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What practice etudes, tunes/heads are you currently working on?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by JGoldberg, Aug 21, 2012.


  1. JGoldberg

    JGoldberg

    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY
    I figured it might be fun to share the love.

    I'll start the ball rolling with Kary's Trance by Lee Konitz and Dreams by Lennie Tristano. They are both fun heads to learn and the phrasing is a bit challenging. Right now I am using them as warmup exercises.
     
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    The Sorcerer - Herbie Hancock, Speak Like a Child.

    Hancock's solo. So far, the head and 5 choruses. I believe there are 14 choruses total.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Working on the head to "Hot House". Gonna run it through all 12 keys hopefully soon.

    I'm prob going to have to plunge into Donna Lee after that. DL in 12 keys will be a bitch.
     
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Personally, I don't see the point in learning a tune in 12 keys - maybe a couple. What are the odds of someone calling Donna Lee in A Major? It's slim enough to have anyone call that tune anyways.

    It'd be like learning Mozart's Violin Concerto in G Major, then in every other 11 keys, when it's only ever performed in G Major.

    Anyone here ever been asked to play Oleo in Db?

    I'd move on to learning MORE tunes in standard keys. You will get PLENTY of practice playing in many different key centers that way. And, in the future, you will find that you will be able to play in non-standard keys quite easily - if called upon. This is usually when you are backing a singer.
     
  5. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Learning heads in all 12 is a great exercise. Learning to effortlessly transpose standards for vocalists? Priceless. These days much of the best work is with singers, and many of them either don't have proper books, or have a rep that extends beyond what one can fit in a book. Worthy of note- there are *some* singers who call stuff in weird sharp keys. Groan.
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Plus, you don't do it for other people, you do it for yourself. And, for what it's worth, pretty much every standard that gets played a lot gets called in all kinds of different keys. It's kind of a filter....
     
  7. Jonny Mah

    Jonny Mah

    Nov 9, 2009
    Toronto
    I have to say that some of the most valuable practice I've done over the years involves learning bebop heads in every key. The point is not that you'll ever be asked to play Donna Lee in B, but you'll know it far better in the original key if you know it in every key. I've also found that this practice helps to internalize things melodically as opposed to a shape on the fingerboard that is kind of 'non transferrable'.
     
  8. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Apparently I am out numbered. Although, I find it hard to believe that the "learn-all-tunes-in-all-keys" disciples, have actually "learned-all-tunes-in-all-keys". It theoretically sounds like a good goal, but in reality, hmm...

    I agree that it is a filter. A useful one? No.

    I'd rather learn 12 tunes well, than one tune in 12 keys.

    Maybe a gig where the audience selects the standard and the key?

    Bottom line, it's your time, use it wisely.
     
  9. Taking a time-honored standard tune through all keys (changes and melody) is particularly valuable to an intermediate player. 1. It forces the player to address weaknesses in certain keys and 2. helps reinforce common chord progressions which are seen in many tunes/keys. In my experience this practice leads to learning tunes faster and more completely. Is it necessary for every tune you want to memorize? probably not.

    Back on topic, my warm up right now is my recently completed transcription of Dave Holland on "Conference of the Birds". Trying to improve my 5 and a beautiful track to do it on. not a monstrous chops work out but gets me thinking.
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, I dunno. It can pretty effectively clear a bandstand of detritus...
     
  11. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Learning to effortlessly transpose standards for vocalists? Priceless. These days much of the best work is with singers, and many of them either don't have proper books, or have a rep that extends beyond what one can fit in a book. Worthy of note- there are *some* singers who call stuff in weird sharp keys. Groan.[/QUOTE]

    These days? It's always been that way with singers. And you can add name as in some name singers who call wierd keys and have lousy charts, or (really fun) no charts at all.
     
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Now you have no band. No paycheck. But, as the last man standing, what do you know now. Hmm...

    Backing singers. sure know a lot of standards, and as I initially stated, in a couple keys.

    I'm not interested in chasing gigs with singers that sing in weird sharp keys that have no charts.

    But, if this is what one wants to do -- go for it!!!

    And I'm still not buying that the purported disciples truly do this.

    Your time is better served learning more tunes well.

    Learning to transpose, for me, is more about shapes. But that's just me.
     
  13. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    The quote "Learning to effortly transpose. . ." is not mine; it's chicagodoubler's. But anyway, to me it's not "shapes" at all--it's ears.
    GG
     
    Ed Fuqua likes this.
  14. JGoldberg

    JGoldberg

    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY
    Singers are so spoiled that they laugh at people who need charts and can't transpose on the spot!

    On one hand I don't chase vocal gigs. On the other hand, it would be a shame to turn down a gig because I was afraid to play Body and Soul in 4#s.
     
  15. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Funny you should pick B&S in 4#s. I once had to fake B&S in four flats, during a showcase for singer, Kathy Green, a gorgeous, statuesque blonde while her famous father, Johnny Green sat right in front of me, listening intently, in pin-drop silence :)
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You can hear how much "no band" I have in a couple of different places, with links posted at this site. Do you care to pony up?
     
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Ray Brown IIRC advocated this approach (without using lead sheets!) to an extent.

    IMO:
    * Transposition of a bebop head has very little immediate sense for application. The only thing you get out of it is maybe being able to play a lick in any key - but that's not the goal.
    * Be able to play it with a different feel just cuz it's in a different key? Yeah sure, but not the goal.
    * Learning fingerings in other keys that you may be weak on... well sure it helps but again, not the goal.

    The goal?

    To be able to clearly hear a given bebop head in any key, note for note in your head in the correct pitch internally. If you can hear it, you can play it. You're not fumbling for the notes - you're just trying to connect that sound/phrase and be able to execute it without trouble with your hands. IMO, it is 95% an exercise to bend your ear and learn and know the melody inside out.

    Unless you've done it, you won't understand the benefits. Seems like it's probably one of the top most important things to do with my time next to scales and intonation work. Know the heads in any key and the chord changes come fairly easily too.

    Also the more you do it, the more you are exposed to common progressions in all keys which makes the act of learning other tunes much much easier - you ears can navigate where it's going with less trouble. Dare I say that having been doing it for a couple years now, I can get the point of starting to memorize changes to familiar melodies in only a handful of choruses - esp the simpler ones. That's including figuring **** out during sessions with other people and just playing the tune for the first time. Also the act of recalling tunes you haven't played in a long time alot is easier too.

    So many benefits. I find it far more rewarding than transcribing a solo - tho I tranpose transcriptions that figure out too.
     
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Ears indeed. If one has Ears In All 12 Keys, they are already there. But also, if one can identify the shape of the changes to, for instance, Autumn Leaves (that's a standard ;) ), wouldn't they be able transpose effortlessly?

    Only if you are performing standards in ALL 12 keys. By the way, I have never doubted your legendary bass playing ability. :D No need to get testy. ;)
     
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Also, I've noticed that even if you slide up a few positions and play the same fingering pattern as you in the original key... I find there are sometimes a certain key that gives me problems when I go to solo. I can't seem to hear it correctly in that key and when I go to solo, it sounds like crap - even tho the fingerings are relatively the same.

    Feels like for every tune, the "problem" key seems to change. It's not neccessarily always one particular key you're weak in.
     
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm not that picky, I'll settle for one key.

    Look it's no skin off my nose, do whatever you want to do. It'll just be one less on the train.
     

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