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Discussion Starter #1
any good patterns for funk improvisation?

plus i know funk is mostly about the rythem so any good exercises for learning different funk rythems?
 

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I think the best thing to do is listen and emulate. play along with recordings of people like maceo Parker, and concentrate on the licks that he plays. after each phrase he plays try to copy it. practice playing with backing tracks as well.
 

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Just listen to Maceo, get an idea for the vibe he plays. The notes are easy, pretty much just all pentatonics, just get the funky vibe.
 

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the notes are not all that important, most of the funk players are playing penta's and blues scales. It's the way they play it that makes it effective. Maceo is a true master of the funky timing, every note is exactly where it should be. . So perfect time and a nice funky tone will carry you a long way in this style.
But combine that with harmonic sophistication and great technical facility and you'll play more interesting funk solo's. That's what made Brecker so good to listen to when he played funk.
 

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Listen to the masters: M. Brecker, T. Scott, D. Sanborn, B. Evans. Tom Scott did a lot of those 1 or 2 chords vamps, like AWB's "Pick Up The Pieces".
 

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I got a pattern for you... Get James Brown Live at the Apollo 1961. Listen to it a few thousand times until you hear it in your dreams...
 

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Yes, it's about rhythm. Stick to one note, then add more. Chromatic passing notes are often nice, but as soon as you get away too much from simple scales such as the blues scale, you might end up sounding less funky and more jazzy. Anyhow, the rhythm and articulation is more important. If you nail those, you have a lot in the pocket. Play loud and strong (at least at first to get rid of hesitation which is a funk-killer). Be aware of every 16th note in the bar and be able to play it precisely without playing the "heavy" beats (e.g. the 1). In other words: syncopate! As a sax player you are kind of lucky since you don't have to keep a steady beat while playing heavily syncopated lines. Nevertheless, you shouldn't lose your pace and place.
Learning jazz via patterns is often debated, but learning funk via patterns is a no-no, I think. Patterns can be a nice inspiration or training, but my view is that they won't make you sound funky. Play from your guts, start playing a solo that consists of one note. If you can make that sound funky, go on.
 

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No one mentions Karl Denson when talking funk/ groove players...one of the best out there! Check him out with his band Tiny Universe, and with The GreyBoy All-Stars.
On a non-saxophone note, check out John Scofield...He plays a lot of great lines, and he usually has a great sax player with him too...
 

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I already said this in a very similar thread: Maceo Parker pretty much defines funk sax for me. Take any other player and it will be less funky. Not worse, no, I'm not saying that Maceo is "the best". I just think that he's pure funk with almost no additives, and it's for a reason that he's probably one of the most recognized sax players outside of jazz circles. You gotta admit that no matter how popular he is, he still sounds gritty and nowhere near those so-called funk players who lean towards pop or smooth.
 

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No one mentions Karl Denson when talking funk/ groove players...one of the best out there! Check him out with his band Tiny Universe, and with The GreyBoy All-Stars.
On a non-saxophone note, check out John Scofield...He plays a lot of great lines, and he usually has a great sax player with him too...
I love Karl, he is super funky. He has a way of playing a lot of notes and keeping it real melodic and funky. He is a super nice guy too. Maceo is the man for funk of course. Lenny Picket is also one funky dude.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
wow, thank you for all the advise guys, it's been really helpfull.

so you are saying that the best way to learn funk rhythm is too listen and copy, then it will come in handy when improvising.
i kinda felt that when i tried to play "pass the peas" from maceo's life on planet groove, and people told me i was really improving.

any advise on how to practice my articulation?
 

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wow, thank you for all the advise guys, it's been really helpfull.

so you are saying that the best way to learn funk rhythm is too listen and copy, then it will come in handy when improvising.
i kinda felt that when i tried to play "pass the peas" from maceo's life on planet groove, and people told me i was really improving.

any advise on how to practice my articulation?
Same advice: Listen to great players, and REALLY copy them...When you learn a lick, don't just learn the notes, learn everything: attack and ending of notes (tongue, slap, etc), vibrato, slurs, trills, and don't forget dynamic changes. Listening, singing, THEN figuring it out on the horn is my preferred method of learning tunes.

At your level, it shouldn't take too long to begin understanding some of this "language," then, the real fun begins! You really make it your own. Start making up your own licks as you practice. Taking your learned licks, and your created lick through all the keys is even another level. Soon enough, they will work their way into your improvising.

Don't forget gospel and soul music, and please, don't limit yourself to just sax players...I get a lot of ideas from singers like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Cee-lo Green, Stevie Wonder, and the list goes on and on.

Have fun, and keep it simple...for now!
 

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That's the real deal there for sure!

In addition to picking up everything you can from Maceo and others, make sure you find a great bass player and drummer, or you can forget about playing funk. Of course you'll have to get your own sound totally together so a great bass player & drummer will want to play with you. That's a two-way street.
 
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