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  #16  
Old 09-08-2013, 04:26 PM
AX17609 AX17609 is offline
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Originally Posted by iim7v7im7 View Post
1) As others have said, learn some jazz standards (chord changes and melody). You'll start to see some common elements (and hopefully have some fun!). As i recall, my instructor started with "All the Things You Re" and "Autumn Leaves".

2) Learn a system of chords, triads, arppegios (and scales) fingerings to allow you to focus on the music vs. mechanics.

One of my old guitar instructors (Rolly Brown) from twenty + years ago has put together an excellent series of instruction courses that will take you through the "nuts & bolts" of jazz chords, melody and aspects of improvisation. Looking at the syllabus, it appears to be similar to what he did with me many years ago (particularly the two nuts & bolts lessons).

https://stefangrossman.worldsecuresy...ts/rolly-brown
Rolly's DVDs constitute an encyclopedia of technique. They're all mechanics and no application. I don't recommend them.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by AX17609 View Post
Rolly's DVDs constitute an encyclopedia of technique. They're all mechanics and no application. I don't recommend them.
Rolly is an extremely practical and knowledgeable instructor. I learned my jazz foundation 20+ years ago that I use today. I learned as much from him in two years of study as I have with many instructors since. With all do respect, aren't you the same person that few posts back said:
"I don't know how to learn jazz. I have failed in my many attempts, and that frustrates me. It seems as though there is so much background knowledge required (fretboard, scales, chords, arpeggios, music theory) that playing music quickly becomes anoverwhelming academic task. I end up just feeling like a talentless idiot."
Jeff made a very good point about following the key tones when playing through changes (maj 3-7, dom 3-b7 and min b3-b7) but it does require you to know chords. That's why I recommended what I did. Rolly's teaching system worked well for me.

My $.02
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2013, 06:48 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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It seems like one of the main obstacles when trying to approach jazz music (i´m not even talking about learning, at this stage) lies within a sort of misleading state of things regarding the "tonal music vs modal harmony music" issue.

We may recall that some improvisation defines jazz music: but the question of how long is improvisation appart from harmony theory, gets easily overlooked (as far as i know)...

For instance, when i listen to many tunes by Pat Metheny (one among other jazz musicians i enjoy)...i can´t but hardly isolate one of either axes within his music (tonal vs modal)...and so on...
Very true. Metheny is a post-modal player, which means he incorporates a mix of both systems. Functional harmony can have modal elements added, and vice versa.
I agree that with modern jazz (meaning pretty much everything of the last 50 years, at least), it doesn't make much sense to try and dissect the functional from the modal. The distinction is important when studying (and playing) older styles of jazz - at least if one wants to sound "authentic". (But then I regard playing bebop as a revivalist exercise: educational, for sure, but not really what "jazz" is about today.)

The principle which applies to Metheny as much as to Louis Armstrong (one of his heroes) is the idea of working with the given material; taking off from the tune.
There may be many theoretical principles one can apply to the material - in terms of naming, categorising or conceptualising it - but the bottom line is pretty simple, and it's not rocket science.
You have a tune, and you have a chord progression. Playing notes that are in the chords is "inside", and chromaticism is "outside". There is a constant dialogue between both, which is not hard to comprehend. Too much inside = dull and safe; too much outside = wrong notes. And a melodic and rhythmic sensibility is what governs the choices.
All that's required is a thorough knowledge of (a) one's instrument and (b) the tune one is about to improvise on. ("Thorough" may mean playing the melody and chords for hours, over and over, in as many positions - or even keys - as one can. You have to know it inside out.)

There is no need to enter into chord-scale theory (nor into a functional/modal dichotomy): that's a system of applying rules, putting the material into boxes, suggesting options. It might be a useful thing to do if you have no ideas. But if you have no ideas, maybe you shouldn't be playng a solo anyway...
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by iim7v7im7 View Post
Rolly is an extremely practical and knowledgeable instructor. I learned my jazz foundation 20+ years ago that I use today. I learned as much from him in two years of study as I have with many instructors since. With all do respect, aren't you the same person that few posts back said:
"I don't know how to learn jazz. I have failed in my many attempts, and that frustrates me. It seems as though there is so much background knowledge required (fretboard, scales, chords, arpeggios, music theory) that playing music quickly becomes anoverwhelming academic task. I end up just feeling like a talentless idiot."
Jeff made a very good point about following the key tones when playing through changes (maj 3-7, dom 3-b7 and min b3-b7) but it does require you to know chords. That's why I recommended what I did. Rolly's teaching system worked well for me.

