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  1. #451

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    Get well soon.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #452

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    Jobim's music starts us off this month. I love Jobim's tunes because each tonal segment is a clearly defined group of measures in which to create a musical statement or phrase. Of course it's up to you how you define a phrase (for example on the version from Pat and Mick's duo below, look at the way Pat starts the solo with short phrases, some just a measure long, and Mick who takes a scalular phrase that goes through the bar lines and actually extends his opening phrase through two tonal areas and 4 bars).
    This piece fits really nicely into two bar phrases for a lot of the harmonic structures. Use this to think about HOW you're going to phrase, then create contrast. Take your first C6, and don't just fill the space with notes, but pick a character of your phrase (ascending, descending, long note and short note, use rests within, pickup to a chord tone and going somewhere, legato, sticatto, etc) and then ANSWER that in the follow B7 area. Maybe return to your original perspective when that C6 returns and see how having an A7 changes the answer...
    Now you've got a dialogue between the II- chord and Bb7. Be aware of your solo options and pick your phrase character to reflect something decisive. This thoughtful soloing will make a solo that demands your attention and opens up options for really creating interest and telling a story.
    Listen to these examples below and see how creating different phrases differs between Dexter Gordon and Pat Metheny. Make notes and try some of these out yourself.
    How does statement on tonal blocks differ from the passages that form your turnaround? (4th system and 6th system)
    How does using fewer or more notes change the impact?
    Are you aware of the original melody as you search for a jumping off point for a phrase?
    Are you aware of what you just played?
    Are you keeping a good inventory of your options and practicing with keeping a command of these?

    Let's make this group about sharing our soloing strategies at this point. Yes still work with the changes, record them slowly and then solo in successive 10 minute periods, and yes do take notes on your goals and progress, but let's share our adventures in words or examples. Start slow and gradually increase your speed throughout the week so you can achieve proficiency in these ideas through your playing range. And remember that SO overlooked tool, DYNAMICS.

    Thanks to all of you who wished me a recovery with my emergency adventures. Let's make this a good summer. I'll try to dip into and revisit those weeks I've missed out on. There was a reason I chose each and every tune in this run and they're worth the study.

    Have fun and I hope you love this piece.

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-03-9-35-16-am-png



    By the composer


    Astrid and a well known lyric version with Astrid


    Dexter Gordon's version. Listen to the way he develops this tune from the first note. His time and space.


    The Gene Harris version is a lively take


    And of course I fell in love with this one the first time I heard it and it gets better each time I hear it. Listen to the way each chorus develops and respects the beauty of the song.

  4. #453

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    Welcome back David! I missed your wisdom!

  5. #454

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5 View Post
    Welcome back David! I missed your wisdom!
    Thanks! Feeling the pieces falling back together and the urge to spread the music!
    David

  6. #455

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    One thing that I'm always impressed with is a solo that sounds like a composed piece. In that way I suppose I've long turned to improvisors like Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond, Jim Hall, Mick, Ben Monder... these are guys that demonstrate a sense of overall perspective.
    This week's piece provides a nice opportunity to work on that way of soloing: Staying aware of the process of development.
    These are a few things that I've been using on my time with Meditation this week.

    Break the piece into tonal areas, generally 2 bar phrase areas that can get shorter or longer in the turnaround segments. Then I'll create a theme. Now this can be as difficult as anything if you're used to just jumping into note making without listening. Or it can be so simple that you miss the potential of capturing a gem or seed of a solo. But it might be as simple as 1, 2, 3, 5 and up to 1 as an octave. Simple, right? (Maybe it can be 1,3,2,4,3,5,1 if I'm feeling the thirds, or a phrase from a Beatles song if I heard one while eating breakfast and it stuck with me... you get the idea).

    Now for each tonal area, or group of related chords, move that idea so it fits the new harmony. You can do this as an exercise.
    Now it becomes fun. When you perceive an Answer to a Question, you can create contrast for a phrase, then return to the theme as a conscious return. Try this trading off of the familiar with the new.

    Here's another idea. For each successive phrase, try altering something. They rhythm. The dynamics. The direction (It goes up? 1 2 3 5 1? Let's make the next come down: 1 5 4 3 1... ) Then return to the familar as an affirmation of the original idea.

    Here's another idea. At some point, reduce your original theme to one or two notes... simplify it... then approach them in different ways. Use a pickup note, or a chromatic approach from a direction you choose. 12351 becomes 5 1, then it becomes 2345 71... experiment with this. And if you don't get it, work and stick with it and ask questions with the group.

    Here's another idea. At some point, changing the rhythms around might steer you into something interesting, like a syncopated phrase, or a spacious combination of long and short. Use the RHYTHM as a new phrase and see what kind of mileage you can get from developing your rhythmic vocabulary.

    End of an idea: All this motific and phrase development should have some logical conclusion. Develop a tool box of ways to end phrases or creating conclusion. Blues lick. Approaching a tonic directly or indirectly... Remembering the impact of LONG notes when you've arrived... Give your thoughts a destination. This is where it leads. Don't just end a solo when you run out of ideas or because you've ridden the song form to the end of a section, create and take initiative.

    All of these ideas above are good things to look at as a single daily idea. Have them in your toolbox and let them become a natural part of your awareness.

    And let me know if any of this makes any sense. I'm not hearing much from you so I have no idea whether this seems like background gibberish, helpful hints out of the box or complete BS while you're immersed in your transcriptions.

    I'm having fun with it anyway. THis week I'm taking entire sections and playing them in voiced chords, then contrasting them with a linear approach for contrast. What're you guys doing?

    David

  7. #456

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    Welcome back David!

    I like this one and started on it today. I have been crazy busy lately so I'm making a new promise to pick up my contributions to this thread.

