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  1. #1

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    Hey fellow members. Haven't been on here in ages. Kind of forgot this place existed for a bit

    Hope you've all been doing well and staying healthy.



    I just published a new blog post you might dig.

    It's on a strategy I've been using lately to create more harmonic freedom within the bird blues when comping. It helps in getting off the real book changes and getting stuck playing the exact same changes chord for chord chorus after chorus after chorus... boring ourselves and the soloists out of our minds lol


    Bird Blues | Harmonic Freedom In Jazz Guitar Comping
    Bird Blues - Creating Harmonic Freedom-bird-blues-comping-jpg

    Hope you dig it... hit me with questions or thoughts.
    j

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Nice! BTW according to Barry Harris, Bird always played the blues this way, except maybe not playing Dm. So:

    | F6 | Gm7 C7 | F6 | Cm7 F7 |
    | Bb7 | (Bbm7) | Am7 | Abm7 |
    | Gm7 | C7 | F6 | Gm7 C7 |

    Makes it a bit easier to see the roots of the Blues For Alice progression...

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Nice! BTW according to Barry Harris, Bird always played the blues this way, except maybe not playing Dm. So:

    | F6 | Gm7 C7 | F6 | Cm7 F7 |
    | Bb7 | (Bbm7) | Am7 | Abm7 |
    | Gm7 | C7 | F6 | Gm7 C7 |

    Makes it a bit easier to see the roots of the Blues For Alice progression...
    Yes, sir!

    In the full course I have for my students on bird blues, rhythm changes, and cherokee, I talk about the evolution from the traditional blues, through the jazz blues, and into the bird blues. One of the options I talk about is the use of the diatonic ii V in measure 2.

    I also talk about the IV -> iv movement in measures 5-6 which, while much less common these days when playing the jazz blues, it definitely a legit option. We hear this in guys like Bird and Lester Young's playing, and we see this as an option in rhythm changes measures 5-6 as well in place of the IV -> #IVº which has a similar harmonic plot to what's happening in those measures during the blues.

    Another thing I mention throughout the course is the substitutability of the I and the iii of any key. And because they are so closely related, and because of voice leading, usually when we play IV -> iv it's followed by the iii chord, not the I. Or at least an inversion of the I with the 3rd in the lowest voice... because this gives us really smooth voice leading.

    Effectively at this point the middle four measures of the bird blues is

    Bb7 -> Bb-7 -> A-7 (sonically subbing for a return to the I chord) -> Ab-7 (chromatic passing chord to the... ) -> G-7


    If you think about the old school blues it's effectively

    || I | % | % | % |
    || IV | % | I | % |

    It starts on the I chord in measure one, moves to the IV chord in measure five, returns to the I chord in measure seven. It's essentially the exact same mile markers in bird's changes. But the I chord in measure seven is "inverted" or "replaced" with the iii, and then we have more movement carrying us through it.

  5. #4

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    I don't think Bird like dim chords very much. Playing them on dominants, sure, but as bIIIo7's and #IVo7, not so much.

    Probably why we see less of that stuff in later tunes unless they are pastiching older styles, like Doxy, for example.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't think Bird like dim chords very much.
    he was always such a hater

  7. #6

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    great to see you back here jk...hope you are doing well

    cheers

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't think Bird like dim chords very much. Playing them on dominants, sure, but as bIIIo7's and #IVo7, not so much.

    Probably why we see less of that stuff in later tunes unless they are pastiching older styles, like Doxy, for example.
    well, the cliche that the boppers made everthing II-V is more or less true. see quasimodo vs embracable you. yet bird did like to play over embracable you and those bIIIdims too. isnt it his most recorded tune?

    wes is a funny example, his chord solos depend on the use of the dim chord, but for lines he often replaces the dim with a straight minor (body and soul)

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    well, the cliche that the boppers made everthing II-V is more or less true. see quasimodo vs embracable you. yet bird did like to play over embracable you and those bIIIdims too. isnt it his most recorded tune?

    wes is a funny example, his chord solos depend on the use of the dim chord, but for lines he often replaces the dim with a straight minor (body and soul)
    Actually that's exactly what I was thinking, those two examples.

    And yet Barry Harris is really down on the fact no one plays biiio7 anymore. To me that's almost pre-bop. I do that when I want to get the Basie sound....

