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  1. #251

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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.
    I've noticed this phenomenon myself over the last year. in fact, probably more noticeable than any improvement in my guitar playing, is the improvement in my ear. I'm actually finding myself recognizing phrases, be they sax or guitar or whatever, while listening to the radio. I'm "hearing the changes" better than ever and perhaps that is a bigger step in learning to play over them.

    well, I'm currently in Florida and guitarless for the next week or so, so merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all and I'll catch up after the first. I also left off on "Sunny..."" so we'll have to resume in the new year. all the best,

    mike

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  3. #252

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    I think Mel Tormé wrote the Christmas Song!
    Him and another guy, but yeah, it's a Velvet Fog production.

    This has always been one of my favorite Christmas tunes (and I'm not a big fan of Christmas music (or Christmas - but that's another story) either).

    My girlfriend's late father was a huge Tormé fan. We have an autographed pic of him (the VF) in the bathroom. I wish I'd met him (my gf's dad). Apparently he was a huge jazz fan, and also pretty hilarious. I probably would have liked him.

    I'll have to give this one a look over. I've never tried to play it before.

  4. #253

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    I'll have at least one version of this tune with my colour sections. How have you guys been doing with this one?
    This tune was tricky because it does go out of key briefly.
    More on this soon
    David

  5. #254

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    I thought it'd be nice to learn this wonderful piece by Horace Silver to close out our year. Not an obscure tune but certainly not played as much as I think it should, it also presents challenges that you've definitely got to know of before being able to blow on this tune.
    It's a Bb tune so it's an unusual key for guitarists. There's your first challenge, and a good key to get to know because there are tunes that are easier for horn players but you need to be comfortable in those keys. Bb is one of them.
    Then you're in the key of Cb, but I've been off book on this key for so long, I just think of it as B.
    Moving to Bb for a phrase.
    Moving to A for a while, and using the moving bass line here to explore the different aspects of A major.
    Next you'll be phrasing in Db
    Finally we return to Bb.

    That's our grand tour of key centres, or at least awareness shifts as I see them.
    Have a listen, really get to know the melody and use this to cue you in to the way this beautiful tune combines the unexpected with the anticipation of what's to come.
    Get to know the ways the pieces come together and we'll share our ideas and challenges through this week! I hope you have a peaceful end of the year.
    I look forward to your feedback on this tune!
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2017-12-25-7-52-35-pm-png
    Tommy Flanagan's classic version


    Not originally a vocal piece (as far as I know) but Norah Jones wasn't stopped by that



    And Jonathan Kreisberg and his lovely guitarists' weigh in.



    Hope you have fun and find some Peace this week.

  6. #255

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    Lovely choice! Perfect choice for the season.

  7. #256

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    Very beautiful song. Nice thing with ballad like this is, that even a slow reader like me can play it almost straight from the sheet. Actually I just spend some time playing along with Horace Silver version (melody and comping).

  8. #257

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    I've been having a lot of fun with this peace.
    Before I throw out my personal road map, I want to share some thoughts on the way I've started approaching learning and working on pieces of music. I'm very aware that there are two sides of me when I'm playing a piece of music. When things are going well, when I'm in the zone, they work really well as one. These are the the quantitative ordered and logical side, and the big picture side. One says "Are the notes appropriate to what is expected?" and the other says "We're saying something here. Why and where are we going?"
    The challenge is how to practice these two sides so they are both strong.
    So this week I've broken my 10 minute practice sessions into alternating approaches: One segment I'll do my usual timed tempo of the day with chordal backing track, the other is solo, rubato and what ever time parameter I want. In other words, really exploring the piece by ear without the pressure of the page or metronome.
    I've found that these two approaches are not only different but they make me play, think and imagine differently. That juxtaposition of worlds eventually results in some dialogue between "Grace under pressure" and "The unimagined come to life." Two sides inform one another.
    It's working out quite nicely for me.


