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#1
ok, well in about 2-3 weeks i'm auditioning to play guitar in my high school's jazz band! i personally think that i am pretty decent at guitar, but the only problem is that i never play jazz. the band director was telling me that there are only 2 slots for guitars in the band, and that many people are gonna be fighting for that spot.

Here is where i turn to you, UG. I need tons of help learning how to play jazz. any help would be appreciated. any tips, chords i should know (i already have a head start on trying to learn those 7ths and diminished chords), how to improvise, good standards i should learn/listen to to get the feel. Basically anything that would help me learn jazz as quick as i can in 2-3 weeks. LINKS TO GOOD SITES ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

thanks so much!
One on Sunday

oh and btw, i will be getting an audition piece from the school that i have to play for the audition. i'll probably get it by tomorrow or the next day, then i'll upload it here for any tips on the song.


UPDATE: ok i have the audition piece. its a Dizzy Gillespie tune called "A Night in Tunisia"

heres the scan:



any tips on how to play it is greatly appreciated. One question though. since i'm playing guitar, i assume that i would have to play the chords as well as the melody. How should i strum the chords? should i make them straight quarter notes or what? i dont know. and any tips on the solo would be appreciated
Last edited by One on Sunday at May 15, 2008,
#3
One of the biggest keys is to familiarize yourself with the melody and come back to it during your solo. In addition, don't think about jazz as a "big picture" in terms of "it's this key, I'll use this scale". Approach each chord individually and see what you can do over it; you'll find a lot of opportunities for weaving between chords as the progression moves.
#4
wait, your school's jazz band is taking two guitars? thats really weird. All jazz bands ive ever seen or been in have only had one.
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#5
yea there is one guitar now, but the director said he might take two if i impress him

o and is C major and C 7 the same scale? i know they are different chords because the C 7 has the 7th in it, but can you play the c major scale over it if you were improvising?
#6
thats cool, i wanted to play for my school jazz band but i didn't know how to sight read sheet music =(
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#8
Quote by One on Sunday
yea there is one guitar now, but the director said he might take two if i impress him

o and is C major and C 7 the same scale? i know they are different chords because the C 7 has the 7th in it, but can you play the c major scale over it if you were improvising?

You'd be able to do something emphasizing both the C7 and the C major scale; simply playing a chromatic run like Bb B C would do the trick.
#9
Quote by One on Sunday
ok, well in about 2-3 weeks i'm auditioning to play guitar in my high school's jazz band! i personally think that i am pretty decent at guitar, but the only problem is that i never play jazz. the band director was telling me that there are only 2 slots for guitars in the band, and that many people are gonna be fighting for that spot.

Here is where i turn to you, UG. I need tons of help learning how to play jazz. any help would be appreciated. any tips, chords i should know (i already have a head start on trying to learn those 7ths and diminished chords), how to improvise, good standards i should learn/listen to to get the feel. Basically anything that would help me learn jazz as quick as i can in 2-3 weeks. LINKS TO GOOD SITES ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

thanks so much!
One on Sunday

oh and btw, i will be getting an audition piece from the school that i have to play for the audition. i'll probably get it by tomorrow or the next day, then i'll upload it here for any tips on the song.


start listening to jazz
be able to read chord charts

most of what you will do is reading charts. You may have to solo, but your ability to get through a chart may be more important to your band director.
#10
^ok do you have any jazz songs i should find the charts for to practice? any standards or songs that i should learn?

Edit: and does anybody suggest any good jazz artists i should listen to so i get the feel of jazz rythm and beats? good jazz guitarists would be preferable so i can get familiar with some nice jazz licks in solos.
Last edited by One on Sunday at Apr 30, 2008,
#11
^Get a copy of the latest edition of The Real Book.

For sight reading, I highly suggest William Leavitt's Melodic Rhythms for Guitar, available from Berklee Press.
#12
Listen to Freddie Green style comping to get an idea of what you have to do for a big band. Sight read something everyday, and I can second that recommendation for Melodic Rhythms, a book my teacher gave me that has VASTLY improved my reading.
12 fret fury
#13
Arpeggios are the key to success!

The problem is that in jazz many times you might have two chords in one bar and in that short amount of time it's not possible to use a mode like mixolydian to it's full extent. It's more "intelligent" to use the chord's arpeggio and create melodic lines basing yourself off it.

The great jazz guitarists see a chord's arpeggio in twenty different shapes and sizes instantly, which is what we all need to strive for.

Edit: and does anybody suggest any good jazz artists i should listen to so i get the feel of jazz rythm and beats? good jazz guitarists would be preferable so i can get familiar with some nice jazz licks in solos.


Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow, Martin Taylor, Grant Green, Barney Kessel, Emily Remler, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Kenny Burell, Django Reinhardt, Jim Hall, Ted Greene, Ralph Towner, Charlie Byrd and I'm trying to strain my head for some more.


You have to realize that lots of the time in jazz
Last edited by confusius at Apr 30, 2008,
#14
The way I understand jazz (which isn't very well...but maybe better than I think) is to start with the blues.

Blues focuses around the I, IV and V chord, and it just repeats these in various patterns.

This structure gives you the basic idea behind jazz - you are going to start at a beginning chord (not necessarily I) and work through a variety of progressions leading (you guessed it!) back to the first chord.

As you learn more and more progressions you'll find more and more ways of working with them, but the theme is pretty much the same - start somewhere, go somewhere else and return to where you started.

Sounds pretty retarded, I know, but it's true.

Jazz, though, incorporates dissonance and takes advantage of the fact that use of a 7 chord (C7 perhaps) can lead into and out of different keys and progressions.

You can play C7-D7-D#7-F7 - none of that will sound "bad" or "wrong" because of the dissonance involved.

But whatever is happening you will always end up in some kind of resolution, which is the key to your solo.

When and how does it resolve, and how are you going to approach it?

So start with the blues and get good with feeling out the I, IV and V chords (unless you are already comfortable with it.)

Common jazz progressions may involve ii-vi, that's pretty much a minor version of I-IV.

Find your major and minor scales in different places on the neck and learn to play them in all the different positions. When you arpeggiate a chord, you'll start to see those positions opening up.
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#15
Forget soloing for now. If he's taking two guitarists, he's probably got horn players coming out his ass who are all to willing to solo and solo and solo.

Work on your comping. Be able to voice chords wherever you are on the neck with fluency. That's what should impress a band director.


Learn how to comp like Freddie Green (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3a1-ay2tnE) but don't make it the only thing you do.
#16
i do have to know how to solo (which i already do, but i have to learn some jazz scale forms) because since its a moderately small band, everyone gets to solo in the concert. he usually has one song that he keeps going on forever so that everyone gets a shot to improvise on it.

oh and what does "comping" mean?
Last edited by One on Sunday at Apr 30, 2008,
#18
comping is what, as a guitarist, you mostly do in jazz.

Accompany.


By all means, be a good soloist. What I'm saying is that for you, assuming your director has some degree of competence, your rhythm playing is far more important.
#19
You're going to be hard pressed to learn enough in a couple of weeks. You can do it, but it'll be hard. Like everyone else has said, learn to comp first. Guitarists in swing and big band rarely take solos, but they're comping almost 100% of the time. Learn basic jazz voicings for major, minor, dominant, half-diminished, and diminished chords, and also learn common comping rhythms. And learn ALL scales. There is not a scale in existence that cannot be applied to jazz, so learn them all.

One great site for jazz guitar is www.jazzguitar.be. I go there all the time for their lessons and stuff.
Last edited by Holy Katana at May 1, 2008,
#21
Be prepared to play more than just jazz. Most school jazz bands don't actually seem to play jazz much at all. I play trombone in my schools jazz band, and we haven't played any jazz in the four years I've been in it.

The best thing you can do is make sure you know keys, and what chords fit in with each particular key. It especially helps if you can build off what the bass is doing, as your chords will probably be based off the bass part.

~Taydr~
Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi.
#22
^alot of musicians, including myself, re-arrange songs to fit their style. Maybe your jazz band leader is re-arranging songs in jazz?
#23
^Nope. We play the originals. Currently playing Mission Impossible theme, Chariots of Fire, Amazing Grace, and Watermelon Man. Besides my jazz band leader is a French Hornist/Pianist that comes to me when a piano part needs creating, so the idea of her rearranging songs in jazz is quite humorous.
Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi.
#24
It's a common band director folly: some assume the only way the can keep the interest of the students is by laying chart after chart of movie themes, funk/rock adaptations and pop arrangements in front of them.
#25
It's a bloody nuisance most of the time. Specially when you actually want to play some jazz. But hey, what are you supposed to do?
Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi.
#26
Quote by One on Sunday

