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#1
So my school is having a jazz band next year for the first time in over a decade, since im the only bassist in band, I have already been guarenteed the position ahead of time. I can play my instrument quite well and i can read sheet music without much of a hitch and know a decent amount of theory, but I know next to nothing about jazz, so could some people recomend me to some good songs/ groups to listen to or learn? Thanks ahead of time.
#2
People/Bands to check out:

Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters
Pat Metheny
Weather Report

All of them are on the contemporary/ fusion side of things.
#4
Quote by kibatsume
So my school is having a jazz band next year for the first time in over a decade, since im the only bassist in band, I have already been guarenteed the position ahead of time. I can play my instrument quite well and i can read sheet music without much of a hitch and know a decent amount of theory, but I know next to nothing about jazz, so could some people recomend me to some good songs/ groups to listen to or learn? Thanks ahead of time.


What type of Jazz is it?
#5
Me and my schools drummer joke around when we play.

He says "Alright, this band is like a broken down car. You push and Ill steer."

Now, even though my schools band is actually really good (how could we not be, our teacher is john wojo), thats your role in the band. Setting down a solid tempo and making it swing.

This is assuming your talking about your schools big band
#6
One thing that would help to learn is chords, as you'll probably be improvising walking bass lines over chord changes.
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#7
well its im assuming just an all around jazz band seeing as its going to be an after school thing and not an actual class, and ill be reading sheet music but i will have a few improv solos. Ill check out the bands/ songs listed, anything else anyone wants to add?
#8
Quote by Captain Insano
People/Bands to check out:

Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters
Pat Metheny
Weather Report

All of them are on the contemporary/ fusion side of things.


i sincerely doubt anyone's high school jazz band is going to be playing any of that.

transcribe, transcribe, transcribe. day and night. given the informality with which most jazz bassists learned their instruments, dissecting their methods note-for-note is the best way to learn.

you have three options when walking. chordal, scalar and chromatic. that's it. but the possibilities are still endless. not to mention throwing in altered notes for effect. playing jazz bass is like playing chess at 120 bpm with a swing. it's a lot of thinking. just use your intuition. your main job is to keep time and outline the changes.

listen to these albums. transcribe the songs!:

miles davis - kind of blue
john coltrane - giant steps
sonny rollins - saxophone colossus
miles davis - workin' with the miles davis quintet

also ... "invest" in a real book. contact me personally for a ... "cheap" way to do this.

good luck and have fun! i'm pretty much where you are. just started jazz bass at the beginning of the semester. been listening for longer than that but only recently really dissecting it methodically. it's a lot of work but it's worth it.

edit: reading isn't THAT important. you'll occasionally be asked to play the head, buy you're mostly just going to be doing a whole lot of walking with a few solos.
#DTWD
#9
Alright well thanks man ill give those bands a listen and try transcribing them. Im starting to think this is going to be a lot more fun than i originally thought.
#10
Quote by kibatsume
Alright well thanks man ill give those bands a listen and try transcribing them. Im starting to think this is going to be a lot more fun than i originally thought.


it's loads of fun. challenging, but that's what makes it fun. you're probably already in a better position than i (i didn't join band or jazz band in high school for the stigma. worst mistake i've made for my music life). having them put a chord chart in front of me is daunting when i have to dissect a D-7b5 while simultaneously figuring out how to move fluidly to a C6 ... but it's just a matter of perspective. there are only 12 notes on your fretboard. the only rule is: if it sounds good, play it.

good luck!
#DTWD
#11
i used to be in the jazz band until i canged schools and when i was bassist it was just about keeping everyhing in line
i mean of course you can mess with the bass lines you walk and you can solo
i couldnt read notes and still cant, but seeing as you can you shouldnt have any problems
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#12
Quote by primusfan
i sincerely doubt anyone's high school jazz band is going to be playing any of that.


My schools jazz band played Birdland
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#14
You're definitely going to want to pick up a Real Book or two - an undeniably good investment.

Some of my favorites....

Eric Dolphy - Outward Bound
Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
Yusef Lateef - Prayer to the East
Stan Getz/João Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
Art Blakey - Moanin'
Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool
Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz (A Collective Improvisation)
Red Norvo Trio - there are two albums that I've found, and it took me a lot of searching. But Red Norvo is great on vibes, and you CANNOT go wrong with a good vibes player teamed with Tal Farlow and a young Charles Mingus.
#15
You will probably end up doing big band stuff. If this is the case, your main role will be to keep time and outline chord changes. Many great bass players have been listed in posts previous to mine, but try especially to listen to big band bassists like Charles Mingus.

