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basic jazz?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Shoonk, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. hey everyone;
    I just got off the phone with the music teacher at the boarding school I'm going to on Sunday. He says they lack a bass player for their jazz band and wants me to join. Hes offering me free storage of my bass and amp in the music room (safe and locked) and the credit for music aswell. The only problem is, I've never played jazz before! I've been playing alot of ska latley, and some altrenative/punk stuff, but mostly ska. I was wondering if you could quickly help me with some easy jazz basslines or jazz songs to get into, just to ease me into the jazz feeling.
    Thanks so much!
  2. Hey man! sounds like a great opportunity, you should grab it with both hands! Don't worry about not having played jazz before (we've all been there, done that!) - heres the trick...

    The Trick To Playing Jazz:

    - play a note that sounds really good, and keep playing it until it doesn't sound good anymore, and then play a different note which does sound good, and keep playing it until it doesn't sound good any more etc. etc... ;)

    Seriously though, keep at it - and above all else LISTEN to jazz, and get a feel for what other people are doing - if you have a reasonable ear, you'll be surprised as to how quickly you pick it up - the main thing is to be willing to learn. In my opinion (particularly in the early stages anyway) timing is more important than choice of notes - if your timing is REALLY good, then a few flubbed notes don't really matter and are more acceptable - ie. you're not going to screw things up if the rhythm keeps going. As you learn and get more experience, you will choose the right notes, and there you are - playing jazz!!!

    - Wil

    PS: Oh, and get a GOOD teacher...

    PPS: Ask your teacher what music you'll be expected to play. Get a copy of the Real Book (contains many of the "standards" which jazz players use - there are at least 3 vols plus a number of others published by different people) - Volume 1 is a good place to start. How's your reading? Reading is quite important if you're going to play with other people!

    PPPS: er, um - that's it for the moment...
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In jazz band, you'll be doing a mixture of straight notation reading and making up improvised lines over chord changes. For the straight up reading, you'll find some links in the "Theory Links" thread in General Instruction. For building basic lines, you could try applying the concepts mentioned in this article:


    to the chord changes you find in the jazz band charts at school. Remember, line building is an artform that no one will ever completely master, so go slow and don't get discouraged if it seems hard at first...just keep at it.

    Good luck.
  4. thanks Wil, just one question, is that you in that picture? i like your tie. haha no, serisously..i have about 3 and a half days until I meet with this guy for an audition for jazz band....I need serious help!
  5. another problem I have is that he wants me to read music very quickly...I can read music just VERY slowly...all I have is my piano therory book and a couple of notes my old bass teacher taught me!
  6. There is no shortcut to reading. My advice would be try to read everything you possibly can. I don't know your listening habits, but I've found that by getting the score or sheet-music to a piece, and following it as I'm listening to a recording can help. Other people may suggest other things -

    3-and-a-half days, eh? - man that's pretty short notice. Well, you could ask him what to prepare, on the other hand, he could be doing this just to test you. Again, I would say be enthusiastic - enthusiasm can really help...

    - Wil

    BTW - yes, it's a picture of me - and thanks for the compliment!
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Have you been doing many walking lines? Some ska lines (such as many by Matt Freeman of Rancid, for instance) are put together in the same way as a walking jazz line would be, but the feel is completely different.

    It'll be very tough to get it down in three days, but not impossible. As Wil said, rhythm and feel are far more important for the moment.

    If your teacher is any good and he sees that you can play, it won't matter, because he'll see your potential and be willing to help out.
  8. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Basic swing charts that i can think of-- letsee-- "all of me," "days of wine and roses," "autumn leaves," "a foggy day"...
  9. well...i leave tomorrow morning...hopefully my rommie wont mind if a i practice a bit on monday or sunday night before my audition, thank you for all your help, i dont know when i'll be back online, but i'll check in and tell you how it goes.

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