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  1. #1
    Hi,

    I am an beginner-intermediate level guitarist and of course I love Jazz, especially bebop! But if I'm completely honest with myself as much as I love bebop and learning that language, what I really want to play is modern Robert Glasper-esque J Dilla inspired Jazz-Hip Hop fusion, like the following;







    (slightly different from the rest but for me the mood is similar)

    Now I'm by no means a master of bebop language. In fact I'm still just getting to grips with it. In terms of knowing the theoretical aspects of the language (enclosures, use of triads, swung 8th notes) I understand it. Being that intellectually grasping it isn't so difficult. But I haven't grasped it yet in my ear. Partly because of time spent on the instrument and also partly because whilst I listen to Bebop, I listen to music such as the above much more.

    I also realise that a lot of the cliche's used in Jazz Standards aren't really a thing anymore. Most forms of modern Jazz I listen to has largely moved away from ii-V's, functional harmony, swung 8th notes and the bebop cliche's used in earlier music. ALTHOUGH I do realise there is always a heavy bebop element underpinning a lot of it.

    So my question is this. Is it best for me to continue transcribing and learning bebop language and then eventually switch to transcribing the more modern sounding music I'm listening to, or is it okay for me to jump straight into the modern sound? Ideally I would like to do both as I don't see it necessarily as an either/or thing, but I am an amateur doing this for my own enjoyment and my time is limited (I begin working as a Doctor in August and am not likely to have much free time to practise).

    Any advice given would be most appreciated! And sorry if this is a stupid question, I meant it in earnest though.

    EDIT: Also sorry if I have posted this in the wrong part of the forum. Didn't really know where to post it.

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  3. #2

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    There are a lot of wise, experienced minds here and I'm sure you will get a lot of sound advice.

    My take boils down to this: Find what you love. Figure it out. Leave room to change your mind. Get help if you need it.

    Sooner or later, a lot of people find that some understanding and familiarity with the jazz of the latter half of the 20th century informs their playing today. Please let me try that again: Sooner or later, a lot of people find that some degree of scoping out the context of the present helps them to avoid reinventing the wheel.

    Not everybody feels or works that way. Some people like or benefit from lessons and formal study. Some people just figure things out and get where they're going based on effort and aptitude.

    Above all, keep in touch with the joy. I hope that this is some help.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brummy_Guitarist
    Hi,

    I am an beginner-intermediate level guitarist and of course I love Jazz, especially bebop! But if I'm completely honest with myself as much as I love bebop and learning that language, what I really want to play is modern Robert Glasper-esque J Dilla inspired Jazz-Hip Hop fusion, like the following;







    (slightly different from the rest but for me the mood is similar)

    Now I'm by no means a master of bebop language. In fact I'm still just getting to grips with it. In terms of knowing the theoretical aspects of the language (enclosures, use of triads, swung 8th notes) I understand it. Being that intellectually grasping it isn't so difficult. But I haven't grasped it yet in my ear. Partly because of time spent on the instrument and also partly because whilst I listen to Bebop, I listen to music such as the above much more.

    I also realise that a lot of the cliche's used in Jazz Standards aren't really a thing anymore. Most forms of modern Jazz I listen to has largely moved away from ii-V's, functional harmony, swung 8th notes and the bebop cliche's used in earlier music. ALTHOUGH I do realise there is always a heavy bebop element underpinning a lot of it.

    So my question is this. Is it best for me to continue transcribing and learning bebop language and then eventually switch to transcribing the more modern sounding music I'm listening to, or is it okay for me to jump straight into the modern sound? Ideally I would like to do both as I don't see it necessarily as an either/or thing, but I am an amateur doing this for my own enjoyment and my time is limited (I begin working as a Doctor in August and am not likely to have much free time to practise).

    Any advice given would be most appreciated! And sorry if this is a stupid question, I meant it in earnest though.

    EDIT: Also sorry if I have posted this in the wrong part of the forum. Didn't really know where to post it.
    you know, I have no idea, because I’m not you.

    A couple of years back, I would have emphasised the importance of learning the tradition, but now? Who cares? Life is short. Take the direct route.