I'm not sure, but since you are a fairly new jazz band, I think the music you'll play will have little charts and have more music written out.
#16
Rufus Reid's book, the evolving bassist, is really good. Runs at about 30 USD. Also, a teacher, if you can afford one, would help a ton.
#17
From my experience is a school jazz band. 95% of the music will have a part written.
80% will actually have the changes. I learned to improv my walking from taking the music and analyzing it from the changes. Also spending three years with a bass prodigy in the class didn't hurt either (seriously, he was endorsed by Fender at age 9 :eek.

Also, metronome. Whenever you practice, metronome. In jazz bass is the boss, you set the time, so you have to be as perfect as possible.
#18
In a school band, I imagine most of your parts will be written out, probably with the chords written as well (I played in my school jazz band for 3 years and about 10% of pieces were JUST chord sheets ). That said, learn to improvise around the lines that are written out. In jazz, they're just a guide, aside from some crucial bits, which are generally fairly easy to spot (unison parts, a tune occasionally, a solo bit maybe?).

The most important things:

- Know your place. The overwhelming majority of the time you are providing a steady backing, and it's important to keep behind the lead, both by keeping quieter and not playing anything overly complicated. That said, this doesn't always apply. Use your judgement/get told what to do by the band leader.

- Learn chords. Seriously, to read a chord sheet, you need to know which notes are in which chords, so you can play more than the root, and play interesting walking lines (as long as it's a song which suits a walking line ).

Oh, and have fun! Jazz is easily my favourite type of music to play on bass.
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#19
Playing jazz will really benefit your playing overall. Its like this amazing onion that has countless layers to explore.
#20
practice scales ALOT use alot of roots 5thss octaves and then throw in the 7th's if the scale has 7ths in it. also if it is a minor scale accent the minor 3rd and your teacher will love you.

just practice walking basslines because that will for the most part be what your playing
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#21
^ most scales do have 7ths in them. Should it be assumed that you meant chords?

On whether it will be chords/written out lines, it depends on your teacher and the arranger. I would assume that since it's the first year in that long of a time since your school has had a jazz band, most of it will be written out parts, possibly with chords over the top. Ask your teacher for the music ahead of time, if they already have it picked out, so you can work on it, maybe look up some other people's interpretations on youtube or something like that. However, with that, I would suggest making it your own first, and then looking at other's versions for more ideas, but it depends on how your brain works.
#22
On scales and chords. Yes, you need to have your theory down hard to play jazz and improvise. Also learn to play all of your scales over two octaves smoothly and in broken thirds fifths, arppegiated etc etc. Wood shedding is really essential to be proficient at jazz bass playing, there just no way around it. However, its the greatest feeling when you can one day take a head sheet with chords and bang out a bass line without breaking a sweat.

Also many jazz songs have similar forms and chord progressions (II - V - I chord progression or the AABA form for example), so when you learn to cop a good line for one standard it can be reused and slightly modified for a dozen other songs.
#23
Quote by anarkee
Also many jazz songs have similar forms and chord progressions (II - V - I chord progression or the AABA form for example), so when you learn to cop a good line for one standard it can be reused and slightly modified for hundereds of other songs.


^+1
My favouritest lazy technique, fixed!

Don't do it too much though...
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How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
#25
Quote by anarkee
See I don't call that lazy, I call it being amazingly efficient in a creative way


I like it! Certainly makes it sound better...

Besides, I couldn't possibly STOP doing it; the only reason I repeat those lines is because they're just too good not to.
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How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
#26
On the serious side--having a few chord progressions down pat does free you up a bit creatively. If I have a solid passing for a II - V - I chord progression, I can mix it up creatively when playing because it becomes an internalized approach. Plus it does help you build a signature sound.

I had a bass teacher who liked to use R - 5th - 10th approach in slower songs. I could pick his bass lines out of everyone else's by just hearing his occasional fall back on that progression.
#27
Quote by anarkee
On the serious side--having a few chord progressions down pat does free you up a bit creatively. If I have a solid passing for a II - V - I chord progression, I can mix it up creatively when playing because it becomes an internalized approach. Plus it does help you build a signature sound.

I had a bass teacher who liked to use R - 5th - 10th approach in slower songs. I could pick his bass lines out of everyone else's by just hearing his occasional fall back on that progression.


It is a classic. And I was never arguing, it's a great idea if you want to play jazz. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard a jazz player who doesn't do it to some degree.
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How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
#28
Actually I'm enjoying the discussion .

The fact of the matter, I think its a valuable technique that really gets overlooked at least in the music programs out here in my neck of the woods until you reach college level courses. Sad to say, its usually that bass parts are written out, so there is still a huge emphasis on reading and not improvising.
#29
anarkee, I agree, improv was only mildly touched upon in my high school jazz class. Infact it wasn't until my junior year that the teacher ever even had the class practice improv.

