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  1. #1

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    Hello,

    I am a new member to this group, and I have a lot of questions.

    I am trying to study Jazz guitar, specifically the stuff from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. I am a big fan of old Blues and old Country music. I love the music of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Ernest Tubb, Charley Pride and George Jones, and I can't get enough of the sound of a lap steel guitar.

    I am trying to find a way to combine Blues, Country, and Jazz together, and I am a solo artist so I feel its really tough, but I wanted to ask, has anyone on here ever tried to take an old Hank Williams song and try to make it sound like a jazz or swing song?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    You might try extending some of the chords - 6ths to 13ths, 7ths to 9ths, etc. "Crazy" has some nice chords as is. Just keep it swingin'.

  4. #3

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    You might find some inspiration here.

  5. #4

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    I play lap steel, and generally western swing is considered jazz. Even jazz guitar ace Bruce Forman has a western swing band called Cowbop. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys are the roots of much of it, and they played in the same dancehalls in the same era as Basie, Ellington, Miller, etc.

    Then there were guys Like Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West who many considered as pioneers of combining instrumental blues/country/jazz in the early electric era.

    This facebook group might be of interest. Lap Steel Jazz Public Group | Facebook.

    Asleep At The Wheel keeping up the swing tradition.


  6. #5

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    You can jazz up anything, seriously, but whether it sounds any good afterwards is another matter. Depends how you do it and how much you want to dilute the original sound.

    But, as a basis, as someone said, extend the chords to M7s, 6s, 9s, etc, extend doms to 13ths and 9ths, divide them into their ii-Vs, alter them, use substitutes, add diminished passing chords, and so on.

    Quite a few country songs already have some of those effects in them anyway. Crazy has CM7/C#o - Dm7/G7#5 as a t/around. That's plenty jazzy.

  7. #6

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    No chord charts, just the videos, but here's some Hank Williams played as jazz. You should be able to get a rough idea of how to do it.
    Roy Clark & Joe Pass Play Hank Williams - YouTube

  8. #7

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    Joel Harrison has three albums of just this with his 'Free Country' project - arranging country and Appalachian music for jazz.

    Albums – Joel Harrison


  9. #8

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    Willie's stuff is often great for this.

    I love old country music.

  10. #9

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    here is the great Bill Frisell playing Happy Trails:



    And the not so great me playing Tennessee Waltz:


  11. #10

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  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    Really dig some country flavoured Swing.
    I think you might really enjoy Pokey Lafarge:


    His music is always somewhere between Country, Swing and Blues, and he also has a Solo-Program.

    Absolutely worth checking out!

    Paul

  14. #13

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    Or alternatively, if you want to go crazy :-)


  15. #14

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    The only Old song I have done this too. Is a Tennesee Ernie Ford song Sixteen Ton's, Its not really a Country western song and more of a Blues song, even though you can play it like a country or blues, and add some jazz phraising to it.

  16. #15

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    It;s quite fun, this. Sorry!

    I can hear a 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' coming on too, as the OP likes Hank.


  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    It;s quite fun, this. Sorry!

    I can hear a 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' coming on too, as the OP likes Hank.

    That was really pretty!

  18. #17

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  19. #18

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    This is a must have for this genre .....

    https://georgebarnes.bandcamp.com/album/country-jazz

  20. #19

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    This is a must have for this genre .....

    Country Jazz | George Barnes


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hankfan1953
    Hello,

    I am a new member to this group, and I have a lot of questions.

    I am trying to study Jazz guitar, specifically the stuff from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. I am a big fan of old Blues and old Country music. I love the music of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Ernest Tubb, Charley Pride and George Jones, and I can't get enough of the sound of a lap steel guitar.

    I am trying to find a way to combine Blues, Country, and Jazz together, and I am a solo artist so I feel its really tough, but I wanted to ask, has anyone on here ever tried to take an old Hank Williams song and try to make it sound like a jazz or swing song?

    John Scofield made an album a couple of years ago called "Country for Old Men" that does this (though it his sound/concept might not be what you're thinking of).



    John

  22. #21

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    Scofield it's not...


  23. #22

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    hard to beat frisells- disfarmer...not exactly all old country covers, but definitely sounds inspired by..and with the mighty greg liesz on steel



    cheers

  24. #23

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    Sonny Rollins' Tennesse Waltz:


  25. #24

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    i've often messed around with the notion....tho not so much country SONGS as the roots--the ancient country TUNES....

    more-specifically the old, old mostly-appalachian fiddle tunes....catchy memorable melodies....many are inherently modal, thus lending themselves to all forms of re-harmonization, extended harmonic notions etc....some are also kinda polyrhythmic, especially the ones called 'crooked tunes'....

    one easy and fave example, among the earliest solo fiddle tunes recorded: 1922

    one player, one fiddle.....just what the heck IS this? ya know?


  26. #25

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    or this....again: just what the heck IS this?

    i've fooled with it often as a 'jazz' tune....trio or quartet, piano and/or guitar with drums & bass....it's like there's nothing in it and, at the same time, EVERYTHING is in it...

