IMPROV.

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by Adrian, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Adrian

    Adrian New Friend

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    May 24, 2004
    What is the trick to improv really well....is it better to know ur scales and chords...or do u just have to be a natural......Can anyone do it or is it just for some!?
     
  2. jpkaminga

    jpkaminga Pianissimo User

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    Jul 1, 2004
    Boston
    scales and chords are very necessary to do any improv that will make sense to those who are backing you up and listening to you, I don't know if it comes to anyone naturally, I think there needs to have been alot of time spent with musicians who are willing to take risks together before a group can improvise well together, then if you do have some sort of natural disposition to make fabulous improvised music it will come out
     
  3. trumpetpimp

    trumpetpimp Piano User

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    Dec 6, 2003
    Toronto
    Scales and chords help you be able to play what you want to play and help you understand what types of sounds will work in what situations. i.e. Playing a mixolydian scale(5th mode major) over Im7 will give you a dominant sound over a a chord that usually uses a haromnic minor scale or jazz minor scale. It wouldn't work very well. In fact, it would probably sound pretty awful.

    However, playing the right scales over the right chords is only the first step in a good direction. You have to be able to play something that's actually worth listening to. Transcriptions are the best way to learn from the masters but if you can't always afford the time to transcribe make sure you're at least listening to good jazz. Listen to CD's, jazz radio, and go out to the clubs now and then.
     
  4. trumpetgirl612

    trumpetgirl612 Pianissimo User

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    Mar 30, 2005
    practice room 5
    LISTEN

    if you lack any theory at all....as long as you listen, your ear and your heart will do the rest
     
  5. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Yes ... our trumpetgirl612 is making a sound point.

    LISTEN -- and listen to everything going on ... not just the horn part. Try to grasp the "big picture".


    Robert Rowe
     
  6. jazz_trpt

    jazz_trpt New Friend

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    Jan 28, 2004
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Learn to play by ear.

    Then learn to hear something interesting to play. :-)
     
  7. Jazz Man

    Jazz Man New Friend

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    Sep 29, 2004
    There are all different levels of natural ability, and lack thereof...

    There have been amazingly gifted musical geniuses, who had so
    much natural ability, that even though they knew absolutely none
    of the music theory behind jazz... were still able to spontaneously
    improvize circles around most of their peers. I'm thinking of guys
    like Chet Baker and Bix Beiderbeck. Bix never even learned how
    to read music, but he could listen to a song once, and then play it
    back to you immediately in any key, with improvized choruses on
    top of it all. Chet baker could do the same. In fact it used to drive
    his fellow players crazy because he would play the same songs in
    different keys each night! These geniuses are extremely rare.

    There are also a very rare few that simply can't learn to improvize
    at all. These people are absolutely tone deaf, and though they may
    be able to "plug in a lick or two" here and there, it will never really
    be musical or truly artistic. These folks are also extremely rare.

    For the vast majority of us who fall somewhere between these two
    extremes, we have varying amounts of natural ability, or talent for
    improvization, but we can pretty much all learn to do this very well
    if we are willing to develop our abilities. Improvization is very much
    a craft. We start with the basics of music theory, and combine that
    with the gradual training of the mind and body, and in time most all
    of us can absolutely become quite proficient at it.

    Like most things, the big factor is how much we are willing to work.
    If you listen to jazz quite regularly, and practice in an effective and
    efficient way, you will succeed. It takes a little time of course... but,
    with all the educational materials now at our disposal, improvization
    is something that is definitely within all our grasps.

    In the early days, jazz players were very secretive about their craft,
    and would pretend it was simply a "gift from heaven"... They liked to
    make it seem quite mysterious. The perception that only a few could
    learn to do it comes from those days, but it simply wasn't true. There
    is indeed a talent factor, but with some practice... we can all share in
    the fun, and the learning process itself is very fun and satisfying too!

    "Jamey Aebersold Play-Along Books and CDs". No secret here at all.

    This has been a public service announcement...... from...... Jazz Man
     
  8. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Nov 19, 2003
    Brooklyn,NY
    I grew up in a Jazz history book.
    My mom made a big pot of pasta for the hungry teens who were at our house playing music.
    Bobby Timmons, Ted Curson, Tootie Heath, Garrison and a bunch of kids crammed into our living- room. some times the North Philly guys would come by.
    We jammed........and jammed....... and jammed. We played every waking hour. I played duets with Lee Morgan, Ted Curson and many players I am sure you would not know.
    Once we started working, and we got started early, we played every kind of music imaginable.
    The secret is doing it. Play. Play. Play the music.
    Wilmer
     
  9. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Nov 19, 2003
    Brooklyn,NY
    There were no secrets in Philadelphia.
    Jimmy Heath, Dennis Sandole and many others were more than willing to help young players.
    Jamming was the way we learned our art.
    I saw a 15 year old Lee Morgan absolutely embarrass Chet Baker at a jam session.
    The older player were very supportive of the kids in Philly.....and the LP had just been invented. We got our stuff LIVE!
    Wilmer
     
  10. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Think of jazz as a language. Most of us learned to speak our native language by listening and imitating. Wilmer learned that way. Now think of how we learn a language in the class room. We start with individual words, progress to phrases, then sentences, paragraphs, etc. Learning jazz through playing patterns that are availble from books such as Coker or the patterns in Aebersold ii-V-I is equivalent to this. Now you may have been an honor student through several years of a foreign language, but if you try to converse in that language you will soon find what a gringo you really are. That is why a student of spanish may spend a semester or more living in Spain before they can really be functional in spanish. Or you could just move to Spain in the first place and learn as those who just jump in and play as Wilmer described. Of couse if you converse with people who use improper grammer, then you will speak that way. Balancing a combination of book learning, listening and playing gives you the means to internalize the language.
     

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