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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently, I have been trying to "upgrade" my playing. By that I mean I am trying to use more harmonically advanced concepts in my soloing. I've gotten bored with playing 'in' the changes all of the time. Granted, you always have to play in the changes to some degree so it gets across to the listener that you know what you are doing. So, in the attempt to do this I have gone back to the very basics. I am revisiting tunes that I thought I knew. I started with "Blue Bossa." Simple as they come, right? NO! Only on paper, but when you really rip it apart and try to figure out ALL of the possibilities, it becomes much more challenging. But, I find it much more rewarding.

And along this road so far, I have noticed something that has been missing in my playing that I can't hide anymore. I haven't gotten down any vocabulary for those incessant ii-V-Is. They are EVERYWHERE! So, I started hitting a book I should have checked out long ago, Jamey Aebersold's Volume 3. And after practicing a few of those licks (and some that I have transcribed) in all keys, I have gotten quite a workout. (I think I will soon spring for Steve Neff's lick collection). And suddenly, I am starting to see all of those gaps in my soloing fill up. With only a few days work, it has really done wonders for my playing. The only problem being that I have to really force feed those licks into my solos, they dont yet come out naturally, which I'm sure they will with time and practice.

So, the moral of the story is: PRACTICE YOUR II-V7-I patterns EVERY DAY!

~Zach
 

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Thanks Zach, I will think about it!
 

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I've been practicing Neff's patterns for a couple of months now. The guys in the big band have noticed a difference in my soloing. I highly recommend them.They're kewl and fun to play.
 

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zach, DEFINITELY. most important progression to learn in order to solo in jazz. a good way to work on them is get some aebersold playalongs. if you get the blues in all keys and the rhythm changes in all keys, you will be set. if you can play blues and rhythm changes in all keys you will have a FANTASTIC start on improvising. i've started to do this and it's beyond helpful......
 

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I just got Neff's ii-V books and DAMN there are some good licks in there. I'm out of commission for a month due to my ear surgery but I'm practicing them mentally.

I've also gone through Sonny Stitt's solo on Tune Up (from: Tune Up or Endgame Brilliance) and written down all the ii-V's I liked (which is most of them) and have started practicing a few of them (mentally) in all keys. Stitt is always a great source for vocabulary.

The trick is that once you internalize these 4-bar licks, you need to be able to mix and match segments. Take a ii from here and put it with a V7 from there and a IMaj from over there and now you've kind of got a hybrid made from other things you've practiced. That creates flexibility and makes sure your ii-V vocabulary doesn't become tired and stale.
 

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saxymanzach said:
.......
..... I haven't gotten down any vocabulary for those incessant ii-V-Is. They are EVERYWHERE! So, I started hitting a book I should have checked out long ago, Jamey Aebersold's Volume 3. ....
So, the moral of the story is: PRACTICE YOUR II-V7-I patterns EVERY DAY!

~Zach
That's a big 10-4 good buddy. Try Aebersold's Volume 68 too. It's six tunes in all keys, lots of ii-Vs.
 

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When I practice them I like setting up a loop on band in a box. I put ii-7/V7/Imaj7/VI7alt so in C it would be D-7/G7/Cmaj7/A7alt/. I just loop it over and over again. Practice in one key for awhile. I practice different ii-V patterns but on the VI7 I practice using the altered scale or sometimes the diminished scale. Another thing that is helpful is that I'll go through 10 times just start on D. thjen 10x starting on F, then on A......C,E,G,B. It's just an exercise that has help me break out of the box of always starting on certain notes. It also shows you if you have a weakness in regard to the key when starting on a note.
I think of learning these patterns as similar to learning a new word. I have a friend that tries to learn a new word everyday. Many times at first he'll come out with this obscure word. It sounds awkward and forced because he's trying really hard to use it. After awhile though it's just part of his vocabulary and sounds natural (even though I don't know what half of them mean). Hopefully, you get the analogy.
 

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Nefertiti said:
I think of learning these patterns as similar to learning a new word. I have a friend that tries to learn a new word everyday. Many times at first he'll come out with this obscure word. It sounds awkward and forced because he's trying really hard to use it. After awhile though it's just part of his vocabulary and sounds natural (even though I don't know what half of them mean). Hopefully, you get the analogy.
When I'm really trying to learn new vocabulary, I go through all the tunes I now and intentionally play that lick everywhere it fits. For a ii-V lick I use it over every ii-V (and 2 bar V7) in every tune I know. Like you say, it sounds forced but eventually becomes natural and sounds just like any other phrase in my musical lexicon.
 

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Agent27 said:
........
The trick is that once you internalize these 4-bar licks, you need to be able to mix and match segments. Take a ii from here and put it with a V7 from there and a IMaj from over there and now you've kind of got a hybrid made from other things you've practiced. That creates flexibility and makes sure your ii-V vocabulary doesn't become tired and stale.
Excellent tip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Agent27 said:
The trick is that once you internalize these 4-bar licks, you need to be able to mix and match segments. Take a ii from here and put it with a V7 from there and a IMaj from over there and now you've kind of got a hybrid made from other things you've practiced. That creates flexibility and makes sure your ii-V vocabulary doesn't become tired and stale.
Hey, good tip. I went through a few of my licks and spliced them together and found a few cool combinations, and I felt like I know my way around thos licks better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is really humbling. I thought that I could play, but I was really just faking it. I got frustrated today because nothing was "happening" with my solos today. So, I just forgot about everything, but now I am able to follow the chord structure in my head withouth thinking about it, I am thinking ahead. I have like a chordal GPS in my head now: "B7(b5) approaching in 3 beats, play F, D#, C#, and B." And I knew when the ii-V was approaching, so I tried to throw in a lick. However, at this early stage, my lick vocab is limited so there was a lot of repetition.

