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  1. #201

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    I play piano professionally, I am also an amateur player on guitar, bass, and drums.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #202

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    quote[ Here's a great Frank Sinatra ballad for trying your hand at block chording. Lot's of diminished choices and the densities of voicings choices to be considered. Try 4 way close or drop 2. The triplet chromatic motif in bar 2 is too heavy all in 4 note density, so I phrase it so I play 2 note density, 2 note density, 3 note density, 3 note density, 4 note density... the important thing is how you harmonize that last note in bar 2, it's can be an anticipation note of the harmony in 3rd bar or it can be diminished...]

    To diminish or not to diminish, that is the question...

  4. #203

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Haha I didn’t even get started. If you think this was bad.... :-)

    There are many books on jazz I would recommend before this work and that’s basically the long and short of it. So I don’t see an equivalence between this and any other texts.

    i don’t think it’s devoid of value, with a rewrite and reorganisation I think it could be much better. Great, in fact.

    (agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean there isn’t a disagreement.)
    Agreed.

  5. #204

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    Here's how I personally might vary the block chord density on piano to avoid muddiness... handle the dense diminished with care.
    Full chart available with Sinatra's phrasing
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:27 PM.

  6. #205

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    Does anyone know this pretty ballad by Jules Styne. Peggy Lee made it famous.
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:04 PM.

  7. #206

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Does anyone know this pretty ballad by Jules Styne. Peggy Lee made it famous.
    Never came across it before ... just ran through melody/changes though and it sounds lovely.

  8. #207

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    Speaking up in support of another person/entity in my opinion wrongfully maligned in this thread. That is the publisher Chuck Sher.
    I was aware of his publications from the beginning, when his own excellent book for jazz bass was the only product. Next release was the World's Greatest Fakebook which presented many unreleased charts for jazz music of 60's, 70's, as well as some fusion and latin tunes. The book included several rhythm section charts and horn parts as well. My impression was that it didn't sell very well but it raised the bar on notational clarity and detail as well as in another highly important arena, a fakebook that paid royalties to the composer.
    In a smart commercial move they referred to fakebooks moving forward as the New Real Book series which sold far more copies and set up the subsequent music publications that followed. These include books covering Brazilian guitar, latin bass and piano, bringing forward to North American audiences info not so readily available before the internet really took off. Now I don't know what evil manipulations lurk in the mind of business people but from what I know, Chuck Sher publications are part of the good folks team.

    I knew Mark Levine only from playing his tune Serengeti with a latin jazz group which I enjoyed. I bought The Jazz Theory Book and found myself somewhat disappointed that it didn't delve deeper into some topics. Whenever I revisit the book, I discover that there is more in there than I first realized although still not the book I had hoped for. So be it, not the first or likely the last book I will buy where this will be the case.

    I am not a subscriber to notion of the great evil empire of CST that must be defeated in order to save the planet from inauthentic bebop.
    The OP simply wanted to find a mutual support group to study the material
    in the book. This site has hosted multiple such book study groups.
    Sadly, this thread derailed, becoming yet one more place to rant things
    that have been said many times on this forum.
    Last edited by bako; 06-28-2020 at 05:38 PM.

  9. #208

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    My all time favorite ballad, in the right key with the right changes.
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:04 PM.

  10. #209

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    Arranged with block chords of varying density to avoid muddiness
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:03 PM.

  11. #210

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    My all time favorite ballad, in the right key with the right changes.
    Have you any block chords for this tune? Thanks!

  12. #211

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    AS PLAYED BY BARRY HARRIS (approximately,)
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:27 PM.

  13. #212

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    page 2
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:02 PM.

  14. #213

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    "You Must Believe In Spring" in strict 4-way close block chords.
    Attached Images Attached Images The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-you-must-believe-block-chords_0001-jpg The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-you-must-believe-block-chords_0002-jpg The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-you-must-believe-block-chords_0003-jpg 

  15. #214

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    A Mark Levine thread wouldn't be any good without this goodie, derive some of your block chords from the following modes:
    (Barry uses the I IV vi VI and VII modes of melodic minor with the added half step as does Mark and nearly everybody else teaching block chords)

    Attached Images Attached Images The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-melodicminor-jpg 

  16. #215

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    After I studied with Mark I asked Chick Corea what his take on the modes of melodic minor were (and major that matter). He said play like this, sequence them all over an F root, and then in every key. He said that's what he and Herbie do.
    Attached Images Attached Images The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-modes-jpg 

  17. #216

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    Right, so I feel rintin is leaving some info out, or framing it in a way that I don't think Barry would. I'm sure rintin knows all this stuff already, but I want to present what I understand to be Barry's ideas, rather than rintin's reinterpretation.

