Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 34 of 34 FirstFirst ... 24323334
Posts 826 to 848 of 848
  1. #826

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Harris is definitely dominant Bebop approaches. His material is helpful for contextualizing more difficult to hear and longer approach vocal. Those chromatic approaches aren't just random. He somewhat gives name/place to those type of bebop lines you'd transcribe.

    If you're looking more straight swing, I'd say transcribe lines and transpose them to all positions etc.
    My experience teaching Barry stuff is that it is not good for entry level. I think you’d be better off with arpeggios, neighbour tones and a lot of ear learning of bop lines (bebop heads) and the Barry scale stuff can come in later to expand that knowledge.

    It really needs a high level of mastery of scales and arpeggios etc through scales. That can be a daunting amount of input to start off with.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #827

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    My experience teaching Barry stuff is that it is not good for entry level. I think you’d be better off with arpeggios, neighbour tones and a lot of ear learning of bop lines (bebop heads) and the Barry scale stuff can come in later to expand that knowledge.

    It really needs a high level of mastery of scales and arpeggios etc through scales. That can be a daunting amount of input to start off with.
    I'm not questioning your experience, Christian, and I have never tried to teach Barry stuff to a newbie, but my experience getting started with BH after many years of chord scales, modes etc was that I had to unlearn much of what I had earlier laboriously taken on. I realize there are no shortcuts, but it would be nice to identify a straighter path that avoids having to jettison so much bumpf. Apart from the listening/ear learning, which is always essential no matter the method, your prescription comes close to saying "study gypsy jazz as prep for BH" -- which would be fine (and somewhat close to some of my experience) except that the technical skills, especially the right hand and the rhythmic feel, are so different.

    Perhaps there is a way of organizing the BH material to make it more suitable for a beginner -- arpeggios, surrounds and 1-2-3-5 patterns before extra note rules for example, if we are talking about soloing.

    The harmony side is a bit more complicated, especially the business of translating lead sheet chord symbols into sixth chord voicings, but Barry's scales of chords are no harder to learn than harmonized major and minor scales and a lot more useful. If I was teaching them to a beginner I think I might use 3-note voicings at first, and would stress the equivalence of inversions.

  4. #828

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    I'm not questioning your experience, Christian, and I have never tried to teach Barry stuff to a newbie, but my experience getting started with BH after many years of chord scales, modes etc was that I had to unlearn much of what I had earlier laboriously taken on. I realize there are no shortcuts, but it would be nice to identify a straighter path that avoids having to jettison so much bumpf. Apart from the listening/ear learning, which is always essential no matter the method, your prescription comes close to saying "study gypsy jazz as prep for BH" -- which would be fine (and somewhat close to some of my experience) except that the technical skills, especially the right hand and the rhythmic feel, are so different.
    Yes… so I would never teach chord scales to a beginner, regardless of what style of music they want to play. In practice this is often a moot point, as almost everyone seems to have learned at least some CST, but we move away from it sharply at least until the student has mastered the basics of changes playing.

    Also yes, bebop made so much more sense to me once I’d learned a bit of what came before.

    The feel is the main difference between swing and bop. You can pick through loads of Parker heads and find figures that are based primarily on triads and neighbour tones. It’s not everything, but it gets started. It will also teach some of the feel.

    One big thing that is helpful is those sorts of blocked, simplified progressions you get in the Barry DVD booklet for instance, where you chop out the ii chords; that’s what ‘gypsy jazz’ charts often look like. C7 for four bars, F6 for four bars for Honeysuckle, that type of thing. That gets you out of the very busy ii V heavy charts you get in the Real Book, and helps students understand how a simple harmonic framework can be embellished by movements of various kinds, which is essential prep for pretty much everything Barry teaches.

    I use gypsy jazz in scare quotes because it didn’t really exist in the 1930s; Django was a jazz musician playing US style music, who happens to be a gypsy, not a gypsy jazz musician; the gypsy jazz tradition happens AFTER Django.