    I liked your 1 2 3 5 1 idea so I started with that. As an example I came up with the "answer" 8 5 3 5 8 on the Bsus/B7 chord and then started playing with that through the chord changes.

    I spent a fair fair amount of time learning the melody so that I felt like I could reference it thru my "solo". By the way, I'm comfortable working at the tempo of the original recording but haven't moved it up to the faster tempos. I actually prefer this tune at a more moderate tempo (right now, anyway). Still a little "exercisy" but I'm digging it.

    Im going to discipline myself to make more regular contributions, including more playing examples. But I thought I'd jump right back in with this latest tune just so I could stay relevant for the time being.

  8. #457

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    Still a little "exercisy" but I'm digging it.
    Right! I remember having a block in my soloing, or a wall more than a block. I couldn't make the leap from small figures that made up exercises and the vocabulary I was trying to develop for a wide reaching solo. I'd work on creating melodies with a sense of lyric line, but seeing someone like Jerry Bergonzi would drive home the point that developing a detailed lexicon of melodic figures enables one to build larger statements in seemingly infinite and surprising ways.
    Now I still try to develop the melody in the line, but those more essential statements can be "framed" in textures of sound derived from practicing patterns but not playing them that way. I can't describe it but practicing exercise type figures is very meditative, and it gives me great ease in breaking cliches in my own playing. Plus, my time gets better and putting rhythmic life into those lines is a basis for motif development right there.

    Nice way to integrate the weekly pieces in a constructive way: Define the structures and landscape of the tune. Decide on the seeds you want to plant within each block. Tend the gardens with purpose. Create the ideas as they all tie together at the right point.

    I really believe one can do this with only an hour a day (or even 59 minutes!)

    Have fun-
    David

  9. #458

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    Hey everyone. I’m in the middle of some other studies right now but will jump back into this thread when I’m done.

  10. #459

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    When it comes to pieces that made me want to learn jazz, this is way near the top.
    My Foolish Heart was magical when I heard Bill Evans play it. My love of music tended towards the technical at the time, I thought playing really difficult technique, speed, energy and strong playing was what I looked for (it was the sensibility of rock and progressive music at the time...that had its magic too), but when I heard Bill Evans' version from the Vanguard, I thought I HAVE to learn to play like this.
    Then later when I heard John McLauglin's version, that was it. The father of fusion playing a tune that Bill Evans owned in a tribute to Tal Farlow. This piece really does have everything for me. So here is the piece. I'll follow it with another post with my own approach to it.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-my-foolish-heart-lead-sheet-png

    My first encounter. Bill Evans Trio



    The lyric version with Tony Bennett, who had a very wonderful collaboration with Bill Evans at some point.



    Nat King Cole's version



    And of course, John McLaughlin's version. (It should be noted that he has his guitar in a different low tuning if you try to play this one)



    Have fun working with this piece this week.

  11. #460

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    Oh yeah! Now we get to the good stuff!

  12. #461

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    There are always many different ways to read a tune, from a linear take of filling the chord symbols with notes that fit some scale and arpeggio obligation, to playing free on an interpretation suggested by that song.
    This is JUST ONE look at that piece, in a way that might give you an idea of how I hear it. It's meant as just and only that. Please do feel free to be a part of this group and contribute your own takes on how you see this piece, and how that informs your playing on My Foolish Heart.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-my-foolish-heart-my-take-png

    As far as the form goes, I see Bb as the always present tonic key centre and all the phrases as little juicy episodes that lead to the II-, III-, IV chords in that key. So in the chart of my mind (which I've put in graphic form) I have phrase key centres in some kind of blue/green sections, and the chords that lead up to, that frame and create a sense of movement as red arrow changes. As I build up a vocabulary of movement chords (substitutions and ways to create dissonance that resolves to a resting point) I freely use them in these red arrow areas, as long as at the end of the phrase they come to rest in the chord and sound the arrow points to.

    The melody also fits these landscapes nicely, so listen to the melody. Long notes highlighting a strong resting area, arpeggios leading to resting points, larger and smaller areas and the note lengths that control the rhythmic drama. Explore these things.

    Remember the idea of motif and ideas that carry from one episode to another? Use those and continue to explore those ideas. They work really nicely on this beautiful tune too.

    You'll note that in some areas I note my own interpretations of substitutes. They're important to me when I play this tune. I think it was Slonimsky that said genius is the realization of a tendency, and though I'm no genius, I take that to mean that more you play your own music, the more you find your own ways of doing things, the more you'll come up with a "sound" that you like to carry in all the music you play.
    So I hear the progression of I, going to II, going to III, going to IV and that's the way I play it.
    Also in the 4th system, you'll see I have a green section and below I have kind of a G- pedal chord with a descending line cliche through it. That's because I hear G minor dominating my harmonic thought there, I don't see those "trees" in the pieces as it's written, but the G minor is my "forest".

    That's what I hear when I often play this tune, and who knows? As I incorporate different devices, I'll find myself removing different sections and putting in my own. That's the beauty of improvisation and re-composition. Respect. Understand. Shape. Reshape. Individualize.

    I hope you have fun and share whether any of this resonates or opens up any doors for you. Anything is good when you're creating and growing. Just DON'T be bored with what you play-ha ha.

    Have fun

    David

  13. #462

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    David,Glad your back at it and feeling better.

  14. #463

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    I've always loved what Ralph does with My Foolish Heart...




  15. #464

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    What a beautiful tune. (MFH). Really enjoying this one. I'm going to play this one a few more days then I'll post up my "version" haha. It's pretty straight, solo chord/melody for the most part. I like the descending Gminor line too and I use that. Still trying to keep with the motif idea for solo work over changes. I'm finding that method to be pretty inspiring, but maybe not totally innovative particularly. Still it's satisfying across this ballad and fits my level of playing.

