Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 30 of 30
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Willie's name has come up here a few times over the years. He's in his 80s now and still playing. His website, "Jazz Everyone," has recently been updated and I've signed on as a "dues paying" member. (A free membership is available with limited access to course material.)

    Wondering if anyone else here is working with this material now, or has worked with it in the past and found it useful. (Hint, hint.)

    One thing I love about his playing is its rhythmic variety and force. I think that's what I most need to work on now.

    About Jazz Everyone - Jazz Everyone

    Here's a bit by Willie on "pentatonic pairs." (This is the FIRST step, not the final step, of his system.) The heart of what he does is solid jazz vocabulary. This will NOT all make sense the first time 'round, but the bits of him playing should make clear he knows his stuff. Not just, or even mainly, chops (though he has chops), but rhythm, feel, and melody.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Looking forward to your interpretation of what Willie means by "Pentatonic Pairs"...

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Looking forward to your interpretation of what Willie means by "Pentatonic Pairs"...
    It's a pair of notes a whole step apart. ;o)
    His system is fairly simple and straightforward but it can seem confusing. He starts with a pair of notes, then four, not even a full pentatonic scale yet (NO THIRDS, to start with.) Just 5th and 6th, root and 2nd. There's a lot of music in those four notes, especially if you can vary the rhythms and articulations.

    The idea is that these 'pairs' form natural melodies (-or jazzy melodies) through the changes of the standard repertoire. He says he got this idea from Wynton Kelly, who told him the jazz language was a lot of simple melodies you could vary in a thousand ways.

    I have company coming today and much to do before their arrival. When they leave, I'll make a short vid with a couple riffy things that show how you can get a lot out of a few pairs.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    interesting stuff. His presentation reminds me of richie zellon
    White belt
    My Youtube

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Some of what Willie does vis a vis "Perdido." He builds bit by bit on the simplest of foundations.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Man, a member here sent me a recording of himself playing over some tunes Willie wants students "to know and blow" and it was first rate stuff. I wish he'd post it here. (Hint, hint.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Man, a member here sent me a recording of himself playing over some tunes Willie wants students "to know and blow" and it was first rate stuff. I wish he'd post it here. (Hint, hint.)


    Hello again Mark, thanks again for the kind words. A little background,


    There have been several Willie threads over the years, and I’ve posted in them before, and I believe Mark remembered that. He recently alerted me to the new thread, and we chatted about the new site, etc.

    I have been asked several times about Willies stuff, but I’m always a little hesitant to give away someone else’s secrets, you know? So after the most recent request I figured, Willie taught me so much, the least I could do is try to spread a little more awareness of his awesome method among the guitar community. Also, I know that my experience with fingerings, putting it all together, etc, could really help those who are already studying his stuff.

    So, I figured I would reach out to Willie and see if he was interested. I only contacted them a few days ago, so I don’t know what will come of it, hoping for the best. Anyway I tend to record some practice sessions, so I took a recording of me blowing over a few tunes this past weekend, and sent it along to Willy. These were never meant to be shared, and are simply one take through the tunes, so please forgive the recording quality and my scatting.

    What I can tell you is I never would have gotten here without Willie. I’m forever in his debt. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!!!




  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    Hello again Mark, thanks again for the kind words. A little background,


    There have been several Willie threads over the years, and I’ve posted in them before, and I believe Mark remembered that. He recently alerted me to the new thread, and we chatted about the new site, etc.

    I have been asked several times about Willies stuff, but I’m always a little hesitant to give away someone else’s secrets, you know? So after the most recent request I figured, Willie taught me so much, the least I could do is try to spread a little more awareness of his awesome method among the guitar community. Also, I know that my experience with fingerings, putting it all together, etc, could really help those who are already studying his stuff.
    Man, that's fine stuff!
    As for giving away secrets, I don't think that should be a worry. I mean, if someone asked you for all the lessons or something, that would be one thing, but for here, I think what would be useful is making what Willie teaches strike guitarists as something they should check out for themselves. And part of that is distinguishing it from other things they may have seen. (For example, "Isn't CAGED the same five shapes that have been around for years, just not under that name?" Or, "In what way do so-and-so's technical exercises differ from the ones we've all seen before?") ) Playing, as you do here, seems the perfect demonstration to me.

