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  #1  
Old 11-24-2016, 11:41 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Default How Did You Learn Jazz?

Long time musician (43 years). Long time guitar player (40 years). I mostly play bluegrass, folk, Americana and blues. I've recently got hit by the gypsy jazz (and jazz in general) bug. I feel totally lost with the jazz chords - its like learning to play guitar all over from scratch.

I listen to a lot of GJ to develop an ear and feel for the genre. I have downloaded the Django Fakebook which has over 200 GJ/swing tunes. I still feel lost and confused on jazz - it seems like learning the basic cowboy chords for bluegrass, folk, Americana etc. was so much easier all those years ago.

Does anyone have speific suggestions for books, web sites, tools etc. to help someone trying to pick up jazz chords and progressions? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2016, 12:38 AM
tdq tdq is offline
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I'm not much of a jazz player, but for Gypsy Jazz (or Manouche) I'd suggest just concentrating on nailing nailing one or two tunes rather than trying to jump in at the deep end. I also really like Robin Nolan's youtube lessons as he usually deals with small chunks.
And remember, with Manouche, it's only the first 20 years that are the hardest.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2016, 12:49 AM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Ted Greene wrote a couple of good books for jazz chord progressions, as well as Chord Chemistry which is a long project to master.

Learning tunes from The Real Book - standards like Autumn Leaves, All Blues, Equinox, Freddie Freeloader, etc, is a good start.

Other useful things to learn:
- Rhythm Changes - "I Got Rhythm" was a huge hit in the 1920s and a large number of jazz standards are built on those changes - including "The Flintstones." Learn rhythm changes and you'll know enough for lots of songs - "Ain't Misbehaving," for example, is rhythm changes at root. It expands your repertoire pretty fast
- Learn some jazz blues with complex turnarounds. Start with something straightforward like "Stormy Monday" which, while not dead simple, has a very comprehensible pattern and turnaround which is different from V-VI-I. "Freddie" will also help here, as will Monk's wonderful "Straight No Chaser"
- Learn how to use passing chords. Rather than playing A-7, D7, Gmaj7 (for example), play an A-7 to D7#9 to d7b9 to G7.....the two D chords add some voice leading for helping tune up your ears and hands.

And listen to solo Joe Pass and Lenny Breaux to get an idea of what is possible.

This is just the barest start and is chord-focused rather than solo-focused but I hope it helps.
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Old 11-25-2016, 04:30 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions! Yes Matt I'm definitely more interested with learning chord accompaniment and voice leading than improvising solos. My near term goal is to be a solid jazz rhythm player, knowing this will take an ongoing commitment to regular practice and playing with others.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2016, 04:39 PM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Cool. Let me look around - I have some chord scale stuff I wrote a while ago and will share it if I can figure out which email account it's stashed in. Feel free to ping me if you have questions.....
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Old 11-25-2016, 05:19 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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I don't feel you "learn" jazz...or even music, for that matter. It's there for you, in you, around you. What you have to learn is to feel it.

I suggest selecting a song or two you're really familiar with and spending some "Tube time" on YouTube listening to as many different versions as you can find.
Some of my sources to search are:

Monk
Ella
Satchmo
Basie
Ellington
Joe Pass
Big bands

Listen until it's coming out your ears. If you internalize it, scat sing it, dance it-walk it-talk it, you won't even have to use an instrument for a year or two. When you finally get to picking up an instrument you'll be more than half way there because you'll know what you'll be trying to do.

It's not so easy to learn both the instrument and the music at the same time. So many folks put the blame on the instrument yet have less than a clue about WHAT they're trying to play on it.

So SING it. DANCE it. Eat, sleep and breathe it.

Then play it or better yet, let IT play you.

Who's next on the soapbox?
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Old 11-25-2016, 06:02 PM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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Please don't confuse Gypsy Jazz with Jazz! Expand your listening! Try Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, great singers and pianists, horn players.

But to answer your question, which is a good one, Here's what I did:

Listened to great jazz.
Worked through lots of books.
Took lesson from some great teachers.
Played with other aspiring jazz musicians.
Repeat all.