    Im also having a good time using the rhythm of the melody but altering the tones as another way to set up some motifs.

    Cheers


    mike

  16. #465

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    Still trying to keep with the motif idea for solo work over changes. I'm finding that method to be pretty inspiring, but maybe not totally innovative particularly.
    Working with motifs is a real discipline unto itself. I think it embodies a really powerful aspect of improvisation, one that speaks to being aware as you improvise.
    As a composer working on a written page, you tend to carry an awareness of what has come before; you're invested in your note selection. To be able to tap ideas, forms and note choices as you improvise, that's a level of creativity that's different from just finding notes that fit; it's staking out your identity through ideas.
    I found that taking one day of my practice week and including writing out a solo on paper, can be enormously enriching and rewarding. A motif can be changed in clever and really musical ways. Writing these transformations, or developments, or variations shows you the thought process in slow motion, with deliberation and commitment. You'd be surprised at how much of that process becomes part of your real time soloing after writing even a half chorus of a tune.

    Looking forward to your notes, Michael!
    David

  17. #466

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    Hello everyone, I thought instead of the originally scheduled tune Ictus, I'd look at a very important tune I was going to do before I had my hiatus.
    I'm not really sure where you're focusing on, what tunes are of interest or what level of melodic or harmonic study you feel comfortable or challenged by, so it's always great to hear from you.
    Body and Soul is a really well known standard that can look complicated and intimidating on the page, and beautifully clear and concise when you listen to it. I thought we'd live with Body and Soul this week.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-18-8-52-45-am-png

    The tune is primarily in the key of Db, with a nice amount of play between the II- and III- chords, and the secondary dominants that support these tonal areas. It actually starts with the II- chord which is a refreshing oblique entrance to the body of the tune.
    The bridge in in D, and then it modulates into the tonality of C these changes provide some refreshing and interesting contrasts. Then we're returning back to the original A section.

    Listen to some of these examples and get to know the flow of this tune; it's a great piece to really get inside of.
    The classic. Coleman Hawkins


    Dexter Gordon and a lyrical and melodic verson that brings the melody and chords together. Listen to the way he brings the chords to life through space and nuance.


    Billie brings the words to her special ownership of this tune.


    This one's a lot of fun. Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse in a duo


    And for a nice guitar take, here's Wes


    There are so many really nice versions, you can find the throughout YouTube. Listen to how each soloist breaks down the lines and phrases.

    Finally here's one way I break down the tune. It's just one version, but here I show what I pay attention to, and in some way what I don't obsess on. The coloured blocks are important to me to bring out ideas, the red arrow sections are ways to move to the next tonal area. I'm always changing what I put in these sections but it's a very general road map of some contour.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-18-8-53-06-am-png
    In further posts I might talk about some ideas that make up the "meat" of my ideas, motif, tonal groupings, chromatic figures or other things that I might use as building blocks.

    I hope you find this piece interesting to work with if it's new, and even more interesting if you think you've known this piece. There's a lot to learn from Body and Soul. It keeps showing me more all the time.
    Please share your ideas.

    David

  18. #467

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    Suddenly the waters have gotten rather deep...

  19. #468

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    We've looked at pieces in the past, and the devices that have brought us to this point. Tonal areas. Diatonic harmony. Secondary dominants. Substitute dominants. All seen in the context of tunes, and all opportunities to take these things and re-use them in other tunes. All the time, we're trying to find logic, structure and lyric in our own playing.
    So this piece is full of lots of changes, all of which beautifully support a simple movement of essential tonal areas. Let's take this piece, reverse engineer it and look at one way to get to the essence of the piece. This is just my interpretation but it very much describes what I'm thinking when I play this piece. This allows me to fill in my own ways of fleshing out substance and ideas rather than just "making the changes."
    I won't say too much for now but here's Body and Soul when I'm playing it. What gets built on this foundation while I'm playing, that's another story.
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-19-8-56-22-am-png

  20. #469

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    Let's take this even further. Three tonal areas, modes within. While this seems like a simpler scheme you can run out of ideas on, they can also be a much more infinite area to play, rhythmically, chromatically, with substitute dominants, resolutions and blues licks.
    Let's take a look at the first system. It's a passage in Db. It begins on the II and finds home in the I. What can we do with this? Anything!

    Run the triads as lines, diatonically up the scale on II. Do this same thing with two notes and a rest. Never thought of this? Explore it.
    Take a triad but play it in spread configuration. 1 5 3. This gives you a broader range. Then approach each chord tone with your own choice of notes. Strive to make it flow. ( 1 b6 #4 5 7 1 2 3...) then end these with a blues lick resolution. Do this again on the I chord. You might see some nice interplay between tonal areas.
    When you see such a broad open area to play in, take a look at the original changes and you may see they are just ONE way to get to and accentuate the big areas. Can you see that?

    Anyway, this is another way to come to understanding with this piece.

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-20-7-40-55-am-png

  21. #470

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    Some tunes are so memorable, you forget the movie but remember the song. I saw Funny Face a long time ago, and I do remember the movie, but this song, How Long Has This Been Going On? has really stuck with me. Tommy Flanagan recorded it on those sessions he recorded with Coltrane and Kenny Burrell. Truly Beautiful.
    This tune has a Verse. In broadway/tin pan alley terminology, that's a sung or spoken part between the dialogue and the song, an introduction in a way. Many songs, including ATTYA by the way, have great verses, some of which are as beautiful as the choruses we know so I included the verse on this. Most jazz performances and vocalists eliminate the verses, notable exception being Ella, who loved including them.
    This piece is in the Key of F. The Verse, or the part most of us know, begins in the section marked A near the bottom of the first page.
    The bridge is really fun and the challenge of this piece, just because it does change key and you've got to shift gears and flow into that change of mood when the tonality shifts.
    Cleverly, the bridge, marked B, goes up a 4th to the key of Bb. It stays there for about 4 bars, then shifts to Aminor. I hear this as A minor, which would be the key of C. It's a nice dark passage full of questioning turbulence, great section to savour. Then, cleverly enough that A minor drops down to G minor at the recap of the song form, rehearsal cue section C. Isn't that nice? That A minor now feels like it could've fit in as the III- going to the II- and coming home to the original key of F.
    So listen to this tune, then get to know the melody, and get to know the changes, get to know it at all speeds, it'll teach you about modulation, short passages of tonality and how to play them against/into each other and it'll show you the way parts fit together to form a whole.

