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  1. #1

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    Corrections, fact checking etc welcome.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My research is clearly beyond reproach

  4. #3

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    Jim Hall's comping is astonishing.

    But, you can hear comping, not FG, on Her Name Is Julie in 1955 by Barney K. You can hear foreshadowing of it in 1952 by Johnny Smith. I checked out a 1952 Chuck Wayne album, but the comping is FG.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Jim Hall's comping is astonishing.

    But, you can hear comping, not FG, on Her Name Is Julie in 1955 by Barney K. You can hear foreshadowing of it in 1952 by Johnny Smith. I checked out a 1952 Chuck Wayne album, but the comping is FG.
    Oddly enough, I've heard teachers call comping "big band hits on guitar"

    Listening to the shout choruses that characterized Basie's band, or how the horns handled harmonizing the melody in Dukes band--the idea of compin didn't sound so far fetched.

    I think it was Ed Bickert who said that he wanted his guitar to sound like the horn section of a big band NOT a piano.

    Food for thought?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Oddly enough, I've heard teachers call comping "big band hits on guitar"

    Listening to the shout choruses that characterized Basie's band, or how the horns handled harmonizing the melody in Dukes band--the idea of compin didn't sound so far fetched.

    I think it was Ed Bickert who said that he wanted his guitar to sound like the horn section of a big band NOT a piano.

    Food for thought?
    Perhaps oddly, I recall an interview in which Jerry Garcia said he modeled part of his rhythm playing after horn section parts.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Jim Hall's comping is astonishing.

    But, you can hear comping, not FG, on Her Name Is Julie in 1955 by Barney K. You can hear foreshadowing of it in 1952 by Johnny Smith. I checked out a 1952 Chuck Wayne album, but the comping is FG.
    Cool, I was wondering about Barney K and Johnny Smiths place in the history of course - Chuck Wayne was a great rhythm player.

    They all were, that was the gig.

    Thanks for the info!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Oddly enough, I've heard teachers call comping "big band hits on guitar"

    Listening to the shout choruses that characterized Basie's band, or how the horns handled harmonizing the melody in Dukes band--the idea of compin didn't sound so far fetched.

    I think it was Ed Bickert who said that he wanted his guitar to sound like the horn section of a big band NOT a piano.

    Food for thought?
    Definitely hear the big band thing with Wes

  9. #8

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    Thanks Christian, good video on an interesting subject.

    I recently wrote a tune that modulates over different keys, and it turned out to be a puzzle to decide what key to use as the main key. Change of key in the middle of a song is no problem, the tricky part is to decide when to highlight a change in the score and what key (mode) to use. From the perspective of improvisation, we like to know the key/mode (this is more important than the chord symbols). We typically have to figure out the modes ourselves and this is when extended chord symbols could be of great help also for the improvising soloist.

    Melodic minor and Harmonic minor are not modes of the major scale, but exist as separate modes. It doesn't have to be complex, but we get complex looking chord names because we inherited a notation system based on the Ionian mode. It's like bashing a square peg into a round hole.

    So, notation could help a musician to understand or it could add to the confusion. It much depends on the individual musician and his approach to interpreting written music. For example; the arranger/ band leader/conductor may have different needs and preferences than the improvising soloist.

    And then there are all those little dissonances that make harmony exiting and have been used with a purpose by all the greats. A dissonance may or may not be a clash. It depends on the pitch, not the name of the note, and the instruments involved. For example; It's not possible to invert every chord and expect a musical outcome and again, preferred notation depends on purpose. -What if the lead note is not within the scale of the chord symbol? Extending the chord symbol helps us find the right key/mode for improvisation purposes.

  10. #9

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    Part 2:

    Your observations;

    "Nowadays it's like the chords are the most important thing"
    "from harmonization of melody to melodization of harmony"
    "This is a massive thing, lots of modern jazz composition fall into this category"
    "We learn tunes from chord symbols and lead sheets"

    Yeah, why not? I think it's an interesting development, BUT crafting melodies must not get second priority. Let's say I write a tune and start by writing harmony with the purpose of adding a melody in step 2. If harmony constrains melody, I must reiterate and change harmony for melody to find its way. It's a common way of writing and it works. I have practiced writing like if my only tool was a horn, writing melodies emulating harmonies by scales, arpeggios and patterns. But the process I prefer these days is to write melody and harmony simultaneously, bar by bar. Anyway, sometimes a melody have a life without any accompanying harmony, sometimes harmony speaks without a lead melody. Most of the time they exist in symbiosis.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    Part 2:

    Your observations;

    "Nowadays it's like the chords are the most important thing"
    "from harmonization of melody to melodization of harmony"
    "This is a massive thing, lots of modern jazz composition fall into this category"
    "We learn tunes from chord symbols and lead sheets"

    Yeah, why not? I think it's an interesting development, BUT crafting melodies must not get second priority. Let's say I write a tune and start by writing harmony with the purpose of adding a melody in step 2. If harmony constrains melody, I must reiterate and change harmony for melody to find its way. It's a common way of writing and it works. I have practiced writing like if my only tool was a horn, writing melodies emulating harmonies by scales, arpeggios and patterns. But the process I prefer these days is to write melody and harmony simultaneously, bar by bar. Anyway, sometimes a melody have a life without any accompanying harmony, sometimes harmony speaks without a lead melody. Most of the time they exist in symbiosis.
    I was keen to be non value judgmental about it, if you’ll excuse the convoluted sentence construction :-)

    I sometimes feel it’s enough simply to learn about the history and observe some forks in the road that might present interesting adventures, as well as elucidate the differences in styles, epochs and approaches.

