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Discussion Starter #101 (Edited)
Solid start. Couple of things.

Time: Clearly rushing at the 34 and 39 sec marks. There's also parts where I can't tell what the rhythm is supposed to be, but you should be making it clear. Make sure you know where the beat is and land solidly on the beat. As is typical of beginners, whatever part of the tune you want to get through at that moment, you rush through. But when you do that, it's not musical. I'd say time is your number one biggest issue right now.

Swing: I assume you're playing straight on purpose, but this tune should swing.

Articulation: I'm not hearing any accents where they should be or legatos and staccatos where they should be. When you play along with Sonny, don't just copy the notes. Copy everything he is doing - accents, dynamics, swing.

Keep in mind all of the above are what you should aspire to. I wouldn't expect a beginner to nail all of that at this point. You're right where a beginner typically is at this stage. You just need to be aware of what to work on.

I assume you're still taking lessons from Chad and he's already told you all of this. Having more than one teacher can be confusing and counterproductive. So always defer to Chad whenever you're given conflicting information. I'm just telling you what I would tell one of my students, as is he.

As far as the chord progression goes, this is straight up rhythm changes. You should hear the bass playing I-VI-II-V, etc. At this stage, I'd rely on the written changes. Save the harmonic analysis for the future when you're a little bit further along. Right now, I'd expect you to be able to hear, say, a blues progression, not fast, complex changes that have a different chord every two beats.

I admire your enthusiasm, but you're still biting off more than you can chew. Yet another reason to have a teacher to give you the right amount of material at the right level so you can learn at a realistic pace and gain a solid understanding as you go before progressing to the next level. Otherwise you're going to be lost.

To summarize, slow down, focus on the fundamentals.
Very well said and I appreciate it a lot!

Yes, clearly rushed in spots and off count, I did hear this too - just ran out of practice hours for the day and didn't want to re-record. Definitely lacking swing on purpose as well, but I'm generally working that as well. Articulations is going to take me awhile to build - and you're correct. I find it harder for me to play the nuanced articulations without having sonny's track playing along - All on the horizon!

It's a lot to work at once, but I don't feel overwhelmed by it, just need to make sure I try to focus on one bit at a time. For me, I'm currently more motivated to work on internalizing these changes and getting a better grasp of what is being played. So my first goal is to really feel like I can hear what's going on in the progression and backing with this one. Chad/Andrew are tracking this - and primarily has stated that most of this will come with time, but there is nothing wrong with focusing on it - so long as I don't let it detract from my practice with his lessons on blues changes, timing, tempo, intonation, and articulation he has me working. I usually spend the last 30 minutes of my practice working on this tune, and the first hour to hour and a half working over my lesson material.

I'm not even moving into the solo, just want to feel like I know whats going on better and can lay out this progression internally just in the head. Once i've got the progression, then I'm going to spend my full sessions matching up in articulation, timing, and feel - hopefully for the better! That'll be my next progress report for those interested! I did find that my tone was very good though - using no reverb/eq on that one. So, I'm at least finding some positive results! As always, all feedback is welcome - and as you said - I love the feedback and constructive comments from everyone, but if I get conflicting info, I'll defer to Chad and Andrew Gould.
 

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Stop trying to aim for the beat and “sing” the melody. Outside of C-Jam Blues this might be the easiest head in the jazz repertoire...purely a vehicle for jams/ improv.
 

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Discussion Starter #103
Stop trying to aim for the beat and “sing” the melody. Outside of C-Jam Blues this might be the easiest head in the jazz repertoire...purely a vehicle for jams/ improv.
Ah - hadn't thought of it that way. It's probably my anticipation that leads to that - aiming for a count rather than just singing along. I'll have to focus on that as well. Thanks
 

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Very well said and I appreciate it a lot!

Yes, clearly rushed in spots and off count, I did hear this too - just ran out of practice hours for the day and didn't want to re-record. Definitely lacking swing on purpose as well, but I'm generally working that as well. Articulations is going to take me awhile to build - and you're correct. I find it harder for me to play the nuanced articulations without having sonny's track playing along - All on the horizon!

It's a lot to work at once, but I don't feel overwhelmed by it, just need to make sure I try to focus on one bit at a time. For me, I'm currently more motivated to work on internalizing these changes and getting a better grasp of what is being played. So my first goal is to really feel like I can hear what's going on in the progression and backing with this one. Chad/Andrew are tracking this - and primarily has stated that most of this will come with time, but there is nothing wrong with focusing on it - so long as I don't let it detract from my practice with his lessons on blues changes, timing, tempo, intonation, and articulation he has me working. I usually spend the last 30 minutes of my practice working on this tune, and the first hour to hour and a half working over my lesson material.

