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  1. #501
    Welcome to week 6. Our end of week objective is 120 and the form is similar to Angel Eyes with some HR twists to give us experience with substitute harmonies and secondary dominants and tritone substitutions.
    These are all commonly encountered devices if you're working with jazz improvisations but I'll spend some time this week looking at these separately. If you want to learn to play faster and with melodic confidence, practice these things A LOT. This expands your vocabulary and it will provide fluency so when you identify these things in a chart, you can treat them as familiar territory and sounds.
    This week's guidelines and chart from Howard Roberts:
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-10-6-06-34-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-10-6-07-23-pm-png
    I will post a working chart of the form of the piece as I see it. This approximates the way I look at this project and it's what's in my head when I'm soloing on it. This follows shortly.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #502
    These are two work sheets that indicate how I get the changes "off the page" and into an understanding I can work with by ear.
    The first chart is just the changes (some minor editing) in a form that makes it easier for me to glance at and scan. It's got arrows that indicate when a measure or series of measures directly sets up some point in the piece. They're circled and point to a point where it leads.
    Where possible, I give some indication of important key changes and the functions of the chords within that key area. I tried to keep the colour coding consistent with this.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-10-6-20-20-pm-png
    The second chart shows the big picture. You'll notice there's a LOT of space in there. That's because in soloing, I'm trying to see larger key areas and the form of the piece. The individual measures are things that my ear knows so I don't sweat the changes, I'm playing ideas that lead to the next important idea, and using my familiarity with turnaround forms to help me make meaningful note choices.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-10-6-20-45-pm-png
    I'll talk more about this in detail once we actually get into the week's playing.

  4. #503

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    Week 6 Day 1. 80BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. A is a decidedly weird key for me on this. I feel spread out all over the length of the neck. I did a first pass at 60 to try to dig in and find some more melodic phrasing but that just felt really weird so I bumped it up to 80 for 4 passes through the form. Not that what I came up with was all that melodic, but at least it flowed a bit better. Hmmm...

  5. #504

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    Week 6. Day 1 of "Angel Eyes" at 95 bpm. I must confess this isn't actually day one. I spent some time with the new key last night. I've been practicing my bebop scales, so I tried to incorporate some of that this evening. The first pass was a bit rough and uninspiring. But each ensuing pass got better and more musical. Those final 8 bars still evade me. I'd love it if someone could offer some insights on how to make those measures musical. I play over each chord and it's okay but nothing special. Like in the prior key, I find when I treat each of those final 8 measures as climbing up the fretboard and building tension that works best. Is there some functional, more complex harmony going on that I'm not grasping? Should I not be playing over each chord? Are those chords really serving another harmonic purpose that's escaping me? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  6. #505
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Those final 8 bars still evade me. I'd love it if someone could offer some insights on how to make those measures musical. I play over each chord and it's okay but nothing special. Like in the prior key, I find when I treat each of those final 8 measures as climbing up the fretboard and building tension that works best. Is there some functional, more complex harmony going on that I'm not grasping? Should I not be playing over each chord? Are those chords really serving another harmonic purpose that's escaping me? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!
    Are you talking about the last two systems, the ones I've marked F maj and E maj? Think of them in a broader way. If you look at the changes, yes they indicate a diatonic movement up the chords in F, but think about it, are they really descriptive of a line that offers melodic possibilities? They don't to me.
    Sometimes a purposeful, or statement with impact in a phrase is, like you say, climbing to a point. But the real point is to make a statement when you've gotten there. The first two bars are the culmination of the entire B section, and those diatonic chords are a kind of placeholder, innocuous passive chords which you can play a melodic idea in F. Go on, take a tasty blues line in F and play it there. Guarantee it's going to add a spicy sense of purpose and identity.
    That C-7 F9 is what's known as a tritone substitution. It belongs to the key of E which is approaching in the next system. It might as well be F#-7 B7 for all intents and purposes. Use them interchangeably and get to know the sound, feel and ways to play the tritone sub (or as I think of it, the dominant chord from a half step above).

