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Looking to get into Jazz music (any kind)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by upsidedowner, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. upsidedowner


    Dec 12, 2016
    Hey all.

    I'm a self taught bass guitarist, who plays lots of classic rock, funk, alternative etc. However, I'm looking to get into jazz music. Easier stuff at first, if I can, that I can still learn by ear.

    -I'd like to play stuff that is in less common keys.
    -I'd like to play stuff that can further aquaint me with different time signatures.
    -And I'd like the play stuff that may give me a good crash course in playing "outside the scale."

    Can fit one, all, or none of those criteria; if you feel it will develop my ear for jazz, I want to hear it!

    Any recommendations?
  2. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    There are lots of answers to this question, and they will put you all in different directions.

    I think the best place to start would be Miles Davis - Kind of Blue. If you want hotter jazz, check out Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. If you want cool jazz, check out Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Lester Young. If you want something "different" check out Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk.

    The other issue is that players change their style over time as well (Miles being the prime example). So take my approximations above as that, a generalization by someone who is just getting into jazz.
    upsidedowner likes this.
  3. Bioflava


    Feb 14, 2016
    Grab a Smithsonian box set; I've got a few of these on vinyl and they have taught me a lot!

    Highly recommend this for getting a birds-eye view -- then dive in and find a record by someone you like and trace the sideman. So, for instance, Jimmy Cobb played on Miles' Kinda Blue, and he's also played on scores of other amazing albums that are worth a listen. Enjoy!
    upsidedowner and eJake like this.
  4. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Imo your criteria of getting outside the scale and time signatures are for advanced jazz players. One must learn to play inside the box before breaking out. This is my opinion, some may disagree.

    I love Lester Young, his ability to play a motif over and over varied ever so slightly is so creative. I have transcribed one or two of his tunes and he stayed within the key signature on his solos with only a few accidentals. He doesn't need to use advanced tensions to make his solos amazing. Point being that like the evolution of jazz, it takes your ear time to acclimate to new tensions and how to use them. Analyzing solos against the changes can highlight masterful use of tension and release.

    If you want to learn jazz, go study jazz. If you want to learn to play outside and with different time signatures, study tunes with those properties. If you want to do both, the road is long, but awesome if jazz is your thing.
  5. I agree. Follow the chords working toward a full four note chord. chords autumn leaves on bass - Bing video

    I've been working on Autumn Leaves off and on for 20 years...

    EDIT --- get the jazz real book, its melody in bass clef, but has the chord names you can follow. https://www.amazon.com/Real-Book-Ha...preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
    upsidedowner and eJake like this.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Too many poeple think Jazz is outside notes and odd time.
    Jazz is improvising off of the melodies of pop songs first, complex choices later.
    For improvising to be meaningful you need familiarity with those pop songs and song forms.
    The repertoire can be daunting : With over a century of tradition behind it, the list of standards is loooong
    (there are 6 volumes of the Real Book with hundreds of songs each)

    The best starting place to learn the language of jazz and its song forms is to learn
    12 bar blues variations and rhythm changes in all 12 keys

    Your theory must be at such a level that you understand
    What functional harmony "roman numeral stuff" ( I ii iii IV V7 vi vii(m7b5) )means.
    Check the PDF in my signature for a solid explanation.

    Then look for some top 100 Jazz Standards lists and begin seeking recordings of those.

    Pick a song and really learn it .
    upsidedowner, bkbirge and Jhengsman like this.
  7. The best thing to do is to listen to a lot of jazz first. If you don't know what it even sounds like, it's not gonna work anyway. I don't mean recognizing jazz when you hear it. I mean REALLY listen to it. The progressions, the harmonies. Listen to Freddie Freeloader 10 times straight. For a week. That's a start. Try to find some stuff you really want to listen to 10, 20 or 30 times straight.

    Not to be funny, but there is no "crash course" about anything in jazz. This **** is hard.
    Leo Smith and upsidedowner like this.
  8. consectaneus


    Sep 23, 2016
    I have a six CD ear training course (which I really should have another go at). It culminates with transcribing Lester Young's classic solo on "Lady Be Good" because it is considered very educational.

    I still much prefer the jazz of the '20s and '30s. Especially Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five and Hot Sevens. But probably not what the OP is looking for.
    eJake and upsidedowner like this.
  9. upsidedowner


    Dec 12, 2016
    I really, really appreciate that input. Will be sure to take that into account. Thanks for the recommendation
    eJake likes this.
  10. upsidedowner


    Dec 12, 2016
    You got it. Will do. Adding all these to the list. Much thanks!
  11. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    This is what I was thinking also but I wouldn't have known how to say it. It's my basic philosophy regarding learning music. Master the basics before trying to move on. There is a great video of Bill Evans describing this approach to his brother.

    However, having said that...there are many great musicians who have done it differently. So everyone is different in their learning styles.
    upsidedowner and eJake like this.
  12. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    That was a great example! His phrasing is so nice! I'm with ya on the old stuff, it's less notey and much prettier.
    upsidedowner likes this.
  13. upsidedowner


    Dec 12, 2016
    Beyond grateful for the massive degree of input. I suppose I was a tad naive to the approach, and I certainly wasn't expecting all these responses! Why I never got involved on here sooner, I'll never know.

    However, today is my day off, and I'm diving down the rabbit hole, starting with some of the aforementioned suggestions. Thanks to all for helping me true north my jazz compass. Looking forward to checking back on the thread with some progress!

    Thanks guys!
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Learn Jazz Standards - The Ultimate Jazz Musician Resource

    There's a guy near me that has a periodic 'intro to jazz' series. 3 or 4 players get together and learn how to play half-a-dozen tunes as an ensemble. 10 weeks.
    As a blues player, my biggest challenge was going from 4 bars per change to 4 changes per bar ;-)
    It was hard for me, and that's just the practical side of actually playing an existing composition - nevermind the underlying theory...
    By the end of the 10 weeks I felt like I was starting to 'get it.'
    Go have a listen to 'Oleo' - one of the many tunes based on the ubiquitous 'Rhythm Changes' template.
    Even a tune like 'Blue Monk' which is basically a 12-bar blues form has many rhythmic subtleties.
    It's hard, and easy to get frustrated. At least it was for me. But persevere.
    There is no learning in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the learning zone...
    upsidedowner likes this.
  15. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Speaking from personal experience, sign up for a beginners jazz performance class at a community college. Best decision I ever made.
  16. Evert


    Oct 7, 2017
    Brussels, Belgium
    Listen to the Quincy Jones version of Birdland (album Back On The Block) and read the history of the song and biographies and stylistic evolution of the composer and any single instrumental and vocal performer participating (Wikipedia is a good starting point). You’ll become knowledgeable about jazz in no time.

    upsidedowner likes this.
  17. upsidedowner


    Dec 12, 2016
    Will do!
  18. Evert


    Oct 7, 2017
    Brussels, Belgium
    enjoy !
    upsidedowner likes this.
  19. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Listening, reading about and studying jazz are all very important, but actually playing jazz with other people is what will make you a jazz player.
    Evert, upsidedowner and Spin Doctor like this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 24, 2020

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