Learning to play jazz

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by viivian23, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. viivian23

    viivian23 Tele-Meister

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    Been listening to a lot of Joe Pass recently. Looking into learning that style. What do you guys recommend?
     
  2. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    Start taking lessons from somene who is a really good jazz teacher.

    Remember, jazz is an advanced genre, so if you don't read music, or know all the notes on the fretboard, aren't familiar with all the bar chords at least, haven't ever played in a band, etc., you're gonna have a hard time.

    Jazz is alot of fun and very rewarding, but it's not a beginner's game.
     
  3. Toto

    Toto TDPRI Member

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    As far as listening goes, check out Pat Metheny, George Benson, and Django. There are many types of Jazz, but these guys write very memorable stuff (listening to Brent Mason cover limehouse blues right now).

    As far as lessons, Truefire.com has a lot of different instructors. Bang for the buck, but sometimes it doesn't feel as focused as I'd like. Jimmy Bruno has a good site. I was there for a year and I learned alot. He gives a very light theory approach to jazz. Any book by Ted Greene will have you scratching your head over the next 30 years. Great stuff to chew on.

    But the biggest thing you want do is to listen to things that are not guitar. Michael Brecker, Chick Corea, and John Coltrane are a few guys that when you finally settle into, will give you lots of inspiration. Guitar players generally sound like guitar players when it comes to approaching improv, melody, voicings. If you can transcend that into playing like a jazz musician, then you are much further along than me!
     
  4. SatelliteOrders

    SatelliteOrders Friend of Leo's

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    The guitar in jazz is like the sax in rock: Yeah, some people play it and it works out, but it isn't the cornerstone of the genre. So, yeah, listen to Pat and George and Django, and Charlie Christian and Freddie Green and Mike Stern, etc, but listen to horn players, because that's where the action is at. Also, they're playing only one note at a time, so you should be able to cop their licks.
     
  5. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    well, i go against all that-- i say if you want to sound like a horn, play a friggin' horn.

    jazz guitar players should listen to piano players.:twisted:

    seriously, though, joe has several method books and videos out there. he was also a lousy teacher, but it's still worth looking at this stuff.

    for guitar players, start with transcribing grant green. accessible, and damn good. transcribe horn cats too (i was only partially kidding on that first comment) like paul desmond, hank mobley, chet baker and the like. start with stuff you can hear every note on. transcribing is part of playing jazz and you'll need to learn how to do it.

    beef up on chord voicings. this is the most important thing. i cannot stress it enough. you wanna play jazz leads right? snakey horn horn lines and wicked chromatic runs? too bad, beef up on chord voicings.

    buy a real book and start learning tunes. and yes, get a teacher. one who plays jazz. ask them if they do. then ask them to play a little. then ask them who their favorite jazz musician is. if they say "mike stern" go find anoher teacher.

    dabbling in jazz is like dabbling in satanism, you really don't get the benefits unless you go all in. have fun, and rejoice in the fact that you will never know it all--you will also never be bored again the rest of your life.
     
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  6. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hook up with a teacher that understands how to transition from what you already know. If you have an understanding of the blues, look for a teacher that can help you navigate tunes such as "Straight No Chaser", "All Blues", and "Mr. P.C.". If you hook up with a monster lifer bebop cat, and you don't have harmony & theory background, it's probably going to be an exercise in futility and frustration. They'll start tossing out tunes like "Cherokee" and "Donna Lee" and b5 subs and whatnot, and the next thing you know, you're in over your head and are feeling intimidated. Make sure that you start with somebody that knows how to relate it back to the blues, that's my advice.
     
  7. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Same thing?:twisted:

    Off to the coven - er i mean the gig.;)
     
  8. wangdangdoodle

    wangdangdoodle Tele-Holic

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    :D

    Not like I am a Mike Stern fan, despite respecting his talent is there a reason for saying this? I used to take lessons from a guy who was very Mike Stern and he seemed more keen on knowing lots of scales, and exercises (soloing on one string, intervals, etc) than knowing a bunch of tunes, volcabury, etc.
     
  9. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    yeah, wangdang, it was just a joke.
     
  10. dijos

    dijos Tele-Afflicted

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    While I don't dig fusion, I saw an interview with Stern that was really inspiring to me and pretty germane to this discussion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30FFkXOSJLc is the one. at about 4 minutes, he talks about coming from a rock and blues background to jazz and how it was really frustrating to him.

    I have to say, I've been learning to play jazz over the last 2 years or so, mostly seriously-well more seriously than other music, or more seriously than I have in the past. I've found the following nuggets to be helpful to me:

    "Jazz" is too broad. I enjoy jazz from hot jazz to basically cool jazz, but not really anyhing past that. I was largely raised on bebop. you may want to start with one thing, in your case, Joe pass-although, keep in mind that he was doing about 40 things at one time, and he is incredible, so don't get frustrated.

    Jazz is not Rock. Jazz is not blues. To save yourself frustration, they are like english and spanish. while they appear to be maybe similar, they are just different. adding "o" on an english word does not make it spanish. If you're serious, I suggest that you only listen to jazz for the next few months. it will start to ingrain the types of changes and lead lines that are played, so that you can predict what's coming up.

