Mark LeVine's The Jazz Theory Book

245

Comments

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    So, what jazz type things are you people working on?

    One of my things is to improve my chord vocabulary, and use chords within solos - I think it's too easy for guitarists to keep single note playing, and chordal stuff, in separate boxes. I got three books by Jim Bastian called "Chordal Bebop Lines For Guitar" a few months ago - not exactly cheap (around £50 for the 3 volumes) but they are pretty good I think. Basically lots of chordal lines or "licks" if you like, that you can use in soloing. Many apparently taken directly from players like Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel. A lot of work (several years easily I suspect), but it is fascinating. Makes me realise just how little I know about chords and harmony too, but I'm getting better anyway.

    http://jazzwise.com/instrument-tuition/g...of-3-books.html

    Welcome to jazz club Andrew!
  • elkayelkay Posts: 239Member
     Originally Posted By: Megi
    One of my things is to improve my chord vocabulary, and use chords within solos

    ...ditto, exactly what I'm doing. I'm working on developing some arrangements by ear. At the moment, the pieces I'm trying out are Misty, Stardust and Smile. There are some brilliant arrangements of these on Youtube, but I'm resisting copying these. So far, I'm happy with some bits, while other bits sound a bit naive and don't quite fit in the context, but it's not bad for a jazz novice I guess. My difficulty is that a lifetime of playing rock often gets in the way, so that my 'jazz' comes out sounding more like jazz-rock fusion (I was very much into jazz fusion at one time, in the Steely Dan days). When I feel I can't get any further with my arrangements, only then will I check out other people's arrangements in detail, and figure out how I can improve on mine. The main thing is that I'm having a lot of fun, which is really what matters for me.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    That's interesting to hear about, cheers elkay. I guess if you were into fusion at one point, more straight ahead jazz can't be entirely an alien concept for you! I know what you mean about shaking off the legacy of the past as well - I have a few (more than a few probably) annoying little pet licks and mannerisms that I sometimes find myself playing, and I wish I didn't... It's just habit really, so I try to work on new, more inspiring stuff, and hopefully that will take over more with time. It does take time though.

    I think you're absolutely right to work on learning actual tunes - reminds me I should do that more myself, cheers. I'm not trying to push books on people, but another really good one I found recently is "Creative Chord Substitution for Jazz Guitar" by Eddie Arkin - because it talks about harmony and chord subing, it helps you to get more out of the chords you already know, as well as introducing some new ones. As well as being a jazz guitarist, the author is a composer/arranger/producer of film scores - quite a few big films to his credit - he knows his stuff regarding harmony anyway.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I spent some time watching/studying a Robben Ford masterclass thing recently,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5GglgwcJ14&list=PLD5857920E3C4552E&index=14&feature=plpp_video

    I rented the DVD from LoveFilm for a week,
    not really deep Jazz but definitely headed down that road,I'm very blues inclined anyway and I enjoy finding different ways to make the changes and still keep the bluesy feeling so I enjoyed watching Robben explain how he thinks about doing that as well.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Nice link, cheers A! You can be our resident bluesy jazzer I reckon (or jazzy blueser if you prefer lol) for this forum. Robben Ford is certainly inspiring to learn from, from either perspective I think. It is of course possible to sound bluesy, even when not playing a blues... I find people respond to this as well, it's a very expresive, human kind of sound, if you know what I mean (Harry).
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I think Jazz is a child of Blues anyway,Jazz is where you go when start to get bored of only using the 5 basic pentatonic notes and get the confidence up to throw a few other notes in there as well or at least that how it seems to work for me.
    Then you start applying that theory to chord progressions as well and start to learn about more sophisticated shapes going past a 7th,by that I mean 9th chords then 11th,13th etc,diminished...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,519Member, Moderator
     Originally Posted By: Megi
    So, what jazz type things are you people working on?

    Mark LeVine's The Jazz Theory Book is still my route and while the book is what is says, theory, in practice I find I am running up a lot of side roads which I see as a positive as I prefer to amble through the theory slowly and then allow myself plenty of time to assimilate it into my playing.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Lester

