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Hey Guys,

I'm lead alto in Jazz Band, and we are playing an arrangement of Tito Puente's "Ran Kan Kan." Any of you guys who have played this knows that its one chord, the WHOLE song. Not even joking. I have a solo, only 32 bars, but I want some cool stuff to play over it. My one chord marking is an A7. What kind of other scales could I play over this?

Thanks Guys!

Brayden
 

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mvhsleadalto said:
Hey Guys,

I'm lead alto in Jazz Band, and we are playing an arrangement of Tito Puente's "Ran Kan Kan." Any of you guys who have played this knows that its one chord, the WHOLE song. Not even joking. I have a solo, only 32 bars, but I want some cool stuff to play over it. My one chord marking is an A7. What kind of other scales could I play over this?

Thanks Guys!

Brayden
Blues scale
mixolydian
bebop dominant
diminished

THere are others that will work.

However, with latin it's really not about the scale, it's about the rhythm.

----The clave is the key.
 

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Agreed, a lot of Salsa music has very simple chord progressions (I IV IV I is also popular). The focus is more on rhythm than harmony. My college had 2 Salsa bands and there were people who couldn't take a decent jazz solo to save their lives thrive in those bands because they got the concept. Consequently, I've seen jazzers fall on their face trying to play the music. Get some recordings and figure out how to adapt your style to that style.

Study the chart and the way the lines are written, the way the melody is played. That should give you an idea of how to approach the solo stylistically.
 

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hakukani said:
Blues scale
mixolydian
bebop dominant
diminished
What's a "bebop dominant" Johnnie?
 

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gary said:
What's a "bebop dominant" Johnnie?
Maybe I got the name wrong. It's that one scale that's usually played descending.

The descending scale would be: A-G#-Gnatural-F#-E-D-C#-B-A
 

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hakukani said:
Maybe I got the name wrong. It's that one scale that's usually played descending.

The descending scale would be: A-G#-Gnatural-F#-E-D-C#-B-A
It's the subject of Neff's new book, no?
 

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Yeah, that's right, Neff's book.

I learned it in David Baker's improv class. I think he wrote some big band charts that use all of his 'standard' bebop scale licks.
 

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Latin is definitely about the rhythm, but one thing you could try is playing in and out a bit, as in outside of the chord changes, just for some variety.

You could try doing major triad stuff in minor 3rds, so over A7, you could play some lines where you play A major, then C major, then Eb major, then F# major. An easy example would just be doing 1235 for each, so 1235 in A, then C, then Eb, and F#. Just something to catch people's ears.

You could also try doing A major and Eb major, as in tritones, which sounds pretty hip. You could also switch between A maj and B maj for some more lydian sounding lines. Or, you could try doing some false fingering/articulation stuff and try to improvise creatively with the rhythms while using only that one note and it's false fingerings. Anyways, those are some things you could try out, but I definitely suggest trying to play rhythmically and with a latin feel. Don't worry too much about the notes-if the rhythm's good, you can probably play any notes and you'd sound good.
 

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hakukani said:
Maybe I got the name wrong. It's that one scale that's usually played descending.

The descending scale would be: A-G#-Gnatural-F#-E-D-C#-B-A

The Jamey Abersold Jazz Handbook (the free one) calls it a "Bebop (Dominant)" scale.

I bet Pentatonic stuff would be cool too as long as you don't overdo it.
 

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Agent27 said:
there were people who couldn't take a decent jazz solo to save their lives thrive in those bands because they got the concept. Consequently, I've seen jazzers fall on their face trying to play the music. Get some recordings and figure out how to adapt your style to that style.
Second that one (praise the lord for simple chord progressions, they saved me :D )

What I do :
If I have one chord to play over, I focus on rythm. Next is patterns I repeat in my solo. Then it's just playing with friction and resolve that one again. I don't resolve on the beats necessarily, even not in every bar. Every few bars is good enough.

I just tried it out to be sure I told the truth and indeed : I play about every possible note
(I hardly use the B and the F# though. I love klezmerlike tensions, so I use the A# instead of B. I use it on the beat too, sometimes almost a whole bar. Works great for me, but that's really a matter of style.)

The scale I use mostly : A - A# - (C) - C# - D - (D#) - E - F - G -(G#)

my 2 cents

edit : correction. I do resolve on the beats too, but not exclusively and defenitely not on all beats
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Haha, this is so cool! I did not expect 9 replies when I came back this morning. I will surly try all these things in my soloing. Keep 'em coming guys!

Thanks!

Brayden
 

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Firstly, do you play much modal stuff, like So What, Impressions etc?

Listen to Miles, Pharoah Sanders, late 'Trane, that kind of stuff, the things they play over their solo - 7 minutes of the one chord sometimes - are amazing.

If you have a strong concept in your head of what to play, that should be where you start. If not, you might tend to use chords as a crutch for your soloing.

I'm not trying to be offensive. I used to do that a lot and still do it to an extent.

So if you're not hearing strong melodies, that would be the problem. There are of course a lot of devices you can use, but even over complex chord progressions, usually melodies (not to be confused with less notes or whatever, I just mean a strong idea) are important.

Modal tunes are great because you can stretch out. Play with dynamics, timbre, time, harmonies (try holding pretty notes against chords, or dissonant ones), effects (multiphonics, squeaks, falls, glisses, growls), all sorts of things.

And of course as it is a Latin tune (from memory I think a Cha Cha Cha?) there is a lot of syncopation etc happening - study what the rhythm section does so you can replicate each part of the kit on your own (plus any percussion), so you have a better understanding of what's going on. Then you'll be better equipped to use the right kind of rhythms.

-Dan
 
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