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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Need help for soloing over blue train
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Dixieland57
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« on: Jul 19, 2017, 02:55PM »

Hi, I'm starting learning some jazz things with my 1st teacher, he gave me some songs  to improvise on just with using arpeggios.

I'm starting with all of me and quickly find that the key is to make phrases going to one note (anyone) to an chord note using chromatisms.

So I pick up blue train and all went very bad, like all I have succefully done on all of me don't work.

On the Eb7#9, G sound so out but don't know why I've found Gb, Ab and A sounds very well, please if someone could help me.

Thank you
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 19, 2017, 03:30PM »

Lets start with what you do know about the blues form.
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 19, 2017, 03:42PM »

Nothing, just tried to go from one note of the arpeggio to an another...
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 19, 2017, 03:49PM »

What about the 12-bar form? You know an Eb7#9 is in there, but how does that fit in the phrasing?

IMHO the notes of chords are secondary to knowing how long each section of the form lasts. Look at that, and look at how the melody fits in that 12-bar blues structure.

IMHO#2 it's most beneficial to memorize and practice variations on the melody. Pros will do this, and the great players really learned their craft by learning melodies first, how melodies are structured second, and all the rest of the stuff (harmony, ornaments, etc.) later.

The melody already does what you want to do, moving from note to note chromatically. Figure out why it works, according to your ears. Experiment with it.
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 19, 2017, 04:31PM »

Whilst I agree that learning to play arpeggios is the best way to start improvising, you quickly have to progress to learning the key centres of the tune you are playing. Most tunes do not stay in the same key and you get several different sections of the tune in a different key.

http://brassmusician.com/how-to-locate-key-centre-areas-in-jazz/

As a matter of fact, “All Of Me” is a very good tune to start learning how to pick out the key centres. You then base your improvisation around the scale of the key centre and your phrasing tends to head towards a key-centre resolution note – or other chord note. You also should be constructing logical melodic jazz phrases that perhaps best last for four bars. There can be many lengths for a phrase but for starting out it is easier to think in four-bar sections of the song, and also relate the key centres to these four-bar sections.

“Blue Train” is a little different because it is a 12-bar blues, and again it is easier to think in four bar phrases. However, you should use typical blues phrasing with plenty of blue notes: flattened thirds and sevenths. A good book for picking up this kind of phrasing is David Baker’s “The Blues”, which is a series of blues improvisational patterns in Bass Clef.

Listening to recordings of your favourite jazz players is perhaps the best way of learning typical blues phrasing. Or any jazz phrasing for any type of tune. However, I do not believe that John Coltrane is a good model improviser for a trombone player to copy. Nor even Lee Morgan on the following recording. However, Curtis Fuller is excellent, playing a nice bluesy solo at 5.15:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1GrP6thz-k
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 19, 2017, 04:52PM »

Hi, I'm starting learning some jazz things with my 1st teacher, he gave me some songs  to improvise on just with using arpeggios.

I'm starting with all of me and quickly find that the key is to make phrases going to one note (anyone) to an chord note using chromatisms.

So I pick up blue train and all went very bad, like all I have succefully done on all of me don't work.

On the Eb7#9, G sound so out but don't know why I've found Gb, Ab and A sounds very well, please if someone could help me.

Thank you

Your ear is a great guide. The notes that are you found satisfying are part of a standard blues lick in Eb, which doesn't naturally conform to the chord tones.

The G isn't a terrible note, but it would have to be contextualized  properly on some chords and on others (like the IV chord) it wouldn't fit at all. What you're hearing is that it's not a very bluesy note. You could make it sound good on parts of the song (and Trane plays it a lot), but sometimes the G natural fits like socks on a rooster. The Eb7#9 is like an Ebm7 chord with a major third thrown in for color, at least on this tune. when he starts blowing, Coltrane decides whether it's a major or minor tune, or both.

'All of Me' is a very different tune because it's not as bluesy (you can still play blues licks over changes like 'All of Me, too). Learning the arpeggios and playing them will sound corny on that tune, but at least it won't sound wrong.

My suggestion is to listen to and copy blues musicians, or better yet to copy people playing successfully over Blue Train, instead of trying to approach it from a rote method. Learning arpeggios is great, but you have to learn to play by ear before you can learn to improvise. If you want to cheat and do it using a rote method, maybe an Eb Dorian scale, but it's still cheating even if it works. The guys on the recording are switching between blues playing and speedskating the changes, and that's what makes it work for me.

