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Soloing for jazz?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ugly Cassanova, Mar 25, 2003.


  1. I just join this small 8 person jazz band, and it turns out i've gotta solo for both songs that we are playing.
    One of the songs i've gotta solo for like 1 minute and a half.

    Does anybody have any good licks or ideas how i can make this solo, or evolve around it?

    The long solo has a latin feel, the song is Freddie Hubard - Little Sunflower.

    The other song we gotta play is Charlie Parker - Now's the time
     
  2. :eek: If I may be blunt, that's a pretty long solo for someone who needs to ask how to do it? Don't get me wrong (I'm not trying to put you down or anything like that), but if you're unable to work out a solo in your head, on your own, you're headed for trouble. "Good licks"? I could give you a few but I'd have to know what you're able to handle beforehand. Also, I'd have to listen to the tunes 'cause I don't know them off the top of my head. I'm sure you'll get some ideas from the other guys here... but my point is.... try to get your solo part shortened to about 40 - 50 seconds max.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Judging by the length of time you mentioned, I'm guessing you're soloing over the entire form of the song (32 bars).

    The first thing you have to do is learn to play the melody of the tunes. You have to start by knowing the framework around which you'll build your solo. The melody will do that for you.

    Once you know the melody (actually, stating the melody on your instrument is a good way to start your solo), you can start to embellish it.You can play scales or chords. I suggest you practice both. Learn which scale goes with each chord and play the scale over the changes. Also make sure to arpeggiate the chords

    For practice, you can record yourself playing your usual bassline and play the scales and/or arpeggios over the recording. Between your knowledge of the melody, the chords and the scales, your fingers should have a pretty good idea of where they should go (hopefully). Chromaticism (connecting scale tones through half steps) is your friend but don't abuse it.

    Try to keep a theme going through the solo so it doesn't sound like a mishmash of loose ideas. Start simply and elaborate. A good solo is one that lets people know what tune is being played even if the melody is not plainly stated.

    Of course, you can also listen to recordings of the tune to hear what other soloists did and steal some of their licks and ideas. It's nice to emulate the phrasing of a horn player, meaning you should put some space between musical statements. Solos that are all eights notes are really boring.

    "Little Sunflower" is a beautiful tune and fortunately the slower one of the two you mentioned. If memory serves, it's just two chords. Remember to go to "D" at the right time.:)

    "Now's the time" is a little trickier, but as with a lot of jazz tunes, the bassline can double perfectly as a solo when the horns are not playing.
     
  4. Wow, thanks so incredibly much, i am looking forward to the concert.
     
  5. Little Sunflower is one of my favourite jazz tunes. All the above advice is good, particularly the bit about remembering to mark the change from Dmaj7 to Dmi7 (ie; the top), and the bit about starting off the solo by stating a portion of the melody. This is cool, because the listeners have just had several minutes of soloing from other instruments, and it serves to remind them (familiarity) of the melody.