1. #1

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    So... sometimes I can play the head of a tune pretty nicely, and okay, I have a memorized solo I can play (I know, I know) but it's that lead-in between the tune and the solo that I find hard to do. Often that's the part of a performance I like the most, and there are some really famous ones out there. Charlie Parker had one, and Pat Metheny also has a famous solo-lead-in on "Third Wind" that I think is just wonderful; it's at about 1:40 below:



    Here's Charlie Parker's famous "alto break"-



    So what goes into playing a nice transition into a solo? What do you do?

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  3. #2

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    It's usually similar to the line you would play on a turnaround.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    So... sometimes I can play the head of a tune pretty nicely, and okay, I have a memorized solo I can play (I know, I know) but it's that lead-in between the tune and the solo that I find hard to do. Often that's the part of a performance I like the most, and there are some really famous ones out there. Charlie Parker had one, and Pat Metheny also has a famous solo-lead-in on "Third Wind" that I think is just wonderful; it's at about 1:40 below:



    Here's Charlie Parker's famous "alto break"-



    So what goes into playing a nice transition into a solo? What do you do?
    Depends on what's happening in the band, but here are some things that come to mind.

    If the head begins on a tonic, then the solo break should be on the related dominant, or a progression leading to that dominant. Like V I or iii V ii V I.

    I generally make a conscious decision whether I want to begin with guns blazing vs coming in quietly. If I want to come in quietly, I can make that clear in the solo break. I find it particularly important when I have to follow a soloist with massive chops. I can't outblaze a player like that, but I can out-quiet his blazing solo. So I may signal to the drummer to bring it down for my solo. If the drummer catches on, everybody else is likely to get it.

    The contour of the solo break should progress towards the resolution point at bar one of the solo form. Playing a lead-in dominant is one factor. Playing rhythmic material that leads towards resolution can also help. For example, a couple of triplets can set up a break.

  5. #4

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    Yeah this is a good point.

    a lot of people seem to think a solo starts in bar 1. It doesn’t, it starts in the last few bars of the previous chorus.

    ’Everything is a pick up’

    Again forward motion. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, sometimes I feel as if people on the forum think I am some sort of raving street tramp, clutching a bottle of Thunderbird and ranting about stepwise resolutions, but if you don’t get this basic aspect of jazz - that things resolve across the bar line and into beat 1 (or a push) of the next one, jazz is basically not going to make sense.

    It’s stunning to me how people don’t get this and how the most commonly available jazz education materials don’t discuss it. Resolution in time is the most important aspect of jazz harmony bar none.

    so - every line in your solo should be like a pick up into the start of your solo. Make sure to connect into the resolutions and you will swing much more.

  6. #5

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    There’s a good example in that Jimmy Raney solo I posted - he plays quite a simple phrase that just leads naturally into his solo.

    see the thread here:

    Jimmy Raney - What Is This Thing Called Love (transcription)

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    There’s a good example in that Jimmy Raney solo I posted - he plays quite a simple phrase that just leads naturally into his solo.

    see the thread here:

    Jimmy Raney - What Is This Thing Called Love (transcription)


  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    S

    So what goes into playing a nice transition into a solo? What do you do?

    there's always "country gardens"


  9. #8

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    If one is the leader (or first soloist) this 'break' is often played while the rest of the band pauses.

    I love Clifford Brown's break on "Blues Walk."


  10. #9

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    What I like to hear, and what I play, is usually flashy. Some might say "but where do you go from there?" I never find a problem dialing it back after that. I like effect of "alright, here's the solo."
    I adopted that attitude years ago after a masterclass with Lincoln Mayorga.