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Learning Jazz

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by ajbass, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. This is my first post; scold me if you must. I'm a junior in high school and for the past three and a half years a have seriously studied classical double bass. I've played in local orchestra's, a chamber group and have learned many of the classic solo's (right now finishing Dragonlady and starting Koussevitzky). I love the bass and hope to be a performance major in college. This summer my family purchased a fully carved Lascala from Arnold Schnitzer and I've been playing it to death. I've been starting to learn the bass parts for Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue", and was wondering what other albums would be good to learn. I want to start gigging with my friends and was looking for some pieces to help get a jazz foundation. Any reply would be helpful.
  2. Cantaloupe island is one of my favorites...Blue bosse is a timeless classic..Gotta love Sidewinder and totem pole...Confirmation and Yardbird suite are always fun..Just to name a few. Hope this helps.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Scold you? I'd rather shake your hand. You seem to be right on track, including your choice of bass. :smug:

    You might want to look at some recent threads in the Recordings and Bassists sections. There's a lot of info there if you're industrious. You can familiarize yourself with a lot of the greats in the field of jazz bass. Google is also helpful, maybe try a "jazz bass" search. You'll probably run across names like Ray Brown, Oscar Pettiford, Rufus Reid, Dave Holland, and tons more just to get you started. All these guys have recorded the basic library of jazz hits that you might want to check out. Look for the Real Book and all the variations on it. Jamey Aebersold's playalong CDs might be of interest to you. If you have some type of satellite or cable music service, check out the hours of classic jazz that they air 24/7. Finally, continue to ask lots of questions here at TBDB.

    Congratulations on a great start.
  4. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Sounds like you are off to a great start!

    A great bassist to get going with is Ray Brown. Especially like his CD We Get Requests. Has many familiara types of songs you might do in gigs. Another classic CD, maybe not so much for gigging but just to hear some great jazz would be Miles Davis' Kind of Blue with Paul Chambers on bass. Those two CDs I have listened and listened to and seem to form a kind of foundation for jazz listening.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  6. This is a very understanding group here, and scolding just ain't gonna happen.

    Great names have already been mentioned already. I find that it's kind of difficult to narrow it down because you could just go for straight instrumental classics, or you may want to weave in some "standards" that often involve a vocalist.

    The opportunity to play such songs may not be likely at your stage of the game, but it can't hurt to know tunes like Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (and such a list could on forever... just look at a "Real Jazz Standards Fake Book").

    Lots of guys like to take those tried and true standards (that most people know) and extrapolate on them instrumentally. Such songs tend to be a great launching pad. And at some point, if you end up in a situation where there's a really good vocalist, you will be that much more prepared for that gig.

    You're on the right track... Do it when you're young; absorb as much as you can, because around age 40, you're gonna start to realize that music (and opportunities) like that happens in cycles.

    Now, as far as recordings, the Aebersold stuff is great because it is so clear, unlike many jazz recordings where the quality of the bass sound is very indistinct. It may seem a bit "canned" but great bass lines are to be had.

    Lately I've been enjoying live recordings by Neil Swainson, and Brian Torff, (both with pianist George Shearing), and even the Christian McBride stuff with Diana Krall. I play primarily by ear, so the better the recording quality, the happier I am.

    It will be interesting to see what others in this most informed and diverse group have to offer for you.

    Best regards.

  7. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    Ron Carter has a DVD out of one of his gigs. I know it is avaliable at Netflix (www.netfilx.com) and am sure other places. Your profile is not filled out so I (we) have no idea where you are located. It sounds as though you are well on your way.

  8. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    Let us know where you are so the other players near you know who's going to be taking their gigs soon. ;) :)
  9. Thanks for the replies. I picked up the "All Bird" recording that Ron Carter plays on and am learning the lines. Thanks again for the help.
  10. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Learn the melodies too.
  11. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    I think that is reffering to the Drgonetti concerto :)
  12. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Get some Abersold standards recordings; the All Bird is great and there's some good ones on Ballads and Standards

    good beginning tunes
    Autumn Leaves
    Tune Up
    Blue Monk
    Satin Doll
    Time After Time
    Girl From Ipanema (I know, I know)
    Alone Together
    Body and Soul
    Rhythm Changes
  13. I believe learning jazz lasts forever. It is good to start young ! Get yourself the "Real book" and play all you can. Get yourself books like "Expanding walking bass lines", and "Concepts for bass soloing".

    There is one thing I love to do that is very pedagogical. Get yourself CD's or DVD's of with your favorite bass player AND the lead sheet of the songs they are playing and try to follow what they are thinking, the way they are approching the song. You'll learn what they do, what they avoid, and with time, what YOU want to do with the songs you play.

    I am trying to do that with Gary Peacock now, with Keith Jarrett trio's Standards 1 and 2 on DVD... These guys are mad wizards (read "incredible players"). I find Bill Evans easier to "follow". Resist the temptation to learn songs of Mingus for a little while, he is the crazyest. You don't want to start with Scott Lafaro too, he is awesome, but very unconventionnal.

    By the way, even if "Kind of Blue" is one of the greatest jazz classics, I don't beleive there is so much to be learned on bass of it. Once you can play the riff of "So what" (I play it in lowered thumb position) and a blues in 6/8 (All blues), you might wanna look elsewhere.
  14. Crocau,

    I like your "mad wizard" label for Mr. Peacock. He reminds me of a Zen master type of instructor who, if you're good enough, will be able to transfer his knowledge to you through osmosis, or something. He sure doesn't articulate things very well. But man can he ever solo. I continue to go back to his tape as I proceed on my journey.

    I gotta check out the Jarrett Trio DVDs you mentioned.

    Good words of advice, all 'round!

  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Sidebar: A friend of mine from the Pacific Northwest asked Gary, shortly after he joined the trio, what it was like to play with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, expecting some deep and profound answer. Gary's reply was "Pretty f***in' great!"

    How Zen can you get? ;)
  16. Har! That classic phrase that sums up so many things.

  17. Does this not have its uses in acquainting one with the basic form and changes of the tune? Not to say that the sheet should be memorized by rote but I think it could provide the necessary traction to begin the journey toward enlightenment.
  18. You made good points. I think a bass player must learn to walk before learning to run (pardon the pun). Some legendary bass players are doing more than the standard stuff. So they are good advanced learning, but not basic.

    You may find a lot to learn in the albums you wish. I am no musical pedagogist, but I like to follow sheets while hearing songs. These things are just what I like to do, and I feel that I am learning while doing that.

    Ajbass will be the judge of his level and of what he wishes to learn. I have seen bass classical virtuosos having a real hard time playing any jazz, the transition is not easy for everyone.

    Let's focus : What do you do to teach yourself bass ?
  19. freemole

    freemole Supporting Member

    May 24, 2003
    Pick up "The Jazz Bass Book" by John Goldsby. It's a great resource with short histories of players, listening suggestions, examples and explanations of their styles, transcribed lines and solos, exercises and more. It also has a CD with great stuff on it.
  20. Good advice and comments all over here. I´d like to add that interaction with your fellow players is the fundamental thing in playing jazz. You can´t learn that by listening to records and learning and analyzing lines from the book.
    So start playing jazz with your friends as much as you can. Listening to them and learning together with them by playing will get you further.
    And welcome to TBDB.