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Nice! BTW according to Barry Harris, Bird always played the blues this way, except maybe not playing Dm. So:

    | F6 | Gm7 C7 | F6 | Cm7 F7 |
    | Bb7 | (Bbm7) | Am7 | Abm7 |
    | Gm7 | C7 | F6 | Gm7 C7 |

    Makes it a bit easier to see the roots of the Blues For Alice progression...
    i hear more Bb7s than C7s in bird's solos for bar 2. more often than not does he quite simple triad stuff, similar to the beginning of rhythm-a-ning. there are also a lot of F6 to D7b9 or just F6 to Dm7 in bars 7 and 8.

    and the major 7th is such an important note in bird's blues arsenal that i'd even call the first chord a Fmaj7 chord.

    1:51 has a V chord in bar II, but otherwise it's mostly IV chords.


  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Actually that's exactly what I was thinking, those two examples.

    And yet Barry Harris is really down on the fact no one plays biiio7 anymore. To me that's almost pre-bop. I do that when I want to get the Basie sound....
    yeah, but when barry says this about the biiidim chord, he means one very specific movement for the biiidim, namely connecting the ii chord and the iii chord upwards. his complaint is that everybody plays ii V iii VI and nobody plays ii biiidim iii VI anymore. which was sonny stitt's all-time favourite move. it
    is most effective when the rhythm section stays on the V chord and only the solist plays the biiio.
    take that, CST.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    i hear more Bb7s than C7s in bird's solos for bar 2. more often than not does he quite simple triad stuff, similar to the beginning of rhythm-a-ning. there are also a lot of F6 to D7b9 or just F6 to Dm7 in bars 7 and 8.

    and the major 7th is such an important note in bird's blues arsenal that i'd even call the first chord a Fmaj7 chord.

    1:51 has a V chord in bar II, but otherwise it's mostly IV chords.

    Yeah I hear you... The F6 leaves it open, as many of the bop era compers did. Parker often expresses major seventh here, it is true...He also expresses F6 quite often.. Rarely F7 in the stuff I've looked at until bar 4.

    This is taken from Barry's class rather than my own observations, so - take it in that spirit... People say things all the time about Bird's music that turn out to not be true. We've run both changes, so I think it's one of those 'secret sauce' variants. I think Barry likes to be emphatic about things.

    I would always think of the VI7b9 sound as being bebop in a tin, practically. Seems most times that sound on VI. In the swing era it was often VI9.

    It does sound very Bird though, to play those changes. It's also a useful link between the standard Jazz Blues and Blues for Alice.

    Also - major seventh on the IV chord. Think of 'Cool Blues' - Berliner's book suggests this was quite a conscious thing influenced by Pres.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    yeah, but when barry says this about the biiidim chord, he means one very specific movement for the biiidim, namely connecting the ii chord and the iii chord upwards. his complaint is that everybody plays ii V iii VI and nobody plays ii biiidim iii VI anymore. which was sonny stitt's all-time favourite move. it
    is most effective when the rhythm section stays on the V chord and only the solist plays the biiio.
    take that, CST.
    Ah, nice I didn't realise that's exactly what he meant. Yes that is more boppy actually... more V7b9-I, if that makes sense.

    There's a change like that in the Django version of Body and Soul. Sounds hip.

  14. #13

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    I do get the feeling Barry generally likes diminished chords though - especially with added notes.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by djg

    and the major 7th is such an important note in bird's blues arsenal that i'd even call the first chord a Fmaj7 chord.
    I'm one of these weird ocd people who likes to be hyper precise in the way I practice and teach... not sure whether my students love it or hate it

    I base pretty much everything around the physicality of a piano player with their left hand controlling the harmony and their right hand controlling the melody (to over generalize things). When playing an FMaj7 in the left hand, I find the F note in the right hand to be incredibly unstable and aggressive because of the interval of the minor 9th it creates against the harmony from the left hand.

    (E) (F)
    x7xx6x

    To me that's not a lovely, stable, harmonized sound. Definitely usable in the right context. But when I see a tune like Blues for Alice which starts on that F note in the melody, I'd be very careful not to create THAT ^^^ sound as the opening harmony by playing a chord with the major 7 in it an octave and a minor 2nd below the melody. And since I don't know what octave a horn player is going to play the melody in, I'm generally just going to exchange out the Maj7 chord for what I would call "pure" major (F6, F, Fadd2, Fsus2, etc... any F major sound without the E note present).

    That doesn't mean we can't use the E note harmonically. But that I'd be very careful with it and generally focus on getting more comfortable with the "pure" major approaches since I spent the firs 15 years of my jazz studies being brainwashed into thinking major and maj7 were 100% interchangeable and the maj7 was the more hip version.

    That said... melodically, this problem doesn't exist. There is no minor 9th interval created when playing an E note (major 7) over an F6.

