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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to anyone willing to listen!


My friends and I gig regularly at a coffee shop in our town for fun and my girlfriend decided to tape part of "So What." After hearing myself solo from a listener's position for the first time, something besides articulation, tone, vibrato, etc jumped out at me. My phrases start but they never really end, it's like they just don't make sense. My saxophone teacher told me about this but it never really clicked until I listened to it... Any help on phrasing my ideas properly? Any other critiques are also welcome! I need to fix my classical vibrato : P
 

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It sounds like a backing track behind you which isn't helping much for dynamic progression. Your tone is decent for jazz. Your sound is like a mix between Paul Desmond and Eric Dolphy(sort of). My advice is to get a real group behind you and to be more confident in your rhythmic ideas and start playing inside rather than outside earlier on in the solo. Don't let the
Middle of your solo get lost idea wise. It wouldn't hurt to give this tune a little more of a blues type of flavor either. What players do you listen to and admire so we know what kind of sound your going for?
 

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I for once liked it. It's an opening chorus. It says "I'm familiar with modal improvisation" w/o overstating. I'd tune up sharper and lip down them high(er) notes, so the tone would "open up" a tad more. Intensity is right for a first soloing chorus, tone is decent, I find it more stitty than desmondy or doplhy-y :bluewink: kind of mid of the road boppish tone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It sounds like a backing track behind you which isn't helping much for dynamic progression. Your tone is decent for jazz. Your sound is like a mix between Paul Desmond and Eric Dolphy(sort of). My advice is to get a real group behind you and to be more confident in your rhythmic ideas and start playing inside rather than outside earlier on in the solo. Don't let the
Middle of your solo get lost idea wise. It wouldn't hurt to give this tune a little more of a blues type of flavor either. What players do you listen to and admire so we know what kind of sound your going for?
I really try to emulate Cannonball, but I also enjoy McLean, Bird, and Phil Woods. As for ideas, aside from Cannonball, I really try to mimic Miles and pre-fusion Wayne Shorter.
 

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1. Keep recording every performance or practice where you try to improvise.
2. At least for now, try to play around with the melody, or 'head' one time around before 'branching out' into whatever that zone of yours is.
3. I thought your sound was overbearing and too edgy for the stuff you're playing. 'Desmond' was not a reference that I would associate with it although that would be a very desirable goal.
4. Try to determine what sound/style/tone you have in your head and compare that to what you hear on the recordings. Hopefully the two won't match, and you can proceed to adapt your sound/style toward your ideal.
 

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Okay. For a Cannonball sound, you need a lot more confidence and tightness in your attack and articulation as well as a blues inflection in your solos. You scoop like Desmond in a classical sounding way and your tonal judgment may stray out of the ordinary ala Dolphy (whether purposefully or not). Scoop less and use supported vibrato more.
Also, like was earlier said keep recording yourself every couple of weeks or so and keep playing with and ripping from those Cannonball recordings. You'll get there.
 

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You're not resolving your lines at all. The ideas are fine but you have to resolve them to give the line a sense of completion. The main resolution points are B, D and F# on the A section . I don't hear you ending on those notes so the phrases never sound finished. Also, the scale you are using on the B section sounds like the wrong one. It should be C Dorian. Hope this helps. Steve


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the points of advice guys! It's apparent I have even more to work on that I thought... I do have one question though; How do I get less "classical" scoops without being too harsh?

EDIT: I've also struggled trying to get closer to Cannonball's sound. How do you go about "thickening" your tone? I get a great sound for classical playing, but I've never been able to get a great OPEN jazz sound, no matter what changes I make with my throat, embouchure, or air...
 

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In my opinion Cannonball’s genius was not just about playing changes. He told stories that were much bigger than a phrase. He played with melodic ideas that came from within, were not contrived, and sang through his instrument. Phrasing in my opinion is like breathing while telling a story. You have natural breaks, but are still involved in telling the story. Listen again to Cannonball. He seldom breaks his spell by jumping from one feeling or idea to another. The object is seldom or never to impress with technical prowess, its being in the music and telling that story in his own way.
 

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I would say first of all, get rid of all the scoops. I used to do it myself, and although while you're playing they seem to feel right and expressive,
they almost never sound good.

Your opening sounded like you were playing what you were hearing, but then you got off track. As Neff pointed out, the scale seemed
incorrect for the B section. Now, theoretically, any scale can "work" over just about anything, but only if you are really hearing it.

To my ear you weren't hearing what you were playing.

Slow down. Create one note/measure solos. Then try 2 note/measure solos. Make sure everything resolves smoothly into the next measure.

While you're at it, sing these simple solos without your horn.

To repeat: it's all about actually hearing what you are playing, or about to play.

Keep at it.
 
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