    So for those who don't know (is there anyone now?), Barry Harris doesn't use the melodic minor per se but a very closely related scale called the m6 diminished, which is a combination between harmonic and melodic minor, if you will.

    C D Eb F G Ab A B C

    It is pretty similar, but has some pretty unique properties, the most obvious of which is its use in the aformentioned block chord harmonies. A lot of people seem to get hung up about the block chord thing, which is only one a whole slew of things Barry does with this scale, including all kinds of oblique and contrary motion devices.

    Where I want to clarify what rintin said is that that Ab is not simply a passing note in this use of the scale, can be used to generate harmonies through the practice of borrowing.

    The Howard Rees edited books that accompany the DVD's talk about melodic minor, but (according to Alan K) Barry always uses the m-6 diminished. Certainly there's nothing stopping you from using the added note rules etc on melodic minor as Rees shows examples of in the books. Roni Ben-Hur's book uses the m6 as the standard choice for all minor applications, including improvised melodies and scale outlines.

    For my part, I have heard him mention melodic minor once in class, ascending, so it was unclear to me whether he meant it's classical or jazz meaning.

    Rees mentions that the m6-dim has some nice applications beyond what you'd get with melodic minor. For instance, on a G7 chord, the Ab m6-dim gives you all the melodic minor options, but also the natural 13 (the b6 of the Abm6-dim scale), which is nice. So G13b9 can be understood as Ab m6-dim.

    Anyway, one thing that marks the difference between heptatonic scales and Barry's system is that 8 note scale turns the scale into a closed system, while the 7 note system offers an open system. Barry's 8 note scales are like circles, 7 note scales are like spirals.

  18. #217

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    Some nice voicing materials Rintun.... a little on the solo pn side of the world. Do you have guitar versions. I sight read well... and it's difficult to drop and transpose notes etc... on guitar.

    Some of the notation with enharmonic spellings are difficult. And for guitarist the only way they might be useful would be to notate some of the pedal voicings with open strings for pedals.... right. So some might actually pick up on the movement aspects...

    The other thing....do your actually use these when playing gigs... or did you when we were playing.

    When I get on gigs where the pianist starts doing the BH or Dim. thick block thing...the rest of the ensemble is basically gone...

    Yea bako... agree with comments about Chucks books. Hell, as someone mentioned before.... Shurs Berkman's Jazz harmony Book is also cool... his appendix... Tips for Composers, musical content-based ideas cover enough material for years. Yea and his jazz musicians guide is also great. I also dig his playing....

  19. #218

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    [QUOTE=Reg;1044339]When I get on gigs where the pianist starts doing the BH or Dim. thick block thing...the rest of the ensemble is basically gone.../[QUOTE]Many of Barry's acolytes miss what he really means. On them, not him...

    Just like most acolytes...

  20. #219

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    Yea Joelf... yea I totally agree....Barry's followers are not BH. But the results don't change. Marks book really doesn't say much more about BH approach of taking Bebop Major Scale and Bebop Melodic Minor scale as source of chord movement.... Maj6 and Dim7 chord pattern from Bebop Maj scale and Min6 and Dim7 chord pattern from melodic min bebop scale... borrowing yada yada.

    Barrys early ensemble recording were much more in the Horace Silver tradition of arranging and playing...

    Anyways.... we play on

  21. #220

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    I wonder if that was a very conscious decision by Levine?

    Also it’s not the bebop scale you absolute troll. (I’m resigned to it now. It’s not my problem.)

    Another thing that Levine does that winds me up though lol.

  22. #221

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I wonder if that was a very conscious decision by Levine?

    Also it’s not the bebop scale you absolute troll. (I’m resigned to it now. It’s not my problem.)

    Another thing that Levine does that winds me up though lol.
    And Vincent too, in his drop-2 book. Bah!

  23. #222

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Yea Joelf... yea I totally agree....Barry's followers are not BH.
    If I was a different sort I'd name names of people he told me either didn't get it or ripped him off.

    Lot of profiteers, few creators...

  24. #223

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    Every block chord player knows to add a half step to enable the diminished chords to alternate, it's not a Barry Harris innovation. It's the ABCs of block chording

    C-6 scale and C melodic minor are the same thing, an older name and the newer name

  25. #224

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz View Post
    And Vincent too, in his drop-2 book. Bah!
    Bah indeed, and grrr.