I'm not even moving into the solo, just want to feel like I know whats going on better and can lay out this progression internally just in the head. Once i've got the progression, then I'm going to spend my full sessions matching up in articulation, timing, and feel - hopefully for the better! That'll be my next progress report for those interested! I did find that my tone was very good though - using no reverb/eq on that one. So, I'm at least finding some positive results! As always, all feedback is welcome - and as you said - I love the feedback and constructive comments from everyone, but if I get conflicting info, I'll defer to Chad and Andrew Gould.
I've been following this thread with interest because I see a lot of my own tendencies here. This is directed to lydian and others who have been giving advice - rather than trying to pick out the chords by ear, as I understand Jared is doing, wouldn't it be quicker to memorize them playing them on piano, using the Real Book or another transcription? Or maybe I'm just too addicted to reading. What do you guys think?
 

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I've been following this thread with interest because I see a lot of my own tendencies here. This is directed to lydian and others who have been giving advice - rather than trying to pick out the chords by ear, as I understand Jared is doing, wouldn't it be quicker to memorize them playing them on piano, using the Real Book or another transcription? Or maybe I'm just too addicted to reading. What do you guys think?
consult the real book for changes and work on analysis until you start developing your ears a little better, but always learn melodies from recordings over sheet music whenever possible...and it’s really only not possible when you’re in a situation where someone hands you a lead sheet and says let’s play.
 

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Couple points to add to Lydian's good analysis. I would look hard for a better backing track than the one you are using. It sounds square, and Huey Lewis notwithstanding, it is not hip to be square. It shouldn't be too hard to find a good track. You might try iRealPro, and just play with the bass and drums, I know that I Got Rhythm is in the chart list you can download with the app. (The piano part tends to be a little, well, square....).

Regarding time, concentrate on 2 and 4. That's where the hi-hat hits, and for swing tunes, that's where everything is. Actually, that's where everything is for a lot of rock and funk too...

Regarding playing piano, as AddictedToSax suggests, sure go ahead, but rhythm changes are so basic that learning them from a book is pointless. Rhythm changes and blues, along with myriad variations, are so common that it's one of those things that have to become internal. I could probably play a rhythm changes tune in my sleep... in fact, I probably have...

||: I vi | ii V | iii vi | ii V | I I7 | IV ivm | iii vi | ii V :||
|| III7 | % | VI7 | % | II7 | % |V | % ||
|| I vi | ii V | iii vi | ii V | I I7 | IV ivm | iii vi | ii V ||


Those are rhythm changes. Listen to the bass, keep your ear on beats 2 and 4, and swing. You'll notice that people play all kinds of stuff over the A section, from vamping on a single chord or lick to playing fewer chords to playing out - the point is, the form is in your ear.

Maybe start by learning the arpeggios to all those chords and make an exercise to play them. Then another. Then another. (I seem to remember Chad LB saying something like that in one of his videos.).

Or maybe make up some vamps, little 2 bar licks that you can repeat over the form.

These are all little things you can do to study the form. It's all a process of exploration and study of what others have done. Don't worry about drinking from the firehose - think of it as a river, with every player that's ever lived contributing a little here and there. Take something from that river, internalize it, then go back and take something else. Have a good time :)
 

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I’ve loved this tune since long before I was even playing when I heard this version on a Charlie Parker album:

Just found this version...Flip Philips (60 years later and still ripping!) is on both tracks! Also Roy Hargrove is one of the coolest and most genuine cats ever...and Josh Redman is well known but always underrated as one of the greatest tenor players around.

 

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I've been following this thread with interest because I see a lot of my own tendencies here. This is directed to lydian and others who have been giving advice - rather than trying to pick out the chords by ear, as I understand Jared is doing, wouldn't it be quicker to memorize them playing them on piano, using the Real Book or another transcription? Or maybe I'm just too addicted to reading. What do you guys think?
Yes, it would be quicker to take from a lead sheet and play on the piano, which is exactly what I do. But not everybody can do that. The key is to do whatever makes it easiest for YOU to comprehend and remember. If that's looking at chord symbols on a page or listening to the tune over and over or memorizing the formula (ii-V-I, for example), that's what you should do.

It's certainly valuable to try to learn chord progressions by ear, but only after you've already learned what to listen for. In other words, if you have trouble differentiating major from minor from dominant, there's no way your going to pick out an entire progression. The most useful thing to do in that case is to play all types of chords on the piano to get the sounds in your ear.

When I learn a tune, first I just try to classify the whole tune, i.e., this is a minor blues or rhythm changes or is it similar to some other tune I already know. Then I try to work out how the larger chunks are related. For example, I remember Moment's Notice starts on a ii-V, goes up a half step to a ii-V-I, then a turnaround, then another ii-V a whole step down from the first, etc. So I don't actually have to remember all that much, just how one chunk (i.e., ii-V) is related to another (up a half step, down a whole step, etc.). Kind of like a roadmap - start at home, take a left at the light, go two blocks and take a right, rather than a list of things - house, main street, elm street. But if the latter works for you, then that's the best method.
 

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Discussion Starter #109
Thanks everyone for the response and feedback!