I'm not satisfied yet, the licks are still forced and I need to learn more vocabulary, but I feel like I am becoming a better player for this.

I also need to start a bank of one-bar ii-V, I see those a lot. I pulled out "Ceora" yesterday for fun, and there were one-bar ii-Vs all over the place.
 

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Playing through ii-V's is important, and you've got to study voice leading on a "harmony instrument", (usually keys) ,to get the big picture on harmony. One without the other won't work.....daryl
 

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saxymanzach said:
I also need to start a bank of one-bar ii-V, I see those a lot. I pulled out "Ceora" yesterday for fun, and there were one-bar ii-Vs all over the place.
In general you can substitute a ii-V over a one-bar V. In other words, Dm - G7 instead of the full bar on G7. I'm not sure if there are some limits to when & where you can do this. I'm still banging away at I-IV-V blues, but throwing in the occasional ii-V. I like to have the band play the more swing/jump oriented tunes with a ii-V instead of V-IV. Maybe I'll get my ii-V licks down that way.

I already started using one of Nef's ii-V licks (with slight alterations) in a Cleanhead Vinson tune we're playing. And it works great when I pull it off. Thanks Nef...
 

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I have some trouble with it. My teacher says the following (atleast that's what I think he said): you play e.g. a II-V7 in C. You play the first (II) Dm just D minor, , then a b9 sounds good over a V7 chord (the G7). Now I'm wondering: do I use the b9 of the Dm chord or the G7 chord? Also: can you just use the dim scale of Dm (so that would be D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B natural etc. ) over the whole II-V7 change? Or just over one specific chord?
 

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Hammertime said:
I have some trouble with it. My teacher says the following (atleast that's what I think he said): you play e.g. a II-V7 in C. You play the first (II) Dm just D minor, , then a b9 sounds good over a V7 chord (the G7). Now I'm wondering: do I use the b9 of the Dm chord or the G7 chord? Also: can you just use the dim scale of Dm (so that would be D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B natural etc. ) over the whole II-V7 change? Or just over one specific chord?
Use the b9 of the V7 chord.

Yes, you can use a diminished scale over the entire ii-V7. EX. Famous lick w/1 beat pickup (all 8th notes)
D E | F G E F D E F G |Ab Bb G Ab F G Ab Bb | B

or

D C# D E F E F G | Ab G Ab Bb B Bb B C# | D

ALL ii-V7's can be thought of as just a 2 bar V7 and can be improvised on as such.
 

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The quick and dirty way around ii-V7-I progressions when they're going by fast is to just think about the tones in the I scale. Use them throughout the progression with passing tones (chromatic steps, grace notes, etc.) as you hear them. Even when the I chord isn't in the progression, use those tones as if it was.

Think about the bridge to Cherokee (in tenor key of C). Here are the changes, one chord to the measure:

Ebm7-Ab7-Db-Db-Dbm7,Gb7-B-B-Bm7-E7-A-A-Am7-D7-Dm7-G7

You would think of it this way.

Db-Db-Db-Db- B-B-B-B- A-A-A-A- G-G- C-C

This reduces each progression to its tonal center, and you can ride on that. Eventually you teach yourself which parts of the scales make the best lines for the progressions. Your ear should tell you which notes to emphasize. Make up your own licks by using those tones.

(Want to go outside during ii-V7-I? Just use the notes in the scale one half step above the I. Don't stay outside too long. Get back inside by the time you get to the I chord.)

The point of this is not to learn to play this way. The objective is to be able to eventually achieve improvisation through extemporaneous composition, wherein your hands automatically go to the tones and lines you hear in your head, and you aren't thinking about chord or scale names and spellings at all.
 

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Check this out; hope it helps!

Using blues scales on II-V chords-There is almost a book of info. here-you'll
get that funky blues-based sound.Lots to shed here...check it ;
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Price/BluesScaleMatrix.html


A basic study moved through six steps. Then I included one of my own based on a variation of some of the first six.I think it's always good for all of us to go back to a basic pattern study to clear our ears and refresh our chops. Look at all six shapes. Check it here;
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Price/II-V-I-Patterns1.html


A nice jazz line using II-V.

http://www.saxontheweb.net/Price/Dec00.html


And a I-VI-II-V...of course
;)
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Price/Jul01.html

A great ii-v my teacher Sal Nistico laid on me decades ago; this one is fun!!!
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/SalNistico.pdf

A cool ii-v with #9..that Sal had me doing- is here;
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/salnistico2.pdf

A nice ii-v pattern on everyones fav. tune;
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/iiV.pdf


Check them- and shed them!!! Who knows what could happen!

ALSO;
There's an index of over a year and half of previous lessons
at this sight........PLEASE.....check the index below for details.
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Price/

Feel free to print out all the lessons to so you have them-
there is a massive bunch of information of mine on there.

Please go and listen/study.
Guys like:
Charlie Mariano
John LaPorta
Miles Donahue
Sonny Stitt
James Moody
Larry Schneider
Bergonzi
David Woodford
Dolphy
Don Christlieb-and Pete
Ray Pizzi
Bert Wilson
Harold Asby
Sal Nistico
Makanda Ken McIntyre

All the answers are on recordings.Listen and you'll know.

HTH.
 
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