    It sounds good, it flows, it's improv, and there's no noodling in it. The rhythmic variety is especially strong. You obviously know what you're doing. That comes across. And when you say, "I couldn't have got to this point without Willie's material," well that certainly makes me want to check it out further!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Man, that's fine stuff!
    As for giving away secrets, I don't think that should be a worry. I mean, if someone asked you for all the lessons or something, that would be one thing, but for here, I think what would be useful is making what Willie teaches strike guitarists as something they should check out for themselves. And part of that is distinguishing it from other things they may have seen. (For example, "Isn't CAGED the same five shapes that have been around for years, just not under that name?" Or, "In what way do so-and-so's technical exercises differ from the ones we've all seen before?") ) Playing, as you do here, seems the perfect demonstration to me.

    It sounds good, it flows, it's improv, and there's no noodling in it. The rhythmic variety is especially strong. You obviously know what you're doing. That comes across. And when you say, "I couldn't have got to this point without Willie's material," well that certainly makes me want to check it out further!




    thanks again, let’s let a few more days go by and if I don’t hear back from them, I’ll look into what he already gives away free on YouTube, which is a LOT, and I’ll make a video and post it here. Talk soon.


    ps I don’t believe Willie runs the site anymore so who knows who I’m contacting on the site. Did you ever receive an answer back when you contacted them?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    thanks again, let’s let a few more days go by and if I don’t hear back from them, I’ll look into what he already gives away free on YouTube, which is a LOT, and I’ll make a video and post it here. Talk soon.


    ps I don’t believe Willie runs the site anymore so who knows who I’m contacting on the site. Did you ever receive an answer back when you contacted them?
    Sounds great. Thanks.

    Wendy Thomas (Willie's daughter, I presume) and her husband Oliver ("Ollie") Groenwald run the site now. (I think he's a horn player too.) I've had a few responses from Ollie about questions I had when I first signed on. Sent in a question yesterday asking if Willie knew the work / teaching of Barry Harris and whether he thought their systems had anything in common. No answer yet, but that's not a surprise.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    In one of his lessons on the beat ("The beat goes on") Willie talks about "playing toward the beat" and "playing away from the beat."

    "The message is this. It's the rhythm that determines the styles in jazz. The beat is always the same. However, placing accents on different beats in different places changes the style from swing to (jazz)rock to Latin."
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Sounds great. Thanks.

    Wendy Thomas (Willie's daughter, I presume) and her husband Oliver ("Ollie") Groenwald run the site now. (I think he's a horn player too.) I've had a few responses from Ollie about questions I had when I first signed on. Sent in a question yesterday asking if Willie knew the work / teaching of Barry Harris and whether he thought their systems had anything in common. No answer yet, but that's not a surprise.


    I would say there are some parallels. The first that comes to mind is that they’re not saying use xyz fancy scale. They both get a LOT done with just very basic scales. If you can’t make good music with a major scale, altered isn’t going to do you much good.

    I think Barry’s harmonic approach is his strength from a teaching standpoint. Willie doesn’t do a whole lot of that. Oh, I owe uncle Barry some thanks too!!!



    Heres the thing though, Willie from a teacher standpoint, is in another universe. Barry is the type of teacher you have to listen for ten minutes to hopefully catch that little nugget of gold. “Ya see, ya got to play it like this”

    Willies system is an amazingly well thought out beginning to end step by step approach to playing, and most importantly hearing bebop. That’s the big reason I sing his praises. He’s the most well structured teacher I’ve ever seen.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    vintagelove that is some great playing! I will have to look into that method some day, just too much on my plate right now and I want to see it through.