If you want, I'll transcribe the 'bone solo for you.
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 19, 2017, 06:49PM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpZHUVjQydI

listen to this.

listen to it about 20 times. Play along with it.

Curtis's solo is one of those solos you need to learn. I think I learned that solo with about 4 hours or so of work one night. I was probably 18 and had been playing for about 6 years at that point.

Bb, Db, Eb... start out there.

Much of his language is coming straight out of the blues language. You know your blues scale, right? 1, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7, 1.  Add the 2, 3 and the 6 to that and you have a "blues scale" that more accurately reflects what people play over the blues.

You can find numerous transcriptions of Curtis's solo on this tune online. Before you go looking for one, listen to the song. Listen to it about 20 times. Then listen to it about 20 more times.
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 19, 2017, 07:31PM »

The soloists on this tune seem to slide between blues, modal, and bop--all three soloists outline the 'circle of fifths' jazz turnarounds in bop language, a la Cannonball, but there's still a blues overlay. I re-listened to it with the OP's question in mind, and they're playing G naturals all over the place, but I can see why he didn't feel comfortable with them at first. Context is everything.

These would be great solos to transcribe, from beginning to end, for aspiring players.
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 19, 2017, 08:41PM »

This may be difficult at first but modal/bop should be given first priority over the blues scales/notes for the two tunes the o.p. has given.  Does this mean try to understand the link Graham provided?  Yes, if possible. 

  Without going against the teachers words or lessons add your blue scales last but don't forget where you started from - scales and modes.  That's my bad habit.  Once I find comfort with blues scales it's tough leaving them for where I'm supposed to be.  Using all together tastefully I think is the key along with the endurance to do so.

In the recordings it sounds like the bass and his note playing can present problems with what trombone notes are more right than others.  Simply try to work together as a team is all I can suggest there.
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 20, 2017, 01:33AM »

Wow thank you for all your answers.

I've forget to tell you that he tell me to first learn by heart the theme and then playing the arpeggios straight over the tune and then try to improvise.

I've also found a solo transcription of Curtis Fuller, try to understand what's doing but don't understand all.

And when I say I play arpeggios I play the arpeggio of the chord that are played, not always playing the arpeggio of the key of the tune.

And when I say G sound bad it's when I try to end a lick on it.

I think the G sound strange to my ears because it's a #9 chord (Eb7#9), if I play a lick ending on a G over a simple dominant chord (Eb7), it's sound right.

I've tried to play Eb minor 7 over the Eb7 and it sound right due to the Gb, but don't know if it's the solution...
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 20, 2017, 08:54AM »

This may be difficult at first but modal/bop should be given first priority over the blues scales/notes for the two tunes the o.p. has given.  Does this mean try to understand the link Graham provided?  Yes, if possible. 

Have you listened to this song? Have you learned the solo? The above post I gave is the original recording. This should be consulted above ALL other considerations.

If you analyze the solo I mentioned, you'll find the blues language Curtis is using far outweighs the "modal" language. This isn't Kind of Blue. This is Blue Trane. If you just try to use modal language on its own, you won't come close to creating the same language that is being used in this tune. That's not to say there isn't modal language in here, but you aren't going to pull this tune off without the blues.


  Without going against the teachers words or lessons add your blue scales last but don't forget where you started from - scales and modes.  That's my bad habit.  Once I find comfort with blues scales it's tough leaving them for where I'm supposed to be.  Using all together tastefully I think is the key along with the endurance to do so.

This tune starts with the Blues. It ends with the blues. Yes, it comes from the post bop style, but characterizing it as "modal" is oversimplifying it and in my opinion not correct. Look at the head. The head (listen to the harmonized part of the head) is outlining Eb Dorian (even over the Ab7) but the chords are not. Eb7(#9) on the hits over the first 4.... Ab7(#11) over the IV chord, Bb7(#9) on the V. When analyzing the solos and the comping, you find that even though a minor blues is being hinted at in the first 4 or so of Trane's solo, it quickly shifts into a major blues and the language they are using is straight up "post bop" language: a modernist mash up of language from the blues, swing, bebop and post bop. The reason why learning the REAL blues scale is important is because it helps teach the ear to recognize this language. 1, 2, b3, 3, 4, #4, 5, 6, b7,1. (Blues scale + 2, 3, 6) Learning modes will help if you're learning the right modes in addition to this. But it's not a "modal" tune. It's not "So What." It's a blues and there is a recognizable blues lean to this tune independent of modal considerations.

