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  1. #76

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    Maybe we'd have to make a new thread about "jazz and money".
    It would be very interesting, I guess.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Maybe we'd have to make a new thread about "jazz and money".
    It would be very interesting, I guess.
    Do you want to play what you are ? Play jazz !
    Do you want to make money ? Don't play jazz !

  4. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax
    Do you want to play what you are ? Play jazz !
    Do you want to make money ? Don't play jazz !
    I play jazz all the time, even while sleeping.

  5. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by teribyrdie
    I've asked a bunch of people about this, but the answer that I've gotten could be summed up as: improvisation is a bunch scale/arpeggio ideas and licks that you already know that you are rearranging and putting in the right places. Should I just try to learn a bunch of licks in all keys to become the ultimate improviser or what would you suggest?
    i think if you do that you sound better than learning scales and trying to make them into music

    that’s not the end point though, it’s not ultimately about regurgitation of licks, although we all have stuff we play automatically.

  6. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    . . . even the best players take solos with a lot of similarities from take to take. This doesn't mean they weren't improvised, but players had ideas of how they want their solo to "shape up" and didn't completely start from scratch with each take.
    Quote Originally Posted by RunningBeagle
    I try to bring a lot of truly improvised material into my solos. Of course that means it's not always successful, or better said, perfectly optimized, but it's probably more interesting, and always more fulfilling to play.
    “{T}he quality of immediacy [is] essential to jazz. That quality originates, not from the assumption that the notes have never been played before, but from a sense that they have come into being, in real time, as urgent creative impulses.”
    -- Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times, April, 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I have always thought that the real difference between professionals and amateurs is not mainly how well each plays, but how consistently and reliably they can provide their highest quality performance.
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I have the same impression as Lawson. One of the skills that separates the pro from the amateur is the ability to sound good when the planets aren't in alignment. . . The pro makes it work no matter what.
    I see it as a process of "raising the floor."

    My musical mentors and idols are always shooting for a mark above where they are playing, but their 'suck' is so much better than my 'normal.'

  7. #81

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    For me, improvisation is melody. Of course there are licks and arpeggios and show-offy stuff thrown in now and then, but I try to make every solo a melody that makes sense. the only way to develop this skill is to listen to a wide variety of music in every style so that your ears are open to all the possibilities.

  8. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    i think if you do that you sound better than learning scales and trying to make them into music

    that’s not the end point though, it’s not ultimately about regurgitation of licks, although we all have stuff we play automatically.
    Our ears are always there to help.

  9. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilpy
    For me, improvisation is melody. Of course there are licks and arpeggios and show-offy stuff thrown in now and then, but I try to make every solo a melody that makes sense. the only way to develop this skill is to listen to a wide variety of music in every style so that your ears are open to all the possibilities.
    There are many more ideas and reasons to create this new "melody" in jazz.
    e.g. when playing live, there is the so-called mutual inspiration of musicians playing.
    There can also be a motivating audience or the atmosphere in the auditorium.
    Added to this is the creativity of the musician, etc.

  10. #84

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    As usual, everyone's advice is different and unique, just as everyone's own journey has been...

    Crossing over to Jazz from pop/rock/blues/folk etc is daunting and confusing because everyone seems to think there must be some simple trick to it all - a magic scale or something, just like it was for the much simpler afore mentioned styles. Of course, those of us farther down the Jazz road know it's a mountain of trial and error involving the basics (scales, arps etc in all keys all positions), then transcribing, analysing and applying lines and solos from others, and eventually creating your own unique style.

    Here's how my own journey eventually became distilled: Once you learn all your scales and arps in all positions (and that is a lot of work should you choose this road!), just stop practicing them. Instead, understand that that is your alphabet, with which you now need to learn how to fashion into Jazz words and sentences, before telling complete flawless stories (and that takes even longer, infact, probably the rest of your life!). I've been hanging around this site for around 12 years now, and I know that a lot of people seem to get stuck on scales and arps and can't seem to find the next clear path to move ahead. If there is a secret, I think it's becoming serious about learning how to speak the Jazz language with the right Jazz accent. But like learning languages, there are many kinds, let alone dialects, so you need to know exactly which style you love, and learn how to head in that direction. If you wanna blow like Pat Martino, then don't buy a book on how to develop chord melody skills (at least not straight away) - that will derail your journey. In fact, most "method" books will derail your journey, even an inappropriate teacher (one that can't play in the style you wish to) can derail you.

