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  1. #1

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    I've been reviewing all the solos I've learned using the Jimmy Raney/Jamey Aebersold Vol. 20 set--9 solos to date! I was reminded that the solo based on "Out of Nowhere" is my favorite of them all, even though I love them all. But somehow, this solo strikes me as the definition of a "musical" solo. Lots of licks for sure, lots of scalar passages, but this thing has 64 measures of relentless build-up that culminates in what I think is a very lovely closing 16 bars or so. The use of tension/release is very skillful. Plus, you can use theory to "explain" why this solo works, but no theory would have predicted playing it. It's pure Jimmy Raney.

    So here's me playing the solo with a few clams, but I would like to put it out there to raise the question: what makes an improvised solo "musical" and even pretty, even beautiful? Even playing it by rote, as I do here, I can really feel something happening in the music. I would really like to nail down just what makes it work, and figure out how to get more of that into my own playing.

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

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  3. #2

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    Well, first of all, it's Jimmy Raney

    I'm going to do a closer listen and give a deeper response later, but off the bat I can hear that there's some ideas, contour wise, that Jimmy returns to several times, with slight variations, yes, but similar ideas rhythmically. I creates a sense of continuity.

    The solo also has kind of a clear "shape" to it, yes, building towards those last bars you mention. There's a sense of purpose to it.

    Lawson, I notice when you play these Raney solos, you let a lot of notes ring together when you go "across strings." Is that they way they're written? I ask, because I never heard Jimmy do that much on record. It's not a bad thing, just an observation.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  4. #3

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    “Lyrical” might be more specific than “musical.” And by that I mean melody line and phrasing that’s very singable and feel almost like a conversation with the natural flow and phrasing that you might use in telling a story. At least, that’s what I shoot for, with varying degrees of success. This solo has those characteristics—except for one or two spots where a singer might run out of breath! Since you learned it by rote maybe you don’t have quite the natural flow of the original yet, but it’s a lot better than I could do. Sounds great!

  5. #4

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    Jim's Hall's opening chorus on "Under My Skin" on the Undercurrent recording with Bill Evans is a new melody to an old standard that could stand on its own for musicality, in my view. Kenny Burrell played lots of musical solos with Jimmy Smith, a great contrast to Smith's (quite musical) virtuosity. Bickert with Desmond on "Just Squeeze Me" stays in my mind forever, as does Wes's 4 On 6 solo on the Live at the Half-Note CD. The first solo I heard that seemed to me to be an amazing "composition" was Jim Hall's on Stompin' At The Savoy" with Art Farmer, also Live at the Half Note, I believe.

  6. #5

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    In my observation, people tend to say something sounds "musical" in order to contrast it something they perceive to be more like an intellectual exercise or something contrived for effect or just for the sake of doing it. But that itself is mainly subjective. One man's "musical" is another's "glib."

    I guess if I were to try to sum up what I find musical in improvisation, I would say playing that makes its compositional logic clear, exploits the instrument's timbral and articulation possibilities, and communicate something about the musician. There are lots of different ways to do that -- for instance, a solo that has an arc to it (clear beginning, middle and end), interplay between space and density, dynamics, building to points of harmonic tension and release, communication will draw me in. Wes is one of the clearest, most explicit examples of that idea of musicality. I feel like by listening to Wes, I know him -- he's telling stories that reveal who he is, what he believes in and thinks about, and enjoys. People who can do that, to me, are playing musically. There are all kinds of devices, approaches, techniques, etc, that serve that end, though.

    John

  7. #6

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    Motives
    Tension and release
    Smooth melodic lines
    Antecedent/consequent phrasing (call and response)
    Melodic Sequences

    Building to a climax (some tools - repitition, increased speed or activity/busyness, ascending range, crescendo)
    Letting the climax go back down (reduction of speed and busyness, descending range, decrescendo)


    In this particular solo (1 listen) I heard smooth lines, and if i'm not mistaken one melodic quote.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Well, first of all, it's Jimmy Raney

    I'm going to do a closer listen and give a deeper response later, but off the bat I can hear that there's some ideas, contour wise, that Jimmy returns to several times, with slight variations, yes, but similar ideas rhythmically. I creates a sense of continuity.