My $.02
Yes, that's me. Rolly's DVDs were largely responsible for that opinion. They don't represent any kind of method. They are simply an encyclopedia of chords and scales, which he pretty much admits from the outset. There is no application at all. Some of his music theory explanations were interesting, particularly the section about the difference in soloing between diatonic and cycle of fifths progressions. But, beyond that, he doesn't offer a coherent, incremental approach to learning jazz guitar.

I'm sure Rolly is a wonderful human being and excellent teacher in person. But his DVDs were not helpful to me. I felt that there was definitely something missing. Repeated practice of his "nuts and bolts" has lead me nowhere. Perhaps what was missing was the human element.
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  #20  
Old 09-09-2013, 09:03 AM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
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How to understand "jazz"? Easy. If you play a C9, you're playing "jazz". Don't make this difficult on yourself. "Thinking" is the main reason so many people don't prefer classical or jazz music.





"Personally I recommend a historical perspective. That's the best way to make sense of the immensely complex picture jazz presents today.
Go back to Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt. Go back to the jazz standards of the 1920s and 30s and work your way forward."




I like historical perspectives. IMO you can't get you where you want to go until you understand where it was you started out. Unlike Jon I tend to think of the historical perspective of "jazz" as a branch on a very large tree which originally belonged to the people. It was found by Mr. Handy in a train station waiting room but it came from a place far removed from there. At the time it was called "blues" and it had the unique ability to replicate the human voice as it wailed in happiness and in sorrow. It was the expression of the human condition. And it was made to touch your soul in a way "Oh, Susanna" could not.

IMO you first need to understand jazz and blues were not separated into divisions, one which was seen as simple music and the other the "thinking man's" music. You should study the history of jazz as it progressed through Blind Lemon Jefferson who had influences of Hawaiian, French, Creole, Czech, Gospel, etc in his playing. He had heard each of these styles and his playing took from each bit and made it into his street music which earned him nickels and dimes on the boulevards of Dallas. After playing all day for meager tribute, he returned to his home across the tracks in Deep Ellum where blues and jazz first intermingled. They did so in the juke joints and bars and after hours clubs which served to take the troubles of the day away from those who frequented such establishments.

Back then the music was intended to be a simple device which got people up and on the dance floor where they could literally dance their troubles away. It was meant to be the mechanism which allowed the lower classes to forget their position in society. It was their music and it was what made them feel good. Early on, it was confined to the other side of the tracks and respectable folk wouldn't go near such places. The power of the music however made it irresistible to those vagabond, itinerant musicians of all stripes and colors. Feel good is what it was all about.

By the 1920's blues and jazz were one and the same and Ma Rainey and Louis Armstrong both played it and sang it and it was becoming the music of the free wheeling ragtimers. And it was still meant to get you out of your chair and away from your worries and to another place. Musicians were arrested for intermingling with another race. They were denied admittance to "respectable" businesses. That could only keep the music from growing for a short while. Music is, as all art intends, about challenging the accepted norms. Jazz and blues were no different and eventually they broke down color barriers and made their way into high brow clubs where the upper crust would dance and drink and do what other people do - just in better clothes.

The thing to never forget about jazz and blues is they are two sides of a coin and they were both about getting you to spend your money and dance the night away. They were played, three minutes at a go, at rent parties and fish fries. Walking down the street of a major metropolitan city, you would likely hear both pouring from the apartment windows.

Then Alan Lomax occurred.

That's when the intellectuals got hold of the two forms of the same music and made one into a music you sat and pondered. No longer was the music about what you felt, it was now about what you experienced. Jazz was no longer about taking your troubles way by getting you on your feet and dancing. It was about sitting alone in a room analyzing the structure of a performance. The Preservation Hall "Jazz" Band was just as much an anachronism as was the three minute 78 RPM lacquer.

That's when people began asking, "Can anyone explain jazz to me?"

Return it to its roots and you'll eventually see jazz for what it was. Then get up and make happy feet in your own room.

THAT, my friend, is "JAZZ"!
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  #21  
Old 09-09-2013, 11:02 AM
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Hi Geo...

