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playing jazz in odd time

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by silk1rep, May 3, 2006.


  1. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    i was wondering how you guys practice (if at all) in 5/4 7/8 11/8 etc.I started playing with a drummer and a piano player who are really into this kind of thing so now i have to play You and the night and the music in 7/8(solo as well),also some brandford tunes like bullworth (funk in 7/4 mostly) and elysium(also some passages in 5/4 and 7/4).This is a very interactive trio so just playing 2-2-3 or 3-2-2 over the 7/8 wont be sufficient,i have to put some more sophisticated divisions in my playing and i've already come upwith some(e.g 2 bars of 7/8 could be played as 1 in 7/4 using quarter notes) but it would be very helpfull to hear how you guys approach odd meters.what kind of exercises do you work on?
    I was listening to "Anything goes" from the Brad mehldau trio,the tune is in 5 and larry grenadier is playing some awesome bass in there so i guess that would be a good example of what i would like to be able to do.But if you have other ideas which apply to 4/4 and are based on imposition of one kind of rythm over the basic 4/4 beat,i would be very interested in those as well.One example would be using the dotted quarter pulse e.g five pairs of dotted quarter notes plus one quarter to cover 4 bars of 4/4 time.I'm new to the forums so maybe this kind of topic has been discussed before I just thought it would be interesting for all to exchange ideas on this
     
  2. jazzbassnerd

    jazzbassnerd

    Aug 26, 2002
    I tend to think in the quarter note pulse that you described. This only works when a song stays in that time signature for a while though. I don't really know how to practice it other that to use a metronome and count, or put accents every X amount of beats.

    As far as different rhythms over 4/4. You can experiement with any amount of eighth notes that add to the correct amount (anything that will add to 8 or a multiple of 8). You can also use things like 5:4 or 7:4 which are interesting once you can count them.

    Listen to guys like Mehldau, lotsa Dave Holland stuff, a lot of Chris Potter stuff, they'll give you the ideas of how to do it.

    Hope this helped.
     
  3. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback!I'm working on the 5:4 thing myself,what i do is to set the metronome at 40 and play five over that,then i set the metronome to 80 so that gives me 5:2 and then set it to 160 bpm which gives me 5:4 ,then i alternate between quarter notes at that tempo with 5:4 .(One measure quarter notes or triplets then back to one measure 5:4).That's one way I found of hearing(trying to hear would be more accurate!!)5:4.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    But what they're doing is playing in the time signature, NOT imposing a tiem feel over the old one. The thing that so many of these cats seem to be able to do is have the same flexibility inside of 5 or 7 or 9 or 11 that they do in 4/4, so that they break up the time in the same way you or I would in 4 - play across bar lines. Sure, it's hard. But the only way I've come up with to work on it is the same way you work with everything else, try to get the SOUND of it in your ear. Play it A LOT, listen to it A LOT.

    But practicing metric modulation is a different ball of wax.
     
  5. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    Thank you very much for your response.I believe it is true that to play in 5 or 7 or 11 one has to "get the sound of it in his ear" as you put it.Discussing the same issue with the above mentioned piano player he told me that you have to reach a point where you no longer hear the five as 3-2 or 2-3 but as a 5 beat pattern,same thing with all odd meter music.In other words dealing with a tune in 5 same as you would deal with a 4/4 tune.Right now,I find that hard to do,I mostly end up playing in groupings of 2s and 3s that dont cross over the barline most of the time which is frustrating considering the amount of interaction that i hear taking place between the pianist and the drummer.Sometimes i will catch a rythmic figure played by the drummer and go along with it ,but most of the times(7/10) i do that i'm no longer sure as to where 1 is.I guess i have to spend more time listening to dave holland and trying to get the sound of 5 and 7 and 11 in my head.
    Metric modulation is something i'm working on as well,it is also a matter of getting the sound in my head(e.g how 5:4 or 7:4 FEELS),i dont expect it to happen overnight,for sure.I'm working on all of that stuff,i feel it's a real challenge that will eventually make me a much better musician than the one i'm right now.
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And just like when you started playing in 4 you had to be somewhat mechanical about approaching phrasing, right? Start out with a three 8th note figure, the pitches can be anything corresponding to material you are playing over (for S & G's let's say we're playing over SOMEDAY MY PRINCE in 5). Play the melody (let's group 3 + 2) through one chorus, on the second chorus improvise using your three eight note phrase starting on the downbeat (1 & 2 3 4 5 ) for a chorus, then a chorus of melody. Don't rush right through to the next step, spend some time. Get to the point that those 3 eighth notes are MUSIC everytime you play the exercise. Then move to one chorus melody and one chorus with the phrases shifted to the "and" of one (1 & 2 & 3 4 5). Wash, rinse and repeat. Moving the phrase through every eighth note in teh measure until you finally have an exercise that you are improvising the phrase starting on the "and" of 5 and going across the bar line.
    THEN the exercies becomes
    1st measure phrase starts on downbeat
    2nd measure phrase starts on "and" of one
    3rd measure starts on 2
    4th measure starts on "and' of 2
    5th measure starts on 3
    6th = & of 3
    7th = 4
    8th = & of 4
    9th = 5
    10th = & of 5 which puts you into bar 11
    SOooo
    12th = back to start on 1

    This gets you hearing how phrases sound when you start (and end) them in different parts of the bar. Sure, it's a short phrase, but as you are improvising you can start linking together these short phrases, plug in more notes and more rests AND linking your line by hearing melodic note choice over/through the harmonic material, you start spinning longer melodic phrases.

    THEN when you hit a phrase that sounds particularly good to you, you can do a permutation of the exercise - starting this longer phrase on every 8th note in the measure AND taking it through all 12 keys.
     
