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  1. #301
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    How's everyone else doing with this piece? Working well? Getting the feel in the different phrase areas?
    I'm no stranger to this tune, but I can't say I've ever been comfortable with it, precisely because it shifts around so frequently. I'll often get a bit caught up in what I'm doing and forget where I'm going... most often ending up in C when I should be in G (or vice versa), or in Ab when I should be in Db. So for the time being I've forgotten about starting slow and working up to fast, and just started focusing on getting some fluidity through the changes.

    Good tune selections!
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  2. #302
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    I'm kind of fascinated with the way an augmented triad will fit over almost any chord.
    Symmetrical scales are pretty cool. For each note, you have a new push off point for any melodic ideas you formulated from the original root.

    One of the next steps after getting to know the regular symmetric scales is to use Schillinger scales of multiple tonics, or using tonics and creating scales that have the same intervallic content but that might have roots that take shorter or longer than an octave to complete.

    Of course the big question is "How do you use this?" and one answer is: If you're playing with cats who need to be "inside", safe and predictably by the numbers, DON'T. But once you enter the zone of "How might I play with structures that can create a different type of tension that I can resolve within the changes?" then... it gets really interesting!

    This can be a thread of its own but I think I'll keep it here. It's always fun to give different people different things to think about on as we all work on the same piece.

    But keep throwing out ideas and questions!
    David

  3. #303
    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    I'm no stranger to this tune, but I can't say I've ever been comfortable with it, precisely because it shifts around so frequently. I'll often get a bit caught up in what I'm doing and forget where I'm going... most often ending up in C when I should be in G (or vice versa), or in Ab when I should be in Db. So for the time being I've forgotten about starting slow and working up to fast, and just started focusing on getting some fluidity through the changes.

    Good tune selections!
    Excellent point. You know, the progressions are deceptive, because the internal progression VI II V I (IV) lulls you into a feeling that "Hey this is easy" and it is. Except it's a little island and the boat that goes to the next island comes on time, without warning and far away from where your ear might tend to take you. Know that about this piece.

    Know where you're going, and judge the amount of time you're going to be there so you don't stay too long. This is where keeping it simple at week's beginning is helpful. It lets you really know this piece completely enough so you can put up your own mental warning signs. Like the big one that says KEY OF C coming up... or Eb, don't be fooled by the C-7, you're in the land of Eb. Really, a lot of times we read the piece from a chart, get to know the shifts by changes and don't REALLY get to know it. The better you know the structure, the less inclined you may be to play it safe with the same old licks that worked to keep you safe last time. Know your new target areas and dammit! have fun getting there.

    This really is a tune that's helpful for me to set up with colour zones on the chart. If you get too comfortable and you snooze on one transition here, you'll wind up in a comfortable place...that's all wrong.

    I chose this tune because it's a dangerous piece if you snooze, and so many people, myself included, learned it so well early on that I never got to know it. Yet I could solo really easily. And they tended to sound the same.
    As we get to know these tunes in such rapid successions, there's no time for taking it easy with snoozing. We're only visiting for a week, live dangerously. Uncover the sneaky shoals and map them, then learn a new way of hearing.
    You'll find that knowledge informing your piece the next weeks. ANd the rest of your life.

    David

  4. #304
    When I said modulating, I meant that Ella seems to always sing in a different key than the lead sheet. Which is fine but all the more challenging. Like I said before, I'm behind all you guys and the first 30-40 times through the videos are me just getting the chord fingerings down. I had Steve Kirby as a teacher when i started into jazz and his analysis of songs look exactly like the ones you post. I love this and am using this as my method to finally break through from "gee, look at all these new chord fingerings" over to "i can actually solo convincingly because now I get where it's all going".

    Apologies to my bandmates in the jazz ensemble I played in back in 2003!

  5. #305
    Do you guys think about the Db in bar 8 as the IV of Ab, or do you see it as some sort of weird sub for a ii- in C?

  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Do you guys think about the Db in bar 8 as the IV of Ab, or do you see it as some sort of weird sub for a ii- in C?
    Good question. It's little twists like these that make this tune interesting, but also a bit awkward. I guess I treat it as a IV, but to the ear it certainly feels like a weird bII.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  7. #307
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Do you guys think about the Db in bar 8 as the IV of Ab, or do you see it as some sort of weird sub for a ii- in C?
    Yeah, that's funny. I hadn't realized until you brought that up but my relationship and perception of that particular chord has changed over time. I used to think of it very much as the IV, and still do of course, but as I increasingly got to playing by ear, being creative with making lines, the more I relied on different things to cue me into the fact that a big change in sound was coming up. That IV is like the yellow line on the shoulder of the road that says "that was nice, now get ready to move". It's an important bar, even if you don't decide to do anything on the guitar.
    Nice

    David

  8. #308

    Week 3 of January. The challenging piece: Freight Trane by Tommy Flanagan

    Well we started the year with A Train, and I thought let's follow that theme in our third week, the challenging piece: Freight Trane.

