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  1. #51
    Personally, I don't have any apprehension about my ability to play pretty good, creative jazz if I have command of the tune. I think I have good taste and have done a lot of listening. However, I'm not a savant who can realize my abstract creative vision directly to my playing with little work. I find that the more devices I work out and get command of, the more creative I can be. So that's what I work on.

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  3. #52

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    As has been mentioned, the modern player, educated in the academic setting [insert name of school], does seem to me to focus on those 8th/16th phrases. I hear that many times as just playing the vertical chords, horizontally. More often than not I loose interest after much of this. That's not to say that folks like Charlie Parker haven't influence that style and it's now just being done academically in the guise that this is jazz. And, that's what turns a lot of the people who start to listen to jazz, off.

    I'm more in the realm of musicians like Gerry Mulligan who, while he could tear up a fast refrain, was more lyrical. When I'm learning a newish tune or coming back to a tune I want to dig into, I'll go back to the basics of playing the melody line and embellishing from there. That, in a way, takes me away from looking at the chord progression and towards using my ears more. Not that the progression isn't important and trying to hear whatever reharmonizations the guitar/piano is doing, I will take cues from the chords, but listening to the tune is foremost. The melody is your friend.

  4. #53

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    i'm trying to listen rather than think at this point in my musical development.
    i'm listening to the changes and to what kind of melodies i'm hearing in my head, not thinking 'a Lydian #5 run is gonna sound pretty hip over that next chord'.
    Most of the time anyhow, LOL.

  5. #54

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    "what-your-thought-process-when-you're-soloing-over-changes" is a great question. I think it should be asked at every workshop and of every teacher, imo.

  6. #55
    Thanks, I think so. It's a very vague and poorly covered subject, even though it's very important. To clarify for those who say they don't want to think when soloing (or others): how do you conceptualize soloing over changes when you're practicing? And don't say you're a feral musician who has never been exposed to any theory ever and you only use your ear.

  7. #56

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    I thinks it's the #1 question.
    And I would ask it in two parts, how do you think when practicing soloing over changes and how do you think over changes when soloing in performance? I think the answers would vary widely.

  8. #57
    Absolutely

  9. #58

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    I think of the changes as a roadmap and my choruses as an excursion. Sometimes I am looking for a shortcut, so I will try to avoid playing all the changes; other times I am looking to add some scenery, so I’ll superimpose other changes. But really the melody is an important guide. If you improvise off the melody, sometimes you can just ignore the changes and go elsewhere.

    That said, I’m still trying to figure it all out. We all process shit differently. Sometimes I feel like as a listener hearing someone outline all the changes is boring and I want to hear something that intriques or excites. When someone doesn’t know or can’t make the changes, though, it is very evident to me. I learned to recognize it from my own playing. The strength of the melodic line and ownership of it is what makes it all sound in, even when it is far from it.

  10. #59

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    Yea...I'm a simple player. I generally am thinking about what the other musicians are thinking and at the same time try and be aware of how the audience is reacting.

  11. #60

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    " The melody is your friend." Jazzereh

    There is an organic approach to improvisation. Take any tune you DO NOT know. Memorize the melody. Disregard the changes. Play and improvise on the melody. You will find that your ears will do the work . . . not your musical training. After awhile, your music will be your own. Players who understood and used this approach were: Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Gene Ammons, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, Ray Charles as well as the more "modern" melodic players: Dexter, Chet Baker, Wes, Clifford Brown, early Miles . . . So, here's Miles with Shirly Horn. Listen to Miles' licks in the background that complement Shirley's vocals--pure melodic improvisation.
    Play live . . . Marinero





    P.S. Where have all the flowers gone?/Long time passing/Where have all the flowers gone?/Long time ago . . . . M

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neer View Post
    ...Sometimes I feel like as a listener hearing someone outline all the changes is boring and I want to hear something that intriques or excites. When someone doesn’t know or can’t make the changes, though, it is very evident to me....
    And there it is in a nutshell, eventually every good player moves past just being able to "make the changes", but if a player shoots for that before they've paid the dues in the woodshed, they'll betray the fact that they aren't able to outline the changes even if they tried. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't ... For me, I can honestly say I have never admired a player who obviously cannot make the changes, and to some it won't be immediately obvious that they can, because they will often disguise it.

