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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
can anyone give me any tips on playing jazz? im really getting in to artists such as pat metheny and john abercrombie and can play some of their stuff (some) but am finding it impossible to compose in any jazzy style. i know the modes and simelar scales/arpegios, are there any other good scales to use? or is it just how i use the standard stuff?
any help would be much welcomed.
toma
 

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pat metheny and john abercrombie are great players, but if you really want to dive into playing jazz, you need to dig a little futher back in time and check out the players that pioneered jazz as we know it. being a jazz musician sort of requires you to be a historian as well as a player, so it is a good idea to dive in and start absorbing from the past. This is probably the best way to pick up on the stylistic features of jazz as well as the applications of your theoretical knowledge. a good place to start would be some bop players:

clifford brown and max roach
joe henderson
john coltrane
miles davis
wes montgomery
joe pass
thelonius monk
sonny rollins
horace silver

most of these guys aren't guitar players, but they helped define the style, and their playing is pretty universal and offers a good foundation for playing in the jazz idiom. hope that helps.
 

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toma, check out this site for books and audio CDs to help in your quest.

http://www.aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc

I found this site about three years ago and have improved dramatically. I would suggest the follwing three to get you playing:

1) How to Play Jazz
http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=V01DS&Category_Code=AEBALL

2) Nothin' But Blues
http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=V02DS&Category_Code=AEBALL

3) ii/V7/i Progression
http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=V03DS&Category_Code=AEBALL

Once you start to feel confident, play with other jazz wannabees as quickly as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks alot for your input.
does what equipment i use make any difference at all?. i know people say that its the player that makes the difference, but surely creating an ok jazz tone is important. i currently use a mexican tele through a really old laney bass amp, no effects. i was thinking of buying a compressor tho. any input?
 

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first off, you HAVE to realize jazz is improvised music. thats the most important thing.

if you want to play jazz you should buy three cds to learn what the essential sounds are.

-Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is the greatest jazz record of all time, perhaps the greatest assemblage of jazz musicians ever and a magical recording session. all modal (meaning the improvisations are based on scales, not chords, and dont have much harmonic movement), but the sound is so essentially jazz, a must have.

-John Coltrane's Giant Steps is the greatest example of hard bop playing ever. in terms of harmonic mastery, there isnt anyone better, its just pure brilliance. the harmony is extremely difficult on most of the songs, just listening to the piano player will open your ears to hearing the chords and keys move throughout the song, then you realize hes playing these insane progressions at over 300 bpm. great stuff.

-John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is the greatest example of personal expression through music (in my opinion). again, a modal example, but its just absolutely beautiful and the group cohesion is just amazing. listen to coltrane and the drummer converse with each other. a must listen.

these albums are the sound of jazz, especially kind of blue and a love supreme. these will help you get a sound footing and become familiar with how the music sounds and is some of the coolest **** around. there are a lot of albums that are essential, but for someone just getting into the music, these albums are so ingrained in the jazz landscape that theyll give you a great reference.

jazz modulates keys and chord progressions are very important. i suggest you ditch the scalar approach and get a real book and start practicing arpreggios of chords in songs and connect the chords in a musical way. focus on the 3rds and 7ths.

youre completely right about equipment. actually what you have is fine for the 'jazz tone' (i hate that term, i play jazz, but not with that crappy, bassy sound). a good player will always sound good, just realize that. jazz doesnt require a muted, unresponsive, undynamic tone, it's whatever you make it and as long as it swings.
 

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those are great albums, but also remember to check out as much as possible. jazz is full of history and heritage, which means there is a bit of studying involved (more in the listening and playing sense).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok, just listened to giant steps and was BLOWN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!
that is insane, what is he doing? he isnt obviously playing in any key for many songs but still it sounds a*mazeing. as he is playing does he know what he is doing or is it all spontanious? does he think 'now im playing in c major, now d minor, now im using locrian mode, hey i know, ill use an arpegiated harmonic minor in f' - if so i have even more respect for the guy, he is soooooo0oo good!!!
toma
 

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the giant steps chord progression is one of the hardest in music. he spent hour upon hour practicing soloing over that progression. coltrane's practicing habits were legendary, borderline obsessive. he used to leave the bandstand after a solo, walk into the bathroom, continue soloing alone over the changes and when the other soloists were done, he would come out of the bathroom and finish the song. he also used to stay overnight at the club he was playing at and practice from the time his gig ended until the next morning when the club reopened. his dedication is extremely inspiring and, at the same time, very daunting. its extremely hard to practice with that much focus and determination for that long of a period.

yea, those albums are just the tip of the preverbial iceberg. other great jazz artists are keith jarrett (piano/keys, one of my favorites ever), miles davis' 2 great quintets and sextet and his fusion recordings, sonny rollins (tenor sax), wes montgomery (guitar), herbie han**** (piano), mccoy tyner (piano), joe henderson (tenor sax), freddie hubbard (trumpet), elvin jones (drums), chick corea (piano), wayne shorter (sax), amongst many others.. a lot of these guys are on each others records so youll be able to find em a lotta places. check out the discographies on www.allmusic.com for good ideas of cds to get/check out.
 