I'm really trying hard on this ear training thing! I feel like Steve K. really hit a good point with the rhythm and having my ears perk on the 2/4 high hats. On top of that, I didn't read the chords (as I'm still trying to get that internalized without a cheat sheet). I'll go see if I can find a iRealPro track and turn off the piano parts to ease my transcription of a bass line! I also have a track from LearnJazzStandards, which is pretty decent - but I found it harder for me to hear what was going on.

Lots of work ahead!
 

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Thanks everyone for the response and feedback!

I feel like Steve K. really hit a good point with the rhythm and having my ears perk on the 2/4 high hats.
Speaking of rhythm, be sure to focus on the difference between an upbeat and a downbeat. They have a very different feel that you have to hear. To get a good feel for it, try starting lines on the upbeat. You can also emphasize the upbeat to help internalize it. Syncopation is a huge part of jazz & blues (not to mention funk, latin, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #111
I certainly need to work more on rhythms as a whole and this is a great thing to add in to my practice - hitting upbeats on phrases and metronome practice like lydian stated on 2 and 4.

Just got a great statement from my instructor:

"It all just needs to be more internalized which will happen over time. You want to have the scales and chords SO engrained in your head and ears, that you can start accessing these sounds without having to think as intensely about each note. This way you can use more of your mental "horsepower" to focus on playing what you hear, and pay attention to things like inflections, articulations, dynamics and overall phrasing - stuff that really gives life to those notes."

Just helping solidify my decision to work on these changes as the forefront of my goal - but timing will be another of my focuses that I need to really hit hard.
 

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Very much what I’d expect him to say, as it includes all the things being tossed around on the thread. Keep up the good work!
 

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Well, let's talk about just the first phrase, which is really the whole tune.

I expect to hear those repeated notes short, as that's the way most guys play the tune these days, but Prez did play them long, so let's go with that phrasing. Those repeated notes need to be accented. Also, if you listen to jazz players playing this head with the notes long, they're generally applying a significant terminal vibrato to add interest, rather than just holding the note out in a tired sort of way. Make those long notes sing! Accents! And don't be afraid to blow through the thing. You sound very tentative.

Actually I'm listening right now to Bird playing this tune and in this version he's playing those repeated notes with so much sforzando that they sound short in the poor recording, but they're not short.

As to the bridge, I know you're just playing some filler chord notes, but in truth, what you played would work perfectly well at full tempo - but PLAY the notes. Put accents. Use your tongue and breath to make something out of them. Add a little rhythmic variation. Again, make something out of those very simple lines. Those simple little things you did in the bridge, if played with emphasis like you mean it, will sound better than a bunch of complicated stuff played with bad timing.

is a moderate tempo recording, by Lester Young, with the repeated notes played long. Note how he constantly inflects those held notes. Also the first half of the first bridge he just plays one repeated note over and over - but with rhythm.

If I were you I'd go listen to this tune as performed by a range of people, now that you've got the melody and chords under your fingers.

is the Basie band, also holding those repeated notes, but listen again to the inflections.

In jazz, when you play a long note, don't just let it sit there; do something with it. I think just doing something with those long repeated notes would give your rendition a lot of the energy it lacks.

Here's Sonny Stitt playing it at moderate tempo. I notice he can't decide how long to play the repeated notes - first A section he plays them long, last A section he plays some short and some long. But if your choice is for long (and that's totally valid) listen to how he inflects each note of that first A section, with an initial accent, drop down, terminal vibrato - this is the stereotyped jazz inflection.

Sorry for speaking bluntly.
 

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I did mulitasking for years with tunes. First step is to play them like a bass every note a quarter, hit the root on 1 and then lock all the quarters in. I guarentee that if you just "walk" the tune for 5 minutes you will memorize root movement, lock in quarters, and start building the harmonic context. Without harmony the melody has no place to be created from (if that makes sense?) but that does 1. Memorize the changes, 2, Hear root movement 3. Hear/internalize the harmony 4. Lock in a quarter note pulse. Without that quarter note pulse you can't build anything rhythmiclally . IMO.. So thats my process. and its not easy. You are essentually forcing yourself to learn a tune the way a bass or piano or guitarist would. As a horn you do the head 2 choruses solo for 4 then go to sleep. The Rhythm section never gets to sleep , the harmony and pulse never stop till the tunes over. You get what I mean K
 

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And for the melody. I have done a duo gig for 10 years now at a convalescent hospital. I deliberately play somewhere over the rainbow in my worst key (Ab, or Eb) just for the exercise of having to make up a melody and make something musical right here right now. That came from memorizing many many heads/melodies over time. You might make it a fun 5 minute project to hit a you tube a day of one of your favourite songs. Figure out the key, try to get the form, catch melody, harmony, horn lines, solos. Whatever you can catch . YOU are building the most important muscle in your body, your ear/muscle memory. Then new song tomorrow ? K
 
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