Transitioning from jazz to blues

Posted by: custard apple

Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/06/12 11:49 PM

I'm gradually preparing for the Gary Burton Improv Course offered by Coursera which begins in April 2013.
Students are meant to already know either how to improvise over an easy jazz tune or an easy blues tune. I know the former, and have just begun to listen to the latter.
My interest is in citified blues, the more sophisticated sound, rather than country blues. So I'm thinking of studying Louis Jordan's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby". What is the key I should begin learning this in ? Where can I buy the sheet, as it doesn't appear in the Real Book ?

I guess that a lot of you learnt blues before jazz. However, for those of you who have learnt jazz before blues, what were the key steps you took to make the transition ?
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 12:20 AM

Originally Posted By: custard apple
However, for those of you who have learnt jazz before blues, what were the key steps you took to make the transition ?


1. Play much slower
2. Play many fewer chords
3. Use the exact same riff-like motif for all 12 bars

Ed
Posted by: Victorius

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 02:46 AM

Blues is awesome! First you need to learn the scale to be able to improvise on it. http://johncomino.tripod.com/bluesscl.htm
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 06:28 AM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti



3. Use the exact same riff-like motif for all 12 bars

Ed


So you need some sort of LH independence ?
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 06:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Victorius
First you need to learn the scale to be able to improvise on it.


I agree that the sound drives the mind. I started revising Bb today starting from R, b3, 4, #4 etc.
Surprising how difficult it was !
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Victorius
Blues is awesome! First you need to learn the scale to be able to improvise on it. http://johncomino.tripod.com/bluesscl.htm


That Blues scale in the link is incomplete, although it is often published like that. If anything, it is a "skeleton" Blues scale, but there are several more notes typically used.

If anything, it is like saying a C natural scale is C - E - G - B - C; Some notes are missing.

If a scale is the notes on the menu that you can typically use in that key, a more complete Blues scale in C is:

C, D, Eb/E, F, F#, G, A, Bb, C.

At least that is what I play.

However, when learning how to play Blues eons ago I never heard about a "Blues Scale", and there were no books, DVD's, Youtube, etc. to help. I just listened to records of the Masters, and copied, or tried to copy, what they did.

To illustrate the scale, check out the hot link in my signature...lots of notes not in the skeleton Blues scale. (Key of G).
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 06:21 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88


a more complete Blues scale in C is:

C, D, Eb/E, F, F#, G, A, Bb, C.

At least that is what I play.



Thanks rocket. That's very interesting, I didn't know the Blues scale had a 2 and a 6 in it. It makes sense according to what I hear in Charlie Parker.
For some reason I couldn't find the link in your signature.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 08:08 PM

Custard, here is the link:

Sample from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://www.box.com/s/43da5e4ca6432d021eb8
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 09:20 PM

Thanks rocket. You're a great player and you have incorporated impressive stylistic elements too.
Is G Blues common ?
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 09:31 PM

Originally Posted By: custard apple
Thanks rocket. You're a great player and you have incorporated impressive stylistic elements too.
Is G Blues common ?


Thank you! I have been playing Blues since 1973, in all kinds of bands and configurations, and the common keys are:

C D E F G A Bb. If its a horn band, then lots to Bb and Eb.

Yes, G is quite common. A lot of Blues standards are most often done in the key in which they were famously recorded. "After Hours" comes to mind, (key of G), and "Stormy Monday" also often done in G, because that is what Bobby "Blue" Bland recorded it in, and the Allman Brothers did also in their cover which is considered the "Gold Standard" (Live at Fillmore East album).

The key also depends upon the singer. I sat in with a band last week, and the singer liked the keys of D and E.
Posted by: rintincop

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 10:07 PM

custard,

For that class I think they mean a "jazz blues", not traditional "blues" blues.

Go check out C Jam Blues, Bag's Groove (F) and Freddie The Freeloader (Bb)
Posted by: jjo

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/07/12 10:25 PM

Seems to me that any course put on by Gary Burton will be playing jazz style blues, with the changes made standard in the be bop days. If you don't know those I'll write them out.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 06:42 AM

Originally Posted By: rocket88


Thank you! I have been playing Blues since 1973, in all kinds of bands and configurations, and the common keys are:

C D E F G A Bb. If its a horn band, then lots to Bb and Eb.

