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  1. #331
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    I am obsessed with Freight Trane, lol. I've finally gotten the tempo up and swinging on the head and now I'm trying to match tempos with improv. It's crazy - sometimes hard, sometimes easy. I'm playing with all kinds of phrasing ideas and a little bit of wild abandon thrown in, because well, after all it is a Freight train, lol.

    seriously, I don't know why this one grabbed me but it really did and I'm having a blast

  2. #332
    Same here! Finally got a couple of hours last night to really dig in. Great head. Looking forward to spending more time with this. Given my new schedule, I think I’ll probably need to devote a month per tune so that things stick.

  3. #333
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    I am obsessed with Freight Trane, lol. I've finally gotten the tempo up and swinging on the head and now I'm trying to match tempos with improv. It's crazy - sometimes hard, sometimes easy. I'm playing with all kinds of phrasing ideas and a little bit of wild abandon thrown in, because well, after all it is a Freight train, lol.

    seriously, I don't know why this one grabbed me but it really did and I'm having a blast
    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr View Post
    Same here! Finally got a couple of hours last night to really dig in. Great head. Looking forward to spending more time with this. Given my new schedule, I think I’ll probably need to devote a month per tune so that things stick.
    Yeah those bebop tunes are like little etudes. I will sprinkle more throughout our year here but I love that tune and it's been a part of me since I tackled it a while ago. I was going to use Nostalgia, a Fats Navarro contrafact of Out Of Nowhere this week but I thought I'd wait a while.
    If you're hungering for more of this (these pieces will change your playing), remember the etudes thread I began. I've been taking that one slowly (it's on the changes of A Train) so you could really absorb the language, as it's intended. I'll have to re-visit that soon, add some more commentary to that.
    I'm so glad you're having fun!
    Keep poking at these tunes if you can on a weekly basis. There's always something to learn!

    David

  4. #334

    5th week in January: The bonus tune(s) of the week. Out of Nowhere/Nostalgia

    Contrafacts are one of the unique and delightful features of jazz that were born out of necessity and have become a trademark of the jazz tradition. Originally used as a way to "rewrite" a tune to avoid copyright liability, they were also ways to filter out casual players, often written with very intricate bebop melodies.
    Out of Nowhere is a standard that dates back to the early 1930's, it's been a staple and standard of jazz artists for 3/4 of a century. Trumpeter Fats Navarro penned a contrafact and named it Nostalgia. Employing the same changes, it has a beautifully singable bebop head.
    The tune(s) find G as the home key, the changes are in an ABAC form and we'll see our secondary dominants and we meet the tritone substitution here in bars 3-4, or that's how I hear those changes, the dominant a half step above the expected tonality target.
    You guys who've been having fun with Freight Trane can have some fun with these tunes.
    If it's your first time around for this tune, Out of Nowhere is a great tune. Immerse yourself and get to know it. If you've got that down in your past, take a look at Nostalgia, and not how a different head and deference to it, can change your soloing on a tune.

    Have fun here!
    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-fullsizerender-57-jpgCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-01-27-11-00-38-pm-jpg

    Out of Nowhere sung by Ella:


    Charlie Parker's classic


    More contemporary, always a favourite for a duo, Julian Lage and Mike Moreno


    Here's Bean with Django


    Taking it out with Mick and Joe Diorio


    Nostalgia the Fats Navarro contrafact with Fats Navarro



    Lee Morgan playing Fats' tune

  5. #335
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    Lennie Tristano did a great contrafact on Out of Nowhere too. This is a lovely version by Warne Marsh and Red Mitchell...


  6. #336

    Comments on your experiences with this piece?

    So players- what's your impression working with this piece, either as Out Of, or as a contrafact? This has always been one of my favourites to work with, there's a natural flow and I love that little twist in the first changes.
    Taking a look at that particular change of tonality from an "inside" or sound of the expected, a D7 is the most predictable and natural sound to lead back to the G. Our tritone family focuses on the half step approach, the sound of Ab7 down to G. I like this piece because it's got Ab's II V, the secondary dominant of the tritone sub sound and then returns to the G. A nice example of that alternative route to getting home. When I'm soloing, I hear Ab as much as I hear Bb-, so there're options for getting lots of "outside" sounds and how to play them.