    (I hate the idea that there are people out there who hate bop because they were made to do it at jazz school. What’s the point of that?)

    Use your lugholes and work out the music you love. Then, check out what they checked out. Go back that way.

    All the theory is easy to get hold of.

    you can always keep working bop on the back burner.

  5. #4

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    I would say the aspect that has remained constant is the rhythmic language and phrasing. It’s also a two way street with hip hop.

  6. #5

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    So I listen to this kind of thing... a lot of vamps. A lot of modal stuff, sideslipping and stuff used to create variation.

    also - Robert Glasper knows a lot of songs... I know he’s doing it for comedy in the clip, but he knows a lot of songs. I think people should know a lot of songs. He plays them too. I was transcribing his voicings on Black Hole Sun the other day. That’s why I think I like him more than a lot of the noodly modal groove music I hear.

    It doesn’t have to be 40s standards, but I’d say learn those as well. If you like them. That’s a great teacher.

    but that’s my taste. If you think jazz is two chords with a beat and a solo over the top... well it’s not my bag, but it seems it be the thing lol. No one cares what I think haha.

  7. #6

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    The best route for a beginner into modern Jazz

    Apparently heroin is quite effective...

    this is a joke


    Apart from that, listening to lots of it is definitely a good idea. Gets it wired into the brain and that's half the battle. The rest is hard slog. In any case, you said it yourself:

    intellectually grasping it isn't so difficult. But I haven't grasped it yet in my ear
    Et voila.

  8. #7

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    Also what the others said - find something that really appeals, that you really want to do, and work on that. Simplifies matters no end.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brummy_Guitarist
    Hi,

    I am an beginner-intermediate level guitarist and of course I love Jazz, especially bebop! But if I'm completely honest with myself as much as I love bebop and learning that language, what I really want to play is modern Robert Glasper-esque J Dilla inspired Jazz-Hip Hop fusion, like the following;







    (slightly different from the rest but for me the mood is similar)

    Now I'm by no means a master of bebop language. In fact I'm still just getting to grips with it. In terms of knowing the theoretical aspects of the language (enclosures, use of triads, swung 8th notes) I understand it. Being that intellectually grasping it isn't so difficult. But I haven't grasped it yet in my ear. Partly because of time spent on the instrument and also partly because whilst I listen to Bebop, I listen to music such as the above much more.

    I also realise that a lot of the cliche's used in Jazz Standards aren't really a thing anymore. Most forms of modern Jazz I listen to has largely moved away from ii-V's, functional harmony, swung 8th notes and the bebop cliche's used in earlier music. ALTHOUGH I do realise there is always a heavy bebop element underpinning a lot of it.

    So my question is this. Is it best for me to continue transcribing and learning bebop language and then eventually switch to transcribing the more modern sounding music I'm listening to, or is it okay for me to jump straight into the modern sound? Ideally I would like to do both as I don't see it necessarily as an either/or thing, but I am an amateur doing this for my own enjoyment and my time is limited (I begin working as a Doctor in August and am not likely to have much free time to practise).

    Any advice given would be most appreciated! And sorry if this is a stupid question, I meant it in earnest though.

    EDIT: Also sorry if I have posted this in the wrong part of the forum. Didn't really know where to post it.

    Do what feels right for you, and work towards the sound you want. The more you do it, and the more serious you become about your musicianship, you will most likely eventually feel the need for deeper knowledge and understanding where it all came from, and that is when it will be a natural thing to look back on the foundation of your current journey.

    Don't do it, just because "you have to", at worst it can kill the joy of playing, and that is not what you want. Get a deep knowledge is important, but let it come when you feel ready for it.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    So I listen to this kind of thing... a lot of vamps. A lot of modal stuff, sideslipping and stuff used to create variation.

    also - Robert Glasper knows a lot of songs... I know he’s doing it for comedy in the clip, but he knows a lot of songs. I think people should know a lot of songs. He plays them too. I was transcribing his voicings on Black Hole Sun the other day. That’s why I think I like him more than a lot of the noodly modal groove music I hear.

