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  1. #1

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    If I could, I would be boppin around outlining all the chords beautifully like Charlie Parker. That ain't gonna happen lol. At least not right now. Realizing the key center approach is going to be important as well.

    What are your insights about how you like to utilize the 2 approaches?

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  3. #2

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    I think it may help to pick one and work on it.

    OTOH, if you pick a key center approach and you also know the notes in the chords you're playing over, the two approaches start to converge.

  4. #3
    Listen to Parker. He's not "just" outlining the chords, he's got serious lyric going on. The two are not and should not be seen as distinct and separate. Listen for the lyric information in the chord and the harmonic information in the lyric line.
    Rhythm is the element that is overlooked in making these distinctions.
    For what it's worth...but I'm just giving one opinion here

  5. #4
    ^ Yeah no, I'm seeing that. I've been thinking that: ok I'm looking at a D7 but how do I make it lyrical like Parker. Good points, look at the lyrical info in the chord or harmonic info in the lyric line.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    ^ Yeah no, I'm seeing that. I've been thinking that: ok I'm looking at a D7 but how do I make it lyrical like Parker. Good points, look at the lyrical info in the chord or harmonic info in the lyric line.
    Also as you're listening and learning, keep your mind from hyperfocusing on details like chord tones and learn to hear the way Parker is joyously PLAYING, like a kid plays, plays with the melody which he does like a dancer on the dance floor. He's never far from it and the twists and curves of the original tune are the things that inspire him. Hear this, and learn to see the respect he has for THAT melody and you'll get Parker, and play Parker with a real spirit.
    A solo from Parker is really a deep exploration of the melody of the head. Can you hear that? He's never very far from it, cuz he loves it. That's respect for you partner.

  7. #6
    Incorporating the influence of the melody is one of my favorite parts of solos. That's on the agenda also, I just left it out of the op.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    Incorporating the influence of the melody is one of my favorite parts of solos. That's on the agenda also, I just left it out of the op.
    Kid, you've got promise! Find your own way and don't look back.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    If I could, I would be boppin around outlining all the chords beautifully like Charlie Parker. That ain't gonna happen lol. At least not right now. Realizing the key center approach is going to be important as well.

    What are your insights about how you like to utilize the 2 approaches?
    A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. I think the two things are one and the same.

    I've been delving into classical harmony again lately, and here's a question for ya -

    What is a key?

    In one sentence.

    I don't know if I can answer that easily. I can tell you what a scale is, what a chord is. But a key?

    Here's my best shot and its a bit vague for sure: A key is a system of tensions and releases, of pathways and norms. What it is not is the diatonic notes of whatever key signature you are in.

    So, when kids, the waifs and strays who might if particularly talented be trained in the craft of composition, were learning their basic C major harmonies back in the day, they wouldn't learn simply the diatonic chords to C major; the basic harmonisation might have a taste of the D7 chord in there (not that they called it that), just to give it more motion and flow. Even the simplest classical pieces have a sharp or a flat or two, and the same is true of jazz standards. These notes help the music move.

    So the very conception of key is bound up with notions of harmonic movement. Take C major

    B goes to C
    F goes to E
    The powerful F# comes in to make the G feel more important for a minute
    Maybe we have the yearning Bb to take us to A

    Other notes can come in too - the poignant Ab, the bluesy Eb and so on.

    Thing is each of these notes or combinations are associated with a chord and their movements to other notes as chord progressions. With this thinking, it becomes possible to express chord changes in very few notes that can serve as a basis for more elegant melodies, and that's a skill worth having.

    Add to this the fact that sometimes it's just a bit cooler not to play the changes in jazz... and well... Does that answer your question (maybe not)

  10. #9

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    (BTW if Jamie Aebersold had been arsed to write out key signatures, we'd think differently about Birds music....)

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    If I could, I would be boppin around outlining all the chords beautifully like Charlie Parker. That ain't gonna happen lol. At least not right now. Realizing the key center approach is going to be important as well.

    What are your insights about how you like to utilize the 2 approaches?
    Clint, I worked hard so you don’t have to:

    Tune Up Tom and the old Switcheroo

  12. #11

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    I think you need to work to where you can nail every change, then stop doing that.

    I've never heard anybody play key centers convincingly who couldn't also run changes if they so desired.

  13. #12

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    I think key center works fine in the right situation. Jimmy Bruno had a video on his site that made the point that you could play the notes of the iim over the I an vice versa. Apologies to Jimmy if I am inadvertently misquoting him. Jimmy, of course, would make great melody every time. If you play a great melody, with great time feel, in the right key center, nobody will complain and the phone will ring. If you play a great melody outlining each chord, that will work too. In fact, if you play a great melody with great time, you can probably get pretty loose with the harmony -- but you might get complaints and the phone will ring either more often or less often.

  14. #13

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    Either the notes sound right, including the out ones, or they don't.

  15. #14

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    The way I understand Bebop, a big part of the melodic instruments evolution was moving from the key center to chords. Chords become prevalent to improvisation, then composition.

    So I think working on them (both at the practical fretboard and ear/listening department, and at the theoretical aspect) is extremely important in jazz.

