Bebop advice needed, II V Is, 1/2 step whole step 1/2 step stuff. HELP!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jackaroo, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Hi Everyone,


    Here's one for the Jazz guys...

    I spent most of the morning breaking down II V Is, and some turnarounds. I keep hearing this tonality, and seeing this intervallic relationship in some of the lines I was transcribing. I'm not sure what it's called modally, but it seems to revolve around a 1/2 step, whole step, 1/2 step kind of pattern. Sounds like a mix of diminished and whole tone tonallities almost. I seem to hear it most on the V chord. Often with a b9. Are my ears playing tricks on me? How does this work? I understand looking at the V as an augmented chord, but raising the tonic too? I was also hearing lines with the raised 4. 3 and minor 3? Bizzare. Are there any rules !!!?Reminds me of the melodic minor scale sometimes too. What the hell is that!

    How do you bebop fluent people think at first about these things to get a grip. Please spare me the whole "it's either tonic or dominant" thing. That one doesn't work for me yet. I can't help but think in terms of chords first, and how I'm playing chord tones, or extending chord tones chromatically to get to the next chord.

    The whole b5 substitution concept seems tied to the tonality I'm talking about. In that the V with a b9, say C7b9 shares E, Bb and C# notes with F#dominant 7th chord a tritone below. Am I on the right track?


    HELP!!!!







    Thanks,

    Jack
     
  2. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    The tonality shares a lot of diminished qualities, but also has wholetone sounds too.

    As far as examples go....Sure- the half whole thing is more over the V in a ii V Iwith a flat 9th, but it happens too on say I, iv, ii, V kind of turnarounds.

    Let's use the key of G for example.

    On the iv (E-)chord I'm hearing e, f, g, g#
    On the ii I'm (A-)hearing e,f,c,c#, a,a#
    On the V(D7alt) I'm hearing d,d#, a, a#

    Those major 3rd over the minor chords and the flat 9s and raised 5ths are just blowing my mind.

    I'm learning some lines and starting to see how it works, but it does run counter intuitive to years of playing. For as long as I can remember it was a no no to hit F on the downbeat of an e-minor chord. Also the use of both the 6 and the flat6 in a phrase over the same chord is hard to hear at first. But I'm starting to see it as part of a system. Like melodic minor raised 6 on the way up and flat on the way down. Bizzare and beautiful new colors.

    How do you look at something like this?
     
  3. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Good points but I'm not talking about that. No biggie. I'm just getting started down the jazz path. I'll piece together my own little hodge podge of stuff soon enough and start to pervert and augment it. That's the fun stuff. Thanks
    OMT,

    Cheers,

    Roo
     
  4. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    Good questions that you are asking and, more importantly, it's good to see that you are listening and hearing what you are playing or attempting to play. As Miles Davis said: "I'll play it first, and tell you what it is later."

    I have not had much success in producing meaningful solos/melodies with the whole, match the scale to the chord approach. It tends to sound very correct, but in my opinion, falls short in producing much meaningful music and certainly does not capture what I hear from Parker, Rollins, Hancock, Shorter, Evans, etc.

    Some areas for you to think about:

    Tension & Release: Rather than thinking/hearing measure by measure and chord by chord with beat one of each measure requiring a new scale/chord, try to play/hear toward the resolution point of each phrase. If your melodic line is strong and carries through to a strong resolution point, how the line relates to the underlying harmony is moot. Remember, people do not hear vertically but linearly. It is the overall effect of the line that gets your ear, not the 8th note by 8th note chord/scale relationship. The better you get at this by developing longer phrases that you can hear, the more coherent solos you can create. Start with what you are working on; the ii-V-I and turnarounds that make up such a large portion of the repertoire, and when you have a handle on that, attempt progressively longer phrases of 8, 12, 16 measures, etc.

    Time & Rhythm: If your internal sense of time is strong and your technique allows you to express it on your instrument, that, coupled with the above mentioned tension & release, will allow you to play just about anything and it will sound good. Herbie Hancock is a great example of this.