    The melody is such a gem, in essence and in simplicity. Try to pick out something from the melody and build on it. Don't worry about whether you think it's profound or if it feels like an exercise, but have some idea you want to explore. Build it up and you will see how the song form helps you to make it a memorable solo if you develop it with integrity. Many solos are wonderful and surprising simply because the look at the songform as a whole, and take ideas to be developed in that perspective. Stand back, and use the song form to help you with your own story telling.

    As far as developing your own tools, keep a mindful eye on the shapes you create. Wide range of note spread? Close? Direction? Add some chromatic crunch? Keep it diatonically smooth? Using rhythm to "frame" important and significant notes?

    Develop your ability to develop ideas. It will then come to you as a friendly and powerful ability when you don't even expect it.
    Hope you have fun with this. Maybe I'll add some landscaping suggestions if I have the time and the sharpies out.

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-22-9-42-41-am-png
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-22-9-45-33-am-png

    Vocal with the original verse, from the movie. A classic


    Tommy Flanagan


    Ella, a different verse!


    Listen to the way Ben Webster makes each phrase breathe. Try to think about what he's thinking and deciding in his phrases, is he thinking scales, or something else completely? Keep these things in mind.


    Has anyone seen Round Midnite? Dexter Gordon


    A really nicely arranged guitar performance by Andy Brown


    Hope you enjoy this week's tune. Please share your ideas as you dig in. I look forward to them.
    Really!

  22. #471

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    Michael,

    Time flow is the main thing that I practice, every day. And that's because, by nature, I have absolutely horrible time! People would request me to "just stop playing" . Consequently this is the one area of music where I have really worked out thoughts on how to improve, because I started from the absolute bottom. I have definitely made progress, though it is not where I want it to be yet. So, I can say for sure is possible to improve your time feel. I also feel this is the most mysterious, beautiful, and gratifying element of music to practice. Much more fun than wrestling with the fingerboard! Time feel, imo, improves when you begin to sing, dance, clap, and play drums every day. Guitar is horrible for time feel, because it uses fine motor skills. Put on a Louis Armstrong record and dance!

  23. #472

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    "Guitar is horrible for time feel, because it uses fine motor skills."

    I can't tell you how much I struggle with this. Especially with Jazz. It takes me a long time to smooth a tune out. even single note phrasing. the other day a member put up a really sweet 2-5-1 line I had to have. It wasnt the notes. The notes were easy. the "feel" was everything. One thing I am is persistent. I love working a "lick" to get it right but it takes time, hitting plateaus and working past them and pushing it up to new levels of performance.

    doing it while trying to carry a melody, chord changes and a discernable bass line is freaking impossible. 'course I dont let that stop me. I just keep going hoping somewhere in my future I can say I actually play jazz.

  24. #473

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post

    I'm curious as to how much you think "up and down the string" when you're thinking chordally. One thing I found when I worked on bridging the gap between single line and chords, is voicing chords as they move up (and down) the neck is a lot more challenging than with lines; but really rewarding. It also helps me be more supportive in a melodic way when I'm playing with others.


    David
    Thanks for the encouraging words. The short answer is no, I don't think up and down the string when playing chordally. If I move a chord up, generally I have to invert it. The main reason I never do that is I have a lot of difficulty hearing "inversions" of chords. I rely very heavily on the bass movement to guide my ear. I have basically zero ability to hear the inner voices. And I have a lot of trouble hearing even basic diatonic chord progressions when they contain many inversions. I know there are ear training methods to address this and I've been working on it a little but it is really slow going and discouraging. Eventually I would like to find a bass player to play and experiment with playing inversions over someone else's bass line. But in order to play with other people, I need to know some songs, which is why I'm following along with this thread

  25. #474

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    Man, that was fantastic. I am far from being able to play "songs" in a solo setting like this. I grew up thinking "lead guitar" and "rhythm guitar" and still work to bridge the gap between the two. I have a lot of trouble sticking to the form when jumping back and forth between lines/melody and chords. Anyways, I'm impressed to hear you improvising while comping. Nice job!

  26. #475

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Man, that was fantastic. I am far from being able to play "songs" in a solo setting like this. I grew up thinking "lead guitar" and "rhythm guitar" and still work to bridge the gap between the two. I have a lot of trouble sticking to the form when jumping back and forth between lines/melody and chords. Anyways, I'm impressed to hear you improvising while comping. Nice job!
    You know, that's a great way to practice these weekly tunes. When you break them into phrase segments, do one as chordal, then the next as single line. I've found that in hearing chords as dyads, and melodic units, the line between comping and soloing gets easier to cross. That's why I asked about going up the neck. Harmonized scales, particularly voice led ones can create a beautiful way to bridge one segment and another in a tune. It's not about "being in a change" but rather getting to a change in an interesting way.