    (F) (E)
    x8xx5x

    This interval isn't offensive at all and works perfectly fine. We have the ability over a 6 chord to play the E note and use it, in a more classical sense, as the leading tone wanting to pull up to the F... or as a more stable, harmonized sound where the F note will start to sound like a tension note wanting to pull down to the E... giving it that heavier, more "pull on your heart strings" type of a maj7 chord sound.

    In general, I find Bird tends to take advantage of the more "pure" major type of I chord I'm talking about during the blues. Where his melodies are clearly tonicizing the chord's root note, and where he does often use the major 7th in the melody, but generally in the classical sense where it's treated as a melodic tension note like a leading tone wanting to pull up to 'do'.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I do get the feeling Barry generally likes diminished chords though - especially with added notes.
    It would seem

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    To me that's not a lovely, stable, harmonized sound. Definitely usable in the right context.
    i like barry's view of the maj7 chord as a major triad with a borrowed diminished note. i definitely hear it that way. like bar 3 of hello dolly, the maj7 chord sounds less stable than the 6 chord in the first 2 bars. i thas an almost diminished quality.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    I'm one of these weird ocd people who likes to be hyper precise in the way I practice and teach... not sure whether my students love it or hate it

    I base pretty much everything around the physicality of a piano player with their left hand controlling the harmony and their right hand controlling the melody (to over generalize things). When playing an FMaj7 in the left hand, I find the F note in the right hand to be incredibly unstable and aggressive because of the interval of the minor 9th it creates against the harmony from the left hand.

    (E) (F)
    x7xx6x

    To me that's not a lovely, stable, harmonized sound. Definitely usable in the right context. But when I see a tune like Blues for Alice which starts on that F note in the melody, I'd be very careful not to create THAT ^^^ sound as the opening harmony by playing a chord with the major 7 in it an octave and a minor 2nd below the melody. And since I don't know what octave a horn player is going to play the melody in, I'm generally just going to exchange out the Maj7 chord for what I would call "pure" major (F6, F, Fadd2, Fsus2, etc... any F major sound without the E note present).

    That doesn't mean we can't use the E note harmonically. But that I'd be very careful with it and generally focus on getting more comfortable with the "pure" major approaches since I spent the firs 15 years of my jazz studies being brainwashed into thinking major and maj7 were 100% interchangeable and the maj7 was the more hip version.

    That said... melodically, this problem doesn't exist. There is no minor 9th interval created when playing an E note (major 7) over an F6.

    (F) (E)
    x8xx5x

    This interval isn't offensive at all and works perfectly fine. We have the ability over a 6 chord to play the E note and use it, in a more classical sense, as the leading tone wanting to pull up to the F... or as a more stable, harmonized sound where the F note will start to sound like a tension note wanting to pull down to the E... giving it that heavier, more "pull on your heart strings" type of a maj7 chord sound.

    In general, I find Bird tends to take advantage of the more "pure" major type of I chord I'm talking about during the blues. Where his melodies are clearly tonicizing the chord's root note, and where he does often use the major 7th in the melody, but generally in the classical sense where it's treated as a melodic tension note like a leading tone wanting to pull up to 'do'.
    Once I started hearing this I can’t unhear it. Thanks for ruining major seventh chords for me lol.

    In acoustic terms it’s like harmonic scaffolding. Fifths are reasonably well intonated in twelve tone equal temperament while the thirds are quite out, so if you add fifths on top of a major third, it blends pretty well with few beats. Putting a C on top sort of disturbs that I think.

    BTW the temperaments of Mozart and Bach’s era did not have this quality. The thirds were better intonated at the expense of the fifths (at least in near keys) so extended tonic chords don’t sound as consonant as they do in ET. The seventh then wants to resolve.

    (Is it any coincidence that more extended chords as well as quartal and quintal harmony began to gain popularity about the same time as mathematical ET was widely adopted?)

    Anyway you can go further with this and blend the C# into the Cmaj7#11 chord and that will still sound more resolved than a C.

    (C E, G B, D F#, A C#)
    (See the Tristano two octave scales.)

    Historically for whatever the reason, in jazz the seventh never had that obligatory leading note quality in jazz. This was just as true of Louis as it is of Parker. The accompanying chords started off simpler but the sound was always expressed in the solo lines.

    (See also why its hip not to always play the leading tone/third in dominant lines.)

  19. #18

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    Here’s a question though - do you hear the melody notes in the bridge of Stella as extensions of the basic chord colours or appogiatura dissonances which resolve late in the bar?

    And (as probably most jazzers would say) if the former, what’s up with those 4ths against the majors earlier in the tune? Why are they different?

    Barry, it strikes me tends to hear music ‘within the seventh’ - the borrowed dim thing is kind of similar to the appoggiatura thing you get in classical harmony but extended to the 8 note scales and using sixth chords as basic tonic sounds. (Not 100% though...)

