How do you approach practicing a Standard?

DrSax

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In the morning, with a cup of strong coffee.

At night, preferably with a single malt scotch on the rocks.
 

guitarjazz

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Jaco told me Diorio would sit under a palm tree all day and play standards. Which I guess brings up a good point: the sooner you stop practicing and just play them the better.
 

JonnyQ

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Jaco told me Diorio would sit under a palm tree all day and play standards. Which I guess brings up a good point: the sooner you stop practicing and just play them the better.
That's a good living if you can still put beans on the table.
 

guitarjazz

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That's a good living if you can still put beans on the table.
Exactly. I guess the steady work at GIT was too hard to resist. That Florida Spitball era Diorio is some of the pioneering inside/outside jazz guitar playing. Fearless!
 
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Diorio's books are awesome.

They could work for the OP if he's heeding the advice posted already. If not, then maybe another reader could benefit.
 

Neer

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Do you want the standards to become vehicles for you to play exercises over, or do you want to play the tunes and get inside of them?
 
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Which diorio book would you suggest to start with?
Fusion Guitar and Jazz Blues Styles

Fusion Guitar is particularly good because almost every tune in the book corresponds to a real jazz standard, but for legal reasons he could not use their real names. It's also great because he gives you the chords as he would play them himself (guitar chord diagrams + notation), and you get two solos per tune. And it's great because of the advice at the beginning of the book - it's gold. Look up the classic recordings for each tune, listen to them lots, learn the melody, try the chords he gives you, learn his solos, make your own using his solos and the melody as inspiration... Here's the tune list, courtesy of either TGP or the All About Jazz forum, in the order they appear:

-Blue Bossa
-Stella by starlight
-Summertime
-I love you
-Wave
-Bb Blues
-Diorio original
-Someone to light up my life (Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Você)
-All the things you are

I would strongly recommend listening to the solos provided on the CD. I started off trying to learn them off the sheet music without listening and it was very slow going until I started listening to the recordings more often.

The blues book is great as a 2nd book to get because there's so many jazz tunes written in the blues form - it's packed with lessons on comping, soloing (in the styles of Bird, Sonny Rollins, etc.), exercises, etc... lots of stuff on how to play with the blues form from a jazz approach.
 

Zappafreak

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218
Zappafreak, did you read my post? Does it make sense to you, is it something you can work on?
Yes i actually have been running that a bit over autumn leaves, and trying to change up the pattern. But i still get lost when trying to improvise more over it.. I know the fretboard well but i still guess i get lost when unconsciously noodling over the changes and such.. I work it well by ear but i still feel like im half assing it and could be doing so much more
 

arthur rotfeld

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I grew up as a jazz listener, but was dependent on the books (lead sheets). That's ok, but pick your tune and listen to a few recordings and be prepared to make corrections or at least be informed.

1. The original version might be quite hip. Especially if the tune was from a 40s-60s film or a crooner from that era. There's a good chance that the harmonies are great and sophisticated. What's different about this from the chart? I learn a lot and take a lot from those sources. Makes me seem smarter.

2. Listen to a few recordings of favorite jazz versions. Note the variety in rhythms, melody, harmony, etc. What's different about this from the chart?

It's amazing to note how different some sheets are from the original or famous versions.

For example, not exactly a standard, but I was working on "Billie's Bounce" with a student. OK, the Omnibook has a few mistakes. The same things got repeated on a Real Book chart. Mmm. Consulted a recording by a couple of favorite players...they clearly learned it from the Omnibook and not a Charlie Parker record.

Just something to think about....

I also like to transcribe heads. That's how you learn the art of ornamenting a melody.
Django doesn't play Nuages like the book. Keith Jarrett doesn't play ATTYA like the book. Johnny Hodges doesn't play All of Me like the book.
 

Neer

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12,581
Yes i actually have been running that a bit over autumn leaves, and trying to change up the pattern. But i still get lost when trying to improvise more over it.. I know the fretboard well but i still guess i get lost when unconsciously noodling over the changes and such.. I work it well by ear but i still feel like im half assing it and could be doing so much more
Here is a suggestion: record the melody of Autumn Leaves with a metronome and loop it. While the melody is playing, answer the melody with a sort of counterpoint--just short one bar phrases which outline the changes. use all eighth notes so you don't get to cute with the phrasing and don't play any blues licks. Build the melodies in a scalar fashion and avoid any guitaristic type licks. This is a lesson I heard Joe Pass teach (not the counterpoint idea, though) and it is super-effective. You've got to hear these things first, that is crucial.
 

dmargo1045

Member
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457
So I think that first and foremost you have to adhere to the song for a much, much longer period of time. You have to find out the meaning of embellishment before going on to try to create new melodies. I believe that the security of the song itself can relieve much of the anxiety of jumping into the unknown.

I suggest the kinds of compositional devices that are available: a trill, a passing tone, an appoggiatura that can bridge one melody note to another The point is, you're still playing the melody, but you're doing something to it now. And there are many levels of this process before you get anywhere near creating new melody material.
- Lee Konitz

Lee Konitz has developed an approach to improvisation based on a 10-level system. The first, and most important, level is the song itself . It then progresses incrementally through more sophisticated stages of embellishment, gradually displacing the original theme with new ones. The process culminates in the creation of an entirely new melodic structure. Konitz calls this final level "an act of pure inspiration."
- David Kastin (Konitz interviewer)
 

Neer

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12,581
- Lee Konitz

- David Kastin (Konitz interviewer)

Don't forget, the first year or so of study with Konitz was all singing, just like he did with Tristano. In fact, friends of mine studied with Warne and Lee and they all had to sing for quite some time.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,860
Here is a suggestion: record the melody of Autumn Leaves with a metronome and loop it. While the melody is playing, answer the melody with a sort of counterpoint--just short one bar phrases which outline the changes. use all eighth notes so you don't get to cute with the phrasing and don't play any blues licks. Build the melodies in a scalar fashion and avoid any guitaristic type licks. This is a lesson I heard Joe Pass teach (not the counterpoint idea, though) and it is super-effective. You've got to hear these things first, that is crucial.
Nice.
 




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