I only really started getting how to construct a walking line after I took jazz imrpov at the local community college. And it wasn't until I actually started playing with the college jazz band that I had a teacher tell me to let notes ring into one another. >_<
#30
Quote by NoOne0507
anarkee, I agree, improv was only mildly touched upon in my high school jazz class. Infact it wasn't until my junior year that the teacher ever even had the class practice improv.

I only really started getting how to construct a walking line after I took jazz imrpov at the local community college. And it wasn't until I actually started playing with the college jazz band that I had a teacher tell me to let notes ring into one another. >_<


I was really lucky, 'cos in my school there were two jazz bands: a big band and a 7-piece trad/dixie combo. Playing in the combo I would get given improvised solos, most songs were just chord sheets, and I learned to improvise lines just by being thrust into a situation where I had to. Also, the got to play at the school's prom at the Royal Albert Hall, and we had to practice a lot for the competitions, and the event itself, so we really got an insane, professional band level of practice and are now still ridiculously tight (although after school finished we switched to 60's pop tunes and started getting paid gigs around the area), even sight reading a song none of us know.

Really though TS, actually improvising with a band is the best way to learn by far. Group improvising is probably the best thing to try: choose a key and (rough) chord progression and improvise. We always change styles gradually going through, so you practice improvising in lots of different styles, where the bass might need to be very different. Although, doing this with a big band is basically not really a good idea... Try and get the rest of the rhythm section, a trumpet and maybe something else and give it a go.

Otherwise, just improvise a little during big band songs, and maybe gradually build up to writing your own lines for a piece.
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How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
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#31
charles mingus, ray brown, oscar pettiford, chick corea, coltrane, davis, duke ellington. all great jazz artists. the first three being huuuge bassists. mingus is my favorite of all time. so have at it!

better git it into your soul by mingus ftw
My name is Greg, use it.

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#32
Quote by monkey_dancer
I was really lucky, 'cos in my school there were two jazz bands: a big band and a 7-piece trad/dixie combo. Playing in the combo I would get given improvised solos, most songs were just chord sheets, and I learned to improvise lines just by being thrust into a situation where I had to. Also, the got to play at the school's prom at the Royal Albert Hall, and we had to practice a lot for the competitions, and the event itself, so we really got an insane, professional band level of practice and are now still ridiculously tight (although after school finished we switched to 60's pop tunes and started getting paid gigs around the area), even sight reading a song none of us know.


My school had Jazz Club, which was just four of us that got together and played during lunch. We got a good number of paid gigs. But sophmore year was when I started taking improv classes. Playing with a fake book and having the head of the song can help quite a bit.
#33
Quote by NoOne0507
Playing with a fake book and having the head of the song can help quite a bit.


Yeah, knowing what other people will play is very helpful when improvising a bassline. Don't want to get really complicated when they have a deliberate lull in activity, for example.
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#34
The beauty of playing with a combo over a period of time is that you can stretch musically and begin to really listen and respond to what other people do within a certain song. Play jazz has taught me how to play to the song instead of trying to be self promoting as a bass player.

There are certain songs now like All Blues and Straight no Chaser and Tune up, that the guitarist and I play with now can really stretch within and have this wonderful musical conversation. I know when to lay back and keep a groove and when to play counterpoint to what he is doing. But until you are comfortable in the space, it is better to keep simple and keep locked on beat than over play. People won't notice when you play a bad note 98% of the time but they will notice when you slip out of the groove and time.
#35
Quote by anarkee
when you play a bad note 98% of the time but they will notice when you slip out of the groove and time.


Ver true, besides a wrong note is alway just a half-step away from a right note.

Have you tried playing Dexterity and Oleo together? It's rather cool sounding and all the changes are the same
#36
Quote by NoOne0507
Ver true, besides a wrong note is alway just a half-step away from a right note.


Or it IS a right note.
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#37
Quote by monkey_dancer
Or it IS a right note.



Only if your on a dom 7 chord and you haven't hit the major seventh

... I spelt very wrong. Damn typo demons.
#38
Well you can always just make it a chromatic passing groove and call it intentional.
#39
When it comes to improv, just remember. Small simple ideas are the best place to start, especially early in your jazz career. And dont be afraid to "steal" licks.

Tom Garling himself told me that he uses BB King licks in his trombone playing all the time
#40
Quote by anarkee
Well you can always just make it a chromatic passing groove and call it intentional.


What I was hinting at!

When I play a guitar solo and hit a 'wrong' note, I tend to just keep playing it even louder, and really get into the dissonance.
Even when it's a nice pop song.

EDIT: However, this is the bass forum, and it is much less appropriate on bass!
Quote by XxLloydxX
How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
Last edited by monkey_dancer at Oct 4, 2009,
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