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  1. #226

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    Round Midnight is an elemental force of nature.

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  3. #227

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Round Midnight is an elemental force of nature.
    One of my favorites to play. There's so much you can do with it.

  4. #228

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    David,

    Thanks for pushing me to get back in the thick of it--I really should post what I've been doing. Sometimes gear gets in the way and those stone picks didn't work for me at all--thought they would (60 bucks down the drain )

    Anyway, your mention of Jim Hall reminds us that there is no such thing as a boring standard--just boring players. I hate how people cringe at Blue Bossa--it's a fantastic tune. So is Satin Doll. Listen to Howard Alden play the hell outta that tune.

    Playing with great players really helps. The difference between amateurs and pro's isn't blazing speed or anything that surface. The difference is ALL ABOUT TIME FEEL and GROOVE. Time is hard to teach and so personal to players, but man does it show if you really listen.

    Time feel should be incorporated into tune learning. That can be hearing the melody with the right time and inflections (to your ear) or it could be hearing the melodic rhythm of the tune. Any ideas, Truth?

  5. #229

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Attachment 47919

    I'm having a real blast with this tune. Yes, it's so beautiful that in a way it plays itself and analyzing it can impose playing habits that take away from hearing it. On the other hand, it's full of twists and turns, so as you're looking out the window enjoying, you can easily find yourself in a train wreck.
    So this is a little bit of the map in my head. Arrows are dominant phrases that I use to play into a phrase and colours indicate the amount of time I'm actually safe within a sound or tonality (my scenic area spots along the road). Colour changes, change of ideas.
    wpzgsr I know you're taking these a few bars at a time. Great idea. This is how I've tackled this piece.
    You can see some areas where the tonality doesn't really change, but the way I hear, or the way the piece breathes does change.
    Yes there are places where I find myself in keys that are just perfect but defy diatonicism of the piece key.
    I would say that the better you know a tonality as a whole and not by individual changes, the better off you'll be. For example those first two bars aren't just four chords to arpeggiate, they're a breathing passage that creates an exhale when you reach the F tonic chord. Those are trees that shouldn't get in the way of seeing the beauty of the line you can create.

    Maybe I'll post a list of things to focus on, different ways of looking at making a solo besides the obvious "notes that fit" approach.
    I did some of that in the Super Chops thread, but maybe I'll revisit that. But for now, great ideas guys!
    David
    Colour-coding - great idea. Thanks!

  6. #230

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    Starting late this week. So far listened to the above selections plus these:
    SarahVaughan

    At 0:40 she quotes the contrafact Hot House. That tells that learning heads of standards and their contrafacts is a good resource for improvising.
    Charlie Parker (with Barney Kessel starting at 6:50)

    Red Garland:

    Two additional contrafact examples:

    Hot House

    Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am



    Last edited by gcb; 12-07-2017 at 10:36 AM.

  7. #231

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    Loving all the contributions! Please also share your ideas and thoughts about what you get from each of these different examples, how they are helping you understand song form, and how you're taking apart and re-assembling this process of improvising.
    Each of these versions can give you insights. Please share them!!

    They really help us to see what the tune is about. Keep posting them, especially keeping in mind the purpose in this yearlong thread: to pick up the skills and integrate the necessary abilities to become really great soloists.

    Thank you all!

    David

  8. #232

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    This month's challenging standard is challenging because it's got such a rich confluence of devices that make a most unexpected and distinctive piece.
    This piece is in the Key of F, then it makes a switch in the bridge to D. That's a pretty dramatic shift, and lets us look at two very different areas to inhabit and play in.
    While in the A section of F, we actually begin with a turnaround, so the opening curtain of the tune comes from the II minor.
    Hey look at bar 2! That's a Bb minor! There's that IV minor sound we have run into in Just Friends. It's part of a great turnaround sound that includes IV minor going to a bVII 7 up to the tonic from a whole step below. Take this turnaround by itself and get to know it. It's a terriffic tool for your jazzy toolbox; use it as a nice unexpected substitution when you've got your II V I and you want a softer sound.
    That A section has another one of these devices you're going to love knowing: The extended turnaround. A -7b5 on the #4 descending down to the tonic. This is a standard harmonic device, so common that if you learn it in this piece, it will make every other piece (Night and Day, Christmas Time is Here...) with this instantly easier.