    David

  27. #476

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    Short tune for the short end of July.
    Remember Peace? We did it in the last week of December. It was a lovely tune that flowed in and out of key areas and had a beautiful bass line movement through it.
    This week's tune is a wonderful little gem by Keith Jarrett, Coral. I think of this in many ways the same way I see Peace, as a tune that sets up movement and takes us on a journey that never really stops. The piece starts on a journey to Bb Major, then it sets out (to my ear) on a line to a G minor tonality. This, of course can be a stepping stone to B Major, where a moving bass line explores that territory until some great sounds along the way finally lead us to an F minor sound. That's all in the journey back to the top again.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-29-9-26-48-am-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-29-9-25-45-am-png

    I first heard this tune on Gary Burton's New Quartet album


    Sco's take on it


    I like this solo vibes version, you can really hear the movement of the voices, and see them too


    Gary Burton revisited this tune years later with Tiger Okoshi


    Hope this gives you some ideas of this hidden gem and I hope you find something interesting and lasting in your encounter with this tune. Have fun. Share your thoughts!

    David

  28. #477

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    It's the summertime, and the living is easy. So we're beginning August with a really nice tune that can give everyone something to work with.
    Alice in Wonderland is a tune that has a very listenable harmony and melody, yet as we can see from Bill Evans' version, there's a lot you can do when you play with what's there. So it's a manageable song that you can really grow with. In the key of C, with some nice turnarounds that combine to bring us home in the bridge.
    I hope you find something in this tune and I hope you share your ideas. Or at least let me know if anyone is actually reading any of these.
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-08-07-8-23-08-am-png

    Here's Bill Evans and his trio in the famous Vanguard run. This is actually how I learned about this tune.


    I think of John Abercrombie as one of the most respectful and truest keeper of the Bill Evans flame. Here's his take on Alice in Wonderland in a trio with sidemen who played with Bill.



    Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond


    Hope you find this tune an adventure and a satifying experience to work with.

  29. #478

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    I really love John Abercrombie's version of Alice. That disc is a real gem...

  30. #479

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    I'm following along, using this thread as a sort of "weekly lesson". I really appreciate all the work you put into this. I'm trying to learn the songs from the recordings and then check with the lead sheet after so it takes me a while but I'll try to post results when I can. Right now I'm still working on the melody of Alice in Wonderland, but I know when I get to improvising I will have problems with the 3/4 time. I feel very stiff and rhythmically repetitive in 3/4. Any suggestions for how to get it sounding as loose and free feeling as Bill Evans and John Abercrombie? Perhaps I should begin by practicing just the melody notes phrased different ways?

  31. #480

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    For me, I find it very helpful to use Transcribe to just loop a few measure section of a solo I like and just focus on matching the the feeling and phrasing. After I can play along with that section, I continue the loop but start to work on counter and complementary melodies that keep the same feeling. By focusing on a smaller bit it lets me just hang with that and getting comfortable rather than trying to dive right into the whole form.

  32. #481

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    That's a really good suggestion. Unfortunately, for me, playing songs in bite size chunks results in me not knowing the form - I'll go from one chunk to another, but not in the right sequence . This is a particular weakness of mine. To counter act this, if I'm practicing the first four bars, I'll improvise over the first four bars and then comp out play melody through the rest of the form until I'm back at the top. Takes forever but right now it's necessary for me.

  33. #482

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    My suggestion was really focused on getting the phrasing flow in 3/4 down. I totally agree it doesn't help with the learning the form!

  34. #483

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    I hear ya! I'll try it, but I'll imagine I'm not playing part of Alice in Wonderland, I'm just playing "ii V I IV"!

  35. #484

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibnrushd View Post
    I feel very stiff and rhythmically repetitive in 3/4.
    I find that 3/4 has a flow of its own, and it's like rowing a boat on water with small waves, as opposed to the more open feel of an even meter. It's a good way to explore more minimal phrasing, maybe even a single note in a measure. How does the placement of this note within that 3/4 "wave" change what you can do? It's also a good way to really come to grips with just how different longer notes and eighth notes are, not only in sound but in function. Use eighths to support a given note of choice, to support an idea rhythmically.
    I always look to minimizing when trying to get into a rhythmic understanding. We tend to inherit our phrasing from others, or just find patterns by default. Rhythm is a plateau of playing unto itself and working with odd meters really puts you out there in making each note find a place within a cadence that doesn't "walk" like even counted meters do.
    Great question, and a whole dimension of this tune I'd failed to focus on. Nice!

    David

  36. #485

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    From the first time I looked at this tune, it's had the strongest affinity with me. I've always found a real natural flow to it, an ease in the melodic and harmonic progression.
    There Will Never Be Another You never gets tired for me. I never stop finding new things in it.
    The tune is in the key of Eb, and really doesn't modulate from there. There are some nice secondary dominants but the root movement is very nicely laid out for the improvisor.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-08-11-7-36-03-am-png
    In its most basic form, it moves down the scale from the I chord EbMajor. Down through the VII which takes you to the VI minor.
    At the root position of the V we see the II of IV, see how you expect a major or dominant sound and you're delighted with the minor that leads you to the IV? Then you've got the set up back to home.

    The melody breaks the ABAC form into phrases that closely follow the systems of the page (each line on the paper seems to have a nice complete feeling to it, with a short pickup note taking you to the next system). This gives you a nice guideline to how you might phrase yourself.
    First system seems like a melodic idea.
    Second system parallels that idea with a minor tint to it.
    Third system has two small phrases that can work nicely to question and answer one another.
    Fourth system ties up the first half of the tune and seems to ask a question at the same time (ending with that all inquisitive B7 leading home to Eb)
    The second half of the tune starts off similarly but winds up ending with almost a vamp-like long turnaround in home tonality Eb. Try out your best extended ideas here, just make sure you're home on time for the final arrival of Eb.

