What to prepare for a Jazz duet

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Alejandro Q, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    Alright, not sure where to post this so move it if necessary.
    I have the opportunity to join a pianist in a Jazz formation. For the moment being it is only him, so we are gonna try some standards together. I wanted to ask you, what role should I take in those songs? Should I go full walking? Should I focus in the melody? What should I prepare?
    The standards are "a foggy day" , "dream a little dream of me" and "nobody wants you", if that helps.

    All responses are welcome, thank you so much
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Focus on walking the chords to start for sure, but be ready to take a solo and riff on the melody too? Or ask them first? :)
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    A good move might be to SEARCH youtube for recordings and performances of JAZZ PIANO DUOS and check out what that yields. That's gonna give you some idea of the range of approach that many musicians have taken. I'd also suggest asking the pianist what pianists he/she likes to listen to; that's going to give you some idea of how to approach your role. You don't want to be playing like Buell Neidlinger if the pianist is into Red Garland, neither do you want to be playing like Paul Chambers if they are into Cecil Taylor.
    Once you get an idea/concept of how to approach the beginning of your journey together, you have a basis for trying to work together to your OWN sound and approach for the specific two people who are creating this musical conversation.
  4. White Beard

    White Beard

    Feb 12, 2013
    Night and the City by Kenny Barron and Charlie Haden is another good place to start.

    How well versed are you in jazz? Are you playing double bass or bass guitar for this? Can you bossa? Can you ballad? Can you look at a lead sheet and be comfortable (melody written out with chord changes above)?

    You're going to have a lot more sonic space to occupy, so look for the holes that need filling (not all of them need filling).

    If you're not very comfortable, don't try to do too much. Have a few rehearsals and try a few things out (if the piano is a rehearsal kind of guy, s/he might just be a guy/gal that tells you to show up at the gig, and that's your audition).

    And most importantly, stay loose and have fun. Don't think too hard, if you know your sh1t, it will come naturally. If you don't know your sh1t, you'll learn it soon enough if you keep at it.
    bfields likes this.
  5. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    I reeeeally don't know my sh1t, man. This is my first try at a Jazz formation, and I am really insecure about my rhythm without a drummer.
    I will play bass guitar. I really can't do anything of what you ask, except for looking at a lead sheet.

    Anyway, I already told the pianist that I am not really a pro in jazz, but I love the music and I really want to participate. I just wanted a started guide to play in a duet
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