    Comments on whether you like this tune? Why? guido5, very cool. Paul Desmond's duo with Gerry Mulligan is also really nice in that same kind of dialogue way of playing. How've you been doing on this tune? It's got so many places and twists to change it up that they provide a nice cue to for movement. When I was doing a regular duo thing with another player, this became a regular part of our playing. Each time, week after week, it was different, but that may have just been playing with Mick, he seemed never to have a cliche or habit in his playing.

    Do you guys like the contrafact approach? Does it change the way you solo? Let's talk about what we do to construct a solo. Can you describe some of the things that guide you when you open up the solo space? Those first two bars and the two that follow, are you thinking Question and Answer? See the way Fats' piece clearly sets up a feeling of call and response? How's that different or similar to the original? Is it helpful to listen to Nostalgia? Remember as you listen to any of these versions: Think like a soloist, like a composer, even when you're "just listening". These recordings provide a lesson in themselves, each one of them full of ways that your own soloing can grow.

    Tell me guys, would it be helpful to take a look at some unique things in a recording that's posted? If you post an example you like, tell us what made it compelling or if you got something out of it. Could you use more commentary and discussion of new ideas or tools that can be mined from individual recordings we have posted? For example, that Warne Marsh recording is really nice! Do you notice how he uses bits from the original head as a spring board when he's finding new ideas to feed off of? That kind of thing.

    Well hope it's going well! Report in and tell us how it's going?

    David


  7. #337
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    For me, contrafacts have always been favorite tunes to work on because, being a melodic based player, they give me two melody threads to work from. It's nice to interleave fragments of the original and new themes and combine them in new ways.

    I thought you would like what Warne is doing on that one... The Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan quartet recordings are favorites as well..

  8. #338
    Quote Originally Posted by guido5 View Post
    For me, contrafacts have always been favorite tunes to work on because, being a melodic based player, they give me two melody threads to work from. It's nice to interleave fragments of the original and new themes and combine them in new ways.

    I thought you would like what Warne is doing on that one... The Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan quartet recordings are favorites as well..
    I sure did! Thanks. In my lessons, listening critically and with a composers' ear is a big part of my teaching. I wish we could all share that annotated real time experience together, especially on this thread. Sometimes someone will point out something they heard and it gives everyone a look into the soloist's process. It certainly changes the mindset of the group after we've listened, many times it'll make someone play better, smarter, easier and more imaginatively for a little while. The Tristano approach of interaction is a much undervalued contribution IMHO.

    David

  9. #339
    I'm a little late to the party, but...

    Out of Nowhere is one of the few tunes I know well from memory. It's not even like "memory" anymore. I just know it. Consequently, I've tried a lot of different approaches to it. I was not aware of nostalgia (though I'm sure I've heard it before, but probably not when I was paying a lot of attention), but I'll give it a look. (Eventually. I'm preparing for a gig on Tuesday).
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  10. #340
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    I was not aware of nostalgia (though I'm sure I've heard it before, but probably not when I was paying a lot of attention), but I'll give it a look.
    You want a little fun? You know the original Star Trek theme? The one with Mr. Spock? It's a contrafact of sorts on Out Of Nowhere. That's a way to wake up an audience that's drifting off.

    David

  11. #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    You want a little fun? You know the original Star Trek theme? The one with Mr. Spock? It's a contrafact of sorts on Out Of Nowhere. That's a way to wake up an audience that's drifting off.

    David
    Nice I hadn't placed that before. Very cool.

  12. #342
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    One more 317 East 32nd version...


  13. #343
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    You want a little fun? You know the original Star Trek theme? The one with Mr. Spock? It's a contrafact of sorts on Out Of Nowhere. That's a way to wake up an audience that's drifting off.

    David
    Ha! That totally works! I'll have to pull that one out next jam session.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  14. #344
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    Ha! That totally works! I'll have to pull that one out next jam session.
    Yeah, you should've heard it when Mick and I would play OON a lot. One day I slid into that version and he was right there with me. Then he took it into another galaxy. Mick Goodrick playing Star Trek, my life is complete!

