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Jazz Nerdz (I am a dedicated jazz nerd) be playing Giant Steps, Countdown, Cherokee blah blah blah in all 12 keys at burning tempos. The Universe couldn't care less.

Now get yourself on a Rock and Roll gig and play a convincing, with no mistakes/ micro-mistakes, no BS polished blues solo in difficult key like concert Db.

I. Dare. You.

I had one of these gigs last night. I went home fairly pissed and ready to shed the blues, THE BLUES, not jazzy-blues, but real authentic straight, no fancy tritone sub yada yada cerebral blues, in at least Db and Gb really hard.

Forget the long tones. Long Tones makes Jack a dull boy. Trust me and Dave Pollack, they're not gonna get you anywhere. Work on the blues.

Peace Out.
 

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For me, it's tough because I don't love it. A solo with all the right notes in all the right places no mistakes no timing issues still sounds painfully vanilla when I play it. I don't want to shed it because I can't teach myself to love it. I want to hear Jobim not Muddy Waters. There is definitely more audience feedback at a blues gig, and actually more venues to play than jazz but if halfway through the first set your looking at the clock (as I feel when I do it) it's just never going to feel great.
 

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On a blues gig right now. Fun stuff. Just a different vibe. Gotta learn the vocab, concepts and devices just like any other style.

There are no difficult keys in my opinion. Just ones we haven't spent enough time in the shed on.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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...

Forget the long tones. Long Tones makes Jack a dull boy. Trust me and Dave Pollack, they're not gonna get you anywhere. Work on the blues.

...
Well, no time working on the blues is wasted. "You know it's in him. It's got to come out."

As for the long tones, I do not agree with your statement on Pollack's video. His title was completely misleading. The title says that we should "stop playing long tones" but then the video content is all about how important they are in order to play musically.

[His machine gun speaking delivery is unfortunate and needs work. This video is not as bad as some, but has rocky spots. He tends to lose control of his tempo, rushing his delivery and tripping over his words, once he is engaged on a point he is excited about, thereby damaging his ability to communicate effectively. This is just as harmful in a speaking situation as in a playing situation, and deserves the same attention. But otherwise the content of these videos contain lots of good solid advice and suggestions. And great playing, as well.]

I heard him saying that many people do not practice long tones properly. That focusing upon one isolated note without considering movement from that note to the next note is a bad investment of our practice time.

Indeed, the first point he makes in the video is that every one of the points people use for why they practice long tones [improve intonation, stamina, and tone] is crucially important. The rest of the video is about how those crucially important aspects should be integrated into our playing.

His concern is that too many players play one long note at a time in practice, and "if you never incorporate that wind moving around" to other notes while focusing on those three crucial parts of long tone playing development, you will be running up a dead end one way street.

I do not work with young players, so for all I know maybe he is right. I have to take his word for it that players work on playing good, solid, in tune, great tone long notes for as long as possible as an end in itself. But I never heard of anyone, before this video, who thought that long tones were anything more than a tool. Kind of like saying, "Learning those blues notes in the key signature is a complete waste of time if you do not consider them in context and incorporate them as part of the moving structure of a musical statement." I would be just as surprised to learn that people treat blues note study that way. I suppose some people do, but it would be news to me.

It seemed to me that his titles 'stop playing long tones' and 'long tones are overrated' were deliberately provocative to draw attention, rather than descriptive of the message he sends in the body.

And absolutely ... play more blues. That advice cannot be wrong.
 

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When I started playing in old style jazz bands 35+ years ago as a self-taught I got my first real lesson by an old timer saying: 'If you can't play the blues, you can't play jazz'.
Since then I have always taken both the blues scales and rhythm changes as base for playing jazz improvisations in whatever style.
 

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When I started playing in old style jazz bands 35+ years ago as a self-taught I got my first real lesson by an old timer saying: 'If you can't play the blues, you can't play jazz'.
Since then I have always taken both the blues scales and rhythm changes as base for playing jazz improvisations in whatever style.
Those were practically the exact words used by my mentors, as well.
 

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The blues is deceptively simple. It takes talent to play a nice blues solo. It's more about expression than scales and modes. And the expression is in phrasing, tone, throat distortion, flutter tongue, plus all the ornaments we know like grace notes, pulling up to pitch, modents, intentional bad intonation on the right notes, etc., etc., etc., and mostly in the confines of the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic and blues scale.

It's about emotion not technical finesse. When I hear some jazzers try to inflict jazz licks into the blues, it makes me shudder. Be true to the genre or don't play it. When playing jazz, do jazz licks, when playing blues play blues licks.

