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Getting started with jazz. Please assist.

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by OmniPaul, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. OmniPaul


    Jan 5, 2004
    San Jose, Ca
    Recently, I joined the jazz band at my high school. However, I have no idea how to play jazz. The band director said that I don't need to know anything about jazz to join and that they would show me. However, I thought it would be a good idea to get some basic knowledge so that my learning from them would be that much easier.

    I'm currently playing in the school's symphony orchestra and I have a pretty okay grasp on music theory.

    Can anybody help me out?
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Make sure you look at the newbie links at the top of this (Music Theory) forum. There's been lots of discussions in the past and sample articles posted that you can read. Also do a search on some books. Looks like peops tend to go for John Goldsby's book or Rufus Reid's Evolving bassist book. I just found that Goldsby's book covers the list of important bassists in the past and present quite well. Most importantly, get lots of jazz cds, listen like hell. You can find recommended listening in the Recordings forum.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    As HEKNOWSDIDDLEY said.....listen, listen, and listen some more. That's the starting point. I still do it every day.

    Do you have anything like Cirrus radio, or something comparable? If so, just tune it to any of the jazz stations and leave it on while you're going about your business. You'll learn a lot by osmosis this way. Or, you can log on to a great radio station, like WBGO, and listen online.

    My entire early jazz education came from my dad and Minnesota public radio. I spent every night 'til 2:00 AM with the headphones on, listening and learning. As an extra advantage, it got me used to the hours that I now keep as a working bassist ;)
  4. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    Patterns for Jazz by Jerry Coker, et al. Kind of a do-it-yourself book for jazz theory.
  5. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    The LA public radio station KJAZZ (KKJZ) broadcasts over the web, check them out at www.kkjz.org . 24 hour jazz and blues (mostly Jazz); I listen to it exclusively in the car (my beat-up old bass-transportaion wagon has no CD player), and often at home via the web.
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    KCSM in San Mateo is good too. http://www.kcsm.org/jazz91.html

    EDIT: One more thing, I just realized that MANYPAUL is in San Jose. Paul, do yourself a favor - drive up to Berkeley and go to Amoeba Records on Telegraph. They have a huge used jazz cd selection from $5-10/per cd. Load up on Ron Carter, Ray Brown, NHOP, Dave Holland, etc. etc. and listen to them til your ears bleed.

    Amoeba has been indispensible for me. It's scary cuz I live about 20 min to the nearest one in SF and I usually end up walking out with 10 jazz cds every time I go there. Sometimes if you're lucky you'll find out-of-print stuff too. Another place you wanna keep your checkbook away from if you fear your old lady. :D
  7. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid....

    The studio I do most of my work at is directly opposite the Hollywood Amoeba records - I'm considering just having them deposit my checks there, to cut out the middle-man.

    And you guys don't help....almost every day someone here suggests another essential CD to buy, and fool that I am I go across the street to find it. :(

    So my advise is...tread carefully and carry a large check-book.
  8. klepto

    klepto Guest

    Nov 10, 2004
    eh... Paul Chambers

    btw... there is Streetlight in San Jo and i believe Rasputins is still in Campbell
  9. OmniPaul


    Jan 5, 2004
    San Jose, Ca
    Thanks, all
    I'm really enjoying all these radio stations. I've yet to visit Amoeba Records, but I'm looking forward to it.
  10. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay

    for practicing jazz by ones self, try Band-in-a-Box from pgmusic.com

    inputting chords takes seconds and you are up and ready to practice with a virtual band. you drop parts out as you wish, so you dont have to play bass against the built in bass player.

    there is a free demo, its cross platform and there is a great deal of jazz resources built in.

    i use it it everyday. i play my scales against it and then use it to back me as i work on my solos.

    this is better than sliced bread!



    try it on for size!


  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Coupla things.
    1. This is a high school jazz band. The vast majority of music you will be playing will be arrangements that have been written for high school jazz bands with players who haven't played a lot of this music before. So the vast majority of arrangements will help you by writing out the notes the arranger thinks might sound good. For better or worse, the majority of time you are not going to be "playing" jazz so much as "reading" jazz.

    2. THEORY AND READING - good, now you can see how much has actually made it into you ears and under your fingers. For the minority of charts or portions of charts, you may be given a series of chord changes with hash marks below them (one per beat) with the expectation that you will IMPROVISE A WALKING BASSLINE over these changes. Here's where the LISTENING TO RECORDS part comes in, you should have a vague idea of what you are trying to accomplish with a walking bass line - PROPEL THE HARMONY. Not DEFINE, you don't want to merely arpeggiate the chord change, you want to choose notes that give the bass line motion from one chord to the next. If you play in the symphonic ensemble you probably haven't had much chance to play chamber music, take a look at the Bach two and four part inventions. Watch how the bass voice moves through the harmony. You have the same opportunity to use motivic development, linear or horizontal development, chromatic development etc. to build this sense of forward motion through the harmony. So how do you make the decision about which note to use?

    Those things on the side of your head would be a good choice. If you've been working on arpeggiating 4 part chords and working on sight singing and ear training, NOW is the time to start using those tools. When you hear one chord move to the next, what quarter note melody is making its insistent voice heard? What line sings itself to you, what are those notes?