    So, as Denis Chang points out, this style of basic, earthy rhythm is associated with Gypsy jazz today but represents the dominant approach to rhythm playing in that era for US players as well (at least for those who didn’t study with George Van eps at least.) You can hear Efferge Ware playing this way on those early Kansas City Bird recordings. This is how I got into playing this stuff btw; rhythm guitar for dancers in bands with horns rather than the modern Manouche shred thing.

    Historical note aside, the material out there for learning gypsy jazz works great for this purpose.

    Perhaps there is a way of organizing the BH material to make it more suitable for a beginner -- arpeggios, surrounds and 1-2-3-5 patterns before extra note rules for example, if we are talking about soloing.
    Yes. Scale stuff is harder to learn and apply on the guitar. The other thing is we need to start with a model that works for us. Guitarists are chord players, so most of us start with grips. an important conceptual leap is that you can roll any chord into a line. Your template for this are the classic swing era players; Charlie Christian, Herb Ellis etc…. That stuff is natural to the guitar. Pasquale Grasso is a big Charlie Christian guy btw.

    This is also part of Barry’s teaching; arpeggiation of drop 2s and so on.

    A lot of this stuff is very obvious on piano because you just roll the chord. On the guitar we need to spend time making a link between chord shapes and soloing ideas. Because we tend to think of them separately, and that’s unhelpful.

    A lot of Barry’s stuff hangs out in the background for me. I think it informs my attitude towards basic voicings (6th chords for Major and minor) blocking down tunes (ii V becomes V) and so on. Barry isn’t just about playing added note scales …. And I might not be teaching the 8 note scales on day one, but the way I teach would be totally different if I’d never learned some of Barry’s approach.

    The harmony side is a bit more complicated, especially the business of translating lead sheet chord symbols into sixth chord voicings, but Barry's scales of chords are no harder to learn than harmonized major and minor scales and a lot more useful. If I was teaching them to a beginner I think I might use 3-note voicings at first, and would stress the equivalence of inversions.
    Sure…. But that stuff is less immediately useful than the soling material. It is useful though; I use it all the time. Again, beginner is relative. I was not a beginner and it took me a while to master the scale in drop 2’s. If your student can’t comp in shell voicings, that’s probably not a priority.

    I’m not saying I’ve got it sorted out completely either. It’s just that yer filthy casuals don’t have the time and the inclination to crunch through the prep that you need. You need to give them something they can use a bit quicker, and so it becomes about flattening the learning curve a bit. Barry’s classes are self selecting in terms of people who are into it and willing to put in that work and relearn their approach. There are many who go to one class and never come back.

    You need to give them some stuff they can apply relatively quickly so that they can see this is all leading somewhere. It’s not about dumbing down, it all gets done.

    I don’t know about you but it took my quite a long time before I could even play The scale outline exercise reliably at tempo through any tune. I had to change the way I mapped the guitar.

    I might add that I always feel while Barry claim intellectual ownership over certain things, a lot of the stuff he would not consider ‘his’ but rather a summing up of material everyone was using
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 11-18-2021 at 05:28 AM.

  5. #829

    User Info Menu

    "Also yes, bebop made so much more sense to me once I’d learned a bit of what came before.

    the classic swing era players; Charlie Christian, Herb Ellis etc…."

    This is where I think I need to start - before bebop. But every source I've come across is bebop focused.


    I'll look through the 'masterclass' catalogue.


  6. #830

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Halifax Steve
    "Also yes, bebop made so much more sense to me once I’d learned a bit of what came before.

    the classic swing era players; Charlie Christian, Herb Ellis etc…."

    This is where I think I need to start - before bebop. But every source I've come across is bebop focused.


    I'll look through the 'masterclass' catalogue.

    I think that’s a terrific start. Sorry about the wedge of text above but that’s the long and short of it.