    I hope you see some of the familiar structures and feel adventurous enough to try out some new ideas in the space where the form allows.
    Maybe we can explore some ways to take expectation and introduce some more adventurous "out" ideas to get new colours from the solo. I can talk about that if there's any commentary here that shows interest.
    Thanks for the thoughts, questions and feedback as they come to you. I love seeing how things are developing.
    More thoughts after we've had a handshake and run with this piece. Hope you like it!
    David

    The deep end of the pool with Sonny Rollins. Listen carefully to his choice of ideas and see if you can hear how his individual phrases grow out of one another, where they fit on the form and how they use vocabulary that is within your own knowledge. This is a master class in itself.



    Wes has a version



    Hank Mobley swings his lines and his phrases are so elegantly embellished and his ideas are always so strong.



    Kenny Burrell's nice chord solo



    Hope you can use these examples to give you ideas. Start slow, and really savour the qualities of the progressions, your lines and strive for meaningful ideas. Remember, start slowly, hear your ideas and then respect what you create when you build upon it.
    Have fun!

  37. #486

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    Such a great tune!










  38. #487

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    From the first time I looked at this tune, it's had the strongest affinity with me. I've always found a real natural flow to it, an ease in the melodic and harmonic progression.
    There Will Never Be Another You never gets tired for me. I never stop finding new things in it.
    The tune is in the key of Eb, and really doesn't modulate from there. There are some nice secondary dominants but the root movement is very nicely laid out for the improvisor.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-08-11-7-36-03-am-png
    In its most basic form, it moves down the scale from the I chord EbMajor. Down through the VII which takes you to the VI minor.
    At the root position of the V we see the II of IV, see how you expect a major or dominant sound and you're delighted with the minor that leads you to the IV? Then you've got the set up back to home.

    The melody breaks the ABAC form into phrases that closely follow the systems of the page (each line on the paper seems to have a nice complete feeling to it, with a short pickup note taking you to the next system). This gives you a nice guideline to how you might phrase yourself.
    First system seems like a melodic idea.
    Second system parallels that idea with a minor tint to it.
    Third system has two small phrases that can work nicely to question and answer one another.
    Fourth system ties up the first half of the tune and seems to ask a question at the same time (ending with that all inquisitive B7 leading home to Eb)
    The second half of the tune starts off similarly but winds up ending with almost a vamp-like long turnaround in home tonality Eb. Try out your best extended ideas here, just make sure you're home on time for the final arrival of Eb.

    I hope you see some of the familiar structures and feel adventurous enough to try out some new ideas in the space where the form allows.
    Maybe we can explore some ways to take expectation and introduce some more adventurous "out" ideas to get new colours from the solo. I can talk about that if there's any commentary here that shows interest.
    Thanks for the thoughts, questions and feedback as they come to you. I love seeing how things are developing.
    More thoughts after we've had a handshake and run with this piece. Hope you like it!
    David

    The deep end of the pool with Sonny Rollins. Listen carefully to his choice of ideas and see if you can hear how his individual phrases grow out of one another, where they fit on the form and how they use vocabulary that is within your own knowledge. This is a master class in itself.



    Wes has a version



    Hank Mobley swings his lines and his phrases are so elegantly embellished and his ideas are always so strong.



    Kenny Burrell's nice chord solo



    Hope you can use these examples to give you ideas. Start slow, and really savour the qualities of the progressions, your lines and strive for meaningful ideas. Remember, start slowly, hear your ideas and then respect what you create when you build upon it.
    Have fun!
    Perfect timing. This is the tune I have been working since your hiatus, David. I’m working full-time these days, but hope to be able to fully participate this week like old times.

  39. #488

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    I'm happy so many are on board and checking this out. A few things I like about working with There Will Never..., simple devices like a scale, how effective they can be when combined with some figure at the end. And this same scale can be given a completely new life when the rhythm is changed around. And look at how a scale can be motific if you change the chord scale it's based on, or change the ending. Or look at how the small intervals can be contrasted with wider leaps.
    As you're putting together your solo, try thinking of the forest as well as the trees. I mean the process of laying down notes is something that can be practiced. Keep in mind things you want to do, a motif, an intervallic relationship, etc. and keep that in mind, through development, embellishment, through rhythmic interest. How long can you maintain intention and an idea? This kind of thinking can give your thoughts of scales meaning and context, and it makes a solo not only interesting, but a composition.

    I'm working around a lot of guitarists this week, it's Guitar Week at the school in town and I'm hearing a lot of notes, notes that have been run and practiced a LOT. But what is being said as a larger whole is not a priority.
    It's certainly something to consider as a part of your thinking when you spend your time on the instrument.

    Thoughts?
    David

  40. #489

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    Re: notes. Just a silly little exercise or idea here. Instead of playing the lines that you hear in your head, how about switch it around and let the note values for the lines you hear in your head provide the rhythm for the rests instead. And your goal is to play notes where you would normally rest. Does that make sense?

  41. #490

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Re: notes. Just a silly little exercise or idea here. Instead of playing the lines that you hear in your head, how about switch it around and let the note values for the lines you hear in your head provide the rhythm for the rests instead. And your goal is to play notes where you would normally rest. Does that make sense?
    It does! At least in my mind. If I'm hearing you correctly, you imagine where and what you would have normally played, then you work in the negative space. Very nice!
    If you've ever read interviews with drummer Tony Williams, he loved working with Miles, and he learned a lot about playing/not playing by using the space that Miles left at the end of a phrase. Commentary and reaction, creating in unexpected places you wouldn't normally think of.
    A friend has his students play an exercise called Space Stella, where you'd play over a change or two, a bar or two, you set the parameters, and then you lay out. This is really fun with another player. Not the same thing as your idea but kinda along the same lines.
    Another really fun workout also involves playing with a friend. You split the form up, maybe two bars each and you alternate between comping and soloing. It sure keeps you alert!
    Thanks for the idea!
    David

  42. #491

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    Wow this is a great tune for practicing different tempos. Each one of those versions feels so different, but the song still sounds great.

