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Old 02-05-2013, 08:53 PM   #1
primusfan
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February RTT: Chet Baker Edition

I'll save you the spiel. I failed pretty hard last month, but I'm going to try to get my shit together. Really no excuse for screwing up other than laziness.

So here's the first installment of this month's artist, Chet Baker. Just a half chorus solo, but a great one. I picked Chet this month because he always seems to have such a clear sense of melody. Those are the kind of guys I want to highlight this year in doing this. I want to discover melody. This is incredibly singable solo. Due in part to the fact that it's a vocal solo. Ha. As we delve into his singing and trumpet playing you'll see it's basically the same thing. Which is what you want in soloing in jazz: your instrument to be nothing but a conduit for your voice.




(solo at 1:21)

I'll let everyone glance at this for a while. Listen. Maybe try to play it. Again, please don't just harp on me about notation. I realize maybe I shouldn't have put those dotted quarters there. But to me it was easier than having three consecutively tied notes. Also, I just realized there's a few wrong rhythms. Lel. Get over it.

I'll get back later with my recording and subsequent discussion.

EDIT: just fixed a pretty egregious misprint.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:12 AM   #2
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Cool concept man.

Some totally sweet and iconic bop style phrases in that.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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alrighty. now that you've had a chance to listen or maybe even pluck/blow/plink/fiddle your way through this, let's break it down. firstly, this is only over the A section, not the repeat (A'). so only a half chorus solo.

i'll try to make this short and accessible. we'll see how that goes.





so i wanted to do a fancy overlay of the (super vanilla) melody on top of the solo to see how they correlated. couldn't resize the measures correctly and by the time i realized i could've just done two separate voices on the original score, i'd saved over the solo. typical me. SIDE NOTE: chet baker did not write this tune. just the solo. pardon the oversight not changing the composers name. this is for fair use, educational purposes, not even the full melody, blah blah, etc, etc.

you'll have to settle on a side-by-side comparison.

my first note is on ...

rhythm

i know i spent all last month (lol on just the ONE transcription of course. flogging myself over that still) talking about rhythm. for anyone keeping up on these installments you'll notice the very first phrase begins with the lick i spent at least a paragraph on last time. "and two-puh-let three and four and". this rhythm is everywhere. and very often begins phrases. which brings me to my next point (which is very important)

i don't recall if i touched on this last time, but tension and resolution often get talked about in terms of notes/chord tones (we'll get to that in a bit). but there's also rhythmic resolution which plays a key part in jazz solo phrases. this little piece of wisdom traveled down to my indirectly from a late, great area jazz guitarist. let's say we have a bar of four:

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

the bolded beats are the resolution beats. these are typically where chord changes happen. 1 and 3 are the strong beats in music. and when it comes to clapping, they're the white people beats.

the sweet spot is the offbeats/upbeats. 2 and 4 and all the ands (no ifs or buts though). these are the tension beats. when you start your phrase on the offbeats/upbeats and resolve on the strong beats (1 and 3) you will have a natural tension/resolution cycle in your phrase. makes it tres jazzy.

one thing you'll notice here is chet anticipates resolutions by starting on the "and" preceding the resolution beat and then holds the note into it. i call this, crazily enough, anticipated resolutions. there are also delayed resolutions where, you guessed it, the phrase resolves after the strong beat of the chord change.

this is not a hard-n-fast rule by any means. you don't have to start on offbeats, you don't have to end on strong beats. but it is a general rule to keep in mind that can sometimes be the key to making your solos sound more informed in the jazz idiom.

now on to the ...

notes/melody

i want you to see the ways the melody and solo kind of intertwine. for example, they share some of the same resolution notes in the same spots. this isn't a huge surprise since resolving to a third is pretty common place.

mm.1,2 both begin with the same note as they do in the melody.

in m.3, the rhythm of the notes are almost parallel.

m.5 is resolved on the same chord tone although the melody gets their by a leading tone in m.4 while the solo arrives there via a whole step (and using aforementioned anticipated resolution).

in mm. 7-8, 11-12 the B is featured prominently in both the melody and solo.

