Come talk to me about jazz please

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I want to be a jazz bass player amungst other things. I don't have many people to talk to I'd like to hear peoples ideas, tips what ever.

  2. bcarll


    Oct 16, 2001
    Well I am new to jazz myself but I think what you need to do is get some jazz CD's and discover what type of jazz interests you. You might be drawn to the old standards or maybe into modern "free jazz". Either way you need to listen to the music as much as possible then either get a teacher (suggested) or get a great method book that will show you step by step the intro to the world of jazz music. Note reading study is a must! Scales and modes a must! Arpeggios and chord study a must! Learning walking styles a must! Don't think you can run before you walk (PUN) But seriously these are all techniques and studies that are used in bass support for jazz music. I have probably left out some other important lessons or techniques so forgive me. Just don't get discouraged my friend you have a lifetime of study ahead of you whether you are 20 or 80 years old you will never learn it all but you can be a great bass player none the less.
    As to what method books to acquire I personally think Ed Friedland has the best teaching books that can be had. There are others equally as good so you'll just have to search around to find them. Some of the greats in the business have excellent method books available. Also don't forget to do a search right here on TALKBASS for some info on jazz -- some of the best in the business have great suggestions and sudy techniques to offer for free so look around but get used to hearing "get a teacher". It really is the best way to go but you can learn a lot on your own just takes longer and you'll never know if you have been doing it right or wrong or if a better fingering technique would be better. Hope this will get you thinking and just remember to practice some everyday. The five minutes you only took today to practice may be the day that you aced the scale you have been trying to play for days. It happens that way. All of a sudden a light goes off in your head and wham you nail that progression you have been frustrated with for so long.
    Keep the faith - don't get discouraged- and remember that a wealth of knowledge is available at this site as well as others. This is the best though!

    Good luck

  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    It's time to get a teacher.

    Go to some jazz clubs in the area and approach the bassist on a break, or after the final set. Ask him/her if they know any good bass teachers, for jazz, in the area. Start there.

    You can supplement your learning with things like listening. Listening is extremely important. Buy as many jazz CDs as you can. Also some good books are Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and any books in the line of Jamey Aebersold. (Do a search for Aebersold here at Talkbass and you'll find some good threads talking about his different books, (there are probably around 80 or so out there).

    But first and foremost, I suggest to find a teacher.
  4. I'm no jazz expert, not even close, but I have been actively playing Jazz in a Jazz Band for the last year, and though the transition wasn't easy, I've gotten better at it through a lot of practice, and a helpful friend or two.

    I haven't been able to find a competent bass teacher around my area, so unfortuantly I've had to depend on the greats like Charles Mingus, Jaco, and the bassists for big bands and the like.

    First off, you will want to know your chords/patterns inside out, and the scales they were made out of. Start small, with majors, Dorian, Myxcelidion (sp?), than go to 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and so on.

    Learn your modes, and learn how to walk. Definatly get a bass book on Jazz or something.

    After you got you're basics down, hang out with other jazz players, but different instruments, especially more experienced ones. I've learned more about jazz bass from a trumpet player than I have from any bassplayer (though I wish I had a good bass teacher to help me along.)

    But its often useful to see the side of the story from another instrument. I learned how to transition from one chord to the next smoothly as to not interupt a solo pattern, and how to keep the melody going through a simple walking bassline.

    Alot of jazz isn't "bass only" stuff, its applied to every instrument. So make sure you understand how the bass is USED in Jazz, just like you understand how its used in Rock, and any other form of music.

    But just incase this is to long for you to remember exactly, just read this.

    Learn to Walk first.
    Don't get too complicated until you fully understand you're theory.
    Learn your Jazz scales (Minor Blue Scales, and even Major Blue Scales) and your bebop scales.
    Don't be afraid to hit a "wrong" note, follow it up with a "right" note and it'll sound more authentic than Louis Armstrong.
  5. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    I'm relatively new to playing jazz myself, but I think I can offer some general advice...

    As mentioned , you should get a teacher, who can show you how to do and how not to do. If you're completly new you should probably get used to a very important thing in jazz.... triple-meter contrary to most rock/pop/funk which is felt in duple-meter.. You feel two 8ths like a dotted 8th and a 16th , instead of straight 8ths.

    Also, learning chords and chord tones is a must... as well as scales... although I'd say learning how to build chords is more important (scales aren't that hard after you get the basic concept)......

    Well anyway a good teacher and perhaps a few books on the subject is to recommend... good luck

  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Not to be a naysayer here, but Nay. It's a pretty common misconception that the swing eighths are felt as dotted eighth and sixteenth, but that's duple feel, not triple. Two 8ths should feel like an 8th note triplet, with the first two notes tied.
  7. smakbass

    smakbass Smakkin basses for 25 years..