  43. #492

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    Stardust is a really nice piece by the composer of so many great tunes, Hoagy Carmichael. I remember hearing this on a Charlie Christian record and thinking "I'll be happy when I can play this as a solo piece." It's always been a great piece for me.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-08-26-9-27-03-am-png
    It's a piece that can be broken down to a few familiar tonal areas in the key of C. Some interesting spices, the IVM going to IVmin is a nice touch. That is a common usage of this modal interchange progression and a nice way to add a contour to the harmony.
    In the 5th line (system), there's a D9. This is a secondary dominant going to G7, or a nice introduction of some tension that takes us back home.
    Give this a spin and see what you think.

    David

    Charlie Christian's version


    Coltrane's version is pretty soulful and worth checking out. The way he builds up the solo on the themes of the original tune is SO Coltrane.


    The lyrics and lyrical by Nat Cole with the great verse


    Chet Atkins!


    Even Willy Nelson had a place for this tune in his repertoire

  44. #493

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    As we work on this week's piece, I realize that we're approaching September. We're nearing a full year of study together and a tour of the many tunes that make up jazz vehicles and improvisation.
    I thought I'd ask you to share your ideas on how you approach making, studying, practicing and playing a solo. What kinds of things have been helpful? What pieces have helped you? Has this been helpful?

    One idea I'll throw out is the idea of Question and Answer.... or Call and Response... or statement and comment.

    I've been working with a student on a daily basis for the past month and one thing I've been impressed by is how awkward it can be to be mindful of what's going on around one, how to listen, and then how to respond. This takes an analytical, a thoughtful, a decisive approach to your playing to be spontaneous and purposeful in response. It can be the easiest thing or the most difficult thing: staying in control of your solo.

    I'd love it if we could share our thoughts on this, on this piece, on this process (immersion in a piece a week) and what we're doing these days in our growth and development.

    There are so many people on so many levels of study, at different points in our journey, I'd love it if we could all inspire each other and open up the discussion on what has been helpful here.

    Thanks so much!

    David

  45. #494

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    Such a fine song!






  46. #495

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    Jobim's tunes have always had a clear and pleasing sense of movement, often in fresh and unexpected ways. This week's tune is a tune certainly worth the time to know and play on. Wave flows like a series of waves, finding movement from one tonal centre to the next, and giving us a great opportunity to use our secondary dominants and 7th substitutions to get to these areas.
    I've put the lead sheet and then a little map of some of the islands that we can aim towards throughout the piece. It's this sense of movement that makes this piece so much fun to play.
    Starting in an introduction to the key of D, we are pulled into the next island, in G
    G, the IV chord, then goes through a transition into that F#13 measure. Now that's a nice dominant sound going to the B9, but I also hear it as a D/F# inversion measure, where I create a little more diatonic resting area, but that's a choice I make personally. (to this end, I'd hoped that we might evolve more into interpretations and substitutions of a given harmony in this thread but it seems that there's not much to this thread anymore... sorry to see the ends of our discussions here. But onward-)
    A series of secondary dominants bring us back to the home key, or to the bridge.
    THe bridge is a nice easy trip to F.
    And another transition to Eb
    Which brings us back to the A section again like the top, and home in D.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-09-09-10-38-44-am-png
    and one way to see a closer look
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-09-09-10-37-42-am-png

    Jobim's original



    I love this version, Paul Desmond and Ed Bikert



    Dexter Gordon's version is a great example of phrases that are clear and concise



    Stan Getz played this throughout his carreer and in great ways, made this tune his own. Great feeling



    I hope you guys find something compelling, if not enlightening in this tune.
    If there's no more interest in this thread, maybe it's a good time to call this a wrap and Wave goodbye.

    anyone out there?

    David

  47. #496

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    I'm still here but insanely busy and fighting physical issues that are limiting limiting practice time. But I really appreciate your analysis and find it very helpful!

  48. #497

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    Still lurking and absorbing

  49. #498

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    It was a year ago that I started to put together a program of tunes that would, in essence, create an environment of immersion for those who had found some traction in the Howard Roberts Super Chops program we did together. Honestly, it was a good time for me to do this, I'd kind of gotten over the fascination with those aspects of guitar besides playing (no more need for acquisition or personality worship) the task of being someone who REALLY understood the process seemed a good one, especially with like-minded players in this forum. We've covered much more than just tunes in this past year. Thank you all.

    This summer I had the great fortune to take on a student with whom I met on a daily basis. 6 days a week. Absolute immersion and practical discussion of the craft, abstract discussion of the art and the peripheral brought into focus. During that time I came to work with learning improvisation in a three layered process; each layer constantly being revisited and subjected to an organic evolution.
    The Form.
    Whether it was the blues form or free form, the awareness of the form and what it really means is the foundation we worked with. From the earliest lessons, I emphasized understanding of the form as something akin to a walk through a house, different rooms being accessed and each room distinct and requiring a unique mindset. When you get off book, and see recurring forms, and harmonic structures, you see form as something like another player: you respect, understand and play within its limitations and boundries.
    The Syntax
    This is the choice of mechanisms you use to adhere or build within the form. Chords, scales, consonant textures, dissonance and space. SO much goes into what you can play and getting to fit these choices on the Form was the second level we worked with.
    The Language
    In the end, we created our own language built on the synthesis of our syntax and the tendencies we found in our own playing that we developed, developed to that habit could be revealed and used for its strength, never relied upon through weakness. This was the challenge and the source of the greatest satisfaction.

    All three of these areas were an ongoing evolution throughout our time together.
    I hoped that we might share our own questions and observations with each other, to use the forum to become more creative and realized improvisors. I have loved the questions and contributions of those of you who've followed and added to this yearlong journey.
    The last couple of weeks we'll look at tunes, but also at where we are, what we do and how we grow before this year closes.