and finally both melody and solo arrive back to the repeat (A') via the F#.

in these ways, you can see baker had an idea of the melody in his head while he was soloing. he wasn't just willy nilly bullshitting. many times jazz players feel like the head is what they just have to get out of the way in order to solo. the melody is the tune. the solo should be steeped in the melody, not just the changes. otherwise, why play that tune? you like this beautiful melody that you're only going to play once to begin and once to end and then not hint at again for the 7 minutes in between? this is why normal people have a hard time liking jazz.

the last thing i'll mention is, going along with the idea of resolution, there are a few very clear instances here of something called a 7-3 resolution. let me explain:

jazz is largely made up of ii-V-I's and various subs. the best example to draw from is mm.9-11 (the third line). we have Amin7-D7-Gmaj7. basic major ii-V in G. the notes of those chords are:

ii = ACEG
V = DF#AC
I = GBDF#

notice that as the chords change, only half the notes change while half remain the same. e.g. the R and b3 of the ii become the 5 and b7 of the V chord. just a little tidbit.

anyway, melodies often hinge on 3rds and 7ths. they are the notes that give chords a quality. they determine whether its a min7, maj7, minmaj7, dom7, etc. they also play a role in min7b5, dim7 and various aug chords where the altered 5 also plays a factor in defining the quality. typically though, the root and 5 are the fundamental basis (or root really) of the chord and don't give it much of its color.

so knowing that, and knowing that these ii-Vs are closely related in terms of the notes that comprise them, we have what we call 7-3 resolutions. it's a way to define a chord change solely through a single note melody. check out the change from D7 to Gmaj7 in the solo:

the resolution note (where the phrase resolves/ends) is the third of Gmaj7 (B). thirds are a typical landing point. chromatic motion is the strongest motion in music very much so in jazz anyway. we arrive at the I chord's 3rd (B) by way of the V chord's 7th (C). a chromatic upper neighbor that also happens to be an equally strong, defining chord tone for the V.

perhaps i phrased that strangely. well here's another example. in the minor ii-V in A minor at mm. 7-8 (Bmi7b5 to E7b9) we have the same thing.

Bmi7b5 = B D F A
E7b9 = E G# B D F ..... (F being the b9)

the 7th of Bmi7b5 is? ... you got it, A. the 3rd of E7b9? .... yep! G#. A and G#. half step away. both strong chord tones. and what do you know, the last note played over the Bmi7b5 (the ii) is A (the 7th). the first note played over E7b9 (the V) is G# (the 3rd).

these 7-3 resolutions are everywhere. here's the kicker. chet baker didn't know anything about changes. he could read standard notation and more importantly he could play, but he didn't know a damn thing about chord changes. i know a guy who played with him once. he asked chet, "are we starting this on the I or the iii." he said, "i dunno, man. i don't know chord names. just play it, and i'll hear it."

ultimately what's important is the sound of the chords and the sound of the resolutions and the sounds of the melody. learn to hear these kind of musical nuances in the music. chet didn't know he was playing 7-3 resolutions on a technical, theoretical level. he just knew intuitively that this sound was good and made for good lines. and when he heard the rhythm section play a sound, he knew what sounds would complement it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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Thank you for another great thread. This is extremely useful for me since I'm interested in learning jazz (I'm pretty much putting rock and other subgenres on hold. Classical comes first, but after that I'm focusing on jazz, funk, r&b and soul, jazz being the most challenging, imho).

I will carefully study and re-examine it closer. But so far I'm really digging your focus on rhythm. I find that in many places, the information on jazz rhythm is kind of vague (either it tries to over-generalize things, or doesn't place enough emphasis on it). Would it be possible to get some information on the harmony's/comping rhythm? Anyway, mad props for that!

Keep them coming. It's also useful for me to practice sight reading (I've also got a real book to aide with this).