    Who would've thunk it?
    David

  15. #345

    February First Week-The Bossa: Wave

    A gentle and warm start for our February chapter. Bossa is one of those song types that's important for a jazz player to know, but so many players kinda fudge their way through some kind of faux quasi bossa comping they picked up on the fly. That's good enough for jazz as they say. But a good bossa rhythm, a clave, is a wonderfully flowing dialogue between a steady quarter and a syncopated eighth beat. So I've included a clip, it's not in English but the music speaks strongly and if you're not familiar with bossa, it's there for us.
    Wave. I love this tune. It's not loaded with hidden land mines. To the contrary, it's really easy on the ear and the position movements can be gentle if you want them to be, and you can explore line movement all over the fretboard and do it safely because the melodic framework is easy to hear. Great tune to get off book and blow on.
    This one is in D. It briefly moves out in two different key centres during the bridge section: first to F, then to Eb. Learn to hear these sections and really have fun with them.
    Now soloing on bossa is a little different from swing. The eighth note is straight and even in feel; it's not a triplet based feel. If you're using a metronome, you set it for 1 and 3.
    I'll let you spend some time with the tune, with the ear and with the guitar. Keep the thinking going, keep the thoughts flowing and post them here. Have fun!
    David

    Two printings, same tune. What ever is easier for you to read.
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-04-8-15-50-am-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-04-8-10-30-am-png
    Jobim


    Paul Desmond (with Ed Bikert)


    a different take and a lovely trio version with a great jazz trio


    McCoy Tyner pushing the tune to new places


    Stan Getz who brought the first fusions of bossa and jazz to the realm of standards


    Ella


    Fred Hersch and Bill Frisell's lovely reading


    And here's that clip on breaking down and playing the bossa rhythm.


    So have a good listen, and yes, please share insight or delighted reactions to things that are played in the clips, that we might gain some new material or ways of improving our own playing chops.

  16. #346
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    I'm a sucker for what Paul Desmond does on a bosa...

    More Ed Bickert on this one too...


  17. #347
    On the whole, I dislike playing latin tunes. I'm one of those players that David mentioned. I have a fake bossa rhythm that I use, and it seems to get me through.

    The thing is, I feel that's kind of a disservice to the music. Latin music has a lot of complexity in the rhythm and many traditional rhythms and figures that a real latin player should know. And I'm just simply not interested enough in the genre to learn them. But I feel bad about that when I play with guys who are really into the latin thing. We had a Cuban guy sub for our leader one night, and he was trying to get me to do all this stuff, and I just flat out didn't care. (If it were for a gig or something, I'd make the effort, just in the interest of not sucking at the gig, but it was just a play-through.)

    Speaking of gigs, I have one on Tuesday, and we're doing Out of Nowhere. Time to pull out the Star Trek.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  18. #348

    The lessons we find when we're not looking

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    On the whole, I dislike playing latin tunes. I'm one of those players that David mentioned. I have a fake bossa rhythm that I use, and it seems to get me through.
    I understand your thoughts Joe. I know there were many genres of music that elude my vocabulary because I choose to filter them out. There's only so much time in a life after all.
    That being said, I'll say I think Wave is a special tune worth some awareness.
    I don't really look at this thread as a way to get individual tunes, although that's a nice consequence if you have the time.
    I don't really look at this thread as a fun thing to do, playing over tunes that are within the easy reach of our everyday abilities, although that's a huge benefit and having fun is always at the core.
    I have picked out 52 tunes in a planned presentation with the simple premise: Spending time with the instrument getting to know something new in a songform or what you can get out of what you know will, by sheer brute force, make you a better player.
    So each week, there's a new feature that can inform everything you know, everything you might play in the future. Imagine a toolbox of 52+ things that can keep you from ever being bored or predictable... and increasing your proficiency as a player. That's my goal.
    Straight eighth notes, syncopated rhythmic use (whether in a latin feel or superimposed over a swing feel), using the diminished scale as a melodic building block, passages in descending whole tones, making your ideas flow in waves... that's what might be dropped in your pocket with this song.

    So that's the sales pitch. I learned one important thing in my time in music school: there can be a universe of the unexpected within the things we dismiss.
    Anyway, just wanted to say Keep growing. It's what it's all about.

    David

  19. #349
    I'm not saying I won't look at the tune. I'll take a look at it after I get this gig out of the way.

    I guess I just get a little irritated with the whole thing because there seems to be this attitude that every set or session has to have an up swing tune (usually a bop head), a medium swing tune, a latin tune, a boogaloo, and a ballad. I can understand wanting variety, but there are other ways to do it.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  20. #350
    Hi everyone!

    This is my preferred reading of Wave, by the great Joe Pass, from the LP Tudo Bem! Pablo records, featuring Paulinho Da Costa:

    wave joe pass - Bing video

  21. #351
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    I'm not saying I won't look at the tune. I'll take a look at it after I get this gig out of the way.

