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improvising over changes/playing outside

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by wilser, Apr 12, 2005.


  1. I have been playing for over 15 years, almost from the begining being interested in jazz. I started very early on studying jazz harmony and have a pretty good grasp on the effects and relationship of chords. What I have not been able to do is internalize this stuff so to be able to improvise (solo) over jazz chord changes. Although I can blow a pretty decent solo over chords that are in a particular key, I have a very hard time improvising over changes in the jazz way. I have tried transcribing solos, learning the changes before hand, and still I am not able to go from one chord to the next. It is very hard for me to switch modes (not scale modes) from one scale set to the next.

    I have recently bought Gary Willis' fingerboard harmony book in the hopes that it'll help me, as his method seems (at first, at least) to target my specific problems.

    How do YOU target this concept? I mean, what are you thinking about when you go through chord changes?

    Thanks
     
  2. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Wilser,

    I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I was reading your post and I thought, "Wow, I could have composed the same thing!". I am a music educator and a public school orchestra director; however, I struggle with improvisation. I lived off notes on a page for so long that I feel as if I'm learning a different language when I improvise.

    From what I understand, it's a common problem. When I go to music education conferences there are always classes on how to get students to improvise in band and orchestra. There are several workshops that are offered to help teachers understand improvisation so they can help their kids. Many colleges do not put an emphasis on improvisation. It's a shame.

    I am also working through Gary's book. It's hard work. I have spent weeks on the first few line creation exercises in his book. I am motivated and determined.

    Mike, please help us out.
     
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    First off, Gary's book is great. I just feel that it gets too deep, too quickly.

    There are some unique challenges to soloing over changes, especially for bass players. Over the next few days, I will add a bunch of posts. This is a big topic so, be patient. We can try to get some good info. We'll use some tunes as examples, so get out your real books :hyper:

    Mike
     
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Let's use Blue Bossa as an example. If you need the chart, let me know, I can create a .pdf and email it to you. The first step is to learn the melody. The melody gives us so much information. Too many bass players don't bother learning the melody. If you think of a solo as a theme and variations than you need the melody as your theme.


    Mike
     
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    As you work on the melody, note that the melody is a series of melodic sequences (which you will find in very many songs). Remember the idea of the melodic sequence, it is a very important part of the soloing process.

    Mike
     
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Let's take a look at the harmony. The changes - the first 8 measures are in C minor, the next 4 move to DbMaj and the last 4 go back to C minor. Let me know when you guys get the chart, have a sense of the melody and we'll move on from there.

    Mike
     
  7. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Mike,

    I have my Real Book and I'm looking at Blue Bossa; however, I think I have some different changes on mine. The 8 bar intro shows Cmi6. The A section begins with 2 bars of Cmi6, then two bars of Fmi7. Then comes Dmi7b5, G7#5#9, then 2 bars of Cmi6. You probably don't need me to go any further. Maybe you should email me a version of your chart. Mine is from "The New Real Book" (Sher Music).

    I can play through the melody without a problem. I'm ready to move forward when everyone else is. Thanks for taking the time to guide us through our improvisational issue.

    Sincerely,
    Joe
     
  8. that's the version i have as well
     
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    That's basically the same chart (i was taking about tonal centers)

    Mike
     
  10. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Oh; okay, I gotcha. But, I'm having trouble understanding how DbMaj is a tonal center. The DbMaj. tonal center would include the chords: Cmi6, Fmi7, (Bb7). How does that work?

    Joe
     
  11. I have the old version of the real book, it has the ii-V7-I movement at measure 8. I had never noticed the actual tonal centers in these two sections. Please continue *** LISTENING CLOSELY ***

    BTW, those chord changes on 6 string fretless sound WICKED! helluva intonation excercise as well.
     
  12. actually, it does go with the Db tonal center:

    Cm6: 7th degree of Db
    Fm7: 3th degree
    Bb7: you would think a m7 chord, but I have often seen this degree changed to dominat to stress out the melody.

    Mike, please feel free to expand on/correct this (BUT WOULDN'T WANNA DIVERGE THE SUBJECT THAT WE'RE ON)
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The chord built on the 7th degree of Db is NOT C-6, it's C-7b5.

    Look closer at Mike's post, the key center for the first 8 bars is C minor

    C minor - tonic minor
    F minor - minor iv
    D-7b5 - ii chord
    G7 - V7 chord

    So the progression for the fisrt 8 bars is ALL DIATONIC to C minor

    Then you go where? Eb-7, right? Which is the ii chord of Db major, right? And Ab7 is the V7, right? So you are playing a DIATONIC progression of ii V I in the key of Dbmajor.

    Tonal centers

    C minor 8 bars
    Db maj 4 bars
    C minor 4 bars

    Wash, rinse, repeat.
     
  14. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Thanks Ed. Please give me some time to get to this in it's entirety. It's been a bit crazed. But Ed is right on target eioth the Harmonic Analysis.

    Mike
     
  15. Ed, although you are right and I was wrong about the Cm6, you missed the point entirely. Bassist4Life was asking why his sheet music has different harmonic content than the pages we have, his chords are different on the Db part. I was merely providing information on how these chords also fall on the Db tonality. Most pianists, guitarrists and even bassits will play a Cm6 chord without the 5th, thus it will go well in the Db tonality. I was not providing 7th chords that go on what degree of what tonality.

    My opinion, 100% subjective. STILL!! we digress!
     
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I have both the illegal real book and the Sher publishing version. They are essentially the same except that Sher states a Cm6 while the real book states a Cm7. Measures 9-12 are the same (Eb-7/Ab7/Dbmaj7/Dbmaj7)

    Mike
     
  17. ok, I guess I misinterpreted what bassist4life was saying. Sorry about that. Please, let's continue.
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Wilser, we don't disagree. You're just lost. BASSISTFORWIFE seemed to have missed the first 8 bars part of Mike's post and was wondering why his second chord (not key center) was not Dbmajor like Mike said it should be. He doesn't have BB in Db, he's got it in C.

    If you had a hat, you'd be talking through it.
     
  19. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    OK, so we've round about talked about the harmony, let's be more direct.

    C-7/C-7/F-7/F-7/D-7(b5)/G7/C-7/C-7/Eb-7/Ab7/Dbmaj7/Dbmaj7/D-7(b5)/G7/C-7/D-7(b5) G7/


    Sher uses a C-6 as the tonic chord while the illegal realbook uses the C-7. Since the melody does not contain either an A or an Ab (over the C-), it doesn't really matter.

    The C- is the tonic (I) chord, the F-7 is the IV, the D-7(b5) to the G7 is a II-V in C minor (the G7 might be better or notated as G7b9).

    Okay, now we move to Eb-7/Ab7/Dbmaj7/Dbmaj7 which is just a II-V in Db Major.

    Finally we move back to the D-7(b5)/G7/C-7/D-7(b5) G7/ which is a II-V in C minor resolving to the C and a II-V turn around to the top.

    more in a bit ...

    Mike
     
  20. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I didn't expect things to unfold like this. Sorry for any confusion I may have triggered. I'm just waiting for things to iron out and get rolling again. I've been practicing and memorizing the melody. I was happy when I realized I can play the A section in one position on the neck (10th through 13th fret).

    Looking forward to some good healthy improvisation.

    Joe