    The Tristano school heard notes related acoustically into several octaves. I think they had more influence on modern jazz theory and hearing. Along with George Russell of course.

    It’s a profoundly different way of hearing the same thing.

    And how did Parker hear it? Probably never know: ‘the words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living’; even his younger contemporaries.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    i like barry's view of the maj7 chord as a major triad with a borrowed diminished note. i definitely hear it that way. like bar 3 of hello dolly, the maj7 chord sounds less stable than the 6 chord in the first 2 bars. i thas an almost diminished quality.
    It's a great way to view Maj7 when looking at it from the standpoint that major is major is major. But it still feels (and I mean zero offense to Barry when I say this as I'm a HUGE fan of his playing and his teaching) somewhat lacking to me in how holistically it views the potential within major.

    It's attempting to sonically make sense of and organize a very potent tonal color as simply an extension of a different tonal color. It's only allowing Maj7 to exist as a borrowed sound that's unstable in its own right and ultimately craves a resolution back into a "pure" major tonality.

    This can definitely be the case and should be explored, no doubt. But it can also be separated out and organized from the perspective of having its own life.

    When organized, practiced, and implemented from the standpoint of letting Maj7 stand on its own two feet with the integrity of being a complete sound in its own right, the ear will notice that the harmonic root note is melodically unstable and wants to move. We can also hear that the harmonic 6th is melodically unstable as well and will tend to want to pull up to the major 7th or down to the 5th.



    This isn't the way I would teach a student to develop this sound in their ear if I were working with them in person or over video... but for the sake of pointing things out with written word instead of with sound first...



    Try droning a CMaj7 shell voicing and then play over it with an E minor blues scale.

    It sound sound pretty natural to resolve phrases to the E note. Very in. If you play around with the E minor triad notes they should all feel very stable within the tonal color palette we're working with.

    The #4/b5 "blue" note will clearly be heard from the stand point of the E minor blues sound. Our ear will interpret this as the sound of the blues... even though we're actually playing the flat 7th of the CMaj7. Melodically does not always function harmonically... as is often taught in jazz education.

    We can also hear that the 4 of the E minor scale will want to move down to the minor 3rd or up to the 5th... as it does in any scale. The 4 of the scale is the chord tone of the 6th when viewed harmonically. That means the 6th is now being heard as a melodic tension note that wants to resolve up to the major 7th or down to the 5th.

    This is what I mean about the difference between pure major vs a maj7 chord. We can use the major 7th chord tone in either. But in pure major (which include 6 chord and what Barry's talking about) the 7th is a tension note that wants to resolve down to the 6th or up to the root. Whereas in this isolated Maj7 tonal palette I'm pointing out, the major 7th chord tone has now taken on a more authoritative role in the harmony. It's melodically very stable. Like a column helping hold up the sound. Things want to pull toward it.

    A good way to REALLY hit this point home to the ear and get away from trying to understand this only intellectually as theory as opposed to experiencing it in sound is to add the C note into the E minor scale. In theory, we would expect this to be the most stable note... the 'do' of this scale. But if you're hearing the E note as your melodic 'do', you should be able to create phrases where the C note is unstable and wants to resolve back down to the B note over a CMaj7. It will sound melodically like 'le'... the b6.

    It's not that I disagree with Barry or think the idea he's stating is wrong. I just think it's incomplete and we're shutting down the music student from taking the time to develop their ears and hear these things in a way that expands the color palette options and their melodic and harmonic vocabulary. It's like telling a culinary arts student that once they learn to make spaghetti with marinara that every other pasta dish is just an extension of that. Maybe. But isn't it worth exploring other flavor ideas, concepts, combinations, and categories? Isn't a cream based sauce a completely different experience? Would a masterful Italian chef argue that aglio e olio (spaghetti with a sauce made from garlic and oil) is spaghetti with marinara but where the tomatoes have been temporarily withheld forcing the dining guest to crave getting them next time? Or would they see that as it's own separate dish with it's own flavors, ingredients, aromas, and dining experience?


  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Once I started hearing this I can’t unhear it. Thanks for ruining major seventh chords for me lol.
    My OCD... ruining the world, one musician's ear at a time hahaha
    my bad

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    My OCD... ruining the world, one musician's ear at a time hahaha
    my bad
    Haha; well, being a musician, like being a chef, is about developing a more discerning palette. It's all good.

    Playing voicings derived from seventh chords and matching them to the relevant chord/scales and arpeggios gets you a little way perhaps when you are starting out, (although I do obviously question if we teach jazz in the best way to beginners), but as you develop an important part is to become more discerning and specific. And there's no right or wrong way to do this, which is why it's like.... an art form?