  26. #225

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Every block chord player knows to add a half step to enable the diminished chords to alternate, it's not a Barry Harris innovation. It's the ABCs of block chording

    C-6 scale and C melodic minor are the same thing, an older name and the newer name
    I've not found this to be the case. I think if you use the m-6 dim you come out with stuff that you wouldn't have come out with with the melodic minor. For lines playing and so on. I find I have to sort of practice them separately to get the most out of them.

    It's just one note but it makes a big difference. Same with the major-6 dim. So much stuff is in there that you wouldn't have with a major scale.

    If you are only doing block chords you've only really scratched the surface of possible stuff. That's like the entry level... And it's not like I'm as up on these scales as some; I feel I'm pretty basic TBH.

    One thing with these scales is they are kind of omni-useful key centre scales. So if I base my harmony on a m-6 dim, I get:

    I-6, I-(maj7), IV7#11, VII7alt, VIm7b5, IIm, V9b13 Obviously...

    But also
    IIm7b5 V7b9 VIIo7 etc

    (i.e. the melodic minor is 'static' but the b6 adds tension and grit, and movement.)

    Aggregates a lot of stuff under one umbrella. If I play stuff based on the m6-dim it will always sound great. Of course I am also at liberty to play the tritones minor and get all the V7alt stuff as well as the V13b9 tonality as well.

    Don't get that with boring old melodic minor.

    So, when Reg talks about harmonic minor targets etc, all of that can be folded into one 8 note scale, that you can then be very creative with. Or play block chords :-)

    The Maj6-dim encapsulates 'harmonic major' and relative minor as well (at least VI-7). Very useful.

    If you are thinking of them as a standard seven note scale with an added note, you are missing some tricks.

  27. #226

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    Whether it be
    C D E F G A B
    or
    C D Eb F G A B

    Every professional block chord player knows to add a half step to enable the diminished chords to alternate, it's not a Barry Harris innovation. It's the ABCs of block chording. It's the only way to get diminished 7th chord inversions under the non-chord tones of scale (2 4 b6 7 ).

    And we all know about the half step rules and their benefits. We're not missing tricks.
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-29-2020 at 07:26 PM.

  28. #227

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    Off Topic rant:
    Barry Harris is my favorite jazz improv theorist, but he explains things in the most confusing and veiled ways. As a teacher, he's unorganized, confusing, and frequently digresses. But in spite of that he has the best information buried behind it all. If I didn't already know music theory from a - z it would be almost impenetrable, let alone how to apply it.
    That whole schtick he goes thru comparing various equal divisions possible of all 12 notes with an octave to "man and woman" (whole tone sets) , "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (3 diminshed sets), the 4 children (dominant group) and so on. I think he's being entertaining for the audience.
    It would be no different to saying if you had a dozen eggs and divided it into 2 groups of 6 eggs (whole tone ), then 3 groups of 4 eggs (diminished group), then 4 groups of 3 (dominants group), then 12 groups of 1 (chromatic) ... that's equally diving up the 12 notes inside our octave. It's a stretch to compare it to man and woman and the trinity and I have no idea of how to practically apply that religious metaphor to music-making. I already know about equal divisions of the octave whole tone division, diminished division, the four related dominants (Barry did not discover these useful symmetrical relationships though he sometimes acts as if he did). What does man and woman, and the holy trinity really have to do with it?


  29. #228

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    Of course one is to blow over this per modes. Herbie and Chick do it, Wayne does it too.


    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    After I studied with Mark I asked Chick Corea what his take on the modes of melodic minor were (and major that matter). He said play like this, sequence them all over an F root, and then in every key. He said that's what he and Herbie do.
    Attached Images Attached Images The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-modes-jpg 
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-30-2020 at 01:04 PM.

  30. #229

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Off Topic rant:
    Barry Harris ... [snip for space] ...What does man and woman, and the holy trinity really have to do with it?
    Delightful rant. Thanks!

  31. #230
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Off Topic rant:
    Barry Harris is my favorite jazz improv theorist, but he explains things in the most confusing and veiled ways. As a teacher, he's unorganized, confusing, and frequently digresses. But in spite of that he has the best information buried behind it all. If I didn't already know music theory from a - z it would be almost impenetrable, let alone how to apply it.
    That whole schtick he goes thru comparing various equal divisions possible of all 12 notes with an octave to "man and woman" (whole tone sets) , "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (3 diminshed sets), the 4 children (dominant group) and so on. I think he's being entertaining for the audience.
    It would be no different to saying if you had a dozen eggs and divided it into 2 groups of 6 eggs (whole tone ), then 3 groups of 4 eggs (diminished group), then 4 groups of 3 (dominants group), then 12 groups of 1 (chromatic) ... that's equally diving up the 12 notes inside our octave. It's a stretch to compare it to man and woman and the trinity and I have no idea of how to practically apply that religious metaphor to music-making. I already know about equal divisions of the octave whole tone division, diminished division, the four related dominants (Barry did not discover these useful symmetrical relationships though he sometimes acts as if he did). What does man and woman, and the holy trinity really have to do with it?