    That B section is a really nice breath of fresh air. Get to know it for all its melodic strength and straight forward harmony. It's diatonic D pretty much for a system. Then the next system (line of measures) you're hitting a D minor and guess what? That's also a II chord like the beginning of the tune, II to C major where you tumble through the chords of C major in a really nice grand tour of C major. To really know the tonality of a key, really know it by ear is going to be invaluable here cuz if you're following the changes by eye (on the page) you won't get to the beauty of blowing a line through the SOUND of C in these chords.
    GET OFF THE PAGE. KNOW YOUR DIATONIC HARMONY BY EAR! FIND LYRIC LINE WITHOUT THINKING CHANGES. This piece will reward you immensely if you're on that track here.

    Then you head back to the top and do the A section to close out the form.

    Take a look at it. I'll try to make up a colour coded guide or roadmap but listen by ear first, then find your way. This is a really nice tune that can teach you tons. Know your keys of F, D and C.

    Have fun!
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2017-12-09-2-43-44-pm-png

    Nat King Cole's very pure and beautiful lyrical version



    No THIS is my favourite. Listen to the way Paul plays simple, elegant and so musical lines in his solo. Rhythmic motif!



    Dexter swings and his use of a very vocal approach to his playing really suits the song



    Vocal sound in his horn, you can hear the lyrics in Chet Baker's horn lines.


  9. #233

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    LYRICS TO WHEN SUNNY GETS BLUE...

    When Sunny gets blue
    Her eyes get gray and cloudy
    Then the rain begins to fall
    Pitter patter, pitter patter
    Love is gone so what can matter
    No sweet lovin' man comes to call

    When Sunny gets blue
    She breathes a sigh of sadness
    Like the wind that stirs the trees
    Wind that sets the leaves to swayin'
    Like some violins are playin'
    Weird and haunting melodies

    People used to love to
    Hear her laugh, see her smile
    That's how she got her name
    Since that sad affair
    She's lost her smile
    Changed her style
    Somehow she's not the same


    But mem'ries will fade
    And pretty dreams will rise up
    Where her other dreams fell through
    Hurry, new love, hurry here
    To kiss away each lonely tear
    And hold her near when Sunny gets blue

    Hurry, new love, hurry here
    To kiss away each lonely tear
    And hold her near when Sunny gets blue





  10. #234

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    I tried to post a couple of Soundcloud clips last night but it didn't seem to work. Here's a complete 10 minute take from tonight. I think this might be my tempo sweet spot for this tune, 140 bpm. I was really struggling to find inspiration at slower tempos. Thinking too much I think. I just kinda let it rip tonight—warts and all:


  11. #235

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I tried to post a couple of Soundcloud clips last night but it didn't seem to work. Here's a complete 10 minute take from tonight. I think this might be my tempo sweet spot for this tune, 140 bpm. I was really struggling to find inspiration at slower tempos. Thinking too much I think. I just kinda let it rip tonight—warts and all:
    Wow, you're getting good! I can hear your comfort on the instrument, the musical quality getting stronger all the time. You should feel proud. I like the awareness of what has become before and how that shapes the progress of new ideas.
    One thing I might suggest, that could bring you new options. When you're putting down the backing track, can you trust yourself to use a metronome on 2 and 4? That's going to put a whole lot more responsibility of time on your shoulders and that's a good thing. Using more space opens the door for organic comping, rhythmic accents you can play off of in your soloing lines and a personal identity of time that's so essential as a growing musician. You'd be surprised at how different "weights" of the beat can change things on the soloing end. It's also a fun part of playing with another person.

    Again, you're sounding really good! I can't wait to hear more!

    David

  12. #236

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    Thanks David!

  13. #237

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    Thanks for the updated chart!

    I had real problems trying to read the pixellated original, and confess to breaking out my copy of ChordChemistry to piece things together. The bass line became apparent immediately, and as you say is very tasty.

  14. #238

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    [QUOTE=woollyhair;825587]Thanks for the updated chart!

    Yeah, sorry for the delay. I've spending a lot of time on that tune lately, and the more I work with it, the more I get out of it. A real gem of a tune, and one that does lend itself to reharms but is gorgeous just as is!
    I can play it for an hour and get something different each chorus around. That's a worthy piece!

    David

  15. #239

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    As I work on this tune, I'm very aware of the ways I think of the topography of the tune. It informs where I shift positions, what I listen for, where I delineate motivic zones, where I need to think/hear forward, and when I can concentrate or relax in my lyric lines.
    Mind you, these are NEVER meant as instructions of how to approach a tune. That's the fun each player has. This is just one way to look at a tune and the way I see the forest. The trees and the kinds of flora that populate these glades is where the fun is.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-fullsizerender-54-jpg
    Now I've broken this down into colours. They kind of show where I breathe, and how long an idea lasts. Ideas can be as short as two notes, or up to a string of 16th accented eighth notes. Usually when the colour block changes, I'm thinking of new ideas, responses or contrasting things.

