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  1. #101

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    Went through this a few months ago. I think the intention is just to kind of see how he's connecting his "licks" together. It seems to me, that in every sort of scale shape pattern, he has certain goto licks that he connects regardless of the chord underneath based on his minor substitutions. So that first shape warrants certain licks that fall nicely under his fingers, if he moves that shape around for every minor substituion he could use the same licks on every chord. However, the trick is he ties them together seamlessly and doesn't necessary just repeat the same licks.

    I think he has an enormous amount of lines worked out that he basically calls from. I'm not sure, after transcribing a bit of his stuff, and looking at this book and others that he never really "improvises" blindly, per se. But connects lines he knows sound good. He never sounds like he's searching, he has a very confident style, but he does have licks he plays in just about every solo.

    I think it begs the questions of how much stuff should one have worked out ahead of time? How much should you wing? If you want to define your own sound, then there seems to be a requirement to create your own lines that you grab from often. even guys like Crocco and Felder (from transcribing) have their pet licks they play in nearly every solo. There also the things that make them unique.

    I guess that's what I kind of got out of studying Martino.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Thomas Owens, who wrote his dissertaion on Charlie Parker, called him a "formulaic" improviser because the lines he played rarely had anything to do with the melody. This wasn't a criticism but an observation. Charlie Parker had go-to licks for blues in Bb, others for blues in F, and ones for Rhythm Changes---those were the three most common progressions for him to play over---and others for certain changes that occurred less often but were distinctive enough to require individual treatment.

    You can't play as fast as Pat Martino does--or Charlie Parker did---and have to figure out how to play what you want to play. It has to be pretty much automatic, and that requires one to 'go for what you know.'

    Owens' book "Bebop: The Music and its Players" has a good chapter on Parker and lists the most common phrases in his playing. Pat has his too.

    I think there is insight to be gained from reflecting on this reality....

  4. #103

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    Colin - that sounds interesting. Like Mark, I'll try it later. If it works for you, that's surely something?

    Mirth - interesting thoughts. I guess some of what Pat plays will be reducible to lines such as the ones we are looking at, while some of it will be thought out on the fly, as it were.

    I'm not doing this to sound like Pat, but I do love his playing and would like to get a glimpse of how he does it. Some of it might rub off on me, some of it won't.

    Great to see this discussion.

  5. #104

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    One would have to be an extraordinary human not to have phrases (in speech as well as music) one returns to, especially in the heat of the moment. I once briefly studied Turkish classical music in Istanbul, and an important feature of that music is improvise a prelude or interlude. The Sufi musicians I spoke to were keen to point out that one should at least try to make up something unique each time. My ears were not developed enough in this style to know if the always did, and I would be surprised if even they did not have favoured phrases.

  6. #105

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    Completely agree. I think it's enlightening as there is a big push to always be "spontaneous" in this style, but part of what makes some of these musicians great is the stuff they worked out ahead of time.

    I think it also takes a decent amount of pressure off of us by allowing us to not have to know everything at every second. Sometimes you can use your worked out vocabulary to make a point. That is as long as you constructed it with the right musical motivations (not just copping it from some great).

    I'm always playing games with the audience at gigs, as I'm curious how they respond to certain things. It's always enlightening what they gravitate towards and what they don't. Obscurity is a tough sell, but a line that goes somewhere that the listener can take for a ride that ends well can be very effective.

    As for the book, I think the intention was to shed light on how he interprets things and how he uses the minor backbone to play through tunes. Also, a fantastic technical exercise, and let's face it, some great licks to get under your fingers.

  7. #106

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    I've just looked ahead to Phase II, where the lines we have learned are mixed up and used chromatically through all twelve keys. However, I've noticed that the lines have some differences, so beware!

  8. #107

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    If you think about it, one thing that gives a particular player a style is a characteristic way of handling things. (Some remarkably gifted guitarists can play almost anything but have no style / sound of their own.)

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    If you think about it, one thing that gives a particular player a style is a characteristic way of handling things. (Some remarkably gifted guitarists can play almost anything but have no style / sound of their own.)
    I think this is right on. There are some amazing players out there that can play anything, but they're missing something personal to them. Something that defines them. It's something to really consider when you're developing the music. Of course there are things you do inherently that make you different, but I think some foresight on what you're playing in a preconceived way becomes important to playing the music you want to hear.

    So I think it's important to say, "i don't like the kind of things I'm playing, so I'm going to write something i want to play". If you keep winging it, you may never find that thing. I guarantee Martino and the like spent time developing their lines to sound the way they wanted them to. It's what makes them, them.

    It's something I've really been thinking about lately. (If you can't tell).