    The bebop head. Even though this piece is pretty straightforward harmonically, the bass line moves down in nice steps and the root movement is familiar enough, this piece is a really nice example of the bebop head, rich in melodic devices (anybody take a peek at the Etudes thread?) and the challenge for me was to hear, and SEE the embellishment and shift my hands accordingly through and based on these embellishments.

    For this piece especially, using the "slow tempo graduating to fast" format is really recommended. I'd also really recommend learning to hear this tune as a series of phrases. Ask yourself "Where is this group of notes going to?" and use your hand position to play strongly for that musical phrase. For me, that means learning to get comfortable and fluent in the left hand shift.

    The piece is in Ab and the harmony stays there but moves in familiar ways, it's a great piece to blow on.

    I first encountered Freight Trane when I got a double album collection of Coltrane and Kenny Burrell. This piece stood out as one of those tunes that made me want to learn jazz. Written by Tommy Flanagan, who played with Coltrane on his Giant Steps session, it's really catchy in addition to being a great piece to learn intricate melody on.
    Once you can "hear" how the phrases work, how to translate what you hear into how you play, you can learn tons with this piece.
    Have fun!
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-freight-trane-2-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-freight-trane-1-png

    Yeah yeah, I included a chart with TAB. It's there, but if you're really looking to learn this piece, and LEARN BY it, make your own way through it, and come up with a few ways to play it. I like seeing how many ways and position shifts I can make on this piece; it really lends itself to fingerboard exploration.

    Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan... what an amazing group! Check out the two recordings this band did. Here's the recording that I loved


    Jack Wilkins, another great guitarist and his version of this great tune

  9. #309
    Oh man, I love this tune!!!

    Here's a video I made this past summer, a chorus of improv and then head out. I learned the head by ear, so I'm wondering if all my notes are the same as the lead sheet, but they're close...anyway, you can see my hands good, might give an alternate idea or two on fingering (since I'm mainly a 3 finger guy)

    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action?"

    --Adam West, as Batman, 1966.

  10. #310
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Oh man, I love this tune!!!

    I learned the head by ear...
    Me too! I listened to this until I'd internalized it, like any Christmas carol. Of course it took more time but once it was in there, my ear taught my fingers years later. Nice version you did!

    David

  11. #311
    Concluding our week of All The Things, anybody have any thoughts as we conclude?
    Personal notes, I'm altering my practice program a little. Since I play unaccompanied a bit, I've altered my program a bit and I'm finding new challenges and new rewards.

    For now, I'm not doing the record chords and solo over it. I'm still doing the start slow, increase tempo daily, 10 minutes on, rest, 10 minutes on, rest format from the Roberts program, but now I combine chords and single line, not straight eighths but as if I were performing, and the alternation is Metronome ON, metronome OFF. I'm finding that the way I listen and the way I feel swing are changing in both sections. This is especially in playing without a metronome at higher speeds, where I'd avoided rigorous practicing before, allowing for a looser and sometimes slipping in the tempo. Now if I want to take liberties, it'll be because I choose to.

    Maybe that'll be part of my New Year's resolution.

    How bout you guys, any new elements our time on the instrument has given you in your work with the program?

    And on a side note, I know I started Freight Trane earlier during the ATTYA week, but I thought it was worth the time for the curious to listen to it and "get the sound" in the ear before the pressure of trying to tackle it on the instrument. Here we mark the actual start of the week. Have fun!

    David

  12. #312
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Concluding our week of All The Things, anybody have any thoughts as we conclude?
    Personal notes, I'm altering my practice program a little. Since I play unaccompanied a bit, I've altered my program a bit and I'm finding new challenges and new rewards.

    For now, I'm not doing the record chords and solo over it. I'm still doing the start slow, increase tempo daily, 10 minutes on, rest, 10 minutes on, rest format from the Roberts program, but now I combine chords and single line, not straight eighths but as if I were performing, and the alternation is Metronome ON, metronome OFF. I'm finding that the way I listen and the way I feel swing are changing in both sections. This is especially in playing without a metronome at higher speeds, where I'd avoided rigorous practicing before, allowing for a looser and sometimes slipping in the tempo. Now if I want to take liberties, it'll be because I choose to.