    I guess I just get a little irritated with the whole thing because there seems to be this attitude that every set or session has to have an up swing tune (usually a bop head), a medium swing tune, a latin tune, a boogaloo, and a ballad. I can understand wanting variety, but there are other ways to do it.
    For sure! I hate obligatory formulatic set programing. It kinda encourages the attitude of "OK now at point B. Punch in your point B chops and on to point C..."
    A great veteran tenor player told me to make a set list like the movements of classical symphony. Make it lead to somewhere. Let that be a ballad, then maybe an up-tempo to take a smile out the door. Yeah, programming is an art unto itself.
    Have fun at the gig! I hope it's amazing, for you and the audience.

    David

  22. #352
    Quote Originally Posted by gcb View Post
    Hi everyone!

    This is my preferred reading of Wave, by the great Joe Pass, from the LP Tudo Bem! Pablo records, featuring Paulinho Da Costa:

    wave joe pass - Bing video
    Wow that's an exciting interpretation of the straight 8 feeling! Definitely worth checking out further. Thanks!
    David

  23. #353
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Have fun at the gig! I hope it's amazing, for you and the audience.
    Thanks, I'm looking forward to it. It's a fundraiser for my girlfriend's choir. Like the studio that runs my ensemble, it's a community organization, so A. I want to help out, and B. I feel a certain affinity between these kinds of organizations. All the people in my ensemble are folks who played as kids, in school and elsewhere, but for whatever reason, chose not to pursue music as a career. Similar thing with the choir. Organizations like these allow us to have an outlet while someone else does the heavy lifting of organizing things.

    There's another group playing, which I believe is a bunch of kids. Watch them completely upstage us.

    UPDATE: The gig was fun. We played pretty well, I thought, and the kids didn't upstage us, although they were decent. The pianist looked like he was about 8. There were also singers who did solos and small group things. What's interesting about that is that one woman sang "Wave" with her husband on guitar. They sounded great. Her husband obviously has a lot of familiarity with the real Bossa style. They are of some kind of latin-american ethnicity, though I don't know if they're Brazilian or something else. Anyway, it was good fun. I was so glad to have my regular group there instead of a pickup group. We're all pretty comfortable playing together at this point, which definitely removes a good chunk of stress from the gig.
    Last edited by Boston Joe; 02-09-2018 at 12:04 PM.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  24. #354
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    okay I'm ready for something new. I went up and down the roller coaster on both A Train and Freight Trane. At one point it got really bad, like I had totally gotten worse and I got very discouraged. But I kept on keeping on and came back up from the depths of despair.

    I'll post a couple clips later. I was having trouble with my little cheap recording set up and I decided to upgrade to something not as problematic so when I finish that I'll post up my progress.

    I also have a gig coming up next week that has me wood shedding a bit for that.

    but I'm very much on board for something new so I'll start tackling the last two songs now.

  25. #355
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    okay I'm ready for something new. I went up and down the roller coaster on both A Train and Freight Trane. At one point it got really bad, like I had totally gotten worse and I got very discouraged. But I kept on keeping on and came back up from the depths of despair.

    I'll post a couple clips later. I was having trouble with my little cheap recording set up and I decided to upgrade to something not as problematic so when I finish that I'll post up my progress.

    I also have a gig coming up next week that has me wood shedding a bit for that.

    but I'm very much on board for something new so I'll start tackling the last two songs now.
    I’m with you man. I’ve literally done nothing practice wise except play the head of freight train over and over and over and over again. I have so much more work to do on the song, but I’m definitely in a practice rut right now. Bring it on David I await Sunday!

  26. #356

    February Second Week: My Funny Valentine

    Well of course the tune this week is My Funny Valentine.
    It's a tune that can be simple, beautifully simple, or it can be a worthy vehicle to experiment with.
    Written in C minor, the piece does shift into its relative major in bar 17 at the bridge. It explores the major aspect of the key until it returns to the minor again.
    One thing you'll notice in this piece, is the movement of a voice while the chord progression harmonizes the first and third system (line of music). In this case the C-, the C-(maj7), C-7 and C-6 might at first look intimidating but these are just a simple C-triad with a voice moving chromatically through it. Solo these as a C minor vamp, or if you want, move this chromatic descending line (called a LINE CLICHE in musical lingo) into the bass. Then you can explore the sound of C- with a bass line movement.
    If you care to look at this bridge section in a looser way, as a major almost modal vamp, then check out the Mick Goodrick substitutions he uses for system 5 (bars 17-20). He suggested the 4 bars could be comped with Bb/Eb | B/Eb | C/Eb | B/Eb or even further if you choose and then rejoin the written changes where you choose.
    So one takeaway you might get out of this week's offering is the analysis of a piece that looks like unfriendly chords may actually be quite elegantly simple... if you know how to look at it.

