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  1. #1

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    Hi

    I have been working slowly thru the first half of book 1 and really need to start learning to apply these chord changes to actual songs etc.

    I have recently joined a Trad Jazz practice group consisting of Piano, Bass, Drums, Banjo, Cello, 2x Sax/clarinet , 1 Trombone and 2x trumpets and me on Guitar.

    So far they play seem to pretty straight and cycle tru the head with minimal improvisation (it more a bunch of 50-70 year olds having fun).

    I am basically using this as an opportunity to play with others and learn to get my rhythm playing up to scratch.

    My question is can I simply try to apply the MB suggested changes to the chords ie

    original C///|E7///|Am///|Fmi///|
    with Cma7/Cma6/|Bmi7/Bmi6/|Amin7/Amin6/|Fmin7/Fmin6/|

    or whatever seems best (by my ear) to fit the song or do I need to warn the Bass, Piano and Banjo that I will be doing something a little different or just rely on their ear?

    My aim is to get these concepts under the fingers but i don't want to cause a train wreck etc.. How much freedom/liberty would you take in this environment

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    You may have to leave the bass note out.

    And be nice to the piano player. If he's comping too you could take a nap.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    You may have to leave the bass note out.

    And be nice to the piano player. If he's comping too you could take a nap.
    Hi Drumbler..
    True re the Bass..

    Not sure yet about the piano player.. he sounds a bit like a one man band and is trying to do it all. however thats something to work on down the track.

    And me being the newbie in the band will keep quiet for a while..ish

  5. #4

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    if the piano is playing full harmony..you can just "accent" some of the chords..on the off beat, if it works...

  6. #5

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    Thanks Wolflen
    What I am really trying to figure out is how much liberty can one take with jazzing up the chords and substituting etc (in line with the MB recommendations) without forewarning the other members etc. Its a large group and my role is really more 4 to the bar style. My aim is to use this as an opportunity to get away from the basic shapes and start applying what I am learning. However don't want to crash and burn so to speak. MB gives lots of examples of what "modern chords" to apply over standard changes and thats what I am thinking of trying to apply.

  7. #6

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    Real nice one

  8. #7

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    Some of the other guys can answer this a lot better than I can, but I'll give it a shot.

    Look at Mickey Baker's lesson 15. "Bridges," he's talking about, and how to jazz up the "standard" chords.

    Say you want to play the first bridge, the 2 bars each of E7, A7, D7, G7. You need to know what chords the piano player is playing. If he's playing the standard chords (above), you're okay with most of Mickey's substitution suggestions. But you don't want to play that G13b5b9 chord, if piano man is playing a plain old G7 (which might have a 5th - a D note - ringing out against your D flat note... the "b5" in the G13b5b9 chord that Mickey suggests.)

    For chords like Dm9, Dm7, Dm6 -- these work in place of a D minor, because these "color" tones (9, 7, & 6) are in the same scale the D minor comes from. When he tells you to play, say, a Bm7 & E7, two beats each, over what's normally four beats of E7, you're making a "ii-V" out of a whole bar of just "V"... jazzing it up, adding movement and color.

    Whoa! I just realized how much stuff I somehow know but can't quickly explain. The Mickey Baker book is probably a "must-have" for learning what you're doing. However, he doesn't do much of a job of explaining the "whys" of his suggestions, which is what you seem to be needing to know, so you can play in your group and not clash with the piano player's stuff.

    So: these other guys on the forum can explain better. Meanwhile, I suggest you get yourself a copy of Jody Fisher's _The Complete Jazz Guitar Method_. This is a four-volume deal, and if possible, you can do yourself a favor by buying only the first two volumes (for now anyway.) Here you'll learn the chord & scale theory you must know to understand and play jazz.