    I'm curious about the scatting. Does Willie, being a horn player, suggest you put the horn down and sing your lines first?
    Last edited by JazzinNY; 04-20-2018 at 05:33 PM.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY View Post
    vintagelove that is some great playing! I will have to look into that method some day, just too much on my plate right now and I want to see it through.

    I'm curious about the scatting. Does Willie, being a horn player, suggest you put the horn down and sing your lines first?


    Thanks for the kind words. I’m from ny too!!! I’m up near Albany, you?

    He doesn’t to be honest. Like I mentioned above, I never recorded these with a purpose/to share etc (my dad instilled in me the wisdom of the benefits gained by recording yourself, and analyzing it later. So it’s just something I do. It also helps with “red light fever”, that’s freezing up when you know you’re being recorded for those unfamiliar). I’m just sitting on the couch enjoying a Saturday blowing over a bunch of tunes while the (much) better half was doing some stuff around the house. I guess when I’m happy I sing.

    I will say this with regard to scattings benefits. Even more so than pitch, is it’s rhythmic importance. It ensures you’re thinking rhythmically. It sounds silly, but thinking rhythmically is literally half the battle. Slap some interesting notes on there and you’re generally in pretty good shape.

    thanks again and take care.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    I will say this with regard to scattings benefits. Even more so than pitch, is it’s rhythmic importance. It ensures you’re thinking rhythmically. It sounds silly, but thinking rhythmically is literally half the battle. Slap some interesting notes on there and you’re generally in pretty good shape.
    I agree. It's all about the rhythm. Herb Ellis always stressed "singing what you play, or playing what you sing, whichever way you want to say it." He said Joe Pass and Wes did that too. Oscar Peterson did. Barney Kessel. Herb said horn players did it too but you can't tell because they have of the horn in their mouth.

    I'm working in Willie's old book "Jazz Anyone...?" Book 1, and it stresses the rhythms of phrases. The simplest things come alive with rhythmic variety and varied accents.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    I'm in the city, the Big Apple, jazz capital of the world.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY View Post
    I'm in the city, the Big Apple, jazz capital of the world.
    I think some Mingus is in order....

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    One of the things Willie put a lot of work into is his "Tunes To Know And Blow" series. In-depth treatments of ten tunes:
    Out of Nowhere * ATTYA * Stella * Green Dolphin Street * Ladybird * Perdido * TWNBAY * Just Friends * Satin Doll * Autumn Leaves *

    I'm working with the ATTYA material now. Great stuff.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Made this video to share with Charles (-vintagelove), who is "further on up the road" in this approach. Might as well put it here too.

    Step one (-for Willie) in learning a tune is to learn the melody and changes.
    Step two is to play the pentatonic pairs over it. (This may be one of those things that after you've done it several times, you don't need to anymore. I still need to do it.)
    So that's what I'm doing here.
    I have a chart where the pairs are written out but the real challenge is how to finger things. (When to continue upward and when to switch back to a lower register.) Moreover, how to orient oneself on the fretboard. What I'm doing here doesn't lay out in the way I've been playing---ye olde 5-position approach---but the guitar is tuned in 4ths and lots of standard changes move in 4ths (esp this tune and other "cyclic" ones such as "Autumn Leaves"), so the guitar may have an advantage in this regard.

    The pairs here are the 5&6 and 1&2 of chords. (These are the same for major, minor, and dominant chords.) 3rds come later, and 7ths later still.

    When you have lots of chord / key changes, this little exercise gets hairier than one might expect.

    The backing track (irealpro) is louder than the guitar.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    From that clip in OP, it looks very much like the way I taught my self to play solos over chords (not Jazz, but in general), before someone turned me onto scales. I was never systematic about it and I did not play Jazz, but yes, basic 4 tones that sound good over "everything", then as they come, add notes 3 frets away, then 4, 1, 2 ... (are there any more, really?) ..., as they come ..., then approaches and enclosures ... displacing octaves ... at the time I did not even know what a pentatonic was.