    The roadmap for Peace:
    Here I've charted out my own way of visually showing how I think of this piece.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2017-12-28-7-40-02-am-png
    The red circles with arrows are primarily what I think of "dominant adjectives". They are areas that move my attention to something that's coming up. The coloured blocks are destination points, or harmonic and melodic areas where I savour the tonality; make a statement. There are times when I might even ignore a red circle completely, like that last C-7b5 F7 in the third measure... I don't even hear that much of the time... it's all Cb for me.
    You'll see that there are a LOT of coloured rectangles in this piece. There are a lot of segments. Get to know, recognize and anticipate each movement of tonality. They generally exist within a half or whole step of where you were, so know your movement and changes.

    You'll see that some blocks are II V's, like the blue B-7 E7 in the second system, but I see them as rectangles. Yes, I treat that as a B minor block where I see the weight of that as a place to phrase as a statement. You'll do it differently if you'd like, maybe play that as an E7 for the whole measure, maybe if you're into copping licks you'll just plug in your favourite II V lick, but the point is, when constructing a solo, the choice of how you READ the changes is a reflexion of your own propensities, likes, dislikes and tastes. Yeah some days I might be feeling Monkish and maybe II V measures will be played with whole tones. That's a way you can break out of "The things you've been practicing" and making them into music. It's about the conviction with which you exercise your choices.

    So that's my thought this morning.
    Please share your own thoughts, questions and especially questions as you develop your own sense of musicality.

    Have a peaceful week as we close out this year!

    David

  9. #258

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    Happy New Year! A to Z, the new beginning, Alpha week in 2018 so why not take the A train?
    Let's start the year of with a really great running start, Duke Ellington's Take the A Train. One of the best known collaborations between Duke and Sweet Pea, this is our week one piece, in the key of C, we see this piece go from the tonic to a non-functional II7 and then turning back home.
    In the bridge, we go to the IV chord, and when we see that II7 again, this time it can also function to bring us back home.
    I think this is a nice piece to work on because it's got so much you can do with it; and so much space to work with. This can be pretty easy to get off book, and as the year opens, use this as a piece by which you can make a list of things to work on through the year.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-train-jpg
    Now since this piece can illustrate so many ways to hone your improvisational skills.
    Duke!


    Here's Ella's vocals on the tune


    Joe Henderson's wonderful reading


    This is an etude by Greg Fishman based on A Train. If you're interested, we could look at this one in depth


    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-irving-c-concert-1-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-irving-park-concert-c-2a-png
    I'm additionally including an etude based on the changes of A Train. It's written in a key concert C (different from Fishman's horn score); take your Roman Numeral transposing skills and work with your ear on this. I think I may start a thread specifically devoted to learning bebop language through this etude piece. For those of you who did this with me before, it'd be like we did with Rhythm Changes:
    Learning improvisational language through practice, phrase and etudes. Study Group?
    and we'd spend a few weeks going phrase by phrase acquiring the devices of embellishment and improvisation. The goal is not to play the piece per se, that will come as a consequence, but rather to assemble a usable set of devices and options so you can internalize and then play "within the genre" each and every time you solo. Anybody that would like to do this, weigh in and if people want that, I'll put that together too.

    It's a new year! Let's keep growing!

    David
    Attached Images Attached Images Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-atrain-irving-1-jpg Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-train-irving2-jpg 
    Last edited by TH; 01-04-2018 at 02:26 PM.

  10. #259

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    You know, I've been working on the Keith Jarrett tune "Lucky Southern." I just realized the changes in the first few bars are almost the same. Lucky Southern goes D^7 | E7 | G | Bb7 A7 | D.

    I think I'm getting better at recognizing this kind of stuff.

  11. #260

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    New Years Eve is also a great time to thank David for all he does in these study groups. I know my playing and my ear have improved a lot over the past year or so because of David, his threads, and his mentorship. So, thank you David!!