    My compositional process varies radically from tune to tune. But usually, I am chords first. However I did write a tune with melody first and I’m really pleased with it. Ended up being a song.... very old school.

    I do feel if a melody can’t stand on it’s own it’s not a strong melody. That melody doesn’t have to be conventionally tonal or modal necessarily, but it must be strong .

    I think the great modern jazz composers have melodies that stand on their own. Wayne for instance. Some of the Kurt stuff too actually. Kenny Wheeler etc.

    I just think there’s a lot of melody free contemporary music in general. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think I want melody to be central plank of what I do.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    Thanks Christian, good video on an interesting subject.

    I recently wrote a tune that modulates over different keys, and it turned out to be a puzzle to decide what key to use as the main key. Change of key in the middle of a song is no problem, the tricky part is to decide when to highlight a change in the score and what key (mode) to use. From the perspective of improvisation, we like to know the key/mode (this is more important than the chord symbols). We typically have to figure out the modes ourselves and this is when extended chord symbols could be of great help also for the improvising soloist.
    In terms of standards if you are experienced with this repertoire, I have to say this is rarely a problem. Extensions are normally diatonic to the prevailing key or a closely related one (which is no surprise because that’s what the extensions in these charts are those related to the melody notes.)

    So, you’ll normally see #11 not Nat11 on a IV7, bVI7, II7 or bVII7 for instance. Not on a V7 so much (unless it’s a b5 and you can usually tell the difference by the other notes in the chord and the way it resolves.)

    Playing piano really helps with this btw. I can’t recommend it enough. Just play everything in C major.

    There’s no need to observe the written extensions implied by the tune in your solo, unless you have a insensitive accompanist who learned jazz out of a chord scale book :-)

    In bebop we don’t really pay any attention. You can if you want of course. But bebop accompaniment is usually shell voicings right? And even where it isn’t, players back then were perfectly happy to clash, because they knew how to resolve.

    And if you play without another chordist you have a lot of freedom.

    In terms of more modern tunes it’s usually written out in the chords and the you just do the thing.

    Melodic minor and Harmonic minor are not modes of the major scale, but exist as separate modes. It doesn't have to be complex, but we get complex looking chord names because we inherited a notation system based on the Ionian mode. It's like bashing a square peg into a round hole.

    So, notation could help a musician to understand or it could add to the confusion. It much depends on the individual musician and his approach to interpreting written music. For example; the arranger/ band leader/conductor may have different needs and preferences than the improvising soloist.

    And then there are all those little dissonances that make harmony exiting and have been used with a purpose by all the greats. A dissonance may or may not be a clash. It depends on the pitch, not the name of the note, and the instruments involved. For example; It's not possible to invert every chord and expect a musical outcome and again, preferred notation depends on purpose. -What if the lead note is not within the scale of the chord symbol? Extending the chord symbol helps us find the right key/mode for improvisation purposes.
    Well melodic minor harmony is like an extra layer you can paint on standards, but it’s not necessary to play those tunes - for the reasons I described above.

    ‘If the lead note is not within the scale of the chord symbol?’ I’m not sure what you mean by that. Do you have an example?

  13. #12

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    For a while, I could never make chords sound musical when I read them off a chord chart. I know I'm gonna sound "new age", but I think reading the sheet music of harmony as it relates to the song--that helped me the most. You know, like Barry Galbraith's Comping book from his Jazz Study Guide Series? That book made the most profound change in my playing. I was able to see the voice leading, the changes in harmonic density, and the thematic development in CHORDAL playing. Barry's material was where the light went off in my head--you can tell a story with your accompaniment.

    We often simplify this by saying "just play some drop voicings on the top four and five strings--and put an interesting melody on top". Great accompaniment is SO MUCH MORE than that.

    Right now, just like Jordan K., I'm obsessed with triads--however, my reference point is a little different. The next book that had a profound effect was George Van Eps's Guitar Method (not to be confused with his Harmonic Mechanisms series). For the longest while, I tried to translate the triads I worked on into the constraints of a tune. I tried to look at a tune in the Real Book and apply triads--it never worked.

    I soon realized that I needed to LISTEN--and play along with my favorite piano players. I also realized that I needed to figure out how to simplify harmony as much as possible before I could really create the harmonic movements I wanted to play. I'm more interested in the whole "simultaneous melodies that meet up at the same time" thing--harmony as linear, as opposed to harmony that is vertical "chord to chord to chord".

