#1
1 I hear rumors about improvising playing a minor pentatonic scale a 4th above the root chord? I don't know anything about this and can't get it to work. I have tried a few different chord cycles in 2 5 1 , put the fifth in the bass for each of the chords and no matter what root I pick to play a minor pentatonic it doesn't sound good. Any ideas?

2. any theory on playing outside in a chromatic style like alan holdsworth, I can't get it off the ground personally.

3. I see alots of great saxophone players play the simplest themes in the subway. I own charlie parker and kenny g cds and have brought quite a few saxophone books. All the books just have scale exercises and simple non interesting scores any ideas how to get some taste into a solo.

http://www.jazzeddie.f2s.com/saxophone.htm
#2
1. Substitutions. This is not a general thing you can do all the time, but it's a tool that can be used. It's a method of thinking for isolating different notes.

Basically, if we take a major scale and we would think of the modes of that major scale, we would end up with 2 that work over a major 7th sound, 1 that works over a dominant 7th, 3 that work over a minor 7th and 1 that works over a minor 7th flat 5.

What you are mentioning is playing the pentatonic scale from the roots of the other minor chords. Like if we were in A minor, you would probably play A minor pentatonic. But the D minor and E minor pentatonic scales also fit since they are based on the minor modes.

IMPORTANT! This is not a modal thing at all i am mentioning, i just used those terms to make it easier to explain how fusion and jazz musicians may think over these types of situations. I am also not saying it can't be modal.

2. There aren't really any "theory" per say that is about playing outside. A lot of outside playing is simply taking stuff in key and moving them out of key for a short while and land on your feet. There are however methods to do so. Substitutions, chord scales, chromaticism etc. Really, the best way to go about playing outside is learning from the recordings, learning by ear. I play lines when i improvise that i have NO IDEA how they work theoretically, but they sound good, and most of the time i've knicked them/gotten the inspiration for them from the recordings of players i love. This is especially the case when i use lines from Holdsworth or Machacek. Don't get me wrong, theory is great, and i personally analyze everything i can afterwards to make sense of it. But as i said, i've improvised stuff that i don't know how it works, i only know it sounds good, sound goes first, theory comes afterwards.

3. Same as number two here. Transcribe stuff. Fusion and jazz music, or afro-based music in general, is purely ear music. The way it was passed on in the past was through listening to the recordings and learning it that way, that's how all the greats learned the language, they spoke it a lot. It's just like a small child learning to speak, they don't sit there with grammar and books on how to do it, they hear people that are "pros" at talking and they try to imitate it. Only after we have mastered talking we begin to analyze it. If you want to be able to play tasty phrases in the style of great saxophone players, then learn from the saxophone players.

Like the great Clark Terry said: Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate.

Imitate players you love, learn their solos, their the chords, their the melodies. It doesn't even have to be specific for your instrument. I learn guitar parts, piano parts, bass parts, drum parts, vocal lines etc. Just learn it, and learn it by listening!

Assimilate the ideas! This line works over that type of chord, this chord progression works because the chord relate to eachother in this fashion. Strive to understand what you are learning, or atleast how it fits into the context it's presented to you. This E7 line works over Bb7 cause it's a tritone substitution.

Innovate! Take what you have learned and change it! Change the phrasing but keep the same notes. Change the notes but keep the same phrasing. Combine phrases or split them into shorter phrases. Take stylistic traits from two players you like and mix them together. Take what you have learned from the players you love and create yourself out of it.

I hope that was helpful!

Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
1) If it doesn't sound good, it doesn't sound good.

2) Playing outside - start with melodic minor modes. Check out John Scofield A Go Go album for some simpler examples of playing out over basic dominant funk grooves.

3) you should probably buckle down and learn some actual solos that incorporate the stuff you want to incorporate into your playing.
#4
Jazz and its children are all about harmony. Everything you do is about moving the harmony forward. The only way to sound authentically Fusion is to have some versing in traditional jazz harmony and improvisation.

It's a long road, but if you really want to sound like a modern jazz player, you have to start with the classics and work your way up.
#5
Hi all,
maybe it is a repertoire issue? I find that if you in key you sound flat and lifeless. I probably need to outline chords that mix well with the chords of the accompaniment cycle. Again, something I have had mentioned but never got off the ground. Playing out side, should I use Ab augmented over a G maj?

When I think of improvising if im in E minor I think E aeolian, dorian and phrygian. But to be honest, it just sounds flat and lifeless. Is there a better way, how can really bring out the jazz modes when the lead guitar is only allowed to play minims or breves? maybe I play too fast being a shred fan.

That is what I've been doing but I can't find an authentic saxophone repertoire, ironic.

lets keep it simple. Eg if I want to play lydian, do I just used the lydian scale over the chords? It still isnt working out for me, and probably alot of other players either.