    The solo also has kind of a clear "shape" to it, yes, building towards those last bars you mention. There's a sense of purpose to it.

    Lawson, I notice when you play these Raney solos, you let a lot of notes ring together when you go "across strings." Is that they way they're written? I ask, because I never heard Jimmy do that much on record. It's not a bad thing, just an observation.
    That shaping business is the thing that interests me. And yes, I tend to let sweeps ring and he doesn't. I've tried to learn how to stop doing that, but at the tempos he sets, it's very hard! I think also he's using different fingerings at some points. I hear things I slur that he picks, other things I pick that he slurs. Honestly playing these solos I feel like I'm a B team player working out with the pros. Just finding the notes is challenging. But for sure, that ringing sweep stuff is an issue I've actually identified.

    Thanks for that confirmation!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  9. #8

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    I am way far to be able to do any of the following I am about to describe, but I think at least I am starting to understand what is the goal. This may or may not apply exactly the quoted Jimmy Raney solo.

    There are many cliches what point to the same direction: tell a story, or make statements. But how? Those were always too abstract for me, not helping to get closer, but I always thought that those words are deeply true. So I concluded to have a close analogy with speech. Speech has sentences.

    And sentences are more easier to understand I mean the how to. For example they must have a start and an end. No continuous endless flow. There must be a pause after to emphasize the content. In real life smetimes a sentence repeats the prev exactly, maybe with different accents, sometimes a sentence picks up exactly where the previous ended, etc there are tons of analogy here what can be examined and translated to music.

    I am trying to hear sentences when listening and trying to have sentence ideas when improvising. The more analogy to the human speech the better. This is related and according to what Kirk exposed about to be lyrical.

    The other cliche is melody. But again how? The most helpful for me is Mark’s tagline about learning the repertoire, if you learn 200 songs... With other words to be able to produce melodies one must ingrain melodies. So I believe this, it’s only a few decades to go and I will accomplish this.
    Last edited by Gabor; 11-16-2019 at 01:27 AM.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    That shaping business is the thing that interests me. And yes, I tend to let sweeps ring and he doesn't. I've tried to learn how to stop doing that, but at the tempos he sets, it's very hard! I think also he's using different fingerings at some points. I hear things I slur that he picks, other things I pick that he slurs. Honestly playing these solos I feel like I'm a B team player working out with the pros. Just finding the notes is challenging. But for sure, that ringing sweep stuff is an issue I've actually identified.

    Thanks for that confirmation!
    You are sounding better and better all the time. I second Jeff’s observation. I think separating out the notes will take your playing to the next level.

    You could try using different fingers for adjacent notes if the barre are hard to separate.

    I would suggest working on only that if you can bear it for a period. You have to unpick the muscle memory a bit.

  11. #10

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    This is one of my favorite jazz solos, Sonny Stitt's opening solo on "Sunny Side of the Street" with Diz and Sonny Rollins.

    I think this is about as good as it gets. (I know it makes me a heretic but I don't care much for Jimmy Raney's soloing. I know he's great, better than I'll ever be, all that, no question, but in large chunks it doesn't hold my interest like Wes, Charlie Christian, Kessell and Herb Ellis do.)

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

  12. #11

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    Raney's solo on OON strikes me as masterful in the way each phrase is balanced with the next. It's singable and it breathes.

    [Talking about music = dancing about architecture.]

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    You are sounding better and better all the time. I second Jeff’s observation. I think separating out the notes will take your playing to the next level.

    You could try using different fingers for adjacent notes if the barre are hard to separate.

    I would suggest working on only that if you can bear it for a period. You have to unpick the muscle memory a bit.
    Thanks for that encouragement. I have been thinking about this specific matter for some time. Each of these solos has a few sweeps that definitely don't ring like chords when JR plays them, and I just sweep 'em and let them ring. I've separated out a few of those from a couple of the solos and started working on them to articulate the notes cleanly. Hard to do without it becoming staccato like.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  14. #13

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    Lawson,

    You have been very diligent in your approach to playing transcribed solos, and we have to believe that the learning occurs on a subconscious level. But now as you improvise your own solos, you have to rely on tools to create your own melodic lines. I'm doing the same work, and man ... this is really, really hard and it just takes time.

