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  1. #1

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    Here’s my friend, Ulrich Hoffmeier, who has a great book (the best, in fact!) on three-note chord playing, with a section on counter tenor playing. This is the real Freddie Green style:



    It might be interesting to have a discussion on counter tenor playing?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Here’s my friend, Ulrich Hoffmeier, who has a great book (the best, in fact!) on three-note chord playing, with a section on counter tenor playing. This is the real Freddie Green style:?
    But “three note chord” and “real Freddie Green” is an oxymoron in the view of some recent research which emphasizes one and two note voicings as the essence of his style. See Freddie Green Style: Lessons & Technique for a discussion … Ulrich seems to accept this view judging by his comments at the beginning of the video.

  4. #3

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    Erm…that was my point, the subject of this thread: the single-note tenor line, as played in the video.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Erm…that was my point, the subject of this thread: the single-note tenor line, as played in the video.
    Sorry Rob, not how I read your post. There are lots of books and websites that talk about three note chords as the FG style. Good to know that you and I and Ulrich think otherwise!

  6. #5

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    Sounds fantastic. This is what I want to do with my left hand on Hammond. I stomp foot bass and have the melody with my right hand, so this is very much what is appropriate with my left hand. Basically a sparse 'tenor' part. I'm to the point of jumping around between voicings and adding some fills, but I would like to get it more deliberate sounding like he is demonstrating.
    Last edited by Clint 55; 11-26-2021 at 04:09 PM.

  7. #6

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    Well, Clint, you should get some inspiration from this video:




    As James points out in this video, Freddie did play three-note chords when the instrumentation was light, but developed the “one-note chord” in the tenor range when the band increased in size and volume. So people are not wrong when they talk about three-note chords and Freddie Green, but the tenor style espoused in these two videos is almost completely overlooked by most players.

    One reason for that is most people play electric archtop guitars, but a purely acoustic archtop is a different beast all together. My Eastman AR910 is 100% acoustic, and the sixth string is quite light, whereas the 3rd and 4th strings are loud - in other words it is perfectly set up for this style of playing. You don’t want a booming bass - the bass player would not be happy with that for a start.

    I think I’ll explore this tenor-register more than I have done, just out of interest as I’m not likely to join a big band anytime soon, but it would be fun to play along with those old records, as Uli does in the first video above.

  8. #7

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    I'd LOVE to talk tenor lines on rhythm guitar.

    I often play along with big band records where I can't hear the guitar.

  9. #8

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    Great, Jeff. Your input will be invaluable.

    I guess improvised jamming is a good place to start, just playing by ear and some knowledge of chords and intervals. I get the feeling for the most part you don’t have to work things out too much in advance, but there will be moments here and there where you have to really pay attention.

    Is that your experience, Jeff? Or anyone else who has already tried it?

  10. #9

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    So im definitely not an expert, its just something I like to do for fun.

    Obviously, its important to really know the tune...I like to try and not make too many big leaps in my line...so trying not to jump around too much...so for example, if I start by descending on the first melody phrase, ill try to keep my line generally descending (or descending "overall")for the whole phrase before switching directions or making a "leap."

  11. #10

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    The other thing I like to do is write a simple 3 note chord line, then only play the 4th string, but add "walk ups" and "walk downs" between chords that suggest passing chord movement...

  12. #11

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    Interesting. I look forward to hearing that.

  13. #12

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    I'll try to do something over the weekend, video wise...

  14. #13

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    Here's a little something, just a "think aloud"


  15. #14

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    The only thing I got from that was how to spell bananas

    Kidding. I just had a quick listen after watching All The President’s Men - what a great film! - so my head was full of that. I’ll listen again tomorrow when I have more time.

    But I did get the point about trying to create interest in what might otherwise be a boring line. Viola lines in orchestral works are often extremely boring, but work in the context of the ensemble.