    EDIT: before anyone picks holes technically I realise Herb is not a swing era player, but he did have that approach to his playing (like Bucky Pizarelli and others…. Anyway.)

  7. #831

    User Info Menu

    Cool discussion. Is there there a definitive go to source for learning the Barry Harris stuff? The stuff I looked at is just kind of weirdly presented. Like the Youtube guy......."what I learned from Barry Harris". Granted I only watched one video but it made my feel like I did on day 1 of playing the first Abersold figure in group Jazz improvisation class 25 years ago (drudgery). Not to say I wouldn't stick with it, but I'm not really one to throw my study time behind an unknown source. When I do make a decision to study something I'm ALL IN. But that usually involves really believing in the teaching method.

    I've kind of thought about just breaking down a bunch of bird heads into component parts and really creating my own study approach, but as Christiaan Miller points out I'd be missing perhaps the harmonic components (unless I stumble on them)

  8. #832

    User Info Menu

    I like your synopsis Christian.
    Bottom line for me tho is where to find guitar instruction that starts before bebop - swing.
    So, Richie Zellon's BGIS seems logical to me as vol 1 is applying jazz solo over 12 bar blues.
    I also picked up Jon Wheatley's Berklee press, Jazz Swing Guitar. I haven't had a chance yet to get into the book.

  9. #833

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by callouscallus
    Cool discussion. Is there there a definitive go to source for learning the Barry Harris stuff? The stuff I looked at is just kind of weirdly presented. Like the Youtube guy......."what I learned from Barry Harris". Granted I only watched one video but it made my feel like I did on day 1 of playing the first Abersold figure in group Jazz improvisation class 25 years ago (drudgery). Not to say I wouldn't stick with it, but I'm not really one to throw my study time behind an unknown source. When I do make a decision to study something I'm ALL IN. But that usually involves really believing in the teaching method.)
    The ur source is the two Barry Harris workshop dvds/books produced by Howard Rees and available from his website at Howard Rees' Jazz Workshops -- it's the closest you'll get to attending one of Barry's workshops, but organized more systematically. You'll need some rudimentary music reading chops to follow the examples in the books, which include guitar-friendly voicings as well as piano. Barry still teaches a more-or-less weekly Zoom class, but it has become quite advanced and generally assumes knowledge of the material in the dvd/books.

    Roni Ben Hur has a couple of books/dvd packages which are fairly useful but don't contain much that isn't in the more comprehensive Rees productions.

    Alan Kingstone's book is a great intro to Barry's harmony for guitarists. Also available from the Rees website.

    There are now several YouTube channels devoted to Barry's teaching, some of them with clips from his live workshops in various parts of the world and others by students. You reference "Things I Learned from Barry Harris" (Chris Parks) above, which is good for detailed looks at particular topics but not organized according to any kind of syllabus. Thomas Echols' Labyrinth of Limitations is a deep dive into Barry's harmony in the context of Tymoczko's Geometry of Music -- a really interesting resource but not for the beginner or faint-hearted. Thomas's PDF lessons (available on his website) are perhaps easier to follow than some of his video presentations.

    Howard Rees teaches Sunday Zoom classes and may return to live teaching once the pandemic is sufficiently tamed. You could contact him through his website and ask about these. I took Howard's live classes for several years, punctuated by Barry's semi-annual visits, and that was better than any video lesson or Youtube channel could be.

    So my advice would be to start with the first workshop dvd/book and also contact Howard to see whether he has a teaching plan that suits your level and needs.

  10. #834

    User Info Menu

    Very helpful, thankyou for the detailed reply
    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    The ur source is the two Barry Harris workshop dvds/books produced by Howard Rees and available from his website at Howard Rees' Jazz Workshops -- it's the closest you'll get to attending one of Barry's workshops, but organized more systematically. You'll need some rudimentary music reading chops to follow the examples in the books, which include guitar-friendly voicings as well as piano. Barry still teaches a more-or-less weekly Zoom class, but it has become quite advanced and generally assumes knowledge of the material in the dvd/books.