  16. #15
    ^ I agree, which is why I'm scheming about working chords hard and using key centers strategically.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Either the notes sound right, including the out ones, or they don't.
    I agree. I think playing a C- idea for 2 bars and then an Eb idea for 2 bars occasionally instead of outlining the chords in my tune Jordu isn't the worst thing in the world.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I think you need to work to where you can nail every change, then stop doing that.

    I've never heard anybody play key centers convincingly who couldn't also run changes if they so desired.
    I think it’s interesting comparing guitar to piano.

    On piano it’s such a simple thing to run changes; you just play the chord in whatever octave you desire and roll it into a melody! And this all happens within the matrix of black and white notes, so you understand how each chord relates to the key.

    On guitar you have to spend some time mapping the arpeggios, putting them together with scales and then building the understanding of how all of this relates with keys.

    I have to say my understanding was helped a lot by playing a keyboard instrument (badly.)

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    The way I understand Bebop, a big part of the melodic instruments evolution was moving from the key center to chords. Chords become prevalent to improvisation, then composition.

    So I think working on them (both at the practical fretboard and ear/listening department, and at the theoretical aspect) is extremely important in jazz.
    I think that’s a bit of generalisation. Chords have always been a resource exploited by jazz improvisers; and perhaps the primary resource for guitar players from day one. For example, you won’t find a more chordal improviser than Django or Charlie Christian playing as they do out of the shapes so much. You can also find pianists and many sax players such as Coleman Hawkins who are highly chordal in their approach.

    Of course in contrast, Lester Young was the key centre melodic improviser par excellence, and of course so many early jazz improvisers based their soloing on the melody. (But all of these players represent a mixture in fact.)

    (Think of trumpet and clarinet playing polyphonically in a New Orleans trad band. One improvised on melody by syncopating and ornamenting it, the other by expressing the chords as melodies. To my ears Louis combined the two - there are a lot rolled chords in his playing.)

    Parker to me represents a synthesis of these two currents.

    His playing is often quite diatonic, and he plays a lot of scales which is not something you hear quite so much from guitar players of the Charlie Christian tradition- which is to say almost everyone of that era and the next decade - (although Charlie and Django both played scalar runs.)

    There are quirks: for example, Bird has more of a tendency to tonicise the ii chord which is quite classical. That’s a very bebop thing to do; earlier players seem to think of the VI chord as a diatonic chord much more.

    Bird as a melodic improviser is perhaps underrated; Dizzy said that was his greatest contribution. And he certainly heard melody as much as harmony; so many Bird figures are in fact quotations, some of which are almost forgotten from their original sources. How many modern players know when he is quoting Picout’s line on high society? Not many, most think it’s a Bird lick... His music is kind of a tapestry of existing ‘lifted’ melody.

    Parkers most important development is rhythm however. To this day no one has played with that level of both rhythmic freedom and grease...
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-30-2020 at 06:01 AM.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I think you need to work to where you can nail every change, then stop doing that.
    I think you're right.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Kid, you've got promise! Find your own way and don't look back.
    Thx

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I think key center works fine in the right situation. Jimmy Bruno had a video on his site that made the point that you could play the notes of the iim over the I an vice versa. Apologies to Jimmy if I am inadvertently misquoting him. Jimmy, of course, would make great melody every time. If you play a great melody, with great time feel, in the right key center, nobody will complain and the phone will ring. If you play a great melody outlining each chord, that will work too. In fact, if you play a great melody with great time, you can probably get pretty loose with the harmony -- but you might get complaints and the phone will ring either more often or less often.
    I think so. I want to be well practiced so I can bop around and start a line on this chord tone of the ii other than the root and do some chromatic approaches into this an that chord tone of the V and then resolve it to the 9th of the I this and that like Parker. At the same time I think I don't always need to try to force every change and have my lines sound disjointed.

  22. #21

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    Here’s one way I’ve tried to square that particular circle as a teacher


  23. #22

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    Here's a great video about how not playing the changes is the new playing the changes. Listen at 4:34 how he plays the I lick over the IV. It's the best part!

    Grant Green's Bebop Blues | Premier Guitar

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I think so. I want to be well practiced so I can bop around and start a line on this chord tone of the ii other than the root and do some chromatic approaches into this an that chord tone of the V and then resolve it to the 9th of the I this and that like Parker. At the same time I think I don't always need to try to force every change and have my lines sound disjointed.
    I've never been able or willing to think that way. Maybe it would be better if I could.

    I think it works to know the notes in the chords and key center. So you know what the comping is behind your solo, if it's vanilla, anyway.

    You then know which notes are chord tones, which additional notes are consonant-sounding extensions, which notes are tensions and which are potential clams if don't embed them in a good melody.

    So, in a ii V I in C, it' all white keys and you know which ones make up the II, the V and the I. You can play only chord tones. Or, you can play any white key. Or, you can get more adventurous and add black keys to taste.

    So you practice making lines, or read them somewhere, or lift them from a record.

    Eventually, it's all in your ears. You solo by humming a melody to yourself and playing it (at one extreme) or, at the other extreme, you make up a short idea and cycle it in various ways against the harmony.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-30-2020 at 10:51 PM.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by tomems
    Here's a great video about how not playing the changes is the new playing the changes. Listen at 4:34 how he plays the I lick over the IV. It's the best part!

    Grant Green's Bebop Blues | Premier Guitar
    Right on, man. Ya, I agree with what he says.