    Maybe that'll be part of my New Year's resolution.

    How bout you guys, any new elements our time on the instrument has given you in your work with the program?

    And on a side note, I know I started Freight Trane earlier during the ATTYA week, but I thought it was worth the time for the curious to listen to it and "get the sound" in the ear before the pressure of trying to tackle it on the instrument. Here we mark the actual start of the week. Have fun!

    David
    ATTYA was another classic song, that I had not played. unfortunatly I didn' get much practising done, because week was so busy. last night I finally had some time and give it a go. I started with ballad tempo (50 bpm) playing melody and soloing quarter notes over it. Then i increased tempo 10 bpm to tempo and went again. i got 100 bpm and then did a whole version of the tune which i even record. it turned out ok and I think it shows that i have made some progression. its not good, but considering that i did it in one evening is a good achievement for me

  13. #313
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhui View Post
    ATTYA was another classic song, that I had not played. unfortunatly I didn' get much practising done, because week was so busy. last night I finally had some time and give it a go. it turned out ok and I think it shows that i have made some progression.
    It's an important song for many reasons. Glad you had the introduction. It'll be one that will be worth putting in your long term study file. It's one of those songs, like Stella, that has so many levels of complexity that it can serve as a touchstone for different devices and techniques as you assimilate them. Because it's so widely performed and recorded, it's also a valuable tune to know intimately as it'll sharpen your listening skills when you hear other people play it; you start to discern a performance that sounds pretty good, from a performance that might have truly inspired moments, from a performance that really shows applied genius-that's a lesson in itself.
    Keep that song in the active list. I think it can teach you a lot. Such a satisfying piece when you get to the meat of it.

    David

  14. #314
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    How bout you guys, any new elements our time on the instrument has given you in your work with the program?
    I didn't have time to dig into ATTYA, but I've been continuing to work with the whole tone scale.

    Also, I finally decided to get off my ass and finally learn the melodic minor scale as well as I know the major scale.

    I can "see" the major scale all over the neck. It's not to difficult for me to grab any major scale regardless of where my hand is. I also have a very visceral sense of where the modes are.

    With MM, I know it in bits and pieces, meaning that I often have to change positions to use it (and usually by then it's too late). So I've been drilling the scale all over the neck, and paying special attention to how the shapes dovetail into one another. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm definitely making progress.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  15. #315
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    All I'm doing is trying to get Frieght Trane up to some kind of decent tempo and maintain some swing articulation. I hope to put up an example on this one by the end of the week with a short solo. This song is inspiring and makes me want to play jazz and be good at it.

  16. #316
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    I'm still digging at ATTYA. Lots of richness to work on there for me.

  17. #317
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    All I'm doing is trying to get Frieght Trane up to some kind of decent tempo and maintain some swing articulation. I hope to put up an example on this one by the end of the week with a short solo. This song is inspiring and makes me want to play jazz and be good at it.
    Start slow. Ballad slow. Don't even try to go for the actual speed until the piece reveals itself at slow tempo. Make up your own fingering arrangements based on the figures and where they fall naturally and don't stay in any one position longer than you need to for the music. Are you working with a metronome, on 2 and 4?
    If you take this slow at first, this piece can show you a lot about shifts within a musical phrase.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what you find and make during the week. Take your time and you'll find things that will be with you for a long time coming.

    David

  18. #318
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    Any tips on navigating all of those descending half-steps in this week's tune (aside from just sequencing the same idea)?
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  19. #319
    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Any tips on navigating all of those descending half-steps in this week's tune (aside from just sequencing the same idea)?
    It’s that special Blues for Alice hell all over again!!

  20. #320
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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    It’s that special Blues for Alice hell all over again!!
    Ha, it is! I wasn't good at it then, and I'm not good at it now!
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  21. #321
    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Any tips on navigating all of those descending half-steps in this week's tune (aside from just sequencing the same idea)?
    Jay, each change, each step down, each measure with a new tonality is a blank page. This piece could be fun to look at that way. Don't be afraid to use up as much paper as you need.
    You could:
    Take one minimal motiv, add to it each step.
    Embellish a note with approaches (like the first measure)
    Play with different weights of content, like make that IV stand out when you get to it.
    Play with dynamics.
    Choose consistent direction in where the lines are going, then change the direction of your lines when you want to show contrast.
    Keep your ideas minimal but make them rhythmic.
    Make a statement, develop it with successive steps, then return to that statement at the end when the lines meet at the tonic.
    Take a look at, and listen to the recorded examples, really immerse yourself in what Coltrane is doing, try to feel his thought process, then open up your imagination and "channel" his approach.
    Work out where the phrase breaks are, play one from the head, alternate and play an idea in response, then return to a phrase from the head.
    Figure out what devices are used in one part (diatonic and chromatic approach tones from below for example) and apply them to notes in other measures, then do something completely different.
    Don't be afraid to shift to new positions when you're stepping down the changes. It's one sure way to challenge the monotony and it certainly is a skill you should have down.