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Old 02-11-2013, 04:53 PM   #5
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first of all, thank you! glad you're enjoying it.

secondly, as far as comping i can only give limited advice since i don't play jazz guitar really except when i'm just messing around at home. i'm primarily a bass player so my specialty lies more in that realm. basically, what i'm saying is i've never transcribed piano/guitar jazz comping before, but i imagine i could try. at least getting the comping rhythms down. i don't know necessarily about the voicings or ornamentation. i might be able to get close.

my recommendation might be to go onto grooveshark and just search "aebersold." listen to the playalongs which consist usually of piano, bass and drums. sometimes guitar, bass drums or guitar, organ and drums. i would check out what they're doing on there since it will be easier to pinpoint the comping.

i would just do a rhythmic transcription at first. make sure to note the differences in values (staccato vs holding out the chord) as this adds a LOT to comping.

basic tips:

- less is more. both rhythmically and harmonically. add color to the outline the bassist is giving. don't paint over it.

- lay off the roots. that's the bass's job. play 3-5-7-9 voicings. mess around with omitting the 5th and/or 9th. maybe even the 7th.

- even try throwing in a few two note voicings. 3rds and 7ths are pretty commonplace. you don't want to get super high into the extensions or you might step on the soloists toes if they're altering extensions differently.

- listen to the soloist. the bass is laying down the harmonic outline and pulse. you'll want to highlight the crucial changes with a mix of playing on strong beats and playing off/upbeats. as well as the aforementioned mix of

- syncopation is key. as i said before. don't get too caught up in playing on the strong beats just because that's where the chords change. dance around them rather than landing right on them at times. the swing is in the offbeats. be syncopated. try to think of your comping as a very sparse counter-solo of sorts. but one that also serves to enrich the harmony of the tune and fill out the sound of the rhythm section.

you could try this:



not exactly an aebersold play a long. but still. EDIT: this and the aebersold play along are both in Eb which is the key this tune typically gets played in.

thirdly, by harmony are you asking me to delve into the different voicings and subs for comping? or simply asking me to breakdown the tune's changes in a kind of harmonic analysis?
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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That was actually helpful. Thanks for the tip on aebersold. I had never heard of him.

I guess I'm still trying to wrap my head around the less is more approach. I definitely want to learn how to comp, but I'm just very scared of being in the way of the other instruments (especially if there's a piano/keyboard). I'm so used to listening to music where the guitar is right there in the foreground (what I spend most of my time practicing/studying is classical guitar, which is mostly solo pieces), yet I want to understand how to comp. It's just difficult because I'm not used to the concept.

I guess part of my confusion stems from the fact that a lot of songs do with just piano (so I'm unsure if I should play along exactly as the piano would) but also because on the ones that use guitar, it is seems to be more subtle, so I easily lose track of what the guitar is doing and get lost in the melody.

When I'm home by myself listening to a recording I find it real hard to focus on more than one part (say, if I want to see how the guitar or piano interacts with the bass), which doesn't help. I've been in rock bands, and although we never did anything that was rhythmically advanced, I remember it being much easier to stay on time when I had the bassist and the drummer standing next to me (something I struggle with sometimes when playing classical and I turn off the metronome, because there is no drummer or bassist) and even playing around with the rhythm than it is when playing myself, or with a recording. So I don't know if just playing with a band of experienced people would be the best way for me to learn...

Is there a book that provides claves (is that what they are called when they don't show the note, just the rhythmic figure?) like these for comping/backing for jazz standards:

show


show


TL;DR Anway, say I want to comp to It Could Happen To You: would just playing long with the piano by playing the chords on my guitar using the same rhythm as the piano on the aebersold youtube video be a sane way to start? Or would that create problems if I joined a band that where somebody is playing the piano? If so, how do I avoid getting in the way of what the piano player is doing without getting in the way of the soloist and the bassist?

As for the harmony part: I was referring to the rhythm, which you covered already when you talked about comping. No need to go into harmonic analysis, although I would read it if you did go into it. Just that right now I'm trying to figure out how to play jazz standards (I found some people who need a guitarist, and I wish to join them, but I don't want to be completely illiterate on the subject and want to learn how to at least contribute a bit without getting in the way), and imo harmonic analysis would be more for writing it. But I eventually want to know how to write too, so, like I said, I'd read it.

