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  1. #1

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    Hi I have been fiddling with Barry Harris stuff, eg if you have (C for clarity) 2 bars of Cmaj 6 or 7 you can play a Bm7b5 (half dim) or Dm6 and Bm6b5 or B F G #D to extend the line or add movement instead of just 2 bars of C.

    Heres the question Jake brought this up is this a parallel or similar to Barry Harris, without being super technical what I means is are these rougly the same type of thing I know the scales Parent might be different>

    JakeAcci





    The first thing I think of harmonically when I think of Wes is sevenths chords up in thirds...Cm7=Ebma7=Gm7=Bbma7 etc

    C7=Em7b5=Gm7=Bbma7, so he would get to that pesky 'avoid' note quite often without resolving it, as it was all part of the harmonic territory of the dominant. ...he used the diminished passing chords a lot, voicing drop 2s on top four strings, so if the chord was Cm7, you'd get ascending alternations between Cm7 and Ddim7.

    Regards M

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  3. #2

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    yup wes used the barry harris stuff a lot, even if he didn't know it's barry harris stuff

  4. #3

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    It's all different point of view of the same thing. That is the language of the Bebop and early legends, but they all had their own way they viewed it so they could play it. Some just heard it and played it.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  5. #4

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    Barry also used Wes's stuff because he knew it............................

    As Barry in a video said " And Wes Montgomery never did "

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by marvinvv View Post
    Barry also used Wes's stuff because he knew it............................

    As Barry in a video said " And Wes Montgomery never did "
    barry also shared Wes' disdain for Trane's Impulse era music --wonder what that was all about ? I know from reading something that Wes felt his time with Trane's band was not the best place for him --he didn't dig playing one song for 45 minutes straight.

    wonder what Barry's beef was ?
    Navdeep Singh.

  7. #6

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    I recover this post, because I am missing more comments from Barry about Wes. Do you know any other comment?
    I watched a video where an attendant asked Mr. Harris about Joe Pass, but he didn't answer that question.

  8. #7

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    I missed this post. My feeling about the Wes thing is that like Barry's style it evolved from previous jazz musicians.

    Barry's teaching, which I am a big fan of obviously - is kind of (to me) a very elegant and clear systematisation of common practice jazz harmony up to 1958 with some room for further developments...

    A huge influence on Wes was of course Charlie Christian, who was a big fan of the b7 sub on dominant chords - Bbmaj7 or Bbminmaj7 on C7 chords for example, the latter can also be understood as also referencing the major 6-dim scale, for example...

    A cursory examination of the standard issue bop heads (Donna Lee, Blues for Alice, Moose the Mooche etc) also ought to teach you all the basic combinations of dominant sounds that you will also find in Wes. The C7-->Em7b5(Gm6)-->Gm7-->Bbmaj7 loop for example was common practice in Parker's playing and writing. The Em7b5 and Bbmaj7 subs for example are extremely common in the swing era music (Charlie Christian, Lester Young) that was a direct influence on bop, and probably if you dug around you'd find earlier stuff.

    Another obvious example is Charlie Parker's very heavy use of the melody from Honeysuckle Rose (a '20s pop tune) as a motif which itself could be understood as a pivot of a b7 sub on a dominant chord (over C7, the notes are C Bb D F A) - so that would be b7 subs in the late 20's.

    (Incidentally Bird's music uses an awful lot of quotation of this kind - another famous line which Bird used so much that people often think he came up with it - is his use of the Alphonse Picout solo line on High Society (look it up) - I wonder how much of it is quotations? Probably more than we think. Bird is thought a harmonic soloist, but he seemed to think very melodically.)

    Anyway, so all of this stuff goes back a ways.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-14-2016 at 08:39 AM.

  9. #8

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    BTW two huge myths of jazz theory:

    1) natural 4 on a dominant chord is an 'avoid note.'
    2) jazz musicians don't use the harmonic minor much.

    Surely people that espouse these two myths can't have ever studied bop??? Have they ever actually analysed Blues for Alice say, or Donna Lee? The mind boggles. There are loads more jazz edu factoids that I've had to throw out in order to be able to understand actual jazz music.

    What I would say is that - if you avoid these two sounds (use melodic minor more than harmonic) and raise the 4 on a dominant chord, you will sound more modern as in it's good for developing a generic post-60s jazz style.

    It's a stylistic consideration if that's the direction you want to go in... But do put these out there as rules for jazz harmony? Hmmmm.

    If you are interested in playing bop and straight-ahead, and swing for that matter, you are best off ignoring these two myths completely. There are certain ways of playing major and minor ii-V-I's (as given in BH's material) and so on, which are super idiomatic bop as a look at any bop era material will show.

    If that's your vibe, it's a great way to go - but you could pick up all of this from studying bop lines from records and formulate your own understanding, which it sounds like is what you are doing.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-14-2016 at 08:34 AM.