    I think the value in 'theory' is simply - pointing out ways you can hear things.

    I really love Classical harmony, and bop harmony isn't too far removed from that really. Dynamic, functional harmony will always have a special place in my heart.

    But the more colouristic and non conventionally functional harmony... I think being able to hear the way the triads move in the upper harmonic space related to the melody has really opened up the way I hear and play stuff by Wayne Shorter and so on, so thanks for that. I think chord/scale theory I was using before to deal with 'modern stuff' doesn't do that by itself. It's too cumbersome to deal with 7 notes from a root each time. 'Modal' tunes are often not really modal at all in that sense.

    For instance, Wayne is a lot about the blues, of course. You'd miss that playing chord/scales.

    But you can get right in there with melodic triads and really suss out what's going on and the hidden dynamism of the 'non-functional harmony.' Nothing new by itself, but Stephon and yourself present the information with a lot of clarity. And that tension note thing - strikingly counterintuitive at first, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense when thinking about extensions in a more conventional way.

    Now one thing that interests me at the moment is where the two things - old school dynamic harmony and this melodic structure stuff - merge.... and I think they have been merging in jazz since day 1.

  23. #22

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    Re the Barry thing - if you put a C on top of a Cmaj7 chord, you are going to want the B to move to an A.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Re the Barry thing - if you put a C on top of a Cmaj7 chord, you are going to want the B to move to an A.
    Exactly... or the C note in the melody to move down to the B or up to the D... or D#!! muah ah ah ah ah muah ah ah ah

    I dig what you mean about the old school bop kind of stuff vs the more modern approach. I started my study group thing mainly built around the idea of exploring the upper structure regions of chords with triads... which definitely CAN be (and is) used in traditional jazz and bebop but really works wonderfully at helping unlock more modern, "pantonal" music.

    Since launching all those materials I've realized I needed to pull back a little a give a more straight ahead approach to just getting started with triads and have been building out an entire series of courses built around getting started playing legit jazz and bebop - both improv and comping - using our concepts... but it's almost entirely root structure instead of upper structure. It's been really rewarding for me personally and everyone working on the materials says they've been loving it. The upper structure stuff is all still there and I'm planning to do a "complete reference guide" type resource at some point. But I want to wrap up this series of courses on using the basic fundamentals for lifelong music making first... then get a tune studies section happening where I can start growing a library of standards with harmonic and melodic explanations and breakdowns, notated melodic progressions, and etudes for comping, soloing, and harmonic work. Really looking forward to using that tune studies library as an excuse to finally sit down, relearn my repertoire, and organize it all within this triad realm.

    Also planning on re-launching a free "lite" version of the materials in January now that the introductory courses are starting to get wrapped up. But let's keep that between us. I haven't mentioned it to anyone yet. It's a secret.





    Shit

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    (E) (F)
    x7xx6x

    To me that's not a lovely, stable, harmonized sound. Definitely usable in the right context. But when I see a tune like Blues for Alice which starts on that F note in the melody, I'd be very careful not to create THAT ^^^ sound as the opening harmony by playing a chord with the major 7 in it an octave and a minor 2nd below the melody. And since I don't know what octave a horn player is going to play the melody in, I'm generally just going to exchange out the Maj7 chord for what I would call "pure" major (F6, F, Fadd2, Fsus2, etc... any F major sound without the E note present).
    tbh with a rhythmically active tune like blues for alice i could not care less. there are so many variables that determine how severe a clash actually is. there is also the difference between holding notes against each other on the piano and the actual rythmical placement of your chords or fragments in the process of playing.

    i also think that stepping on each others toes in jazz is getting a bad rap. imo it is actually a good thing and i dont like hearing (or worse: playing in) bands where everyone is trying to stay out of each other's way. i enjoy hearing clashes. they show attitude. monk.

    .


  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    Exactly... or the C note in the melody to move down to the B or up to the D... or D#!! muah ah ah ah ah muah ah ah ah

    I dig what you mean about the old school bop kind of stuff vs the more modern approach. I started my study group thing mainly built around the idea of exploring the upper structure regions of chords with triads... which definitely CAN be (and is) used in traditional jazz and bebop but really works wonderfully at helping unlock more modern, "pantonal" music.

