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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are your key practicing/learning techniques to help me become a great jazz musician?
I want to learn very badly. Right now I know a couple things like

1) Listening to a lot of Jazz recordings
2) Practicing my scales and playing my chords

So far that's all I know, throw some more things at me, i'm ready to eat it :)
-AP
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Hello Bluelight. Noone responded to your thread yet so you're going to have to make do with me for now :( :

My Advice:

1. Get a very distinctive hat or some other piece of distinctive clothing. Be sure that you look "cool" though. Bright green legwarmers might not work.

2. Come up with some really good "jazzy" catchphrases and use them a lot. Examples of the right kind of thing are "what's baggin' dudettes?" and "park your possum here, shy girl". This kind of stuff really works!!

3. Learn lots of tunes.
4. Compose.
5. Study and play along with recordings.
6. Work to make basics like intonation, rhythm etc absolutely solid.
+ lots of other stuff, probably..Good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
oh yeah, I better get my Phil Woods hat soon!!

And my Sonny Rollins' shades :O
 

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Grow a cool beard like either RR Kirk or 50s Sonny Rollins.
 

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Work on getting your sound together, your tone, your phrasing. Do not try to sound like somebody else. All the greats are identifiable in just a few notes. That's one of the keys to being "great" as opposed to "very , very good". Find your own path. Be different.
 

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Listen to recordings to the point where you're hearing stuff--tunes and licks--in your head all the time. Then woodshed until you can play what's in your head.
 

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To start with; Define "Great Jazz musician."
 

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RS said:
Listen to recordings to the point where you're hearing stuff--tunes and licks--in your head all the time. Then woodshed until you can play what's in your head.
Works for me........ I can sing whole solos.......... sad isn't it?

Jazz has a language, and to learn that language you have to immerse yourself in it. A bit like children and languages; We went to a holiday park in France two years ago, and after a week my 3 year old daughter was speaking French quite well with the other toddlers. No option but to learn you see....
Do the same, buy books (not just theory/music books... books about jazz artists), read magazines, listen over and over again.... it will come. In my opinion, don't get too hung up on chords and scales, get the feel and the phrasing right first. Learn, steal and borrow phrases from the masters. Try saxsolos.com for transcriptions, they are cheap and good quality.

Good luck, oh and don't take it too seriously, jazz is best when light-hearted!
 

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......but do not forget to wear the weird hat many talked already about, especially if you have no hair of your own (I should know), sideburns do help too......Oh! and hang aroung without saying too much with a " I know it, I've been there...." look.......works wonders on (older) chicks, if you say something at all, say: " you don't want to talk to me, I am a horn player, horn players are trouble"....it does it , everytime
 

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Watch out for my hat on the next youtube clip Milandro.....

I was thinking about this subject while mowing the lawn.... and thinking back to when I first started to play jazz on the guitar:

It really helps to specialise, that is to find a type and style of jazz that you really like. This is the best way "in" because you then can branch out from that.

Almost all major jazz players started out by being inspired by one particluar player or style. You then find out more about their sidemen, and their influences and start working out from there. I went (as a non sax player, but a guitarist) from liking and trying to play like Jim Hall on guitar, to particularly liking his work with Gerry Mulligan, and from there it was a short leap to Art Pepper and then all the Shorty Rogers/Lennie Neihaus/Marty Paich stuff from LA in the 50's and 60's. Thats my niche, and it is good for me to play in that style and collect records and memorabilia from that era.

Jazz is such a broad church that you will struggle to become a "good jazz musician"
Phil Woods is a supreme "bebop" player.
Benny Carter was a master "mainstream" player
Art Pepper, an amazing "west coast" player
Kenny Garrett is a very good "modern" player (not modern jazz, that term is loaded)
Dave Koz is probably a very good "smooth jazz" player (I have never heard him, but he gets good review from people who like this genre)

All these guys are specialists, I know they can turn their hands to anything, but they are known for a particular style....decide on yours early!!
 

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In case you haven't noticed, we're as supportive as a bunch of unrepentant smart +++es can be. But we're also shameless, so it works out.:D Anyway, if the cool hat, beard, and catch-phrases don't get you where you want to go, then . . .

First, keep listening. Second, do learn your scales and arpeggios inside out; they are necessary but not sufficient. Third, practice improvising. Use the Aebersold book/CDs if you haven't other options. Finally, understand the language, including it's grammar and syntax. FWIW, here are three references I believe in for this purpose:
The Jazz Theory Book, by Mark Levine
Jazz Improvisation: The Goal Note Method by Shelton Berg
How to Play Bebop Vols 1 - 3, by David Baker​
IMO, knowing the scale-chords, grammar, and syntax help you to speak the language properly. Listening and improvising help you to speak the language beautifully (including when to ditch the grammar and syntax!).

But I saved what may be the most important thing for last: Stop wanting to learn very badly. Just live. At least this is the most important thing for some people. It's hard to say whether it is for you.
 

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If I may add something, I strongly suggest working out of the Jerry Bergonzi Inside-Improvisation books. I've been working with these for a while now and they're great, he has everything laid out with exercises that gradually get more difficult, and alot of material that is well explained.
 

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all right, something serious.....do play with other musicians.

It is very sad to see (As I very often do at some workshops here in Holland) great musicians who are great at a lot of things I can't do, but who can't really play together with others. Playing at home is practicing music. Playing together with others is making music.
 
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