    It doesn’t have to be 40s standards, but I’d say learn those as well. If you like them. That’s a great teacher.

    but that’s my taste. If you think jazz is two chords with a beat and a solo over the top... well it’s not my bag, but it seems it be the thing lol. No one cares what I think haha.
    Yes I love listening to his take on standards as well. If I'm honest I would love to be able to spend 10 hours practising a day and learn as much as possible, both from the tradition and from what some of my favourite artists are currently playing it's just that I'm kind of limited by time

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Also what the others said - find something that really appeals, that you really want to do, and work on that. Simplifies matters no end.
    Okay thanks for the advice guys. I guess I'm just a bit bummed because I can't spend as much time playing my guitar as I'd like aha. But I am also determined to try and learn the language both traditional but more modern so I guess I'll just learn/transcribe whatever I feel like at any given moment.

  12. #11

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    jazz is a living art form, don't museum-ize it, unless you really want to live in the past, like the great Joe Puma answered when I asked where he lives: "In the past, man!". Play what you hear, get good at that, and you're playing jazz. And consider the development of the music through its brief history, you'll see lots of changes and evolutionary moves. Miles himself was more-or-less responsible for 5 different direction changes in jazz throughout his career, yet was always identifiable by his sound. McLaughlin, Metheny, Frisell, Django, Charlie Christian have all been the movers of the guitar-based aspect of jazz, again, all recognizable instantly.

  13. #12

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    What are you waiting for? All four examples of what you like are playing pretty much two chord mood tunes, which are meant to be "simple" so they sound relaxed, but they provide lots of space and a changing harmony against which to express melodic and additional harmonic ideas. No reason at all not to play along, explore, and discover the kind of vocabulary that suits the music you like.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brummy_Guitarist
    Okay thanks for the advice guys. I guess I'm just a bit bummed because I can't spend as much time playing my guitar as I'd like aha. But I am also determined to try and learn the language both traditional but more modern so I guess I'll just learn/transcribe whatever I feel like at any given moment.
    But listen! That's what this is about. You'd be amazed at how 'jazzy' you get after a few minutes. Seriously.

    The parallels with learning a language are precise. Want to learn Spanish, Russian, French properly? Go there. It's the same. Except you don't have to travel.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    But listen! That's what this is about. You'd be amazed at how 'jazzy' you get after a few minutes. Seriously.

    The parallels with learning a language are precise. Want to learn Spanish, Russian, French properly? Go there. It's the same. Except you don't have to travel.

    Yes, listen is key, and that also applies to language, don't just try to speak it, listen and hear the language spoken as well as practice speaking. One thing will help and enhance the other, it's all intertwined.

  16. #15

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    Quite, the brain absorbs it. It's not just the superficial act of conscious practice.

  17. #16

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    I heard Robert Glasper last year at the Blue Note. He was terrific. Acoustic trio, supplemented by a guy "playing" laptop computer and another electronic kb Robert used.

    Robert played a few bits of jazz standards, mostly just fragments, but he did a very out rendition of Stella By Starlight.

    Do you have to know that, to do this? I don't know.

    My guess is there are a couple of basics that all great jazz players have in common -- great ears and great time. If your ears are big enough, learning tunes and more traditional jazz vocabulary probably is faster. But, not everybody has ears like that.

    If I were to give advice, which I probably shouldn't, it would be to focus on all of it from the point of view of ears and time feel.

    Here's a test for a well trained ear. Another chord instrument plays a wrong chord in a pretty complicated tune. You know what he played and you know what he should have played.
    :
    Test for great time: your audience can't sit still and your phone rings with more gigs.

  18. #17

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    If pure love of music is your motivation for playing music, always play what you love, that's where the fire and passion comes from to give it the dedication it needs to create the magic. That journey will never lead you astray.

  19. #18

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    a rare instance of unanimity on JGO haha. Follow your heart.

    i don’t think it’s necessary to study standards to play this music... but I do think music sounds better when you have a sense of melody and form and a good ear. Learning tunes by ear is a good way to do this.

    I also think that Instagram genre of ‘here I am playing a solo exactly’ is not the most effective or helpful way of using transcriptions. Although it is certainly a challenge to play that stuff on camera, you are better off taking that material and finding ways to adapt and use it.