    Drop voicings are so entrenched in jazz guitar vocabulary that it was hard to find people that understood my vision (it's not my vision--I didn't come up with it--but this is how I want to comp). Luckily I found two, one who I've never met in person (Steve Herbermen) and a local Washingtonian not too far from where I live. The further I get into this study of melodic triads--for accompaniment, I wish I could apply them holistically like Jordan K.--the more and more I realize how incompatible jazz charts (especially from the Real Book) really are.

    Maybe we need a figured base nomenclature? Maybe we just need a chart with guide tones and no chord labels? I still use charts when I don't know the tune, but it's always for comping and never for soloing. I hope, in a couple of years, to experience the same harmonic freedom that I have with my single line improvisations--with triadic movement.
    Last edited by Irez87; 07-05-2019 at 02:30 PM.

  14. #13

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    Interesting topic. One thing I didn't quite understand is if the discussion is mainly about improvisation using chord charts or if it also concerns comping.
    On the comping side of things, there seems to be two alternative approaches that determine how one sees chord charts:

    1. Minimalist: Between the bass and soloist, comping harmonies is really redundant. Compers job is mainly rhythmic. The nature of the rhythmic role also depends on whether there is a drummer or not. Without a drummer, even Freddie Greene style can be the appropriate choice. With drummer it's way subtler. Stabs of shells or dyiads sprinkled here and there.

    2. Orchestrater: Comper's job is to take the chart as a blueprint make an arrangement that sounds like having a big band horn section backing the soloist. Create movements with passing chords, secondary dominants, approach chords, quartal harmony, inversions etc. Reverse engineer all the implied chromatic movements of chord voices in adjacent chords and create counter melodies etc.

    I think there is a great value in taking a plain Jane chart and being able to do "2" while bringing out the melody. It's not always appropriate to comp that way, but for guitarist and pianist, it's a great way to learn a tune. There are also times when doing "2" really elevates the band and the music.
    For the situations that falls in the category of "1", may be how one sees the charts isn't as important, right?
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Interesting topic. One thing I didn't quite understand is if the discussion is mainly about improvisation using chord charts or if it also concerns comping.
    On the comping side of things, there seems to be two alternative approaches that determine how one sees chord charts:

    1. Minimalist: Between the bass and soloist, comping harmonies is really redundant. Compers job is mainly rhythmic. The nature of the rhythmic role also depends on whether there is a drummer or not. Without a drummer, even Freddie Greene style can be the appropriate choice. With drummer it's way subtler. Stabs of shells or dyiads sprinkled here and there.

    2. Orchestrater: Comper's job is to take the chart as a blueprint make an arrangement that sounds like having a big band horn section backing the soloist. Create movements with passing chords, secondary dominants, approach chords, quartal harmony, inversions etc. Reverse engineer all the implied chromatic movements of chord voices in adjacent chords and create counter melodies etc.

    I think there is a great value in taking a plain Jane chart and being able to do "2" while bringing out the melody. It's not always appropriate to comp that way, but for guitarist and pianist, it's a great way to learn a tune. There are also times when doing "2" really elevates the band and the music.
    For the situations that falls in the category of "1", may be how one sees the charts isn't as important, right?
    It really concerns both.

    You missed out one role that the guitar serves until the 1960s - which is drum/percussion. Needless to say it still functions this way in most popular music.

    I don’t like the term Freddie Green style as that’s very specific and I know four or five people who do it and they are specialists. Mostly guitarists don’t play his way when they play 4s.

    Piano used to more like this - stride, boogie woogie, New Orleans style and so on.... but it left this function about 15 years before guitar.

    Also it’s possible to do this in jazz without playing 4s. There is a bop way to play 4s though, quite distinct from a swing or gypsy jazz way. Listen to Jim Hall and Tal Farlow...

    But regardless of function within the group jazz players have always embellished the basic chords of a song whether soloing or comping.

    It can be argued that they do it less now that the charts are more complicated.

    There used to be more of a separation. Now players are more likely to unify chords and improvisation, which is to say the embellishments used for comping is no longer different to those used for soloing ideas. It’s such a basic trope now people are often unaware there ever was a separation.

    Two words here for an example - major seventh

    Tbh for me a good comped can fulfil either of your roles while remaining an integral part of the rhythm section. That doesn’t of course mean playing 4s.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-05-2019 at 02:30 PM.

  16. #15

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    I recently attended a couple of shows by Chico Pinheiro who, among other abilities, is as advanced a rhythm/comping guitarist as I've ever heard.

    He is constantly changing chords, even on tunes where I know there is a single chord (on the original) for multiple bars. And, it's not the usual. Many players change voicings, move voicings through scales/modes, and find passing chords that connect the basic harmony.

