Saxophone Forum


by BuffetSax
(21 posts)
5 years ago

Teach Me To Swing

I recently started college and came from a very...... non jazz high school. Thats really the best way to explain it. Basically, I've been listening to jazz for a while and I know a few different ways to approach swinging. But I was wondering if anyone has any tips for me, I tend to play too straight. Any help on different approaches or ways to think about the music as i play it would be great. Thanks in advance.

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  1. by IanM06
    (4 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Teach Me To Swing

    Some other things you might consider: Jim Snidero's Jazz Conceptions is a fantastic resource. Essentially it is a written out solo/etude. It comes with a CD with either Jim Snidero or Walt Weiskopf playing the tune, but panned to one side so you can play with them, or just with the rhythm section. On that note, Aebersolds! Being able to practice jazz with a rhythm section in general can be a fantastic aid.

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  2. by swingstreet
    (315 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Teach Me To Swing

    Listen to the recording "Further Definitions", by Benny Carter, which is in my opinion the best swing recording, made by one of the greats, accompanied by other greats, like Coleman Hawkins, Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse, Jo Jones, Jimmy Garrison, etc. There are many other great recordings, but if you only had one recording that was a definitive example of swing, this is it. When you count off the beat, accent beats 2 and 4, and do it in a relaxed manner, which is what makes it swing. Do you play alto or tenor? For alto I recommend listening to Benny Carter, of course, and Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, and for tenor, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster. Other recordings to listen to are anything by Count Basie, Duke Ellington. As Duke said, "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing".

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  3. by swingstreet
    (315 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Teach Me To Swing

    Listen to the recording "Further Definitions", by Benny Carter, which is in my opinion the best swing recording, made by one of the greats, accompanied by other greats, like Coleman Hawkins, Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse, Jo Jones, Jimmy Garrison, etc. There are many other great recordings, but if you only had one recording that was a definitive example of swing, this is it. When you count off the beat, accent beats 2 and 4, and do it in a relaxed manner, which is what makes it swing. Do you play alto or tenor? For alto I recommend listening to Benny Carter, of course, and Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, and for tenor, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster. Other recordings to listen to are anything by Count Basie, Duke Ellington. As Duke said, "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing".

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  4. by LC
    (25 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Teach Me To Swing

    What is Swing? That is what you must ask yourself. Is it Basie, is it Ellington, is it Bird, is it Cannonball, is it Trane, is it Dexter, is it Stan....? I realize this is a sax site but what about Clark Terry? Swing is a type of groove. If it is jammin' or rockin' or just plain gettin' down it is swingin'. But check out Clark Terry!

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  5. by kelsey
    (793 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Teach Me To Swing

    BuffetSax, so you want to know how to swing. I take that as you want to learn to play Jazz. First Jazz has to become very important to you if you have any hopes or understanding and playing it. My first suggestion is listen to the Masters of Jazz. You can't just casually have it playing in the background, but listen with intensity. Until you become a good listener you will never play Jazz. It also wouldn't hurt to find a teacher, someone who plays and understands Jazz. Work hard and the best of luck......Kelsey and Rosie
    Barry Kelsey

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    1. by BuffetSax
      (21 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Teach Me To Swing

      I listen to a ton of jazz... all the time (recently redman, frahm, charlie parker, and of course coltrane.. I have some 11,000 songs on my zune), I play with the omni book and stuff like that. But left to my own devices i tend to play tight and straight. I'm getting better about it, but when I'm trying to improv in lessons and classes I just go back. So I was just wondering how some people approach the feel of the music. Something that will make it groove better without me having to think about it. I'm close... but i need a push.

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      1. by kelsey
        (793 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        Not everybody has it in them to play jazz. Maybe your just a naturally square cat. Nothing wrong with that. If I were you I would concentrate on my classical chops. These legit guys make some beautiful music. And you can always listen to jazz as a hobby.......Kelsey
        Barry Kelsey

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        1. by chalazon
          (547 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Teach Me To Swing

          spend the next 6 months listening to Cannonball Adderly non stop, 24 /7...if that do't do it, nothin will....it's all feel, Pal...relax. /

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        2. by BuffetSax
          (21 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Teach Me To Swing

          I love cannonball. I think the relaxing thing is my main source of trouble.