    Agreed, 100%. Goes to show that being a great musician doesn't make you a great teacher, and some of the best teachers aren't all that "amazing" of musicians. But they sure know how to teach. Everyone has their gifts. Mr. Harris's isn't teaching. Lol. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.

  32. #231

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Off Topic rant:
    Barry Harris is my favorite jazz improv theorist, but he explains things in the most confusing and veiled ways. As a teacher, he's unorganized, confusing, and frequently digresses. But in spite of that he has the best information buried behind it all. If I didn't already know music theory from a - z it would be almost impenetrable, let alone how to apply it.
    That whole schtick he goes thru comparing various equal divisions possible of all 12 notes with an octave to "man and woman" (whole tone sets) , "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (3 diminshed sets), the 4 children (dominant group) and so on. I think he's being entertaining for the audience.
    It would be no different to saying if you had a dozen eggs and divided it into 2 groups of 6 eggs (whole tone ), then 3 groups of 4 eggs (diminished group), then 4 groups of 3 (dominants group), then 12 groups of 1 (chromatic) ... that's equally diving up the 12 notes inside our octave. It's a stretch to compare it to man and woman and the trinity and I have no idea of how to practically apply that religious metaphor to music-making. I already know about equal divisions of the octave whole tone division, diminished division, the four related dominants (Barry did not discover these useful symmetrical relationships though he sometimes acts as if he did). What does man and woman, and the holy trinity really have to do with it?

    I hear you on a number of fronts. It really took me along time to get anything from Barry. I always managed to get something out of his classes to study, and one of the first was the drop 2 block chord stuff, which was unfamiliar to me at the time, so even though I was confused and bored sometimes, I could see that there was a lot of stuff there, so I kept coming back for as long as I could stand it. Slowly, I understood more of what was going on.

    I believe he could make it more accessible - however, TBF Barry's terminology is very precise. It's like physics - each commonly used term has a very specific, closed meaning. Take 'arpeggio' for instance. Unlike the way most of us use it (including me) he always uses it to mean a three note triad with a doubled root - so C E G C'. So when you are constructing lines, it's quick for him to say 'arpeggio up from the seventh of D7' or something, and the old hands know right away what he means. So there is that.

    Obviously a lot of these terms are just at 'right angles' from what a lot of people are used to. I personally don't ascribe as much significance to the terminology as some of his more hardcore followers, as I believe it is good to translate them into more familiar terms. I've got into trouble about it with some of the Faithful haha.

    That said, I got to say I think a lot of the terms in current jazz edu are just as confusing and often far more hazily defined seeing as many teachers and players have their own definitions of them - take 'guide tones' and 'avoid notes' as a case in point..

    HOWEVER - there is stuff where something gets lost if you simplify the concept unwittingly by simplifying the language. Bebop scales is one of them. By conflating melodic added note scales with block chord harmony you lose a lot of stuff.

    Barry's added note scales may involve as many added notes as you like when you get into it deeply (don_oz did a hand out of the more advanced and windy applications). The simplest rule includes added notes familiar as 'bebop' scales, but in fact there's no rule saying that this chromatic half steps have to be used. They're purely filler. 'The rule is more important than the note.'

    OTOH in Barry's harmonic stuff, all the notes can be used as the basis of chords.

    Furthermore, Barry's 8 note dominant scale is actually different from the dominant bebop scale. It has a b6.

    Levine invokes David Baker in the JTB - quite rightly IMO - because he's the bop scales guy, not Barry. That said I think his description is simplistic even relative to the Baker books.

    So; terminology wise I don't have a problem with calling BH style added note scales 'bop scales' BUT - I would prefer to avoid conflating them with the 8 note harmonic scales. There's overlap, but it makes sense to separate them out; that is if you are interested in doing anything but the most basic applications detailed in the Levine books, for example (although there's a lot you can do with the basic stuff.)

    Barry came from a time when people had to hunt down and steal knowledge, and information wasn't readily available - they had do stuff like looking over a pianists shoulder to crib voicings at a gig, that kind of stuff. Newcomers would be tested for their dedication.