    But, what Chico did seemed to go beyond that. His harmony constantly varied, as far as I could tell, without obvious regard to the usual rules. I couldn't figure out what was going on, except maybe for this. I'll explain my thought with an example. If the original chord was, say, an A7. He would construct a palette of every chord/voicing that could possibly relate to A7. So it would be every alteration of A7. Every alteration of Eb7. Every chord that came out of a mode associated with an alteration of A7 (so, Emelmin, just to give an example, and all its voicings). And then, maybe the same thing for every passing chord that he might use to lead towards A7. All selected by ear.

    This would be a recipe for disaster in the wrong hands. But, in the context I heard him (no piano) it was beyond brilliant. The key point here is "selected by ear", although he's a Berklee grad and, presumably, knows the usual theory, to say the least.

    It occurred to me that I was hearing the future.

  17. #16

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    I got curious about the evolution of comping.

    This is from 1950. Not Jim Hall, but not FG either.



    This is one from the late 30's. You can hear FG in the guitar, but the piano is something else.


  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ‘If the lead note is not within the scale of the chord symbol?’ I’m not sure what you mean by that. Do you have an example?
    Simple example; chord A7, lead note F on top. This is the voice of A7add-13, practically A7/5+. Dominant +5 chords have a minor feel, (the sharp 5th of A7/5+ corresponds to the minor third of Dm7 aeolian, which suggests d-minor (or F-major).
    For simplicity, let's just say there are passing changes as well as passing notes, where some linger a bit longer than others.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I got curious about the evolution of comping.

    This is from 1950. Not Jim Hall, but not FG either.



    This is one from the late 30's. You can hear FG in the guitar, but the piano is something else.

    Well Nat was acknowledged as a bit of a trailblazer.

    I think again it’s worth pointing out guitar lagged piano.... in the sense that guitar had a specific function but it changed to imitate the piano.

    The latter idea is to me, a mistake: Jim Hall didn’t make it - he came up with a guitarist way to do it. That’s the trick - people like to hear the guitar, and what’s more guitaristic than a bit of strumming?

    I need to listen to the Norfolk trio stuff again.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    Simple example; chord A7, lead note F on top. This is the voice of A7add-13, practically A7/5+. Dominant +5 chords have a minor feel, (the sharp 5th of A7/5+ corresponds to the minor third of Dm7 aeolian, which suggests d-minor (or F-major).
    For simplicity, let's just say there are passing changes as well as passing notes, where some linger a bit longer than others.
    I don’t understand how that very routine minor key dominant is in any way unusual. It’s just d harmonic minor, one of the diatonic minor scales.

    I can think of an example of this in a tune btw, first bar of the middle 8 of Stella. The #5 resolves down by a half step.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well Nat was acknowledged as a bit of a trailblazer.

    I think again it’s worth pointing out guitar lagged piano.... in the sense that guitar had a specific function but it changed to imitate the piano.

    The latter idea is to me, a mistake: Jim Hall didn’t make it - he came up with a guitarist way to do it. That’s the trick - people like to hear the guitar, and what’s more guitaristic than a bit of strumming?

    I need to listen to the Norfolk trio stuff again.
    What Jim Hall did, to my ear, better than any guitarist before him (and maybe since) is play sparsely. His accompaniment was often based on just a few notes and plenty of space. There was always some kind of countermelody. And, when he finally strummed a chord, often from the highest note, descending, it sounded huge. You can hear an antecedent in Nat King Cole, but that's among many other places. I think it may start with piano backing voice on ballads.

    Doing this, in my experience, isn't so easy unless you're the leader. Most pianists will prevent it by filling in the silences. Some bassists too. You need a laid back bassist, a drummer willing to just tick along, a pianist who will stay at home (meaning, no piano) and a horn player whose idol isn't the angry young tenors (great musicians, but not this style afaik, no disrespect).
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 07-06-2019 at 03:30 PM.

  22. #21

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    As far as modern comping is concerned, Oscar Moore's playing with Nat King Cole was pivotal. Barney Kessel, mentioned earlier in relation to the Julie London recordings, considered Oscar to be the 'missing link' between swing and bebop guitarists.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Jim Hall's comping is astonishing.

    But, you can hear comping, not FG, on Her Name Is Julie in 1955 by Barney K. You can hear foreshadowing of it in 1952 by Johnny Smith. I checked out a 1952 Chuck Wayne album, but the comping is FG.
    Chuck Wayne's early comping is often like supercharged FG. Check out his playing in this 1950 clip:



    Tal Farlow reckoned that Chuck was the most modern guitarist working in NY when he arrived there in the mid-'40s. However, I hear both Farlow and Wayne as coming from quite a different place than Jim Hall. Jim idolised Freddie Green and now that we know from closer listening and anecdotal evidence that FG was mostly delivering 'one-note comping', his connection to Hall makes more sense.

  24. #23

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    Oddly, I often subscribe to the position Pat Metheny once quipped of jazz guitarists that "one jazz guitarist in a jazz band is one too many."

    But seriously, I am not a natural fan of traditional jazz guitar and listen far more jazz without guitar than with it as I am a much bigger fan of horn based groups.