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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Dude, there really aren't any hard/fast rules. You need to develop a lot of different rhythmic ideas to have a solid foundation so that when the time comes you can do what's appropriate.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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cryogenic: i see what you mean.

it definitely takes a while to adjust to jazz. listening to a lot of it is ultimately going to be how you begin to hear things. when i first started transcribing walking lines i thought my head was going to explode. i was like, "this recording quality is shit! the bass is muffled! i'm just guessing!"

the more you listen, even just casually, the more you'll be able to recognize the different roles and zone in on them.

my advice would be listen to organ trios and guitar/bass duos. just listen to the same tune/same album a few times and start to hear where the guitar sits in the mix.

http://fredhamilton.com/site/wp-con...jazzcomping.pdf

http://www.frogstoryrecords.com/lessons_overview.html (there's an entire section on comping here)

this might be something to help you get your foot in the door.

but i'd still say your best bet is to just begin to really listen to the guitar and piano comping. you can definitely do what a piano does because you're serving the same role in the group.



listen to the syncopation in the comping. you want to keep the structure of the tune while hipping it up with syncopated rhythms. a mix of strong and weak beats. the more you listen to jazz, the more these through-composed motifs will come to you intuitively. that charleston rhythm is a big one though. starting it in various places, not just the one as well.

but remember, as always, when in doubt don't be too hip. two hips make an ass.

Quote:
TL;DR Anway, say I want to comp to It Could Happen To You: would just playing long with the piano by playing the chords on my guitar using the same rhythm as the piano on the aebersold youtube video be a sane way to start? Or would that create problems if I joined a band that where somebody is playing the piano? If so, how do I avoid getting in the way of what the piano player is doing without getting in the way of the soloist and the bassist?


that's an interesting dilemma i've faced in groups.

1) i would say, yes, that's a good way to start. pick up on the rhythms the guys are using on those aebersold playalongs. or even on those square playalongs on the iRealB app/program (if you have an iPhone, i can't tell you how invaluable this app is. at $8 it's a STEAL). but more so the aebersold tunes. he has some pretty legit cats come and play on those recordings so it's not like they're just joe schmo music teacher at the little lord fauntleroy school for albino hemophiliacs. again this is a launching point, i'd try to get to listening to actual material as soon as possible. even if you're not transcribing it, just listening enough to internalize the roles and general feel.

2) if you play in a group with a piano player, the way we dealt with it was maybe the guitar player was playing the head maybe with the sax as well. so he'd take the melody while the piano comp'd. then sax solo and one guy steps up to the plate and starts comping while the other guy hangs. i'd recommend listening to stuff like the oscar peterson trio (when it was oscar, herb ellis and ray brown. sometimes ed thigpen on drums) and this one album of jimmy raney's called wisteria that i like a lot (with guitar, bass and piano) to listen to real life examples of how pianists and guitarists can both fit into a tune. as well as the aforementioned organ trios. sometimes they can manage to play simultaneously and not be too busy/distracting. but it really depends. i wouldn't push it. just find groups, whether trios or sextets, that have keys and guitar and try to see how they negotiate that dynamic.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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Jimmy Smith is awesome. I only have the root down live record, but I love it.

Thanks man, you've definitely been of great help! Those links you posted are awesome. Will play around with the charleston rhythm and with the comping exercises (and there's some walking bass line exercises that look awesome too)

And I will definitely be getting those other albums you recommended.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:12 PM   #10
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great! i'm considering actually doing jimmy raney or grant green next month. if you'd like to transcribe any of their comping i think it'd be fascinating to see as i don't think i've ever come across a transcription like that.

and with that, i'd like to introduce the second transcription! funnily enough, on a chet baker CD released this year called ashes and fire this tune comes immediately after "it could happen to you". i didn't choose this for any particular reason other than that i think it sounds cool, memorable and singable. i'm sure there's some cool stuff we can extract. just glancing over the finished product i'm already seeing potential discussion points. anyway. without further ado, "just friends" ...




solo at 0:54
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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Playing 3-5-7 chords help to not step on the soloist or take the bass notes. This allows the soloist to expand chords if he wants without worrying about what you're doing as the comper. Right...? I'm assuming Ill run into this problem when I get a little more down the road.


