Real Book Fun!!

Discussion in 'Rocket Music' started by RocketMusic, Jun 5, 2010.


  1. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    VroomVroom and PlanetEarth have inspired me to get more serious about the technical side of things, so I've decided that I'm going to work on my reading by working through my Real Book one tune at a time. I'm going produce a recording of every tune that I can make some hay with, just to give myself some kind of goal. I'm definitely not what I consider a jazz guy, so I hope my efforts don't rub any jazz purists the wrong way. It's certainly not my intention to insult the art form, I'm just taking whatever tune and making it mine. And I hope in the process that I might inspire some of you guys to do something to make your own playing better!

    So the first tune in my Real Book is Duke Ellington's "African Flower", AKA "Petite Fleur Africaine". Duke played it as a somber latin ballad, and it's a ridiculously gorgeous piece of music. I decided to make it swing, and I took it from the cool early 60's into the fonky 70's with a little wah-wah and phaser. So much for beautiful :)

    "African Flower" performed by me!

    I'm not overly concerned with the final output. Obviously I want to make it sound good, but I'm mainly looking at this as an exercise in learning to read. This first project has shown me that something I thought I had under control (knowing all the notes on the freboard) is not quite there. This tune is in the key of Gb major, so there are a LOT of notes put to use that I don't normally use in my rock/blues work. Gb? Where's that? :rollno: :help: :D

    As for the recording, this was all done with my personal fretted Roscoe, my Alembic F1X preamp, my Lexicon Alpha USB interface, and Sonar Producer 8.5. All of the effects (verb, wah-wah, phaser) were added in Sonar.

    Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" is next...
     
  2. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom

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    Nice, Greg! Totally dig the arrangement. Very nice take on the melody. Now, when do we get to hear you blowing over the changes? :D

    Technical? Ptthhttptt. Jazz purists? Kack. It's all about good music. Keep bringing it, man! And I can't wait to hear what you do with Afro Blue. Actually, I really can't wait to hear what you do with 500 Miles High, but there's a lot of great music between now and then.
     
  3. Bipslapper

    Bipslapper Well Ahoy, Paloi Supporting Member

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    Gb- isn't that short for Genz benz? :rollno::p

    Greg, so nice to have a vendor that interacts with his customer base so well. I am so glad I bought a Roscoe, spoke with Gard and came back to Talk Bass after a few years absense.

    Really do appreciate all your (labor of love) work. Songs sound great, bass sounds great and bass player is outstanding. Keep up the good work. Now, off to bed so I can start reading music again tomorrow! :hyper:
     
  4. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey, thanks, guys! This was a lot of fun.

    I guess I should hit the B section and make a complete tune before I move on... but the B section is crazy!! :eek: :rollno: This blues-rock dude is looking at it and saying "wha?!?!?". And Mingus eats that stuff up!!

    And blowing over the changes is something I should at least try. It would be nice if I could pull it off, won't know 'til I try! The A section is just a glorified minor blues. I should be able to pull it off... the V in the first turnaround has a flat 5, and the V in the second turnaround has a natural 5. That's the kind of crap that adds aural interest for the listener, but my gosh it's a pain in the butt for the player!! :rollno: :D
     
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  6. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    You know, there's a lot going on in that clip that I couldn't have dreamed of playing 3-4 years ago. There's a melody with some rhythmic and harmonic strangeness to it (not much, but some). There's a harmony part to the melodic strangeness. There's a rockin' little 4-bar intro improv. But I think what I'm most proud of is the chord part I laid down.

    As written in the Real Book, there were some conflicts between some 2's in the melody and some 3's in the chord chart (which is really only a problem in the "Bass Orchestra" sort of setting where the two notes end up side by side in a very unpleasant fashion). So I turned a bunch of minor 7th chords into 9th chords (playing the 2/9 and flat 7 instead of the flat 3 and flat 7), and that cured it. The old me wouldn't have had a clue how to handle the "ewwwwww"... heck, the old me might not have even heard it! Jerry actually pointed out a similar situation to me a few weeks ago on a different tune, so I was prepared for this situation. Thanks again, Jerry!
     