    Roni Ben Hur has a couple of books/dvd packages which are fairly useful but don't contain much that isn't in the more comprehensive Rees productions.

    Alan Kingstone's book is a great intro to Barry's harmony for guitarists. Also available from the Rees website.

    There are now several YouTube channels devoted to Barry's teaching, some of them with clips from his live workshops in various parts of the world and others by students. You reference "Things I Learned from Barry Harris" (Chris Parks) above, which is good for detailed looks at particular topics but not organized according to any kind of syllabus. Thomas Echols' Labyrinth of Limitations is a deep dive into Barry's harmony in the context of Tymoczko's Geometry of Music -- a really interesting resource but not for the beginner or faint-hearted. Thomas's PDF lessons (available on his website) are perhaps easier to follow than some of his video presentations.

    Howard Rees teaches Sunday Zoom classes and may return to live teaching once the pandemic is sufficiently tamed. You could contact him through his website and ask about these. I took Howard's live classes for several years, punctuated by Barry's semi-annual visits, and that was better than any video lesson or Youtube channel could be.

    So my advice would be to start with the first workshop dvd/book and also contact Howard to see whether he has a teaching plan that suits your level and needs.

  11. #835
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    My experience teaching Barry stuff is that it is not good for entry level. I think you’d be better off with arpeggios, neighbour tones and a lot of ear learning of bop lines (bebop heads) and the Barry scale stuff can come in later to expand that knowledge.

    It really needs a high level of mastery of scales and arpeggios etc through scales. That can be a daunting amount of input to start off with.
    Not going to disagree. I was comparing it to the Zellon book. I think if you're going to dig into Zellon -type material (tons of iterations of chromatic targeting), you may as well look at Harris. More balance of lines, arps, chromatics etc. Sure, it's not guitar-specific, but if that's the real issue, then there are other problems.

    Theres a lot of "basic" to go through before addressing any of this IMO. I do wonder about the idea of pentatonic of chord of the moment as a starting point though. Basically, 6/9 arps. Of course, 1235's are a further degree in limiting/simplification.

    I'm not teaching this stuff though, and you can't really go back and "not know" what you currently know. Everything's good in theory...

    All the best.

  12. #836

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    you can't really go back and "not know" what you currently know.
    Aging takes care of that, ime.

  13. #837

    User Info Menu

    So, given that it’s 2021, given that the OP was about Richie Zellon, and given that we are guitarists and Harris is a pianist, what would be the objective of studying Barry Harris in earnest? (Time is at a premium, always).

    To play bebop in the way a 1950s pianist did?
    To get a taste of what one practitioner did?

    We have Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, etc.

    In the Joe Pass Guitar Style book (written in the 70s) we have Joe’s bebop lines plus his take on “modern” lines, full of altered shit and whatnot. That was almost 50 years ago, and was tailored directly to our instrument.


    Wes’ wife told him “we’re gonna starve if you just keep playing jazz” (or words to that effect).

    I’m not taking a position, just playing devil’s advocate.

  14. #838

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    So, given that it’s 2021, given that the OP was about Richie Zellon, and given that we are guitarists and Harris is a pianist, what would be the objective of studying Barry Harris in earnest? (Time is at a premium, always).

    To play bebop in the way a 1950s pianist did?
    To get a taste of what one practitioner did?

    We have Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, etc.

    In the Joe Pass Guitar Style book (written in the 70s) we have Joe’s bebop lines plus his take on “modern” lines, full of altered shit and whatnot. That was almost 50 years ago, and was tailored directly to our instrument.


    Wes’ wife told him “we’re gonna starve if you just keep playing jazz” (or words to that effect).

    I’m not taking a position, just playing devil’s advocate.
    Yeah I dunno. it depends what level you are at with it and what you want out of the process.

