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Jazz basics

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jazzman23, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Jazzman23


    Dec 23, 2005
    Hey all,

    Im going into my second year of university, and they have this applied music program where you actually get lessons in your instrument (mines the bass, isnt that surprising). Now, to register for the class, you need to pass an audition.

    I definetly have the skills, I have no doubt about that. But theory wise, I'm stupid. I didn't take music at all in highschool. Basically, I know a few scales, and I'm OK with intervals. I can identify what notes are what pretty quickly too (on the lower half of the fretboard, anyway).

    ANYWAY, ive found out that I should learn jazz for the audition and the class. I know nothing about jazz., other than the fact that it seems complicated. SO, I was hoping you guys could tell me the basics (common jazz chord proggressions, etc) and perhaps show me some sites that would help me out. Or maybe recommend a good book for jazz bass. Thanks a lot!
  2. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Take a few music theory courses at the Uni if you can. I'll be doing that next quarter. If you can afford it, find a teacher to teach you music theory. Doesn't have to be a bass teacher, either. Can be a piano teacher or something, as long as they know theory. The beauty is that you can apply it to any instrument. Having a teacher teach you will make you learn a whole lot faster.
  3. Well said. This is the most important thing about taking theory classes: applying it to your instrument. All the university theory courses I've taken really haven't been too difficult from a theory standpoint--it's when you actually apply it to your instrument when it becomes difficult and even more useful.

    Anyway, back to topic.

    Besides picking up theory lessons, listen to as much Jazz as possible, all different kinds of Jazz. Get it in your ear and in your body. An ear training course might also complement the theory lessons well, too. Just some things to consider.
  4. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
  5. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Get a book on theory and start getting the basics and terminlogy down. Then start working on Walking Bass lines. The Ed Friedland books are good. Walking bass will help you with chord theory and learning to Walk teaches the same fundamentals that you will use to start learning to solo. Main difference between Walking and learning to solo are the rhythms used.
  6. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
  7. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Ah yes, the Abersold books are great!
  8. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The blues, even the basic 12 bar version is a good start for jazz and a lot of jazz tunes are based on the blues.
  9. ding_man


    Dec 24, 2006
    Celina, OH
    I wouldnt say there is anything basic to jazz. Its basically all the rules of traditional music turned upside down. And at the same time.. you don't have to do that. You can study jazz your whole life. Thats why its great. Possibilities are endless.
  10. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004

  11. Jazzman23


    Dec 23, 2005
    yep, ive got the 12 bar blues down....its really easy actually. Now I realize why people love jamming to blues, its so open for improv!

    Anyway, learning jazz is really frusterating. I've got a few jazz cd's, but its so hard to hear the bass well, and it all seems so complicated. There doesnt seem to be any logic or patterns in the progressions. That and I dont enjoy listening to jazz at all. I guess I just have to listen more.

    Could some of you guys list some common jazz progressions? For example, 12 bar blues is I IV V. What are some standard jazz ones? Thanks again for the help. Passing this audition and getting lessons would be amazing, because I'm going to take guitar lessons too at the same time (not with the school), so i'll just become some super-music guy.

    P.S. Im aware my name is jazzman and i know nothing about jazz :D
  12. mstott25


    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    I think for some, Jazz is an aquired taste, like a fine wine. Some people take a liking to it right away but I had to work on it. My first jazz album was Miles' Kind of Blue and I remember telling my bass teacher that it was like listening to an intellectual conversation but not understanding what in the heck anybody was talking about. Something about Cannonball Adderly's sax solo on Flamenco Sketches and Bill Evans sound really made an impression on me and I knew I wanted to play jazz after that.

    I agree that sometimes the bass is hard to hear. A lot of times you will hear people on this forum talk about a great bass sound "cutting through the mix" or having a strong "mid presence". That is important for some genres but IMO not so much in jazz. Many jazz bassists and organists don't care as much about every note being crisp and loud as much as they want you to be able to feel the pulse they are creating. Bass in jazz is heavily relied upon to create a good rythmic foundation and keep the tune swinging. In fact, if you can swing and keep a strong rhythm, you're making great strides at becoming a jazz bassist;)

    There are some CD's that will probably be easier for you to get started in listening to jazz. I'd really recommend Diana Krall's earlier CD's with Christian McBride and Russell Malone. Christian McBride has a wonderful sound and swings so hard that you'll have to remind yourself there's no drummer playing. Also, one thing that really helped me was going out and seeing live jazz. Seeing great musicians in person will change your whole perspective and appreciation for the music. Good luck and enjoy the journey. Maybe for now jazz might not be your thing but I would encourage you to stick with it and keep listening. There's nothing wrong with listening to one cd over and over and over again until you start to recognize the sounds and changes.