    Even one line, well understood can be more use than a whole solo undigested.

    teaching undergraduate students one thing that comes up is they all transcribe solos, but a lot of them don’t think to learn songs. Often their learning is unconnected in other ways. one thing doesn’t flow into the other. They might transcribe but they don’t use what they transcribe. They don’t think of chord voicings as lines, or that a minor line or voicing can be used on a dominant or major chord and so on. They don’t think to make instrumental versions of their favourite songs even, just copy other guitarists. Making links is often the most important part of learning. Often my job is to connect the dots and help them make best use of what they already know.

    In jazz, a ‘song’ could be every bit as complex as a solo of course. Bop is a good example. And David Baker said if you transcribed 50 bop heads you’d have more than enough bop language. Plus you’d have 50 tunes you could play on gigs.

    So learning repertoire - both tunes and chords by ear! - is an efficient and holistic practice activity. If you only do one thing, do that. Again this doesn’t have to GASB rep. Could be anything.

    You can expand that exercise in all sorts of ways too.

    of course there are many things it can’t teach you, studying solos is still necessary, it’s just that learning songs will get you gigs faster. Solos are not the be all and end all. Music is.

    Perhaps I’m just old fashioned. There are a whole generation of players whose gig seems to be to jam on backing tracks and to demonstrate gear. However impressive these players are, they lose me unless I hear a song.

  20. #19

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    BTW I don’t know about Birmingham, but if you come here, the London jazz ecosystem is not full of players who know 1000 standards. Unlike NYC where everyone, regardless of what type of jazz they play, knows hundreds of tunes, London is kind of tiresomely split between people who play originals/contemporary stuff and people who play jazz exactly like it was in 1953.

    They aren’t all like this - there are some of contemporary players who know one of tunes.... but you’ll find a bit of a split.

    I really wish there was more creative playing of songs here. Anyway I’m an old fart.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    BTW I don’t know about Birmingham, but if you come here, the London jazz ecosystem is not full of players who know 1000 standards. Unlike NYC where everyone, regardless of what type of jazz they play, knows hundreds of tunes, London is kind of tiresomely split between people who play originals/contemporary stuff and people who play jazz exactly like it was in 1953.

    They aren’t all like this - there are some of contemporary players who know one of tunes.... but you’ll find a bit of a split.

    I really wish there was more creative playing of songs here. Anyway I’m an old fart.
    i’m a Brummy but I currently live in London aha

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brummy_Guitarist
    i’m a Brummy but I currently live in London aha
    Whereabouts in London are you based?

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Whereabouts in London are you based?
    Stepney Green in East London, but will possibly be moving to south London

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brummy_Guitarist
    Stepney Green in East London, but will possibly be moving to south London
    South East is best. South West is some bullshit bruv. (I’m in Crofton Park near Lewisham.)

    Seriously it’s like musician central down here. Most of my bandmates live in like a mile radius. Apart from some weirdos who insist on living in West London haha.

    The friendliest place I’ve lived in London... And a quick journey into East London as well.

  25. #24

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    The only thing is the broadband here is laughable.

  26. #25

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    The thing with Robert Glasper is that he comes from a very solid background. His playing reflects a deep knowledge of the tradition and on from there.

    if you stick to standards the way they were played in the fifties, you won’t get far. Glasper builds on the innovations of McCoy Tyner, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter. And these were already very far removed from bebop harmony.

    There is not much that you hear today, including Glasper and the likes, that hasn’t been done by these 4 giants. Just, the great players of today like Joshua Redman, Gerald Clayton, Glasper, Steve Coleman... included soul and rnb and began to include odd meters. That’s their genius contribution.

    if you want to go in Glaspers’ direction you should check that stuff out.

    Some have said something about demystifying the tradition. And they are so right. Of course Parker built on Coleman Hawkins and Coltrane built on Parker, but Hawkins built on earlier influences and that won’t necessarily get you further. So, yeah, do check the tradition, but don’t get stuck there.

    it’s like my obsession with Jarrett’s standards trio. I love it so much and I thought bebop could point me more in that Jarrett direction. But it’s not so. If you are not familiar with some of Trane, Hancock, Ornette Coleman, you will never sound anywhere near Jarrett. Same goes with Glasper. You can not jump from Wynton Kelly to Glasper w/o the giants of modern jazz.

    njoy the ride

  27. #26

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    Yea... I still dig killin vamps... really. Years ago I did some live gigs with DJs and large stage groups. Once the ensemble locks in, you can watch the crowd start to also lock.... it's like giant waves created from people. Anyway
    I played R&B and funk for years... I still love vamps.