And regardless of the scale/mode, don't just run scales and modes. Create melodies out of these tools and use that. How do you create a melody? Listen to melodies.

In the recordings it sounds like the bass and his note playing can present problems with what trombone notes are more right than others.  Simply try to work together as a team is all I can suggest there.

How so? It's Paul Chambers. Curtis and Paul sound great together. Imitate this.

I think the G sound strange to my ears because it's a #9 chord (Eb7#9), if I play a lick ending on a G over a simple dominant chord (Eb7), it's sound right.

I've tried to play Eb minor 7 over the Eb7 and it sound right due to the Gb, but don't know if it's the solution...

The Eb mi7 works because it is implied in the head - and dorian "works" over the blues in many contexts. Really, all 12 notes can work if you play them right, but that's a lesson for another day.

See the G note as a note you resolve to from the Gb - but only on the Eb chords. Listen to the blues. Hear the language - you'll start to understand how those 3rds work - and look for the space between G and Gb, that's where the magic is.

Those Eb7(#9) chords aren't being played on all the choruses. Listen to the recording. It's primarily on the head. Sometimes he plays an Eb9, Sometimes it's Eb7(#9) for a bar, Ab13 for a bar, Then an Eb7(#11) and some moving chords resolving down to the Ab13(#11) in bar 5 of the solos.

You know, post bop BLUES language.

Just listen. It's all about the melodic language. Learn those arpeggios and scales so you can train your ears to hear the melodies. Learn the solos. Learn how to sing Curtis's solo. After you can sing the solo note for note, start finding it on your horn. That's how you do this stuff.
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 20, 2017, 09:24AM »

Firstly, o.p. should continue with the arpeggio lesson.  He'll get farther with that way than just playing blues scales, imo. 

I was brought up using the blues scale.  I could make any solo time sound swell just by using them but there were times that I wished scales and modes were taught more often than they were to us just because mostly the music would become more difficult to play when a solo came up.  This was well over thirty years ago.  The teachers should be better these days though I realize some may not be in touch in regards to how sound should be in regards to note placement usage for a student.

Here's the steps.
1.  Learn the blues scale.  1,3b,4,4#,5,7b,8  nothing more, and nothing less (unless one is creative with using less}.
2.  Add the notes mentioned by Prof. Exza to the blues scale.  To me this is the long way of doing things but it is a must.
3.  Now scales and their modes can be brought into play.  This would not be a hurry up to learn, play and get out of my class type of situation.  Sorta what I went thru back then.   I feel this is most important for competent soloing though the mind must be developed to learn such.  A patient teacher and a dedicated student would help the situation greatly.

  The method or sound I should say my teachers tried instilling in us was could be called the Fuller method or at the least the use of notes in his solo presented here in this topic.  That's the best they thought as teachers we as students could get to, now that I think about it.
  Was the bebop style playing ala Parker and Davis mentioned then?  Yes, and good luck if you can make a trombone flow like those guys did on their horns.  Strive for that.  Mr. Fuller left an excellent example via you-tube of trying to emulate a sax and/or trumpet - follow it, if possible.  Hint, learn your scales and have a good day.           

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« Reply #12 on: Jul 20, 2017, 09:37AM »

The scales, arpeggios, rules, and transcribing are all to get you to hear things you might not otherwise hear.  Learn them, then forget them and play what you hear or what you want to hear.  They are all important steps in learning the language and then communicating using that language.
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« Reply #13 on: Jul 20, 2017, 03:46PM »

I'm just listening to the first little bit.

The first 'Trane chorus sounds very modal, although he throws that G natural pretty early. Second chorus is almost like an old school swing blues chorus, with some sophisticated bop playing (those G naturals start sounding pretty good, and lots of them). Next chorus manifests Trane's habit of coloring light against dark--starting out with that happy little G and hanging on it, and even playing a major 7th over the I7 chord! Then it's the post bop 'free' playing--all those Coltrane angles and triadic subs and playing in parallel keys and so forth. It just shows what you can do on a tune.

