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Whats up everyone I had a question for you guys. I've been trying to play Bird's Just Friends and I find it really difficult to play. It's too fast and the combination of notes are in a way I have never practiced before. When I practice I spend an hour...half and hour on scales and exercises and another half hour strictly on the tune. I thought that with steady practice I could learn to play it but it seems like maybe I should be trying to play an easier piece.

Any thoughts? Am I over my head and need to play something easier or just need to practice more?
 

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Is this your first attempt at a bebop solo?

If so, I would try a 'simpler' one, like Now's the Time.
 

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Practice more arpeggios and diminished scales. Learn the head without the embellishments. Then learn a measure or two at a time, adding it to what you already know.

Don't get hung up on one piece, try to learn bits and pieces of Bird's language then it will start making sense.
 

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Chico222 said:
Whats up everyone I had a question for you guys. I've been trying to play Bird's Just Friends and I find it really difficult to play. It's too fast and the combination of notes are in a way I have never practiced before. When I practice I spend an hour...half and hour on scales and exercises and another half hour strictly on the tune. I thought that with steady practice I could learn to play it but it seems like maybe I should be trying to play an easier piece.

Any thoughts? Am I over my head and need to play something easier or just need to practice more?
Of course it is hard. That is why they paid Bird the big bucks. Or not...

Have you tried slowing it down? I just found a software tool called slowgold that can slow down tunes while keeping the pitch the same. At half or a third the speed it is a lot easier to actually hear what is being played. (scarier too to hear how much is actually being played!). It lets you isolate the passage you are working on, slow it to a more manageable pace and then loop it so you can go at it over and over till you get it just right. You can even burn the slowed version back to a cd so you can listen to it in the car or practice away from the computer. Very cool stuff.

guido

I am not associated with the company that produces this product. Just a happy user.
 

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Welcome to the CLUB!!!!:D
 

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Grab a copy of the Charlie Parker Omnibook (Get the one that matches the key of your horn. I think you are playing alto, so you want the Eb flat copy, with the yellow cover.) Start learning them one at a time - Billie's Bounce and Now's the Time are the first two solos my teacher had me learn years ago. They are a good start. Also, when I was starting on this process, the "Jazz Conception for Saxophone/Jazz Etudes" books by Lennie Niehaus were a valuable companion to the Bird solos for learning jazz articulation and gaining familiarity with bebop rhythms. Have fun - you'll get it, don't worry. I still start a new Bird tune very slow when learning it. No shame in it.:)
 

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when will people realise that if you are playing 1 hour - 2 hours a day it will be near impossible to phrase like bird,

bird practised up to 15 hours a day, i'm not saying u must practise that much, but make sure u practise alot

i myself on weekdays practise from 3.00-6.30

weekends- 12-4
 

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I didn't even catch that.

I agree with the previous post that if you want to play like bird you've got to practice like a maniac. 1 hour a day isn't even a warm up if you want to get some real chops.

And yes Charlie Parker and many others spent a few years were they practiced 12+ hours everyday. There's really no other way to get that kind of dexterity on the horn.
 

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hakukani said:
Is this your first attempt at a bebop solo?

If so, I would try a 'simpler' one, like Now's the Time.

Now's the Time is also pretty hard. (the very-often-used 16th note lick in the 2nd solo of the Omnibook measure No. 11 & 12, and alsothe 16th notes F Ab C Eb G Bb F, I still can't play them) And the slow version is also very difficult, because then he can shred even more! :p I know this song for almost 5 months and it's still not 100% :s I doubt that there are any "easy" Bird solo's... I'd rather suggest Ornithology & Moose the Mooche, as they don't have any very fast 16th note phrases...
 

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Note that the tempos on the 2 Now's The Time solos are reversed. The first one is faster and the 2nd one (with the head written) is slower.
 

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Hammertime said:
I doubt that there are any "easy" Bird solo's... I'd rather suggest Ornithology & Moose the Mooche, as they don't have any very fast 16th note phrases...
I think the Donna Lee solo is kind of easy (comparatively), it's just the head that sucks.

The first Omnibook solo I REALLY got down was Parker's Mood. But I used the Supersax Alto I part because it's actually a more accurate transcription.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys, I guess I'll practice up a little more. The omni book you keep talking about, is it his actual solos the way he plays on records?

And yes this is my first bop solo, man this stuff is so much different than the swing stuff I'm used to.

Thank you guys
 

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The Charlie Parker Omnibook, aka "the Bebop Bible", is indeed a collection of 60 Bird solos (including heads) as he played them on record. It's the most popular/famous transcription book ever published. It is not only a staple of every jazz saxophonist's library, but it's used by jazz musicians of all instruments and is published in Eb, Bb, C, and Bass Clef.

All the solos come from records on Dial, Savoy, or Verve. There's and excellent CD box set with everything he recorded on Dial and Savoy. There's another box set with everything he recorded on Verve.

The only solo that doesn't fit in with that is Anthropology which was released by Columbia. I lucked out and found an MP3 of that solo somewhere on the internet.
 

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The infamous ANTHROPOLOGY solo was or is released on a 4 disc set entitled "The New York Anthology" 1950-'54. This is the only missing solo from the Omnibook not available in the Savoy/Dial and Verve box sets.
 

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Chico222 said:
Thanks guys, I guess I'll practice up a little more. The omni book you keep talking about, is it his actual solos the way he plays on records?

And yes this is my first bop solo, man this stuff is so much different than the swing stuff I'm used to.

Thank you guys
Yep, the Omnibook is the real deal. Best $20 I ever spent. I've almost got "Kim" up to full tempo - on my baritone. ;) Nothing feels better than ripping a Bird solo after you've put in the time. You'll get it - just stick with it!
 

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Agent27 said:
The Charlie Parker Omnibook, aka "the Bebop Bible", is indeed a collection of 60 Bird solos (including heads) as he played them on record. It's the most popular/famous transcription book ever published. It is not only a staple of every jazz saxophonist's library, but it's used by jazz musicians of all instruments and is published in Eb, Bb, C, and Bass Clef.

All the solos come from records on Dial, Savoy, or Verve. There's and excellent CD box set with everything he recorded on Dial and Savoy. There's another box set with everything he recorded on Verve.

The only solo that doesn't fit in with that is Anthropology which was released by Columbia. I lucked out and found an MP3 of that solo somewhere on the internet.
You can find the specific Anthropology solo on iTunes too -- it comes from the "New York Anthology - 1950-54" album. I think it may be the fastest of them all. I swear it sounds as if the recording has been sped up.
 

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start out with one of the easier pieces like Yardbird suite. Don't be afraid to slow them down. Many of these tunes sound better IMO when they are not played at lightning speed.
 

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pc1234 said:
Yep, the Omnibook is the real deal. Best $20 I ever spent. I've almost got "Kim" up to full tempo - on my baritone. ;) Nothing feels better than ripping a Bird solo after you've put in the time. You'll get it - just stick with it!
Kim #2 lays easily on the horn most of the time. I think that's my favorite Bird rhythm changes solo to play.
 

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Agent27 said:
Kim #2 lays easily on the horn most of the time. I think that's my favorite Bird rhythm changes solo to play.
My apologies that this may be a thread hijack, but what exactly is a rhythm change? I have a feeling that it may not have anything to do with changing timing, tempo, or rhythms. An example off a recording may also help.
 

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Good question.

Rhythm changes=the chord changes and form of 'I Got Rhythm', by George Gershwin. It's a standard set of changes on which many bebop tunes are based.
 
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