    I subscribed to free option, curious to see if there's more to it as a system, or it is all in examples and variations on theme, though I doubt I will really give it a second look.
    ^ ^ ^
    <<< My BlogSpot Page >>>
    v v v

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    From that clip in OP, it looks very much like the way I taught my self to play solos over chords (not Jazz, but in general), before someone turned me onto scales. I was never systematic about it and I did not play Jazz, but yes, basic 4 tones that sound good over "everything", then as they come, add notes 3 frets away, then 4, 1, 2 ... (are there any more, really?) ..., as they come ..., then approaches and enclosures ... displacing octaves ... at the time I did not even know what a pentatonic was.

    I subscribed to free option, curious to see if there's more to it as a system, or it is all in examples and variations on theme, though I doubt I will really give it a second look.
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    Willie's a serious player and teacher. In his 80s now---not sure how much longer he'll be active, but the main body of his teaching is done and should endure.

    He got started at this through Wynton Kelly, a great jazz pianist. They met in an Army band. Something Willie says is that when you chain the pairs though moving chords you get good melodies. I think a lot of folk music (and other "unschooled" genre) do this without thinking about it. When I look back at some things I wrote as a kid, I had no idea what I was doing. I tinkered around and when something struck me as cool, I tinkered with it until it came out right. ("Right" being what sounded cool to me at the time.)

    A big part of what Willie does is to focus on rhythm. I think that's the general shortcoming of guitar instruction aimed at beginners / intermediates. Willie can make four notes generate a lot of good jazz by varying the rhythms and accents. (Horn players may focus on this more than guitarists tend to.)

    But he goes way beyond this is his own improv. This is the very beginning.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I don't quite see any advantage in limiting early improvs to just 4 of the 5 possible pentatonic notes. Why not just use maj and dominant 5 note pentatonics as a starting point? Still way easier than full modes, plus easier to "see" chromatic links for the 5 notes. I understand he adds the 3rd and 7th later, but why wait?

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I don't quite see any advantage in limiting early improvs to just 4 of the 5 possible pentatonic notes. Why not just use maj and dominant 5 note pentatonics as a starting point? Still way easier than full modes, plus easier to "see" chromatic links for the 5 notes. I understand he adds the 3rd and 7th later, but why wait?


    Thats because you dont understand his system. What Mark played there is just step 1. It’s the framework/roadmap of the tune on the guitar.

    step by step you build on this framework until you’re eventually playing the upper structures of every dominant chord, all sorts of chromatic goodness, blues, etc.


    notice how much he is moving around the fretboard (and that’s just step 1)? He wouldn’t be doing that if he were just playing the “scale approach”). This is how you really learn to play the changes. The sooner you abandon thinking scales, the better. At least if you want to play bebop.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    But it's just one of many "systems"... and certainly not one tailor made to suit the guitar (not that any system should)...

    Bebop came from Swing as we all know, yet why is it that many players who wish to get some Bop language start with Bebop instead of looking at what informed Bebop? Take Pres, he played Pentatonics, lots of them, and worked in embellishments (diatonic and chromatic) to help disguise them. So I recommend to novices to learn some Swing language before developing it further into Bop, like Bird did.

    It just so happens that guitarists know their pentatonics before they come to Jazz, maybe not the Dominant or Diminished variations (let alone the many ways to sub pents for many situations) -So they may as well put that to use right away! I've found that players who are taught arpeggios and then how to embellish them don't play the swing/bop language as readily as players who simply add the 9 to the arps (instant pentatonic), or a 6/9 for maj. Showing a player how to chromatically "fill" between these important chord tones (including 6, 9 and sometimes 11 as in min pents over maj etc) instantly has them sounding Jazzy as opposed to the way they used to use these block scales for Rock/Blues.