    Yep, if there's one thing we all end up realising (if we're lucky!) is that you gotta forge your own path up the Jazz mountain. Turns out it's a great thing, because the challenge is rewarding (despite the obstacles and frustrations), and you get their your own unique way, which means you don't sound like anyone else - exactly what the Jazz world always appreciates!!

    OK, but I still haven't mentioned how I found the key to some Jazz language that floated my boat, and it turns out that a lot of players did / do this, so it's obviously a solid path. It sounds simpler than it is, but you learn and decode your favourite Jazz solos and turn them into, wait for it, DEVICES. A device is kind of like a pattern or idea, or even just a melodic fragment (Cry Me a River, Honeysuckle Rose etc) that can be applied and altered to suite every chord type. They can be repeated through octaves, or joined with other devices. Personally I like to develop 2 bar devices for each idea that I've appropriated from my fave soloists (Parker, Wes, Dexter, J. McLean, Cannonball, Pat Martino and quite a few others). These devices run up, or down or both. I learn them for all chord types (extensions and altered) in all keys and all positions. I know, that's too much for most people, but it's what I did. Then I use each device and play that through a tune. I might stay on one device (out of a hundred I've worked on) for a week or more, and just play the shit out of it on one tune, or just 8 tricky bars in one tune. Then move on to another device for the same tune for another week, then another etc. After months of this, start to combine them, learning how to - and this is critical for me - join then smoothly (usually chromatically). My devices have a lot of chromatic embellishments, so it's hard work and can only be done s-l-o-w-l-y over time before you can think of the next device you wanna go to while you're on the current one. That's another crucial skill to learn (for me anyway), thinking ahead while playing something else.

    I sounded like an etude machine for a few years, but got so comfortable with the device running that I could start to play shorter fragments starting on any string in any position. Then (ok, I'll admit I was pretty late on this one), I started to work on breaking the chain of 8th notes using interesting rhythmic figures by thinking like a drummer, or a sax player. Starting and ending devices on different parts of the bar, starting early, and sometimes late, resolving early or late etc.

    Yup, years of this shit and I still didn't sound like a legit soloist, just a guy running lots of patterns (hey, wasn't that what Coltrane ended up doing? hehe), but here's the most important thing I have to offer: all this time I gave myself maybe 20% of my practice time to focused "noodling" - just playing simple melodies where I try to hit key target notes throughout a tune, and just play what I'm singing to myself and try to get better at playing what I'm actually pre hearing. So basically an extension of what a lot of us were doing as kids jamming against a one key pentatonic thing, just a little bit more challenging because of the twists and turns in Jazz harmony (OK, a lot more), but essentially the same idea, just noodle around and get good at playing what you hear. Now, I know this will run counter to what most would advise on this forum, but for years this 20% noodle time was kept quite separate from my "devices etude" practice. I always knew the whole point was to combine them, but only when I felt ready. Eventually I did, and for quite some time my efforts were clunky- you could tell when I switched gears from pre learned device running, to freewheeling melody making. But I got better at it, and am still working at "hiding the seams" if you will...

    So, to distill all the above, my advice to people is to NOT do what I did! At least not entirely, because it just takes too damn long. However, there is a simpler scaled down version which I have encouraged some friends to work on with much faster results (yeah, I was jealous), simply work on fewer devices of your own making (stolen from your very favourite soloist), and work them in only a couple of different positions. Start working them into tunes straight away, and start weaving in your noodling melody making at the same time. Don't worry about speed, just worry about playing cool lines that make sense. Once you sound OK in a limited way, you can learn a few more devices in a few more positions against a few more tunes, at a few more BPM .... and gradually get better that way. I could argue that we'd both get to the top of the Jazz mountain at the same time, but you would have gone the scenic route, having more fun, playing more tunes along the way.

    Oh, so to answer the original question in the OP - I aim for around 50% pre learned material mixed with 50% freewheeling. If it was all pre learned it would not be fun. If it was all freewheeling it would not be good!

  11. #85

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    How much...? Pretty much just the mistakes. Which lead to out-of-thin-air-and-my-back-pocket "saves," or what I call "progress."

  12. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    e.g. when playing live, there is the so-called mutual inspiration of musicians playing.
    There can also be a motivating audience or the atmosphere in the auditorium.
    Yes, and I miss that. Work obligations and covid make it very difficult at the moment.

    With regard to spontaneous improvisation, I thought of a late contribution I made to the "Recorda Me" thread: I was concerned with working on the descending II V I and hadn't really planned anything for the initial Am6 / Cm6, so winged it. It was kinda ok, but I don't think I even remember exactly how I played it. That, I suppose, would be the definition of improvisation