  10. #9

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    You can hear Barry and Wes side by side on this album, if you don't know it:


  11. #10

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    Bach also used the "Barry Harris" stuff too.... basically non chord tones may be harmonized with diminished voicings or chromatic approach vocings. Berkelee School of Music courses on arranging 101 has taught this for half a century. Barry Harris capitalizes on the well known "block chord" technique.
    Last edited by rintincop; 03-15-2016 at 02:18 PM.

  12. #11

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    There's a bit more to it than four way close

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I missed this post. My feeling about the Wes thing is that like Barry's style it evolved from previous jazz musicians.

    Barry's teaching, which I am a big fan of obviously - is kind of (to me) a very elegant and clear systematisation of common practice jazz harmony up to 1958 with some room for further developments...

    A huge influence on Wes was of course Charlie Christian, who was a big fan of the b7 sub on dominant chords - Bbmaj7 or Bbminmaj7 on C7 chords for example, the latter can also be understood as also referencing the major 6-dim scale, for example...

    A cursory examination of the standard issue bop heads (Donna Lee, Blues for Alice, Moose the Mooche etc) also ought to teach you all the basic combinations of dominant sounds that you will also find in Wes. The C7-->Em7b5(Gm6)-->Gm7-->Bbmaj7 loop for example was common practice in Parker's playing and writing. The Em7b5 and Bbmaj7 subs for example are extremely common in the swing era music (Charlie Christian, Lester Young) that was a direct influence on bop, and probably if you dug around you'd find earlier stuff.

    Another obvious example is Charlie Parker's very heavy use of the melody from Honeysuckle Rose (a '20s pop tune) as a motif which itself could be understood as a pivot of a b7 sub on a dominant chord (over C7, the notes are C Bb D F A) - so that would be b7 subs in the late 20's.

    (Incidentally Bird's music uses an awful lot of quotation of this kind - another famous line which Bird used so much that people often think he came up with it - is his use of the Alphonse Picout solo line on High Society (look it up) - I wonder how much of it is quotations? Probably more than we think. Bird is thought a harmonic soloist, but he seemed to think very melodically.)

    Anyway, so all of this stuff goes back a ways.
    That High Society line always sticks out to me precisely for its harmonically neutral quality. Here's a provisional list of other borrowed phrases in Bird's recorded output: Quotes in Bird's performance

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    There's a bit more to it than four way close

    Thank you.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    BTW two huge myths of jazz theory:

    1) natural 4 on a dominant chord is an 'avoid note.'
    2) jazz musicians don't use the harmonic minor much.

    Surely people that espouse these two myths can't have ever studied bop??? Have they ever actually analysed Blues for Alice say, or Donna Lee? The mind boggles. There are loads more jazz edu factoids that I've had to throw out in order to be able to understand actual jazz music.

    What I would say is that - if you avoid these two sounds (use melodic minor more than harmonic) and raise the 4 on a dominant chord, you will sound more modern as in it's good for developing a generic post-60s jazz style.

    It's a stylistic consideration if that's the direction you want to go in... But do put these out there as rules for jazz harmony? Hmmmm.

    If you are interested in playing bop and straight-ahead, and swing for that matter, you are best off ignoring these two myths completely. There are certain ways of playing major and minor ii-V-I's (as given in BH's material) and so on, which are super idiomatic bop as a look at any bop era material will show.

    If that's your vibe, it's a great way to go - but you could pick up all of this from studying bop lines from records and formulate your own understanding, which it sounds like is what you are doing.
    I think Mark Levine was largely responsible for the idea that the use of harmonic minor is rare in jazz. He also managed to avoid discussing the blues in his jazz piano book (but made up for that obvious oversight in his later jazz theory book).

  16. #15

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    Speaking of "High Society"....

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    That High Society line always sticks out to me precisely for its harmonically neutral quality. Here's a provisional list of other borrowed phrases in Bird's recorded output: Quotes in Bird's performance
    Thanks for this....

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    That High Society line always sticks out to me precisely for its harmonically neutral quality. Here's a provisional list of other borrowed phrases in Bird's recorded output: Quotes in Bird's performance
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I think Mark Levine was largely responsible for the idea that the use of harmonic minor is rare in jazz. He also managed to avoid discussing the blues in his jazz piano book (but made up for that obvious oversight in his later jazz theory book).
    Which is made all the wierder by the fact that he credits Barry in the theory book iirc...

    Also it's inconceivable to me that he could have played through tunes like Donna Lee, Little Willie Leaps and so on and not thought 'hmmm here is a harmonic minor scale over the ii V' but there you go.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Also it's inconceivable to me that he could have played through tunes like Donna Lee, Little Willie Leaps and so on and not thought 'hmmm here is a harmonic minor scale over the ii V' but there you go.
    I find that quite conceivable. Many players of Bird's era thought in terms of chords rather than scales. A lot of patterns are of the form "Note Above, Chord Tone, Note Below, Same Chord Tone" then repeat for the next interval up (-or down if you're headed that way) and so on. If you think of this in terms of the CHORD, it is easy to play without thought. If you think of it in terms of a SCALE, well, it gets dicey because some of the notes above and below are scale tones while others are chromatic tones. If one wanted to think of them all as scale tones, one would have to think as a scale such as harmonic minor, but it is possible to play such lines, to create them and vary them, use them on the fly, without ever thinking of them in terms of any scale at all.