Many years later, and it seemed to work. In retrospect, it shouldn't of taken me so long!
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:27 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Lots of listening. Chords, tunes, ear training, arpeggios. Tunes. Tunes, tunes...chords everywhere...an arpeggio for each chord...learn the heads by ear whenever you can...tunes...transcribe as soon as you can hear any of it...more listening, more tunes...
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2016, 01:29 AM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Lots of listening. Chords, tunes, ear training, arpeggios. Tunes. Tunes, tunes...chords everywhere...an arpeggio for each chord...learn the heads by ear whenever you can...tunes...transcribe as soon as you can hear any of it...more listening, more tunes...

+1
Practical, no B.S. advice, this.


Also, since you're getting into gypsy jazz, John Jorgenson has several video instruction clips out there, and a couple of in depth DVDs, too.
Jorgenson has an amiable, easy-to-follow manner.




Joscho Stephan, the great European gypsy jazz guitarist, has this learning website: http://www.gypsyguitaracademy.com/


And, of course, we are all fortunate that Django Reinhardt, the touchstone, made as many video performances as he did, all those years ago.

Last edited by jomaynor; 11-26-2016 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 11-26-2016, 06:51 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I took lessons, after having played for around 20 years. There are a number of key technical things that I took away that can be useful

1. Most jazz is played on single note instruments, trumpet, saxophone, etc. Just because we can play lots of notes at once doesn't mean we have to. Focus on single line playing of melodies, thoughts, and leave the chords out of it at first.

2 Time is critical. Swing is the thing. The emphasis is on 2 and 4 (in 4/4 time) and in a small group setting that is set rock solid by the drummer's hi-hat cymbal. Duplicate that sense of time by playing with a metronome set to half speed and listen for it on beats 2 and 4 of the bar. It's actually quite hard to hear it that way at first, just listen, and hum the melody, then start to play when you have it rock solid in your head.

3. Learn three and four note inversions of chords. Learn interesting jazz chords like b9, m7b5, #9. A really nice chord that is easy to play is a 9/13 chord on the upper four strings - it's a mirror image of the good old F-chord shape, and it doesn't have a root - usually the tune implies the root. F 9/13 would be first finger on 4th string Eb, second finger on 3rd string A, third finger barre's 2nd string D and 1st string G. The chord has the 7th, the 3rd, the 9 and the 13. If you want you can barre your first finger to grab the root on 6th string first fret, but the point is to think of chords as other than root three five. You can pretty much substitute that 9/13 for any dominant chord sound.

That took me 5 years to learn, fwiw. That was 20 years ago and I still don't actually know it...
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  #11  
Old 11-26-2016, 07:49 AM
815C 815C is offline
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Here's a video that will give you a great start on Jazz chords.

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  #12  
Old 11-26-2016, 11:47 AM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC5C View Post
Focus on single line playing of melodies, thoughts, and leave the chords out of it at first.
I disagree. Understanding harmony is key to playing jazz, and the earlier you develop that understanding, the more success you will have in developing a jazz sensibility. Plus, IMHO, the guitar's greatest strength in jazz is as a chordal instrument.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:25 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluemonk View Post
I disagree. Understanding harmony is key to playing jazz, and the earlier you develop that understanding, the more success you will have in developing a jazz sensibility. Plus, IMHO, the guitar's greatest strength in jazz is as a chordal instrument.
You learned to run before you could walk? I didn't. It's easier to improvise with one note at a time than three or four, and no need to ignore harmony. Lots of guys on single note instruments understand harmony.
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2016, 06:45 PM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC5C View Post
You learned to run before you could walk? I didn't. It's easier to improvise with one note at a time than three or four, and no need to ignore harmony. Lots of guys on single note instruments understand harmony.
Shell voicings.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2016, 12:03 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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I am not much for jazz. About as far as I go is to put together some Freddy Green-style comping turnarounds. The guy I do love listening to though is Ted Bogan. His sock rhythm guitar playing was amazing.
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