Also, what program do you use to put the transcription up here on the forums? Anything I could use for free? I might want to add a transcription of a song or two on the thread here or there for some critique.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a0kalittlema0n
Playing 3-5-7 chords help to not step on the soloist or take the bass notes. This allows the soloist to expand chords if he wants without worrying about what you're doing as the comper. Right...? I'm assuming Ill run into this problem when I get a little more down the road.


yeah. and even just 3rd and 7th diads as well excluding the fifth.

the big issue is dominant chords (just a regular 7th chord 1-3-5-b7). they're basically a soloist's playground as you could play practically anything on top of it and it would sound good because there's so much inherent chaos/tension/dissonance in that chord. just one example, the classic bebop sound is much more rooted in the b9 sound play an E7b9:

Code:
E------- B--6---- G--7---- D--6---- A--7---- E-------


whereas a more modern approach in a minor ii-V is to play a 7#9 (hendrix chord) instead

Code:
E------- B--8---- G--7---- D--6---- A--7---- E-------


this is a minor example. there's 7#11 and 7b5#9, etc, etc. you want to let the soloist dictate his extensions and altered notes. give him the space to play around on. once you have a feel for his sound you can experiment with fuller chords. but often times those two and three note diads/chords will be just right to sit in the mix of the band. sometimes the bigger five and six note chords can make it a bit muddy depending on the situation. but that depends on other factors like voicings, dynamics, fingerstyle vs plectrum, etc.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:15 PM   #13
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The thing is all the altered extensions sit in the same universe, so it's not an issue to voice a 7#5#9 and have the soloist play b9s and b5s on top of it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:26 PM   #14
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^ that's true. it's just a different texture/color. in fact, some soloists would probably prefer you play extensions so they get the sound in their head to play off of. it's kinda just a matter of each situation. it's less about clashing and more about giving everyone their space in the band. but as you said, basically anything goes. and it'lll probably sound good.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primusfan
great! i'm considering actually doing jimmy raney or grant green next month. if you'd like to transcribe any of their comping i think it'd be fascinating to see as i don't think i've ever come across a transcription like that.


Do Grant Green first! But either one would be great, tbh.

I've never done any serious work on transcriptions aside from bits and pieces or short melodies and even in those cases I've only written it down on paper like once or twice in my life (using standard notation... I just spend most of my time practicing stuff written by others. But when I was younger I used to write riffs and melodies using tab notation fairly often).

But I could definitely attempt to write down on paper the rhythmic figures for the accompaniment. Would be great for learning to write (and not just read) standard notation (well at least the rhythmic figures since you already have the chords)... I could check with my teacher too, just to make sure I'm doing properly.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #16
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On the topic of transcribing I think my edit got passed by, so I'll repost it again.

What program do you use to put the transcription up here on the forums? Anything I could use for free? I might want to add a transcription of a song or two on the thread here or there for some critique.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:08 AM   #17
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^ i use musescore. it's free/open-source. for what i'm doing, it's pretty perfect. so i can't complain.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:43 PM   #18
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Well, here we go. This is my not-so-appealing-to-the-eyes transcription of Chet Baker's My Funny Valentine. This is the first time I've tried transcribing and writing it down musically, which proves to much more difficult and time consuming than my piano-backgrounded-self thought it would be. Also first time working with the program, so it isn't near as pretty as the previous ones

Calling all other crappy transcribers! Resolve To Transcribe!



http://musescore.com/user/71991/scores/90383

Starts at 2:36

Also it makes it a bit hard to analyse a song if the chords and notes are mismatched, I tried, but I'm not too sure how close I got. If someone wants to help me fix it, I'd be open to that...

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File Type: pdf My Funny Valentine.pdf (23.3 KB, 27 views)
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #19
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Not sure if anyone caught the mistake on bar 10 of It Could Happen to You. It should read D Db C D D# F D# C B.

Actually, the D# should be an Eb (b9) and the F should be an E# (#9). That's not the mistake I was talking about, that's just semantics

This is great stuff though, I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer. I just haven't read through the whole thing yet, so I only have comments on the stuff I've seen yet.