    I think bop is so much defined around the musical language of Parker and Bud Powell (oddly, people don’t talk about Dizzy that much) that that’s always the reference point, the source. Jazz in the 1950s was largely everyone copying Bird, so if you are serious about playing that music it makes sense to go there.

    Guitar is always going to struggle to emulate what those guys did, even the best players. To be honest I don’t think anyone has got there on guitar, playing inventive lines and rhythms at 380, insane double time stuff, and that kind of crazy stuff that Bird and Bud did like it was a walk in the park. It’s hard enough on sax and piano!

    You can get some of it, but even in players as great as Joe, Barney, Tal, Jimmy (or Billy Bean, or Pasquale, or my current fave Joe Cohn) you are looking at a sort of guitar version of the ‘real thing’ as far as bop itself goes, and those guys would always have said to check out Bird, so….

    As far as playing jazz guitar goes, that will generally involve a helping of bop language, but the music itself is always going to be based around what Bird did on the saxophone.

    So if you are serious about failing to play bop it generally means listening to Parker and so on, and emulating that as best you can.

    OTOH, bop guitar itself is maybe less important? You would naturally end up playing swing, hard bop, organ trio stuff, maybe fusion and contemporary as a guitarist. If you want to be a bop virtuoso I think it has to be a real mission for you.

    For most, I doubt that’s what they want, so a guitar friendly primer will be a helpful thing.

  15. #839

    User Info Menu

    I have a few follow-ups but the first one is:

    BH = Bird?

  16. #840

    User Info Menu

    I think what BH teaches is an attitude towards music that encourages self discovery and trusting what you find. Those who try to play like BH (or Bird) are missing the point IMHO.

    If Bird was alive today, he would've probably laughed at people who still try to play like he did in the 40's. I think he was a very progressive minded musician like Miles and Coltrane. I guess that means he would've laughed at me too. Oh well.

  17. #841

    User Info Menu

    Well when people say that his teaching is revelatory and they have to re-learn their instrument and so on it seems apparent that it requires quite a committment, like converting to a new religion or something.

    The way that people talk about it, all of our chords and scales were WRONG, we just didn't know it.

  18. #842

    User Info Menu

    Well that was a great post Christian! Appreciate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Yeah I dunno. it depends what level you are at with it and what you want out of the process.

    I think bop is so much defined around the musical language of Parker and Bud Powell (oddly, people don’t talk about Dizzy that much) that that’s always the reference point, the source. Jazz in the 1950s was largely everyone copying Bird, so if you are serious about playing that music it makes sense to go there.

    Guitar is always going to struggle to emulate what those guys did, even the best players. To be honest I don’t think anyone has got there on guitar, playing inventive lines and rhythms at 380, insane double time stuff, and that kind of crazy stuff that Bird and Bud did like it was a walk in the park. It’s hard enough on sax and piano!

    You can get some of it, but even in players as great as Joe, Barney, Tal, Jimmy (or Billy Bean, or Pasquale, or my current fave Joe Cohn) you are looking at a sort of guitar version of the ‘real thing’ as far as bop itself goes, and those guys would always have said to check out Bird, so….

    As far as playing jazz guitar goes, that will generally involve a helping of bop language, but the music itself is always going to be based around what Bird did on the saxophone.

    So if you are serious about failing to play bop it generally means listening to Parker and so on, and emulating that as best you can.

    OTOH, bop guitar itself is maybe less important? You would naturally end up playing swing, hard bop, organ trio stuff, maybe fusion and contemporary as a guitarist. If you want to be a bop virtuoso I think it has to be a real mission for you.

    For most, I doubt that’s what they want, so a guitar friendly primer will be a helpful thing.

  19. #843

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    I have a few follow-ups but the first one is:

    BH = Bird?
    Pedagogically yes. Barry was awed by Bird and sat in with him though was never hired by Parker as I understand. Barry is a natural teacher and was set up in Detroit early and though his classes can be hard they are the closest we have to learning from Charlie Parker himself.