    Mark LeVine's The Jazz Theory Book is still my route and while the book is what is says, theory, in practice I find I am running up a lot of side roads which I see as a positive as I prefer to amble through the theory slowly and then allow myself plenty of time to assimilate it into my playing.
    The sort of book where one page can set you off on a whole direction I find. \:\)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    this guy can be interesting,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh6xUvxX0hc
    Actually, I really love that kind of thing, and hadn't seen his stuff before - I've bookmarked that onto my browser bar in fact, so cheers Andrew.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    a pleasure Graham,glad you like him
    \:\)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    a pleasure Graham,glad you like him
    \:\)
    Any other good stuff on Youtube you've found? \:\)
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I'll add as and when something interesting comes up.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    I'll add as and when something interesting comes up.
    Please do Andrew - I'm just trying to get the jazz corner a bit more active. I like this one a lot, Gary Burton (vibes player) giving a class on improvisation - quite absorbing if you've got a couple of hours or so spare! \:\) Improv Class - Gary Burton
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I have a few subscriptions going on youtube and I change them quite regularly depending on the quality of the stuff they offer so if I find anything to be of value I'll post it here ,sometimes you can find some real gems.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I have to say though,I never really learned any theory beyond a major scale and a pentatonic scale and knowing where a relative minor or major is and where any of those notes are on a fretboard for whatever key you're playing in ,that's the easy bit because you just move the patterns up or down a fret or two so...
    Everything I've ever done from there has been sheer --ooops naughty word-- and just trying to make things sound right even if they're very very wrong notes for the key you're in but I found that if you have the brass neck to play a note that's off key you can pull it off,it helps if you introduce other notes first to lull your listeners/observers into some kind of relaxation by playing on key a bit first but you can play just about anythnig you want I reckon you just have to have the --ooops naughty word-- to go for it.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,519Member, Moderator
    Larry Carlton used to play a whole bar a semitone lower than it should be, finishing by sliding back up the semitone for the first note of the next bar. This was short wnough that just as people start to think something's wrong he returned back to the corrrect key. The technical explanation would be tension and resolution. Now that's jazz!
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I've just seen the Robben Ford thing where he uses a diminished scale,tone:semi-tone:tone-semi:tone etc and I've seen Larry Carlton talking about that scale too so I'm looking forward to using it myself the next chance I get.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Lester
    Larry Carlton used to play a whole bar a semitone lower than it should be, finishing by sliding back up the semitone for the first note of the next bar. This was short wnough that just as people start to think something's wrong he returned back to the corrrect key. The technical explanation would be tension and resolution. Now that's jazz!
    I guess this is the playing "outside" thing? As I understand things it generally works as long as you do come back "inside" before the chord changes.

    I know if you do have a V to I chord progression, you can usually get away with all sorts of stuff on the V chord, as this is a point of tension anyway, so you are just ramping it up a bit further. There are all the altered dominant chord notes (b5, #5, b9, #9) available as well. I like the idea of using the "altered scale" (a mode of the melodic/jazz minor scale i.e. jazz minor up a half step) to access these. Also when you have dominant chords that don't resolve to to the I chord, you can use jazz minor up a 5th (aka lydian dominant scale) - see Emily Remler in this clip: Emily Remler on jazz minor modes for dominant chords

    For me this has been quite a big thing, really gets a lot of that "hip" jazz sound happening.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    Cheers for the links Andrew - not familiar with the players, but I'm guessing there is a bit of tension and release stuff going on in there?
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    Emily had some chops eh,wow....
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I guess knowing all the scales for all the chords in a progression makes it easier to stay in key and sound spot on all the time and I also guess that it leaves you enough room to do something original as well but I can't help thinking that if you really don't know what you're doing but still make it through the tune you have a far better chance of coming up with something truly and deeply original.
    I suppose the more you play and the more you become familiar with what notes work with what chords you learn all the theory anyway and I've been kicking myself a bit lately for not having learned more theory earlier as I know it would have taken my playing a lot further than it has gone but the pleasure I've had from winging it time after time and becoming better and better at staying in key/tune and making it work from sheer chance or just going for a note has been immeasurable.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    I guess knowing all the scales for all the chords in a progression makes it easier to stay in key and sound spot on all the time and I also guess that it leaves you enough room to do something original as well but I can't help thinking that if you really don't know what you're doing but still make it through the tune you have a far better chance of coming up with something truly and deeply original.
    I suppose the more you play and the more you become familiar with what notes work with what chords you learn all the theory anyway and I've been kicking myself a bit lately for not having learned more theory earlier as I know it would have taken my playing a lot further than it has gone but the pleasure I've had from winging it time after time and becoming better and better at staying in key/tune and making it work from sheer chance or just going for a note has been immeasurable.
    Hmmm... with respect, I think you have a bit the wrong idea about some of this stuff. For one thing it should be said that the are almost always options regarding scales/modes, it's not a one to one, "this chord takes this scale" relationship at all - so you're not trying to find the "correct" scale all the time, but just to play something that sounds good. So when you are "winging it" and it sounds good, it is good - whatever you're doing works, and is legitimate. You say you know the major scale and pentatonic/blues scales - these (and their modes) do cover an awful lot of ground. Emily Remler in that clip is talking about the jazz minor (aka melodic minor) scale and some ways of using that for 7th type chords - that's just introducing some more possibilities/sounds to the mix - once you get your head/fingers around it (no small task!), you've expanded what you can do. So it's not like being in a straight-jacket at all - kind of the opposite to my way of thinking, the more you know, the more you can do...

    Having said the above, I do think it's good to emphasize the chord tones, or some of them, of the harmony you are playing over, so that your playing sounds harmonically strong. So that even without any accompaniment, the listener can feel the chord progression you are playing over. This is kind of the difference between sort of floating over the changes (which a lot of people do, including me too much...) and really "making the changes".