    Hey y'all, tell me who you are in the lives you lead as players. If your fascination with jazz guitar is about playing, let's hear about your partnership with tunes, your struggles and how we've come to see tunes in a different light.

    I look forward to this final turnaround!

    David

  50. #499

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    As we close out this year of practice, there are so many things we've encountered, and still so many questions and answers to explore. One of them is: How, when and why do we navigate ourselves to coordinate the shifting tonal areas of a song form and the options we've got at our disposal throughout the guitar fingerboard. For me this speaks directly to my question of "How do some players seem to have endless ideas through their solos and how can I learn to think that way?"
    One idea I've been working with has been moving figures and ideas down by whole notes.
    Here's a challenging and really useful exercise I start my practice with: I take a major scale based phrase or song segment and I play it in any key; I can begin anywhere. At the start of the week I can do this at a slow metronome setting. Play it for a number of beats/bars. I like one or two measures.
    Then drop down a whole step. This is enough so it "washes the taste" of the key and we begin again. I keep in mind the phrase I just played, but this time I can play it again, or I can make a variation, or I can embellish, or I can reverse direction... the point is to be aware of where I'm going, and what I can do.
    The more I do this, the more intent I can impart on what I play. After a while I can create a "larger picture" free of noodling that takes me where I don't want to go.

    The next exercise is taking a minor scale, and doing the same thing. Dorian is nice. Dorian phrase, drop down a whole step and dorian phrase. You'd be surprised at how this can focus your playing.

    Then try alternating. Either on the same note (Bb major and Bb minor, drop down whole step) or with descending whole tones (Bb major drop down Ab minor, Gb/F# major...)

    These whole tone sequences will open up the focus and vision of your phrasing and can take you away from single tonal noodling, or that awkward "Now what do I do?" soloing that leads to falling into cliche or lick based ruts.

    This is one of a number of techniques I use to get to really know the fingerboard, the sound of changes and the options I have.
    When you do this exercise in the variations I've suggested, you may even see and recognize some of the pieces we've encountered through our yearlong catalogue. Doing this slowly and gradually increasing will for sure open up abilities and musical options you may not have explored before.

    See if this does anything for you if you feel like it. The variations are endless, as your soloing should be. Have fun!

    David

  51. #500

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    OK. I guess I've lost anyone who was intrigued with this idea. I'd thought that through an ever increasing familiarity and facility with the structures and language of standards and tunes, we could bring our playing to include the elements of outside/inside playing over standards. I see that's not of interest so I'll say it's been a fun journey and I hope there'll always be something to be had for those self driven players who look for the limitations of their playing, of the form, of the music you hear, and strive to go beyond it through knowledge, facility and imagination.

    Yes, I still pick a tune every few days and personally, I still find something new about the instrument and the music every single day. It's the reason I love this music. I look at improvised music as an infinite series of steps. In this way, you don't get to the heights deemed impossible unless you progress steadily and humbly; then one day you look around and you've got an understanding that you're where you once considered impossible.

    A lot of progress can be made by following other people's footsteps. There is no doubt that much can be learned from the studious assimilation of other peoples' work. Too, we can fall into the dangerous place where we limit ourselves by staying in the shadows of others and not constantly searching for the things that inspired and nourished them. Acquire the tools and build your own. That's always the message.

    One example of this thinking was the set of exercises I'd thrown out there in the previous post-the whole step root movement exercise.
    It's true that for someone merely wanting to learn a tune for a jam, doing exercises like this aren't of practical use if you just want to play a tune. OK. Maybe not. Or maybe it's just not the step you want to take because you don't think it goes anywhere. Fair enough.

    So let's look at a final tune now.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-miss-jones-png

    Have You Met Miss Jones has been a real staple of the standards book for a long time. So many approaches to this tune and it really reflects the individual's knowledge of tonal landscape and getting around in it. This is just one way to look at what's going on.

    The piece is in the key of F and the A part is a nice relatively straightforward journey in the key of F.
    We begin at home. F Major.
    A transitional chord leads us to the II V of our key. That's nice, pretty manageable way to create some movement.
    Hey since we're headed home, let's take a little detour and go the III, VI, II, V route and THEN go home. That's nice. That's the A part.

    B part.
    Hey what's going on here?!! Hey I heard people talk about Coltrane changes. Hey I see people following the changes from their real books. Hey I see people trying to play this one by ear with varying degrees of success. What's going on?
    One way you can look at it is take our key of F and make that F a springboard to new tonal areas.
    F7 leads to Bb. Cool
    Drop down a whole step and we can play minor
    Drop down a whole step and we can play major (look at it anyway you want but it works nicely with the previous measure too)
    Drop down a whole step and play minor
    Drop down a whole step and play major. Boy this is fun. Do we detect a pattern here?
    Now we break the pattern, the key and create a turnaround to Gb
    Do the same thing a half step down and we're in our original key of F.

    Back to the A part. That was fun.

    Yeah that bridge is kinda like the exercise we met last post. And it's kinda like a water slide ride; once you know how it goes, it's not so dangerous and you can begin to have some fun.

    That's the form of the piece as I see it, and this map is just one of many ways to look at Miss Jones. You can spend the rest of your life working with and playing a song and if your imagination is ever growing, you will be able to avoid getting bored or falling into a solo you've played once before.
    Get to know the fingerboard. Just because a line seems to descend doesn't mean you need to be moving DOWN the fingerboard. Use the whole instrument-you paid for it, use it.

    I hope this year has been an enlightening one for you and for those of you who get as much or more from what you play as the trappings of the instrument itself, for those of you that find that rush in finding new ways to grow and express yourself, never limit yourself.
    You can learn something new every day. By next year this time, you won't recognize yourself.

    Thanks for taking this trip with me.

    David