  10. #109

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    Hey Guys,

    Good to see this thread still going on, and knowing Pat's history and work the way I do, I'd like to offer all of you some advice that will allow you to optimize what you're seeing in Linear Expressions.

    First of all, DO NOT use the activities for conventional II-V changes. You're just going to get in the weeds because the lines don't resolve properly and were never intended for that purpose. Understand that long before Martino was making these longer minor connections he had already paid his dues on the II-V front (like other jazz improvisers). If you're a language player who's done any transcribing whatsoever you can clearly hear that in his earlier recordings with Don Patterson and others.

    If your mission, among other things, is to blow effectively over II-V changes, here's a genuine gold mine:

    Linear Expressions by Pat Martino-davidbaker-jpg

    The shot on the left is the original book cover, while the one on the right is the current version. Both have the same contents. By the time I had stumbled upon this gem by David Baker, I had already transcribed powerful II-V's by a wide range of players including Martino, Benson, Bird, Garland, Farlow, Turrentine, Peterson and many others.

    The Baker book is magnificent because almost every example is based upon years of his transcribing efforts, so it's the real deal. On top of that, it's brilliantly organized by starting pitch related to the IIm7 chord in the key of C (e.g. D, E, F, G, A, B & C). In my opinion, this is one of the greatest books ever published for the aspiring jazz improviser, and in that sense it's a "must-have" and an absolute steal for the price. You'll be able to immediately plug the lines into your solos over classic standards, blues, latin, swing, bebop, etc, etc.

    Linear Expressions is an excellent book, but to get the most out of it you really need to do what Martino and others did as a means to that end, whether by your own transcribing efforts (ideal) or the works of educators who have done likewise. That doesn't mean that the activities aren't worth learning and that you can't benefit by getting them under your belt. A simple tip to experience Pat's minor conversion and get them into your playing would be to apply them initially to an extended dominant, like a C9, C11 or C13. That alone will give you a nice melodic option even if you're just playing blues. All for now..

  11. #110

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    Thanks, Mark. Your experience and considered responses are welcome here by all, I'm sure.

  12. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Thanks, Mark. Your experience and considered responses are welcome here by all, I'm sure.
    My pleasure, Rob. When I read some of these posts it reminds me of how much time I'd wasted going around in circles earlier in my career, mainly trying to integrate what I was learning. If I can significantly shorten the journey for any of you guys by sharing what I know, well.. that's always been my mission as a coach.

    One thing I've observed over the past 40+ years is that if you can get on the right train/path to achieve your goals you can accomplish more in a fraction of the time that many spend in the woodshed each day. Conversely, if you're on the wrong train/path you can actually regress even if you have a great work ethic and are investing many hours of daily study time.

  13. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzOnSix
    If your mission, among other things, is to blow effectively over II-V changes, here's a genuine gold mine:

    Linear Expressions by Pat Martino-davidbaker-jpg
    Yikes---I just checked at Amazon and the only used copy available is listed for $107.50. Man, that's steep!
    Volume 2, new, is only $9.95!

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Yikes---I just checked at Amazon and the only used copy available is listed for $107.50. Man, that's steep!
    Not that I wouldn't pay that much or more for it, but that's ridiculous and I did see that earlier today at Amazon. Pick up a brand new copy from JazzBooks.com for $16.50. Here you go:

    Jamey Aebersold Jazz: The Bebop Era Volume 1 - Treble Clef

  15. #114

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    Thanks a lot Mark. You probably saved me at least from a long detour. I still want to work through the book because I am enjoying it but will also try and get the David Baker book as well.

    Cheers, Colin.

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzOnSix
    Not that I wouldn't pay that much or more for it, but that's ridiculous and I did see that earlier today at Amazon. Pick up a brand new copy from JazzBooks.com for $16.50. Here you go:

    Jamey Aebersold Jazz: The Bebop Era Volume 1 - Treble Clef
    That's much better, Mark! Thanks. I like to do business with Jamey Aebersold too----I've learned a lot from material he's put out.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I've just looked ahead to Phase II, where the lines we have learned are mixed up and used chromatically through all twelve keys. However, I've noticed that the lines have some differences, so beware!
    Rob, thanks for pointing that out. I'm starting Phase II and noticing that now. I had this book years ago and when I started Phase II, I didn't check the lines---I just moved the five activities around. "O, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...." ;o)

  18. #117

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    Sorry for pointing it out

    I've got four weeks to learn 35 songs with a singer, gulp, so suddenly these lines are taking a back seat. Unless I can incorporate them somehow, though how exactly escapes me at the moment!