    Intent: Do not play as if you are afraid to play a wrong note. If you do, even your "right" notes will sound bad. Listen to Thelonious Monk, he believed they were the right notes because HE played them. Don't get caught in the trap of looking for the right notes to play, play them. You have to trust yourself and be willing to leap without a net at times, but the musical reward is worth it.

    There are so many different approaches to learning the language of jazz, these are just a few ideas that will hopefully encourage you to explore further. Keep listening to yourself and others and don't worry to much about "rules." For every rule that I learned in music school, I ran across countless examples of that very rule being broken, and yet it sounded great. Still, learn as much as you can, listen as much as you can, then forget it all and play. Good luck and have fun with it.

    David
     
  5. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Thanks.

    I've been getting pretty heavy into it as of late. Still clamming here and there, but I'm clamming with conviction.

    I've just been blown away by how much harmonic minor and diminished stuff is going on in jazz, and how they both work over the V chord. I love the sound of d harmonic minor being played against an A (aug or b9) chord on it's way to D major7. Other sounds I'm digging, but not sure about the name. Phrigian major 3rd, and the "spanish" scale.

    I'm just going to drill augmented, diminished and harmonic minor stuff over the next few months untill these tonalities and their respective chords become more second nature to me. This coupled with my looper basically playing ii V I for hours on end should give me a good start. Then I'll tackle some tunes and transcriptions.

    All very fun, but pretty heady for the moment. I guess the idea is to get past the thinking and on to the hearing stage of things. That's the way it was with blues and country for me...

    Strange, at the same time I'm going crazy with the jazz stuff, I experimenting with open tunings, slide, banjo rolls, Robert Johnson and digging some old Albert King.


    Crazy...


    Jack
     
  6. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    Jack, keep doing what you are doing, it will do nothing but help your development, but don't wait too long before tackling the songs and solos. In fact, I would say start right now! That is where you will find the heart of the matter.

    The absolute best thing you can do is start listening to a solo or melody and engrain it in your ears and brain until you can sing it note for note with the correct phrasing, articulation, dynamics, etc. Then, you will really begin to hear the sounds you are talking about and recognize the common vocabulary when you are studying. Best of all, because you are actually hearing these sounds, it will come out in your playing more naturally and won't sound as forced. Do this with half a dozen solos or so, and you will be well on your way.

    If you do want transcriptions, Steve Kahn's site has transcriptions, analysis, and audio. Great resource.
    http://www.stevekhan.com/korner1.htm

    For tunes, all you need are here:
    http://stu.westga.edu/~jmatthe2/WebPages/RealBooks.htm

    By the way, who are you listening to in the jazz realm?
     
  7. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    I've been checking out some Django stuff as of late, but I'm not going to tackle that just yet. I have been listening to Miles for years, and as such will probably go after some of the stuff he cut with Cannonbal, and Trane in '58 first. I love the solos in this version of "On Green Dolphin Street" and the tune just knocks me out- even if some say it's "L7". I grew up hearing Wes Montgomery, and while I like that stuff, that's not really my bag. I like Louis Armstrong, Ella, Billie, Johnny Hartman (w/ Coltrane) and Chet Baker, for vocal jazz. Pretty standard stuff. My folks had a cool record collection, lots of Sun Records rock 'n roll, Chess records, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, George Shearing, Jimmy Smith, Booker T. Dylan, Hendrix. They got me started young!

    Honestly, I don't have any jazz guitar heroes, and never really liked jazz guitar stuff that much, to this point, for me jazz is about horns. I'm more into the study of the music to expand my horizons in other genres. But who knows...I'm open to anything. One thing that depresses me... I don't have the time to go searching for heroes anymore, but I know they're there...I just have yet to find them. I'd love to get a few classic approaches under my belt, say.... some Charlie Christian style stuff and then learn some George Benson solos. I've just had mixed experiences listening to GB...the later stuff is a little cheesy. And I haven't the foggiest idea what Charlie Christian records to buy.