    Leaps are alright, I think, if you drop back after the leap, and occasional chromatic lines always sound great.

    I’ll try something this weekend too, if possible. I can see getting the balance with a recording right is going to be tricky.

    Good start, though.

  16. #15

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    Just thought I'd give it a quick try before going to bed. I'm jamming with Count Basie - One o'clock Blues.

    This is quite dire - too many notes, but it has whet my appetite to try more. The orchestra needs to be louder...drown me out a bit ;-) It was fun, though. Any other takers?


  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Just thought I'd give it a quick try before going to bed. I'm jamming with Count Basie - One o'clock Blues.

    This is quite dire - too many notes, but it has whet my appetite to try more. The orchestra needs to be louder...drown me out a bit ;-) It was fun, though. Any other takers?

    Sounds good to me!

  18. #17

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    The band stopped rather abruptly!

    I couldn’t do that all night, every night of the week. Those guys had stamina!

  19. #18

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    Great thread!

    Here's a video with the Basie rhythm section where you can hear Freddie Green loud an clear..Most of the time he plays single notes but sometimes he plays two note chords here and there in slow tunes. I don't hear three or fou note chords anywhere.

    With "one note chords" you have so many options for making nice voice leadings. With bigger chords those options become fewer.

    Last edited by oldane; 11-27-2021 at 01:36 PM.

  20. #19

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    Yes, that's one of my favourite jazz videos. At times they seem to be walking on eggshells. Beautiful playing all round.
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 11-27-2021 at 04:41 PM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    ... a great book (the best, in fact!) on three-note chord playing, with a section on counter tenor playing ...
    Sorry, not wearing my reading glasses, just saw a name and a few words that may have put me on another foot


  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    But “three note chord” and “real Freddie Green” is an oxymoron in the view of some recent research which emphasizes one and two note voicings as the essence of his style. See Freddie Green Style: Lessons & Technique for a discussion … Ulrich seems to accept this view judging by his comments at the beginning of the video.
    I have no trouble accepting this is true of the second testament era. I think it may be more complex going back. Freddie’s style evolved….

    The Savory Collection Vol2 which I think is from the late 30s has a really well recorded Freddie he’s pretty loud! Must have been next to the mic. It’s an amazing resource. The 30s is my favourite era of Basie… the real Kansas city sound.

    So I’m listening to Honeysuckle Rose and it sounds like he may be using two note chords at least; that said it sounds like he’s on his way towards this tenor style.

    On some of the other recordings like Limehouse and Texas Shuffle he sounds more like a conventional 30s swing rhythm player, which is to say he sounds more like what most people would nowadays associate with gypsy jazz, playing bigger chords…. Often majors, minors and dominant sevenths in this case to my ears…. This the way fellow Kansas City guitarist Efferge Ware plays on the early KC recordings of Bird.

    he changes it up though. I think at this point he’d had lessons with George Van Eps and GVE was well known for teaching three note voicings.

    Id love it if someone else could have a listen to these recordings and see what they think; it’s amazing stuff anyway, but it’s nice to get a well miced Freddie. The music is off the chain needless to say.

  23. #22

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    Oh the other thing is that Freddie’s feel is extremely even flat four, no accents on two and four unlike the Hot Club or AlCasey say. So even if his voicings changed it seems that’s how he always played?

    That said sometimes with Basie soloing he plays a bit more in 2, almost like a stride left hand lol. He then morphs into the flat four for the horns.

  24. #23

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    Freddie’s one note thing is really audible in the first minute or so of this album, with Barry Harris on piano in the 60s IIRC



    EDIT: and even more on the flute solo where the drums drop out.

    open and shut case to my ears

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I think at this point he’d had lessons with George Van Eps and GVE was well known for teaching three note voicings.
    I saw somewhere that he had some lessons with Alan Reuss, but I can't remember the source. Is there anything to this?

  26. #25

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    Oh this is cool as well for Green-ologists (Savory again)