    When Bird played "stacked triads" he often made the minor b5 (-the vii) a straight minor, which technically leaves the key, but it is possible to do this without thinking of scales or changing keys at all, just playing a minor for a minor b5 when that triad comes up in the sequence. The sequence for a I chord, starting on I, in C would be: C Em G Bmb5 / Dm F Am C. For the ii in the same key, starting on the root, would be Dm F Am C / Em G Bmb5 Dm. For the V in the same key, C, again starting on the root, would be: G Bmb5 Dm F / Am C E G. If you play those sequences but switch a minor triad for the minor b5 triad, you'll be doing something Bird often did, but you need not think of it in terms of leaving one key or switching scales.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    When Bird played "stacked triads" he often made the minor b5 (-the vii) a straight minor, which technically leaves the key, but it is possible to do this without thinking of scales or changing keys at all, just playing a minor for a minor b5 when that triad comes up in the sequence. The sequence for a I chord, starting on I, in C would be: C Em G Bmb5 / Dm F Am C. For the ii in the same key, starting on the root, would be Dm F Am C / Em G Bmb5 Dm. For the V in the same key, C, again starting on the root, would be: G Bmb5 Dm F / Am C E G. If you play those sequences but switch a minor triad for the minor b5 triad, you'll be doing something Bird often did, but you need not think of it in terms of leaving one key or switching scales.
    could you direct us to some examples for the above?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I find that quite conceivable. Many players of Bird's era thought in terms of chords rather than scales. A lot of patterns are of the form "Note Above, Chord Tone, Note Below, Same Chord Tone" then repeat for the next interval up (-or down if you're headed that way) and so on. If you think of this in terms of the CHORD, it is easy to play without thought. If you think of it in terms of a SCALE, well, it gets dicey because some of the notes above and below are scale tones while others are chromatic tones. If one wanted to think of them all as scale tones, one would have to think as a scale such as harmonic minor, but it is possible to play such lines, to create them and vary them, use them on the fly, without ever thinking of them in terms of any scale at all.


    When Bird played "stacked triads" he often made the minor b5 (-the vii) a straight minor, which technically leaves the key, but it is possible to do this without thinking of scales or changing keys at all, just playing a minor for a minor b5 when that triad comes up in the sequence. The sequence for a I chord, starting on I, in C would be: C Em G Bmb5 / Dm F Am C. For the ii in the same key, starting on the root, would be Dm F Am C / Em G Bmb5 Dm. For the V in the same key, C, again starting on the root, would be: G Bmb5 Dm F / Am C E G. If you play those sequences but switch a minor triad for the minor b5 triad, you'll be doing something Bird often did, but you need not think of it in terms of leaving one key or switching scales.
    Man it gets lengthy with quotes. I don't think you are quite following me.

    I'm not talking about chord/scale relationships here. I'm talking about actual scales going up or down (usually down) in steps. The sort of thing you learn on piano when you are a child.

    Very often in bop and Parker's music, it's the descending harmonic minor over a secondary dominant moving to a minor chord. A minor ii V if you prefer. In the case of G7b9 going to to Cm we would run a descending c harmonic minor scale for example. Pretty straight no?

    The the last few measures of Donna Lee (which yes may have been written by miles) contain a typical example, but this scale is extremely common in his music.

    You could rationalise it terms of some sort of other thing but that seems a bit silly to me. Why wouldn't bird know what a harmonic minor scale was?

    That said, There is a different way of interpreting this scale which comes from Barry Harris/David baker. Here it is understood as a dominant scale a tone below the target chord with a raised root at some point.

    So sure bop uses scales, just not in a cst kind of way... It's more classical...

    An important skill for a bop improviser is to understand how to run scales to describe functional harmony rather than to float over the top or express some type of upper structure.

    I was able to play harmonic jazz perfectly well without doing this (and historically I think many guitarists from the Charlie christian school didn't employ scalar runs much, for example) but since I have started work on this it's opened up quite a few doors. the Barry Harris method is very heavily based around scales for example, but woe betide you if you confuse it with CST or any type of modal improvisation haha.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-16-2016 at 01:12 PM.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Why wouldn't bird know what a harmonic minor scale was?

    That said, There is a different way of interpreting this scale which comes from Barry Harris/David baker. Here it is understood as a dominant scale a tone below the target chord with a raised root at some point.

    So sure bop uses scales, just not in a cst kind of way... It's more classical...

    .
    Bird may well have known what a harmonic minor scale was. But knowing what one is does not mean that when you describe a line of Bird's as being a use of the harmonic minor scale that Bird was thinking of it that way when he played it. (The same goes for writers: how a critic analyzes a novel may be wholly alien to the way the novelist thought when writing it. In Bird's case, we don't have much from him about his thought process while soloing. We do know he talked about playing clean and using the pretty notes, but we don't have much reference to scales one way or the other.

