[Dixielandjazz] Learning jazz

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Mon Dec 5 17:08:01 PST 2005

I guess we all have incorporated other's ideas and licks in their jazz but I 
don't do it consciously.  If you want to take that route there are new CD 
units that Tascam and others have out that will allow you to slow down CD's 
50% without changing the pitch.  I think they cost about $150.

I would really recommend that you don't try to copy others but be original. 
It's called Jazz which requires original lines and thought.  This is the 
problem that I have with "teaching" Jazz.  Too many instruction themes 
feature learning licks to be strung together and call it jazz.  It just 
doesn't (or IMO shouldn't) work that way.

This is an approach which many students of Jazz try but it will always be 
wooden and not you.

Originality scares the pants off of many musicians.  What if I make a 
mistake?  What if I crash and burn?  What if I get lost?  I may sound too 
much like a beginner!  The other musicians will laugh at me!

Well you will make mistakes, you will crash and burn, you will lose your 
place, you are a beginner so what's wrong with that and if they laugh at you 
be sorry for them.  After you get over all that you can start playing jazz.

Get some Blues tapes or the  Jamey Amersold (SP?) CD and book.  It's one of 
his first three volumes.  Sit back, close your eyes and start to play.  Cut 
loose from charts, chord lines, theory and everything else and just play.

Make up your own licks and phrases.

There is one thing - you need to know the tunes and chord progressions cold. 
That's why Blues are a good starting place.  I don't mean however that you 
have memorized the notes and the chord progression.  You need to know where 
the chords are going - you need to hear it.

I like to start with knowing the tune and start embellishing it.  You 
probably already know the classic embellishments.  Turns, grace notes, upper 
and lower neighbors, passing tones, arpeggios, glisses, fall offs,  now 
combine these with jazz rhythms.   All of a sudden you will be playing jazz. 
Then learn the classic question / answers of jazz and listen to piano 
players accompany themselves which will give you the technique for fills at 
the ends of phrases and long notes.

Above all right now use the KISS principal.  (Keep It Simple Stupid)  DO NOT 
TRY TO IMPRESS ANYONE especially other musicians.  Do your best and take 
your time.  This usually doesn't happen overnight.
Good Luck
Larry Walton
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Jeffmatthews111 at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 5:30 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Learning jazz

> Hi All,
> I am doing some research at the moment into how musicians learn, remember
> and include in their playing, licks and phrases.
> Some people write them down as they find them, others adapt them and keep
> practising ones from records.cd's until they become their own and then 
> find some
> more.
> So what do you reckon is the best way of learning and remembering new 
> tunes
> and harmonies, chord patterns, licks and phrases?
> Has anyone actually written down their store of 'classic/trad' jazz 
> phrases
> that they have built up over the years?
> How do you do it?
> Regards,
> Jeff Matthews
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> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
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