    For me the tune opens with lime green introduction to the tonality. It's a time for a simple hello.
    Aqua blue is our modal sub IV- . Often on these two change turnarounds, I'll work with either the II- all the way through for a softer melodic line, or the 7 chord for more weight and assertive sound. I tend not to fit the whole run of II V7's even when I've got the space.
    Blue block is a time to explore the simplicity and clarity of the home tonality. This in I land.
    Red arrow means there's the option to point forward with a pickup phrase, some anticipation of the upcoming run or maybe even pulling the bar line one way or the other. That's the way I use all the red balloon arrows in this map.
    The purple line is a very long run tumbling through the channels of a diatonic line from IV to home. Getting there is not at all a matter of outlining all the chords, but rather familiarizing yourself with how to set up a linear entrance to home. Think of it as the many approaches to one landing runway at an airfield. Trust your ear and use your lyric sense. This takes time and practice.
    The end of the A section is yet another time to form links from one section to another through your turnarounds.

    Now the B section. Orange block. Smooth running! Change keys up a sixth or down a third and enjoy the flavour of that freedom for an entire system.
    Purple system drops down a whole step and you can think spaciously until you turn around to the top.

    That final coda section is back in the parent Blue Block key.

    You might try looking at these zones with a vocal sense. Literally. Sing ideas within these sections, or break down the sections in your own way. The singing of these lines will help you see that maybe running arpeggios all over the place in eighth note patterns may NOT be the best soloing tactic.

    Tell me how YOU look at this piece. Straight run from one end to the other? Wing it by ear each time? What ever approach, share your thoughts. What do you think of When Sunny Gets Blue?

    Hope it's fun!
    David

  16. #240

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    Hi David

    Do the colors you use represent something specific, or are they just there to differentiate sections?

    I've never related sounds to colors. I know a lot of people do. I tend to perceive them in a more tactile way (dissonances are "harder" and "rougher" than consonances, generally), or in terms of shapes (dissonances are jagged). I don't have a defined system or anything, so I couldn't make any categorical statements about it. It's just a general feeling. And the way I sort of perceive my struggle in improving my playing is working to overcome my tendency to want to smooth everything out.

  17. #241

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    Hi David

    Do the colors you use represent something specific, or are they just there to differentiate sections?

    I've never related sounds to colors. I know a lot of people do. I tend to perceive them in a more tactile way (dissonances are "harder" and "rougher" than consonances, generally), or in terms of shapes (dissonances are jagged). I don't have a defined system or anything, so I couldn't make any categorical statements about it. It's just a general feeling. And the way I sort of perceive my struggle in improving my playing is working to overcome my tendency to want to smooth everything out.
    No they're just there to show sections. I did use red as a turnaround colour as if to say: Hey end of a section, watch out for upcoming tonality, but no, they're kinda constrasting so you can see the differences in sections.
    I don't think in colours necessarily, but each chord has a colouristic character I can't describe.

    David

  18. #242

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    No they're just there to show sections. I did use red as a turnaround colour as if to say: Hey end of a section, watch out for upcoming tonality, but no, they're kinda constrasting so you can see the differences in sections.
    I don't think in colours necessarily, but each chord has a colouristic character I can't describe.

    David
    Gotcha. Thanks. I would describe each chord as having a characteristic texture, but as you say, not one that's easily described.

  19. #243

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    Checking in mid week here for the Thursday hang and idea dump. Guitarists can have a unique perspective because the instrument has a combination of chordal and horn like possibilities. Two really nice artists who can play equally adept at chordal and linear approaches are Kurt and Ed Bikert, two of my favourites.
    So I listened to the solos. I very rarely transcribe but listening with a player's ear is something I do all the time.
    I keep in mind the personal map of the piece, and listen to the ways these guys play over each section... chordal? Wide or narrow interval? Dynamics? Connected with previous phrases? Space? Few or many notes? Directional continuity? A lot of the things I think of (or forget to think of) while I'm actually playing. In this way, it brings me closer to the "driver's seat" that I share with other players.
    That's a big part of the incredible resource of seeing live music. If you know the form, you can be privy to the decision making process, and that action in the light of your options, can keep your soloing fresh and meaningful.
    Keep the music in your ear. Know when your fingers have taken over your decision making and take back your solo.
    That's my thought for this Thursday.