    Since launching all those materials I've realized I needed to pull back a little a give a more straight ahead approach to just getting started with triads and have been building out an entire series of courses built around getting started playing legit jazz and bebop - both improv and comping - using our concepts... but it's almost entirely root structure instead of upper structure. It's been really rewarding for me personally and everyone working on the materials says they've been loving it. The upper structure stuff is all still there and I'm planning to do a "complete reference guide" type resource at some point. But I want to wrap up this series of courses on using the basic fundamentals for lifelong music making first... then get a tune studies section happening where I can start growing a library of standards with harmonic and melodic explanations and breakdowns, notated melodic progressions, and etudes for comping, soloing, and harmonic work. Really looking forward to using that tune studies library as an excuse to finally sit down, relearn my repertoire, and organize it all within this triad realm.

    Also planning on re-launching a free "lite" version of the materials in January now that the introductory courses are starting to get wrapped up. But let's keep that between us. I haven't mentioned it to anyone yet. It's a secret.





    Shit
    Well, there’s a lot you can do with 1-3-5. Quite a lot of bop is just that.... listening to those guys playing on minor tunes and just struck by how much the playing is on the base triad, with the 6th used very much as a specific jazz colour tone.

    Adding a tension to the basic chord like a 2nd gets you a long way there as well. So there’s a lot to be said for getting students to study how to use quadrads on the base chord to create melodies. You can do a lot with it - I posted a version of minor swing doing that for example, and it sounds pretty authentic to me.

    Harmonically there’s not that much difference between bop and pre-bop.... (the tendency to use the 7b9 sound is one stylistic quirk of Bird that everyone copied)... but the main difference is the way the melodies are put together and the nature of the swing. Pres is getting there in the late 30s but is still much more on the beat, for example.

    in fact I have a friend who independently worked out the m6-dim from listening to Lester Young. He didn’t know about Barry Harris and called it the Lester Young scale.


    But that’s not to say that both the early and bop era players didn’t use, for example, Am on F because they clearly did.

    It’s more that I hear those other options used as specific colour in the older music, whereas a modern post CST player might see them more as the default; someone like Pete Bernstein will make a beeline for the 6 and the 9 on a minor.

    at least that’s how it seems from what I’ve checked out.

  27. #26

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    BTW Barry talks about triadic arpeggios in lines as much as he does about sevenths or sixths. I think teaching that jazz is based around seventh chords really encourages people to overlook the simple resources.

    Its because people are so conditioned to hear ‘jazz harmony’ and look for secret jazz notes; checking out earlier jazz made me realise how much that music is in the rhythm and phrasing, and then I also realised that was true of the later stuff.

  28. #27

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    Another thing specifically relevant to the blues is it seems to me that if you have to make the call between a maj7 and 7 sound as you would from modern jazz theory, you are much less likely as Bird did to use a maj7 on the I chord of a blues.

    Or OTOH a b7 on a non blues standard like Lady be Good or Rose Room as Lester and Charlie Christian did.

    So the seventh chord thing kind of encourages students to think of ‘blues tunes’ as having separate harmonic practices to ‘standards.’ It kind of squishes the blues influence out of the latter.

    There is no separation between the two that I can hear in Bird’s music.

    Use instead a triad or 6th as your basic I chord and you have more freedom. Same with minor. (I think I heard somewhere Bird preferred plain minor chords in the comping.)

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    tbh with a rhythmically active tune like blues for alice i could not care less. there are so many variables that determine how severe a clash actually is. there is also the difference between holding notes against each other on the piano and the actual rythmical placement of your chords or fragments in the process of playing.

    i also think that stepping on each others toes in jazz is getting a bad rap. imo it is actually a good thing and i dont like hearing (or worse: playing in) bands where everyone is trying to stay out of each other's way. i enjoy hearing clashes. they show attitude. monk.
    I think you're taking my point in a little different way them I'm intending it... or maybe to more of an absurd conclusion them I'm pointing at.

    I'm not against tension and clashes.


    You mentioned the idea of resolving the major 7th of a chord down to the 6th, a la BH and how much you loved it in Hello Dolly. That's tension, or a clash, being moved into consonance.


    What you're saying you love in that example is exactly what I'm talking about too, except that you're talking about it as a one way street (7th --> 6th) and I'm saying for me I hear it as a two way street (7th <--> 6th). Both directions are possible. I just hear them conveying a vastly different color and emotion. So I enjoy letting my mind categorize them out into two separate sounds the way my ear is already hearing them behave, and study their unique properties and characteristics so I can pick and choose which I want and have more control and intention harmonically and melodically.

    Doesn't mean I won't ever step on another's toes... hopefully intentionally... it just gets me into a deeper relationship with sound, how I experience it, and how purposefully I can use it to express.