    When you get to the last system, that G#-7 is the III chord of E Major. III chords are pretty much interchangeable with the I chord. Fool around with that. You can try to hear it as the scale beginning from the third degree, a nice sound that is a little less obvious than always starting on DO. That C#-7 is also a member of the chords known as tonic chords (I, III and VI chords have so much in common, they form an interchangeable family relationship) so since those chords are all tonic chords in E, take advantage of that and let loose with a pithy melodic (or blues) statement in the key of E.
    By the time you reach the Bb- chord and E7, you're preparing yourself and the ear of the listener for the upcoming A tonality again.

    So as far as playing is concerned, take these in tonal blocks, and in this case many of these are in 2 bar spaces, and treat them as one unit. Listen for WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. Create lines that are strong in of themselves or that are in obvious movement to somewhere else.
    If you have a measure, you don't have to be profound, or beautiful, or melodically memorable all the time. Create interest in what's to follow by preceeding it with figures that form a framework.
    Framework. Often a great painting will go hand in hand with a great frame. You go to a museum, and you see a painting, but the frame serves to bring out the best in the transition from wall space, or the space of the world, and draw you, the viewer, into the space of the painting. A frame is not what you notice but it defines the space of the painting by acting as the transitional intermediary to what you do notice.
    Same thing with melody. Sometimes you use notes to create a frame for something melodic.

    Take the note C. You can let it stand. Or you can make a small melody, how about we quote Mary Had a Little Lamb. The "Fleece was White as Snow" part. D D E D C.
    Now you can frame that statement with a pickup note, like a B before the barline, or a GABD, or CABE, or even a flourish of notes like E G F A G B A B C and Fleece was...
    All those other notes were not the melodic point of the phrase, they were the "Frame".

    Think about creating framing for your melodies. Don't strive to make each and everything you do the pith and the punch. Develop depth and purpose in your phrases.
    It takes listening...listen to other things, recordings, different genres. Go for a good fit to the changes but see what they're doing and find the spirit. Then play that your own way.

  7. #506

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Are you talking about the last two systems, the ones I've marked F maj and E maj? Think of them in a broader way. If you look at the changes, yes they indicate a diatonic movement up the chords in F, but think about it, are they really descriptive of a line that offers melodic possibilities? They don't to me.
    Sometimes a purposeful, or statement with impact in a phrase is, like you say, climbing to a point. But the real point is to make a statement when you've gotten there. The first two bars are the culmination of the entire B section, and those diatonic chords are a kind of placeholder, innocuous passive chords which you can play a melodic idea in F. Go on, take a tasty blues line in F and play it there. Guarantee it's going to add a spicy sense of purpose and identity.
    That C-7 F9 is what's known as a tritone substitution. It belongs to the key of E which is approaching in the next system. It might as well be F#-7 B7 for all intents and purposes. Use them interchangeably and get to know the sound, feel and ways to play the tritone sub (or as I think of it, the dominant chord from a half step above).

    When you get to the last system, that G#-7 is the III chord of E Major. III chords are pretty much interchangeable with the I chord. Fool around with that. You can try to hear it as the scale beginning from the third degree, a nice sound that is a little less obvious than always starting on DO. That C#-7 is also a member of the chords known as tonic chords (I, III and VI chords have so much in common, they form an interchangeable family relationship) so since those chords are all tonic chords in E, take advantage of that and let loose with a pithy melodic (or blues) statement in the key of E.
    By the time you reach the Bb- chord and E7, you're preparing yourself and the ear of the listener for the upcoming A tonality again.

    So as far as playing is concerned, take these in tonal blocks, and in this case many of these are in 2 bar spaces, and treat them as one unit. Listen for WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. Create lines that are strong in of themselves or that are in obvious movement to somewhere else.
    If you have a measure, you don't have to be profound, or beautiful, or melodically memorable all the time. Create interest in what's to follow by preceeding it with figures that form a framework.
    Framework. Often a great painting will go hand in hand with a great frame. You go to a museum, and you see a painting, but the frame serves to bring out the best in the transition from wall space, or the space of the world, and draw you, the viewer, into the space of the painting. A frame is not what you notice but it defines the space of the painting by acting as the transitional intermediary to what you do notice.
    Same thing with melody. Sometimes you use notes to create a frame for something melodic.

    Take the note C. You can let it stand. Or you can make a small melody, how about we quote Mary Had a Little Lamb. The "Fleece was White as Snow" part. D D E D C.
    Now you can frame that statement with a pickup note, like a B before the barline, or a GABD, or CABE, or even a flourish of notes like E G F A G B A B C and Fleece was...
    All those other notes were not the melodic point of the phrase, they were the "Frame".