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop

    I've got four weeks to learn 35 songs with a singer, gulp, so suddenly these lines are taking a back seat. Unless I can incorporate them somehow, though how exactly escapes me at the moment!
    Yikes, that's a lot of tunes to learn in a short time. Batten down the hatches and we'll see you on the other side! ;o)

  20. #119

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    Exactly!

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Sorry for pointing it out

    I've got four weeks to learn 35 songs with a singer, gulp, so suddenly these lines are taking a back seat. Unless I can incorporate them somehow, though how exactly escapes me at the moment!
    This sounds like a high-quality problem! Good luck Rob!!!

  22. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    That's much better, Mark! Thanks. I like to do business with Jamey Aebersold too----I've learned a lot from material he's put out.
    I started using the Aebersold play-a-long tracks way back in the 80's, and still have my original LP's somewhere in the garage. One of the hidden benefits lies in transcribing the bass and keyboard parts, because there are some great players on those recordings. I might have been the first to transcribe all of Ron Carter's bass lines from Vol 6 (All Bird), and about six months later I saw that someone had done likewise and published it. There have been several from the other editions released since.

    Ron is one of my main bottom line influences. So is Sam Jones, whose work was featured on the Cannonball Adderly release (Vol 13). What many don't know about me is that when I was teaching full time for 23 years in the SF Bay Area, over half of my students were bass players and most of my gigs/sessions were on bass, not guitar.

    Btw and back on topic, check out my take on Jeannine from the Cannonball edition. That tune was written by pianist Duke Pearson in 1960 and is a great vehicle for blending the Martino activity-type lines over the first 8 bars in Ab minor (Wes did it in A minor), but it also goes through changes that require a working knowledge of II-V clichés. Another one I recorded was Unit 7 that most guitarists are familiar with due to Montgomery's famous version on Smokin' At the Half Note.

    That blues with an 8-bar bridge was actually written by Jones, and the head is the epitome of minor superimposition (G minor over C7 and C minor over F7). Listen carefully to Sam's bass work on those tracks. Doesn't get much better in my book. All for now..

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzOnSix
    Btw and back on topic, check out my take on Jeannine from the Cannonball edition. That tune was written by pianist Duke Pearson in 1960 and is a great vehicle for blending the Martino activity-type lines over the first 8 bars in Ab minor (Wes did it in A minor), but it also goes through changes that require a working knowledge of II-V clichés. Another one I recorded was Unit 7 that most guitarists are familiar with due to Montgomery's famous version on Smokin' At the Half Note.

    That blues with an 8-bar bridge was actually written by Jones, and the head is the epitome of minor superimposition (G minor over C7 and C minor over F7). Listen carefully to Sam's bass work on those tracks. Doesn't get much better in my book. All for now..
    I love "Jeannine." That's a smokin' version. The first one I heard was by Kenny Burrell. And Wes's "Unit 7" just kills. One of my all-time favorite performances.

    Mark, you mentioned your early book "Four On Six" about playing walking bass lines on guitar. Is it currently in print? If not, is there any book on that subject you would recommend?

  24. #123

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    Jeannine - wow. Great playing, Mark.

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Sorry for pointing it out

    I've got four weeks to learn 35 songs with a singer, gulp, so suddenly these lines are taking a back seat. Unless I can incorporate them somehow, though how exactly escapes me at the moment!
    Others will have a better idea, however it seems to me the Activities might fit well over the first four bars of Scrapple from the Apple.

    I've taken Mark's advice to heart and picked up David Baker's book and am thinking more about PM's method rather than learning all those line studies. I learned the first one and cant figure out what I am supposed to do with it. I like some of the licks in the activities but like Mark said there are a lot more to steal from Baker's book.

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinO
    Others will have a better idea, however it seems to me the Activities might fit well over the first four bars of Scrapple from the Apple.

    I've taken Mark's advice to heart and picked up David Baker's book and am thinking more about PM's method rather than learning all those line studies. I learned the first one and cant figure out what I am supposed to do with it. I like some of the licks in the activities but like Mark said there are a lot more to steal from Baker's book.
    I agree with Mark Stefani that Martino's activities are not typical ii-V lines. That's just not what they are. But one thing you can do with them is use them for bridges (--two measures of D7? An Am7 activity would work, and if you can double time it, people will go, "whoa, this dude is smokin'!"). Also, there are times where one can "generalize." "All of Me" starts with two measures of C6---an Am7 activity works well there. And so on. A lot of swing-era soloing treats the A section of rhythm tunes as just the I chord. (Charlie Christian did that sometimes.)


    I don't have the Baker book yet. Could you say a bit more about it, Colin?