jamie aebersold play-along CDs: good or bad?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by superphat, Oct 23, 2001.

  1. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    hi all.
    just wondering,
    who uses the jamie aebersold series?
    what do you or don't you like about them?

    i used them as a kid while learning saxophone, but don't really have fond memories of them, although i feel like it might be pretty useful for bass, especially since i could transcribe some of the lines...

    just wondering what everyone else's experiences were with them...

  2. Some of them are great. I have one called "Bird goes Latin", and it's good fun.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think they're great for practising - much more fun to actually study tunes and if you're just jamming with people - you can give them all the parts. I mean like if I had several days I could possibly (yeah right!) transcribe the sax/trumpet parts and write them out in concert as well as Bb and Eb!

    I think they're wonderful for rhythm section players as well, as the CDs have such great players and you can hear their approach to playing Jazz tunes. So like Volume 18 has some great Horace Silver tunes and the players are Kenny Baron - piano, Ron Carter - bass and Al Foster on drums!!

    Mostly though I use them for practising solos - I like to try to play solos on electric bass just like any horn player; but usually in live or workshop situations - everybody stops when it comes to the bass solo.:( It's nice to be able to blow over a "cookin" rhythm section!!
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well yes, they've done about 90 or so now; so I'm sure there must be some that aren't so good. I suppose a lot of people buy them mail order, but I like to browse through and look to see who's playing - if it's somebody like Rufus Reid or Ron Carter and it's some material that looks interesting, then I'm usually prepared to take the risk.

    It's great for me to build up repertoire as I'm coming to Jazz after many years of just playing rock/pop and don't have the same background as most of the people I play with. Of course if you have the chance to build up this repertoire with a "real band" then theres' no comparison - but it's just a question of knowing what you wnat to get out of this. My view is that the Aebersold sets I have "carefully chosen" and purchased, have been incredibly good value in terms of the use I have got out of them.
  5. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    well, i was young, and impatient, and got bored playing over a CD. i guess i was blessed to have a lot of bright "young lion" type musician friends at the time, and it was more fun jamming (albeight badly) than to actually practice over a solid rhythm section.

    i can't remember which CDs/LPs i had exactly, but definitely All Blues and the II/V progressions one.

    but now that i'm more committed to excellence at my instrument (only been playing bass for 1 year now) i thought those play-alongs probably would have some good material for me.

  6. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    hey ed,
    i just noticed on your profile, you played with leon parker... cool!
    he's one of my favorite percussionists.
    some of my friends have played with him too.

  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One thing that sort of sucks for bass players is that the Aebersold CDs don't have anyone playing the heads or solos, just the rhythm section, so you lose the sense of backing up a soloist. You do get to interact with the drummer and the pianist, hopefully THEY could hear the solos :D

    As long as you're willing to transcribe the lines (you said you were) they could be of use since only a few volumes have bass line transcription books available (and those are extra, not included with the original package).
  8. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    haha. yeah, i remember Auggies from when i was 18, studying jazz sax at MSM. great "dive" hangout... we pretty muched lived in that place for a year or so... Smoke is actually nice now - trying to be posh - i was there a few times last year.
    yeah, i don't know about the atlanta scene, i just moved here 2 months ago. but i grew up in the bay area, most of my friends went to Berkeley High School... lots of cats came out of there, Benny Green, Dave Ellis, Josh Redman (though i didn't know him well), Teodross Avery (now with Lauryn Hill) etc.
    as for atlanta, i do know of a Danny Harper, who's the older brother of Philip and Winard (i jammed with them a few times back in my sax days), i think he holds down some sessions somewhere.

    uh, back to the play-alongs... yeah, i guess if i'm not feeling lazy, i should be able to get some serious usage out of them... transcribing, getting deep into the songs and trying to reharmonize with the bass track turned off, etc.

    thanks y'all.
  9. ED - Whew, hard to get my breath I'm laughing so hard at the coincidence. Yeah, I know what Gary's doing, he's leading/writing for a quintet doing original music with Afro/Cuban rhythms. I'll see him tonight when we rehearse.

    As far as Atlanta goes, the number of guys trying to gig who can play jazz has increased at least tenfold, but the number of gigs has only doubled.

    Phat - You can usually find some good players at Churchill Grounds (next to the Fox) and I think they still do a jam night.
  10. Ok, EDIE, taking this private.

    phat - Back to JA. Along with the other tips, here's something else to try .
    A practice technique that brought me a lot of surprises was something I learned many years ago at an Aebersold clinic.

    Todd Coolman made us sight sing along with a transcribed Ron Carter bass line and a play along record. Using this at home, I would sight sing a particular tune with either a Carter or Reid bass line, then make a tape for the car with the same tune repeated. On my way to work I would sing along with the tape.

    After doing this for a while, you can sing the line and the harmonic and rhythmic variations get internalized. I would then learn the line on the bass to get it under my fingers. I was amazed how quickly this stuff started showing up in the other tunes I was walking, no thought or analysis needed.

    If you are good at transcribing, you can do this for yourself from whatever bassist you like. And of course when you transcribe it yourself you get the additional benefits from that exercise.
  11. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    thanks joe,
    that's an interesting suggestion.
    yeah, i kinda started out transcribing at an early age, just on my own, so that's natural to me, and i hum along to certain riffs here and there, but never tried it as part of a regular practice regimen.
    i think i'll give it a try. those play-along CDs will probably be a good place to start, since the basslines can be highlighted by panning.
  12. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm glad someone mentioned this. I wish they made a series for rhythm players. This is my biggest gripe, although I do use them regularly, and find them very helpful.

    Some of the arrangements are weird. Also, I prefer the font and "four-bars-per-line" (usually) standard that a "Real Book" uses over Aebersold's.

    Overall, excellent books. Excellent developmental tools. The fact that they're affordable is added bonus.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, I Think the point is that in Jazz everybody solos and especially bass players. I tend to use them mostly for practising solos as I mentioned. My Jazz tutor expects an interesting/melodic solo every week on the tunes we do - no excuses. Besides I usually get a lot of practice supporting through the changes when everybody else is soloing. ;)

    I think Jaco was right also when he was asked for one piece of advice on his instructional video - he mentions playing tunes and bemoans the fact that most bass players don't learn the head, just their own part and that this one thing would improve their playing.

    We have discussed this at Jazz classes quite a lot - the fact that most great Jazz players put their soloing and playing ideas in to the heads they wrote, so if you want to play solos in the Jazz idiom, then you need to study and play the heads of tunes written by the "greats" - to see how they did things like soloing across barlines, howthey resolved lines etc. etc. My view is the more you can get through the better and this series helps a lot.
  14. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Excellent point.
  16. I have "Rhythm Changes in All Keys" and it's great. It also has varied tempos and feels. I need to spend more time with it, but I can see rewarding changes in my playing as a result of working with this CD.
    Now if I only knew my fretboard better, why I'd be.........better!!!