  20. #844

    User Info Menu

    Ok, pretty cool, but then a lot of bebop players worked it out without his system somehow. I guess my question would be;

    With all the Bird transcriptions to learn,
    with all the great Bird followers to copy,
    with all the jazz books that have jazz language analyzed and codified to the sub-atomic particle level from which one can build their playing from,
    the fact that it’s late 2021 and we’ve moved from bop to post bop to… whatever the heck we call modern stuff now

    What is the goal/objective in following this one particular teacher’s method? What is the end game? Heaven knows you won’t get too many gigs to play music like that. He will, but you probably won’t.

    The reason I ask is that people characterize his approach as requiring a total reset of one’s “jazz conception”, no matter what that conception may be. His way or the highway.

    Or maybe that’s not the case, and people just characterize it that way.

  21. #845

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Ok, pretty cool, but then a lot of bebop players worked it out without his system somehow. I guess my question would be;

    With all the Bird transcriptions to learn,
    with all the great Bird followers to copy,
    with all the jazz books that have jazz language analyzed and codified to the sub-atomic particle level from which one can build their playing from,
    the fact that it’s late 2021 and we’ve moved from bop to post bop to… whatever the heck we call modern stuff now

    What is the goal/objective in following this one particular teacher’s method? What is the end game? Heaven knows you won’t get too many gigs to play music like that. He will, but you probably won’t.

    The reason I ask is that people characterize his approach as requiring a total reset of one’s “jazz conception”, no matter what that conception may be. His way or the highway.

    Or maybe that’s not the case, and people just characterize it that way.
    The end game is just being able to play. I sort of could. I got hired a bit. Others are brilliant under his tutelage.

    Total reset, no. A variation on a theme.

    Whatever works for you. This worked for me.

  22. #846

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Well when people say that his teaching is revelatory and they have to re-learn their instrument and so on it seems apparent that it requires quite a committment, like converting to a new religion or something.

    The way that people talk about it, all of our chords and scales were WRONG, we just didn't know it.
    I think that's a misunderstanding, at least a bit.

    So when someone comes in with new names for stuff, it can be very confusing. To learn from Barry Harris you have to spend some time learning the terminology; things like 'arpeggio' meaning very specifically a four note figure of a triadic harmony, doubled at the octave - for instance C E G C'

    The scales thing - well for improv a lot of the stuff I've done has been based on the dominant scale (mixolydian) and min-6 diminished. The min-6 is not dissimilar to the melodic minor scale, but slightly more flexible due to the way it incorporates an extra note. But the application is familiar to those who know melodic minor harmony - use it on the fifth or a half step above a dominant chord, just as you would a melodic minor. There's no reason you couldn't use a melodic minor as well.

    In this it differs from classic Chord Scale theory in that it is based around application - so we think D minor on G7, not G lydian dominant - what Mike Goodrick calls derivative thinking. This is not unique to Barry, but it is a very powerful approach if your aim is to apply stuff you already know - lines, patterns, voicings etc as widely as possible.

    (Tristano is not dissimilar. Lage Lund approaches harmony in an application oriented way, and so on. Even Mark Levine touches on it pointing out you only need three scales.)

    What Barry gives that I think has been most useful thing for me, is a really clear road map for going from scales to lines. Chord scale theory is purely a description of static harmony, what notes you can put on what chords to make a "good sounding"* vertical combination. It doesn't really talk about jazz language, or how chords move, right? And yet it gets used as an improvisation method esp. with beginners (the Aebersold effect.) Because of this people get hung up on the wrong stuff too much, like thinking note choices must always map neatly into the chords and so on.

    OTOH, CST is a resource that can (don't tell Barry) be combined with Barry's approach to line construction. And needless to say, there are players who are based on chord scales, but they all have a good feel for music and good ears, and none of them sound like bop improvisers unless they've spent some time transcribing Bird etc.