Yes, G is quite common. A lot of Blues standards are most often done in the key in which they were famously recorded. "After Hours" comes to mind, (key of G), and "Stormy Monday" also often done in G, because that is what Bobby "Blue" Bland recorded it in, and the Allman Brothers did also in their cover which is considered the "Gold Standard" (Live at Fillmore East album).

The key also depends upon the singer. I sat in with a band last week, and the singer liked the keys of D and E.



Hi Rocket
So I've just listened to the songs and my favorite one was After Hours with Pee Crayton, he was very cool.
I agree with you that knowing a tune in many keys is extremely important.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 06:54 AM

Originally Posted By: rintincop
custard,

For that class I think they mean a "jazz blues", not traditional "blues" blues.

Go check out C Jam Blues, Bag's Groove (F) and Freddie The Freeloader (Bb)


Hey rintincop
I really appreciate you having labelled the type of blues I like. You are so right, my favorite blues tune is Blues by Five by Red Garland. I went to a concert last week and the Andrew Speight quintet played it, with a surprise guest popping out behind the curtain, just before his solo, to make it Blues by Six. (He was Eric Alexander who is my favorite tenor saxophonist after Sonny Rollins).

I've just finished listening to your tunes, of these I liked Bag's Groove with the Miles Davis quintet the best. So a couple of those dudes can really swing their eighth notes.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 06:56 AM

Originally Posted By: jjo
Seems to me that any course put on by Gary Burton will be playing jazz style blues, with the changes made standard in the be bop days. If you don't know those I'll write them out.


Hey jjo
Thanks for your input and for confirming that jazz style blues is the label.
I'd greatly appreciate if you would confirm the standard changes.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 06:59 AM

rintincop and jjo
So can I start improvising over jazz blues tunes without having studied traditional blues such as Pee Wee Crayton, BB King, Louis Jordan ?

I'm much more confident about my RH melodic lines, but what do you advise for a beginning LH ? I haven't done syncopation before.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 10:33 AM

Originally Posted By: custard apple

Hi Rocket
So I've just listened to the songs and my favorite one was After Hours with Pee Crayton, he was very cool.


Thats a great song, but I was referring to "After Hours" by Avery Parrish, recorded originally with the Erskine Hawkins Band back around 1940. (confusing similar names to the tunes).

Here is a clip of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUGMSFbDma0
Posted by: jjo

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/08/12 08:09 PM

There are many variations, but the classic, for Bb blues, would be:
Bb7 | Eb7 | Bb7 | F-7 Bb7 |
Eb7 | Eb7 | Bb7 | G7 |
C-7 | F7 | Bb7 G7 | C-7 F7 |

The G7 and F7 chords are usually altered in some way.

If you know this basic sequence, you'll have a very good start. If you want to see the most complex variation (don't get intimidated; I'm sure you don't have to know it) look up Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice.

Hope this helps.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 01:09 AM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: custard apple

Hi Rocket
So I've just listened to the songs and my favorite one was After Hours with Pee Crayton, he was very cool.


Thats a great song, but I was referring to "After Hours" by Avery Parrish, recorded originally with the Erskine Hawkins Band back around 1940. (confusing similar names to the tunes).

Here is a clip of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUGMSFbDma0


Hey rocket
Yeah that's a great creation indeed by Avery Parrish. Cool arrangement too.
The pianist in the clip was certainly missing nothing in his blues skills set. I noticed his technique is different to most jazz pianists, his wrists seemed stiffer than most jazz pianists, is this technique common for this type of blues, or is it just him ?
Posted by: Steve Nixon

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 01:24 AM

Originally Posted By: custard apple

Is G Blues common ?


Yes, G blues is common. I would recommend you learn all the guitar keys first (sharp keys). Eventually you'll want to learn to play equally well in all 12 keys though.

