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Passed a milestone today...

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Tom Lane, Feb 12, 2018.


  1. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I've been grinding Rhythm Changes for 4 to 6 weeks now, for the THIRD time... and today, it clicked: Playing along to iRealB I was able to hear my way through the changes without a chart.... in... musical ways. I believe that my subconscious finally absorbed all of my transcriptions and was able to piece the fragments together into coherent, but truly improvised, wholes.
    Truly, a milestone for me. RC, competently, was a tough hoe for me.
    So now, I think I can pass the Rufus test. What's next? Passing the Hearle test - every sub ever.
    Back to the shed!
     
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    And now for something completely different . . . maybe jump around a bit.

    How about something more modern? "Up Jumped Spring?" "Beatrice?" Really take a leap, "How My Heart Sings?"
     
  3. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Tom - where would you send me to find a recording that I could listen to and hopefully learn more about this classic? I don't have any training in jazz, and no formal bass training. But, I understand the importance of this Gershwin tune in the legacy of jazz. I can find plenty of videos on YT of various people/bands playing the song, but is there one source for something more attuned to the bass?

    And of course, congratulations on achieving a goal - I'd like to know enough to be able to just recognize the goal, let alone get there!
     
  4. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    First, I'll pass on John Goldsby's advice that he wrote on post #8 of the TB thread Practicing Rhythm Changes, quoted below for your convenience. John goes into quite a bit of very helpful detail, IMO, about the harmony of the tune, and his advice to first learn the melody is my policy as well. These days, I learn to play the melody everywhere practical on the DB, and learn to sing the melody first. If I can sing melody and play the bassline, I'm very pleased with myself, but it takes a fair amount of concerted effort in most cases for me to be able to do that.

    As to your specific question, recordings: John mentions that version of Moose the Mooche he did, and that's a really killing band with skyscraper-like swing and once John starts walking he lays down the harmony of the tune just as you'd expect from such a master player. In that same thread John also recommended this 1962 Bud Powell recording, which is also a great example and the bass line is remarkably present and easy to hear in the mix.

    Here's a recording John Pizzarelli made where he sings the tune fairly straight and his guitar work on the head is very instructional about the harmony of the tune too.

    In this case, I didn't transcribe any basslines because it wasn't necessary because there are plenty of transcriptions and examples available. Mike Downes' book has 12 transcriptions and I'm pretty sure John Goldsby's and Rufus Reid's books have at least one transcription of their playing. In my case, besides playing the changes ad nauseum trying to find my own lines, and listeing to recordings, I memorized three very different lines and played them enough so that I can sing those lines. Then, yesterday, I stopped playing what I memorized and lo and behold, I found that I have internalized many different ways to render the harmony.
     
    redwookie and bass12 like this.
  5. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nope, not me. These days I'm working on my musicianship and instrument technique so the tune I'm playing is just a vehicle for improving; moving on too soon abandons my momentum. Next on my agenda for Rhythm Changes will be soloing the changes all over the board, trying to build 3 choruses where each chorus builds on, but is more exciting than the last. Not sure I'm up to it, but I'm pretty sure there's value even in just trying.

    Edit: AND I'm not through practicing the bassline today for umpteen million choruses... as so many of our performances are... 8 choruses for 6 players... 48 choruses and hopefully no two are the same! Today's practice revealed that I have indeed internalized the changes but have further to go because I lost my place a few times and... the revealing part is, I struggled to get back on track. When I play a blues, probably tens of thousands of times at this point, I still rarely slip behind or ahead of the usual changes but it's not an issue because I adjust within a measure or two and the blues, like RC, is a malleable harmony, so no harm.
    Go deeper... now, if Lynn Seaton just had James Earl Jone's voice...
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  6. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Tom,
    Thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer, and for all the time you spent digging up the information. I apologize for not using the search function. It simply didn't occur to me.

    With the help you've provided I think I can make some progress. I'll listen to the recordings and try to follow the charts you and Mr. Goldsby have provided.

    Thanks again.
     
    Tom Lane and Steve Boisen like this.
  7. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    My pleasure! In that same thread I quoted, another Tom prodded John with questions and wanted to thank him. John's response was to ask THAT Tom to "pass it on". Different "Tom" but same idea. I consider that a mandate and the least I can do for all of the great, generous advice I've received, particularly for John Goldsby's contribution to jazz bass the past 30 years. When you achieve your goal, you'll know what to do! One of the greatest things about jazz culture, IMO; knowledge is in no way priced as it should be and nearly everyone is uncharacteristically generous.
     
    Lee Moses likes this.
  8. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Thanks for passing that info along, Tom. I've been working on Rhythm Changes myself over the past few weeks so this is very timely.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  9. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Did someone say "Rhythm Changes"?
    Here is JC's version of Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait", which is Rhythm Changes in Bb, and the Bridge is.....Rhythm Changes in Eb!

     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    gerry grable and Tom Lane like this.
  10. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Leave it to the Kasper to remind me of all of the variations I need to master when I haven't even got the basic changes down! JK. Added to my practice schedule, thanks!
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  11. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  12. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Another "moving me forward" practice today. I again worked on my RC changes and I think it pushed me in the right direction and I was pretty happy with my playing... better than many... but today, I mostly worked on playing the blues in F; focusing on multi-quarter triplet runs, where I'm weakest. Eighth notes, good. Pickups, good; but those multi-quarter triplets... end too soon on the 3, end after the one on 2... not Rufus, Goldsby, or "you're great jazz bassist here". Three triplets from F to Bb, 3 or 4 triplets from F to Bb, triplets in the turn around to the top... but, I'm gaining on ya! Better be scared because I'm gonna STEAL your gigs next year -- LOLS!
    In all seriousness, my studies only further solidify my admiration for the giants, both dead and living.
     
  13. Beats passing a kidney stone! :woot:
     

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