    If you don't have your skills together... really, Bebop at bebop tempo doesn't just mean playing the notes. Feels are about having larger spaces in control. I mean I noticed right away on the first track... the time thing moved around but always came back. Being able to sub-divide and sub-divide again all within larger spaces and keep the accent pattern of the feel always implied, while using rhythm, harmony and improv skills to shape that larger space... needs serious skills.

    It can get complicated... all the music you play around that accent pattern, the feel of the groove, can have many levels going on. It's like performing counterpoint with all the aspect of music.

    The better your skill level.... the more levels of locking in you'll have control of. In general, most can't hear or feel past the being in the moment thing. The vanilla thing. Nothing worse than playing simple sounding music simple.

    Most like the slow and steady approach.... I've always said just the opposite, push... One longer session will raise your level of playing faster than many short sessions.

    If your a beginner-intermediate level guitarist .... you need to get better. Start with rhythm... and tempo.

  28. #27

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    This type of question will probably be typical of any jazz newcomer wishing to dive in at the modern end - ie - how much of the history / tradition do I need to understand?

    So here's an answer that can't be too far off the mark: Find out what artists and styles you're interested in, and simply find out who they studied and listened to coming up!

    Really, this will work for just about anyone interested in just about any style. You dig bebop?, find out who charlie parker was listening to and study that. Hard bop?, find out who they were coming up with (probably Parker...), Wayne Shorter?, check out his roots. Scofield?, where did he come from? Glasper?- easy to find out what he studied.

    In other words, no need to take it all the way back to Louis Armstrong, although if you had the time, and you did, then I have absolutely no doubt you'll be all the better for it!

  29. #28

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    I've always just transcribed/copied from the recordings I like and then do some research into what is being played, harmonically, melodically, rhythmically.

    I find with this tried and tested transcribing "copying" method, your playing will sound more similar to the music you like.

  30. #29

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    I also don't think it is necessary to start at any given point A, then go through prescribed steps to get where you want to be. Even if it might make the understanding process easier, the downside could be loss in motivation, which will then make things harder.

    As an example, I got my wife into jazz via older swing stuff, Sinatra and big bands, which opened her ears and mind towards newer stuff, like Jonathan Scales, while skipping bebop altogether.

  31. #30

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    So for me I've mostly taught myself music and guitar o er 50 years of pro playing. A good thing about being a pro, is you have to learn new material all the time. And in different genres as well if you want to stay working.

    Theory to me is just a way of organizing scales which in turn produce chords. Different chords and their usage depending on complexity of the harmony is what's important. In other words being like a taxi driver taking different routes.

    Some routes are more complex than others, there for need extentended chord tone vocabulary above the 7th degree of the scale. Others are relatively simple Blues forms.
    Understanding it and translating it to technique on an instrument are 2 different disciplines. The only way to get better is practicing to develop your chops.

    It isn't all that complicated ,but like anything it requires discipline and time. Enjoy the ride!

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The only thing is the broadband here is laughable.
    Not too bad here in Sydenham at 2.30am! Virgin broadband seem to have upped their game since lockdown; I guess they'd haemorrage customers if they persisted with their previous crappy service.

    Yes, so many musicians in southeast London....

    Um, in reply to the original post, once or twice Amazon has flagged up this book 'The Neo Soul Guitar book' to me. It looks like it goes a good bit closer to jazz than the D'Angelo/Eryka Badu that 'neo soul' might imply. Might be worth a punt

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    Not too bad here in Sydenham at 2.30am! Virgin broadband seem to have upped their game since lockdown; I guess they'd haemorrage customers if they persisted with their previous crappy service.

    Yes, so many musicians in southeast London....
    It literally varies street to street. Sydenham has decent broadband. Over this side (Crofton Park) my phone is faster.