    Everyone says learn scales and learn to read. They are right. For me, it just makes chord construction easier instead of having to memorize a billion chord forms. Reading is tough, sorry.

    Get a teacher. you will save yourself literally 10 years of aggravation. It's kind of like figuring out calculus on your own. It can be done, but why?

    A lot of Joe's Work has been transcribed-you can buy it and just work on that for the foreseeable future.

    All of this is my early morning know-it-all post for the day. YMMV, and it's just my opinion.
     
  11. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    jazz has its own musical vocabulary. different from standard rock major/minor bar and open chords. very few standard jazz songs use normal chord voicings we know from pop and rock tunes.

    get a book with jazz guitar chords. learn as many as you can. then, get a book with some jazz standards for guitar... many have accompaning cds that you can listen to and play along with. find the simplest song in the book and, bar by bar, slowly go through the chords changes with (hopefully) some of the chords you learned from the book of jazz guitar chords.

    if you spend a fair amount of time doing this with various songs, you will develop a sense of the VOCABULARY of jazz chords.

    and, with practice, somewhere down the road youll be able to start substituting the jazz chords, tastefully, into some pop songs.

    soloing comes next...

    good luck!

    rand z

    (btw, joe pass was one of the great jazz guitarists, playing a very sophisticated fingerstyle type of jazz guitar. he might not be the best place to start. freddie green might be better as he played lots of jazz chords, comping in a 4/4 rhythmic style, that is a little easier to hear and follow)
     
  12. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    and a further post, to explain my un-funny joke...

    stern's playing is pretty advanced, and also has a lot of rock influence. learning from a guy who wants to "be like mike" might leave you frustrated--and out of many straight ahead gigs.


    to tim b-- absolutely. the key is finding a good teacher. a good player is not necessarily a good teacher. but i do think your teacher needs to be able to play jazz if you expect him/her to teach you jazz.

    to dijos: absolutely! knowing your major scales will aid in understanding chords. i'm also an advocate of NOT just memorizing a bunch of grips--you gotta know how to make those chords--what notes are IN them...


    hope my post this morning is a little more helpful...i was a bit punchy last night.
     
  13. SatelliteOrders

    SatelliteOrders Friend of Leo's

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    It was also way funny. I have to use the "like satanism" line in conversation.
     
  14. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    i'm glad you found it funny. i was beginning to think that posting about something i'm passionate about after 6 guitar lessons in which nobody bothered to practice this past week and a few sips of laphroig wasn't such a hot idea!
     
  15. fendertastic

    fendertastic Tele-Meister

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    das ist gut. Like Sat. O, above, anytime you can slip Satanism in to the conversation before cocktail hour is alright with me. The Mike stern model is the best yamaha electric I ever played,(it based off a vintage tele, so it can't be wrong) but they are expensive and rare. I used to work in a music shop that was a yamaha dealer.
     
  16. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

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    I'm no jazz cat, but I love to use what I know to add flavor to what I do.

    Jazz has a history that evolves very clearly over decades from simple to complex in terms of harmonic structure. As a young fellow in the 1970s, I found jazz impenetrable and thus virtually unlistenable, largely because I was hearing players who were extending the work of older players who were extending the work of older players who were extending songs and ideas that actually made sense as pop tunes sometime in the 1930s.

    It wasn't until I stepped into the time machine and listened to old jazz and swing that it started to make sense. Suddenly, oft-done tunes from the songbooks had real melody and heck, even words you could sing. Now I could go back and listen to updated versions and follow along - I got the joke because I knew the reference point.

    Knowing chords is not sufficient - knowing how to string them together in context is. That's where a teacher could help.

    I recommend starting with swing jazz from the 1930s through the 1950s. Django is a demonic player, but the chords and melodies are easy to get. Ditto for Charlie Christian and early Barney Kessel.

    Another great offshoot: Western Swing. All those guys in Bob Wills' Playboys were decent jazz and pop players of the day, and you can hear great gritty versions of many standards that are easy to pick apart. I highly recommend the Tiffany Transcriptions of Wills' radio project from 1946-47, release on 12 or more CDs. Fabulous stuff.
     
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  17. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    That makes it funnier.;)
    I liked the reference to piano playing and satanism in the same post.. there are a few ego driven piano players out there who are HELL to play with if you happen to be the other comping instrument...:twisted:

    .but seriously, you have to check out the great pianists , Wynton Kelly, Herbie, Bill Evans et al - from a comping perspective.
     
  18. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

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    If you want Joe Pass...get his video...his thinking is a lot simpler than in might seem.
    He's a master and the duo with Ella Fitzgerald is really good. No...I mean really good.
     
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    All you have to do is sloo-oow it down :lol:



    NHOP needs to be slowed down just to hear his notes, too!
     
  20. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    1) I'll agree with the recommendations to get a good teacher. Learning jazz involves knowing at least a little bit of theory, and he/she can help guide you and answer your questions.

    2) I'll also agree that if you want to learn how to play like Joe Pass... listen to Joe Pass! ;) Sit down with a guitar and some CD's and start grabbing as many notes as you can. It may be frustrating at first, but the more you do it the better you'll get at it. There are lots of programs and devices for slowing the tracks down. (I like the Amazing Slow Downer.) And there's nothing as good for you as learning directly from a master.

    Best of luck and enjoy the journey. :) CS
     
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