    Fortunately, there have always been exceptional players like Reinhardt, Wes, Burrell, Green, Benson to show me the err of my ways and I would add to this list ...Oscar Moore!
    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-prewar_gibson_05_oscar_moore-jpg

    I love Nat King Cole and never found myself wishing that the tune didn't have a guitar break when Oscar was playing. I really liked the guitar sound he had in this era too with the L-5 into an old old octal amps.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    As far as modern comping is concerned, Oscar Moore's playing with Nat King Cole was pivotal. Barney Kessel, mentioned earlier in relation to the Julie London recordings, considered Oscar to be the 'missing link' between swing and bebop guitarists.
    I can buy that. Again I need to go back and listen to Oscar again in more depth....

    But the point is I suppose that playing 4s is not specifically a swing era thing.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    What Jim Hall did, to my ear, better than any guitarist before him (and maybe since) is play sparsely. His accompaniment was often based on just a few notes and plenty of space. There was always some kind of countermelody. And, when he finally strummed a chord, often from the highest note, descending, it sounded huge. You can hear an antecedent in Nat King Cole, but that's among many other places. I think it may start with piano backing voice on ballads.

    Doing this, in my experience, isn't so easy unless you're the leader. Most pianists will prevent it by filling in the silences. Some bassists too. You need a laid back bassist, a drummer willing to just tick along, a pianist who will stay at home and a horn player whose idol isn't the angry young tenors (great musicians, but not this style afaik, no disrespect).
    Depends what bands you play in.... I almost never play with a pianist.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mateo2006 View Post
    Oddly, I often subscribe to the position Pat Metheny once quipped of jazz guitarists that "one jazz guitarist in a jazz band is one too many."
    Haha!

    Well we used to have a job to do, now we are just an annoyance.

    But seriously, I am not a natural fan of traditional jazz guitar and listen far more jazz without guitar than with it as I am a much bigger fan of horn based groups.

    Fortunately, there have always been exceptional players like Reinhardt, Wes, Burrell, Green, Benson to show me the err of my ways and I would add to this list ...Oscar Moore!
    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-prewar_gibson_05_oscar_moore-jpg

    I love Nat King Cole and never found myself wishing that the tune didn't have a guitar break when Oscar was playing. I really liked the guitar sound he had in this era too with the L-5 into an old old octal amps.
    Yeah I feel you. I think guitar is a tricky one in many ways. The unique things the guitar does are often rejected by jazz players - things like string bending, strumming, open strings, using different sounds, percussive sounds and so on - which is something that seems to be almost essential for the style.

    But it interested me that Jimmy Page said he felt Django was trying to do feedback effects and so on before electric guitar. I like that - Django could be a very ‘sonic’ player.

    Also the guitarists you mention (although no Charlie Christian) are kind of the most swinging ones, rhythmically creative... a lot of jazz guitarists just play very evenly accented strings of 8th notes... we all suffer from it, I can be guilty.... the crazy thing is you hear horn players doing this a lot now.... why????!

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I don’t understand how that very routine minor key dominant is in any way unusual. It’s just d harmonic minor, one of the diatonic minor scales.

    I can think of an example of this in a tune btw, first bar of the middle 8 of Stella. The #5 resolves down by a half step.
    Harmonic minor, melodic minor or used as substitution for a varity of different chords. Not unusual, but when the only information given is A7, it's hardly obvious. Some would rightfully claim it would be wrong not to write A7/5+, still we see simplification of this nature all the time (for the benefit of those that don't like "complicated" chord symbols for one reason or the other). Whether the symbol A7/5+ is complicated or not, is all in the eyes of the beholder. Some may even find that Improvising over A mixolydian sounds cool and "outside".
    By adding more information to the chord symbol (in this case the lead tone), we can see how it fits into a larger modal context, (which most of the time would be something else than the mode associated with the individual chord).

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Haha!

    Well we used to have a job to do, now we are just an annoyance.



    Yeah I feel you. I think guitar is a tricky one in many ways. The unique things the guitar does are often rejected by jazz players - things like string bending, strumming, open strings, using different sounds, percussive sounds and so on - which is something that seems to be almost essential for the style.

    But it interested me that Jimmy Page said he felt Django was trying to do feedback effects and so on before electric guitar. I like that - Django could be a very ‘sonic’ player.

    Also the guitarists you mention (although no Charlie Christian) are kind of the most swinging ones, rhythmically creative... a lot of jazz guitarists just play very evenly accented strings of 8th notes... we all suffer from it, I can be guilty.... the crazy thing is you hear horn players doing this a lot now.... why????!
    Usually, you hear about jazz guitarists wanting their single note lines to sound like horns. But, I tend to think that many of them sound more like single note lines on a piano. Players who play pure, well articulated notes with clean tones. Saxes do that too, but an acoustic pianist is sort of stuck with it. Vibes too. Blues and rock players use bends, vibrato, slides, pinch harmonics, fx etc. (Django did some of that -- more than a lot of jazzers). I like players who create emotion in the way the note speaks. Mimi Fox does some of that, but in her case, it's in her hands. It's the way the notes pop when she plays. Not a diss. My all time favorite jazz guitarist is Jim Hall, who created all kinds of things with a straightforward sound.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCat View Post
    Harmonic minor, melodic minor or used as substitution for a varity of different chords. Not unusual, but when the only information given is A7, it's hardly obvious.
    I'm struggling to understand the value of this statement beyond thought experiment.

