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Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many are entranced by harmony, the in & out of the music. So to speak.But there's more to it than a techinique- it's THE MELODY. How you phrase it and the message.

I note with extreme interest, that to get to a level of a Coltrane, Miles Davis or Michael Brecker, one needs to have their melody playing as tight as possible. To many rely on what might be " required" or the peer group their in. But realistically speaking, you need MELODY to make the advanced techniques work.You need to enhance your playing with the richness of color and its subsequent emotional power to bring the listener into your story. After all, you won't be playing for your peers all your life. Right?

Learning standards, such as " Body & Soul", " Stardust", " I Can't Get Started" and so many others.In this sense I mean knowing the song without a fake book. Playing from that agenda. Of course tunes like " Soul Eyes", " Lush Life" and Strayhorn gems need chord lead sheet road maps.But the agenda of knowing standards is essential.Improvising is a bottomless pit of discovery with unending combinations,but it's useless unless you study the roots of the music. If you do not know the melody, and chords to ballads like I mentioned or worse yet songs like " All Blues" and " Tune Up" there are huge missing links within.

Without the aspect of swing, and melody the core of the tradition is not present.With out question the supremacy of melody has to be acknowledged.We all know that harmony shades and supports melody,enhancing its beauty and depth. In jazz creating a strong melody stands as a crowning achievement.

Here are some examples; Study / learn and absorb.

Coleman Hawkins- Body & Soul

JR Monterose- Body & Soul

Django - Charlie Mariano

Dexter Gordon - I'm a fool to want you

I'm A Fool To Want You - Lee Morgan

There will be more on this topic next week,on this RICO REEDS blog.
This is vital to our art form, and needs to be brought to the attention of the youth.

KEEP ON AND....go learn a great ballad.:mrgreen:
 

Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
Joined
6,260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
unfortunately some of the videos are no longer available due to the poster's account being expired or terminated
Time waits for nobody.....not even jazz....lol.

Some of my faves are mia dang.
 

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Hi Tim, thank you for posting this information. It is very timely. I spend so much of my (limited) time, work on 'harmony', i have not memorized a song yet!.... but you are absolutely correct.

Thank you.

Eflat.
 

Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
Joined
6,260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Tim, thank you for posting this information. It is very timely. I spend so much of my (limited) time, work on 'harmony', i have not memorized a song yet!.... but you are absolutely correct.

Thank you.

Eflat.
Your welcome.....posting is slow for me lately- - gigs and travel are going on. I do appreciate the kind words.
 

Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
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This post reminds me of an email we received after a gig in a local restaurant with our trad/swing 4tet. The gentleman, in his early 60s, thanked us for our nice rendering of all those classic tunes, although he "couldn't understand what we usually played AFTER the melody". Ouch.
It is SO true. The search of speedy tricky patterns over whatever alternate changes is like internal jokes: for members only. The rest of Mankind, those having dinner while we play, or getting married, or whatever, all still have a child inside them, who'd like to SING with us.
Last Sunday we had our yearly charity day at the local church. I was asked to play some music during the celebration in the church. As our organist isn't familiar at all with playing chord changes, I decided to play alone. For some reason, thinking of something "gospel-like", just a nice hearty melody, "Careless Love" came to my mind. I played the melody 3 times, all alone, on my tenor, with only very slight variations on the 2nd time. Walking out of the church, I received warm thanks, someone even asking what was that nice song's title.
So yes: let us rediscover the strong meaning of melodies.
Thanks Tim.
 
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