096 - 01/13/10 11:58 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Go Sceptical! Now what do you mean by upper partials? Is that the same as extensions and "Upper Structure Triads"? (using Mark Levine's terminology).

Tell me how you use it. I know about it from Levine but I've not used it. The reason is that I have used alternate shapes than triads, but the concept is the same.

Talk about how it changed your life...
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#1349103 - 01/14/10 12:08 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Hey Wiz, how far along have you gotten with DD? Sorry I haven't gotten the time to record. Dolphin is pretty long too so it's pretty hard to do a "Red Dot" recording without screwing up.

One thing that is the hardest with it is maintaining the form. Now that I haven't played it in awhile some parts of it got a little rusty.

Sceptical, you play Dolphin Dance? Want to share a version too?
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#1349130 - 01/14/10 01:15 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Hey guys,

re partials: yes, upper structures! I've found a new love! How do I use them? I don't know yet. I've been using a number of them in the past thinking that 'theory ain't of no importance' and looky at me how creative I am, only to discover last night upon searching for a version of Infant Eyes, and finding it in Mark Levine's book, that what I read about upper structures must have sunk in a wee bit about 20 years ago and I adopted one or two of them in a few different keys.

But what I rediscovered yesterday for whatever reason became clearer to me about what I have been doing, but also that there were three more that I neglected to be using. I was mostly using the #4 upper structure and the minor #4, but only in probably 4 or 5 keys. I know realize how much I didn't know, and within the last day have changed my sound tremendously.

You talk about using shapes, and this is similar to that, but the amount of shapes that my hands fell into ie the #4 and minor #4 and sometimes the 6 weren't used across the board, so to speak because I probably wasn't conscious enough about what they were or how to use them. Now I'm working on getting movement between them with exercises like Mary had a little lamb completely using upper structures. It's really hard in most keys for me, because the shapes (as you say) aren't there yet.

What I've sadly realized is that the 48 shapes I might have been using (2 chord structures in two positions in 12 keys) is only one sixth or 1/12 (how do you spell 12th?) of what I could be doing. So, now I have some definite practice plans to get these shapes under my fingers. Then the next step is to be able to move them around in whole tones, thirds, etc. Fun stuff, but I think it's going to drive the family crazy.

And DD? I don't play it because it's a bad tune, and I'm far better than Henry Hancock (I think that's how u spel it. I ROCK! Ok. Sorry. I regressed to my misspent youth for a second. But no, I don't play it, but I'll look into it, and if I like it enough to take me away from the other tunes and concepts I'm playing with I'll post something.
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#1349137 - 01/14/10 01:30 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Online   content
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
Why don't you give a specific structure that you use (on one key)?

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

Wiz started a thread sometime back about "shapes" and how you move diatonically within the scale. That specifically uses upper structures but undefined as to the shape (sort of make your own shape). That's partly where I experimented with the stuff in the Mary Had a Little Lamb shape. And partly it was already a shape I used.

So just to be clear, Levine's shapes are Triads. And if you read it closely, depending on where you start the triad, you get a certain chord quality and voicing. I haven't messed much with Levine's versions but anyone can really develop their preferred shapes without relying on Levine's shapes. It's trial and error finding your shapes.

One shape I use for example is an augmented triad. Another is a Tritone + Fourth.



Edited by jazzwee (01/14/10 01:32 AM)
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#1349138 - 01/14/10 01:33 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Online   content
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Hey Sceptical, do you still play a lot of Jazz or you quit that a long time ago?
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#1349162 - 01/14/10 02:42 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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hey jazzwee, I was working through some transcriptions of DD, figuring out chords and such. It's still very raw right now, wouldn't sound too great. I'm looking at the chords to see what Herbie was thinking when he wrote it.


I've tried some experimenting with upper structures, mainly I think of them as an extension of the chord.

For example: G / F A C E , could be called G/ Fmaj7th, but really is a G7 with the 9th, 11th, 13th added on.

Same thing as a slash chord, just worded differently.

I picked up one chord I really like in DD, it's F/B, or basically F7 b5 b9, played with D on top as the melody note and you get a really cool dissonant sound.

I found another young jazz prodigy, she does a nice version of Dolphin Dance. It's 3rd on the myspace list.

What's more amazing is that she's blind, and also plays flute. Check out the video of one song where she plays flute and piano at the same time!!

http://www.myspace.com/rachelflowersmusic

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#1349164 - 01/14/10 02:46 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
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hey for augmented triad do you mean something like C E G# B? And tritone and 4th, C F# B.... I use that sound alot, picked it up from Mr. Hancock himself.

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#1349173 - 01/14/10 03:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Hey Sceptical, do you still play a lot of Jazz or you quit that a long time ago?


A long time ago as in hours ago? No, I started long ago, but did it the Gyro way for a length of time, all the while I was gigging as a jazz player, but never really thought to put myself to the test again and reexamine what it is that I thought I knew. I do know quite a bit, but there's quite a bit more that I'm now getting a chance to look at with fresh eyes.

A bit of history about me: Like most pianists I started with classical lessons, did the levels (ARCT in Canada.)But from the beginning I always liked 'fooling around' on the piano and had some fake books of pop songs that my father had laying around for the organ. I learned enough about chords from the classical lessons to sound mediocre when I was playing from these lead sheets. Yes, I could play by ear, and enough so to get gigs and such, but I wasn't ever THAT great. I even took 3 or 4 lessons when I was 15 to learn how to play jazz. I lost interest because at the time I didn't realize that it was blues that I wanted to play. I really didn't like the music of Herbie, Keith, Miles, etc. So the jazz lessons didn't stick.

Got to university, studied classical piano and percussion, met a few amazing musicians. Started listening a bit more to jazz, picked up the Levine book but still improvising and developing my own sound, which in retrospect I could say sounded 'jazzish', but not really there.

Fast forward about ten years, moved cities, found lots of gigs, but mostly with singers and still really didn't look at theory too much more than picking stuff up along the way. Fast forward to this last year, got a new piano and was so enamoured with the sound that I started recording improvisations on it, but with chords and spacing to hear the sustain and overtones, and bass (which I'm still grappling with to like from day to day.) Fast forward to about a week ago, woke up again and realized I'd better get back to studying jazz because of the 12345 number pattern thing made me want to reexamine melody in the jazz context.

So there we be. Now I'm looking at upper structures again.

An example of something I'm playing, and had played before, but the 'shape didn't fit my fingers before is the A7b913 or reading from the bottom A, G, C#, F#, A#, C#. I played that one, but in two, three keys, but in all 12, and kind of forgot that I could do it elsewhere. Laziness I suppose.

And you're right, Levine's upper structures are based on triads over a tritone. I'm not sure if what you say about making your own shapes though falls under what appears to be an upper structure. With the shapes it may become hit and miss. I really have done the shapes for a long time, but I suppose that I always fell back the ones that I became comfortable with. This wouldn't have been such a bad thing if I never discovered that I'd missed a great deal of voicings, especially in the keys that kind of dictate certain shapes.

And your background guys? Not that you asked for mine...
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1349177 - 01/14/10 03:58 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

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



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



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