    Aug 6, 2002
    Vancouver Canada
    Mostly just listen to some of the greats and you should get the feel, Jon is right about the triplet thing. Also learn the melodic minor and all the degree's (modes) of it. The melodic minor is used all over jazz.....
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    ...and this only gets you barely inside the front gate of the ballpark. :)
  9. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Ok I suppose you're right (not that the diffrence is that huge). Anyway I think one thing that is often a bit overlooked is rhytm in Jazz... working on getting the 8ths right as well as the quarters (which takes long time, I suppose).
    It's a lot of talk about chords and scales etc. but what's really important is to have the rhytm foundation down.....
  10. Jazz is a state of mind. One doesn't merely play it, one lives it.
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The difference is huge. It's the difference between swingin' and not swingin.

    You got that right, brother. Way right.
  12. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Do any of you jazz guys use effect pedals to give you jazz a little something extra I know Jaco used a chorus pedal, a Wah and the fuzz of his amp but not sure if it was jazz he was playing.

    Ideas for some cool tones in jazz with effects guys?
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Well, I use a Cerebral Harmonizer and an Aural Melodicreator on most gigs. With both units, I find that if you set the "Ears" control to 11, everything works out just fine. :)
  14. Have to agree. We could be talking a Swing Jazz vs. Blues Jazz just by the space in the triplet.

    Have you tried the finger maximizer or the anti_bow_squealerator?

    Both great products.
  15. Bah, ignore what I said bout that, and listen to Ed, he knows MUCH more about jazz/bass than I will ever learn in my lifetime(actually, I see myself being a fairly competent bassist sometime in the next...oh, 20 or 30 years.)

    And about the Swinging Notes, remember that (as I was taught) that Jazz was almost a way for the musicians to say "screw you" to classical European music, giving themselves a new flavor. Thus a wrong note here and there was acceptable, because it added to the "dirty" sound of the Blues or Jazz. Its a matter of FEEL.

    Some things you can't learn through a book, and the Swingin 8ths are something you have to listen and then FEEL. Don't know how to explain it more
  16. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I learnt a lot with ol' Ray's method.

    Excellent book, especially for a starter in jazz.
    It'll help you building walking lines, undrstanding chord changes and navigating though charts.

    I don't find jazz harder to play than any other style.
    Just different.
    You really need to take this binary beat out of your mind and think ternary. Usually difficult for former rock players.
    Minimal theory is required. Understanding the way keys, chords and modes are related.
    Reading helps a lot, because you won't find tabs for jazz, which would be pointless because the fun is in building your own lines.
  17. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Well..... I don't think my dotted8-16th and triplet thingie sound that much diffrent (to me its swing 8th notes). Anyway, I guess what I was trying to say is , if you're reading jazz music you should keep in mind to always treat the 8th notes (and they usuasally are written as regular 8th notes) and not play them straight. I suppose that could be a mistake a beginner could make ...?

    I think that feeling 2 and 4 also helps this ....
  18. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Standard jazz
    Jazz funk
    Contempory jazz
    Jazz fusion
    Modern jazz

    and can you give an example of a song or artist or something for referance

    Thanx in advance
  19. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Standard jazz => there is no such thing as standard jazz. In people's mind, it usually reffers either to bebop (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey & the Messengers, ...) or New Orleans Style (Dixieland, Sydney Bechet, early Louis Armstrong)

    Jazz funk => typically Maceo Parker, but apart of him not that many people use this term. It could fall either into jazz rock (Headhunters, 70s era Miles Davis) or fusion (see lower)

    Contempory jazz => Eeeeh. Jazz made nowadays ? I guess anybody from the ECM label, like Keith Jarret or Pat Metheny would fall into this category.

    Jazz fusion => The jazz equivalent of progressive rock. It started in the 70s. Magma, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report are the main fusion jazz bands.

    Modern jazz => This is not a musical style. It's a dance thingy. It reffers to ballet dancing jazz, opposite to the old couple dancing jazz. Watch Fame to get the idea.

    Of course and like classifications in any other style, frontiers are not very well defined. THere are tons of other eras, styles and sub styles.
    Other people may have different ideas about those.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think you are right, but he could be referring to "Jazz Standard" which is a commonly-used term?

    So there is a core repertory of "Standards" - tunes which a full-time Jazz pro would be expected to know without sheet music and would be able to improvise over freely.

    The more of these tunes you know, the more it helps you at gigs/jams and in terms of progressing as a musician, as they often involve concepts which are essential to an understanding of Jazz, as well as ideas that you can use in solos.

    This is the way most of the greats learned Jazz - bu playing standards and listening to what other musicans did with them, then re-working them.