    Some would rightfully claim it would be wrong not to write A7/5+, still we see simplification of this nature all the time (for the benefit of those that don't like "complicated" chord symbols for one reason or the other). Whether the symbol A7/5+ is complicated or not, is all in the eyes of the beholder. Some may even find that Improvising over A mixolydian sounds cool and "outside".
    Well given this is the type of sound - mixolydian/dominant scale on a minor key dominant - you often hear from players like Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian on a minor key dominant, I would hardly describe it as 'outside.' Take a listen to Wes's solo on Caravan for instance.



    As a product of the modern jazz education age, I have great trouble thinking of and audiating that first chord as anything other than an altered dominant. But to Wes, it's just a dominant. In some ways, this contradicts my earlier statement about the obvious extensions of the chords based on the diatonic key... But actually, the extensions of the chords are only relevant in so much as they support the melody.

    When it comes to improvisation, we aren't limited in this way unless we choose to be, or have to deal with an accompanist who's spent more time thinking about theory than using their ears.

    (I daresay Wes had good enough ears (!) to play the more obvious altered option if that's what he had heard. :-))

    Actually there's also a lot of evidence in the music to suggest jazzers have always heard dominants as quite isolated things unto themselves and not necessarily part of the prevailing key. This is true in many of the tunes and songs.

    Your statement, which stems from current theory and ideas of what common practice is, is a case in point to my broader argument. The chord symbol dominates our musical imagination, limits it in some ways.

    I hope you realise I'm not being smug know it all here. I'm having trouble getting my head and ears around this as a player! But it does seem to be the case.

    By adding more information to the chord symbol (in this case the lead tone), we can see how it fits into a larger modal context, (which most of the time would be something else than the mode associated with the individual chord).
    But you know, we can ride a bike without stabiliser wheels? And if you can't, surely that's your aim?

  31. #30

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    Here is one of my favourite examples of where the melody and the chords are very much at odds, but because everyone is listening it doesn't matter:



    That melody shouldn't work on chord IV in a blues right? Now listen to the piano chords. Should be major 7th over dominant, right?

    But it's fine.

    Some recordings of Cool Blues modify the melody to fit the IV7.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    But you know, we can ride a bike without stabiliser wheels? And if you can't, surely that's your aim?
    Sure, the question is what information is useful to whom in a specific situation. I could simplify to a point where information is lost (get rid of alterations and extensions etc) to please some people by relieving them from information overflow and at the same time please the improviser that likes to reinvent the wheel. Win-win perhaps. For me personally, I like to read the music in the chord symbols and I like to express my intentions in the chord symbols (in addition to standard notation). Maybe this also applies to others that are a part of the massive trend you have observed? Melody is still important. If someone would re-harmonize something I wrote, and he only had a lead sheet, hopefully he would better understand my intentions before re-inventing.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I got curious about the evolution of comping.

    This is from 1950. Not Jim Hall, but not FG either.



    This is one from the late 30's. You can hear FG in the guitar, but the piano is something else.

    You beat me to the Punch with Tal Farlow. The jump blues guys sort of comped also. For instance, T-bone Walker did a lot of stabs and hits, and did not do FG style rhythm guitar. But that's a somewhat different lineage. I suspect most of the late 40s-50s guys (e.g. Raney) non-FG comped when they did pianoless gigs, but there aren't a lot of records of that sort of thing.

    John

  34. #33

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    Jimmy Raney Quintet. During the head, he reminds me of Jim Hall, except Jimmy R. was first.

    During the solos, the piano does chord stabs and I can't hear the guitar clearly.

  35. #34

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    This is all very cool. I may steal it for another video... :-)

  36. #35

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    " Reification refers to the moment that a process or relation is generalized into an abstraction and thereby turned into a ' thing ' "

    In other words , don't mistake the map for the territory .

    Good video , there is a Hal Galper video on the same subject where he makes the point that chord-scale theory became popular because it was an easier ' product ' for colleges to sell , an instruction book , if you like , of how to play jazz . Of course the only real or authentic way to learn to play jazz is by hanging around with jazz musicians and playing with them .
    It's the difference between music as culture and music as product - or , shall we say , music as a spontaneous creation of a culture ( largely arising through the extra-curricular musical activities of 20th c. black american professional musicians ) and music as product of focussed effort of will towards an end .