    Think about creating framing for your melodies. Don't strive to make each and everything you do the pith and the punch. Develop depth and purpose in your phrases.
    It takes listening...listen to other things, recordings, different genres. Go for a good fit to the changes but see what they're doing and find the spirit. Then play that your own way.
    Wow! That was great JBN! Thank you so much. I understand tritones subs and all the harmonic things you mentioned. Maybe I'm dense, but after your explanation I finally see how those chords "make sense." And I really like your analogy of the picture frame! I'm a writer by trade and your posts are not only always informative, but imaginatively written and inspiring! Thank you.

  8. #507

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    Sorry for yet another post this evening. After digesting JBN's great advice, I just went back and played through the exercise for 20 additional minutes. Oh, man! It was so much better! So much fun and inspiring. For the first time this version of "Angel Eyes" truly made sense to me and was a joy to play. Thank you, JBN!

  9. #508

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    I’m having such a hard time focusing on guitar since the events of last week. I can’t even make the simplest stuff work, can’t fret basic chords, and so on. Not really here to gripe, just feeling frustrated at the moment—high alert is not the best state of mind for a practice that requires relaxation and flow.

    My first night with these changes in A ended up with me basically throwing my comping track in the trash and going to bed. Given my lack of focus at the moment, I was unable to internalize the changes. It was clear to me that trying to solo over them would be a complete waste of time. If I can carve out some extra time tomorrow I need to re-center, break the song up into manageable chunks, and get back to shell voicings. Trying to adapt to HR’s larger voicings may have done me in today, so I will simplify tomorrow and try to digest Jimmy’s analysis above. It looks like it could really helpful in making sense of the B section.

  10. #509
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I’m having such a hard time focusing on guitar since the events of last week.
    I hear you. You are capturing a zeitgeist of horror and shock, and I can certainly relate. It's kinda hard to capture the gravity of living Kafka for four years, conflicted solitary confinement without a plan to end it and the manifestation of a nation based on soul-less rhetoric. It's scary to think that everyone is hoping to "return to normal" when in truth, that normal was a fragile facade we will need to create the substance for.
    Yeah, don't feel bad, or guilty, or frustrated with letting the guitar speak for you, even when it's to sit in a case in shock. We'll be here and so will your guitar.
    I'll just offer my very personal take on what music is to me in these times.
    I don't know when it was that "playing music" stopped being something I made, but rather became a reflexion of something I live. It's a time machine, a microcosmos of a world in chaos, noise without order, the endless void of silence...that I can create order within. Learning the craft of making music has been an endless task of shaping the unseen. Learning the art of making music has been an infinite process of removing the boundries of perception. Learning how to solo has been informed by everything that is not music; and seeing life as the solo. I compose a story of completion every time I'm playing.
    Yeah it sounds weird and spacey but when I pick up the guitar, I'm not thinking notes at this point, but contemplating a finite amount of space where I can see myself coming out of time and taking away something real: The affirmation that the ability to create is what makes us human.
    I play guitar and I find beauty in the struggle and I see that what is ugly can be put in a context that is worth listening to.
    I hope you find your way to lift your spirits, wzpgsr. If we all find that, and we share it, we've got something really exciting to look forward to.

  11. #510
    Here is a reference example of some devices organized by HR from the book.They give you some alternatives for your own playing when you're feeling stale.
    Identify the harmony that's being played over.
    Identify the notes, how does a line begin? What direction is it going in? Does it change direction? What ways does it break up the predictable line? How does the placement of notes coincide with chord tones and on what beats? How are these tones approached?
    Even one measure will give you ideas that can be applied to any point in your solo and you can take that as a jumping off point to something totally new.

    Look at the solo as a whole. See if there is any pacing evident. And remember that in your own solo, any themes that you return to will make the entire solo pull together.

    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-12-7-14-05-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-12-7-14-55-pm-png

  12. #511

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    Week 6 Day 2. 80BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. That last system and a half on the B section is still eluding me. I just can't seem to make lines that cohere to over it without getting into the rut of just passing a figure through the changes but that is getting really old. JBN's suggestion to treat it as a E^7 tonal center just does not work for my ears...