    Let's face it, making the damned changes, for many years, are your training wheels on the railway track (tunes). Do it for long enough and you can lose the wheels and hover above the track, still negotiating every twist and turn, sometimes close, sometimes not, sometimes in front of each bend, sometimes behind, or right on it when it sounds effective or compelling to do so.

    Of course some get very good at hugging the rails and can still sound great (Hawkins, Stitt, Brownie etc), but many of us prefer the floaters like Prez, Parker or Miles. They floated like butterflies but could still sting you like a motherfucking bee at any time!

  13. #62

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    OK, since i responded before that i'm trying NOT to think when i'm soloing, here's my process when i'm working out a standard:
    1) learn the melody
    2) focus on the chord tones of the changes

    Those two things give me a lot of sounds that will always work.
    It's an old school approach, but yeah... the first step is always being able to 'make the changes'.

    Next level:
    3) pentatonic ideas
    4) melodic motivic development

  14. #63
    ^ Good outline of the minimum work required. Melody + chord tones is the absolute minimum, I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neer View Post
    Sometimes I feel like as a listener hearing someone outline all the changes is boring and I want to hear something that intrigues or excites.
    I agree. Hearing someone expand on the harmony and build with a foreign sound is always exciting.

  15. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    And there it is in a nutshell, eventually every good player moves past just being able to "make the changes", but if a player shoots for that before they've paid the dues in the woodshed, they'll betray the fact that they aren't able to outline the changes even if they tried. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't ... For me, I can honestly say I have never admired a player who obviously cannot make the changes, and to some it won't be immediately obvious that they can, because they will often disguise it.

    Let's face it, making the damned changes, for many years, are your training wheels on the railway track (tunes). Do it for long enough and you can lose the wheels and hover above the track, still negotiating every twist and turn, sometimes close, sometimes not, sometimes in front of each bend, sometimes behind, or right on it when it sounds effective or compelling to do so.

    Of course some get very good at hugging the rails and can still sound great (Hawkins, Stitt, Brownie etc), but many of us prefer the floaters like Prez, Parker or Miles. They floated like butterflies but could still sting you like a motherfucking bee at any time!
    I agree. Playing 100% inside the changes should never be an excuse to play badly. Imo, it's always possible to play well in that framework with the use of rhythmic and melodic development. Still, if you have command of the changes, why not create some new maybe out stuff and kick it up a notch like you said.

  16. #65

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    ... Oh, my turn....
    ... OK, I'll start gently....
    ... Oh man, John, are you even listening? I'm trying to start softly here....
    ... OK Geoff (dr) is listening, at least someone....
    ... that was nice, but I play that every time....
    ... wonder if anyone recognized the quote?...
    ... where's the bass?...
    ... Crap, José (b) saw a pretty woman....
    ... he was loaded anyway, sweet Maria Juana ....
    ... now only his hands are playing.... bye bye bass!
    ... I shouldn't do gigs like this anymore!....
    ... John, do we really need to be so loud?....
    ... should I turn around and turn up the amp?...
    ... hey John... this is F7!!! not tonic Bb flat, same old same old....
    ... I should stop playing these gigs....
    ... Gosh.....


    ... maybe a tiny bit exaggerated, tiny bit... tiny....


    Last edited by DonEsteban; 09-02-2021 at 08:44 AM.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonEsteban View Post
    ... Oh, my turn....
    ... OK, I'll start gently....
    ... Oh man, John, are you even listening? I'm trying to start softly here....
    ... OK Geoff (dr) listens, at least someone....
    ... that was nice, but I play that every time....
    ... wonder if anyone recognized the quote?...
    ... where's the bass?...
    ... Crap, José (b) saw a pretty woman....
    ... he was loaded anyway, sweet Maria Juana ....
    ... now only his hands are playing.... bye bye bass!
    ... I shouldn't do gigs like this anymore!....
    ... John, do we really need to be so loud?....
    ... should I turn around and turn up the amp?...
    ... hey John... this is F7!!! not tonic Bb flat, same old same old....
    ... I should stop playing these gigs....
    ... Gosh.....


    ... maybe a tiny bit exaggerated, tiny bit... tiny....