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    As a product of the modern jazz education age, I have great trouble thinking of and audiating that first chord as anything other than an altered dominant. But to Wes, it's just a dominant. In some ways, this contradicts my earlier statement about the obvious extensions of the chords based on the diatonic key... But actually, the extensions of the chords are only relevant in so much as they support the melody.

    When it comes to improvisation, we aren't limited in this way unless we choose to be, or have to deal with an accompanist who's spent more time thinking about theory than using their ears.
    I'm not gonna derail the thread, but I wonder what would happen if music colleges spend 80% of their time on formal and informal EAR TRAINING and maybe 20% of time on theory. I'm talking about my experience at CCNY, and my friends' experience at New School. Theory isn't hard to learn--but training the ear (whatever method you take) takes time--and should be individualized to the musician... kinda like how I individualize my instruction to my students (it's called an Individualized Education Plan; it's not my idea--though I fully endorse it, an IEP is an idea of Special Education in the US).

    Theory comes alive only when you can HEAR what's going on--I think this TOTALLY relates to the OP. It's not a matter of seeing what's on the page and calculating theory--it's a matter of seeing what's on the page and HEARING what's going on. That's my goal--Reg used to talk about that all the time. It's not easy, but it's more useful than learning the theory alone.

    I still think that the difference between the pro's that we idolize and everyone else here (we have great players at JGF, but I'm talking about Jimmy Raney, Charlie Christian, or Wes Montgomery status) isn't technique or anything physical. The difference is in the EARS--what they were able to hear (even Jimmy, as he advanced in old age and lost most of his hearing--he developed his sound as he developed his EARS). None of these players had perfect pitch (most guitarists don't, though some do), so their ears were the same build and type as ours. But how they developed their ears... they played most of the music we love without chord charts like we know them.

    Maybe chord charts ruined our relationships with our ears... I dunno

  38. #37

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    I don’t think any of the greats neglected theory, but I think the folks I most enjoy listening to were/are much more driven by their ears than by theory.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    I don’t think any of the greats neglected theory, but I think the folks I most enjoy listening to were/are much more driven by their ears than by theory.
    Exactly. I've never said throw out theory with the kitchen sink. I've always said, train your ears to hear the theory you understand and the theory you want to learn. And when you improvise, rely on your ears and don't get theoretical at all.

    Most of my progress these days has been due to training my ears, not training my fingers. I have a WAYS to go, but I feel like I'm on the right track (finally!)

  40. #39

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    My transcription is usually limited to short passages that catch my ear. Time and again, after I've figured it out, the harmonic device is fairly simple. Often, it's an arp of one chord over another. Sometimes it will be something like an alt scale, but with the notes shaped into an intriguing melody. That is, the player is using a small, well-known scrap of theory but in a very musical way.

    I often hear players running broken scales (eg 1 2 3 5, 2 3 4 6 etc) but I tend to find that sort of thing uninteresting, to be kind.

    What I usually go by when I'm listening to music with a critical ear is whether or not I can feel anything. What theory helps with that?

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    My transcription is usually limited to short passages that catch my ear. Time and again, after I've figured it out, the harmonic device is fairly simple. Often, it's an arp of one chord over another. Sometimes it will be something like an alt scale, but with the notes shaped into an intriguing melody. That is, the player is using a small, well-known scrap of theory but in a very musical way.

    I often hear players running broken scales (eg 1 2 3 5, 2 3 4 6 etc) but I tend to find that sort of thing uninteresting, to be kind.

    What I usually go by when I'm listening to music with a critical ear is whether or not I can feel anything. What theory helps with that?
    Yes, absolutely...

    Of course, there are plenty of theories of music that go beyond ii-V-I and harmony. Almost every aspect of music you can think of has been examined by academics from all disciplines, and it may interest some to look into these.

    But as an artist, I feel it's best to surrender to the process rather than question it. Listening itself is a creative act. What resonates with you is unique to you, and if you feel moved to work out a line, tune or voicing (or a whole solo) then you have made an emotional connection to music that is profound and genuine.

    That's the way to develop as a musician, find your voice. It's an ongoing process.

  42. #41

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    "My research is clearly beyond reproach"

    Why would anyone ever say such an egotist thing?
    --Jay

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayv999 View Post
    "My research is clearly beyond reproach"

    Why would anyone ever say such an egotist thing?
    Because they were joking?

  44. #43

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    So, I think it's perhaps worth popping this up again
    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-cjoemspwuaandp1-jpg

    Compare this to the chart from the New Real Book (or Real Book for that matter).

    This is the sort of thing that intrigues me.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Most of my progress these days has been due to training my ears, not training my fingers.
    Me too, but I’ve turned out to be a sloppy player. ;-)

  46. #45

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    Yeah I think you got to do both. I went through a bit of a 'music only' thing for a bit, but my chops got sloppy.