  13. #512

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    Week 6. Day 2 of "Angel Eyes" at 100 bpm. The first time through always seems to be a refresher course. The second and third passes were better. That B section is making more sense thanks to JBN's analysis. Sometimes I choose to play the tritone sub for example, sometimes not. Often I'll just take one or two notes from the "non-diatonic" chords. For example, hitting the F# on the D dominant chords in the fourth measure of the B section. It's like tiptoeing carefully through those changes to add the spice of Howard's harmony, but not going so far astray chasing the chords that I lose sight of the home key center. It's allowing me to make these changes more musical. At least, I hope so!

  14. #513

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    Week 6 Day 3. 80BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. Another momentous day on the national stage, and a locally busy day made it rather nice to tune it all out and focus in on my nemesis in the B section. Slowly but surely it is making more sense to just employ the E^7 tonality amid the flow of chordal obstacles HB has thrown up for me. Maybe by the end of the week I can start to make it sound organic.

  15. #514

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    Week 6. Day 3 of "Angel Eyes" at 105 bpm. It took a while for me to get into the groove. I may do some additional passes this evening. I'm starting to fatigue a bit on this tune. I should look at some of Howard's lines over these changes. Although I must confess after a long work day my eyes are tired and I'm not the best reader, so trying to make sense of the music notation doesn't excite me.

  16. #515
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Week 6. Day 3 of "Angel Eyes" at 105 bpm. It took a while for me to get into the groove. I may do some additional passes this evening. I'm starting to fatigue a bit on this tune. I should look at some of Howard's lines over these changes. Although I must confess after a long work day my eyes are tired and I'm not the best reader, so trying to make sense of the music notation doesn't excite me.
    Maybe don't look at it as a reading exercise. Look at it as a small compendium of line shaping exercises. One or two bars at a go. Print it out and for each change, take a highlighter and highlight the chord tones. Look at how they're treated, are they enclosed in support notes? Does the line begin at a discernible point, end in some way? What direction is that group going? Is it based on an embellished arpeggio, or are there wide or narrow leaps?
    Just looking at one measure and putting the answers to these questions alone will give you a fresh take on what you might do when you're making your way through.
    And just a suggestion: Look at the phrase/measure/grouping of notes but look with your ear too. Internalize it so what you see is what you hear. This will expand your aural vocabulary too. When it's in your ear, and in your awareness, THEN try to use it. Even after a long day, this process will take you to a creatively exciting place. You may even find it invigourating and in a way, meditative.
    Try this one: Make some unlikely turn of notes, maybe a quote, maybe an unusual series of notes you normally wouldn't put together, and practice them going up and down the harmonized scale. I chord, II minor, III minor, IV maj#11...etc. Then start a chorus with that. Keep it in your ear and see if its DNA can inform what you play. At certain points, return to it intact. It's a good focusing exercise, and it's very musical. It's the basis of sonata form that has shaped all of Western music. It's fun.

  17. #516

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    Week 6 Day 4. 80BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. I seem to be balancing on the line between boring myself and finding interesting new things to play on this thing. Definitely finding more stimulation going back to playing the B section much more literally than I had been doing. Perhaps not nailing every change but certainly more interesting ideas hiding in that curious sequence than superimposing a bog standard E^7 sequence over it... Two more days with it...

  18. #517
    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Week 6 Day 4. 80BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. I seem to be balancing on the line between boring myself and finding interesting new things to play on this thing. Definitely finding more stimulation going back to playing the B section much more literally than I had been doing. Perhaps not nailing every change but certainly more interesting ideas hiding in that curious sequence than superimposing a bog standard E^7 sequence over it... Two more days with it...
    Maybe try not to make any sense out of it but use the changes or even just the bars to create a lead in to the A minor that it eventually takes you to. In other words, set up an entry into the next section and don't overplay or over-try but rather keep the sequence simple enough to show movement, then have the last A section (back to the top) be the point of those measures.
    Let the statement at the top of the form provide the meaning to those last bars. Sometimes a passage is an off ramp. You don't need to make it into a scenic rest stop.

  19. #518

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    Week 6. Day 4 of "Angel Eyes" at 110 bpm. As is often the case, things got more interesting with each pass. But the real work was spent after going through the exercises. I took JBN's advice and spent a couple hours studying Howard's suggested lines for the problematic B section. As expected, Howard typically emphasizes chord tones on the strong beats. His approach to some of the changes is vastly different than the more pedestrian way I've been approaching them. He outlines every single chord. I didn't really get to a place where I was playing the changes in time to hear how musical they might be. But it reminded me a bit of learning solos by the masters. Their approach over a tune is often something I would never think of or hear. Humbling to say the least.