UPDATE: ok i have the audition piece. its a Dizzy Gillespie tune called "A Night in Tunisia"

heres the scan:



any tips on how to play it is greatly appreciated. One question though. since i'm playing guitar, i assume that i would have to play the chords as well as the melody. How should i strum the chords? should i make them straight quarter notes or what? i dont know. and any tips on the solo would be appreciated

here's an update guys. i would really appreciate help since my audition is next week
#27
Listen to this tune and learn where it transistions from latin to swing. If I were you I would just stick with quarter notes with accents on the 2 and 4. Like it has already been said, learn how to do a basic Freddie Greene style comp, and a latin type comp on this tune.
12 fret fury
#28
We're doing that exact piece in Jazz Band right now. I play bass in it and that sheet music is really similar. Below I linked the songs for that actual sheet music - the teacher gave me the CD. First one is the one that is easier to follow and will sound more like what the school band will play - it's a demo thing that goes for about a minute. The second one is the full band version. Should help you get the hang of the song.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/12106855742377af/

http://www.zshare.net/audio/12106742fca17709/

My advice to you is to play bass instead of guitar. You'll have enough trouble reading the one note at a time of the bass let alone the melody of a guitar. That is if the guitar plays the melody. You could just ask to play the chords above each bar if you really want to play guitar.
It is also less notable if you **** up on the bass.
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Last edited by zapparage at May 16, 2008,
#29
Quote by zapparage
My advice to you is to play bass instead of guitar. You'll have enough trouble reading the one note at a time of the bass let alone the melody of a guitar. That is if the guitar plays the melody. You could just ask to play the chords above each bar if you really want to play guitar.
It is also less notable if you **** up on the bass.
We're the rhthym section, if we fuck up the WHOLE band knows.

+1 on suggesting to play bass. Some of the chords I'm told to play are almost impossible fingering wise (as they're meant for piano, not guitar). Sure getting the initial fingering is fine, but changing to another chord speedily and smoothly...

Bass would be a shitload easier. Your playing single notes, so no fingering issues. Yeah, I still respect that a jazz bass player is doing alot more than most other genres, but its still relatively *easier* (its still not easy).
#30
Quote by demonofthenight
We're the rhthym section, if we fuck up the WHOLE band knows.

+1 on suggesting to play bass. Some of the chords I'm told to play are almost impossible fingering wise (as they're meant for piano, not guitar). Sure getting the initial fingering is fine, but changing to another chord speedily and smoothly...

Bass would be a shitload easier. Your playing single notes, so no fingering issues. Yeah, I still respect that a jazz bass player is doing alot more than most other genres, but its still relatively *easier* (its still not easy).



I'd completely disregard that post TS.

I don't have anything against you Demon but the two second parragraphs in that post are very inaccurate. If some of the chords are hard to finger on guitar(which they aren't if you voice them intelligently), imagine what it would be like to comp along on the bass, knowing where the key notes of each chord is and knowing when to play it, keeping time like a clock. Also, bassists have harder fingerings than guitarists as they're more prone to shift in their playing, many times just to hit one note of the chord of that bar. Trust me, jazz bass is not easier than guitar.
#31
They're equally challenging in their own ways.

Basses (I'm talking of uprights here ... real men play uprights) take an enormous amount of strength mixed with finesse

And you have to know how to groove. You are the timekeeper. More so than the drummer, usually.


Although there may be truth in the fact that good bassists get gigs more easily than good guitarists.
#32
umm i'm not planning on switching to bass. i'm a lot more interested on improving my guitar technique.
#33
Well a good rhythm for the latin part is

7-|----|\-|\-7-|\-7
--/----/--/-----/-----

OR one derived from the bass vamp at the start.

Over the swing, go freddie green if you like, just do it well. Remember to get the pushes in the C section (hit the chord on the + of 4, just like the melody). At the solo break, hit the F chord hard on 1 then lay out.
#34
well the scales that i was taught to do in jazz are the dorian, blues, mixolydian, major and some other. When i do improvising in jazz i like to add a lot of chromatic notes to those scales, don't do a lot of bending like in blues or rock, do a lot of sliding hammer ons and pull offs. Here is a lick i like to use in jazz i don't really know what scale it is out of but i know it would have a lot of chromatic notes.
here is the fingurings it doesn't include all the hammerons and pull offs but u get the sound
or something like that
e-------------12-13-14-12---12-------------------------------
b-12-13-14----------------14---14----------------------------
g------------------------------------------------------------------
d------------------------------------------------------------------
a------------------------------------------------------------------
e------------------------------------------------------------------

it also sounds good if u use ur bass pick up in jazz
#35
ok i've been trying to get the rythm part down but there are a ton of chords there i cant recognize. where can i find the fingerings for chords such as E-7b5?
#36
Oh man....here we go, first, I'm going to copy this straight from another thread I just posted it in:

Quote by Guitar_Theory
Things to learn:

1. Shell Voicing for 7th chords: These voicings use only the root, 3rd, and 7th of the chord, which are the most important tones of the chords, and are especially great for a big bang/school jazz band setting since the rest of the band often will be playing the rest of the chord (and lots of extensions.) Please, please, please, for my ears' sakes, don't play those stupid bar-chord 7th chord forms, you end up getting a perfect 5th in the bottom two strings and that is equivalent to saying "I worship satan" in a catholic church. Also, shell voicings are easy to play and fast to move between and they just sound 'jazzy.' Here's a good site, my favorite forms are the ones that use the 6-4-3 strings and the 5-4-3 strings: http://www.jazzguitar.be/jazz_guita...asic_shell.html

2. Learn your major scales: You're hardly going to play a natural minor/harmonic/melodic minor scale in jazz. Okay sometimes you'll use harmonic, but you gotta really know what you're doing. Major scales make so much more sense. The charts at the top of this page don't look half bad. It's missing some forms that I like, but whatever: http://www.guitarland.com/Music10/M...le/MajGtr2.html
-The circled dots are the root of each scale, they show the entire scale form, from the lowest possible note in the form to the highest.

3. Learn your mixolydian scales: These are the scales you play over dominant 7th chords (most of the time, I'm simplifying things.) They're basically major scales with the 7th (note right below the root, if you don't know any theory) note lowered a half step. As Charlie Parker said, "I don't think about all those other chords, they're all dominant 7ths to me" and so much of his thinking was around mixolydian scales (obviously he used TONS of alterations).

4. LISTEN TO SOME FREAKIN' JAZZ!!!!!!!!! Seriously, can't stress this enough. Too many people try and go play jazz but they never listen to it. As contrite as it sounds, jazz is a music you must listen to to understand the feel and just general groove. If you're doing Big Band stuff, get hip to Count Basie, he had a really groovy band, and I'm not even a fan of Big Band Jazz. Also, check out some jazz guitarists:

-Wes Montgomery
-Freddie Green (He was the guitarist in Basie's band, and basically defined what "swing" big band guitar should sound like. He cannonized the famous 'four-to-the-bar' comping style.
-Joe Pass
-Kenny Burell
-Grant Green
-Jim Hall
-Jimmy Bruno
-Pat Martino
-Barney Kessel
-Kurt Rosenwinkel (he's currently a member of a major new movement in jazz, plays with the likes of Brad Meldau and such. Real 'cerebral' jazz)


Note: For Tunisia, the bar-7th chords can be acceptable is you do them in a tasteful way, it can also make doing some of the alterations easier.

Now to address Night in Tunisia:

That's no swing tune, so standard "four to the bar" comping won't hack it. Tunisia is like a....afro-cuban tune. So the comping is going to be a ton more active, but it's got to be stylistically correct or you'll sound like you're playing out your ass. Also, your director is an idiot for asking a guitarist to do this song, it's an awkward chart to remember the form. I memorized the song cause it can be a little hard to play while reading. Play it in first position, I think it's easiest down there. Also, listen to the song....a lot:

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: No guitar player, but it's still a freakin' sweet recording/video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_v7mUGoKDc

Well this one has a guitarist, I don't think it's quite as groovy, but the trumpet solo is pretty sick, and the guitarist does a good job comping during the solos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXFZUA1MO5k

You can find TONS of recordings of this tune on Youtube.

I'll tell you now, you're gonna have a hell of a time getting a good solo on this chart if you've never played jazz before. This is a challenging chart. I still have trouble with it and I've been doing jazz for going on 5 years, and it's all I do. Don't feel bad if you have a ton of trouble with this chart.

And in jazz, as in all forms of music, you're going to have to practice A LOT to get really solid at it. Jazz is a music form that people can often tell if you're bull****ting (well...people that listen to the music on a semi-regular basis). Don't solo like you're playing a metallica song. Sweep picking is generally NOT appropriate (even though I'm trying to find a way to work it into jazz, but I'm into some weird sounds, and you should stick to the basics before you walk outside the box too much.)
#37
^dude......thanks! thats really helpful. but i dont really understand what comping is. is it like playing rhythmically in a way that suits the lead part well?? idk
#38
Quote by One on Sunday
^dude......thanks! thats really helpful. but i dont really understand what comping is. is it like playing rhythmically in a way that suits the lead part well?? idk


Yep, that's what comping is in a nutshell.
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#39
Quote by C.C. Deville
thats cool, i wanted to play for my school jazz band but i didn't know how to sight read sheet music =(

yea same. i could do all the improvising stuff but i didnt really know any standards or how to read music. so i turned down the offer. my teacher said i have a good ear for jazz though. i guess he ment for soloing.
#40
audition is tomorrow!!! any last tips about the piece? or any overall auditioning tips?

thanks for all the help i've already gotten, HOPEFULLY its enough to get in
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