    And having said that, from what you say, I suspect you have a very good musical ear, which you've actually trained by playing over time, so when you do get through a tune and make it work, it isn't actually sheer chance, but in fact you are hearing good things, and are able to get your fingers to the right places to play them kind of instinctively - and I think this hand/brain skill is very important too.

    Don't get me started on Emily Remler, wonderful guitarist... \:\)
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I suppose I am suggesting that too much knowledge could be restrictive to the creative process with my meanderings there but I was only describing how my musical journey has been really.
    I've always been very reactive to any form of accepted authority so music was no different for me and I had to find my own way through it without taking any kind of accepted knowledge onboard,a great shame really as there's no doubt my playing could be far more accomplished than it is.
    The one thing I can say though is that when I do play it comes from somewhere directly inside of me and there's not too many detours before the notes start to vibrate in the air.
    \:\)


    I believe a mode to be the same scale as a major or Ionian but starting at a different note,starting on the second note of a C major scale and taking the D as your starting point /tonic gives you a D Mixolydian I believe?
    I have some awareness of these things but somehow I think that I am just too old now to pin them all down exactly and I think I probably know much of this stuff by feel anyway.
    I love the major/minor tension involved in placing a stress on different parts of a scale and most 'tunes' or melodies that I come up with ,as opposed to just jams and improvs,are based on such things.

    A piece I'm attempting to learn on the piano

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSxDjW9bLCQ&list=PL7A4078E20F53B654&index=6&feature=plpp_video

    begins with D major/ D minor and just keeps going but still finds it way home,marvellous

    and all respects respected if that makes any sense,we're all big boys here and I feel I can speak my mind without offending anyone and I hope you all feel you can say what you like to me too.
    Sayign that though if I have offended anyone,my apologies.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
     Originally Posted By: Ape09090
    I suppose I am suggesting that too much knowledge could be restrictive to the creative process with my meanderings there but I was only describing how my musical journey has been really.
    I've always been very reactive to any form of accepted authority so music was no different for me and I had to find my own way through it without taking any kind of accepted knowledge onboard,a great shame really as there's no doubt my playing could be far more accomplished than it is.
    The one thing I can say though is that when I do play it comes from somewhere directly inside of me and there's not too many detours before the notes start to vibrate in the air.
    \:\)


    I believe a mode to be the same scale as a major or Ionian but starting at a different note,starting on the second note of a C major scale and taking the D as your starting point /tonic gives you a D Mixolydian I believe?
    I have some awareness of these things but somehow I think that I am just too old now to pin them all down exactly and I think I probably know much of this stuff by feel anyway.
    I love the major/minor tension involved in placing a stress on different parts of a scale and most 'tunes' or melodies that I come up with ,as opposed to just jams and improvs,are based on such things.

    A piece I'm attempting to learn on the piano

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSxDjW9bLCQ&list=PL7A4078E20F53B654&index=6&feature=plpp_video

    begins with D major/ D minor and just keeps going but still finds it way home,marvellous

    and all respects respected if that makes any sense,we're all big boys here and I feel I can speak my mind without offending anyone and I hope you all feel you can say what you like to me too.
    Sayign that though if I have offended anyone,my apologies.
    Honestly don't see how anyone could take offence Andrew. If I came across a bit patronising there I apologise too! Re the modes, playing the C major notes starting from a D would give you D Dorian mode in fact - which is a minor sounding scale, so you could use it over a D minor type chord. Really I just think of these things as available pools of notes though, so just like you would for a pentatonic scale, you learn patterns on the neck, and then can use the patterns to generate phrases or licks. In a way, the whole mode thing leads to more confusion than it should IMO. If I see a D minor chord say, I'm not thinking "I can use D Dorian, which is a mode of C major, so I can use a C major pattern" - if I think anything at all, it's just "D Dorian pattern". But really you haven't got time to think, nor should you. You just internalize lots of stuff - the sound of it as well as how to play it - and it will happen naturally in the right way.

    Maybe some people do get too technically minded, and over-think things - in which case I would agree that could get in the way of expressing something. As long as we can all achieve what we want at the end of the day. Enough of my cod music philosophy ha ha...

    I do like that Satie piece, and Joe and Wes are in that very rare genius category I think. Wes, from what I can tell, did an awful lot by instinct - he didn't read music, and a lot of the time, I don't think he actually knew what it was he was doing in technical terms - he just knew what it sounded like, and how to play it - amazing really. Nice links though, cheers for those.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    Wes had an amazing touch on the guitar for sure ,what a player and tone just beautiful.

    D Dorian! OK! lol thanks for that,I thought it had a minor feeling but as I say I don't have all the correct terminologies pinned down quite yet.

    I think the more you play the less you care if you do hit a bum note because you know you can recover easily enough anyway and I think the more theoretical/technical awareness you have can only improve your options for knowing/making more interesting music.
Sign In or Register to comment.