    I've just really started to listen and understand how jazz actually is put together. It basically eluded me for years, but I just chose to enjoy it on it's terms. Now I'm slowly cracking the code, and getting a grip on it's building blocks. Some lessons would surely help. But for now I'll get cracking with my slowdowner program and a fake book!

    Thanks for the kind words and advice,

    Peace,

    JD
     
  8. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Until you have owned and operated Wes "Smokin at the half note" you are hereby banned from making any such claims on Wes Montgomery!!

    Hang down your head Tom Doley!
    :confused:

    Oh the shame of it.

    Master the basics first, then worry about putting sprinkles on the icing on the cake.
     
  9. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    That '58 Sessons record is great! Smoking versions of On Green Dolphin St., Stella, Oleo, Love For Sale, Straight No Chaser; good call. If you like that one you should check out Milestones, Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', Steamin', Kind Of Blue.

    I hear you on the guitar jazz. Some that I think holds up though:(I think you are on the right track listening to vocalists, horns and piano primarily though)
    Jim Hall - Live (trio)
    Bill Evans/Jim Hall - Undercurrent (piano/gtr duets)
    Sonny Rollins - The Bridge (sax, gtr, bass, drums)
    Wes Montgomery - Smokin' At The Half Note (with Miles' rhythm section: Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb)
    Charlie Christian - The Genius of the Electric Guitar
    Pat Martino - El Hombre
    Stan Getz - Live at Storyville (Jimmy Raney on gtr)

    You can't go wrong with Louie, Ella, Billie, and the rest you mentioned. Listening to vocalists and learning the lyrics to these tunes helps me internalize them much faster and it really helps your phrasing.

    David
     
  10. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Senor Hanky,

    I hear what you're saying, I like Wes, I just don't want to focus my energies there right now that's all.

    Respect...


    I'm very bummed...My copy of "'58 sessions " is all scratched to hell, and as such I can't even listen to it. So I buy the mp3 off of I tunes like a good boy, but it's been "protected" and wont work in Amazing Slowdowner. Is there anyway to change the format of the file? Or am I screwed?

    If I'm truly screwed, would someone please e-mail me an mp3 of the song? I'm not trying to get around paying for music...hell I did it twice already. It's just that I want to learn this thing so badly and I keep getting hosed.

    Any help????


    Thanks,

    Jack
    jack_devine@hotmail.com
     
  11. operationgo

    operationgo Member

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    for the V chord it sounds like the the line is coming from G harmonic minor.

    as far as the b9 and nat3 on the iv, was the guy using some cromaticism at that point? alot of guys (miles davis esp.) play lines that are chromatic in nature and dont really make sense harmonically, although they sound good. also, very often i find stuff in transcribed solos that makes no sense to me, but i find that in the context of the song it is logical (ie it logically follows what came after or will come next).

    -dave (jazz guitar major at university of miami in FL)
     
  12. mtfingers

    mtfingers Member

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    Actually, the V chord stuff you are probably hearing is the superlocrean sound. This is easier than it sounds...its just an Ab melodic minor over G7, for instance. This is a very standard, plan A thing to do over altered dominant chords, or to play altered over a dominant chord. The other choice would be an Ab diminished scale over that G7.

    You mentioned a b5 sound over the dominant chord, and the way to get that is to play a D melodic minor over a G7, again, as an example. Notice that D and Ab are tritones, and that G7-5 is exactly equal to Db7-5 (its tritone) so that what you play over BOTH 7-5 chords is interchangable. This is the coolness of tritones (b5's).

    The IVm is probably my favorite change. I like playing a melodic minor on that too, but it is not the only possibility. For instance Fm is the IVm of C. Playing an F mel. min. gives you the scale that is closest to C, if you know what I mean. If you superimpose an Fm over a C scale, and change just the note(s) to make an Fm (in this case, the Ab), you would get an F mel. min. scale.