    Those are a few things I can think of to make a solo interesting.

    Have fun!
    David

  22. #322
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    Thanks for the tips, David

    I'm mostly using an iReal backing track with the keys pulled out - just drums and bass.

    The position shifts are the key. I don't use tab so ultimately it takes me longer to decide on fingerings. One of the big learning curves I'm going through is the fingerings. Not having tons of experience, my first reaction to a fingering pattern is "would a jazz guy do it like this?" To me, choosing to decide between several fingering options can be challenging when they are both equally difficult for different reasons. And judgment lies in trying to determine which pattern can get me to the tempo I need. I've fallen in to the trap of working out a pattern that works but then discovering that I can't get past a certain tempo. The idea to find the quickest route to facility - not always easy to do.

    But I do feel I've made some progress in beginning to get some shifts to become more natural feeling. I am beginning to recognize some "moves" but it feels like I'm scratching the surface of ha ing them come intuitively - not there yet....

  23. #323
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    Thanks for the tips, David

    I'm mostly using an iReal backing track with the keys pulled out - just drums and bass.

    The position shifts are the key. I don't use tab so ultimately it takes me longer to decide on fingerings. One of the big learning curves I'm going through is the fingerings. Not having tons of experience, my first reaction to a fingering pattern is "would a jazz guy do it like this?" To me, choosing to decide between several fingering options can be challenging when they are both equally difficult for different reasons. And judgment lies in trying to determine which pattern can get me to the tempo I need. I've fallen in to the trap of working out a pattern that works but then discovering that I can't get past a certain tempo. The idea to find the quickest route to facility - not always easy to do.

    But I do feel I've made some progress in beginning to get some shifts to become more natural feeling. I am beginning to recognize some "moves" but it feels like I'm scratching the surface of ha ing them come intuitively - not there yet....
    Great points and I know exactly what you're going through. I'll just drop my two cents here. It's really important for you to be able to hear musical phrases in reference to where the "Do" is at the moment. Or I always think of it as the "1". When you learn your scale fingerings, learn them across the fingerboard and know where your "1" is at all times. Know where those "1"'s occur on the fingerboard; each of those locations will have a strong fingering location. That's how I learned the fingerboard.
    In general, when the root is on the sixth or fifth string for example, I like 1, or Do under my middle finger of the fretting hand. For minor, I'll often find index finger gives me a position of strength.
    Is this what you find?
    There's the location of your scale, and by extension, the location of all your notes. Learn these positions not only as scales, but as the map for where all the notes are, and use your ear to be able to identify all the notes.
    If you haven't got the visualization, fingering, ear (graphic/kinesthetic/aural) relationship down, then patiently work on creating equality on all sides.
    Our first phrase of Freight Trane is 5 6 7 1 5. Find the position and it'll fall into your hands. Next is the phrase with the -7b5 turnaround phrase, different sound, different location, I'd need to shift to play that phrase from strength.
    Make sense? That's what I mean by lots of shifting. It's a long slow process learning to play by your ear, especially in jazz where things are so phrase dependent, but learn in a way that lets you play from strength and practice patiently.

    I hope you're using the practice here where you start out every piece at ultra slow ballad tempo and move the tempo through the week. It's really important for the learning process and I believe it's the way to learning to think, feel and play every tempo with awareness.

    Any time you're struggling, know you're not alone. Post it and there will be many others out there who'll be glad you did. We can all chime in and give our advice. Great way to learn. Just wish it was easier for everyone to get to a place to hang and play!

    Does this give you any help?
    David

  24. #324
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    Yes! great help. and particularly the idea of "position of strength". I have run across instances where it may be "easy " to get to that first note of a phrase one way but doesn't put me in a position of power or strength for the rest of the phrase. it's interesting.

    I am practicing at a snails pace and building......slowly.

    If I understand you correctly, would the idea of "1" (which is how I think of it) be shifting thru key centers as well? (not always practical for very short changes). I strangely, haven't solved for myself switching from key centers to individual chord scales in some cases. it's almost too much to think about, in some sense, particularly on the fly.
    Ultimately I want these sounds in my ear but during practice sessions I am thinking with key centers or chord-scale theory as I feel it applicable.