I love playing the blues. I've done time with jazz too, and was decent enough to be in a house band where the likes of Ira Sullivan, Red Rodney, Duffy Jackson and others sat in (the guitarist used to play for Ira and taught jazz at the U of Miami). I felt like I was faking it when those monsters showed up, but they were kind to me or I fooled them.

Between the two, I've put more time in playing the blues. Why? I play music for a living, and playing jazz around here means I'd need a day job to pay my bills. I wake up in the morning, go to be at night, and in-between do what I like and what makes me happy. I don't answer to anybody, learn from my mistakes, and from my successes, in to put it in two words, "I'm free".

The blues is a bit like painting with a limited palette. I've seen some incredible art done with pencil, because it's all about composition. Same for charcoal or pen & ink. It seems simple because you only have one color and a ground, but you need to be a much better artist to pull it off.

Here's a great 24 bar solo played by a tenor player not known as being a blues player, Boots Randolph (this changed my opinion of him) and it starts at about 1:30 of this Elvis song. He knew when to be behind the beat, when to inject negative space, how to stay in the blues scale, and how to build to a climax. The rest of the band is right on him, especially the drummer.

Give it a listen, if a country sax player can do this, a jazz player should be able to.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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I am an early jazz player and the blues has always been a part of that genre. But I've never liked it when someone calls out, "Blues in Bb . . ." or whatever. There have been SO many good blues-tunes with actual melodies that I never saw a reason to just play normal blues chord-progressions and call it a song. I won't bother to list all the blues-tunes I know (probably the most well-known tune like that would be Handy's ST. LOUIS BLUES) that have a melody to them; suffice to say I could probably fill a whole night's gig with melodic blues tunes that have melodies and lyrics, and still not play all of them.

When the band plays one of those melodic blues-tunes, the improv within the tune becomes so much easier to play, in my view. Yes, there will be times when someone will want to play Blues in Bb (or Db - MOUNTAIN TOP BLUES, aka RICHARD M. JONES BLUES comes to mind), and then I suppose the sax player will need to conform. But when that happens to me, I'll often quote a real blues melody from one of many real blues tunes when the band throws it to me. DAVE
 

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We play blues at every gig in my Csharp, A, B, lots of Fsharp sometimes D, never C or flat keys. (Jami Jamison band for the last 18 years ) The challenge with blues especially if its number 1008 times you have played it is to play it to someone in the audience. Try to connect with and move with them. Also its so about the many many ways you can play a flat 3 or flat 5. They are not 2 notes but many many depending on how much bend or scoop or half key you put in. I listen alot to guitars and vocalists for ideas and I never forget how the masters always slow it down out of the gate. My blues solos are just like a jazz solo in that its still call and response, have a conversation. And limiting is always a key to creativity. Try to play a song with only two notes per chord. Or everything you play has to be from A in the staff or lower. Limiting is the key to much creativity K
 

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Also, blues covers a huge amount of ground. theres jump blues, shuffle blues, rhumba blues, rock blues, slow I wanna die blues, Many kinds of feel K
 

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J

Forget the long tones. Long Tones makes Jack a dull boy. Trust me and Dave Pollack, they're not gonna get you anywhere. Work on the blues.
Makes no sense. Blues is all about tone/sound and understanding that is your number one technique. Not playing fast patterns, but making one note say more than thousand. Listen the great blues saxophonists like Lee Allen who did this and understood the importance of working on sound and tone.

To play the blues you need to work on sound (so yes, long notes are great) and you need to live the blues. The absolute top world class great blues artists I've had the pleasure to perform or record with taught me this lesson. I got those gigs on account of my being able to play the blues which is all down to these things: listening and living the genre and working on sound more than anything else. So many people think blues is "easy", so shrug it off as somehow inferior - same as they do with working on your tone control and sound technique. For me these things are number one.
 

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Keith, good points and the essence of the blues is what Pete Thomas brought up; its all about the tone and being sincere. I think to this day that Ornette captured that feeling and approach unlike anyone else on saxophone. The only thing he couldn’t do was capture the call and response aspect of the music the way a great piano or guitar playing blues singer could. Rahsaan sang and growled through his horn and flute though.

Also, blues covers a huge amount of ground. theres jump blues, shuffle blues, rhumba blues, rock blues, slow I wanna die blues, Many kinds of feel K
 

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For me Eb (Db concert) Major is an excellent Key to solo in. Eb Minor I can still do but I don't feel like I've got all my licks quite right.

Concert F# is a hard one. It too feels a little off all the time. I think it's because they are a half step away from to very commonly played keys so the brain gets confused.

There's a huge disconnect to playing patterns or scales in intervals in those keys and actually soloing in them.