I found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMWnDkzt_lQ
#6
Quote by batfink84
Hi all,


lets keep it simple. Eg if I want to play lydian, do I just used the lydian scale over the chords? It still isnt working out for me, and probably alot of other players either.



1) That video is not really jazz fusion per say- he is merely playing straight Lydian the entire time - he doesn't play out at all. Jazz fusion means using jazz inspired lines over rock or other genres. Chromatics are a big part of it.

2) Lydian will only sound like Lydian if your chord progression is really centered around it. For example, if your chord progression is really centered on Bmin, you can play G Lydian, but you're really just playing B minor (its the same notes). If your progression is really centered on the G, then G lydian will sound like G lydian ( as will B aoelian). It really depends on the progression and melodic context of a given tune.

3) the main part of playing jazz/fusion is playing the changes - you don't want to merely play the same scale or mode over an entire chord progression, but rather outline each chord change by accentuating key notes of that chord. You also want to lead the listener in and out of the chord changes.
#8
If you want examples of jazz fusion music, listen to stuff like Return to Forever, Al DiMeola, Herbie Hancock, Jazz Pistols, or Yellowjackets. Very broad classification, but they all share a few fundamental things: harmonic motion driven by voice leading, characteristically "jazzy" rhythm, and technical virtuosity.

Being a good fusion player means being really on top of your game in every respect. It's definitely something that will take time, but it will be totally worth the skill you gain along the way.
#9
George benson and wes montgormery it is. And you guys say to avoid smooth rock lead guitar as a way of faking authenticity. I'm going to ear alot of tennor sax too, even on youtube its hard to find the real deal.
#10
give a listen to miles..his fusion period ... lot of great players...

fusion is a style that is very hard to "teach" as it requires you to free fall with out a parachute...it does require that you know how to play "inside" from every direction..so if diatonic harmony in not deep in your being...get to it...

there is a mental attitude that goes with "fusion" also...so you can play "inside" and make it sound "out" .. yes this takes some practice..

play well

wolf
#11
that's right, wasn't fusion originally a late 70s thing when jazz players started using tribal drums and analogue wave table synthesis. I guess it's hard to say what jazz is these days especially after kenny g blitzed the 80s.
#12
Quote by batfink84
that's right, wasn't fusion originally a late 70s thing when jazz players started using tribal drums and analogue wave table synthesis. I guess it's hard to say what jazz is these days especially after kenny g blitzed the 80s.


Yeah, the origin of fusion came in the late 60's/early 70's when people began to blend styles of music, hence the name fusion. They often took rhythmic inspiration from the R&B and funk styles, the amplification and effects of rock music, the odd time signatures from non-western music and the improvisational and instrumental approach of jazz. (Cause the jazz scene at this time was derived around Bebop, Hard Bop, Modal and Free jazz. With the introduction to latin and post bop in the 60's.)

Jazz Fusion is a very broad term, even though it's a (arguably) a sub-genre. I mean under the same tree you have Miles Davis (when he did In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew), Weather Report, Return to forever, Allan Holdsworth, Guthrie Govan and Greg Howe etc.

Just to compare, the difference between Miles "Bitches Brew" and Govans "Erotic Cakes" are huge, but they are both still considered fusion records.

Great style of music, no doubt. But it's very broad. I have played many fusion gigs with tunes from Miles to Govan and everything in between, and i still find new fusion stuff i haven't heard that sounds fusion in different ways that miles or govan.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#13
About the holdsworth thingy, Guthrie Govan said something about him in an interview which you might find to be interesting..

I think it's potentially dangerous when a metal/rock type player hears a bit of Allan Holdsworth and then dives straight into that style of playing; not only is the technical aspect daunting, there's also all that musical knowledge and understanding going on behind the scenes, and it's really hard to absorb both of those aspects at once without your playing just starting to sound worse
baab
#14
Well, All this talk and we still havn't discussed any additional approaches toward soloing or accessing modes other than playing Root on Root and using diatonic chord cycles rather than implying a mode over a one note bass line and a snare.
#15
On the Holdsworth thing, if you're coming from a more traditional background, try and steal licks from Fredrik Thorendal and Brett Garsed instead, it's a lot easier and they translate better to "normal" music.

Oh and get your hammer-ons from nowhere in shape.
#16
I see a few replies back, a c minor backing track in a blues fusion sorta setup.
If you were to play over that, looking at the notes of the chords in that progression, you have cm13, which gives you the 6th of c. You have d7alt, which gives you the 9th of c and a whole plethora of altered extensions of c. You also have an f (the 4 of c),and of course at some point the 5. It is possible just to bounce back and forth between c minor and d minor using chromatic to cover some of the altered tones, also superimpose arps derived from the flat 5 of c will also give some interesting sounds, but to keep it tasty, you have to limit the outside stuff. One way to look at it is to step out when the drummer would be playing a fill.
#17
If I get some time, I will use that backing track and lay a little over it and post