Just put the term "Jazz" in the 'create a new playlist' on Pandora…

Within minutes you will have a full understanding of Jazz with all it's nuances and sub-genres…


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  #22  
Old 09-09-2013, 11:10 AM
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Thanks for you reply, Jon!; I would ask a couple of related questions:

1-Is there a (rather straighforward, i would additionally say) relation between the (so called) "diatonic tension notes" within any given scale degree (namely: within degree III of a major scale, a 4th and an 11th are known to be the only tension notes available, the 9th, 6th and 13th remaining as notes to be avoided), and dissonance(s)?

For instance, within degree IV every diatonic tension note is available (9th, 11#th and 13th): is there any dissonance within that set of notes?

(The (my) background of such a concept as that regarding either available or forbidden diatonic tension notes is merely a book (in spanish) on modern harmony by a teacher named Erico Herrera.)

2-I wonder wether the following statement is true: such a thing as a modal flavour (not to just speak of modal harmony) could be attached to a chord progression bearing a given relation in terms of functional harmony: a) by means of diatonic tension notes and b) by means of non diatonic tension notes.

Greetings!
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  #23  
Old 09-09-2013, 01:45 PM
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Three of his five DVDs were released just within the last few weeks, you might take another look. For example, The "owning a jazz standard" is much more application focused. The earlier two are somewhat mechanical (hence the title nuts & bolts), but a beginning student trying to learn jazz needs that. No different than Bill Leavit, Jody Fischer or Mickey Baker etc., I still believe unless you have the triad/chord/arpeggio fingerings on "automatic", focusing on the changes and thinking musically will continue to be a challenge. Its's just too much to process at once. There is a certain amount of practice time behind the "woodshed" required to free yourself to hear the sounds and see the notes on the fingerboard (vs. patterns) to play jazz.

Good Luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AX17609 View Post
Yes, that's me. Rolly's DVDs were largely responsible for that opinion. They don't represent any kind of method. They are simply an encyclopedia of chords and scales, which he pretty much admits from the outset. There is no application at all. Some of his music theory explanations were interesting, particularly the section about the difference in soloing between diatonic and cycle of fifths progressions. But, beyond that, he doesn't offer a coherent, incremental approach to learning jazz guitar.

I'm sure Rolly is a wonderful human being and excellent teacher in person. But his DVDs were not helpful to me. I felt that there was definitely something missing. Repeated practice of his "nuts and bolts" has lead me nowhere. Perhaps what was missing was the human element.
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  #24  
Old 09-09-2013, 02:14 PM
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First of all, I hope I didn't offend anyone with my "theses" remark--I was just commenting on how in depth some of the answers were...a far cry from some of the usual soundbyte wisdom that gets spouted when somebody asks this question.

There's really not one way to come at jazz, but there are a few things you absolutely need to have down if you're going to get anywhere with jazz guitar...I call 'em the "non negotiables."

You can know these things academically or intuitively...preferable both, IMHO. If you're going to rely on one or the other, you had better REALLY know it. Very few people can play jazz on intuition alone...this is why I always fly off the handle when someody says, "well, Wes Montgomery couldn't read music..." I usually say, fine, when you can find your way around the guitar like Wes, feel free to not read music.

Anyway, here's the non negotiables:

The major scale in every key. Know it, be able to play a major scale starting on any note on the guitar...put a finger down, play a major scale up and back down from there.

Chords...at a bare minimum, maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, and a few jucier #'s like 9ths, 11th, 13thss, etc. You need a couple of dominants with alterations--gotta know 7b9, 7#9, 7b5, 7#5. Oh, and you gotta know at least three places to play those chords--- one with the root on the sixth string, one with the root on the fifth, one with the root on the fourth string. Eventually, learn their inversions too. Learn arpeggios for those chords as well.

And then you have to listen...jazz has to be the music that plays in your head all day every day...If you can't hear it in your head, you can't play it.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:40 PM
IndianaGeo IndianaGeo is offline
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I wish I had time to respond to all the helpful posts individually.

Jeff: Surprisingly I found that I can indeed play a major scale at any position fairly automatically/unconsciously. I'm also familiar with most, if not all, of the chords you mentioned, although I don't think I can play them all in 3 positions nor the inversions. This I need to work on certainly.

Someone pointed out Emily Remler. I checked out a video on YouTube featuring her. It was the same Hot Licks video series as the Joe Pass video I purchased many many years ago (which I don't have with me at the moment unfortunately). Her video is VERY helpful.

