Discussion in 'Ask Rufus Philpot' started by Alex, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Well, here I go just wanting to make the first thread in a new forum again. :D But here's a question that's been on my mind lately;

    When you imporvise, what approach do you take; More arpeggiated, scale-oriented, or chromatic? Something else? Is there a best way to do it for each situation, or just what sounds right? I have always improvised more within a scale, but have recently started peppering my improvising with some chromatic stuff after an improv clinic at the NT jazz festival.

    also, do you always/usually get back to the root on chord changes, or just keep playing as long as you are in the right scale? I have trouble getting back to the root sometimes.

    Any tips or words of wisdom?
  2. rufusbass

    rufusbass Skype Bass Lessons Now available.

    Sep 10, 2005
    Los Angeles
    hey there Alex..
    So-improvising....this is an involved topic, but to answer you q's briefly-If you have a sequence of rapidly moving chords, which are generally diatonic to one key center, then one can use the parent scale ...i.e.
    C min7, F dom 7 , B flat maj 7 , E flat maj 7 #11,- i.e in this case , ALL these chords could be viewed as belonging to the parent key of B flat major. HOWEVER- dominant seventh chords in particular lend themselves to extensions easily-i.e. sharp ninths,flattened ninths,flat fifths, etc, etc, so I always feel if you have time in the solo, it is worth being able to imply some element of that.
    Equally, chromatic passing tones are very effective at creating tension and release and indeed " forward motion" to a line....Some good texts on the subject include: Chord Studies for trombone- pub. by Berklee press (also available for electric bass.) But i would get the trombone one-it doesnt have fingering suggestions-you have to work your own out-MUcH better! Charlie parker Omnibook-superb and cheap too.......
    Gary Campell has superb jazz theory books-and the Jazz Theory book by Mark levine is probably the greatest single reference book on the subject you can buy....
    Transcribe solos!!!!!!!!!!!!! (As i mentioned in the interview)
    Study with either a harmonically advanced bassist or find a pianist/guitarist to study with-seriously-try a few lessons combined with the above stuff.
    I also do correspondence lessons , should that be of interest too....
    You can contact me about that direct here:

    Hope these answers are of some help-its a HUGE topic, but those texts and hints will help you, I promise.