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Where to go learning jazz?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LukeMan970, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    So I can play through Autumn Leaves fine enough with some backing tracks on youtube (at least I think I'm playing them ok) but I'm wondering where to go next to learn some more advanced lines and improve my knowledge with creating lines around chords.

    I ordered John Patitucci's 60 Etudes and plan to work through that when I get it but where can I go for now? Any advice on where to take some practice for improving my knowledge on creatively playing around chords would be great :hyper:
  2. DONZI97


    Dec 24, 2008
    Algonac Michigan
    If you can get the iRealb app, youget charts for most songs, and it has a player so you can play along to them.
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Find real people to play with and go hear whatever live jazz you can when you can.
    Jazz doesn't live in books and apps.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  5. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I have Patitucci's book infront of me right now. It's a wicked exercise book, but i wouldn't recommend it for jazz standards.

    Buy a real book (Or the real book app) and start learning melodies of tunes and chord tones, guide tones etc.

    Feel free to shoot me a PM.
  6. If you have the money and time, one of the best things you can do is find a teacher - someone who is a jazz player themselves and can explain the concepts, the history, how the music is played, what you need to practice, all of that stuff. Jazz is a very listening/improvisation-heavy artform, and a good teacher can help explain and reinforce what you hear when you listen to a live group or recording. If you're new to jazz, they can also suggest recordings and players to listen to as an introduction to the music.

    If you're fairly profficient on bass, and don't neccessarily needs lessons from a technique standpoint, your teacher doesn't even have to be a bassist. Find a knowledgable pianist, sax player, or drummer to take lessons from or hang out with - a sax or piano player can explain what a ii-V-I progression is just as well as a bass player (again, as long as you're proficient enough to execute it on bass).
  7. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Immersion is the quickest way. Get your library in order and start listening to nothing but the tunes you intend to develop. Need help starting the list? Go here, http://www.jazzstandards.com/
    Get multiple recordings of any song that you want to learn. Listen to all of them until you can sing the melodies, correction until you can't get the melodies out of you head with a crow bar. Go to a club where jazz is played by pros and listen. Make notes on what tunes they play regularly. Add those tunes to the list of stuff to learn.
    Combine the listening with a book like the previously recommended Friedland book on building walking bass lines. Get the real books that have the charts for the songs on which you are working. Start working on building bass lines based on the methods from the book(s). Once you are comfortable with the basic concepts outlined in this type of book start transcribing bass lines from the songs to which you have been listening and analyze them. Begin with recordings that have very clearly defined easy to hear bass parts, once you have done this a few times you can try recordings with less defined bass parts where you really have to bend your ear.
    Once you are comfortable working in this fashion start working this:


    Find people to play with, preferably people better than you. Start transcribing and learning solos, not just the bass parts. Get a teacher to help guide you. Be patient this is a journey, not a goal.

  8. jordan2


    Apr 2, 2011
    I would say a real book is a must. While I value the ability to learn by ear, chord charts and transcriptions have given me the ability to play tons of tunes in a short amount of time.

    If I were In your position I would probably start by learning how to walk over common forms (i.e. jazz blues, rhythm changes, II V's, etc). Listen to bass lines, transcribe parts, learn them. I've found that it is useful to develop a bit of a vocabulary.

    Then I would work on walking for a while over one chord. This can actually be quite tricky because you can't just follow the chord changes. A good example of this can be found in "SO What" (Miles Davis).

    And then I would try to play uptempo stuff, and unusual chord progressions. Oleo, Giant Steps are two good songs to learn.

    Also practice just playing through random standards first time (I have found Spotify really useful for this). Go to jazz jam sessions, just play a lot with other people.

    Hope that helps a little
  9. Chazinroch


    Feb 2, 2003
    Ontario N.Y.
  10. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    get the irealb app from apple if you have iPhone, iPad or mac. It has all the tunes with the chord changes and they also have backing tracks (drums, pno, bass).

    Also go out to jam sessions, you don't have to play the first time but go listen, you will eventually get courage and experience to go up there. Also go to live concerts, jazz gigs are cheap compared to anything else and while records are a good way to learn, the best way is live.
  11. scottsbasslessons.com has a great jazz video series.

    Can't recommend it enough
  12. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Youtube has a wealth of master classes.
    This one from Gary Burton has a lot of essential information. He's an excellent teacher. Watch this.
    What pianist Hal Galper has to say really resonates for me.
    A good Ray Brown masterclass.
    There are lots more. Lots of concerts too and recorded music.

    You notice there's one common thing people are recommending? Lessons, jams, hearing live music....in other words human contact. You gotta figure out how to make this happen. All the books and online material won't mean anything without human interaction. Think of playing jazz as having a musical conversation. Not much fun by yourself.
  13. Just a quick question. What is it about going to live jazz shows that is so valuable?

    I'm also trying to focus a lot on jazz, and am working through Ed Fuqua's book as well as working on my walking with backing tracks as well as ear training and other things. I listen to jazz all day long, either through CDs or a great local Jazz radio station here in Toronto. There are certainly some good live jazz shows around, but I don't really have anyone who'd be interested in going with me, often anyway, and I don't have much free time, so I'm just very curious about what makes live jazz so beneficial to a student of jazz that they can't learn from jazz records or even live recordings?

  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Imagine learning to have a spoken conversation by reading a book about having spoken conversations. For sure you'd pick up a lot of good information about the subject but you really wouldn't understand it with any depth. Recordings get you closer to the real thing but they still aren't the real thing. When you go see/hear it happen live you get all the nuances of sound and physical communication no book or recording can ever capture.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, frankly, the quality of what you're hearing happen right in front of you matters. Playing along with a recording of Philly Joe is going to be better for you than playing with a drummer who has a tenuous grasp of what this music is all about. And sitting listening to a Sonny Rollins record is going to be better than sitting in front of band with their noses stuck in a Real Book stumbling through SATIN DOLL for the umpteenth time.
    BUT if you have access to musicians who improvise at a deep level, being in the same room and hearing the music as a living, breathing conversation is about as close as you can get to doing it yourself. It gets it out of the realm of a static performance (the recording, always the same every time you hear it) and into a fluid, living interaction.
    Try it. You'll like it.
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Ok, I guess I could have qualified it by saying go hear good players. Even so the dweebs going deaf and blind falling face first into the real book are probably going to be the first players a new guy in Bellingham, WA is going to get to play with. Checking out whatever local scene exists might not be a bad idea even if all it does is convince you to move to Seattle.
  17. LOL, okay guys, you inspired me. Thanks, I will try and make it out to some local shows when I get the chance. I actually feel it may be better to go by myself, as I will focus a lot more on what's going on... Kind of looking forward to it now.
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Toronto has some great players coming through and I find it inconceivable that there aren't some great players on the local scene.
  19. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
  20. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Find a teacher, is there a music conservatory or university near Bellingham? Jazz Professors give lessons out side of teaching classes.

    Required listening: Ray Brown, Marc Johnson, Scott Lafaro, Mike Richmond, Paul Chambers, George Mraz, Rufus Reid, Stanley Clarke, Ron Carter, Brian Bromberg.... Transcribe the lines and solos these guys play, That will give you a masters degree in jazz bass playing

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