    So it's perfect possible to study bop by simply transcribing. It works. But Barry's strength IMO is he offers the student away to play bop without simply quoting Parker or playing canned licks.

    Beyond that, some things he teaches IMO should be used by all jazz educators. There's no reason not to practice all scales the way we do in Barrys class, running up to the 7th and back rather than the octave, because it grounds everything strongly in the basic 7th chord on the strong beats. It's low hanging fruit for a teacher.

    * a subjective idea to start off with. I love an 11th on a dominant chord, for example.

  23. #847

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I think that's a misunderstanding, at least a bit.

    So when someone comes in with new names for stuff, it can be very confusing. To learn from Barry Harris you have to spend some time learning the terminology; things like 'arpeggio' meaning very specifically a four note figure of a triadic harmony, doubled at the octave - for instance C E G C'

    The scales thing - well for improv a lot of the stuff I've done has been based on the dominant scale (mixolydian) and min-6 diminished. The min-6 is not dissimilar to the melodic minor scale, but slightly more flexible due to the way it incorporates an extra note. But the application is familiar to those who know melodic minor harmony - use it on the fifth or a half step above a dominant chord, just as you would a melodic minor. There's no reason you couldn't use a melodic minor as well.

    In this it differs from classic Chord Scale theory in that it is based around application - so we think D minor on G7, not G lydian dominant - what Mike Goodrick calls derivative thinking. This is not unique to Barry, but it is a very powerful approach if your aim is to apply stuff you already know - lines, patterns, voicings etc as widely as possible.

    (Tristano is not dissimilar. Lage Lund approaches harmony in an application oriented way, and so on. Even Mark Levine touches on it pointing out you only need three scales.)

    What Barry gives that I think has been most useful thing for me, is a really clear road map for going from scales to lines. Chord scale theory is purely a description of static harmony, what notes you can put on what chords to make a "good sounding"* vertical combination. It doesn't really talk about jazz language, or how chords move, right? And yet it gets used as an improvisation method esp. with beginners (the Aebersold effect.) Because of this people get hung up on the wrong stuff too much, like thinking note choices must always map neatly into the chords and so on.

    OTOH, CST is a resource that can (don't tell Barry) be combined with Barry's approach to line construction. And needless to say, there are players who are based on chord scales, but they all have a good feel for music and good ears, and none of them sound like bop improvisers unless they've spent some time transcribing Bird etc.

    So it's perfect possible to study bop by simply transcribing. It works. But Barry's strength IMO is he offers the student away to play bop without simply quoting Parker or playing canned licks.

    Beyond that, some things he teaches IMO should be used by all jazz educators. There's no reason not to practice all scales the way we do in Barrys class, running up to the 7th and back rather than the octave, because it grounds everything strongly in the basic 7th chord on the strong beats. It's low hanging fruit for a teacher.

    * a subjective idea to start off with. I love an 11th on a dominant chord, for example.
    ”The Aebersold effect”, lol. Up arpeggio down scale, you are ready to go brother!

    Just kidding. Aebersold has made a massive contribution.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Christian.

  24. #848

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by callouscallus
    Cool discussion. Is there there a definitive go to source for learning the Barry Harris stuff? The stuff I looked at is just kind of weirdly presented. Like the Youtube guy......."what I learned from Barry Harris". Granted I only watched one video but it made my feel like I did on day 1 of playing the first Abersold figure in group Jazz improvisation class 25 years ago (drudgery). Not to say I wouldn't stick with it, but I'm not really one to throw my study time behind an unknown source. When I do make a decision to study something I'm ALL IN. But that usually involves really believing in the teaching method.

    I've kind of thought about just breaking down a bunch of bird heads into component parts and really creating my own study approach, but as Christiaan Miller points out I'd be missing perhaps the harmonic components (unless I stumble on them)
    I have the DVD's that Howard Rhees produces. That might be the closest to an organized presentation of what he teaches.