    (I actually think there's a lot to be said for that actually - put students in the environment of music and DON'T teach unless you absolutely have to, but set them legitimate, if achievable professional goals. They will learn how to 'pick things up.' That's how apprenticeships work in many areas. There's some interesting work on this in the literature. And I actually think that's a bit how places like Berklee seemed to have worked, at least when it was a 'finishing school' as David puts it. The lectures were a bit of an excuse.)

    Of course, Barry can get away with it. But these days for most of us, it's a bit different. A big challenge is to balance simplicity of presentation and clarity against oversimplifying topics. One good way to do this is avoid the impulse towards overexplaining. Which as you can imagine is very hard for me haha.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-30-2020 at 09:11 AM.

  33. #232

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    Sometimes I wonder if the most important thing is let the student know they won't understand or be able to play everything right away, and that's OK; healthy in fact.

  34. #233

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ... 'arpeggio' for instance. Unlike the way most of us use it (including me) he always uses it to mean a three note triad with a doubled root - so C E G C'. So when you are constructing lines, it's quick for him to say 'arpeggio up from the seventh of D7' or something, and the old hands know right away what he means. So there is that. ...
    Does it mean, since the seventh of D7 is C, you are supposed to play note sequence C E G C over D7 chord?

  35. #234

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel View Post
    ... Goes to show that being a great musician doesn't make you a great teacher, and some of the best teachers aren't all that "amazing" of musicians. But they sure know how to teach. Everyone has their gifts. Mr. Harris's isn't teaching. Lol. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
    Now that you mention it, although I've never had the honor of attending a live Barry Harris workshop, I've watched a number of videos of him in action and have had a difficult time "getting it." Yet I've absorbed incredibly insightful musical ideas from students of his - like Chris of "Things I've Learned from Barry Harris" and others - all of whom give great credit to Barry Harris for what they've learned.

    This strongly suggests that Mr. Harris must be an outstanding teacher after all.

    Whether "his" concepts are truly unique (hard to imagine anything in Western music could be unique/owned by a single individual) or whether his approach works best for everyone (we all learn differently, bringing different frames of reference to the table) are fair questions to ask. And I would answer "no" to both.

    But none of this detracts from his remarkable legacy - reflected in the profound influence Barry Harris has had on a large number of highly accomplished musicians, masters of a range of instruments, and how they think about their jazz playing. I give Mr Harris full props for this as an instructor, even if the few videos I've seen of him in action don't speak directly to me. (Perhaps I should purchase his DVDs?)

  36. #235

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Does it mean, since the seventh of D7 is C, you are supposed to play note sequence C E G C over D7 chord?
    No, in BH terms an arp is a triad with a doubled root and a chord has 4 different notes. D7 is a chord.

  37. #236

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWatt View Post
    Now that you mention it, although I've never had the honor of attending a live Barry Harris workshop, I've watched a number of videos of him in action and have had a difficult time "getting it." Yet I've absorbed incredibly insightful musical ideas from students of his - like Chris of "Things I've Learned from Barry Harris" and others - all of whom give great credit to Barry Harris for what they've learned.

    This strongly suggests that Mr. Harris must be an outstanding teacher
    I have been fortunate in studying Barry’s method from Howard Rees, who essentially apprenticed with him for several years, as well as by attending Barry’s own workshops when he visited Toronto fairly regularly (and now his Zoom webinars). I would have found it difficult to learn the approach from the occasional workshops given that Barry does not follow a systematic curriculum but rather divides his teaching time between introducing the basics (extra-note rules, 6-diminished scales) and demonstrating and explaining whatever interests him particularly at the time, often at an advanced level. That said, I always came away from a workshop with months’ worth of sounds and ideas to explore, even when a lot of it went right over my head.

    Howard did a great job in structuring Barry’s instruction in the workshop videos. They would be a good place to start for someone who is unable to take group lessons with him. Alan Kingstone’s book is also recommended for showing how to put Barry’s harmonic approach onto the guitar.

    Barry is a great teacher in the same way that Lenny Breau was — he can show you amazing things to do on your instrument and offers an approach to the music based on a lifetime’s experience and (at least in Barry’s case) reflection. But if you need a structured progressive syllabus it may be better to look elsewhere first.

  38. #237

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    In my experience there are at least two kinds of great teachers. I refer to them as Jungle teachers and Zoo teachers. The Jungle teacher has no evident system or organized approach, but simply to sit with them and process content is to learn an enormous amount. They introduce you to the content as it appears in the wild, and teach you to navigate particular points in it, to stay alive, and even enjoy your trek through an otherwise daunting territory. I had a professor like that at Yale. We referred to his "Famous Fifty" which was basically about 50 little packages of content that tended to drift in and out of his classes, no matter what the course. We always said yo need to take this guy's classes until you realized you had the "Fifty" and then you were ready to move on. His classes were not very well organized, but simply immersions into a body of content, like parachuting into the jungle.