    If I feel like being a bit of a prick on the bandstand to egg on the soloist and see where it pushes him, I absolutely have the choice as a comping instrument to open up the soloists first chorus on blues for alice with a big fat...

    x7xx6x

    But it would be done on purpose. Before I encountered Barry's ideas and notice how beautifully the major 7th resolved down to the 6th, I didn't have the ability to create that type of sound... because nobody had ever pointed that musical desire out to me and my ear had never noticed it. Now it's so obvious and can be taken advantage of either to avoid 'tension', to convey it, or to convey it and resolve it. All of those options are on the table because my ear grew.

    I'm talking about doing the same thing but for the opposing direction. Learning to hear the maj7 chord as not simply an extension of something else, but as it's own stable sound that other sounds want to move toward. All it does is provide a more colorful and diverse palette to work with.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    I think you're taking my point in a little different way them I'm intending it... or maybe to more of an absurd conclusion them I'm pointing at.

    I'm not against tension and clashes.


    You mentioned the idea of resolving the major 7th of a chord down to the 6th, a la BH and how much you loved it in Hello Dolly. That's tension, or a clash, being moved into consonance.


    What you're saying you love in that example is exactly what I'm talking about too, except that you're talking about it as a one way street (7th --> 6th) and I'm saying for me I hear it as a two way street (7th <--> 6th). Both directions are possible. I just hear them conveying a vastly different color and emotion. So I enjoy letting my mind categorize them out into two separate sounds the way my ear is already hearing them behave, and study their unique properties and characteristics so I can pick and choose which I want and have more control and intention harmonically and melodically.

    Doesn't mean I won't ever step on another's toes... hopefully intentionally... it just gets me into a deeper relationship with sound, how I experience it, and how purposefully I can use it to express.

    If I feel like being a bit of a prick on the bandstand to egg on the soloist and see where it pushes him, I absolutely have the choice as a comping instrument to open up the soloists first chorus on blues for alice with a big fat...

    x7xx6x

    But it would be done on purpose. Before I encountered Barry's ideas and notice how beautifully the major 7th resolved down to the 6th, I didn't have the ability to create that type of sound... because nobody had ever pointed that musical desire out to me and my ear had never noticed it. Now it's so obvious and can be taken advantage of either to avoid 'tension', to convey it, or to convey it and resolve it. All of those options are on the table because my ear grew.

    I'm talking about doing the same thing but for the opposing direction. Learning to hear the maj7 chord as not simply an extension of something else, but as it's own stable sound that other sounds want to move toward. All it does is provide a more colorful and diverse palette to work with.
    i think you misunderstood me or read too much into my post. blues for alice is just not a tune where i'd worry much about staying out of the melody's way.

    and my point about dolly is pretty much the same you're making because it does actually go 6 to maj7 and not the usual "tea for two" maj7 to 6 way. i always associate maj7 to 6 with that tune, since i heard T42 years before i went to my first BH class.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    I'm one of these weird ocd people who likes to be hyper precise in the way I practice and teach... not sure whether my students love it or hate it

    I base pretty much everything around the physicality of a piano player with their left hand controlling the harmony and their right hand controlling the melody (to over generalize things). When playing an FMaj7 in the left hand, I find the F note in the right hand to be incredibly unstable and aggressive because of the interval of the minor 9th it creates against the harmony from the left hand.

    (E) (F)
    x7xx6x
    Yet it sounds so right when Wes Montgomery plays just that at the end of the melody statement in Days of Wine and Roses (1:21). Maybe his thumb strokes help soften the aggressiveness! That voicing - maj7th in 3rd inversion - has become much more common. Jonathan Kreisberg employs it all the time:


  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    yeah, but when barry says this about the biiidim chord, he means one very specific movement for the biiidim, namely connecting the ii chord and the iii chord upwards. his complaint is that everybody plays ii V iii VI and nobody plays ii biiidim iii VI anymore. which was sonny stitt's all-time favourite move. it
    is most effective when the rhythm section stays on the V chord and only the solist plays the biiio.
    take that, CST.
    Funny that the most common place in bop and post-bop improvisation to find an upward ii-biiidim-iii move is in the opening bars of rhythm changes (Bb6-Bdim7-Cm7-C#dim7-Dm7) yet hardly anyone plays biiidim7 on the descent (Dm7-Dbdim7-Cm7-F7) when dealing with rhythm tunes which is what Gershwin actually wrote in I Got Rhythm!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Funny that the most common place in bop and post-bop improvisation to find an upward ii-biiidim-iii move is in the opening bars of rhythm changes (Bb6-Bdim7-Cm7-C#dim7-Dm7) yet hardly anyone plays biiidim7 on the descent (Dm7-Dbdim7-Cm7-F7) when dealing with rhythm tunes which is what Gershwin actually wrote in I Got Rhythm!
    true. like chris i associate the descending line with pre-bop progressions like "jive at five"

  34. #33

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    I think bop improvisers often hate playing over these sorts of progressions as well. They don't really practice them.