    O.K., D,
    Do you realize that you have described many reasons why people need to play live? Now, granted, this behavior is more common with Rockers/C@W but this IS part of the experience playing live popular music. There are distractions, slips of memory, personality issues, etc. but it's all 100% real. However, it separates the controlled experience of bedroom video artists from those who get on a stage and play live.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    P.S. And, for the record, this NEVER happens in Classical music or the person's career is finished.
    M

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    Personally, I don't have any apprehension about my ability to play pretty good, creative jazz if I have command of the tune. I think I have good taste and have done a lot of listening. However, I'm not a savant who can realize my abstract creative vision directly to my playing with little work. I find that the more devices I work out and get command of, the more creative I can be. So that's what I work on.
    Yea Clint... Your post pretty much said it all. Your still working on your technical skills. Which will help you develop your Performance skills. Your Performance skills can only be as good as your Technical skills.

    But just like your working on technical skills.... performance skills need to be worked on also. It's always interesting to perform with good players... and look around and everyone is looking at their instrument. LOL

    So... is your goal to be able play new music or perform what you haven't performed before... Live, or at least, new versions of... that's part of playing jazz in a jazz style.

    I still... call out form changes, even harmony and tune or style changes.... live... while we're performing. That creating music on the fly. Obviously depending on gig and players etc... it's not really that big of a deal, just part of performing in a jazz style.... PS... I'm nobody, just average working jazz musician.

    ... gotta love Don's post..lol... I can almost remember those days...

  19. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Your still working on your technical skills.
    My technical and performance skills are further along than your grammar skills, so I think I'm good.

  20. #69

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    Hey Clint... sorry. I was trying to take what you posted and understand why you needed to have the command of a tune to be able to perform it. My mistake...

    Many players like to have time put into a tune before they perform it, Live. I use the term Technical Skills to also include understanding tunes someone doesn't know. And also perform a new tune they see for the first time...

    That is where I though you were going with the original post. "what's your thought process when soloing over changes". Not what's your thought process after one worked out or rehearsed the tune. Again my mistake... sorry.

  21. #70
    Well that was nice to clarify. Yeah, I'm an intermediate player who has history of performing tunes. I started the thread because I thought it would be good discussion and I've never heard this topic discussed much before.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    ... I started the thread because I thought it would be good discussion and I've never heard this topic discussed much before.
    Quite right, and I always thought this kind of question would be the most common type of question on a Jazz forum. Let's face it, seasoned pros like Reg don't need to hang around a forum like this, there's little for them to learn (although plenty to share...). Mainly it's novices and intermediates, most of whom you'd expect to have the same burning questions for this type of forum such as your's. Of course the more precise question could/should be "What the hell were the greats thinking of in the practice room". And that question has sort of been raised a few times, granted, but you soon realise you will not get the answers you'd like, because not many here have a clue about that, they only know about their own processes and even then find it difficult to explain, or are embarrassed about them, or wish to be secretive.... or something hehe...

    Personally, I learned to look elsewhere for enlightenment on this issue - straight from the horses' mouths. There are a few books, but one in particular is a must read: "Thinking in Jazz" by Paul Berliner.

    https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Jazz.../dp/0226043819

  23. #72

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    So, as an addendum to my post #60, I have another suggestion. After learning the melody, sing it out loud(lyrics included) until you know it by heart. Then, use your voice to improvise around the melody(similar to scatting) and write down your ideas. Most will be quite surprised how organic their improvisations sound, however, some will not be gems but it's all part of the process. Only after you have exhausted your own ideas, learn the changes and see how everything fits together. In this way, you're never copying someone else's licks and your skills will grow based on the number of songs you learn.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  24. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Of course the more precise question could/should be "What the hell were the greats thinking of in the practice room"
    Yas

  25. #74

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    What is your thought process when you're soloing over changes?

    What's the next bloody chord, usually. Or sequence. Mind you, it's fairly subliminal.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    how do you think when practicing soloing over changes and how do you think over changes when soloing in performance? I think the answers would vary widely.
    Somebody said if you have to think about it, you don't know the tune.

    But in the practice room, with or without others, is different. Practice is learning. Only a fool wouldn't think about it then - what works, what doesn't, etc, etc. In depth, till it's in the bag.

    Intros and outros.