    If you happen to have a copy of Aerbersold's Volume 1 for Jazz Guitar (adapted by Corey Christiansen), you will find some excellent guidance on pages 70-72, particularly around the notion tension and release. The author uses a diagram to visualize how the shaping occurs.

    What's cool about using a formula, or a visual (like the one in Volume 1), is that's a bit easier to keep in mind when soloing which, for me, is an instinctive process that applies all I've learned about scales, tones, tempos, and the application of ideas you've borrowed from Jimmy and Doug ... as well as your own.

    A couple of others idea: play tunes you know very well so you keep the form and are playing good notes through the changes without hesitating. And record your solos and listen back so you can hear what's working and what's not. I know from reading your posts that you don't perform, but do you have another guitarist you jam with? It helps a lot if you can. Trading 8's and 4's, listening to what the other is playing and mirroring ... it's all really good stuff.

    Thanks for your contributions to the forum and for your inspirations on all fronts.

  15. #14

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    I think there can be different good things happening that would make a solo musical and not be all in one at all.
    Sometimes the solo just talks, makes sense.. and be nothing too special in any other way. Sometimes it flows so well. Sometimes it has a tune-like quality. Sometimes it just grooves so well. Sometimes it has a real fire. Or have a certain spark in each note whatever that might be.. that's kinda mystical - I'd trade one of my legs to have it always plugged on.
    I believe there is more. But how to get there.. damn.

  16. #15

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    My advice is lay back behind the pulse a tiny bit and also accent "+" more ( pizazz) .
    It sounds a little rushed and too evenly accented to me.
    And accent peak notes. Avoid letting notes ring together. Don't let each phrase to run into the next, try to make each phrase sound like it takes a tiny breath before the next phrase, otherwise it can sound like run on sentances.

  17. #16

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    So the comments about playing across the strings and letting them ring-which was more a limitation of my technique than a musical choice!—had me thinking and practicing these days. This is a first attempt at the same solo to address that in 2 or 3 spots. I had to slow the solo down, so that it almost falls out of the pocket. My problem now is not to sound staccato or pizzicato in those spots. Your observations and comments can be a big help, and are much appreciated.

    Meanwhile, I'm not sure that what makes a solo "musical" is just a list of features or techniques. This solo, and really, all the Raney solos in the Aebersold book, as a grand logic over the whole thing that impresses me that seems bigger than a few tips or boxes to check. Maybe it's just as someone said, "It's Jimmy Raney." Still, to the extent that genius can be imitated, it's worth pondering what might make such a solo work.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #17

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    Let's not forget dynamics. When I try to figure why I like Larry Carlton, one of the reasons is his use of dynamics. Loud to soft, soft to loud, dynamics inside a phrase. And timbre too. And being locked into the pocket, that's huge too... note choice is great buy it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  19. #18

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    I think getting control of how in and how out
    you are is a thing to go for and get control of ...

    like , keep the the form , go out weird shit for a bit
    come back in and play pretty things for a bit
    and keep the form ... controling that

    that makes it somewhat musical for me

  20. #19

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    The best way to discover why Jimmy Raney sounded so much more musical than other players was to catch him live in a club, where he's playing with another guitarist, and compare what Raney did in the same situation as another guitarist.

    The other guitarist sounded forced, and sounded like he was just trying to shove as many notes into each bar as he could, while Raney sounded just the opposite. It doesn't matter who was playing with him, any aspect of their playing that sounded unmusical would be magnified by having to follow, or being followed by Raney.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    The best way to discover why Jimmy Raney sounded so much more musical than other players was to catch him live in a club, where he's playing with another guitarist, and compare what Raney did in the same situation as another guitarist.

    The other guitarist sounded forced, and sounded like he was just trying to shove as many notes into each bar as he could, while Raney sounded just the opposite. It doesn't matter who was playing with him, any aspect of their playing that sounded unmusical would be magnified by having to follow, or being followed by Raney.
    I don’t know I always thought Cal Collins was a good pair with Raney.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #21

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    [QUOTE=lawson-stone;989860]I don’t know I always thought Cal Collins was a good pair with Raney.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/QUOTE

    That's what's amazing about raney. I always liked the way Cal played, and even caught him live once at Bechet's in NYC, but hearing him with Raney in a group with bass and drums, Cal sounded like he was overdoing it with the country pentatonic patterns. I probably wouldn't have been bothered by it so much if I heard Cal alone, but Raney had a way of making even great players like Cal seem like they weren't playing as musically meaningful lines as he was.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I was reminded that the solo based on "Out of Nowhere" is my favorite of them all, even though I love them all

    Thanks, very nice, one of may favorite tunes, always calling it at sessions.

