Saxophone Forum


by AlexHill
(1 post)
2 years ago

Trying to find a fount of wisdom

Hey all,

Just signed up to the forums, I hope this is the right place to post something like this.

So I've played Sax for a fair bit (I'm 20, playing for 8 or so years) - I was classically trained up to grade six, so I've got nice tone and a good bit of theory. I can improve, but I essentially know how to play. The plan after I finished school and got to University has always been that I'll turn my playing to Jazz, which has been a long-term love affair of mine. The trouble is, I've never really put in the work to play any meaningful or interesting solos. Sure, I can noodle around on the scales, but there's no phrasing or interesting ideas.

I haven't played for a while, about six months, but this coming year or so I have very little to do in terms of studying or working, so I thought I'd turn my attentions to training to be the jazz musician I've always wanted to be.

So what I ask you all, Sax on the Web forums, is do you have any wisdom to share? No advice is bad, but in particular I'm looking for any suggestions of jazz theory books, improvisation techniques, that sort of thing. Feel free to use complex terminology, I should get what you're saying, I'll tell you if not!

Also for the record, I will be scouring the forums for anything and everything I can lay my hands on, but I thought I'd introduce myself and ask anyway :)

Thanks in advance, all!

Alex

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  1. by Saxquest
    (296 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    Hi Alex-

         There are all kind of great books out there. But honestly, the best things to do is to transcribe solos that you really like. Then take the 2-4 bar licks that you think sound hip to your ears and learn them in all 12 keys and be able to play them around the circle of 4ths.

    The circle of 4th essentially replicates the most important chord progression in jazz (ii-V-I). Its a series of ii-V's and learning to play licks around this progression will not only train your ear to hear that progression but will also mechanize your fingers to making it happen on the instrument. Both hearing it and playing it are equally important. This goes way beyond just learning the particular licks. Its how you learn the jazz (or more precisely the bebop) language. This is how guys have learned the jazz language from Bird and Dizzy to Brecker to Bob Reynolds and Jeff Coffin and onward. 

    Speaking of Bob Reynolds, he also has a great series of on-line lessons that you can purchase from his web site. Really good stuff. Well worth the price for the unlimited access to the wealth of material that he has put togther. 

    http://lessons.bobreynoldsmusic.com

    Thanks,
         Mark Overton
         www.saxquest.com

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  2. by GFC
    (331 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com/

    A very helpful and friendly player's resource site with a lot of articles on technique, equipment, practice, jazz improv, and links to exercises and lessons.  Something for players at all levels.

    http://davidvaldez.blogspot.com/

    The blog of a true heavy hitter in the Portland jazz scene, who has gleaned a lot of stuff on improv and technique from the masters.  The sky's the limit with this guy.

     

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  3. by joeraia
    (3 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    Remember that there is no "how to do it" floating around out there.  If there was, there would be a book "How To Become a Burning Improvisor" and when you finish the last chapter you will be burning too!  Alas, it doesn't exist.  Too much of jazz improvising is not intuitive and is highlly techinical, making learning to do it effectively on your own quite difficult.  Sure, there are skills that you can get yourself to be profiicient in like knowing (and being able to play proficiently) all of your scales and modes and chords the practical range of the instrument, but nothing beats studying with a guy who knows what he is doing so that they can lead you to some "guided discovery" of the inner artist inside of you. 

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  4. by amelv
    (1 post)

    1 year ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    Find a solo and transcribe it!
    Find something that isn't out of reach. Lester Young is a great starting point - wonderfully swinging and melodic. Look out for something medium tempo with Basie's group or with Billie Holliday.  Transcribing gets everything moving... ear training, tone, articulation, rhythm, swing, intonation etc etc. You don't need to write down the solo (you can if you like)...learn to play it. All the secrets are in the music :)


    There are a lot of jazz etude/phrasing books out there now. Short solos ususally written over common forms (such as Blues, Rhythm Changes and various jazz standards). They come with demo & play a long tracks so you can listen and copy the soloist. A number of my students have enjoyed using the following books.

    Jim Snidero - easy jazz conception
    http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=EJC-AB&Category_Code=#.UL-QczmSJD0 

    Fred Lipsius - playin' through the blues
    http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=PTTB-AS&Category_Code=#.UL-QsDmSJD0

    Greg Fishman - Jazz Phrasing for sax vol.1
    http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=JPFS1&Category_Code=#.UL-QjzmSJD0

    Bob Mintzer - 15 Easy Jazz, Blues and Funk Etudes
    http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=EBFE-AS&Category_Code=#.UL-QnDmSJD0 

    There is plenty of stuff posted for free too.
    http://mattotto.org - has plenty of video/audio/pdf things to work on.

    There is so much info out there now. 

    Take your time and have fun
    Adam 

    Teacher of Saxophone & Jazz Improvisation

    Selmer SBA Alto & Various Mouthpieces for sale: http://s606.beta.photobucket.com/user/melvsax/library/

    http://adammelville.blogspot.com

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  5. by saxman007
    (1 post)

    1 year ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    Well let's see...get some transcription solo books from one of the big music dealers(or you can trascribe yourself)make sure the solo artist you pick you can still get a recording of the artist playing the transcribed solo.Check out how the solo is played.Play along with the recording and try to get it to sound like one horn.This will start you on the road of learning the language of jazz(through the eyes of a master)if your into alto get something by Phil Woods...a real master of bop on the alto.... cannonball being another good choise...On tenor check out Sonny Rollins or Stan Getz.I know the books are out there.As far as theory goes analize the solos how the master resolves thoughts...most of all listen!!!!I know now days there's alot of great modern players out there,if one of their sounds grabs you ....grab their CD and really listen to it... after a while the things you really dig you can analize and put into your own words "so to speak".It also helps to get into music theory a bit(modes ,scales,2/5/1s,ect..)Jamey Abersold is a good place to start to see how the scales and modes appied sound over chords(for your own improvisations)Above all practice,practice and practice more.Becoming a good jazz improvisor does'nt happen over night it takes time.Play because you love the sound coming out of your horn and it'll always be meaningful...remember your learning a very complex language  :}                        hope this helps   Jim

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  6. by birdlover
    (40 posts)

    1 year ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

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  7. by saxyman17
    (3 posts)

    12 months ago

    Re: Trying to find a fount of wisdom

    All I can tell you about improvising is that it should not fell like a solo. You should not think about it that way. It is much more. My advice is think about telling a story through your saxophone.

                          Sincerely,
                             David

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