Need feedback

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by hepcatbassist, Mar 6, 2014.


  1. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    Hi all,
    Not sure if this is "allowed", but I would love some constructive criticism on this audition video. It was kinda a trial run for another video I need to make at the end of March, so if anyone has any tips for me I'd love to hear them. The requirements were to play a blues, a transcription, melody of a ballad, and a standard. They also specified how many choruses of walking and soloing were needed.

    http://youtu.be/m1EdpegWl4w

    Also, is Ron Carter still on faculty at Juilliard? (Random question)
    Thanks.
     
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

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    Congratulations on the nice playing!

    A couple of things. Really pay attention to your intonation. It's pretty off for much of the first video. If you can get some time practicing with a pianist or guitarist or some play alongs, slow things down and really listen, that will help.

    In the second tune, your ratio of bass tone to bass noise is about equal. You should work on drawing out the tone of each note and keeping the clacks, buzzes and other distracting sounds to a minimum. It may be partially due to your setup or strings. Being aware of this will go a long way in correcting it.

    You're obviously talented and have accomplished a lot. Good luck!
     
  3. sludgelord3000

    sludgelord3000

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    Point the f-holes at the amp if you want feedback. Ha! See what I did there? Ha!

    But seriously, I think it’s a GREAT idea to come here for feedback. What's the point of having a bass forum if people don't actually talk about, like, playing the bass?

    I’m too much of a noob on URB to offer much in the way of useful criticism, but I do agree that you’re intonation needs to be fine tuned. (Your solo lines actually sound better, intonation wise, than the walking, at least on the first tune. Maybe you could hear yourself better?)

    Your time was really solid on All The Thing You Are, really grooved. For a prospective freshman I think you’re already ahead of the curve, keep fine tuning and I think you’ll have a solid audition tape on your hands come the end of the month.
     
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I really like your time and feel! ;) I disagree with Eric about the artifacts - I heard the slapping on the E string as a musical choice.

    Your intonation does need some focused work, though. It almost looks like you have the bass at different heights for some of the parts - I know that would throw my intonation off.

    And I think you need a better sounding bass, whether its that one with a revised setup or a new one entirely.
     
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  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

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    Jake, it isn't just slapping on the E. Many of the notes in that second clip are not speaking as well as they should and there's too much interfering noise wherever she is playing on the fingerboard. Yes to a better bass and setup!
     
  7. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    Yes, it's just a school bass...although both Dave Holland and Linda Oh liked my setup over professional's basses and used it in their concerts. 😁
     
  8. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    It's definitely not intentional. The fingerboard is really wonky, and the E string buzzes whenever I play it! Not sure what that buzzing was, but I noticed it. Didn't really wanna reshoot that take though.
     
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

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    I don't think I would submit that to schools. Do it on another bass without the issues, if possible.
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Well, there's schools and there's schools. It wouldn't get her into Juilliard, but it would get her into MSM or New School, from what I've heard from freshmen at either.

    Hannah, first of all, I wish I played like that in college, much less high school. But what the guys are saying about intonation is on the money, I get the sense that you're playing without really hearing what the next note wants to be, without that expectation of pitch. What arco work are you doing?

    It's great that you're playing all of the melodies, I'd recommend learning the lyrics to those tunes that have'm. There are several spots in SOPHISTICATED LADY where you do the "it's just notes, not words" thing of breaking the phrase in awkward spots
    sophisti
    catedlad
    eeIknow

    etc. Knowing the lyric allows you to phrase the melody without strictly adhering to the note values as written but in a way that maintains the flow of the composer's intent. And folks that don't know the words pick up on the awkwardness. It just doesn't sound right to them.
    Likewise on AU PRIVAVE, I get the sense that you're playing the melody from reading notes on a page rather than having internalised a specific Bird recording. If you can get your hands on THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, check out not only the version as released, but some of the out takes. Get THAT in your ear and try to recreate that buoyancy and drive.

    But you're getting the sound out of the instrument, you're articulating the notes (for the most part, there's still some Gomezzing) and, as someone said earlier, you're at a pretty good space for your age.

    Are you familiar with Neal Miner's playing?
     
  11. bassist14

    bassist14

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    Hannah, great playing. i missed one thing: please try to smile sometimes.
     
  12. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    I'm actually a junior, I submitted it to the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. The one for next month is for the Brubeck Colony, and I really want to get into that.
     
  13. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    I'm actually a junior, I submitted it to the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. The one for next month is for the Brubeck Colony, and I really want to get into that.

    Thank you, Ed.
    I actually DID learn the lyrics (that's partially why I picked the tune- i liked the lyrics) but after the first take the pianist told me to embellish the melody more. I think in the process of taking liberties with the melody I lost the lyrics. Good advice!
    I think I transcribed that melody off of a bird album several years ago, but thanks for the reminder...it would be good to revisit those recordings. I've only been checking out other students' representations of it lately.
    What do you mean by "Gomezzing"? I'm afraid that I haven't listened to him enough to know what that means.
    Oh, and as far as arco work... I practice all my scales with a bow and with drones. On another thread we've been discussing how helpful drones are when it comes to improving intonation...not sure anyone has come to a conclusion yet. Intonation I think will improve over time (I hope).
    Not familiar with Neal Miner.