  24. #23

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    Yes, this take swings a bit more with the more laid-back tempo. Nice job, L-S!
    Best regards, k

  25. #24

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    Is there anywhere to hear Jimmy actually playing this?

    Jimmy's 8ths were pretty even, especially earlier in his career, but he'd lay back just a little...not as much as some bluesier players, but just enough to really swing.

    You kinda seem right on the beat, or even a little ahead. Makes it sound a little less relaxed...I think maybe some of the magic in Raney's playing you might be looking for.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Is there anywhere to hear Jimmy actually playing this?
    Not really, the track where Jimmy plays this specific solo is only available on the CD that comes with the Aebersold book.
    Last edited by grahambop; 11-21-2019 at 06:29 PM.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Is there anywhere to hear Jimmy actually playing this?

    Jimmy's 8ths were pretty even, especially earlier in his career, but he'd lay back just a little...not as much as some bluesier players, but just enough to really swing.

    You kinda seem right on the beat, or even a little ahead. Makes it sound a little less relaxed...I think maybe some of the magic in Raney's playing you might be looking for.
    Yes indeed. This is a Jamey Aebersold "Play-along" set and so there is a track of Jimmy playing the solo, and then a track without so you can play with the rhythm section. Somewhere I have a clip with Jimmy playing in one channel and me playing the same solo in the other. There you could hear his solo. I just can't but my hand on that clip, though.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Is there anywhere to hear Jimmy actually playing this?

    Jimmy's 8ths were pretty even, especially earlier in his career, but he'd lay back just a little...not as much as some bluesier players, but just enough to really swing.

    You kinda seem right on the beat, or even a little ahead. Makes it sound a little less relaxed...I think maybe some of the magic in Raney's playing you might be looking for.
    Sent you a PM with a couple links.

    You're right about the beat. I keep trying to "swing" in the traditional sense, but Jimmy players rather even 8ths and gets his swing feel from Some Other Place which I need to find.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  29. #28

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    Doesn’t Jimmy talk about this in the introduction of the book? I seem to recall he says something like the ‘modern’ approach is to play almost even eighths, so the ‘swing’ has to come from other elements, e.g. dynamics, accenting certain notes, (I think).

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Doesn’t Jimmy talk about this in the introduction of the book? I seem to recall he says something like the ‘modern’ approach is to play almost even eighths, so the ‘swing’ has to come from other elements, e.g. dynamics, accenting certain notes, (I think).
    Here's the preface:

    Raney-Preface.pdf
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  31. #30

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    Found my copy, I was thinking of this:

    What Makes a Jazz Solo "Musical"-05bef306-593b-4931-b11f-b528cb10e3c7-jpgWhat Makes a Jazz Solo "Musical"-2344eb1f-b30a-4533-a27e-94c804f93ed8-jpg

  32. #31

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    3/8 3/8/2/8 = Tresillo (the primary African rhythm) or the New Orleans clave.
    Casino Coupe with "Antiquity" P90s. Telecaster with S.D. Vintage Stack pickups. Stratocaster with 3 "Little 59s" pickups. Monoprice 5 watt with GG 12AY7 tube and Gold Lion 6V6, and Weber alnico speaker. Fender Rumble 40 with Eminence Baslite speaker.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    My advice is lay back behind the pulse a tiny bit and also accent "+" more ( pizazz) .
    It sounds a little rushed and too evenly accented to me.
    And accent peak notes. Avoid letting notes ring together. Don't let each phrase to run into the next, try to make each phrase sound like it takes a tiny breath before the next phrase, otherwise it can sound like run on sentances.

  34. #33

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    What makes a jazz solo musical? When it’s conceived as a composition - instant or premeditated to some extent - that fits into an overall performance of music and not simply getting through the changes, or flexing ones chops....

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Sent you a PM with a couple links.