    The reason David Baker needed to coin the term "bebop scale" is that the greats he transcribed didn't think of the notes he wanted to so classify as a scale. That's not how they thought about it and we know this because if they had, they would have had a name for it. They had no name for it. They were thinking another way. I think that way was in terms of chords. The rules Baker lays out in his books describe a way to play many Charlie Parker lines, but Baker never intended his "How To Play Bebop" as a description of how Charlie Parker (or Bud Powell or Diz or...) was thinking when he played the lines that enchanted him (David Baker). I think this is why the old idiom is 'play the changes' (or 'make the changes') rather than 'play the scales.'

    There's an interesting quote about Charlie from Jon Faddis:

    >>>>>"Charlie Parker showed Dizzy a way of playing that almost eliminated that swing feel that Dizzy had in the early '40s, but that also incorporated those harmonic ideas that they both created. So I think the way of getting from one note to the next was very much Charlie Parker's influence on Dizzy. But if Charlie Parker was the stylist, Dizzy was sort of the architect that taught the musicians how to build the music … Dizzy said that Charlie Parker used to come over to his house, and Dizzy's wife Lorraine wouldn't let him in, so Charlie Parker would be in the hallway playing and Dizzy would write it down, and then show it to the other musicians. So Dizzy took the things that Charlie Parker got off the top of his head - Dizzy said he never saw him sit at the piano - and he would show other musicians."<<<<<<

    The Official Site of Charlie "Yardbird" Parker - Quotes
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  23. #22

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    Look I'm not trying to argue the toss for the sake of making a point, but I still don't think you understand what I mean.

    If you were to analyse the notes G F E D C# Bb A G - for example, would you not think of this as a scale? I think it would be a bit perverse not to.

    This is the sort of stuff I'm talking about. (I could get you exact examples if you wanted but I'm away atm so have to wait a couple of days.) I'm not talking about bebop scales or added note scales or any of that stuff.

    Setting aside bird and his unknowable process (although bird certainly practiced scales because there is a recording of him doing it), would you not think Mark Levine author of a book primarily concerned with the application of scales might think 'y'know that scale with the augmented second in it, that doesn't half ring a bell? What could it be?'

    I wouldn't then write a book (a standard text!) stating that jazz musicians rarely use the harmonic minor scale when there are such hilariously glaring counter examples in the core repertoire no less.

    This is what I found a bit weird. Especially given he can no doubt kick my ass at bebop. *shrugs*

    I choose to analyse the line above as a D harmonic minor scale run starting on a G and would work very nicely over a A7b9 chord going to Dm. I think that's a pretty streamlined understanding provided you know what a harmonic minor scale is (which I presume Mark Levine does :-))

    (In fact I would use the C dominant scale raise 1 now... A less streamlined understanding but pretty useful one in many ways)
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-16-2016 at 06:46 PM.

  24. #23

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    That's a great bit of info about bird/dizzy you posted btw... Thanks

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Look I'm not trying to argue the toss for the sake of making a point, but I still don't think you understand what I mean.

    If you were to analyse the notes G F E D C# Bb A G - for example, would you not think of this as a scale?

    I don't want to argue either. Let's say we talked past each other and let it go.

    As for the question about the notes G F E D C# Bb A G, no, I would not think of them as a scale. But that's me. I don't think that way.

    To be clear, I don't consider myself an exemplary player and am not suggesting what I happen to do is of any general interest. I have learned a lot from Herb Ellis and he did know scales but he played MAINLY (his word) out of chord shapes and that's how he thought and how he organized the fretboard. I find that approach congenial. You find your approach congenial. Good for both of us, I say.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I don't want to argue either. Let's say we talked past each other and let it go.

    As for the question about the notes G F E D C# Bb A G, no, I would not think of them as a scale. But that's me. I don't think that way.

    To be clear, I don't consider myself an exemplary player and am not suggesting what I happen to do is of any general interest. I have learned a lot from Herb Ellis and he did know scales but he played MAINLY (his word) out of chord shapes and that's how he thought and how he organized the fretboard. I find that approach congenial. You find your approach congenial. Good for both of us, I say.
    G F E D C# is just half-diminshed. Bb A G sounds like a lick. A lead in to a G7 or Gm chord.
    That's how I hear it.

    ......G F E D.....................C#......................Bb A G
    (G half-dim scale) (C# dim chord) (lick leading into G7 chord)

    I try to relate everything to chord shapes.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    G F E D C# is just half-diminshed. Bb A G sounds like a lick. A lead in to a G7 or Gm chord.
    That's how I hear it.

    ......G F E D.....................C#......................Bb A G
    (G half-dim scale) (C# dim chord) (lick leading into G7 chord)

    I try to relate everything to chord shapes.
    That's not the harmonic context these notes appear in. They are usually used over an A7b9 going to Dm when used by Parker.

    Edit - so the next note might be an f on beat 1 of the next bar if that makes any sense.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 05:49 AM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I don't want to argue either. Let's say we talked past each other and let it go.