Every key is called on gigs. This is especially true in horn based bands as one poster mentioned. Also, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn tuned their guitars down a 1/2 step. There are many guitar players who follow their example in this.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 01:40 AM

Originally Posted By: jjo
There are many variations, but the classic, for Bb blues, would be:
Bb7 | Eb7 | Bb7 | F-7 Bb7 |
Eb7 | Eb7 | Bb7 | G7 |
C-7 | F7 | Bb7 G7 | C-7 F7 |

The G7 and F7 chords are usually altered in some way.

If you know this basic sequence, you'll have a very good start. If you want to see the most complex variation (don't get intimidated; I'm sure you don't have to know it) look up Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice.

Hope this helps.


Hey jjo
Thanks so much for

I | IV | I | v, I |
IV | IV| I | VI |
ii | V | I, VI | ii, V |

Here is my plan, I hope you're OK with it ?

1. Sing Red Garland's version of C Jam Blues for 10 minutes a day for a few weeks

2. Do composition over the above changes.
Would you mind if I post it for you to tell me whether it vaguely sounds like jazz-style blues ?

3. Improvise over the above changes.

To start off with, I think I will stick with LH chords rather than a LH motif.

I just listened to Bird's Blues for Alice, extremely complex but extremely fun too.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 01:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Steve Nixon
Originally Posted By: custard apple

Is G Blues common ?


Yes, G blues is common. I would recommend you learn all the guitar keys first (sharp keys). Eventually you'll want to learn to play equally well in all 12 keys though.

Every key is called on gigs. This is especially true in horn based bands as one poster mentioned. Also, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn tuned their guitars down a 1/2 step. There are many guitar players who follow their example in this.


Hi Steve
For some reason G Blues is the one that trips me up. I know it introduces a nice blues sound when I solo in E maj for my jazz standards e.g. the bridge of All The Things You are.
Yes I have a life-time goal of mastering 12 keys.
Posted by: jjo

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 03:56 AM

Custard:
1. Think of bar 4 as a II-V to the IV chord.
2. Listen to Charlie Parker play blues, and you can also get the Omni Book, which has his solos transcribed. He is the foundation of most jazz blues playing.
3. Your plan sounds great. Do that and you'll be way better than me. I'd be happy to listen to anything, however.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 06:47 AM

Originally Posted By: jjo
Custard:
1. Think of bar 4 as a II-V to the IV chord.
2. Listen to Charlie Parker play blues, and you can also get the Omni Book, which has his solos transcribed. He is the foundation of most jazz blues playing.
3. Your plan sounds great. Do that and you'll be way better than me. I'd be happy to listen to anything, however.


Hi jjo
1. This is very useful. So should I be thinking
3 bars of Bb 7) I, IV, I
3 bars of Eb 7) ii V, I, I
6 bars of Bb7) I, VI, ii, V, I VI, ii V

2. Good idea. I actually own the book. I will study Now's The Time as it's easy and fun.

3. You're too humble. Bet you blew real well at your jazz camp.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 09:32 AM

Originally Posted By: custard apple

Hey rocket
Yeah that's a great creation indeed by Avery Parrish. Cool arrangement too.
The pianist in the clip was certainly missing nothing in his blues skills set. I noticed his technique is different to most jazz pianists, his wrists seemed stiffer than most jazz pianists, is this technique common for this type of blues, or is it just him ?



David Maxwell is a well-know and excellent Blues pianist. That was the first time I saw his technique, and it does look stiff. But it works for him...another example of a great player with "unconventional" technique, like Classical monster player Horowitz who played with flat fingers.

I don't think that any genre of music has a specific technique style. Each player has their own...although there are certain technique challenges that one style of music may have more of than another, i.e. more chords in Jazz and Blues than in some Classical.
Posted by: rintincop

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 10:46 AM

custard,

For jazz blues it's almost always played in the keys of F, Bb, or C. There are many play-along recordings for practicing jazz blues with (Aebersold).

Try applying Mixoldydian scales. Also infuse both the Happy Blues scale and the Minor Blues scale

12 Bar Blues scales in C :

I7 (C7) : C Mixoldydian and or Happy blues scale: C D D# E G A
IV (F7): F Mixolydian and or Minor Blues scale: C Eb F F# G Bb
V7 (G7): G MIxolydian and or either C Happy or C Minor Blues scale
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 05:30 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: custard apple

Hey rocket
Yeah that's a great creation indeed by Avery Parrish. Cool arrangement too.
The pianist in the clip was certainly missing nothing in his blues skills set. I noticed his technique is different to most jazz pianists, his wrists seemed stiffer than most jazz pianists, is this technique common for this type of blues, or is it just him ?