    "Zoo" teachers present an orderly arrangement of the material, elements classified and sequenced. Much easier to absorb, though any systematization of content tends to break connections that reach across categories. Zoo teachers have the models, the principles, the organization. They also might be just fine in the jungle, but then again, maybe not. Organization occurs by disconnecting content elements from their organic contexts of multiple interconnections and putting them into a hierarchy of limited connections. So some things get displaced.

    Anyhow, from outside the whole Barry Harris world, he sounds more like a Jungle teacher, and it sounds like he also trained some who became outstanding Zoo teachers.

  39. #238

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel View Post
    Agreed, 100%. Goes to show that being a great musician doesn't make you a great teacher, and some of the best teachers aren't all that "amazing" of musicians. But they sure know how to teach. Everyone has their gifts. Mr. Harris's isn't teaching. Lol. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
    Barry is not a bad teacher. He has his 'ways', sure. A lot of his students are lame, untalented, or looking for Daddy. Is that his fault---any more than the long, boring solos by players who think they're 'keeping the flame' of Trane and Sonny those guys' faults?

    It's on the student to listen attentively and apply selectively. Monk was a teacher by example. Didn't say much, but played for and with the young talent that flocked to him. They learned...

  40. #239

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    Christian, it's my understanding that 20 years ago you read one out four books written by Mark Levine. And that being "The Jazz Theory Book" which is the Levine book that does not go into depth about block chords. Yet you speak as if you were a Levine theory expert. You have not read his "The Jazz Piano Book "(covers block chord) nor his 'Drop 2' book (the whole book is concerned only block chords, how to vary them, and manage them in real time, numerous things that Barry doesn't think of) .

    "Furthermore, Barry's 8 note dominant scale is actually different from the dominant bebop scale. It has a b6."

    Levine covers this in his Drop 2 block chording book.

    "Levine invokes David Baker in the JTB - quite rightly IMO - because he's the bop scales guy, not Barry. That said I think his description is simplistic even relative to the Baker books."

    Levine gives thanks and praise to Barry in the introduction of his book and refers to the Barry Harris that Mark hosted in Berkeley California in the early 90's that I attended. I witnessed Barry and Mark sitting at the piano together and trading ideas for several hours. Levine taped the session and went home and transcribed all the examples. I have a copy of that 25 page transcription.

  41. #240

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    I like how Levine uses McCoy style fourth voicings in one of his numerous bock chord systems.

  42. #241

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz View Post
    No, in BH terms an arp is a triad with a doubled root and a chord has 4 different notes. D7 is a chord.
    OK, so, could you please tell me what does the following mean, what to play:
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    ... 'arpeggio' for instance. Unlike the way most of us use it (including me) he always uses it to mean a three note triad with a doubled root - so C E G C'. So when you are constructing lines, it's quick for him to say 'arpeggio up from the seventh of D7' or something, and the old hands know right away what he means. So there is that. ...
    ?

  43. #242

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    Let me be clear, when I teach, I teach mostly Barry Harris methods, not Levine.
    But I also teach and play the hip piano voicings that Levine so well catalogued from studying the playing of Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner. Barry Harris is not interested in that hip voicings menu.
    When I play, I play the Barry Harris inspired "little movements". And I meanwhile simultaneously play the hip chord voicings underneath that Levine catalogued. They are an ideal combination in my mind. Unfortunately guitarists can't do that, guitar is a very limited instrument compared to piano. Perhaps that is one reason why Sher and Levine encouraged Randy Vincent to translate Levine for guitar?
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-30-2020 at 02:34 PM.

  44. #243

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Does it mean, since the seventh of D7 is C, you are supposed to play note sequence C E G C over D7 chord?
    Correct. But the C is up an octave.

  45. #244

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Christian, it's my understanding that 20 years ago you read one out four books written by Mark Levine. And that being "The Jazz Theory Book" which is the Levine book that does not go into depth about block chords. Yet you speak as if you were a Levine theory expert. You have not read his "The Jazz Piano Book "(covers block chord) nor his 'Drop 2' book (the whole book is concerned only block chords, how to vary them, and manage them in real time, numerous things that Barry doesn't think of)
    I've just reread most of JTB. There would be little point in discussing it if I hadn't. I haven't reread the Jazz Piano book yet, but there seems to be a lot of overlap from early chapters. I'm quite glad that I did, because it's really defined my thinking in terms of that book.

    "Furthermore, Barry's 8 note dominant scale is actually different from the dominant bebop scale. It has a b6."

