Escaping a solo

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by thiocyclist, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    I get asked to solo all the time lately in my jazz band. Usually I'm the last one if not the drummer, before we go back into the head. Sometimes I do great and then choke just trying to get back into the head on the last couple of bars of the form (I don't like to make a big rowdy transition that seems jarring, but sometimes I try to wind things down to resolve everything and it seems to fall flat). What are some good ways to practice "escaping" your own solo to go back to walking bass or the head of a chart?

    p.s.: Oddly enough I have no problems when trading fours, just when I get the whole head to myself and have to transition back into supporting the melody.
  2. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    A slide.
  3. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Play the melody.
  5. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    I like that suggestion - solo, then hit the last bar or two of the head before transitioning back into walking.
  6. simenandreas


    Jan 23, 2011
    I usually like to end my solo at the top! Progress the dynamic from low to high. Do the craziest thing or make a high bend at the highest note. Then maybe a slide back again - yes :)
  7. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I don't know if this will help you, but I think in phrases when soloing; as I'm coming to the end of my solo, I'm thinking about the transition from my last phrase to the first phrase of the head. When I'm able to do that, the notes seem to sort themselves out. Sometimes, it helps to keep a simple device (e.g., a ii -> V change) in your back pocket so the transition requires less effort.
  8. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC

    Jul 8, 2009
    Pulling the escape chord at the right time is an art of soloing..and usually how you end the solo is what people remember. The greatslike Sam jones, Wilbur ware, pops foster, milt Hinton etc etc seems to pull the chord a few measures before and go back to walking...why? I think it gets the whole band and your weld back into the grove. My teacher had me try "pulling the chord" at different beats in the last 3 or four measure just to get used to it. It takes practice and is definitely a skill that can be developed.

    If you pull the chord too late, like in parachuting... You get a "splat" as you hit the ground.... And if you pull too early, folks think you don't know the form.. So keep working on it and listen to YouTube of guys like Sam jones, Larry gales , Percy Heath etc.
  9. No Malarky

    No Malarky

    May 27, 2010
    Spit blood - breath fire - flash pots and lots of smoke...or return to where you started.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
  11. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    That's good too. For example, in a 12-bar blues, you might have your last solo phrase end in somewhere in measure 9 or 10, then walk the turnaround in 11 and 12.
  12. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Why would you want to escape a solo? Just solo endlessly!
  13. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    But then you have to join a Grateful Dead cover band. ;)
  14. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    For a blues like that I definitely agree with your approach and as soon as I heard the last two bars of your solo I was like, yep, that syncopated thingy (the drummer seemed to recognize it right away just like mine would have). Definitely a good one. Unfortunately that doesn't fly as well for me when I try it in swing jazz. I liked your solo by the way and your Ric sounds nice!

    I like the idea of switching into walking 1-2 bars early (I already do this sometimes but not with much finesse). Maybe I'll practice doing it in a few different spots on a couple of standard swing tunes.
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Thanks Man, I just love my RIC. I'm Sorry it doesn't help more with the Jazz music you are playing. I would think that the solo either way should keep landing on the "one" But I play by ear and just hear the notes in my head. Then I try to get them out onto the fretboard if that makes sense.
  16. halfjackson


    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston, MA
    The bass doesn't have the same luxury as other instruments; we gotta go from comping to solo without loosing the groove, and back to comping and carrying the groove, and I think that that last transition back into the groove is the most difficult.

    I would suggest practicing over loops, and try out all of the ideas in the previous posts (slides, turnarounds, high bends (one of my favorites), melody, etc). Incidentally, I find that playing over loops- whether they are one's that you've created, taken from tunes, or whatever- is a great ways to work out tons of different ideas, problems, and what have you. Plus it's one of the most enjoyable ways that I practice.
  17. Couldn't agree more with the notion of practicing with loops.
    There are tons of utilities / apps that make it easy to program chord progressions and the like ( band in a box or iRealB etc..)

    I really like this thread as it introduces me to a concept that really never occurred to me. I'm still pretty green in my Jazz studies. Walking has been my focus though soloing is obviously next. Though as has been pointed out bassists have this active role in the groove that can't be forgotten just for the sake of a solo.
  18. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    Loops eh? Funny, I used to do that for other reasons besides trying to solo. I'll definitely give that a try!
  19. mistahlee


    Dec 15, 1999
    Florida, U.S.A.
    There's a pertinent anecdote in the autobiography of Miles Davis. I'll tell it from memory.

    When John Coltrane was with Miles, every night his solos were getting longer and longer. Miles told him: "John, your solos are too long." "But once I get going, Miles, I just don't know how to end it" Trane replied sheepishly. Try takin' the f*#@in' horn out your f#*%in' mouth," advised Miles. Or words to that effect. :p
  20. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    lol ^

    I actually worked on it a bit (not too much with loops yet though) and the last few gigs have been a lot better. I think my phrasing kind of improved too.

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