  7. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    And aren't those drums sounds incredible? I'm amazed that there's so much touch variability available. It really sounds like a guy sitting at a kit playing on 2 and then going to 8 and pulling back to 2... but that's all computer, baby, no drummer in sight! And, really, doesn't that make for a more pleasant evening?!? :ninja:

    Just kidding, of course, if your name is George Penn, Jr. or Rick Godley!! My two drummer partners in crime! :D
     
  8. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    You're kidding, right?

    I think I actually played that bass at Bass/Nature Camp. Don't ask me why Victor had it, but he did... That might be as close as I get to doing that tune justice :) Holy crap!!!!
     
  9. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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    Very cool stuff Greg, very cool!
     
  10. David A. Davis

    David A. Davis

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  11. PlanetEarth

    PlanetEarth

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    This is an awesome idea Greg - and inspiring!!! To echo Jerry, it's all about good music. More specifically, as you grow and mature with your playing, i.e. musical maturity in the way you hear and approach things - everything else follows along and falls into place out of necessity. FWIW personally, anything my hands can do only came as a result of scrambling to keep up with my mind/ears.

    And since you're headed for Afro Blue, here's a little inspiration for ya.

    John Coltrane Quartet- Afro Blue

    -PE
     
  12. ubone

    ubone

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    So very cool Greg... Nice job. I'm looking forward to hearing more. Perhaps I should start doing the same with the Charlie Parker Omnibook for bass..
     
  13. fesem

    fesem Supporting Member

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    That really does sound great, excellent bass work and I also thought how good the drums sounded when I heard the track. I look forward to hearing the B section and hopefully this will inspire me to follow through on my plan when I worked with Cameron quite awhile back which was to start working with the real book to try and get some jazz chops and improve my reading, you know faster than one note every few seconds, and my ear.
     
  14. Cameron Mc

    Cameron Mc

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    so very nice. i expect greg to give me my pink slip here any day now. I want a BUYOUT!
     
  15. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom

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    This will be a really fun thread to keep up with over time. Ahh...Greg, I see you're discovering the joys of Real Book changes. Sometimes they're spot-on, other times....well, not so much. Wait 'til you start tearing into Monk tunes. It's always fun to piss off piano players by discussing the bridge changes to "Well You Needn't." :D
     
  16. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    Don't let me be the only to play! By all means, everyone is welcome to work up their own favorite tune(s) and post it here!

    Me? I don't listen to much jazz. I've dabbled with Miles and Coltrane over the years, but never seriously. I don't really have any favorite jazz tunes, so I'm just going to go one tune to the next starting with the A's.

    I think there's something extremely valuable about learning the ENTIRE song (lead lines, chords, AND the bass part). I suspect that for most of us, all the stuff other than the bass line is the hard part. But learning that stuff can really inform your playing of the bass.

    By the way, for anyone wondering how to get a Real Book: here ya go.
     
  17. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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    Right, the Real Book, its a song book in propper notation, of a lot of jazz standards, right?
     
  18. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, that's the one. Really only the lead lines are notated, the chords are just named over the staff. So you have to come up with your own chord voicings and bass line... which is REALLY fun, but also really challenging for someone like me who is currently more "bass player" than "musician".
     
  19. tZer

    tZer

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    This really is a great idea!

    My 'Man Card' will probably get revoked for my next statement, but I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" with my wife recently (here's my card...) - the crux being the main character was working her way through Julia Child's cookbook one recipe a day for a year and blogging about it.

    Add to your mission - blogging about it - and there ya go! A daily standard session and a post session blog to describe what you learned, the challenges and so forth... Really good idea.
     
  20. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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    Very cool, I'll have to pick one up when I can, sounds like a fantastic learning experience, though, I wouldn't call myself a bass player, much less a musician, so it'll definatly be hard!
     
  21. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    Sensei Cameron suggested there would be value in hearing this with no FX on the bass, just to hear the bass sounding like a bass. So here it is!

    It does make me stop to say "Dang, my Roscoe sounds good!!" :smug: :D
     

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