    Best of luck!

    kj

  9. #8

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    Thanks KJ really appreciate the responce..
    So to play it safe I will avoid the b5's at this stage and maybe just slowly try to add in some color with the MB suggestions.
    I have half a book case full of different methods and theories, have read plenty.. Applying it and having the confidence to do so is the main issue.
    I will check out Jodie Fisher and often read Matt's great website.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeJ
    Thanks KJ really appreciate the responce..
    So to play it safe I will avoid the b5's at this stage and maybe just slowly try to add in some color with the MB suggestions.
    I have half a book case full of different methods and theories, have read plenty.. Applying it and having the confidence to do so is the main issue.
    I will check out Jodie Fisher and often read Matt's great website.
    Yeah, Mike, that's just one of the things to beware of when using the Mickey information. If you're the sole accompanist (no piano, etc.), you can be a bit freer with the altered chords, but *still* you have to listen close to what the soloist is playing. If he/she plays a line with a flat 13th, and you play a natural 13th, he/she will throw you a weird look, and you'll be in the wrong... playing rhythm guitar isn't easy in jazz. Lots of head work going on, lots of listening close to the bass player and the soloist, and all the others.

    It's my firm opinion that, in learning to comp, a jazz player should have a working knowledge of "shell" voicings -- three-note chords, usually 1-3-7 or 5-3-7, played on (usually) strings 6, 4, and 3. These are very fast shapes to grab and they are of tremendous value when you start piling on extensions. It's also a great way to strengthen your ownership of the fingerboard's layout. Freddie Green (the comper's comper) used these chords almost exclusively. I'd go so far as to recommend using them in place of Mickey Baker's bigger voicings -- because they're safer. Here's a link to a book I haven't yet read, but it's probably fine for learning shells: Amazon.com: Three-Note Voicings and Beyond (9781883217662): Randy Vincent: Books

    Keep comping. Learn all the tunes you can, using these chords -- that's how you internalize them best, I think.

    kj

  11. #10

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    Thanks again kj
    lots to learn.. At least I am now in a position to have a go
    cheers

    Mike

  12. #11

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    Another fantastic book is Charlton Johnson's "Swing and Big Band Guitar" which teaches you to use those "Freddie Greene" voicings in all inversions. It is amazing. Best book I have found, although Mickey Baker is great too. But If I had to choose just one, it would be the Johnson book. But I am a rhythm player really by choice. The amazing thing is when you get those "shell voicings" on 6,4, 3 (occasionally 6,5,3) under your fingers, you start to discover amazing little sub-melodies going on as you play. It is truly a beautiful thing. And actually fairly simple.

    If the band you are playing with is going for a "trad" sound - assuming you mean swing as opposed to bebop or modern jazz, then those voicings, 4 to the bar are the way to go. But really, the swing is the thing. That's what you gotta work on the most. Fancy voicings sound lame if you can't swing those quarter notes.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommygun1964
    Another fantastic book is Charlton Johnson's "Swing and Big Band Guitar" which teaches you to use those "Freddie Greene" voicings in all inversions. It is amazing. Best book I have found, although Mickey Baker is great too. But If I had to choose just one, it would be the Johnson book. But I am a rhythm player really by choice. The amazing thing is when you get those "shell voicings" on 6,4, 3 (occasionally 6,5,3) under your fingers, you start to discover amazing little sub-melodies going on as you play. It is truly a beautiful thing. And actually fairly simple.

    If the band you are playing with is going for a "trad" sound - assuming you mean swing as opposed to bebop or modern jazz, then those voicings, 4 to the bar are the way to go. But really, the swing is the thing. That's what you gotta work on the most. Fancy voicings sound lame if you can't swing those quarter notes.
    AMEN to every damn thing you said - esp. the last thing. Nothing's worse than a rhythm player (oops "comper") playing little "blip, blip...blip...." chord stabs when they might be on the beat, might be off, who knows... there's no "drive" to it. It's almost as if they're trying to "make" each stab land somewhere that'll hopefully sound good. I'm only talking about the crappy ones - the guys who can really swing this way are awesome. Like Jim Hall.

  14. #13

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    The issues you're having is why I'm really not a fan of learning voicings in the way Baker teaches them. There's a reason to put b5's in things occasionally in songs, and it's not because you know how to put your fingers there.

    Like everyone else, it seems, this is how I was taught to comp, too. It takes a while before you realize that you've developed an annoying propensity to create dissonant intervals with the melody line, clash with the bass, and lack any actual voice leading content. Add in a piano doing the same crap and you get the aural chaos that is what most amateur jazz sounds like.