My short run advice to the OP is play over it using a Dorian scale, then with a blues scale (with that A natural), then try to mix the two together. Then listen to all those G naturals the soloists play on the track and try to fit them in the same way. Playing the arpeggios of the chord tones might be a useful exercise but it's not a good stylistic approach to the tune which is why it doesn't work.

My medium-term advice would be the same as Exaclee--listen to the trombone solo until you can sing along with it, then learn to play it. Then copy the other solos.
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 20, 2017, 06:14PM »

Okay, go ahead and do some arpeggios.  But do them in hip rhythm.  No concert band here!

Like

Cycle through with an eight rest on beat one.  Then three eighths to fill out two beats. Beat three and four just the same.   

Repeat through the changes. 

It's just three notes this kind of rhythm allows you to do over two beats.  Can't do an entire chord, so take some good sounding notes in the middle of your range and use those.  For the next change use nearby notes. 

Repeat till whenever. 
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 20, 2017, 06:15PM »

Just commenting on a couple of points in your latest post:

I've forget to tell you that he tell me to first learn by heart the theme and then playing the arpeggios straight over the tune and then try to improvise.

I do not think there is anything wrong with this as a starting point for improvisation. It is the method used by two excellent professional jazz musicians from whom I took lessons. The first was in the late 1950s when I first started playing jazz, and the second was some forty years later when I was making a comeback after a long period of not playing. Actually, it is surprising how similar were their teaching methods, despite the fact that it was such a long time between, and also that they were experts in very different styles of jazz - Traditional Jazz (Owen Bryce in the UK) to Modern Jazz (Freddie Wilson in Australia). Both of them then stressed that where you go after this should be to achieve what Doug outlined in his last post "learning the language and then communicating using that language".

And when I say I play arpeggios I play the arpeggio of the chord that are played, not always playing the arpeggio of the key of the tune.

Just in case there was some confusion about my recommendation that you use the key centres of the tune, I certainly did not mean you to play "the arpeggio of the key of the tune". I meant you to use the scale associated with the key centre within a tune. This will help you with connecting notes (between the arpeggios you have learnt) and expressing your personality within a scale. That is not to say that you cannot use notes that are not in the scale of the key centre. You certainly can and your original mention of chromatic connecting notes is one example. Another would be 'close neighbours':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPAmAsJjJTE

I am not a fan of the teaching method that says "For every chord (arpeggio) there is a scale" because this leads to disjointed thinking and short phrases. What you have to find is the key centres for the different parts of the tune. Modern Pop tunes often have only one key centre, being the key of the tune, but in standards used for jazz this is fairly rare.

It does take a little bit of practice to pick out the key centres of a tune. Here is an example of the analysis for the tune "All The Things You Are":

http://www.danhaerle.com/Allthethings.html

I suggest you do the same thing for "All Of Me". From doing this kind of exercise you will soon work out how popular is the progression II - V - I. The ultimate goal is to be able to 'hear' the key centres.

With all this technical analysis, never loose touch with the tune you are playing and always use melodic jazz phrasing.


 
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 21, 2017, 02:58AM »



On the Eb7#9, G sound so out but don't know why I've found Gb, Ab and A sounds very well, please if someone could help me.

Thank you

If you don't have the iReal App, go get it. Once you get to grips with it, it's a really valuable tool.

A Eb7#9 is a Dominant chord. It's easier to think of a sharp 9 as a b10, which is how it was expressed back in the day. The clash between the major 3rd and the b10th creates a "souring" effect, but its still only a Dominant chord, so don't get too hooked on these details TOO soon.
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 21, 2017, 03:23AM »

I have the Ireal app, great tool  ;-)
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 15, 2017, 07:00AM »

I'd recommend putting the track on a loop and playing along to it for ages.

First, maybe try just playing the root notes of each of the chords for a few choruses. It will sound clunky at first but it will get you used to hearing yourself play notes that fit.
Then, after a while, maybe try playing the fifth of each chord. Let that settle in your mind.

Don't just play them as long notes, but try to make a phrase out of them. Try some short, some long. Leave gaps. Get used to how it all sounds and feels.

Then experiment with trying to find simple lines through the changes. Can you find a note to fit the next chord that's at most a tone away from the one you're on at the moment? Don't worry about playing notes that sound wrong - hear them, and look for another one.

Once you can do this, then you're a long way there. At this stage it's more about training your ear to know what notes will work on what chords than it is about rote learning arpeggios or even others' solos.

Most of all, have fun!
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