I now more 'get' this notion of soloing over the chord tonal changes, incorporating the key (no pun intended) notes to emphasize (for example, the flat third, or flat 7ths, etc), and incorporating the notes of the chord in the notes of the solo..AND using the passing tones to 'approach' those notes. Oh, and the whole 'vibe' of the rhythm/swing elements. I still have loads more to think about and practice, but I'm starting to understand more what is taking place here, getting my head around it ever so slightly more. And, oh man, have I been doing myself a disservice by not using a metronome more. It's something I need to get more disciplined about in my practice sessions.

This thread is doing wonders for my thinking about this topic of jazz.

LJ, thanks I'll check out Pandora too.. I need to listen to more jazz indeed.

On a similar topic... what guitar is most recommended for jazz playing and why? I often see a Gibson ES335 used. Why are these (and others) preferred?

IG
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  #26  
Old 09-09-2013, 03:53 PM
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...LJ, thanks I'll check out Pandora too.. I need to listen to more jazz indeed.
Hi IG...

It was a poor attempt at humor (because Jazz is very diverse). Not sure anybody really understands all the forms (at least to play them proficiently). But if you set up a Pandora (or any other streaming service) Jazz station you'll start to get a better feel for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff said this…yes he did
The major scale in every key. Know it, be able to play a major scale starting on any note on the guitar...put a finger down, play a major scale up and back down from there.

Chords...at a bare minimum, maj7, m7, 7, m7b5, and a few jucier #'s like 9ths, 11th, 13thss, etc. You need a couple of dominants with alterations--gotta know 7b9, 7#9, 7b5, 7#5. Oh, and you gotta know at least three places to play those chords--- one with the root on the sixth string, one with the root on the fifth, one with the root on the fourth string. Eventually, learn their inversions too. Learn arpeggios for those chords as well.

And then you have to listen...
I think the list that Jeff laid out of non-negotiables certainly applies to Jazz AND to other genres as well (good list Jeff). I think anybody except for a person who's just wanting to strum some simple tunes with simple chords in first position would benefit by making Jeff's list a 'goal' or 'target'.


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  #27  
Old 09-09-2013, 03:58 PM
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Jazz, because it does include improvisation, can only be accomplished by knowing your instrument really, really well first and foremost. Without knowing your guitar inside and out...sorry no dice. After that...total dedication. Jazz is a lifestyle as much as any genre which projects on-the-spot emotions. There are many Jazz musician who are technical too perfect, but play cold. Just be careful, handle theory with care. It's easy to lose sight where you want to go with it and how much you can absorb and apply to the point where it becomes your own language. It's a long road...
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:23 PM
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I would go ahead and play your Kirn strat. I find its easiest to get movement going on a slinky neck, and acoustic tone can be pursued later. I have luck in the pickup position in between the first 2 pickups, or the quack position, with the tone rolled off. A little delay can add some spice. The vintage L-5 can be something to ponder as you practice...
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  #29  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:37 PM
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While I more commonly play on my archtop, i have been known to play jazz on this ...



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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianaGeo View Post
I wish I had time to respond to all the helpful posts individually.

Jeff: Surprisingly I found that I can indeed play a major scale at any position fairly automatically/unconsciously. I'm also familiar with most, if not all, of the chords you mentioned, although I don't think I can play them all in 3 positions nor the inversions. This I need to work on certainly.

Someone pointed out Emily Remler. I checked out a video on YouTube featuring her. It was the same Hot Licks video series as the Joe Pass video I purchased many many years ago (which I don't have with me at the moment unfortunately). Her video is VERY helpful.

I now more 'get' this notion of soloing over the chord tonal changes, incorporating the key (no pun intended) notes to emphasize (for example, the flat third, or flat 7ths, etc), and incorporating the notes of the chord in the notes of the solo..AND using the passing tones to 'approach' those notes. Oh, and the whole 'vibe' of the rhythm/swing elements. I still have loads more to think about and practice, but I'm starting to understand more what is taking place here, getting my head around it ever so slightly more. And, oh man, have I been doing myself a disservice by not using a metronome more. It's something I need to get more disciplined about in my practice sessions.

This thread is doing wonders for my thinking about this topic of jazz.

LJ, thanks I'll check out Pandora too.. I need to listen to more jazz indeed.

On a similar topic... what guitar is most recommended for jazz playing and why? I often see a Gibson ES335 used. Why are these (and others) preferred?

IG
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  #30  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:55 PM
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I've seen Bryan Baker play on a Strat, a Les Paul and an Ibanez.
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