    I have just recently been able to get into classical music after many years of not being interested in it. Sometimes it just depends on where we're at personally and everything going on in our lives and there's nothing wrong with that :)
  13. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I am guessing, but I bet this is somewhat accurate...

    The audition is going to be done for a person or people, probably a reasonable person who likes music and really likes people who like music and desire to learn more. Learn what you can about jazz, but be prepared to make an impassioned short speech about the genres you know well and demonstrate your proficiency and talent and talk about your willingness to do whatever it takes to get the opportunity. Don't beg and don't act like you expect to waltz right in.
  14. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    If you are going to do a blues tune for an audition... do it with the bebop progressions please...

    standard audition for a jazz audtion would be...

    standard up tempo be-bop tune... (classics are, anthropology, or some kind of charlie parker tune) play the heads of the tunes, it will show off some chops as well as showing you may have knowledge of some be-bop... also, during your solo, if over rhythem changes, then quote some other rhythem changes tunes...

    a ballad - stella by starlight, something like that... play the head, solo, walk...

    then a latin tune, or a tune that you can play half latin half swing... green dolphin street.. etc...
  15. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I don't know that I'd agree with that. I guess it depends on your definition of traditional music, but I can't think of too many musical concepts that are peculiar to jazz.
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm still trying to reconcile "I definetly have the skills, I have no doubt about that" and "I know a few scales, and I'm OK with intervals...it all seems so complicated...ive got the 12 bar blues down...For example, 12 bar blues is I IV V."

    Almost every school out there has a website that spells out SPECIFICALLY what the audition requirements are going to be. My first suggestion would be to go to that website and print out what those requirements are. Then see how much of that you can do.

    GENERALLY, they're going to want to see some competency in sight reading, playing two octave major, minor, harmonic and melodic minor scales, playing of 4 part chords in arpeggio in all inversions. You may be asked to play two octave altered scales like diminished or augmented. They will want to hear you display some ability to improvise a bass line in a variety of styles over standard progressions (swing, latin/straight eighth, 6/8 Afro-Cuban etc.).

    GENERALLY, they don't care about hearing what solo you've worked up, they don't care about slapping/tapping/shredding, they don't care about (if it's a jazz program) about your interest in other genres.

    If it is a jazz program and you don't particularly like jazz, why the rush to get involved in it?

    Anyway, rather than trying to figure out what "common jazz progressions" are, you'd probably be better served learning something about functional harmony and working on ear training so you can identify (and sing) triads and four part chords and their quality.
  17. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    One very important thing with Jazz is the FEEL!
    So, practice walking bass lines with the metronome on 2&4 and tap your foot on 2&4 as well. It helps the groove enormously and it is something the teacher will look for! This is what I do anyway when I audition new students.

    Hope this will help,

  18. trasser


    Dec 13, 2005
    I got kind of the same problem. I'm going to an audition, and one of the two songs I've chosen to play is a jazz-standard. I've got the walking bass line concept down, but my teacher is trying to learn me something he calls "two-beat". Are any of you guys familiar with that? I think it is way harder than walking bass. Any recommandations for maybe a lessons book or somethin?
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Do you mean a "two-feel" - that's just 2 beats to the bar and is used in a lot of Jazz (esp. Ballads or "Latin") - it can be as hard or as easy as you want to make it - there's also "broken two-feel" which has been discussed a lot round here!! ;)
  20. trasser


    Dec 13, 2005
    I'm not quite sure if that is what I mean (Its probably just my bad understanding of english). The basic of what I call "two-beat" is for example, if you play root-fifth, you will play the root on the first two beats, and the fifth on tree and four. Is that "two feel"? If so - how do I make it more complex than just 1-5? Any suggestions on books anyone?

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