Re: "relaxin" chords

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Posted by Ed on December 04, 2000 at 12:50:48:

In Reply to: "relaxin" chords posted by slc on December 04, 2000 at 11:09:50:

Welcome to the wonderful world of the improvising jazz musician. Coupla things:
1. are you sure that it's the best possible course of action (ie WHAT YOU NEED TO BE WORKING ON)to be working on reading through a transcribed bass line?
is this something your teacher has you working on? My suggestion would be to work on transcribing some lines yourself, or working on some exercises to get the blues progression (and possible alternatives) in your ears.
2.Is not playing "very much" the same as or different from not playing "very long"?

Anyway, even for tunes with much more codified changes than a blues, once you get to a certain level, those changes are just a framework that different improvisor's deal with in any number of different wyas. So one reason that the Chuck Sher book DOESN'T provide a handy guide to the chords used is that each chorus is more than likely different. Also, it's gonna do the student a lot of good to analyse what's going on anyway (Why the hell is he playing a diminished chord there? oh...)
So the way to know if Mraz is playing an alternate chord is ANALYSE THE NOTES IN THE BAR. Which means being able to understand, play and hear 4 part chords in all inversions and open and closed position. And understand chord function, so that hearing D F A C D F G B doesn't have you trying to analyse the second chord as some kinda sus chord.

All of which brings me to why I Don't Like Learning to Walk from Books. All they are doing is adding to the "library" of things you have to consider when putting an improvised line together. They certainly are not teaching you to hear what's going on in the progression any deeper. And in NO WAY are they actually giving you information that is of any practical use when playing with actual live musicians who may be making choices outside the somewhat limited world of somebody who is writing "suggested" lines away from any musical input.
Using transcribed lines from an actual recording is a little better, but only if you are analysing what's going on with the bass line in relation to what else was happening at the time. Mraz is using a tritone sub for a descending chromatic line BECAUSE of what the pianist AND the soloist were doing, not cause he thought it might sound neat or cause he read it in a book somewhere...

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