    The sorts of things where earlier players would just generalise the changes and play blues or whatever.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Yet it sounds so right when Wes Montgomery plays just that at the end of the melody statement in Days of Wine and Roses (1:21). Maybe his thumb strokes help soften the aggressiveness! That voicing - maj7th in 3rd inversion - has become much more common. Jonathan Kreisberg employs it all the time:

    IIRC JK siad he did that even though he knows it's wrong from an arranging perspective.

    I actually find a lot of contemporary jazz harmony based on inverted major seventh chords quite ugly though. They all take the seventh chord as the basic unit, but the problem is those chords don't all invert very consonantly. Maybe that's what they are going for.

    But I really like the way Jordan's approach to harmony sounds. It sounds both logical and fresh.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    i think you misunderstood me or read too much into my post. blues for alice is just not a tune where i'd worry much about staying out of the melody's way.

    and my point about dolly is pretty much the same you're making because it does actually go 6 to maj7 and not the usual "tea for two" maj7 to 6 way. i always associate maj7 to 6 with that tune, since i heard T42 years before i went to my first BH class.
    Maybe I did misunderstand your point. It doesn't feel like we're saying the same thing, so we might have some internet forum cross speaking happening. It happens.

    I'm also not really talking about staying out of the melody's way... at least not necessarily. That's one potential outcome of what I'm talking about. But in a bigger picture I'm really talking about learning to hear, think of, and play tunes based on the contour and colors of the melody as much as from the stand point of just playing the changes... if not more so. It's an embrace of the melody and the personality it brings to the table and the desire to get to know that personality and bring IT to the table more than just my own personal musical ideas and riffs or chord tone/scale playing.

  37. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Yet it sounds so right when Wes Montgomery plays just that at the end of the melody statement in Days of Wine and Roses (1:21). Maybe his thumb strokes help soften the aggressiveness! That voicing - maj7th in 3rd inversion - has become much more common. Jonathan Kreisberg employs it all the time:
    There's no denying it's become a part of the language. But I'm not saying that it's right vs wrong. It's about tension vs resolution... consonance vs dissonance. The minor 9th is an intensely aggressive interval. That doesn't mean it's bad or wrong. I have almost this exact voicing you're talking about arranged out a bunch of times in one of the tunes on my last record.

    There's another tune on that record where the band quiets down and lets the bass player take the melody on the bridge. In the 1st draft, I had the horn section backing up the bass player with a series of moving, non-functional Maj7 chords... including this inversion. But after our first rehearsal, once I heard it played by real instruments, I realized I didn't like how crunchy the chords were. They were stepping all over the bass player which was offering a very sweet and lyrical melody, and it felt wrong. I rewrote that section with the horn players using Maj(add2) chords because it fit the color and emotion of the moment more precisely.

    There's nothing wrong with using tension or dissonance. I just find it helpful to align the mind, the heart, the ears, and the fingers and get them all on the same page about our language so that our playing can evolve into greater and deeper levels of color and intention.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    IIRC JK siad he did that even though he knows it's wrong from an arranging perspective.

    I actually find a lot of contemporary jazz harmony based on inverted major seventh chords quite ugly though. They all take the seventh chord as the basic unit, but the problem is those chords don't all invert very consonantly. Maybe that's what they are going for.

    But I really like the way Jordan's approach to harmony sounds. It sounds both logical and fresh.
    Is JK me or Kreisberg

    Assuming you mean me...
    Yes, I do use it. Both when playing and when arranging... as I noted above. It's not so much right vs wrong. For me as a student and a teacher, it's just about keeping my ears open and being honest with myself about what I'm hearing to remain as respectful as possible to the sounds and the music, and to learn to intentionally control more options... and then encouraging my students to do the same.

    There's often talk about the "hip" modern stuff being related to these crunchier inversions of Maj7 chords. But there's also been a movement away from this stuff. Mehldau, Grasper, Aaron Parks, Julian Lage... tons of guys have been embracing 7th-less majors... sus2 and Maj(add2) inversions and even just basic old major triads have become as much a part of our language as Maj7 inversions.

    Looking over an Ari Hoenig chart once I spotted a few moments where he'd simply written something like "C" as the chord above the melody (I forget the exact letter name now). I asked him if he was looking for anything in particular. He made it abundantly clear, in no uncertain terms, that he did not want to hear a maj7 or ANY other notes. He wanted a C major chord. Nothing more.

    And thank you, by the way