    Echoing some of the other posters, I think your best bet would be to start with the simplest iterations of the harmonic road map (vanilla changes) and then gradually introduce substitutions paying attention to how they affect the other instruments in the group.

    A good way to do this is to try to play chord/melody style through a bunch of tunes with the melody note on top. You'll very quickly find out how few of the things that you were taught to just cram into standards actually sound good when you're responsible for playing the melody, too.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    The issues you're having is why I'm really not a fan of learning voicings in the way Baker teaches them. There's a reason to put b5's in things occasionally in songs, and it's not because you know how to put your fingers there.
    I could be wrong, but doesn't Mickey give these "new" chords (the m7-m6; the V#5b13 stuff) as ways of 'modernizing' songs that had vanilla changes? Does he say to use them over standards, or in jazz? I could be wrong, but I don't believe he recommends doing that.

    kj

  16. #15

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    The 'vanilla' changes sound great if your rhythm is great. If it aint, doesn't matter what you play.

    Funny. Irving Ashby said "Rhythm guitar is like vanilla in a cake. You don't notice it if it's there but take it out and everyone notices." Or something similar. Funny how everyone is so crazy to cram in every sub and alteration they can.

    Play the 3 and the 7, maybe the 1 or the 5 or 6 if it fits, and let the soloists do the rest. Rhythm guitar is an art, maybe a lost one. But swing ain't swing without it. In my book anyway.
    Last edited by tommygun1964; 11-26-2012 at 12:54 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommygun1964
    Play the 3 and the 7, maybe the 1 or the 5 or 6 if it fits, and let the soloists do the rest. Rhythm guitar is an art, maybe a lost one. But swing ain't swing without it. In my book anyway.

    I agree 200%. It's the backbone of Gypsy jazz, of Western swing, just to name two. I know a version of Lady Be Good that has 64 chords - a chord change every two beats, except for a couple of bars that get 4 beats, and it's about 32 bars of roots, 3rds, 5ths, & 7ths, with the I chord a 6th.

    Not 64 different chords, but changes. 61 changes I guess. I love that kind of movement. Some don't. Some like it sparse, I guess.
    Last edited by Kojo27; 11-26-2012 at 04:26 AM.

  18. #17

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    Well, I wish you lived in Wellington New Zealand!

    I would love to have that version of Lady Be Good. I am such a book learner. Maybe I should work out my own version.
    Last edited by tommygun1964; 11-26-2012 at 03:41 AM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommygun1964
    Well, I wish you lived in Wellington New Zealand!

    I would love to have that version of Lady Be Good. I am such a book learner. Maybe I should work out my own version.
    No sooner said than done! - and my bad, it has just 55 chord changes. Or 54, depending on how you count.

    This is always at my box account, but it can be downloaded and/or printed, too. Much easier to blow up and learn from the screen - for me anyway.

    Enjoy!

    https://www.box.com/s/dxk06apsbb3aouiir4ah

  20. #19

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    Oh well thanks very much! Very civil of you, I have just been playing it, some of those shapes are new to me, that G7/B for example. Do you think it sounds right if you play a B diminished chord there in root position? It flows a bit easier to play and to me it sounds right. Is that "Ranger Doug"? I have heard about his book too. It's a nice version!

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojo27
    I could be wrong, but doesn't Mickey give these "new" chords (the m7-m6; the V#5b13 stuff) as ways of 'modernizing' songs that had vanilla changes? Does he say to use them over standards, or in jazz? I could be wrong, but I don't believe he recommends doing that.

    kj
    He's showing you ways to "modernize" standard tunes, as you say. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you play a Maj7#11 every time you see a Maj 7 chord, ala Mark Levine, and don't notice that the melody note is a 5th.

    Blech.

    There's a reason most jam sessions sound like absolute crapola most of the time, and it's usually not the soloist's fault.

  22. #21

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    IMO, play like a big band guitarist.
    The simpliest is better.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommygun1964
    Oh well thanks very much! Very civil of you, I have just been playing it, some of those shapes are new to me, that G7/B for example. Do you think it sounds right if you play a B diminished chord there in root position? It flows a bit easier to play and to me it sounds right. Is that "Ranger Doug"? I have heard about his book too. It's a nice version!
    Yes, it's Ranger Doug, a master of this kind of guitar playing. The book won't be in print long, imo (too few sales), so grab one! It's twenty-some arrangements, complete just like this one. No CD, so some idiots won't buy it.