I think as soon as you feel uncomfortable, laying back and just playing some simple riffs goes a lot further than getting your fingers all muddled up in the keys trying to play how you'd normally play.

I'll be at ye olde local blues jam this afternoon. It might be delta, could be more rock, maybe one has a calypso beat, or a bo diddley beat. Maybe it's funky blues? Are there going to be some different changes or is a standard 1 4 5? I know it's always "just blues" but these are the reasons I always go down when I can to play on Sundays. Lot's of really good guitar players/ singers and groups who've been playing around this scene for 30+ years. And usually there's only one other horn player who tends to show up so lot's of room for the sax player :p
 

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The blues is deceptively simple. It takes talent to play a nice blues solo. It's more about expression than scales and modes. And the expression is in phrasing, tone, throat distortion, flutter tongue, plus all the ornaments we know like grace notes, pulling up to pitch, modents, intentional bad intonation on the right notes, etc., etc., etc., and mostly in the confines of the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic and blues scale.

It's about emotion not technical finesse. When I hear some jazzers try to inflict jazz licks into the blues, it makes me shudder. Be true to the genre or don't play it. When playing jazz, do jazz licks, when playing blues play blues licks.

I love playing the blues. I've done time with jazz too, and was decent enough to be in a house band where the likes of Ira Sullivan, Red Rodney, Duffy Jackson and others sat in (the guitarist used to play for Ira and taught jazz at the U of Miami). I felt like I was faking it when those monsters showed up, but they were kind to me or I fooled them.

Between the two, I've put more time in playing the blues. Why? I play music for a living, and playing jazz around here means I'd need a day job to pay my bills. I wake up in the morning, go to be at night, and in-between do what I like and what makes me happy. I don't answer to anybody, learn from my mistakes, and from my successes, in to put it in two words, "I'm free".

The blues is a bit like painting with a limited palette. I've seen some incredible art done with pencil, because it's all about composition. Same for charcoal or pen & ink. It seems simple because you only have one color and a ground, but you need to be a much better artist to pull it off.

Here's a great 24 bar solo played by a tenor player not known as being a blues player, Boots Randolph (this changed my opinion of him) and it starts at about 1:30 of this Elvis song. He knew when to be behind the beat, when to inject negative space, how to stay in the blues scale, and how to build to a climax. The rest of the band is right on him, especially the drummer.

Give it a listen, if a country sax player can do this, a jazz player should be able to.

Insights and incites by Notes
Excellent. Blues tenor should sound like someone singing. And that's what Boots does in this to a tee. He sounds like he's singing the blues.
 

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Man, I LOVE the blues! In all its multitude of forms and variations. I also agree it's the heart and soul of jazz. So I don't really see much separation there.

Depending on the style of blues, you do have to be true to the form and feel of that particular style. Even, and maybe especially, the most basic 12 bar form might seem to be simple, but as Pete says, that doesn't mean it's easy to play with authenticity and authority. You have to feel it through and through. Milk every note for all it's worth. I love playing the blues; at its best it's very cathartic and beautiful.

Definitely shed the blues in all 12 keys. It you don't, sooner or later someone will call a blues in the key you didn't shed... I also find each and every key to have a certain sound as well as certain peculiarities on the sax, so playing in all the keys will expand your repertoire and really nailing it down in different keys will help your playing overall.
 

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Jazz Nerdz (I am a dedicated jazz nerd) be playing Giant Steps, Countdown, Cherokee blah blah blah in all 12 keys at burning tempos. The Universe couldn't care less.

Now get yourself on a Rock and Roll gig and play a convincing, with no mistakes/ micro-mistakes, no BS polished blues solo in difficult key like concert Db.

I. Dare. You.

I had one of these gigs last night. I went home fairly pissed and ready to shed the blues, THE BLUES, not jazzy-blues, but real authentic straight, no fancy tritone sub yada yada cerebral blues, in at least Db and Gb really hard.

Forget the long tones. Long Tones makes Jack a dull boy. Trust me and Dave Pollack, they're not gonna get you anywhere. Work on the blues.

Peace Out.
The Universe couldn't care less about the blues either
 

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I love the Texas Tenor style, in which Blues (or playing Bluesy) is very important. I'm also always disappointed when I visit a (Jazz) concert in which I don't here at least one Blues tune being played. For me hearing the Blues is the best way to judge if I like a player or not.

About three years ago I joined a series of threads on the UK sax forum to play the Blues in all keys. Very useful, even while I didn't really had the time to practice and joined buy just hit-and-record recordings. I also shared my (intermediate) efforts in a thread here on SOTW:
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...d-Blues-clips-in-all-keys-(an-ongoing-process!)
 
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