    Notice that if you look at Fm as a II chord, Bb7 is the V of the key to which the Fm is the II, the key of Eb major, so this is a very cool thing to play over that Fm also. Notice that Eb major is equal to C nat. minor, so this makes sense to the C tonality of the key center also. I like playing a Bb7-5 as a substitution for the Fm chord in many instances. Try it...it sounds cool, and this results in playing an F mel.min. again...just like the D mel. min. over G7-5 in the example above.

    Anyway, I haven't been on this board in quite a while, so I hope this info isn't too late to be of any use.
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Jack,
    Exactly the same questions I had. I know you do not like my dominant\tonic approach, here are some simple answers. The minor and major third thing over the same chord. Simple. On a minor 7 chord, you add the maj 3rd, and what do you have? A Dom7#9 chord, right? (The Jimi Hendrix "purple haze" chord. ) I make almost ALL min 7 chords 7#9 chords. Now, in a song in a minor key, you can play both major and minor blues on it. Guys like Leslie West, Hendrix, and Randy Rhodes (live) did this. Now, the flat 9 on the IV chord. Depending on the function of that chord, you here this a LOT in blues. They are just making the IV chord a diminished, which leads beautifully back to the I chord. (Add the major 3rd and flat 9 to the IV minor) Now, on aI-VI-II-V progression, you can do two things on the VI chord. If we are in the key of G major, the VI chord is E minor. Like it or not, this is why you NEED to learn the function of a chord. In G maj, the I-III-VI chord ar all tonic chords. That means those chords are all the resting poins within G maj. You can just play G maj lines on all of those chords. So over the I and VI chords, you can basically just forget the E minor, and keep on playing on G maj 7. OR, to sound jazzy, you can make that E minor 7 chord an E7#9, and that changes its function! Now, its the 5 chord of the upcoming A minor chord. Now it gets fun! You can play E whole tone, F diminished, F melodic minor, and any alterations you want, because they will all pull your ear back to A minor. This takes a long time to write out. If you want to chat on the phone about it, shoot me an email and Ill send you my phone#. I may be able to help, as your questions are exactly like mine were. Also remember you can (and should) mix all the scales at all times. That was a HUGE hurdle for me. On one chord, you hear a guy play 3 note out of a diminished scale, three notes of Dorian, 4 of wholetone, and 5 of altered dom. You say, "what the hell scale is that!". Its not a scale. Its a combination of all of them. Its hearing melodic lines, and is the KEY to playing jazz. Coltrane, Stitt, Miles etc. did not use scales. They used melodic lines containing all of them.
     
  14. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the nice post. What you say makes me think of something I'm trying to overcome: I have all these monstrous 2 octave CAGED patterns of diatonic scales, harmonic minor scale, mel. minor scale under my fingers along with their arpeggios. How does one make the leap from playing these behemoth patterns to being able to play small bits from each over one measure (let alone one or two beats)?

    I see it's a bit easier to do with scales like dim and whole tone b/c it only takes 3-4 notes to get the flavor of those since they're so distinct, but when it comes to more diatonic, or less symmetrical patterns, it's not so readily apparent how to break them down into smaller patterns. I'm sure it's staring me right in the face, but I have always had trouble seeing the forrest for the trees.

    Thanks for any tips.