    As for the question about the notes G F E D C# Bb A G, no, I would not think of them as a scale. But that's me. I don't think that way.

    To be clear, I don't consider myself an exemplary player and am not suggesting what I happen to do is of any general interest. I have learned a lot from Herb Ellis and he did know scales but he played MAINLY (his word) out of chord shapes and that's how he thought and how he organized the fretboard. I find that approach congenial. You find your approach congenial. Good for both of us, I say.
    How would you analyse something like that out of interest? Upper neighbour tones decorating a descending A7b9 arpeggio?

    Incidentally I used to be an entirely chordal/arpeggio soloist in the Charlie christian tradition and it was actually this type of lick that got me thinking about scales again, simply because I figured if it barks and has a waggly tail I may as well call it a dog.

    Cc afaik doesn't play this type of thing and as a result I daresay herb probably wouldn't either - not that I've transcribe any herb tbh. Very common in horn players and pianists of the bop era though, not just Parker....

    there are few runs that look like scales in Christians music. But there are some - The ear is drawn to scales whether it knows what they are or not.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 05:23 AM.

  29. #28

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    This is a great thread; it's impossible to try to get into the detail that has come up, but...my take on a few points

    - on a ii-V , Parker droppd the ii. Joe Pass and many others followed Parker on this - Joe says as much on video, this is one of the key sounds of bebop ... this is what BH teaches on his courses (among other things)

    - on the ii-V Wes highlighted the ii. This is one of the things that give him his post-bop sound. I have never heard a solo by Wes that I would really call straight ahead bop (and I have bought and own over 95% of his officially recorded material). Pat Martino took this concept and developed it into a total method (which he reveals in his educational videos)

    - the bebop scale(s) as taught in guitar books is/are just a tiny fraction of CP's "bebop scales": all CP was trying to do was to get the chord tones on downbeats when playing 8ths (by inserting other notes in the line); if you really want to get into that in detail the Omnibook is the best place to go; this is also taught on BH's courses

    - BH is a bop theorist and purist, the best there is, a truly fantastic bop educator

    - the only comment I've heard BH make about Wes is where he criticises Wes's harmonisation of Stella

    - the only comments I've read by Wes about Coltrane are highly positive

    - BH has stated that he believes Coltrane (and Miles) damaged "the music", well yes of course they did - they destroyed bop! But they had previously both been masters of it of course.

    - I'm a great lover of both Wes and Coltrane, but I would hate to hear them play together. Wes is reputed to have joined JC's band for a few weeks in 63 "as an extra" including the Monterey festival, there is no offical record of this session (but that doesn't mean it won't turn up on youtube sometime!) or any other Wes-JC session.
    Last edited by sunnysideup; 03-17-2016 at 05:59 AM.
    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
    This is a great thread; it's impossible to try to get into the detail that has come up, but...my take on a few points

    - on a ii-V , Parker droppd the ii. Joe Pass and many others followed Parker on this - Joe says as much on video, this is one of the key sounds of bebop ... this is what BH teaches on his courses (among other things)

    - on the ii-V Wes highlighted the ii. This is one of the things that give him his post-bop sound. I have never heard a solo by Wes that I would really call straight ahead bop (and I have bought and own over 95% of his officially recorded material). Pat Martino took this concept and developed it into a total method (which he reveals in his educational videos)

    - the bebop scale(s) as taught in guitar books is/are just a tiny fraction of CP's "bebop scales": all CP was trying to do was to get the chord tones on downbeats when playing 8ths (by inserting other notes in the line); if you really want to get into that in detail the Omnibook is the best place to go; this is also taught on BH's courses

    - BH is a bop theorist and purist, the best there is, a truly fantastic bop educator

    - the only comment I've heard BH make about Wes is where he criticises Wes's harmonisation of Stella

    - the only comments I've read by Wes about Coltrane are highly positive

    - BH has stated that he believes Coltrane (and Miles) damaged "the music", well yes of course they did - they destroyed bop! But they had previously both been masters of it of course.

    - I'm a great lover of both Wes and Coltrane, but I would hate to hear them play together. Wes is reputed to have joined JC's band for a few weeks in 63 "as an extra" including the Monterey festival, there is no offical record of this festival (but that doesn't mean it won't turn up on youtube sometime!) or any other Wes-JC session.
    What about the Harold land session above as an example of early very bop wes? Sounds bop to me, ymmv.

    I'll have to think about that re bird... Bird used a lot of ways of getting into a chord (ie playing the dominant), but he was a big fan of m7b5 and maj7 (b7) sounds over dominant chords. So Bm7b5 or Fmaj7 on G7... Not sure if I can think of an example of him using a Dm7 sound off the top of my head now you mention it. Dm11, yes.

    I hear a huge amount of birds language in wes of course, and it seems wes particularly liked the floaty maj7 and extended major sounds on everything. Flat 7 on dominant a lot....

    Not certain I'd agree that Bird was trying to get the chord tones on the downbeat.