    You're right about the beat. I keep trying to "swing" in the traditional sense, but Jimmy players rather even 8ths and gets his swing feel from Some Other Place which I need to find.
    It’s the placement of the notes. Raney plays behind the beat, but in such a way that it locks in with the drummers upbeat.

    Try this - play or sing swing just the ‘ands’. This should sound a bit Louis Prima if it’s done right
    Now against a medium tempo swing drum track (such as one of the loops on Drum Genius) play a scale as straight as you can accenting the ‘ands’.

    It should feel really stretchy and weird. Almost against the beat. Post it up here and we’ll be able to say if it’s right, but you may be able to tell yourself.

    Then move to one phrase at a time from the solo, doing the same thing.

    EDIT: a few people have said this.... agreement on JGO! Who’d have thunk it?

    And obviously that’s the feel side of it (micro rhythm) but a few people have also opined on the polymetric nature of Jimmy’s phrasing, with lots of irregular accents. I believe there a masterclass floating around in the interwebs?
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-22-2019 at 05:26 AM.

  36. #35

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    There is of course a video of Jimmy playing Out of Nowhere:


  37. #36

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    In that video it seemed to me that his first chorus still retained a lot of the melody. But his final chorus had a lot more complexity, more notes etc. So that’s perhaps one way to build a good solo, i.e. progress gradually from ‘simple’ to ‘complex’. I know I try and do that a bit.

  38. #37

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    And, although it's not a set-in-stone rule, low to high.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    what makes an improvised solo "musical" and even pretty, even beautiful?

    intent. it seems so obvious, to play something and really, really, really, really mean it.

  40. #39

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    Lawson, it seems to me that focusing so much on trying to execute Raney's solos with Raney's feel is somewhat at cross purposes with making your own playing more musical. Because you know exactly what's coming, a tendency to rush or play ahead of the beat is baked into the performance.

    Plus, there's this perverse thing that can happen when one does something over and over again: the places that give you trouble start giving you more trouble. You anticipate the tricky bit, and you undermine yourself and flub it. It's difficult to break out of that vicious circle.

    IMHO, time to stop transcribing and start playing.

    John

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    In that video it seemed to me that his first chorus still retained a lot of the melody. But his final chorus had a lot more complexity, more notes etc. So that’s perhaps one way to build a good solo, i.e. progress gradually from ‘simple’ to ‘complex’. I know I try and do that a bit.
    All the solos in that Aebersold volume feature a few cites of the melody early on and then it moves on to other concepts.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Lawson, it seems to me that focusing so much on trying to execute Raney's solos with Raney's feel is somewhat at cross purposes with making your own playing more musical. Because you know exactly what's coming, a tendency to rush or play ahead of the beat is baked into the performance.

    Plus, there's this perverse thing that can happen when one does something over and over again: the places that give you trouble start giving you more trouble. You anticipate the tricky bit, and you undermine yourself and flub it. It's difficult to break out of that vicious circle.

    IMHO, time to stop transcribing and start playing.

    John
    Actually I don't think "transcribing" is different from "playing." Once I learn a solo, I enjoy trying to "play" it my own way. But of course, "my own way" is still lacking in a lot of jazz feel, and just as note-choice is important and needs to be assimilated, so also does jazz-feel. I feel like playing these solos, which I do all the time for fun now, isn't different from "playing." I don't gig, so I don't feel any pressure, so I'm trying to allow the muscle-mental-musical memory to do it's work as I internalize the ideas. Maybe it's wrong, but my first rule is "have fun." Which I am!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Lawson, it seems to me that focusing so much on trying to execute Raney's solos with Raney's feel is somewhat at cross purposes with making your own playing more musical. Because you know exactly what's coming, a tendency to rush or play ahead of the beat is baked into the performance.

    Plus, there's this perverse thing that can happen when one does something over and over again: the places that give you trouble start giving you more trouble. You anticipate the tricky bit, and you undermine yourself and flub it. It's difficult to break out of that vicious circle.

    IMHO, time to stop transcribing and start playing.