    You'll see I included the written VERSE of this piece. This is played like an introduction and in broadway productions, it's the transitional part between the spoken dramatic segment and the musical segment, offering an almost soliloquy reflection. Most jazzers skip, have forgotten or never knew the verses of the standards they know (Ella a notable exception), which is a shame. I think they're sometimes more beautiful than the actual song we know.

    So have some fun on this Valentines week. Take this piece apart... and don't forget to buy your partner flowers.

    David


    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-10-12-41-11-pm-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-10-2-28-01-pm-png

    Ella with the verse:


    Jim Hall and Bill Evans. Listen to these guys listening, and as you get to know the piece, listen for the way they avoid the obvious, rhythmically, melodically and in the comping.


    Chet Baker's version was very popular


    And of course Miles


    Hope you have a good time this week.
    As usual, all comments and thoughts are welcome. Talk about what you're doing.
    Last edited by TruthHertz; 02-11-2018 at 01:47 PM.

  27. #357
    Ah, good! I really like playing this tune, and don't get to do it enough because nobody likes it when someone calls a ballad at a jam session. I have played it a good deal in the past though, and would love some fresh perspectives on working with it.

    Re: verses: Tony Bennet usually includes the verse, if there is one.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  28. #358
    Ahmad Jamal with a fast waltz version:


  29. #359

    Week 3 and 4 combined. The new piece and the challenge: Bud Powell by Chick Corea

    Is everyone watching the Winter Olympics in South Korea? Mick tells a little joke: There are THREE Koreas, North Korea, South Korea and Chick Corea. (groan. Oh well)
    I thought it'd shake it up a little and introduce you guys to a tasty little piece written by Chick Corea. It's Chick's tribute to pianist Bud Powell, appropriately called Bud Powell. It's got elements of a bebop head, it's got a middle section that changes to a latin feel, it's got a nice melody that you fans of Freight Trane (last month) might like and it's got a lot to unlock by working with. I'm going to spend two weeks on this, since many of you had said you enjoyed putting a solid amount of work into the last bebop head.
    Bud Powell is one of those vehicles that has a very singable melodic line and still holds enough twists and turns to be challenging. Perhaps we could explore ways to approach this with soloing ideas we can share. Any thoughts?
    I'll begin with a glimpse of the melody in F. Lots of opportunity to work with our secondary dominants. Lots of space to find the inspiration to your own solos. The form is AABA with a little switch up to latin groove in B.
    Have fun over the next couple of weeks playing Bud Powell.

    David

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-17-8-48-13-pm-pngCommit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-17-8-48-40-pm-png

    Is this clearer?
    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-02-17-9-20-03-pm-png

    A Chick version with a great band


    A duo with Chick and Gary Burton


    Michael Brecker

  30. #360

    Thought of the week: Extracting the essence

    I recently attended a master class with bassist Dave Holland. There was a very well played high level performance by an ensemble; something to be be proud of on any level. After all the praises for a job well done, "good" solos, Dave isolated the duo of the guitar and the horn player. He asked them to play the (very complex bebop type) head and play that. He stopped them 3 bars in, asked them to play it again, stopped them again and they waited for his commentary. After a long thoughtful pause, he pointed out something he heard: The notes were there but there was no contour to the phrasing, the difficulty and athleticism of the line was masterfully highlighted but the feeling of natural ease or meaning was somehow elusive.
    Then he sang the line, had them sing the line, and he did something brilliant. He broke the line down to quarter notes, then down to essential notes even longer. He had them play those notes and made sure they felt the weight of those notes from and through all the other embellishing notes... then he had them play it again. World of difference!
    We often learn a piece for its notes, and not its essence. We can learn to transcribe difficult notes so we can play them from memory, yet the process of "What did the soloist consider essential?" "What were they working with and working towards?" can remain completely off the radar.
    So my thought of the week an especially in learning and soloing on Bud Powell, what are the essential notes in this tune? Rhythmically, harmonically, melodically... how much can you reduce this piece and still have it be this piece. Then re-build your solo, the head, the way you hear this tune (and any other tune) from this lowest common denominator.
    It could give you a strong reason and guide system for making really memorable solos.

    Have fun!
    David

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