    I'd have agreed if you were talking about Bud!
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 06:22 AM.

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    The Harold Land session and the preceding album with Nat Adderley are the 2 boppiest sessions that Wes was involved with; but I don't hear Wes playing bop lines on these albums - I hear him playing post bop lines.

    If I compare Wes's playing on this album to bop guitarists like Tal, Jimmy Raney, some JP, I hear something very different, even on these recordings.

    The comments about Parker's "bebop scale", and his dropping the ii in a ii V are straight out of Barrys Harris's teaching, which confirmed what I'd figured out for myself after two years of the Omnibook.


    But we all have different ears ;-)
    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Look I'm not trying to argue the toss for the sake of making a point, but I still don't think you understand what I mean.

    If you were to analyse the notes G F E D C# Bb A G - for example, would you not think of this as a scale? I think it would be a bit perverse not to.

    This is the sort of stuff I'm talking about. (I could get you exact examples if you wanted but I'm away atm so have to wait a couple of days.) I'm not talking about bebop scales or added note scales or any of that stuff.

    Setting aside bird and his unknowable process (although bird certainly practiced scales because there is a recording of him doing it), would you not think Mark Levine author of a book primarily concerned with the application of scales might think 'y'know that scale with the augmented second in it, that doesn't half ring a bell? What could it be?'

    I wouldn't then write a book (a standard text!) stating that jazz musicians rarely use the harmonic minor scale when there are such hilariously glaring counter examples in the core repertoire no less.

    This is what I found a bit weird. Especially given he can no doubt kick my ass at bebop. *shrugs*

    I choose to analyse the line above as a D harmonic minor scale run starting on a G and would work very nicely over a A7b9 chord going to Dm. I think that's a pretty streamlined understanding provided you know what a harmonic minor scale is (which I presume Mark Levine does :-))

    (In fact I would use the C dominant scale raise 1 now... A less streamlined understanding but pretty useful one in many ways)
    It's hard to know exactly what Parker was thinking when playing that run but regardless, it clearly is a descending D harmonic minor scale from the 4th degree (or a descending G Dorian #4 if you want to think modally which seems highly unlikely in Parker's case). To argue otherwise, one would have to place equal doubt that Parker ever employed the major scale!

    Regardless, this line certainly pops up a lot in Parker's improvisations along with a few variations. Commonly, he pivots from the third up to the b9th degree or reverses direction at the end to resolve chromatically to the 5th rather than b3 of the minor chord as illustrated below.

    For me, the most interesting aspect of this and many other of Parker's pet figures is that they operate within an economy of means (I almost wrote an economy of scale :-)). I've shown a series of possible ways to describe the line harmonically. The opening note (G) operates as either the b7 of the A7b9, the b3 of Em7b5, the root of a Gm6, the 13th of a Bb13 or the 5th of a Cmaj7. All of these examples treat the following minor chord as the point of arrival except for the last where the minor is more likely to be heard as the ii chord within a I-VI-ii-V-I progression:

    Barry Harris &amp; Wes Montgomery-cp-line-jpg

  33. #32

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    @sunnysideup Sure - in fact the bh stuff now forms the framework of my understanding of bop.

    But I've never come across unambiguous examples of a bh style added note scale in parkers stuff (but my knowledge is only based on the stuff I've transcribed, I'd be interested if you referenced an example from the omnibook...)

    On the other hand I transcribed bud on Celia and I was like Aha!

    In practice I use the BH stuff in my playing all the time.... It personally took me a long time to grasp the advantages and sophistication of the approach although I went to my first bh workshops a decade ago.

    In terms of dropping the ii on a ii v, Barry harris scale based improv approach has all of the possibilities the op mentioned within the dominant scales and the various tools you can use to generate material (scales with added notes, thirds, stacks of thirds (arps), pivots and so on.)

    So by using bh approach you are encapsulating the ii and v (as well as the vii and iv) under one thing - the V dominant scale...

    So it's more a mental process than what you hear in terms of notes.

    But different teachers and players use different language (family of four, T/D etc) for the same things. The bh system to my mind gives you the most flexibility and the most melodic approach to improv while still making sure you play the changes.

    I know some guys here have an allergic reaction to scale based improvisation and I know exactly how they feel, but thing that marks out the Barry harris approach IMO is it actually gives you a tool set for creating convincing language from scales.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 08:16 AM.

  34. #33

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    Thanks PMB for putting my point concisely with proper musical examples.

    It still doesn't answer the question what was Levine smoking when he wrote the Jazz Theory Book (and where can I get some?) :-)

  35. #34

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    @Christian, this is getting silly

    "But I've never come across unambiguous examples of a bh style added note scale in parkers stuff (but my knowledge is only based on the stuff I've transcribed, I'd be interested if you referenced an example from the omnibook...)"

    try the first 2 bars of the Donna head, possibly the most quoted and recognisable head in bop.

    There are thousands (literally) of other examples.
    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  36. #35

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    Yeah, I did think of that soon after I posted. Disputed authorship though.