    John
    That’s an interesting post. I’m not sure I agree with it. But I’m also not sure I disagree with it.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Actually I don't think "transcribing" is different from "playing." Once I learn a solo, I enjoy trying to "play" it my own way. But of course, "my own way" is still lacking in a lot of jazz feel, and just as note-choice is important and needs to be assimilated, so also does jazz-feel. I feel like playing these solos, which I do all the time for fun now, isn't different from "playing." I don't gig, so I don't feel any pressure, so I'm trying to allow the muscle-mental-musical memory to do it's work as I internalize the ideas. Maybe it's wrong, but my first rule is "have fun." Which I am!
    "Have fun" is a great rule, and I wouldn't try to talk you out of it. But ...

    John

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    That’s an interesting post. I’m not sure I agree with it. But I’m also not sure I disagree with it.
    I think that about covers it.

    John

  46. #45

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    Emotion and sentiment are a dominant part of a great solo. No one seems to have mentioned that but that is what great music is about. It is not about executing pre-planned riffs over particular changes. No one cares about that shit except maybe other musicians...maybe. Keith Jarrett once commented that a good solo is the sound of "someone working on themselves" meaning they are having an inner struggle to deliver a lyrical and emotional statement that maybe they don't fully understand. We all know when this happens in a live performance. We are moved emotionally.

    Ask yourself, when you play are you trying to move the audience and make an emotional musical statement or are you trying to fit riffs over chords in a logical manner? If you are doing the latter you will never play a musical solo...it will just be some notes strung together maybe with some logic but it won't move people to care...


    '

  47. #46

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    Emotion's overrated. You feeling emotional over "Out of Nowhere?"

    Have fun and play something that fits the music. If you're sad, yeah, you can play sad...but don't try to make people "feel something." Definitely don't try to make people feel something you aren't.

    Cheesy old tune like this, just play the shit out of it, swing hard, and you know what? Itll make anyone smart enough to listen happy. Happiness is contagious.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  48. #47

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    I like someone who can make it real. Some conviction. Some connection. Strength. As was mentioned: intent. That might be the emotion Roberoo was talking about.

    You can really see this in Classical. If you can't make it real it really sucks. Classical is like Shakespearean acting in that way. I saw Horowitz's last concert at Carnegie. It was solid, musical and real even at like... 85 or something.

    Jimmy's got that. This music is part of his life. It's who he is/was. All he had to do was be himself.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    ... what makes an improvised solo "musical" and even pretty, even beautiful? ... I would really like to nail down just what makes it work, and figure out how to get more of that into my own playing.
    Lawson,

    I may have misunderstood your question. Are you looking to play this solo better? Or are you seeking to understand the art and the science inherent in the transcription and improvise your own solos?

    David

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberoo View Post
    Emotion and sentiment are a dominant part of a great solo. No one seems to have mentioned that but that is what great music is about. It is not about executing pre-planned riffs over particular changes. No one cares about that shit except maybe other musicians...maybe. Keith Jarrett once commented that a good solo is the sound of "someone working on themselves" meaning they are having an inner struggle to deliver a lyrical and emotional statement that maybe they don't fully understand. We all know when this happens in a live performance. We are moved emotionally.

    Ask yourself, when you play are you trying to move the audience and make an emotional musical statement or are you trying to fit riffs over chords in a logical manner? If you are doing the latter you will never play a musical solo...it will just be some notes strung together maybe with some logic but it won't move people to care...


    '
    I understand the point, but this is stated in a manner that is so dogmatic it almost sounds like fundamentalism, but in music rather than religion. There are skills someone has to have. Someone who stands up with all kinds of emotion and can only blurt out 5 or 6 random words won't move an audience. I study and learn this stuff so that I'll have a way to express what I feel to audiences. Great feeling+poor skills=No Real Music. Poor Feeling+Great Skills=No Real Music. We need both.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdwaverider View Post
    Lawson,

    I may have misunderstood your question. Are you looking to play this solo better? Or are you seeking to understand the art and the science inherent in the transcription and improvise your own solos?

    David
    Like I said in the OP, I've learned a lot of these solos and I am just blown away by their overall coherence, inner movement, logic, and beauty. I picked one to play as an example, it has the features I like. But I could have chosen any of the other solos, this just happens to be my favorite. I wasn't really asking "How can I play this better" though I appreciate the great advice I've heard here. I'm really asking what is it about the lines, the phrases, the phrasING, the movement that is so musically appealing. Jimmy composed this solo, and all the solos in the book I'm using, to teach students how to put together a good bop solo. So I'm trying to extract as much learning as I can from it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town