    Last edited by janepaints; 03-17-2020 at 09:41 PM. Reason: typo

  27. #26

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    The Eck Robertson recording is Texas fiddle music, called a breakdown. Bob Wills came from that tradition, but he expanded it to jazz. Much of Wills' repertoire is old fiddle music, but played as jazz. Members of his band jammed with some of the best jazz players of the era multiple times. If you want to hear old country tunes jazzed up, listen to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. The multi-CD series called the Tiffany Transcriptions is some of his best, IMO, everything from old fiddle breakdowns to then-current tunes from the big swing bands.

  28. #27

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    ^ absolutely...wills tiffany transcriptions are amongst the best western swing recordings ever...a treasure trove!! "ah-ha"

    cheers

  29. #28

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    Whit Smith - Hot Club of Cowtown


    Bruce Forman - Cowbop


    More Sonny.....

  30. #29

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    The OP seems to have vanished from his own thread. He did actually ask whether anyone here did jazzy country songs, specifically Hank Williams, but it seems to have become a post-your-favorite-YouTube thing instead.

    Maybe that's why he's gone, although I think I doubt it :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hankfan1953
    I wanted to ask, has anyone on here ever tried to take an old Hank Williams song and try to make it sound like a jazz or swing song?

  31. #30

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    It is interesting, though, the attraction a lot of jazzers have for country-type music. Even Joe Pass succumbed :-)

  32. #31

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    Anyway, in case he does ever return, here's Your Cheating Heart with the ordinary chords:

    C - C7 - F - %
    G7 - % - C - %
    C - C7 - F - %
    G7 - % - C/F - C

    F - % - C - %
    D7 - % - G7 - //
    C - C7 - F - %
    G7 - % - C/F - C

    Then there's the jazzed up version. If the OP wants to know how to do it this is the standard way. The idea is to provide a more interesting background with some movement and embellished harmonies, which it does. Once you've got that it can basically be applied to anything.

    What it's not, however, although the same elements exist in that too, is modern jazz harmony and extremely sophisticated chord voicings. Modal it is not. It's just basic swing, really. It looks pretty fearsome on paper but it's not that hard once it's understood.

    C - C9 - F/FM7 - F6/F#o
    G7 - Dm7/G7 - C/C#o - Dm7/G7+
    C - C9 - F/FM7 - F6/F#o
    G7 - Dm7/G13b9 - C6/Fm6 - C6/C9

    F6 - F#o - C/CM7 - C6
    D7 - % - G7/Go - G7//
    C - C9 - F/FM7 - F6/F#o
    G7/Dm7 - G13b9 - C6/Fm6 - C6

    Soloing over the ordinary chords is really just the tune; the chords don't seem to want much more than that. When the harmonies change, however, one finds oneself automatically wanting to embellish the soloing, so one has to find out how to do that.

    I've kept the solo fairly quiet and the background louder so the chord sounds are more audible. For what it's worth.


  33. #32

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    I play in a vocal trio (guitar, piano, vocal). We've been doing a jazz/lounge version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" for some time now. It works very well as a jazz or cow bop rendition.

    I channel Hank Garland on this one.

  34. #33

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    Thing about Hank, though, was that he not only wrote great lyrics ('I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' is heart-rending) but seriously memorable tunes as well. Extraordinary talent.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    thing about hank, though, was that he not only wrote great lyrics ('i'm so lonesome i could cry' is heart-rending) but seriously memorable tunes as well. Extraordinary talent.
    amen!

  36. #35

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    To be fair, I'm an Old Cowhand isn't in the same vein as Hank Williams – it's by Johnny Mercer, written for Bing Crosby. The first commercial recording of it was by Bing with Jimmy Dorsey, neither of whom were what you'd call country performers... or western performers, either, even if the Western Writers of America included it in the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    You might try extending some of the chords - 6ths to 13ths, 7ths to 9ths, etc. "Crazy" has some nice chords as is. Just keep it swingin'.
    Here's a chart for "Crazy", Willie Nelson's arrangement. It's not perfect but it's easy and you can easily create some new changes over it! Old Country was some of the first music I heard going out to clubs with my fake id at the time, back in the early 1970's, great memories!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    The Eck Robertson recording is Texas fiddle music, called a breakdown. Bob Wills came from that tradition, but he expanded it to jazz. Much of Wills' repertoire is old fiddle music, but played as jazz. Members of his band jammed with some of the best jazz players of the era multiple times. If you want to hear old country tunes jazzed up, listen to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. The multi-CD series called the Tiffany Transcriptions is some of his best, IMO, everything from old fiddle breakdowns to then-current tunes from the big swing bands.
    yep! i done knowed all that stuff--when not playing kinda-mediocre-but-aspiring-to-improve jazz i been winning prizes at fiddle contests and even playing in combos with grammy-winning OT musicians!.....i LOVE fiddle music and fiddle tunes....and busking with fiddle: best paying gig for the least amount of hassle ever....

