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I've been really focusing on my time and using steve Neffs approach notes and Mixolydian books. So, my time is much better. I have been forced to simplify what I do and now I have more choices since I've been workiing on the approach notes vrs just running the scale. Plus, now when I hit an extended minor 7th chord I'll try to superimpose the whole tone scale based on the third. All in all I'm playing differently now from a month ago and looking forward to more progress. K
 

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I have been working relentlessly on my time too. Steve's books are a great tool for this because they help synchronize harmonic and rhythmic motion. I might also suggest Hal Galper's "Forward Motion" -- which completely revolutionized my swing concepts. Another thing I have been working on is recognizing my "swing limit" and respecting it. :) Getting out of Portland has helped my playing too.
 

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Are you any better now compared to a month ago?
Yes! And it hasn't really involved practicing -- just awareness. (In fact, since school's started my routine has entirely gone to pot, and I've got to get it back together again.)

The one thing that's changed is ... I'm now recording pretty much every gig. Last time I did this religiously was many years ago.

Listening to some of it is flat out ... excruciating. But it's data I really needed. It's done more for my time and intonation than anything I've done in ages. And it's really helped me to modify and deepen my practicing agenda for the coming months....
 

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Keith,

I've really cut down on the number of things I practice each day and this seems to be paying dividends. I guess I'm finally realising that getting stuff under my fingers for keeps, takes a longer period of concentrated repetition than I'd like.
When I'm bored to tears with playing Bird's solo on Billie's Bounce, I'm maybe just starting to get it under my fingers. The temptation to say "ok, I've got it," and move onto something else is huge. I set myself the goal of being able to play the whole 4 choruses, without screwing up, 5 days in a row. I get one go at it at the start of each day's practice. A forgotten note or a finger fuddle, and it's back to square one and I spend the next hour on it.
It's killing me, I'll nail it for two, sometimes three days in a row and then I'll get too casual, or lose concentration and it's back to square one.....again.

But,... I'm making more progress sticking with this, than I did with months of flitting from one thing to another. My time and articulation and technique have really improved.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dog Pants said:
Keith,

I've really cut down on the number of things I practice each day and this seems to be paying dividends. I guess I'm finally realising that getting stuff under my fingers for keeps, takes a longer period of concentrated repetition than I'd like.
Amen to that , Brother. K
 

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I improved quite a lot tonewise especially, thanks to the exercises of Phil Barone here.

Now I'm trying to shed some technical studies to get my feel and timing better. Let's see next month.
 

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In June, I set out to memorize "If I Love Again" by Lou Donaldson. It's nine bars and it's taken me three months to memorize the entire song. Now I can play it from memory.
Like Dog Pants, I'm now in the process of fine tuning how I play it (e.g. minimizing mistakes, working on my rythmn, recording myself, etc).
I keep a log of each practice session. It's a bit tedious but it helps.
It's also allowed me to maximized practice sessions since I only have one-and-a-half hours in the evening 3-4 times a week plus the weekend. But the last two weekends I've been busy with non-sax stuff.
Considering all these I think I'm making progress.
 

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The gigs of the past several weekends have been total chops-busters and I've been learning tunes on the fly at a pretty rapid pace. I'd say yes but my doubling and classical playing has suffered at the expense of overall improvement in the jazz/improvising soloist arena.
 

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In a word, yes. Thanks to a comment made by a fellow here who listened to one of my clips. I think his name is Keith. :)

Based on that comment I now arduously pull back in my ballad phrasing to avoid hurrying up the rhythm section, which ain't going to hurry up no matter how I push because it's recorded.

The results are heard in better lines because I give myself more time to approach them and a better feel because it's more relaxed or seems to be.

The goal now is to make that approach the natural way that I play a ballad without having to think about it.

I still hate my playing, though.
 

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I've improved over the last four weeks largely by rehearsing with my new band. Getting to know the different players and their styles and stepping outside my own narrow agenda to listen to ALL the music is helping a great deal.
 

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I've improved in that my chops are coming back after a summer layoff due to work and other committments. The problem is that my playing still sucks as badly as it did before the layoff. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing :(
 

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I've finally got the hang of my new Gregory 4A16. A month ago we were enemy, but now we became one happy family! The key was obviously the air-support (and a little change in my embouchure). The previous Meyer G with 5 opening sure didn't require much air support, but 4A16 was quite hard to familiarize with. I kept going and practicing and trying not to sell 4A16 back (I guessed the classic piece may need more work to create better sound). I still have to practice a lot, but I can see me improving.
 

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I know two more tunes (at least the heads) than I did last month. I'm kinda lazy about memorizing heads, because I can read just well enough to play what's in front of me without having to memorize.

I am playing some more interesting lines (to me, anyway) because of working from Neff's ii-V-I patterns.

I've been working on an RPC 145B and a 125 R. When I go back to my 115B, it is ridiculously easy to play. Tenor tone has always been the one I'm never pleased with. It's definitely getting better.

My soprano intonation is improving (not quite there yet up high).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
After listening to Brecker on a few You Tube recordings I'm convinced that you have to keep up classical chops in addition to jazz chops. When he's doing Round Midnight acapella its obvious that his cazendas are classically inspired. Also, his command of the instrument I don't think you can get without classical. I am sooooo noticing that when I put in a focused hour I leave a better player. But I'm glad that I'm including at least a few minutes out of an etude book on a regular basis. K
 
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