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  1. #451
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    New Zealand
    Very sorry to hear that, David. Get well soon!


  2. #452
    We will be here. Feel better my dude.

  3. #453
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    On an island
    Get well soon.

  4. #454

    First week of July. Meditation.

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

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

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

    Have fun and I hope you love this piece.


    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?-screen-shot-2018-07-03-9-35-16-am-png
    Attachment 54190

    By the composer

    Astrid and a well known lyric version with Astrid

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

    The Gene Harris version is a lively take

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

  5. #455
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Stow, MA
    Welcome back David! I missed your wisdom!

  6. #456
    Quote Originally Posted by guido5 View Post
    Welcome back David! I missed your wisdom!
    Thanks! Feeling the pieces falling back together and the urge to spread the music!

  7. #457

    Creating a solo. One step at a time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  8. #458
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Northern California
    Welcome back David!

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

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

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

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

  9. #459
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    Still a little "exercisy" but I'm digging it.
    Right! I remember having a block in my soloing, or a wall more than a block. I couldn't make the leap from small figures that made up exercises and the vocabulary I was trying to develop for a wide reaching solo. I'd work on creating melodies with a sense of lyric line, but seeing someone like Jerry Bergonzi would drive home the point that developing a detailed lexicon of melodic figures enables one to build larger statements in seemingly infinite and surprising ways.
    Now I still try to develop the melody in the line, but those more essential statements can be "framed" in textures of sound derived from practicing patterns but not playing them that way. I can't describe it but practicing exercise type figures is very meditative, and it gives me great ease in breaking cliches in my own playing. Plus, my time gets better and putting rhythmic life into those lines is a basis for motif development right there.

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

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

    Have fun-

  10. #460

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?

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

  11. #461

    Second week of July. Making an arc from a page: My Foolish Heart

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

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

    My first encounter. Bill Evans Trio

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

    Nat King Cole's version

    Frank Sinatra gives a different feel for an idea of how different swing feels can be applied to this song.

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

    Have fun working with this piece this week.

  12. #462
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Stow, MA
    Oh yeah! Now we get to the good stuff!

  13. #463

    A closer look at My Foolish Heart. My foolish take on one way to look at this tune.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Have fun


  14. #464
    David,Glad your back at it and feeling better.

  15. #465
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Stow, MA
    I've always loved what Ralph does with My Foolish Heart...

  16. #466
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Northern California
    What a beautiful tune. (MFH). Really enjoying this one. I'm going to play this one a few more days then I'll post up my "version" haha. It's pretty straight, solo chord/melody for the most part. I like the descending Gminor line too and I use that. Still trying to keep with the motif idea for solo work over changes. I'm finding that method to be pretty inspiring, but maybe not totally innovative particularly. Still it's satisfying across this ballad and fits my level of playing.

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



  17. #467
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kaye View Post
    Still trying to keep with the motif idea for solo work over changes. I'm finding that method to be pretty inspiring, but maybe not totally innovative particularly.
    Working with motifs is a real discipline unto itself. I think it embodies a really powerful aspect of improvisation, one that speaks to being aware as you improvise.
    As a composer working on a written page, you tend to carry an awareness of what has come before; you're invested in your note selection. To be able to tap ideas, forms and note choices as you improvise, that's a level of creativity that's different from just finding notes that fit; it's staking out your identity through ideas.
    I found that taking one day of my practice week and including writing out a solo on paper, can be enormously enriching and rewarding. A motif can be changed in clever and really musical ways. Writing these transformations, or developments, or variations shows you the thought process in slow motion, with deliberation and commitment. You'd be surprised at how much of that process becomes part of your real time soloing after writing even a half chorus of a tune.

    Looking forward to your notes, Michael!

  18. #468

    Third week of July. Body and Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And for a nice guitar take, here's Wes

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

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

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


  19. #469
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Stow, MA
    Suddenly the waters have gotten rather deep...

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