  20. #519

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    Week 6. Day 5 of "Angel Eyes" at 115 bpm. Analyzing some of Howard's lines kind of messed me up. Perhaps in a good way. I went back to trying to outline some of the "out" changes a bit more than I had been doing recently. I still feel like a little dash of that adds some nice spice, but too much leads me astray. Anyway, I must confess I'm looking forward to tackling this exercise tomorrow one last time then finally moving on!

  21. #520

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    Week 6 Day 5. 90BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. Long strange day today but I still wanted to take another effort at speed over these changes. For the first few 3 chorus laps around the form things were moving right along but then the sharpness faded and I was just playing catch-up again. Still worth the effort though.

  22. #521
    As we complete this week, we'll be doing something of a recap in the week to come. One thing to keep in mind as we wind up here and move on:
    Speed and accuracy are dependent on coordination and training of the hands for executing ideas and the speed of thought.
    Learn to develop both your ideas and options, and your technical abilities.
    Recognize which one needs work and which one is strong and always work and practice to achieve a balance.
    You can't play what your hands don't know, and you can only play as fast as you can think.
    Learn to balance these two and there's no limit to how fast and interestingly you can play.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 01-15-2021 at 11:28 PM.

  23. #522

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    Week 6. Day 6 of "Angel Eyes" at 120 bpm. The first couple times through today I was really looking forward to moving on from this exercise. The last time I made a concerted effort to really enjoy and appreciate these changes. I let go more and had more fun. Needless to say, it was not only more enjoyable, but more musical, too. Thanks, JBN for all your great help with this exercise!

  24. #523

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    Week 6 Day 6. 110BPM "official" ireal pro backing in A. Had a really great day and was quite satisfied and happy when I sat dawn to play. I started at 90 and that seemed to drag, a bump tp 100 and finally 110 kept me on my toes but still feeling pretty much in control. I have the B section generally together saying something interesting and setting up final resolution in the last A section. Definitely felt a good bump in the playing this week.

    It will be fascinating to see how much remains from the earlier projects this coming week. But first a day wondering in different fields...

  25. #524
    The week ahead will be our period of review and reflexion. No new pieces this week but a fresh take on old friends. Every day I'll post a repeat of the original week's project music.
    Day of rest and deep breath. Monday starts the getting it all together!
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-16-10-00-49-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-16-10-08-05-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-16-10-09-37-pm-png

  26. #525

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    Nothing new or interesting to report. I'm just popping my head up to let everyone know I'm still here and participating.

  27. #526
    I'm excited about this week. You guys have been great in your dedication and follow through and it'll be great to see what's changed since the first time we looked at these projects and how we see them this week.

    A small aside. A little while ago I talked about how important the warm up routine can be, to warm up the hands, and too, to sharpen the focus and connection between the ears, head, fingers and eye.
    A while ago, Mick and I embarked in a weekly session of life drawing (drawing with a live model) and I learned so much from this time.
    We'd always begin with a series of what we called "gestures", throw away warm up drawings that were designed to limber up the arm, fingers, wrists, establish a sense of space on the page and proportions in movement. They were typically 30 seconds to a minute or two, not much longer; don't think it, don't edit, don't try to make something that's a keeper.

    There are ways to do this musically too. You can pick gestures like a long upward sweep to your notes, a series of sticcatto notes, an arc with a flourish, a short downward sweep from a note in a high register, a short melody in an area of the fingerboard you're not usually used to starting in, some variation of that melody somewhere completely different without thinking about interval accuracy...just to keep your hands moving, the line moving and not looking back.
    It's a minute that gets you away from overthinking.
    You might try this before you start your project work this week. See if you see any kind of difference.
    For kicks.

  28. #527

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    Just to clarify this week's assignment. Every day will be something different? It won't be 6 days of Cherokee, but with a new brisker target tempo? If that's correct, what tempo should we begin with? Forgive me if all of this will be explained tomorrow. Thanks!