Well, to go off of this whole Eb - E# - Eb thing, that's a classic Bird move. If you look at Donna Lee for example, you see this motif happen like 5 times (just counted, it's actually 6) throughout the course of the melody, in m3 beat 1, m12 beat 3, m16 beat 3, m19 beat 1, and m22 beat 1. http://www.lalezionedichitarra.it/w...1/Donna-Lee.jpg

Looking at the score, you notice that these are all over dominant chords. Let's look at the first F7 chord moving to a Bb7 chord. m2 beat 3 goes A C Eb F, which is just an F7 arpeggio, but then it does Gb Ab (really G#, notated in a way that's easier to read) Gb F Eb before the melody actually resolves to the Bb9 arpeggio (D F Ab C). Looking at this in chord tones, we have the following:

F7: 3 5 b7 1 b9 #9 b9 1 b7, then to...
Bb7: 3 5 b7 9 (13 5).

See how this makes so much more sense to see the Gb and Ab as b9 and #9 of the F7, making it an altered dominant? Looking at the 1 and b7 of the F7, they are 5 and 4 resolving to 3 in relation to the Bb7

Relating it back to the topic of the thread, measure 10 looks like this:

D7: 1 (chromatic passing tone) b7 1 b9 #9 b9 [1 b7]
Gmaj7: (5 4) 3

Alright I guess I'll get back to reading through the thread...

Here goes, with my response to your first analysis. I skipped over the rhythm section because it's all awesome advice:

Quote:
Originally Posted by primusfan
m.5 is resolved on the same chord tone although the melody gets their by a leading tone in m.4 while the solo arrives there via a whole step (and using aforementioned anticipated resolution).
Another way to say this is it resolved diatonically from above or below. The whole step from above is really just a resolution from the second scale degree rather than the second. Both of these occur in a V to I.

Quote:
Originally Posted by primusfan
in these ways, you can see baker had an idea of the melody in his head while he was soloing. he wasn't just willy nilly bullshitting. many times jazz players feel like the head is what they just have to get out of the way in order to solo. the melody is the tune. the solo should be steeped in the melody, not just the changes. otherwise, why play that tune? you like this beautiful melody that you're only going to play once to begin and once to end and then not hint at again for the 7 minutes in between? this is why normal people have a hard time liking jazz.
I wish I was taught this early on. That would have made things a lot easier for me. Even in my bass lessons in college, I didn't really get it. My teacher kept telling me to make my solos more melodic (without giving me any worthwhile suggestions), but he never did anything to help me understand how the melody and the solo relate. I mean he did say to have the melody in mind whenever I solo, but that was the extent of his instruction.

I think a good way to teach this would be to have the student play the melody verbatim first, then repeat it, adding variations each time until you have an entirely unique solo. Maybe my teacher assumed I had already done stuff like this before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by primusfan
the resolution note (where the phrase resolves/ends) is the third of Gmaj7 (B). thirds are a typical landing point. chromatic motion is the strongest motion in music very much so in jazz anyway. we arrive at the I chord's 3rd (B) by way of the V chord's 7th (C). a chromatic upper neighbor that also happens to be an equally strong, defining chord tone for the V.
You did in fact phrase that strangely. "Chromatic upper neighbor" is a bit misleading, considering it's diatonic. Looking at the notes of a V7 in relation to the tonic gives you 5 7 2 4. 4 pulls down to 3 and 7 pulls up to 1.
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Last edited by food1010 : 02-19-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:01 PM   #20
primusfan
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I originally had m.10 lick written chromatically. but I wasn't sure so I broke it down note by note on the amazing slowdowner. could still be wrong though. that was the "egregious error" I fixed in the edit in fact.

EDIT: but I am pretty sure it should be D-C-B-D rather than D-C-B-C as I have written.

EDIT 2: I also wouldn't doubt the chromatic thing in m.10. it sounded like that to me at first. I just went back and changed it. could've changed it to the wrong thing. doubly egregious. haha.

EDIT 3: yeah, upon another listening it does sound D-Db-C-D. m'bad.
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Last edited by primusfan : 02-19-2013 at 06:14 PM.
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