    Dave
     
  15. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Dave,

    What you are saying is exactly why guys like Benson and my former teacher Richie Hart, (who now teaches at Berklee, and was taught by Benson), refuse to teach by scales. Richie will show you how scales are derived, and what notes they contain, but thats about it. You need to listen to jazz records, learn the chord progressions, (real book), and transcribe solos. Its very easy to do. You do not start with Coltrane. Start with Grant Green. He plays slowly for the most part, but he is playing exactly what everyone else does. You also need to see the notes as intervals against the chords, and not scales. Once you learn some cliche bop lines, yoiu will see how the extensions (b9,#9,b5,#5) are MIXED with the rgular chord tones. Very rarely will you see say an altered dom. scale used by itself. They are just different ways to "color" a dominant 7 chord, and they pull your ear back to the I chord. For a D7 chord, you should play A minor7 with the E note on top, then D7b9 with the D# note on top, then G Maj 7 with the D note on top. (Thats II-V-I in the key of G). that way you can hear how the b9 "color" works. Its a beautiful tension (or color) note over D7, that leads your ear perfectly to the D note over G maj7. Then, for the flat 5 tension or color, play A min 7 with A on top. D7b5 with G# on top, then G maj 7 with G on top. You will then hear how the flat 5 note pulls your ear to Gmaj 7. Now for an "out" sound, you can play with those two tensions over D7. You need to transcribe, so you can learn some of the thousands of jazz cliches that use all of these tensions. Charlie Parker was the master, and many of his songs are basic blues progressions. Take a few of his solos and learn the slower lines. they are the exact same things he is playing at the faster tempos. Just learn little pieces here and there. just two measures or so. Then USE them! In a few months time, you will be making huge gains!
     
  16. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I've been avoiding transcribing out of laziness, but I know (at least have been told by _everyone_) how essential it is. I guess I'll just have to reconcile myself to the fact. Wow...life without scale practice. What an interesting concept!
     
  17. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    Right on Tag, I totally agree. I'm always thinking more in terms of chords, and playing off chord tones (arpeggios are huge) rather than running scales. I was just going over some Parker stuff (Scrapple from the Apple, Ornithology, etc) and you can really hear how he's not just running scales but playing off chords. It's just so much more interesting, IMHO, and you can make clearer, more swinging, statements rather than babbling.
     
  18. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    On my teachers reccomendation I just bought Grant Green, Green Street. How can you not get an album that your teachers says "will scare the sheet out of you".

    As for the arps and chord tones, I have to agree, although my "jazz" is still at beginner level. That is the way I am being taught, and the truth is it is a lot easier. After the chords and melody I just start walking a bass line using arps and connecting the dots, after doing this for a year I find myself thinking in intervals since that is how you arpeggiate and connect the chords together. Sure beats the hell of trying to think of key centers and using scales, that approach usually winds up sounding like scales with obvious lumps and shifts.

    Get Green Street, you will not be dissapointed.
     
  19. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    I love Grant Green, my favorite is the Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark, great renditions of Ain't Necessarily So, Airegin, Oleo, My Favorite Things, etc.

    Regarding key centers, I definitely do think in terms of them first. I think you sort of have to, and it sort of naturally takes place anyway, but when it comes to the ii and V chords, I'm thinking of intervals and playing off the chords. Knowing how little licks using the 3rds, 7ths, 5ths sound seems to make me able to "swing" more for some reason, rather than thinking "i'll play an alt scale over this change". That's just where i am at this point, i surely have alot more to learn!
     
  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree,
    This is how it "seems" to go. When you first start playing jazz coming from a rock background, you want to find the key center of the moment, and try and play there. You find out real fast how your pentatonic licks do not work at ALL. Lol! Then, you start learning lines, and start chasing every single chord there is. This works GREAT....but, after you have digested this for a while, it starts to sound kind of mechanical. Then, you start to see how the best players really mix it up. They play parts of the tonal center here, basic minor blues licks of the key here (even in a major key), then play parts of a change here, then follow ever change for that real quick turn around here. Its a mix of everything, with no thinking envolved. How players get there at such young ages is unreal. To hear guys with a REAL foundation in blues, who can play a downhome blues with the best of them, then take it totally out, listen to Red Holloway and Stanley Turentine. Of course Grant Green, Wes, and Benson for the guitar players. I use to watch my X teacher blow over the hardest changes without shifting postions at all. Just change the right note (s) at the right time to make it fit perfectly. I dont think I can ever get to that point. :(
     

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