  29. #528
    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Just to clarify this week's assignment. Every day will be something different? It won't be 6 days of Cherokee, but with a new brisker target tempo? If that's correct, what tempo should we begin with? Forgive me if all of this will be explained tomorrow. Thanks!
    Yup. Begin where you're comfortable. The end of week guideline is for a 132 target. But take it where you're comfortable and be careful not to overpace yourself, at least in the project time.
    Yes we'll use all 6 pieces we've worked on, one each day, applying what we know and what we've learned about these pieces and how we tackle them.
    The lead sheet is as posted. I'll put the new one up each day at the end of the day or you can just scroll back and get them as they were originally posted.
    Post your observations and questions, we'll share our own solutions and praises.

  30. #529

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Yup. Begin where you're comfortable. The end of week guideline is for a 132 target. But take it where you're comfortable and be careful not to overpace yourself, at least in the project time.
    Yes we'll use all 6 pieces we've worked on, one each day, applying what we know and what we've learned about these pieces and how we tackle them.
    The lead sheet is as posted. I'll put the new one up each day at the end of the day or you can just scroll back and get them as they were originally posted.
    Post your observations and questions, we'll share our own solutions and praises.
    Thank you, JBN! I really appreciate all your invaluable help.

  31. #530

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    I don't know if this is verboten to discuss, but it is easy enough to find .pdf copies of Superchops online to download for free. Not sure what the copyright ramifications are for an out of print book, but I thought I would mention it.

  32. #531
    Quote Originally Posted by Socraticaster
    I don't know if this is verboten to discuss, but it is easy enough to find .pdf copies of Superchops online to download for free. Not sure what the copyright ramifications are for an out of print book, but I thought I would mention it.
    I have a hard copy but the online one is easier to cut and paste for this thread so I use this resource all the time. I, for one, am grateful and do highly recommend anyone who has the time to read it. It's full of all sorts of tips and his very personal and insightful ideas about creating lines, how to practice, examples of all the projects and discussions about creating vocabulary to try out. Definitely, looking carefully at HR's material in the book can and will help you in the efforts to make you a more complete soloist.
    Howard Roberts - Superchops.pdf - [PDF Document]
    I believe the actual hard copy books are out of print. It's a shame, because becoming a soloist does require a multifaceted skillset that is different with everyone. Howard Roberts was a VERY exceptional player and an excellent teacher. This book offers so much besides the pages I post here.
    Thanks Socraticaster for the mention!

  33. #532

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    Week 7 Day 1. 90BPM. Using the "official" ireal pro backing track. Well that was certainly interesting. First time through this project I was using the standard changes/form for Cherokee. So I wasn't really prepared to tackle HB's take on this classic. The different approach to the chords and the interesting CODA really kept me from getting beyond a rather pedestrian set of choruses. But I got out the otherside in one piece so onward to Db tomorrow!

  34. #533

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    Week 7. Day 1. Cherokee in Bb at 110 bpm. Ah, it was nice to visit an old familiar friend. After struggling with "Angel Eyes" the last couple weeks this was easier to negotiate. Especially in Bb. Felt like some of the ideas I had uncovered weeks ago reappeared in a good way. I could've bumped up the bpm, but I didn't want to overdo it. So are we doing Cherokee in Db tomorrow? Sorry. I'm still a bit confused by this portion of the course.

  35. #534
    Day 2. Tune a day week. Db Cherokee
    No time to obsess on the piece for more than a day, you should be utilizing a vocabulary that you're building up, mixing it up to make fresh and interesting contrasts and playing with the guidance of your ear.
    Are you noticing a confidence in your ideas, an increasing complexity in the things that you can do? How is it feeling? Are you hungry for new ideas to try out as far as linear vocabulary or are you satisfied with where you are? Read HR's section on the learning curve and plateaus. When you feel a confidence in scales and arpeggios as sound and technique, and develop an ease of moving from one position on the fingerboard to another (don't forget single string playing, up and down the neck), one option will be to use the essential elements of movement and develop a good working proficiency with ornamentation of notes. Let me know if you'd ever want to embark in a discussion of line ornamentation.
    But before we go there, your ear and your fingers, your eye to where you are on the neck and the melodies within each position should be pretty comfortable, even a little boring in their familiarity. Look for places to move on to when you're restless with where you are. This is how it works.
    Here's Tuesday's project. Cherokee based form with harmonic workouts in Db. Have fun!
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-19-2-35-08-am-png

  36. #535

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    JBN, I'd love to hear your take on ornamentation!