    I actually believe Miles. Donna Lee seems kind of less rhythmically inventive than the other Parker heads I know and a lot more scalic, which fits in with miles early style of improv.

    Any others?

    Actually Donna Lee is practically a case study in Barry harris material. I learned a lot working through that head. It's got everything...

    Please understand that I am not disputing the usefulness of the BH system applied to Birds music, more that I haven't really noticed this type of added note scale use much in his music... Personally I like the added note scale thing and use it to death.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 09:04 AM.

  37. #36

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    Actually Sippin at Bells has a nice example doesn't it? But you do get several types of chromaticism in the first few bars... It's not all added note scale rule stuff iirc... I think there's a few ways you could analyse that stuff - chord tones/passing tones.

    In terms of analysing added note scale stuff, the difference between using chord tone/diatonic and chromatic passing tone combinations and added note scales is pretty hazy... It's probably good to have both concepts at your disposal...

    Also while I agree that Bird was perfectly able to play chord tones on the beat, often he was actually subverting the expectation and putting chord tones on anticipations. Use of double anticipations in particular I find very characteristic and much rarer in pre bop jazz.

    I do think BH is more modelled on Bud Powell than bird, which would make sense.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-17-2016 at 09:04 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    For me, the most interesting aspect of this and many other of Parker's pet figures is that they operate within an economy of means (I almost wrote an economy of scale :-)).
    Thomas Owens talks about this in his chapter on Parker in his book "Bebop: The Music and its Players." Very much worth reading. I've got to go by the library today and if the book is on the shelves, I'll pick it up. There's something I want to say here but I fear getting it wrong so I want to double-check first.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  39. #38

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    "But lying beneath the surface of most of [Charlie Parker's] improvisations is another factor that helps generate the sense of rightness in his music. Typically entire phrases, and even entire choruses and groupings of choruses, are goal-oriented; they arrive on a final note that lies at the end of a lengthy stepwise descent.... the great majority of his solos contain extensive sections of scalar descent; they are among the most striking elements in his musical vocabulary..."

    Thomas Owens, "Bebop: The Music and its Players", pages 36 and 37. (An 11-bar section of "The Closer" is used as an example, as well as two typical Parker phrases over a V7b9 i.)

    Some "folding over" (an octave leap, for example) was required to keep a lengthy descent within the alto saxophone's range. (A similar descent on, say, a guitar or piano would not require the same folding over, though the folding over might be an advantage in that the lines may sound less pre-determined that way.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    How would you analyse something like that out of interest? Upper neighbour tones decorating a descending A7b9 arpeggio?

    Incidentally I used to be an entirely chordal/arpeggio soloist in the Charlie christian tradition and it was actually this type of lick that got me thinking about scales again, simply because I figured if it barks and has a waggly tail I may as well call it a dog.

    Cc afaik doesn't play this type of thing and as a result I daresay herb probably wouldn't either - not that I've transcribe any herb tbh. Very common in horn players and pianists of the bop era though, not just Parker....

    there are few runs that look like scales in Christians music. But there are some - The ear is drawn to scales whether it knows what they are or not.
    It's a guess but I think the early boppers were huge on using bit's of the half diminished scale. There's the enclosure. Say G as the target note;

    G#, F#, G

    Another kind of enclosure;

    A#, F#, A, G

    Django and Bird did that a lot. To Django maybe it was just a lick. In bop it might be a lick based on a half-diminished scale. Not sure. I don't find this too confusing. We organize things the way we have to. What get's me is the odd leaps in bop. Lot's of 4th and 6ths.
    I can't make heads or tails of it.

  41. #40

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    You folks are perpetuating a myth. There is nothing in the so called "Barry Harris" approach that didn't already have a precedent in music. The "dim 6th" scale concept is just being clever, but nothing new.

    Bach showed us 300 years ago:

    Last edited by rintincop; 03-17-2016 at 02:53 PM.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    You folks are perpetuating a myth. There is nothing in the so called "Barry Harris" approach that didn't already have a precedent in music. The "dim 6th" scale concept is just being clever, but nothing new.

    Bach showed us 300 years ago:
    Barry never takes credit for the Sixth Diminished scale, only the naming of it. Many times I've heard him credit Bach, Beethoven, Chopin as using the scale.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    It's a guess but I think the early boppers were huge on using bit's of the half diminished scale. There's the enclosure. Say G as the target note;

    G#, F#, G

    Another kind of enclosure;

    A#, F#, A, G

    Django and Bird did that a lot. To Django maybe it was just a lick. In bop it might be a lick based on a half-diminished scale. Not sure. I don't find this too confusing. We organize things the way we have to. What get's me is the odd leaps in bop. Lot's of 4th and 6ths.
    I can't make heads or tails of it.
    Sorry I'm not quite with you. What do you mean by half diminished scale?