  12. #261

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    You know, I've been working on the Keith Jarrett tune "Lucky Southern." I just realized the changes in the first few bars are almost the same. Lucky Southern goes D^7 | E7 | G | Bb7 A7 | D.

    I think I'm getting better at recognizing this kind of stuff.
    Yes! That’s what I was realizing in my Christmas Song post! These things pop up all over the place.

  13. #262

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    We are, for a large part, a product of what we practice. The ground we break and the channels we plow and till are laid out, if not set by our practice time. So what kinds of things are we filling our thoughts with? Things to do? Things we should be playing? Things we wish we could be playing and things other people make us feel we ought to play?
    We might think about how our musicality changes by mining the sounds of fewer notes. For example, in our A Train, second phrase, there's a D7. One common sound employed here is the whole tone scale; that's one way to get a Monk-ish sound. But a whole tone scale played sequentially has a very distinctive sound, however, played with the right few notes is a mysterious "What IS that" sound that can be edgy and mysterious. Too, in your search for less notes, what would happen if we used dyads, or two notes played together in that larger space of time?
    Just some suggestions for keeping it fresh!
    Hope the new year is a time of growth.

    David

  14. #263

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    Ella. Man, that has to be some of the sweetest, most pure scatting EVER put on a record. Wow.

  15. #264

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    Hey guys, that etude Irving Park Road, is worthy of study in itself, IF you have the time. It's kind of an in depth look at what is possible with this piece if you recognize the potential of the piece and yourself. If you happen to want to put in the work, I've begun a thread dedicated to this etude. Some of you might recognize the similar thread we did about 6 months ago on Rhythm Changes.

    This one is on A Train and will definitely go beyond our weekly work on this piece. By the way, if you're starting to really hear and understand the DNA that these pieces share, in seeing similarities in our weekly pieces, that's excellent! The work with the etudes will give you the door to the next level: Adding melodic complexity to a harmonic context through embellishments and rhythmic considerations.

    Etudes Part II. Learning improvisational language through practice, phrase and etudes

    If you're interested.

    David

  16. #265

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    Paul taking the train...


  17. #266

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    I'm on board with the Tune-a-Week project now.

    Just worked through the A train. *hits the flat 5 chord* oh man, what do I do with THAT? 2 hours of exploration later....ohhhh, I see. I never did understand why I needed those scales. Now I sorta do.

    Thanks for doing this.

  18. #267

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    Quote Originally Posted by spiralkeeps
    I'm on board with the Tune-a-Week project now.

    Just worked through the A train. *hits the flat 5 chord* oh man, what do I do with THAT? 2 hours of exploration later....ohhhh, I see. I never did understand why I needed those scales. Now I sorta do.

    Thanks for doing this.
    Which chord was that? Let's see what we all did in that place.

    David

  19. #268

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Which chord was that? Let's see what we all did in that place.

    David
    I would guess he's talking about the D7#11 in the third bar.

  20. #269

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    Quote Originally Posted by spiralkeeps
    I'm on board with the Tune-a-Week project now.

    Just worked through the A train. *hits the flat 5 chord* oh man, what do I do with THAT? 2 hours of exploration later....ohhhh, I see. I never did understand why I needed those scales. Now I sorta do.

    Thanks for doing this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    I would guess he's talking about the D7#11 in the third bar.
    Glad you brought that up. One of the things I love about this piece is that very measure. It's one of the characteristic passages that sounds so Duke, so Monk. I think just figuring out how to use the whole tone scale makes this piece worth it. Honestly, it's what makes this piece for me.
    Non functional use of the WT scale is the doorway into playing "outside" and it gives us some really musical applications for symmetrical scales.
    Anybody else into whole tone scales?

    David

  21. #270

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    I love the sound of the WT scale, but my fingers hate it. I'm not sure why.