  37. #536

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    JBN, I'd love to hear your take on ornamentation!
    I agree with, guido5!

  38. #537
    Hey, it's Baubles and More today!
    Before you begin on the tune, break the tune into separate landmarks; break up the landscape. Either tonality, section, key areas, "letter" sections... Take a run through without worrying, thinking or trying to find the "correct" notes. They can be total non musical notes, (scratching, tapping, muted notes, chord segments-whatever) and "eaer" your way through a chorus or two paying attention only to where the segments are. Make this an exercise for colouring each distinct section with some kind of free playing. Just a minute's worth or so. Use this to get a feel for the form. Then go back and start your regular project work.
    THis will get your awareness of the form, your movement and accordingly your readiness to make sound in place. Have fun.
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-19-7-53-44-pm-png

  39. #538

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    Is BB&B for day 2 or day 3? I thought were were on day 2 Cherokee in Db...

  40. #539

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Is BB&B for day 2 or day 3? I thought were were on day 2 Cherokee in Db...
    Me, too!

  41. #540

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    Week 7 Day 1. 90BPM. Cherokee Db. Using the "official" ireal pro backing track. Actually I like where this falls better than the Bb version. Generally felt looser, but still felt somewhat like I was in unfamiliar territory. But I could stay with the changes, even in a somewhat uninspiring fashion. I'd certainly play more interesting lines at a slower tempo but that doesn't seem to be the point... I again feel like I have a vocabulary at my fingertips shortage...

    On to BB&B tomorrow...

  42. #541
    I was posting for tomorrow (thinking I'd put tomorrow's news out there early). Yeah Tuesday it's Cherokee II and Wednesday is BB. Hey. Frankly, I lost all track of normal time somewhere around early December (is it Christmas yet?) but yes Wednesday new tune.
    I'll also discuss ornamentation and embellished essential tones. I'm putting something together and it'll change the way you look at what you can do!

  43. #542

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    Looking forward to that!

    (Try retirement during a pandemic if you want to loose all sense of time and space...)
    Last edited by guido5; 01-20-2021 at 07:19 AM.

  44. #543

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    Week 7. Day 2 of Cherokee this time in Db at 115 bpm. The first time through took a little adjustment to Db, but then it all started coming back to me. Especially how to approach the 7#11 chords. This has been fascinating to revisit these exercises that we spent so much time on and see that some of that work actually stuck!

  45. #544

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    Week 7 Day 3. 90 BPM. Highly modified BB&B ireal pro backing. Yet another one that I had been playing with a modified version of the actual tune not HR's altered version. I slogged through about 6 choruses of the "official" HR version but then threw in the towel and went to my modified version. I'm sure I'm missing all the value from the lesson but the simpler cleaner version is so much more enjoyable to play over. Instead of struggle it felt like dancing. Interesting ideas and really fun. Best time I have had with the instrument in quite some time...

  46. #545
    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Week 7 Day 3. 90 BPM. Highly modified BB&B ireal pro backing. Yet another one that I had been playing with a modified version of the actual tune not HR's altered version. I slogged through about 6 choruses of the "official" HR version but then threw in the towel and went to my modified version. I'm sure I'm missing all the value from the lesson but the simpler cleaner version is so much more enjoyable to play over. Instead of struggle it felt like dancing. Interesting ideas and really fun. Best time I have had with the instrument in quite some time...
    I'd been considering presenting "graded" versions of these projects, or at least identifying the devices that make up the challenging measures so they can be studied for their detail as well as the joy of the overall form.
    HR does take standard forms, and plant some very hip "land mines" throughout and within them. I'm thinking it'd be good to learn to defuse those mines so they don't detract from the lesson aspect. For instance the projects are filled with tritone substitutions, and reharmonizations of those substitutions. This really opens up one's ears, and challenges one to hear your way through an otherwise straightforward set of original turnarounds. But if your ear can't appreciate the flow of the original, and then hear the same flow re-imagined in a hip sub, then it's not productive, at least to the degree that it could be.
    It's most important that you hear the song form in a way that you can apply yourself and really play with.
    I'd definitely recommend finding the essence of the piece and work towards complexity. That's a good way to use a week's time on a project. This will be really evident in the pieces we will meet next week.
    If you have fun, if you hear it and engage deeply, you're getting it!