    If you mean play a full B diminished 7th (7x676x), then that sounds "right"; this chord (7x676x) is also a rootless G7b9 (B Ab D F) so you've sort of fancied up the G/B chord, in one sense.

    It took a little while (not long) for my ears to get used to the G/B - Bb dim - Am7, but now it sounds absolutely right. As you can see, that inversion of G recurs many times in this song, and the same technique is integral to swing rhythm guitar in general. I finger that chord this way: 3~1.4 - third finger, first, pinky. Some use: 2~1.3. The chord is very fast to grab once you get used to it, and you gotta know it, so go for it!

    Using the B dim 7 sounds good at that point in the tune, but if you plan to play the Bb dim that comes next, hmm - doesn't sound too good to me -- what do you think? Keep in mind you're getting into the land of 4-note chords, creating a greater chance of clashing with something a soloist might play. Keep your ears open, as they say.

    I like to sing or hum the melody as I play this arrangement - that really brings it to life and you get to see how the bass line sounds against the tune.

    Have fun! (get the book if you're into this stuff)

    kj

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by nado64
    IMO, play like a big band guitarist.
    The simpliest is better.
    +1 - amen

  25. #24

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    RIP Mickey Baker. I just read he died in Paris today, age 87.

  26. #25

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    Confirmed, sadly...

    Décès du guitariste de jazz Mickey Baker - L'EXPRESS

    ...and Wikipedia has already been updated..!

    Respect, MB, and thanks for the lessons.

    (This needs a separate thread, I think...)
    Last edited by Dad3353; 11-27-2012 at 07:06 PM.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    RIP Mickey Baker. I just read he died in Paris today, age 87.
    he isn't died in Paris but near Toulouse where he lives.

  28. #27

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    At least he lived the life. Appart from what I wrote in another thread, once, some 30 years ago, I got Kicking Mule 3LP box set, 1. Stephen Grossman Delta Blues; 2. Flatpicking guitar festival. 3. Mickey Baker Jazz Funk guitar (or similar), all 3 with tabs. One of blues songs I learned completely, flatpicking had it's uses, I learned from it, although never a complete song. Mickey Baker, I could not listen to that music at the time.

    It was this album by Mickey:

    The blues I learned and long forgot was this one:
    Last edited by Vladan; 11-28-2012 at 12:57 PM.

  29. #28

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    I'm just making it to lesson 17. I've tried going through the real book to find standards to apply what I've "learned" to some tunes and im finding myself overwhelmed. It says to find 4 or 5 songs to begin with.
    Im either being too critical or just not getting how to apply.

    Any suggestions as to what to begin with. Better yet, are there any sites or resources that show before and after examples?

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by d115
    I'm just making it to lesson 17. I've tried going through the real book to find standards to apply what I've "learned" to some tunes and im finding myself overwhelmed. It says to find 4 or 5 songs to begin with.
    Im either being too critical or just not getting how to apply.

    Any suggestions as to what to begin with. Better yet, are there any sites or resources that show before and after examples?
    The real book is already "done". The changes are already elaborated somewhat . Google "vanilla changes". They have more sparse chord changes like you would have had before the real book was a thing. That's the kind of changes the book assumes, being an older one.

    You can't really "fill out" changes which are already filled out.

  31. #30

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    Thank you. That helped a lot.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by d115
    I'm just making it to lesson 17. I've tried going through the real book to find standards to apply what I've "learned" to some tunes and im finding myself overwhelmed. It says to find 4 or 5 songs to begin with.
    Im either being too critical or just not getting how to apply.

    Any suggestions as to what to begin with. Better yet, are there any sites or resources that show before and after examples?
    I've done a few and you can see the charts on this thread: Mickey Baker Course 1 - mp3s and videos

    On these videos I increase the number of substitutions/embelishments as the videos continued. Also see my extra chords that Mickey didn't include but are necessary to play many charts, mainly m7b5 chords.

    Autumn Leaves:


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