David Maxwell is a well-know and excellent Blues pianist. That was the first time I saw his technique, and it does look stiff. But it works for him...another example of a great player with "unconventional" technique, like Classical monster player Horowitz who played with flat fingers.

I don't think that any genre of music has a specific technique style. Each player has their own...although there are certain technique challenges that one style of music may have more of than another, i.e. more chords in Jazz and Blues than in some Classical.


Yeah rocket, as you say, whatever works. Like Thelonious Monk with the stiff flat fingers resulting in a percussive style.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 05:33 PM

Originally Posted By: rintincop
custard,

For jazz blues it's almost always played in the keys of F, Bb, or C. There are many play-along recordings for practicing jazz blues with (Aebersold).

Try applying Mixoldydian scales. Also infuse both the Happy Blues scale and the Minor Blues scale

12 Bar Blues scales in C :

I7 (C7) : C Mixoldydian and or Happy blues scale: C D D# E G A
IV (F7): F Mixolydian and or Minor Blues scale: C Eb F F# G Bb
V7 (G7): G MIxolydian and or either C Happy or C Minor Blues scale


Hey ritincop
Thanks for these very useful pointers. I'm looking forward a lot to tackling this jazz blues challenge. My first jazz blues composition will be in C.
I also know the half-whole dim scale which I guess works over C7, F7 and G7 ?

Generally, would you say that in jazz blues, there is less emphasis on the #4 than in traditional blues ?
Posted by: slowtraveler

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 06:22 PM

It's been a while since I've looked it, but as I recall Mark Harrison's "Jazz Blues Piano" book (w/CD) is an excellent primer to this particular genre. It's published by Hal Leonard and is available tons of places including Amazon (in the U.S., at least).

Kind regards,

Ben
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 07:22 PM

Hi Ben
Thanks for your input. Do you remember if the Mark Harrison book is for traditional blues or jazz blues ?
Posted by: jjo

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/09/12 09:51 PM

Custard: Bar #4 would be more a Bb dominant sound. Since it's not a II-V-I to a major, don't start the Eb feeling until bar 4. The rest of what you suggested would work, but pretty soon you should start playing all of the chords. In bar 8, for example, you can play various G scales, most of which include a b natural. Again, I know of no better place to see how it's done than Parker's Omni book, or some other online source that has a Parker blues solo written out.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/10/12 12:29 AM

Originally Posted By: jjo
Custard: Bar #4 would be more a Bb dominant sound. Since it's not a II-V-I to a major, don't start the Eb feeling until bar 4. The rest of what you suggested would work, but pretty soon you should start playing all of the chords. In bar 8, for example, you can play various G scales, most of which include a b natural. Again, I know of no better place to see how it's done than Parker's Omni book, or some other online source that has a Parker blues solo written out.


Thank you jjo. So the ii V I doesn't come in until bar 9.

What do you mean by b natural ? I know Bird uses a lot of b9.
Besides studying his Now's The Time, I will also study Perhaps.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/10/12 05:27 AM

Oh I think I know what you mean jjo.
Like use G7 #9 so that the Bb leads to the following C min7 chord ?
Posted by: slowtraveler

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/10/12 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: custard apple
Do you remember if the Mark Harrison book is for traditional blues or jazz blues ?


He has numerous instructional books for different styles. The one I mentioned is specifically for jazz blues. You can find out more about him at http://harrisonmusic.com. Check out the "Keyboard Style Series" section of his web site for details.

B.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/11/12 04:20 AM

Many thanks Ben.
I will download the ebook on another computer tomorrow as I am running out of monthly bytes on my home computer.
Posted by: slowtraveler

Re: Transitioning from jazz to blues - 10/11/12 09:29 AM

You're welcome, custard apple. But double-check the web site on this title, though. Harrison has a number of offerings in ebook format, but AFAIK Jazz-Blues Piano isn't among them. I think it's only available as a physical book w/ CD.

Regards,

B.