  47. #546
    Bauble-ing in a new location:
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-20-9-43-37-pm-png

  48. #547

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    I'd been considering presenting "graded" versions of these projects, or at least identifying the devices that make up the challenging measures so they can be studied for their detail as well as the joy of the overall form.
    HR does take standard forms, and plant some very hip "land mines" throughout and within them. I'm thinking it'd be good to learn to defuse those mines so they don't detract from the lesson aspect. For instance the projects are filled with tritone substitutions, and reharmonizations of those substitutions. This really opens up one's ears, and challenges one to hear your way through an otherwise straightforward set of original turnarounds. But if your ear can't appreciate the flow of the original, and then hear the same flow re-imagined in a hip sub, then it's not productive, at least to the degree that it could be.
    It's most important that you hear the song form in a way that you can apply yourself and really play with.
    I'd definitely recommend finding the essence of the piece and work towards complexity. That's a good way to use a week's time on a project. This will be really evident in the pieces we will meet next week.
    If you have fun, if you hear it and engage deeply, you're getting it!
    For someone going through this path for the first time a slightly less complex take would definitely make the material more accessible. But for me the question boils down to "is the goal to get the harmonic complexity under control or to become more free playing over moving harmony?"
    It's funny, I actually prefer HR's take on Cherokee than the Ray Noble changes, the A sections are way more interesting to play on in the HR version. And given another week to get his BB&B take under my fingers I'd probably do ok with it too. Just dropping in on it cold without preparation is a bit harsh...

  49. #548
    Some ideas from HR
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-20-9-46-39-pm-pngHoward Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2021-01-20-9-46-57-pm-png
    There's plenty to choose from here, but let me randomly pick out some ideas to chew on.
    He's in the high registers here. Do you ever avoid the high registers of the instrument?
    Do you tend to play your arpeggios from the root up? Measure 7 has an example of changing direction to shake things up. The effect creates interest and unpredictability. And it sounds good to break a line. It then changes direction and takes the line up again. Try these things with scale lines and arpeggios.
    Measure 11 has a sequence of thirds going up the scale. Great device for advancing a line and setting up a more lyrical passage.
    Measure 13 uses repeated notes to contrast with other notes that move.

    Now you can take these ideas and when you're feeling stale, explore these ideas, make them musical and transmute them into things that are your own.

    Someone told me a story about going to see Coltrane, while he had a week long residence at the Vanguard. He went early in the week. Trane was playing patterns, and it sounded like him practicing scales and scale fragments. It didn't sound inspired at all. Focused and fluid, yes, but inspired or musical, no. So my friend left feeling that he was missing something. On the way out, somebody at the door saw him looking dejected. He said "Come back Friday". That's all he said.
    Friday he came back and there it was, those same patterns had been worked and kneaded, stretched and spun into something that only bore a resemblance to what he'd played Monday. It was so powerful by then that my friend went back Saturday. And Sunday.

    Work it. Keep your ears open. Take one idea and really find out all it holds, and then make it your own.

  50. #549
    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Just dropping in on it cold without preparation is a bit harsh...
    It gets easier. The more acute your ear gets, the more you can have the mental backing track running all the time. All this comes in pieces: Ear, Fingers, Harmonic awareness, Vocabulary. It's non linear. So if you find something that you can grab onto, use it to open up the other aspects.
    If you're playing, If you're moving, If you're coming out of each session having put something of yourself into it, you're doing the right thing.
    I can't overemphasize the importance of warm up and prep. Even in practice. Especially in practice. It carries through to the process you'll find integral to playing your best in performance.

  51. #550

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    Week 7. Day 3 of BBB at 120 bpm. This was definitely a bit challenging. Especially going at it cold. In other words, I didn't spend some time to try and plan out ways to approach the "land mines" as JBN aptly put it. It's always those 7#11 chords that I need to spend a moment with to see how I can best tackle them. I definitely hit some clunkers, but there were some surprisingly nice moments, too. Following Howard's embellished changes can create some wonderful surprises when all goes well. I'm trying to follow my ear more and more. Admittedly I am playing along with iReal Pro and looking at the changes as they go by, but I'm trying to let go of the patterns on the fretboard when possible and follow my ear. Especially over the land mines. Often this ends up being more musical, at least to me.