    it took me awhile to warm to bob wills--those hee-haw shout-outs drove me nuts...once i got past them, it was deep love

    hey--yer in OK--if ya dont already know him, seek Glenn Godsey--both a truly amazing oldtime fiddler AND a way-gifted multi-instrumentalist, especially in the gypsy-jazz and western swing idioms....he's in Tulsa (methinks)...Glenn and I share a passion for BRUSHED drums, and he's a wiz at them....anyhow, here he is fiddling some:


  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hankfan1953
    Hello,


    I am trying to find a way to combine Blues, Country, and Jazz together, and I am a solo artist so I feel its really tough, but I wanted to ask, has anyone on here ever tried to take an old Hank Williams song and try to make it sound like a jazz or swing song?
    here ya go, an off-the-cuff thing done 5 minutes ago on piano....solo on top anyway yer ears & fingers say to do it....'your cheating heart', key of C

    cheatin' hart - Clyp

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    I play in a vocal trio (guitar, piano, vocal). We've been doing a jazz/lounge version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" for some time now. It works very well as a jazz or cow bop rendition.
    Tony Bennett and Nora Jones each did a jazz cover of the tune, also.

  41. #40

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    More required listening in this genre:

    Jimmy Bryant
    Jim Campilongo - especially his 10 Gallon Cats stuff, the Little Willies albums, and the album Last Night This Morning with Honeyfingers
    Roy Lanham (and the Whippoorwills)

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Whit Smith - Hot Club of Cowtown

    twelve thumbs up for hot club of cowtown

    saw them open for jimmy ray vaughn and bob dylan, up in pittsfield mass, way out in the country

    guess which combo with the smallest amps and no drummer stole the show?

  43. #42

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    You can jazz up anything out of oblivion if you want to :-)


  44. #43

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    I think these guys are really good. Is that the local sheriff up there? And the dog, the dog...


  45. #44

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    Jane, another group you might like is The Western Flyers. Easy to find them on YouTube. Fiddle, archtop guitar, and bass, playing western swing. Joey McKenzie, the guitarist, used to be with the Quebe Sisters, which you also might like. Katie Glassman is a top-notch old-time fiddler.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hankfan1953
    I am trying to find a way to combine Blues, Country, and Jazz together, and I am a solo artist so I feel its really tough
    Have you checked out Chet Atkin' solo work? Great for technique. Swinging his arrangements is fair game to make them your own. Chet's album Almost Alone might be of interest for a solo artist. Sheet music book is also available.

    Also check out Willie Nelson as Willie's a big Django Reinhardt fan (check out his vocal and guitar phrasing).

    Tommy Emmanuel is another picker who's been known to mix jazz and country. Another great solo player.

    And finally, or should be firstly, Herb Ellis' Texas Swings is an outstanding listen.


    Here's a couple of Chet's instruction videos - the course is Guitar Of Chet Atkins











    Herb Ellis with Willie Nelson
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 03-19-2020 at 08:06 PM.

  47. #46

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    We've probably done this now but I wanted a last blast. This is Cold, Cold Heart. I got tired of trying to fit jazzy chords - the same old sounds - onto it so I've just syncopated the melody instead. Probably more interesting in the end.

    It's actually quite a tricky tune if you do it the way Hank Williams sung it. He puts an extra bar in over the F and skips one at the end for a quick turnaround. You have to think where you are. I've also noticed that professional covers aren't doing that, which is interesting... but not as interesting as the original :-)


  48. #47

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    I'm a pretty good bluegrass flatpicker, if I do say so myself. I've been pretty intensely studying bluegrass flatpicking the last 10+ years or so. I was in a swing jazz/jump blues band before that. I brought a lot of phrasing from those genres to bluegrass flatpicking and vice versa, especially jazz chromatics. Gives me a somewhat unique bluegrass flatpicking style. As a matter of fact, I will often play a bluegrass flatpick break at home, lay my dreadnaught down, pick up my archtop and play the same exact break using jazz chords and it not only fits the song, but sounds totally like jazz.

    As you may know, bluegrass guitar players use capos a lot, probably about 70% of the time if not more. While playing a jazz or even blues solo I will sometimes employ a capo to allow me easier access to certain notes and especially chromatic lines. It allows me to play some jazz and blues phrasing using the open G chord shape and other open chords, up and down the neck. Bluegrass flatpickers use a lot of open strings for their lead breaks. Using a capo really enhances that. And it can also help playing over some chord changes. It's just something I discovered while studying bluegrass flatpicking. I know it's not original. I'm sure there are a significant number of players who do the same thing. But it helps to be a bluegrass flatpicker as there is phrasing that makes bluegrass sound more like, well...bluegrass. Just like there is phrasing that makes jazz sound more jazzy. Anyway, give it a try. It's fun.

  49. #48

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    I can safely say I've never used a capo on a jazz tune... :-)

    No law against it, though

  50. #49

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  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Willie's stuff is often great for this..
    Agreed. "Night Life" is another good example.