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      2. by BuffetSax
        (21 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        I'm working on everything. But I was just asking for different tips on practicing things like the accents and stuff like that, if anyone knew a good way to get some stuff under your fingers. Or how they think as they play, what makes you play different beats with a different feel etc. Just curious as to other peoples mindsets really.

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      3. by kelsey
        (793 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        I don't think I could tell or teach you how to swing. It's something I personally have never had to think about. When you pick the jazz feel apart, it really loses it's meaning. If you find someone who has picked apart the jazz feel and can tell you how to do it, they are probably more square than you are. Just listen carefully to jazz and you'll either swing or not......Kelsey
        Barry Kelsey

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      4. by peter090
        (155 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        Sounds like you are listening. Here are a couple of things to listen for that may help. Listen to how the players you like articulate running lines. A good place to start is to practice your scales/arpeggios in eight notes articulating the off beats. Listen to the placement of the accents within the bar and the phrase. You need to emulate not just the notes and rhythms but the articulation and accents. Lastly listen to how the beat is subdivided. As a general rule the faster the tempo the more evenly the eight notes are played. Listen to the drummers ride cymbal and compare it to the subdivision of the eighth note. To Kelsey In most things musical a person can't be taught, they need to learn. A good teacher can point out things that help them learn. Analysis doesn't destroy swing anymore than a metronome destroys time. It is a tool to be used to make efficient use of practice time.

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      5. by BuffetSax
        (21 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        thanks for the tips i'll be sure to try that stuff out.

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      6. by kelsey
        (793 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        Peter, you have picked it apart. You must be more square than Buffet........Kelsey
        Barry Kelsey

        Reply To Post AIM


      7. by chalazon
        (547 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        and I am the squarest of them all..that said....slurring from the upbeat to the down beat..eigth notes... is a general jazz articulation..try playing along with the great players..ya don't have to hit all the right notes..or even very many..just try to capture the feel...you may want to do this more than once. This also helps with tone..having something to aim at...you may want to do this more than once...have fun

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      8. by kelsey
        (793 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        chalazon, my troubles are I swing too much when playing classical music..........Kelsey
        Barry Kelsey

        Reply To Post AIM


      9. by chalazon
        (547 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        My wind ensemble director in College..."DON'T SWING THE EIGHTH NOTES!"....Me too....

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      10. by Mobile Band
        (27 posts)

        4 years ago

        Re: Teach Me To Swing

        Band in a box delivers a nice feature, swing Harmonisation. (look under submenue Melodie). It quantices the 8 etc depending on the tempo. In fast tempos it goes direction of straight 8th, in slow tempos direction of last triplet. Hearing / Playing Melodies in different tempos with that quanticement helps to clear the swingfactor to use in that tempos. Jazzband Berlin

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    2. by ChiTown80
      (6 posts)

      4 years ago

      Re: Teach Me To Swing

      Try playing along with some recordings of some of the great drummers that could really swing a big band. Guys like Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, and the man who I think swung a big band better than anybody, Sonny Payne.

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    3. by dgallego
      (27 posts)

      3 years ago

      Re: Teach Me To Swing

      Listen to recordings, play along, relax, have fun, get the groove. It is fun. Let your self loose. 1 beat ain't always 1 beat. Yous gots to feel it. When you first start you may over do it that is ok part of learning. Find a club that has a sit in night. You will meet other Jazz players and can learn alot. You will generally get a uncritical crowd and you can have fun. Just do it.

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    4. by GFC
      (341 posts)

      3 years ago

      Re: Teach Me To Swing

      Swing is the rhythmic pulse that goes through the music between the beats. To swing, the player needs to feel it physically. The beat is "da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum....," even when "da" isn't heard. Watch a drummer who swings. "Da" is the windup, "dum" is the strike. "Da is the lift of the high hat, "dum" is the close. "Da" is the heel kick, "dum" is the bass. A drummer can accent DA-dum or just DA..... The horn player can make the inter-beat pulse happen with nuances of intonation, volume, and tone. It crops up from the subconscious. Skipping rope is all about the "da," the snap of the wrist and the lift-off before the landing on "dum." You either have the pulse going through you the whole way around or it just doesn't happen. Swing in playing is pretty much the same way.

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