    Ultimately, all roads lead to the same place, where all the chromatic embellishments, upper structure melodicism etc lead to Bop and beyond, but I just can't see many guitarists getting on with Willie's approach, which may have worked for Piano players and trumpeters in the past, but might just serve to confuse or frustrate the novice jazz guitarist. And well may you say "Don't knock it til you try it", which is fair enough, but there would need to be at least a hot shot Bop guitarist who comes along and touts the Willie system as having been his main approach. Until then, everyone's a guinea pig...

    Don't wanna offend anyone, just wanted to put out there that there is a lack of effective pedagogy, consistent, clear and with shining examples of it's proponents where it can be shown to take a player from Clapton to say CC, or Kessell, or Raney etc... If there was such a "method", there would be a lot more players crossing over to Jazz. Sure, the way things are currently means that everyone crosses over in different ways, which is great of course, but in this age of internet learning having too many ways to learn Bop is probably confusing the poor novice rather than helping him. Which is why I'd caution any player not to invest in any method not proven to be effective for the aspiring Jazz guitarist.

    On the other hand, if there's a guitarist out there that can wail like Willie who uses the same system, that might change everything....

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    But it's just one of many "systems"... and certainly not one tailor made to suit the guitar (not that any system should)...

    Bebop came from Swing as we all know, yet why is it that many players who wish to get some Bop language start with Bebop instead of looking at what informed Bebop? Take Pres, he played Pentatonics, lots of them, and worked in embellishments (diatonic and chromatic) to help disguise them. So I recommend to novices to learn some Swing language before developing it further into Bop, like Bird did.

    It just so happens that guitarists know their pentatonics before they come to Jazz, maybe not the Dominant or Diminished variations (let alone the many ways to sub pents for many situations) -So they may as well put that to use right away! I've found that players who are taught arpeggios and then how to embellish them don't play the swing/bop language as readily as players who simply add the 9 to the arps (instant pentatonic), or a 6/9 for maj. Showing a player how to chromatically "fill" between these important chord tones (including 6, 9 and sometimes 11 as in min pents over maj etc) instantly has them sounding Jazzy as opposed to the way they used to use these block scales for Rock/Blues.

    Ultimately, all roads lead to the same place, where all the chromatic embellishments, upper structure melodicism etc lead to Bop and beyond, but I just can't see many guitarists getting on with Willie's approach, which may have worked for Piano players and trumpeters in the past, but might just serve to confuse or frustrate the novice jazz guitarist. And well may you say "Don't knock it til you try it", which is fair enough, but there would need to be at least a hot shot Bop guitarist who comes along and touts the Willie system as having been his main approach. Until then, everyone's a guinea pig...

    Don't wanna offend anyone, just wanted to put out there that there is a lack of effective pedagogy, consistent, clear and with shining examples of it's proponents where it can be shown to take a player from Clapton to say CC, or Kessell, or Raney etc... If there was such a "method", there would be a lot more players crossing over to Jazz. Sure, the way things are currently means that everyone crosses over in different ways, which is great of course, but in this age of internet learning having too many ways to learn Bop is probably confusing the poor novice rather than helping him. Which is why I'd caution any player not to invest in any method not proven to be effective for the aspiring Jazz guitarist.

    On the other hand, if there's a guitarist out there that can wail like Willie who uses the same system, that might change everything....

    i truly don’t mean to offend, but everything about his system you just posted is wrong.


    everything you suggested learning, is exactly his system.


    did you not notice the notes he’s playing? 56121.

    guess what the second step is? Adding the 3rd to each chord, giving you a full pentatonic scale on each chord.

    then diatonic vocabulary, then chromatic passing tones, then playing upper structures, then diminished over dom, then descending chromatics, blues, etc.