    Levine covers this in his Drop 2 block chording book.
    OK. Sorry, why are we still talking about block chords?

    "Levine invokes David Baker in the JTB - quite rightly IMO - because he's the bop scales guy, not Barry. That said I think his description is simplistic even relative to the Baker books."

    Levine gives thanks and praise to Barry in the introduction of his book and refers to the Barry Harris that Mark hosted in Berkeley California in the early 90's that I attended. I witnessed Barry and Mark sitting at the piano together and trading ideas for several hours. Levine taped the session and went home and transcribed all the examples. I have a copy of that 25 page transcription.
    He does. But he doesn't teach anything distinctively Barry Harris. As I say, I wonder if that's a conscious choice? Leaving Barry to do his thing (which is also his livelihood)...

  46. #245

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Let me be clear, when I teach, I teach mostly Barry Harris methods, not Levine.
    Judging from your posts on JGO, I think you have your own take on it and have combined it with other stuff. Which is cool... evolution and all that.

    But I also teach and play the hip piano voicings that Levine so well catalogued from studying the playing of Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner. Barry Harris is not interested in that hip voicings menu.
    When I play, I play the Barry Harris inspired "little movements". And I meanwhile simultaneously play the hip chord voicings underneath that Levine catalogued. They are an ideal combination in my mind. Unfortunately guitarists can't do that, guitar is a very limited instrument compared to piano. Perhaps that is one reason why Sher and Levine encouraged Randy Vincent to translate Levine for guitar?
    'Hip' is a relative concept.

    I think ultimately I gave up trying to apply the BH harmonic system to guitar. And the linear stuff, great. The chordal stuff? Very difficult, feels like you are fighting the guitar sometimes. I like the 8 note scales as a unifying concept, and I can come up with interesting voice leading by exploring them... I use some things I like and can physically play. Sounds wonderful when Pasquale Grasso plays it of course.

    The temptation is always to try and turn the guitar into a keyboard through sheer application. Stuff that is dead obvious on the piano is very hard on guitar - even transposing a phrase by an octave needs practice. It takes a lot of work to be able to take an intervallic voicing through a scale, for instance.

    I'm not sure this obsessive 'keyboardisation' is wise. The guitar has guitar stuff that works well. I think you have to understand resources like open strings and so on to get the most out of it, cultivate a distinctively guitaristic language rather than just be some crappy version of a piano player.

    You can obviously be influenced by pianists, but it's refracting this influence through the guitar in a way that sounds good and natural on the instrument. Sometimes it's just thinking like another instrument, but doing it in a way that fits your instrument.

    False fingerings is a classic one taken from tenor sax to guitar.. .

    Imitating bebop style left hand shells/right hand lines which you can imply by call and response, sounds very cool and hip on guitar; and is not that hard to do when you get into it.

    My favourite harmonist on guitar ATM is probably Peter Bernstein who sort of avoids trying to make the guitar into the piano to some extent - although he is heavily influenced by Monk. He has a distinctive sound.

    I also like Reiner Baas for this, although I don't understand what he is doing very well as yet - some of it could only be guitar though. Also Kurt gets a lot of mileage out of superficially straightforward voicings.

  47. #246

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    In my experience there are at least two kinds of great teachers. I refer to them as Jungle teachers and Zoo teachers. The Jungle teacher has no evident system or organized approach, but simply to sit with them and process content is to learn an enormous amount. They introduce you to the content as it appears in the wild, and teach you to navigate particular points in it, to stay alive, and even enjoy your trek through an otherwise daunting territory. I had a professor like that at Yale. We referred to his "Famous Fifty" which was basically about 50 little packages of content that tended to drift in and out of his classes, no matter what the course. We always said yo need to take this guy's classes until you realized you had the "Fifty" and then you were ready to move on. His classes were not very well organized, but simply immersions into a body of content, like parachuting into the jungle.

    "Zoo" teachers present an orderly arrangement of the material, elements classified and sequenced. Much easier to absorb, though any systematization of content tends to break connections that reach across categories. Zoo teachers have the models, the principles, the organization. They also might be just fine in the jungle, but then again, maybe not. Organization occurs by disconnecting content elements from their organic contexts of multiple interconnections and putting them into a hierarchy of limited connections. So some things get displaced.

    Anyhow, from outside the whole Barry Harris world, he sounds more like a Jungle teacher, and it sounds like he also trained some who became outstanding Zoo teachers.
    I really like this distinction. TBH, I think we should have more 'Jungle' and less 'Zoo'. Education institutions like Zoo of course, because it has measurable outcomes etc; until you hit the postgrad stage of course. Jazz is all about the wilds of course.