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yeah, those abersold books are great.....also check out Mark Levine's The Jazz Theory book...that has been the most helpful book for me in understanding the basic aspects of jazz.
 

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Additions to spencer096's comments:

# Miles Davis, The Complete Birth Of The Cool, Capitol

# Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers, Moanin', Blue Note

## Miles Davis, Kind Of Blue, Columbia -

# Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, Columbia -

# Miles Davis, Sketches Of Spain, Columbia - with the Gil Evans
Orchestra

## John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic - THE album that established
Coltrane as one of the most important improvisers.

# John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impulse

# Charles Mingus, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, Candid - a Classic

# Ornette Coleman, The Shape Of Jazz To Come, Atlantic

# Ornette Coleman, Free Jazz, Atlantic - free improvisation with Don Cherry,
Freddie Hubbard, and Eric Dolphy

# John Coltrane, Ascension, Impulse - free large ensemble
improvisation

# Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, Columbia - with Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul,
John McLaughlin
 

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a few more MUST HAVES (in my opinion):

-Chick Corea - now he sings now he sobs, light as a feather
-Keith Jarrett - whisper not, standards vol 1 and 2, inside out, belonging, koln concert, survivors suite, dark intervals
-Wayne Shorter - speak no evil, adams apple
-Herbie Han**** - empyran isles, head hunters, thrust, maiden voyage
-Joe Henderson - so near so far, page one, mode for joe, state of the tenor
-Freddie Hubbard - straight life, hub-tones
-Wes Montgomery - smokin at the half note, full house, incredible jazz guitar of WM
-Larry Young - unity
-McCoy Tyner - the real mccoy
-Bill Evans - sunday at village vanguard, portrait in jazz
-Cannonball Adderly - somethin' else

this is mostly 'classic' jazz. bop is really cool too, but i just dont feel it as much as i do this stuff. classic fusion is cool too esp Miles, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Herbie's band and Return to Forever.
 

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Besides classic jazz, or more rather straight traditional jazz. Why not check out some fusion stuff. I pressume you play rock guitar hence your reason for being on jemsite ;)

Check out guys like Scott Henderson, Amazing player with a kick ass Suhr signature model. His solo stuff is great, but also be sure to check out his power trio records with Vital Tech Tones.

Frank Gambale, nuff said!

John Scofield.

Guthrie Govan.

What mystifies me about jazz music is the phrasing involved. So many damn notes that I can't seem to hear in my head when I'm doing my own playing. I have absolutely no idea where all those "random" chromatic notes come from. It's simply amazing.

IMHO Listening to "jazz" type players in a rock situation ie. Fusion music would give you a sense on how to incorporate licks into your own improvisation.
 

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Frank Gambale is great. I love his stuff with Stu Hamm and Steve Smith (GHS). That's something I could see myself playing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Chris From Singapore. said:
What mystifies me about jazz music is the phrasing involved. So many damn notes that I can't seem to hear in my head when I'm doing my own playing. I have absolutely no idea where all those "random" chromatic notes come from. It's simply amazing.
yeah, i know what you mean. im on holiday @ the moment so am able to play about 7 hours a day. im getting better quite fast.
 

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A good place to start is getting a good book on commonly used Jazz chords and progressions.......jazz uses a lot of 7th chords, 13ths, 7/6's, a lot of augmented chords, basicallly a lot of chords uncommon in typical rock music.

Knowing some common jazz progressions will help you to learn some common jazz scales to solo over.

A good book to get would be "Just Jazz, the real book" that has a lot of jazz tunes from famous jazz artists/writers, and progressions that you can get familiar with.

It seems alien to you now, but the more you play around with jazz chords, and progressions, you will start to get familiar with certain sounds you hear when you listen to jazz music.

There are literally thousands of jazz books on theory, scales, history, progressions, and how to's......if you don't know much about theory, that's probably where a jazz teacher would tell you to start, learning some basic jazz theory.
 

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you could try to "rejazz" some old songs. i tried to do that with straight deathmetal songs and was amazed what it became!
listen to alex skolnick's albums, he covered old aerosmith songs and stuff like that and he's a great player!
 
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