  44. #43

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    Myth? What myth? Am I perpetuating it? I'm confused.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Sorry I'm not quite with you. What do you mean by half diminished scale?
    Half step, whole step, half step, whole step, etc.....
    Or start with a whole step instead of half. For the sake of organization I call diminished, half-diminished, whole tone and chromatic- linear. Linear movement through the octave.
    That's just me.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    Half step, whole step, half step, whole step, etc.....
    Or start with a whole step instead of half. For the sake of organization I call diminished, half-diminished, whole tone and chromatic- linear. Linear movement through the octave.
    That's just me.
    Ah ok. I just call it half whole or whole half. Some call it diminished...

    I don't know if I'd credit any of the swing or early bop cats with using that scale outright from the stuff I've looked at... Or at least I've never noticed it.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    "But lying beneath the surface of most of [Charlie Parker's] improvisations is another factor that helps generate the sense of rightness in his music. Typically entire phrases, and even entire choruses and groupings of choruses, are goal-oriented; they arrive on a final note that lies at the end of a lengthy stepwise descent.... the great majority of his solos contain extensive sections of scalar descent; they are among the most striking elements in his musical vocabulary..."

    Thomas Owens, "Bebop: The Music and its Players", pages 36 and 37. (An 11-bar section of "The Closer" is used as an example, as well as two typical Parker phrases over a V7b9 i.)

    Some "folding over" (an octave leap, for example) was required to keep a lengthy descent within the alto saxophone's range. (A similar descent on, say, a guitar or piano would not require the same folding over, though the folding over might be an advantage in that the lines may sound less pre-determined that way.)
    The example you cited (The Closer) is a perfect example of how Parker could use the descending scale not just as foreground material but as a 'submerged' resource offering further variation. Maybe that's one reason he was attracted to Bach whose fugues operate on a similar principle. For a more detailed discussion of Parker's musical thinking, I'd suggest checking out Owens' exhaustive 1974 thesis.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    The example you cited (The Closer) is a perfect example of how Parker could use the descending scale not just as foreground material but as a 'submerged' resource offering further variation. Maybe that's one reason he was attracted to Bach whose fugues operate on a similar principle. For a more detailed discussion of Parker's musical thinking, I'd suggest checking out Owens' exhaustive 1974 thesis.
    Yeah, I have that, though I read it in small doses. Owens is remarkable in his approach. At the same time, he makes clear that he doesn't know how Charlie Parker thought about these things, or whether they were even conscious choices. He knew what he was doing, and what he was doing was meticulously well-wrought.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by dortmundjazzguitar View Post
    yes, i agree. bird did *not* ditch the II chord in a II V and only played off the dom chord (see bar 2 of moose the mooche). he did use the bebop scale, there are examples of the pure form (blues fast). but it would seem that he was more fond of 9 b9 R 7 for unaltered dom chords. the 7 maj7 R movement is often used as a double chromatic approach for altered dom chords, he might say b3 | 3 b9 7 maj7 R .
    Not sure if I'm with you on those examples - could you give them in C major (don't know where you are taking your intervals from)

    Again I just want to point out - in my understanding - that just because Barry says ditch the ii chord - it doesn't mean that you then only play V.

    Barry is thinking about a whole scale on V and there are many ways you can use it including the ii minor, b7 (IV) subs and everything else. For example, this line (that I think of as a Parker type thing) would be part of this dominant world:

    Over Dm7 G7 C, which we simplify to G dominant scale resolving to C

    G F# F A C E | D

    (chromatic added note to place F, a chord tone on the beat, followed by a stack of thirds, followed a to the 9th of the C chord, beat 1)

    Here we are using notes from the G dominant scale in a way consistent with Barry's guidelines for line construction we can stretch this line out in various ways if we want.

    It's just a way of reducing the amount of 'changes following' you do and making things more open and melodic while retaining the essential harmonic function of the underlying progression. It's not about running bop scales over everything, although you can certainly do that too.

    What I have learned is that from the perspective of bop a cadence is a cadence.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-19-2016 at 09:41 AM.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by dortmundjazzguitar View Post
    i'm talking about dominant chords and the dominant scale. the key is not relevant.
    When you say b9 for example do you mean b9 within the key centre (I chord) or b9 over say a V7 chord?

    I presume the latter actually as you specify maj7...
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-19-2016 at 09:44 AM.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by dortmundjazzguitar View Post
    i'm talking about dominant chords and the dominant scale. the key is not relevant.
    Also from your use of the terms - bebop scale - and your use of 'b9' instead of 'b2' I'm guessing that you are not a full on Barry-ite, would that be fair to say?

    This isn't aimed at you dortmundjazzguitar - and I don't want to make out that Barry's approach is the only or even best way to study bebop, but when people start talking about his stuff without going into in some depth of the materials, people get a VERY stereotyped idea of what he's about.

    The maj6-dim/'bebop' scale confusion and this whole thing about 'dropping the ii' is a case in point. There's a lot more to it.

    Perhaps the best thing I can do is try and put his ideas into more familiar terms sometimes. BH has a certain way of discussing stuff that isn't always familiar. You can't 'half learn' his stuff, it's a whole system on its own.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-19-2016 at 10:26 AM.