    It's interesting that your point about systematisation of content breaking connections - sounds like a paper I was reading today.

    Students need to be disabused of the expectation that they will understand everything right away, but reassured that if they stick around, it will make more sense over time. You might not be able to participate fully, but you will be able to participate, and that peripheral participation, however small, is worthwhile, because what everyone is doing is actually the REAL thing, not some simplified formalised BS version.

    You know what makes me laugh? I produce YouTube content for no clear audience - I vlog what's on my mind, its sent out into the ether with no idea of who, If anyone might get something from it. Some people seem to get something from it, at least the ones who comment. But I still get pissy messages from student saying 'this is BS, what is he talking about? Can't he explain it?' as if I should somehow be making neat little lessons tailored exactly for their level of development.

    OTOH I increasingly feel my role is to be a guide through the depths of the massive thickets of information people have at their disposal, and try and find paths through it that suit them.

  48. #247

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    There's a bromide in parenting that says "it's not what you say, it's who you are". I like that, but I didn't find it to be entirely true. But, it might be 70% true.

    I've had teachers communicate both ways.

    Carl Barry, with whom I studied many years ago, was very organized in his approach. He taught specific things that I still use.

    Warren Nunes was a mixture. He had the occasional spoken gem. But, he never said a word I recall about the fact that he almost always had a bassist in his individual lessons. Often a drummer, and once in a while a pianist also. So, your individual lesson was a quartet. I remember one time, he kept soloing chorus after chorus -- it wasn't clear why, until he finally smiled and said, "that time I got it", at which point I realized that he was trying to do something specific and kept after it until it was perfect. He never said we should do that, but it was who he was.

    I've had others who were more verbal, more theoretical, but the lessons didn't appreciably change or improve my playing.

    I got a huge amount from group lessons with a teacher who was frequently quite harsh. He had very little specific advice for soloing, but would yell "no licks! make melody!".
    He had very specific instruction for how to comp. Chord grips, voice leading, rhythmic content, you name it. The unspoken part was all about basic musicianship, particularly opening my eyes to what it meant to have big ears.

  49. #248

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    Christian, I didn’t realize you were not fluent in Drop 2 block chords on guitar. Now I get why you don't like to talk about them and want the topic dropped from this Levine thread. And block chords are such a big part of Barry Harris' teaching, and Levine's too.
    You say you gave up on block chords. Are you really justifying your position based on your claim that it's piano stuff and shouldn't be carried over to guitar. But we know Barry has successfully taught the 6th diminished scale to jazz guitarists to play block chord melodies in Drop 2. There are books on it just for guitar, such as the edition by Allen Kingston. This guitarist seems to have little trouble with Drop 2 block chord melody playing:




    Christian wrote:
    "I think ultimately I gave up trying to apply the BH harmonic system to guitar. And the linear stuff, great. The chordal stuff? Very difficult, feels like you are fighting the guitar sometimes. I like the 8 note scales as a unifying concept, and I can come up with interesting voice leading by exploring them... I use some things I like and can physically play. Sounds wonderful when Pasquale Grasso plays it of course.

    The temptation is always to try and turn the guitar into a keyboard through sheer application. Stuff that is dead obvious on the piano is very hard on guitar - even transposing a phrase by an octave needs practice. It takes a lot of work to be able to take an intervallic voicing through a scale, for instance.

    I'm not sure this obsessive 'keyboardisation' is wise. The guitar has guitar stuff that works well. I think you have to understand resources like open strings and so on to get the most out of it, cultivate a distinctively guitaristic language rather than just be some crappy version of a piano player."
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-30-2020 at 08:15 PM.

  50. #249

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    Oh brother, yes I can play drop 2 block chord harmonisations on the guitar. It’s not especially difficult although to do so with BH’s exact voicings represent some technical challenges on some string sets.

    (Most people fake a little bit at speed, chuck in a 6/9 here and there for instance.)

    This type of thing is very much part of the basic vocabulary of jazz guitar. (By and large, things with a tenth are very guitaristic.) they can also be a bit passé for that reason. Parallelism. I like to break that up a bit because it’s SOOOO basic bitch jazz guitar, so to speak.

    Look, TBH I feel you are hung up on block chords and great though they are that’s not the be all and end all of Barry’s approach.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-30-2020 at 08:52 PM.

  51. #250

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    One nice thing (possibly the only nice thing) about the ukulele is that drop2’s become four way close.

    Not sure what you’ll do with that information, but good to know.

    Lyle Ritz was good at block chords on the ukulele.