  25. #325
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post

    If I understand you correctly, would the idea of "1" (which is how I think of it) be shifting thru key centers as well? (not always practical for very short changes).
    On the contrary Michael. Yes the 1 moves a LOT in piece like this. That's why I chose it as the challenge. We get taught that we've got to learn positions (read: CAGED) but somehow the idea of shifting up and down on strings is downplayed. BIG Mistake!
    Learning how to "centre" yourself on a single chord tone as a strong note allows you to play intricate bebop lines which all point to individual chord tones as much as roots. When you acquire this skill and ability, and a vocabulary of embellishments and small ornamental figures (which this piece is full of) then bebop heads become easier-and they swing harder.
    Have you ever read Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist? In it he sees position playing as only one mode of navigation. You must be able to skate effortlessly from one area to another. You must be able to connect strong zones in a moving harmony, get to and nail the melodic essence, then move on to the next statement.
    Freight Trane doesn't change keys, so it's easy on the ear, but it does change chords and because they step down diatonically, there's not alot of common tone overlap. Shifting is going to be a big topic of care this week.

    Nice observations, Michael.
    David

  26. #326
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    We get taught that we've got to learn positions (read: CAGED) but somehow the idea of shifting up and down on strings is downplayed.
    David
    My first teacher (a rock guy) showed me how to combine several pentatonic shapes into one "diagonal" (my term). So, if you were using a G minor pentatonic, you might start on F on the sixth string, and play your way diagonally up the fretboard to, say, D on the first string. It's a pretty standard rock thing, but it got me thinking of positional patterns as sort of modular parts of a bigger system. That was hugely helpful.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  27. #327

    January 4th Week, the fresh look: Ida Lupino by Carla Bley

    After the rigorous changes and bebop twists of the past weeks, I wanted to explore a very different approach to the jazz composition and improvisation.
    Composer and pianist Carla Bley has been creating serious and thought provoking music for a long time. Her range of vocabulary and sounds, harmonies and melodies translates to new challenges and attitudes for the jazz player.
    Ida Lupino, in contrast with the athleticism of bebop, takes a spacious look at harmonic textures in a series of connected yet ostensibly non-functional harmonies. By that I mean there isn't a lot of dominant based turnaround or cadential harmony here, but rather textural blocks based on moving harmonic chords and their relationship to a pedal. It's about the sound and what you can do with it rather than the note choices that fulfill a specific chord.

    The piece is in G. It has G as a central pedal tone against which the other chords create colours when juxtaposed. I find this piece a lot of fun to play. It also starts to make me think in terms of triads over bass notes, triad pairs and non functional structures that have an inherent consonance or dissonance to them. Playing pieces like this really challenge me to LISTEN carefully, and focus on colour as a shaping force.

    I hope you have fun and I'm really curious to see what you guys get out of this!

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-01-21-8-32-11-am-jpg

    Here's a Paul Bley version


    A different energy in this Steve Kuhn version


    Mary Halvorson (begins at about 4:00) always gives a fresh approach to a piece


    and with Carla Bley

  28. #328
    Sounds like a cool tune. I’m going to do another week on Freight Trane because I’ve been slacking pretty badly trying to get a new recording setup together. I’m there now, so I’m hitting Freight Trane hard this week.

  29. #329
    Yes! Man, another great pick. Carla''s music is woefully overlooked.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action?"

    --Adam West, as Batman, 1966.

  30. #330
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Sounds like a cool tune. I’m going to do another week on Freight Trane because I’ve been slacking pretty badly trying to get a new recording setup together. I’m there now, so I’m hitting Freight Trane hard this week.
    Yeah, I posted that one a little early because of the technical challenge of it. I also picked a follow up tune, this week's Ida Lupino, because it's a gentle piece, both to the ear and on the learning curve figuring Freight Trane could easily be more than a week's piece to live with. It's always really interesting to see just what unexpected things a devoted time on the instrument teaches us with any tune, and how it transfers to another tune.
    I'm seeing how differently I have to construct lines from short changes (last week) to longer tonal areas in this week. A very different way of studying.
    Going backwards from Ida to FT, I'm now starting to think about longer phrases that cross the bar line from one change to another without changing the nature of the line. For an example, a linear pattern of thirds changing direction going through two tonal areas across the bar line. It can really change the way you think about your lines. Fluency and comfort in different phrase lengths is very important in being a balanced player.

    David

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