Saxophone Forum


by AE
(11 posts)
8 years ago

New Jazz Player

I'm a middle school student that has been playing sax for 3 years (1 Alto, 2 Tenor) and after reading the forum I'm starting to think maybe I could try jazz because I have never tried it before. I like the idea but have no idea what I'm doing. Should I stick with my regular playing equipment or do I need to change anything: Yamaha Int. Sax, Vandoran reed(2 1/2), maouthpiece that came w/ instrument. Also I have no idea what peices or lack there of I should be looking at. Is there anything that I should be looking at to get an idea or exercises I should be doing. Lastly should I even be getting into this, am I too inexperienced to be starting this. Thx for your help. AE

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  1. by newreedsyndrome
    (343 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: New Jazz Player

    Equiptment: Get a shiny new Meyer 5M or 6M mouthpiece (alto) or a shiny new Otto Link 5 or 6 (tenor, and probably a hard rubber one, metal will be more of an adjustment). If you haven't played jazz before, I don't know if you'll know what to look for when trying mouthpieces out, and Meyers and Links are safe bets (don't get any vintage mouthpieces for a long while; you wouldn't know what to do with one at this point). Vandoren Java or ZZ's are good; a 3 will probably feel the same as your BlueBox 2 1/2's. Your horns're fine. What To Work On: I think one of the most important things to start on in jazz is learning how to swing. Start listening to the Count Basie Big Band and listen to how they play eighth notes and try to emulate how those cats sound. In nerdy techincal terms, think of every two eight notes as triplets grouped 12-3 12-3 12-3 etc., and accent the third triplet. Also, say doo-bvah doo-bvah over and over and accent the bvah. Practice playing single notes and scales and arpeggios and whatnot swung, and do it with a metronome to make sure the time stays together. Get a Charlie Parker Omni-Book in about six months when you feel like you have done a lot of work on swingin' and have a basic idea of how to swing. Good Luck!

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    1. by Sax Mom
      (964 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: New Jazz Player

      Hold on. Back up. You don't need new equipment to try out some Jazz, and you're not too inexperienced to try out some things. You can get a feel for the music, and whether it's for you, with what you already have. I believe you should wait to invest more money into the process until you find out whether it's something you're going to pursue, rather than when you're just getting started. That said, there are some books you can find at the music stores that I believe are great for Jazz beginners, like "Jazz Classics," that come with a CD. Usually they come with one track that plays the whole thing so you can listen, and then one that just plays everything but your part, so you can solo. (These are not generally for improvisation, but you've got a lot of time, so I'd wait for that.) Finally, it is best to work with a private instructor, who can give you tips on how to practice the different techniques for Jazz, and to keep it distinct from High School Concert band. Jazz often allows the tenor to be "out there," dominating, whereas in Concert band, you're there for support, rarely soloing.

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      1. by Sax Mom
        (964 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: New Jazz Player

        Oops! I forgot to mention: Listen to as much Jazz as you can. That's the best way to get a feel for the music.

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    2. by swingstreet
      (315 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: New Jazz Player

      What you have right now is fine for learning jazz. Sax Mom is right. You don't need anything new. As you develop your skills and your ear, you can decide if you want different mouthpieces, reeds, etc., or even a different sax. However, that's in the future. For now, listen to all the best jazz recordings you can find. Let me recommed a few to you as a starter. Benny Carter-Further Definitions Miles Davis-Kind Of Blue Dave Brubeck Quartet-Time Out Johnny Hodges-Everybody Knows Johnny Hodges Phil Woods-Live At The Showboat Cannonball Adderley-Them Dirty Blues Joe Henderson-Relaxin' at Camarillo There are so many more, but this is a start. Of course, many of our posters can make other recommendations and they'd be good. You are never too inexperienced to get into this. You may be inexperienced at playing it, but listening and practicing will take care of that, or even determine if you want to keep doing it. Good luck and I hope you have a great musical journey.

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      1. by The Insomniac Saxman
        (141 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: New Jazz Player

        At this stage of the game, stick with the equipment you have . . . you should be able to go pretty far on that . . . I would recommend however, that you practice more on alto at this point in your playing . . . the alto has less of a margin of error than the tenor, so spending more time on it will help you develop your fundamentals better. Best of luck!

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    3. by yotengotenor
      (29 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: New Jazz Player

      3 years is definitely enough experience to start learning jazz. im a senior in high school, and i didn't really start playing jazz until last year. if you put in the time and commitment into your playing, you'll pick up a lot really quickly. i'll agree with everyone else in that you shouldn't worry too much about equipment before you learn a lot about jazz technique. i think someone here said to learn how to swing eight notes, and i agree that this is a definite must. for listening, i'd recommend just picking up some of the classics to start. when thinking of famous saxophone players, a lot people tend to think of john coltrane (tenor), charlie parker (alto) and the now late Michael Brecker (tenor). these are just a few of the classics, and you can also listen to David Sanborn (alto) if you're looking for a more contemporary flair. Oh yeah, and avoid if possible listening to Kenny G. Yeah, he's popular to the general public, but in my opinion he's not very much in the way of a jazz musician. Others might disagree, and that's fine; i'm just giving you my two cents. Finally, take private lessons if you don't already. A good teacher can do wonders. Good luck with the jazz! In my run down high school, it's quite refreshing to know that there are other students who really want to take an interest in going somewhere with music.

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    4. by allstar997
      (3 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: New Jazz Player

      I echo the sentiment of many of the other posters that you're equipment is just fine for now and that you are never too inexperienced to try something new. Jazz is accessible on many levels so there's something for people of any experience level to enjoy. Anyways, I just wanted to throw in my list of ten albums that are great introductions into jazz. Also, you should go to www.jazzbooks.com and look under his free resources section for the pdf of The Jazz Handbook. He has some excellent advice and information for getting into jazz music as well as an excellent list of classic jazz recordings. but here's my short list (in no particular order): 1. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 2. Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out 3. Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy 4. Dexter Gordon - Go! 5. Hank Mobley - Soul Station 6. John Coltrane - Blue Train 7. Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus 8. Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness (Coltrane appears on the title track) 9. Stan Getz - Getz & Gilberto (featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim) 10. Coleman Hawkins - Body and Soul [RCA] also, just as a bonus, I have to include one of my personal favorites: Johnny Griffin - Return of the Griffin I tried to include only the best and most accessible albums from each of these artists. (However, I had to include the Coleman Hawkins disc just because his solo on Body and Soul is literally historic in the jazz world.) But anyways, I hope this helps in your exploration of jazz. Have fun.

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