    David

  20. #244

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    I haven't had time to work on it, but I really appreciate you mapping this out the way you did. As I listened to your examples, I could hear the sections the way you delineate them, and could imagine some possibilities.

    Hopefully over the weekend I can do a little work on it, and maybe I can get my ensemble to play it next week.

  21. #245

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    Third week of the month. An interesting song with a timely message.
    The Christmas Song is a great modern traditional song with some pretty hip harmonies.
    Written in Eb, you'll notice it's got a lot of chords to it, but as we've seen with songs we've been working on, often a lot of chords can be part of a larger progression of movement that can be seen in a simpler way. I'll post the lead sheet here, and work with it.
    See if you recognize any of the harmonic devices we've encountered earlier. Have fun.
    I won't give my reading of it until the actual week of study, I just thought I'd throw this out a little early to let those of you who want this little "chestnut" to dig right in.

    Hope you have some fun. Happy Holidays!

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-fullsizerender-55-jpg


    Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux solo guitar version:



    Here's something a little different. Faux Bossa to bring a tropical flavour to the tune:



    A Royce Campbell version for you big box fans:



    We'll get into this in detail later on next week. Stay warm!

  22. #246

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    I started a new job this week, so I’ve been a bit distracted for the past few weeks getting ready. I just started working on the melody for Sunny today so I am pretty far behind the curve. That said, I love learning melodies because it opens up my ears to possibilities I’d otherwise not hear. David, at some point in the Roberts thread you talked about the importance of descending arpeggios, and for whatever reason the melody of Sunny is revealing to me all the different ways diatonic arpeggios can be used to great effect. I think that was a lesson that Roberts was trying to teach me with all of his diatonic subs (he wrote -vi and -iii for the I chord all over the place. I think this was his way of demonstrating that a key center is not just the I chord, but that you can play those simple subs to expand the sound.

  23. #247

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I think that was a lesson that Roberts was trying to teach me with all of his diatonic subs (he wrote -vi and -iii for the I chord all over the place. I think this was his way of demonstrating that a key center is not just the I chord, but that you can play those simple subs to expand the sound.
    Yes, that's so very true. I can't overemphasize the importance of that "forest from the trees" issue. Yah when you're starting out, getting the "right" notes in scales and arpeggios is a challenge, and a major task. You know I see SO many people get stuck RIGHT THERE and it becomes an obsession, filled with rules and second hand quotations from other people. But right here, in a tune, a tune you may not know, is a treasure trove of melodic ideas that you can see if you don't memorize too hard (by that I mean learning by fingers alone.)
    The forest really is planted by you and you have to ask yourself "How would I do this so it fits MY way of playing something meaningful?"
    Y'know that's a big question. Not "what" to play, but "why?". I'm going to keep you off balance with a new tune a week until you have the experience to say "I hear it! And it's not like anyone else's" and you'll know why to play notes, why to change direction, why to take a breath and why you want a certain passage to speak louder than the one before.

    Cuz if you're not reinventing the wheel the way you drive, then why else would you?

    Hey congrats on the new job! Hope it's thoroughly rewarding, and welcome back to the weekly tunes!

    David

  24. #248

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    Just a quick observation: I’m noticing that I’m singing bits of other tunes in my head while listening to Christmas Song. I think some of the common harmonic movements that a lot of jazz tunes share are starting to get firmly embedded in my ear. I haven’t compared the charts, but something about Christmas Song reminds me of a major key version of Angel Eyes, which is a minor key tunes. Also, hearing bits of Detour Ahead in here.

  25. #249

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Just a quick observation: I’m noticing that I’m singing bits of other tunes in my head while listening to Christmas Song. I think some of the common harmonic movements that a lot of jazz tunes share are starting to get firmly embedded in my ear. I haven’t compared the charts, but something about Christmas Song reminds me of a major key version of Angel Eyes, which is a minor key tunes. Also, hearing bits of Detour Ahead in here.
    A lot of those Christmas songs were written by the same people that were writing “Jazz” songs. Sometimes they used pen names. That is why noticing common harmonic movements. Furthermore, a lot of those harmonic movements have been evolving over time in the hands of Jazz musicians. They have evolved from from simple Pop arrangements to something more sophisticated.


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  26. #250

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    I think Mel Tormé wrote the Christmas Song!