    Not sure if NYC would even be an option for me, money wise-- but I have entertained the idea of MSM, New School, Juilliard. Juilliard seems out of the question, but Kenny Barron told me I should audition...I suppose I have no idea what my level will be this time next year, when they hold auditions. Does Ron Carter still teach there? I thought I saw in an ad that he still does, but I also watched a masterclass he did and he said he'd retired from teaching in the early 2000s...
     
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Didn't Ron Carter retire from teaching in universities? I think that was stated in his book and I think he only teaches out of his home.

    "Gomezzing": check out Eddie Gomez' playing and the definition should be self-evident.

    My advice is in line with Ed's and the thing I noticed most. I wouldn't embellish the melody, especially for an audition. Play it straight but not square. Do it with style and elegance. I would also look at singers and how they present the tune in terms of phrasing. Ella Fitzgerald does a wonderful version of it.

    At minimum I would show the potential judge that "yeah, I know the the fundamental sound by how this song goes", and wouldn't start any embellishment until that's been established. If you embellish and don't do it right, you'll come off as not knowing the tune well - not good. At this point, the judges probably aren't looking to see if you can interpret the tune. They just want you to display that you have the fundamental chops down and if you show them that you got it down like nobody's bidness, I think that'll be far better.

    Something from this vid and your previous one that you did for JamOfTheWeek. It's hard to tell from any video but there's something about your right hand technique that makes me say "I want to hear more meat". Finding that technique that gives you that fatter, fuller sound might help you with getting a better recorded sound.

    Speaking of recorded sound, what are you using to record this? I would also see if you can get something that might offer better quality. Your sound might be wonderful live but using an iPhone to create the vids is going to be a distraction.

    Lastly on your walking: something I got from Matt Wilson last summer. See if you lock with the drummers ride cymbal. Work with him and develop a strong groove. Your walking on this recording the groove is inconsistent and better if you can just pull that into the pocket with the drummer. I would also advise the drummer not to get too trick and just lay it down consistently. Go for the groove - you don't need to him to sound like Tony Williams for your audition clip.

    My $.02.
     
  15. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    Maybe playing the melody straight for the first half, then after the bridge add more embellishment?
    More meat as in more Christian McBride sound?
    I used a Sony camcorder... I didn't use the audio from the camera's mics, but a professional producer set up those mics nearby and I used that audio instead and synced it up with Camtasia.
     
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    I would play it safe and avoid embellishment altogether.

    No not necessarily saying you should focus on emulating McBride. Use what you got now but make it bigger.

    Audio quality prob got squashed because you put it on youtube. Something to keep in mind. You might want to post it with the highest quality playback you can find. Maybe even consider using something else than YouTube, like Vimeo. That might give you better results.
     
  17. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

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    I was required to put it on YouTube!

    Again, thanks everyone for helping me out. I'm amazed that all of you took the time to watch the video and give me feedback. That means a lot!
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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  19. amusicbass123

    amusicbass123

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    Man, I love Neal Miner. Perfect bop language and playing, so inspiring.
     
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Yup and I love Michael Kanan's playing. One of my favorite pianists.
     
  21. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay, my two cents, after all that’s been said, most of which I thought was fair. I’m probably more of a peer than these guys. After hearing you play a bit, I think in some ways you’re ahead of me, and in others, I’m probably ahead of you. In a way, that might give me an edge for how to help you a bit more, because I’ve gone through these things more recently than some of the others.

    First, I think you demonstrated remarkable skill and creativity. Your solos were melodic and ideas followed through. Good use of space and phrasing. Overall, I thought the videos showed good time, good tone, good musicality, and good creativity.

    I think I noticed a few things that you might be able to spruce up for the next application, if you record again:

    As someone else mentioned, I thought your intonation was off a bit at times. One of things that helped me, not that I’m perfect, was to play along with a very slow recording of the melody with the bow. A recording played on piano or Finale or Band-in-a Box will work. I think that worked for me in two ways. It gave me clarity of the pitch of the next note, so I could pre-hear the note before I reached for it. It also helped me dial in just how far I needed to move to get the pitch. Doing that 100 times wouldn’t be unreasonable. The good thing about this approach is that it will help you with the tunes you’re focusing on now.

    I think on some of the recordings, the level might have been set too *hot* because I thought I heard clipping. I like to do a few sound checks and listen to them before I do the final recording to dial in the levels. It could also have been YouTube’s compression as Huy suggested.

    On Sophisticated Lady some of the embellishments to the melody didn’t quite work for me. I think the easiest way to nail an audition piece like this is to transcribe Ella’s or Billie Holiday’s version of the tune. That way you're sure to show them a great phrasing of the tune.

    I think your right hand is excellent, especially for someone who’s been on the upright for less than a year. A lot like Rufus'. One of the things I noticed at the Aebersold camp last year was how much energy Lynn Seaton puts into his right hand. Whether he’s playing loudly or softly, it still has an intensity that most players don’t. Check out any of his YouTube videos to see what I mean. Something to consider.

    Personally, I don’t worry about smiling because I’m concentrating on making music. I say - just be yourself.
     

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