  22. #271

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    I love the sound of the WT scale, but my fingers hate it. I'm not sure why.
    They're not conducive to one position. The way I play them, I shift a lot, either going up or down the neck. Also as non functional sounds, they can go anywhere. That can be a whole different horse to ride if one embraces the safety of tonal lick-a-tude. They're outside, by nature; outside of the diatonic scale, and they can as easily as not work in a tonal context, but their beauty is when they don't, until you're ready to come back "in".

    David

  23. #272

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    I've tried both playing in position and shifting a lot, and the shifting way is definitely easier.

    I guess I haven't really worked on it enough to come up with licks that convey the sound, but don't sound like running a scale. I've got a few diminished scale licks (could use more) but hardly any whole tone ones.

    If you've got ideas for development, I'm all ears.

  24. #273

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    I've tried both playing in position and shifting a lot, and the shifting way is definitely easier.

    I guess I haven't really worked on it enough to come up with licks that convey the sound, but don't sound like running a scale. I've got a few diminished scale licks (could use more) but hardly any whole tone ones.

    If you've got ideas for development, I'm all ears.
    The whole topic of positions and shifting is a really rich one. Since I've been playing fretless, and using different embellishments, I've found that there's an art to shifting and mastering that really unlocks all sorts of phrasing and chromatic ways of playing.
    Guitarists love positions. Not so much shifting along a single string.
    I like A train because it has so much space for each change. That means you can really explore ways to get around a phrase, and you can really expand one "position" beyond the position you feel safe in, and the tonality is not going to more from under you. It's a great tune to expand your playing with.

    Even more so with the increasing speed regimen we're using here on these pieces.

    I know we're taught to play positions: CAGED and the like. Sometimes that makes for awkward obstacles when you're learning melodic embellishments (they are not diatonic and they do not come easily when playing in position), and symmetrical scales (they have regular intervallic spacing and the guitar is NOT regular).

    So learning NOT to play positionally, navigating by interval or by ear is a door opener.

    As far as Whole Tone goes, spend a LOT of time just playing with the whole tone scale. Dyads. Unnamed chords. Wide interval melodies. Position shifts. Non diatonic melodies. ...and learn the SOUND not the fingering.
    THen re-introduce that sound back into a piece where you've got a dominant chord. I'll let you find out yourself.

    Have fun
    David

  25. #274

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    To me, that 7b5 in the third measure just sounds like a train's horn.

    Trying to figure out what to do with it landed me on a Matt Warnock article stating three ways to solo over a 7alt: 7th mode of Melodic Minor, 5th mode of Harmonic minor and triad pairs. As far as I remember no mention of Whole Tone scale. So I started trying to use the 7th of MM. Didn't feel really natural. Listened closely to what Burrell was doing and it didn't seem like he was using that particular scale either. This is really the first time I seriously tried matching altered chords with scales in real time.

    Of course it didn't take long to wind up in WT territory. Starting from scratch, I learned that half the intro to "You are the Sunshine of my Life" by Stevie Wonder was using the whole tone scale. I remember as a kid thinking "ok this sounds different" but never knew why. (And a lot of 2-5-1's there, too) I haven't done my music time yet tonight but am looking forward to continuing on with this. If anything, I've had the chance to experiment with various chord structures by playing this tune, oh what, maybe 2 hours total this week so far.

    In depth analysis over many days, with input from people who are way ahead of me, is way different than walking away wishing I more knowledge. Reminds me of college, which I loved. I still insist that we process info while we sleep and use it differently the next day, but that's a topic for other times.

  26. #275

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Glad you brought that up. One of the things I love about this piece is that very measure. It's one of the characteristic passages that sounds so Duke, so Monk. I think just figuring out how to use the whole tone scale makes this piece worth it. Honestly, it's what makes this piece for me.
    Non functional use of the WT scale is the doorway into playing "outside" and it gives us some really musical applications for symmetrical scales.
    Anybody else into whole tone scales?

    David
    There’s a great WT lick I first heard in an Oscar Peterson solo I transcribed that I also hear in Monk once in a while. I’ll post it tomorrow.