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Not good at jazz....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AlphaMale, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Basically a local jazz musician heard me play and wants me to jam out with him, but I have no playing experience with jazz. And he wants to do it publicly on top of it all. I tried playing to some modal jazz songs on my iPod and I wasn't even good at that, it seemed what I played didn't fit. I know I can't master jazz in a couple of weeks but I should be at least be able to get by with the help of a bunch of jazz bassists from talk bass helping right? An suggestions?
  2. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Immerse yourself in the jazz world as much as possible as you can in the next two weeks, then plunge headlong into it. If you screw up, at least nobody dies.

    Also, get a list of somgs this guy might do with you.
  3. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    He wants to improvise I guess. I don't know how to play to get that jazz sound really though. What do you guys do when you jam with other people?
  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    There are very few "tricks" to playing jazz music - it's a more of a discipline than a style. I'm a complete novice at it, but it takes a lot of work to get fluent in the genre. Because of the strong emphasis on improvisation, it requires a lot of music theory knowledge and skill the instrument that's not comparable to many other types of music.

    If possible, get your hands on the charts for the music you are going to be playing and familiarize yourself with the changes. The better you know the music the more confidently you can play.
  5. There are some tips, but no tricks:

    In no particular order: (but listening is #1)

    1. Play as much as possible!
    2. Play along cd's are your friend
    3. Listen to as much jazz as humanly possible
    4. Learn your theory!
    5. While playing, DON'T THINK!!! just let it come
    6. Learn Charlie Parker melodies to get your swing down
    7. Don't overplay (I need to work on this a lot)
    8. Take whatever advice you can
    9. If you make a mistake, keep going
    10. Grab yourself a real book and walk over changes of songs
    11. If you can't sing, learn (helps your ear mucho

    Good Luck and enjoy it beacuse Jazz is amazing!!!

  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I think that #5 is good advice, it's more of an ultimate goal than anything. The goal of becoming fluent in jazz results in the player NOT having to think, but being able to communicate musical ideas effortlessly. This only happens, however, after learning theory until be becomes second nature and developing a strong relationship with your instrument. Essentially, you have to think and work VERY hard so that ultimately you'll not have to think at all. It's all very zen.

    At least, that's how I've come to understand it.
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Also, try to get an idea of what defines you as a player. What did this guy hear about your playing that attracted him? Keep doing that - remember, work on your weaknesses, but play to your strengths.
  8. ferrellcat


    Mar 9, 2008
    one great qoute i remember reading was from zeplins bassist " i just play waht already under my fingers" to paraphrase. any drummer can tell ya that a good bassist: no matter what the genre, can (1) hold a groove, and (2) to follow the anagrhamKeep It Simple Stupid
    i went from playing punk &metal to blues and jazz(ecclectic and improv) over night, by obeying rule 5 above.
    p.s. any time you get the opportunity to jam w/ those in other genres, esp. if their "seasoned" - go for it
  9. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    If you went from punk and metal to blues and jazz overnight, then you're a very talented musician indeed.
  10. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Everyone has given me great advice every single one of them. I am going to try to learn to sing now too, thanks and will check out some Charlie parker songs.
  11. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Take it from me...singing will up your usefulness to your music community tenfold. There are many jobs I never would have landed if I didn't sing.
  12. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    My advice: steal everything you can. Including gear..or wait, sell everything you can...then you'll be a real jazz musician. I think that's right.

    ?!what!? :ninja: :p
  13. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    It's great that he liked your playing enough to make the offer, so you should be proud of yourself. It's hard enough to find decent bass players to jam with amongst the amateur ranks, but even harder to find those who have jazz chops. I play blues/jazz guitar and bass and have been asked to sit in as a jazz bass player the last few years more than anything else.

    There are of course many styles of jazz. Some are easier to play than others from the standpoint of bass lines. If you're going to pursue jazz, you will definitely run into a tune lists that incorporates these styles. Here's how I break it down;

    1) Bossa Nova
    2) Jazz/blues
    3) Standards
    4) Modal

    If you learn one or two tunes in each style, it should give you a good base to start from. You'll obviously have to get the charts. Here are some suggestions;

    1) Bossa Nova - Blue Bossa and/or Song For My Father are good tunes to start with. You can then advance to tunes like Girl From Ipanema and Desafinado. You see that they all have similar feel and rhythm.

    2) Jazz/Blues - Learn a Bb jazz blues. Tunes like All Blues and Freddie Freeloader (both my Mile Davis) are good to learn. Learning to play a bass line over a 1-6-2-5 turnaround is the key here.

    3) Standards - It's endless here, but allot of standards follow certain formats whereby you would play pretty straight forward bass lines over the head (chord changes), and some walking bass lines over the soloing. In this case, I would get a tune list from the "local jazz musician" who wants you to play with him.

    4) Modal - So What by Miles Davis is a great tune to start with. It's in Dm (Key of C) and you can experiment with lines all within the C major scale. Once you've got that down, you can try Impressions which is virtually the same but at a much faster clip.

    I hope this helps you. If you need any of the tunes that I mentioned (and the charts), send me a PM with your email address and I'll fire them off to you.

    Have fun,

  14. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Oh yes Thanks so Much. I'll and see if I can find these songs. I really appreciate it.
  15. You could do worse than try the Dave Marks jazz lessons on YouTube. Everything said so far is just right. But remember there are very few 'wrong' notes in jazz. You can explain your way out of most of them. As has been said This guy has obviously spotted something in your playing so don't try to be too clever too quickly. Just be yourself. Listen to the other musicians, let your fingers do the walking and enjoy it because jazz is great.

    Here's the link to Dave Marks' YouTube pages.


  16. and #12. Less is more
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This is absolutely terrible advice. The point of improvising in jazz is not to able to "explain away" your note choices. It's to make each note a choice rather than a guess.

    But you're right, there are no wrong notes, just wrong resolutions.
  18. Ed Friedland has an excellent book simply called Jazz Bass, the publisher is Hal Leonard. It gives a good overview of different jazz styles with a playalong CD. Try Bassbooks.com for fast shipping. Good luck.
  19. Fair point. I should perhaps have worded that in a different way.:help:

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