    So, a good way I've found, is obviously - listen to a record, hear a line, play it. Try to do it at full speed.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I'm not gonna derail the thread, but I wonder what would happen if music colleges spend 80% of their time on formal and informal EAR TRAINING and maybe 20% of time on theory. I'm talking about my experience at CCNY, and my friends' experience at New School. Theory isn't hard to learn--but training the ear (whatever method you take) takes time--and should be individualized to the musician... kinda like how I individualize my instruction to my students (it's called an Individualized Education Plan; it's not my idea--though I fully endorse it, an IEP is an idea of Special Education in the US).

    Theory comes alive only when you can HEAR what's going on--I think this TOTALLY relates to the OP. It's not a matter of seeing what's on the page and calculating theory--it's a matter of seeing what's on the page and HEARING what's going on. That's my goal--Reg used to talk about that all the time. It's not easy, but it's more useful than learning the theory alone.

    I recall a post on another forum which promulgated an approach involving triad pairs and bass notes. So, organize the following. Every possible triad juxtaposed over every possible triad and all that juxtaposed over every possible bass note. And, since the sounds are different in different octaves, I suppose you needed to play each combination in different octaves.

    It occurred to me that immortality wouldn't give you enough time to work through that. And, when you were done, you'd still have to figure out how to apply it to tunes.

    I don't claim to have much standard jazz vocabulary (that's because I don't), but what little I do have -- in my playing, not in my dreams -- came mostly from live situations, performing or in lessons playing tunes. Not that much from records (my bad) and almost nothing from theory. That's not a suggestion, unless it's about figuring out the way an individual absorbs things most effectively.

    I also don't claim to have had many breakthroughs, but one occurred, I think, when I decided to give up on trying to sound like a classic jazz player. I had tried for years with little success and with arthritis setting in, I decided that working on an individual style was more important than continuing to be frustrated.

    So, hijacking the thread in yet another direction, here's what I did.

    I sat with my ME80 until I found a tone that better allowed me to express what I began to think of as my style. Took about 3 hours. And, I started focusing on the stuff I could already hear in my mind's ear and not try to manufacture other sounds by thinking about theory.

    Eventually, I did get tired of my own harmonic palette and lately I've been working on expanding it. But, in tiny increments. One little device at a time. And, always in the context of a tune. My basic practice routine (interrupted frequently by needing to learn things for the groups I play in) is to set IrealPro for 13 repeats changing key every chorus by a 4th, melody twice, improv and comping (the latter quite challenging for more complicated tunes).

    Well, probably too much detail, but maybe this will trigger some discussion about ears, theory and style.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Me too, but I’ve turned out to be a sloppy player. ;-)
    Kirk, I'm gonna post some of your solos at our local jam session if I hear you say that again!

    You play some great lines, and you never forget to GROOVE. I can definitely tell you are using your ear to create your improvisation.

    Sloppy? I'll take sloppy and inspired over neat and totally contrived (like playing Coltrane patterns over every tune).

    Chris'77, you really gotta take a vacation to Washington. You'd love it here. It's your type of weather, and the playing here is...well, I think I've posted about it before. The players here are no joke, my snarky bloke.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    So, I think it's perhaps worth popping this up again
    How jazz became the study of chord symbols-cjoemspwuaandp1-jpg

    Compare this to the chart from the New Real Book (or Real Book for that matter).

    This is the sort of thing that intrigues me.
    Exactly, Sir Chris--harris--parker '77!

    Oh boy...

    I totally agree. I would rather see charts totally stripped down to their bare bones than the crap I see in the Real Book. I still use the Real Book when I need to accompany, I'm working on hearing harmony in a chordal manner when I play so I can play what "chords" I hear in my head--but it's not there YET (it will be ). That said, when I look in the Real Book--especially for Ballads--I get all types of messed up. What's up with all these extra chords that add nothing to the song? Thanks Berk-n-theorists!

    Kirk is pretty good at simplifying tunes in the Real Book. Kirk, you should publish a simplified changes Real Book with the melody--for the iPhone and iPad.

    At least the Chuck Sher Standards Book contains the lyrics to each song--that's extremely helpful when memorizing and soloing over these standards, at least for me.

  50. #49

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    Approach 1: Minimalistic notation. Like a painting of modern art, where the observer uses his imagination to fill in the blanks in whatever way his brain rationalizes the music landscape. Every musician has his own personal idea and interpretation of what he sees in the sheet. Notation is a sketch of the composers idea and we will never know if that idea ever reified from a state of blurry vision. The composer may regard his work as purposely uncompleted, for others to complete in whatever way they see fit. We may associate this approach with improvised music of sorts.

    Approach 2: Comprehensive standard notation including notes for tempo, dynamics, key changes, accents and a score including all instrument parts. Like a sharp photography of an architecture. The observer is able to study the details of a finalized structure. The structure constrains space of free movement to some degree. We may associate this approach with classical music.

    Most GASB material originates from the 2nd approach, much simplified in Real book. Approach 1 is associated with the later post GASB era.

    We can use whatever approach we like, which for most people would be somewhere in-between the extremes and also depend on reading/writing skills as well as improvising skills. Note: there's no conflict between ability to read and ability to improvise.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    It's your type of weather
    Eh?