    Like I said, step by step you build the vocabulary until you’re playing advanced stuff.



    lastly his system fits the guitar perfectly, and to be honest the only trick parts Mark played are because he fingered them that way (I advised him to learn to descend rather than make big jumps, but he’s tackling what he’s comfortable with first). Honestly, you’re looking at the first 3 letters of the alphabet and claiming it’s not an effective method for communication.



    btw, if you want to hear his system in the real world, check out Freddie Hubbard’s solo on maiden voyage. It is practically Willie 101.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I don't quite see any advantage in limiting early improvs to just 4 of the 5 possible pentatonic notes. Why not just use maj and dominant 5 note pentatonics as a starting point? Still way easier than full modes, plus easier to "see" chromatic links for the 5 notes. I understand he adds the 3rd and 7th later, but why wait?


    One thing, it didn’t hit me the first time I saw this.

    there is a very important reason for this. That little figure, pulls the ear up to the new key center. IMO it’s an absolutely critical element to his system. It teaches your ear to really hear the harmonic movement through a tune.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    One thing, it didn’t hit me the first time I saw this.

    there is a very important reason for this. That little figure, pulls the ear up to the new key center. IMO it’s an absolutely critical element to his system. It teaches your ear to really hear the harmonic movement through a tune.
    It does, and is an interesting aspect to his system, where you can imply changes without the 3 and 7. Just don't see how it's better to learn that before using 3rds. Mark can already play and he's road testing this system, it seems, to perhaps see what it's merits are. But if you were a beginner wouldn't you be more encouraged by the early practice if the lines you created were a little more melodic - i.e. - at least including 3rds?

    And you're right, there's much I do agree with about this type of basic approach (without me fully understanding it), as an alternative to the usual modes/arps drill prior to attempting any improv. I was just wondering if it could/should be tweaked to suit guitar players. Anyway, I'm happy to let Mark report in the weeks to come how the later stages build upon the earlier ones. I'll watch this space....

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    It does, and is an interesting aspect to his system, where you can imply changes without the 3 and 7. Just don't see how it's better to learn that before using 3rds. Mark can already play and he's road testing this system, it seems, to perhaps see what it's merits are. But if you were a beginner wouldn't you be more encouraged by the early practice if the lines you created were a little more melodic - i.e. - at least including 3rds?

    And you're right, there's much I do agree with about this type of basic approach (without me fully understanding it), as an alternative to the usual modes/arps drill prior to attempting any improv. I was just wondering if it could/should be tweaked to suit guitar players. Anyway, I'm happy to let Mark report in the weeks to come how the later stages build upon the earlier ones. I'll watch this space....


    Just fyi, I advised mark how to finger it roughly, and he did the above in a day. Now perhaps im wrong and parts of it he was working on himself, but as far as I know, he did the above in 1 day.

    With regard to your first question, why initially leave out the 3rd. I can think of a couple reasons. First, it’s easier with less notes, and there’s no chance for sounding bad with the pent pairs. Second, they create great little jazz melodies. Third, as an ear training device, they not only assist in really hearing your way through the tune, but once you have the sound of the pairs in your head, when you add the 3rd, the sound really hits you how the 3rd colors the chord.

    Hope that help understanding it. Take care.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    This exercise takes the pairs (5&6, 1&2) through the cycle in a series of ii-Vs. (One measure of the ii, one measure of the V7.)
    The rhythms start simple but become fairly complex by the end. (I flub several.)

    Somewhere Willie refers to the pairs as a "TPS" (on the analogy of a vehicle's GPS): Tonal Positioning System. This way you know where you are all the time.

    Lot of good music in just four notes.
    I think several of these lines are great. My playing is poor. Apologies. One drawback---for me, so far--- to using the pairs is that I have to pick notes on adjacent strings where I would normally pull off on a single string with my normal fingering / position playing. (Nothing in Willie's system speaks against pull-offs and slurs, but I'm lining up the pairs the same way in each key, regardless, so that awkwardness is there. And that's all on me, not Willie.)

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  31. #30
    I'm a baritone sax player and have been using the Willie Thomas method for over 10 years now. I agree with the comments that I've heard about how effective it is in getting your ear inside of the changes and making music out of it. The pentatonic pairs along with chromatic connectors is used as a kind of gps system to navigate through the chord changes and make music in the bebop mode.