  7. jazzbassnerd

    jazzbassnerd

    Aug 26, 2002
    Ed-

    I've never thought of practicing odd time like that. Or for that matter practicing 4/4 like that. My teachers have been telling me to try to get my phrases to start in different places and be a varied length, and I think that exercise will help.

    I just wanted to say thanks. That is a great idea.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And not mine, it's something I got from my teacher and he got it from Lennie. But it is something that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to playing.
     
  9. jazzbassnerd

    jazzbassnerd

    Aug 26, 2002
    Tristano I'm assuming?
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yeah, Joe studied (and performed) with Lennie in the late 60's. He's also played with Sal Mosca, Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz and Jimmy Halperin, among others.

    The great thing is that he also studied with Julius Levine ( and some woman whose name I keep forgetting; it's neither Orin O'Brien nor Linda McKnight), so he's got a great foundation for physical approach too.
     
  11. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    Ed thank you very much.This is great practise material.I honestly can't thank you enough.This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for .For the last couple of hours I've been practising various rythmic ideas over 5/4 but i didnt focus on soloing at all.So this gives me something to work with and it does make perfect sense,it resembles an exercise i do for phrasing in 4/4 but I think it's the deceiving simplicity of playing just three notes that is going to help me immensly.I'll get to work right away!
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    De nada.

    The ear and sensibility and vocabulary and wit that informs your solo line is the same one that informs your accompanying line, right? The line that "seperates" the two is really tenuous to me.

    If you haven't already checked it out, I HIGHLY recommend a Lee Konitz record called MOTION. The bassist, Sonny Dallas, plays nothing less than a quarter note melody behind Lee throughout this record.

    The only real difference between a solo line and an accompanying line is how you inhabit the musical space.
     
  13. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    It is true that one's overall musicality is involved when playing an accompanying line and also when soloing.Yet,i believe there are certain restrictions that a bass player has to face when accompanying someone's solo.When I said i worked on some rythmic ideas that were not relevant to soloing i was refering to that.
    Unfortunately, i dont have that particular Lee Konitz record but I will definately try to find it now that you recommended it.
    I'm studying your exercise ,I think it's great ,would you happen to have any recommendations as far as tempo is concerned?I'm using quarter note=104.
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I tend to like to start pretty slow, generally qnote=60bpm. It's a pretty nuanced exercise, so I don't like to really push through it. I want to make sure I'm really listening to the line, try to be as musical as I can. maintain an awareness of the melody, of the harmony or the line I'm creating and the pulse below everything.

    I dunno, I hear what you're saying about "restrictions", it's just the longer I play the more it seems to me that there really aren't any restrictions other than the demand to respond with what I'm hearing, in as musical a fashion as I can make. If I hear and mean every single note I play (in its context), my response is going to be musical. No matter what it ends up being, rhythmically and melodically.

    At least, that's what I'm aiming for, even if I don't hit it every time....
     
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, hey I just saw that you're in Athens. I did a boat gig out of Piraeus in '79 and there used to be this little jazz club in the old part of town up near the Acropolis, it seemd like it was in an old house or something.

    What's going on jazzwise in Greece these days?
     
  16. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    You're probably refering to the "Baracos" bar,it no longer exists.Basically there are two jazz clubs in Athens with live music every night,one is called "Parafwno" ,it has been around for 25 years,the other one just opened a couple of years ago,it's called"Guru".There is also the "Half note" which brings artists from all over the world,not just jazz artists though.And a couple of other places as well.John Pattitucci is coming in a couple of weeks,I saw Greg Osby play at the"Half Note",Pat Martino was also here some time ago,Birelli Lagrene as well.The only problem with the scene here is that,as opposed to the Scandinavian countries,we never had any major american players coming here to stay for a long time so we never benefited from their kind of experience and knowledge of the music.Yet,more and more people are going abroad to study music(I went to Berklee myself) then come back to Greece and form their own bands so I think that slowly but steadily the overall level is rising.If you ever decide to visit do send me an e-mail I could show you around.
     
  17. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    Also,I have a question regarding your exercise.It's in 5/4 qnote=60bpm and not 5/8 qnote=60bpm, do I have this right?First bar Bbmaj7 would be 5 beats with the f in the melody sustain on all 5 beats with qnote=60?I dunno,it's kind of hard to "feel"the 5 when the tempo is set at 60bpm.But I will give it a shot tomorrow at that tempo as well.
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    PRINCE in 5/4, quarter note=60bpm. In 3, the first two measures are a dotted half and two dotted quarters, right?

    In 5, the harmonic rhythm "doubles" (well, not quite) up, and the FIRST bar is (to all intents and purposes) the first TWO bars in 3 SOOOO
    dotted half and two quarter notes (which gives you the 3 +2 breakdown we typed about earlier, right?)

    OR
    // Bb \ \ D \ / Eb \ \ G \ // etc. Clear?

    Thanks for the invite, I'd love to get back over there. I really dug some of the islands - Patmos, Santorini. There was a little bar on Mykonos that I always had a fantasy of having a steady gig at; you walk in and there's a big picture window facing west with the sun setting and a Steinway baby grand under the window. The owner was (apparently) some sort of legit pianist and hated jazz, so it woulda never happened.
    Still nice to think about...
     
  19. silk1rep

    silk1rep

    Apr 26, 2006
    Ok,that makes a lot more sense,I obviously misunderstood your initial instructions.I still find it much easier to do at qnote=108 though!.
    Sounds like a nice place,the one at Mykonos.I played a gig there the previous summer,it was just for one day though,we played for some models(!) in a very beautiful small hotel.The stage was right above the swiming pool.I left my bass unattended for 3 minutes and the strong wind crashed my music stand right on the bass' neck!Ouch!I can still remember the sound it made.Nothing serious happened to the bass but it still has a dark spot on the back side of the neck.
     

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