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The pitfalls of jazz

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ThuzzleFump, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015
    I am working on my sight reading, and have been playing out of a "beginning" Jazz book to get comfortable with more of the fretboard and challenge myself to hear in new ways, too.

    But darn it, it's hard. There are so many crazy notes and weird harmonies that I can't always be sure if it's a mistake while I'm playing.

    Ah well. In a couple of months I'll wonder why this even seemed hard.
    Shortie likes this.
  2. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    Really running though the scale modes is what made the biggest difference for me. That and some piano exercise books that are supposed to (and do work) program your ear to hear the tonal relationships.
    ThuzzleFump likes this.
  3. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015
    Yeah. I know I'm making it trickier by trying to learn two things at once. But I'm making progress and I'll stick with it. Thanks for suggestions.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Which book are you using?
  5. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Make sure you listen to lots and lots of jazz. You'll pick up on it.
  6. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Different mindset. Active listener kinda thing. Coolest thing is the choices to respond rhythmically or tonally, or both.

    yeah all the flatted 9ths and sharped 5ths are challenging, but it comes down to the same gig, building context.
    Joebone, ThuzzleFump and Shortie like this.
  7. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Banned

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    Classic jazz advice: If you make a mistake, play it again and play it loud.:D :bassist:

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  8. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Banned

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    I've studied quite a bit and done a lot of exercises. But I always come back to the same point: You can make anything work (Monk proved that incontrovertibly) - the point of learning the technicalities is just to show you what's out there to play, and explain to others the direction you're headed - not what you're actually supposed to play.
    ThuzzleFump likes this.
  9. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Banned

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    That never worked for me. I had to sit down and learn certain things from the books before I could pick up anything from listening. And I'm still not very good at it - I don't have the head or the feel for playing decent jazz, even though I love listening to it and I listen a lot. Maybe if I had studied it seriously 30 years ago....
    ThuzzleFump likes this.
  10. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015
    Love the comments, both serious and tongue-in-cheek, as mine is both as well. Book I am playing from is Walking Bassics by Ed Fuqua. It's pretty simple stuff, I guess, though new to me. Curiously, though I bought it new, it smells strongly of roll-you-own style tobacco. Assume that makes it jazzier.
    BlueAliceOasis likes this.
  11. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015
    Oh, and C and F flats always throw me. I mean, I get it, but the simplifier in me says "Um, that's B and E, innit?"
  12. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Take the opportunity to think of the role the note is playing in the key, and it usually makes more sense.

    Remind yourself that if you're struggling a bit but still able to get it with some effort, you're making progress!
    Bassist4Eris and hintz like this.
  13. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015
    Yep, and thanks! Agree, if not struggling from time to time, not challenging self.
    yodedude2 likes this.
  14. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    For each chord change, look at what he is doing and analyze it. Then look at the whole line, and see how he fit that chord change into the context and movement of the whole line. Still, sometimes folks do weird things over chord changes to make a bigger walking line "more melodic," but I'd imagine anything in a beginner book should be straightforward.

    I always taught budding jazzers to put roots on the beat of the chord changes then fill in the notes in between working backwards from each change. Every change is led up to. It can use chromatics, led to from up or down, scale tones from the current change, or any number of ways. Mix them up and make the whole line rise and fall and you have a walking bass line.
    Bassist4Eris and ThuzzleFump like this.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Mmmmm, free monomers....
    Anyway, if you have any questions about the book, lemme know!
    ThuzzleFump and yodedude2 like this.
  16. See if you can find backing tracks for the progressions or standards. Hearing the rest of the harmony and the melody will make everything make sense. IME
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The book does come with a playalong CD. Just sayin'....
  18. Cool, I might have the check this out. Also I think it is great that the author is accessible and offering to answering questions!!
  19. ThuzzleFump


    Nov 15, 2015

    I love the book. And yes, the CD does help. I was trying to grit it out with only the music to build my reading chops. :D

    I'm masochistic that way.
  20. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Good suggestions above!

    In addition, I would suggest learning the songs of the "Great American Songbook" (Gershwin/Porter/Kern/Mercer/Rogers/etc.) While you are driving around town or working out, listen to recordings of Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. singing the iconic "standards."

    I found that the "crazy notes and weird harmonies" didn't sound so crazy & weird, once I had learned the songs.
    Bassist4Eris and Remyd like this.