Saxophone Forum


by jazzchick
(5 posts)
10 years ago

ROCK phrasing

In my high school jazz band, i have a long solo (impovised) that has all these harsher sounding chord changes. It starts out with like an 8-10 measure extent with the same chord. Then, it switches all over the place (between 4 different chords) like every other or every two measures, then the entire sequence repeats (if that made any sense to you...). I'm just having trouble because I'm not a rock player. I hate rock, i think it totally sucks. i prefer swing--i can do excellent improv with it, all the time i have spent studying and listening has really paid off. Anyway, this is one of those solos meant to be played "crazy." Sure i've played crazy solos before--in swing/bebop phrasing that is. Because I don't study rock, I'm confused by the "style" I am suppose to play in. I can't stand not swinging notes, I find it to be boring and retarded--that's why i tend to stay away from rock in the first place. I have played, listened to, and memorized so much Parker in the last few years that his style is the foundation of my soloing. Like i said above, I'm confused with the style of rock; its phrasing. Could I just play bebop phrasing but not swing it? I just need someone to explain to me the basics of playing rock. Please help me out!

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  1. by YanagisawA-901
    (312 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: ROCK phrasing

    daaammnnn .. not knowing how to play rock?? im like the exact opposite of you.. i have trouble with swing improv but when it comes to "rockn it".. im pretty nice.. im pretty sure most rock based tunes are in a 3/4 or 4/4 meter.. which would mean the standard rule for phrasing would apply just like every 4 measures.. but as for playing.. you obviously arent swinging your 8th notes anymore your playing straight 8th notes.. but in the style of playing and things you need to play .. i like to play cool sounding licks with an accent on the down beat or just an accented lick with random accents that team up with the drummer.. lots of runs up and down the sax.. growling if possible.. a lot of runs just on like 4-6 notes.. you kno?? trills.. its really hard for me to explain it cuz i cant really explain my style of playing, improv or even the true definition of rock style playing.. but when im rockn out thats what i do..

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    1. by phathorn
      (165 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: ROCK phrasing

      There is actually not as much difference as one would think. Think about how much of Parker's stuff is actually based around blues. I would listen to later Cannonball Adderley (stuff like 'Mercy Mercy Mercy') and saxophonists like Maceo Parker and King Curtis

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      1. by Hexaclon
        (90 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: ROCK phrasing

        I believe its all about rythm. I had the same problem. Just try to move around using one idea, try to develop a more rythmic solo. Less is more. Ooohh and by the way dont be so limited to the music you hear, try to find ideas from other styles of music.

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        1. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          MercyMercy Mercy? Areyouserious? that's gospel, not even close to this typeof rock. Most of the time a sax in a rock band plays a minor petatonic the whole way up and down with some tricks like growls or whatever, because they're overpayed and dont care. If you want to be better than that, you can really go to town on this type of stuff. Since it's most likely all dominant chords, it would be the place to fly through some patterns. Try some triad pairs, or whatever floats your boat. Just make it straight and fast. Also like hexaclon said, rythm is a big part of it. Start your solo out slow, with some interesting rythms and few notes, and then work into the fast stuff. Long high notes also add good effect, if you can hit them without making it sound thin. That's all in the throat.

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        2. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          Please excuse the sticky space bar.

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        3. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          What song is it? Do you have a recorded copy of it to listen to? If not, try to find an MP3 to download and listen to. Just listen to the phrasing on the recording. I can understand what you mean about rock. When you've been playing jazz and swing, it can be rather redundant and boring. I have a tendancy to overplay on certain songs because I get bored with them. Sometimes simple is good! Just try to keep that in mind. Jim

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        4. by phathorn
          (165 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          gospel isn't close to rock?! Tell that to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Rock solos don't have to be technical pyrotechnics. As long as phrasing and rhythmic ideas are kept interesting, the solo with be interesting. Getting into diminished scales and modes, provided they at least loosely fit the changes, will also help to keep the solo more interesting. Check out Maceo Parker, the stuff Brecker does with Brecker Brothers, King Curtis, and the stuff that Jeff Coffin does not only with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but with his Mu'Tet as well. I try to ignore all of the sax solos from 80s rock songs, as most are just a series of hokey cliches.

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        5. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          I said Cannonball Adderly's Mercy Mercy Mercy is not even close to rock. Someone compared that to rock, and it was a total miss. I know there are many people that have mixed rock with gospel, I didn't say there weren't, calm down.

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        6. by phathorn
          (165 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          The point is, from a phrasing standpoint, it IS close to rock, from a chord change standpoint, it IS close to rock. From a SOLOING standpoint, it is close to rock. Is is close to Korn or Nirvana? No. Is it close to lot's of other tunes in the rock genre? Sure!

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        7. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          What phrasing characteristics do Mercy Mercy Mercy and a rock song have in common? Be more specific. It's all gospel phrasing which is always close to the head, now how is that like rock phrasing? Really, the feel is different, and the phrasing is not the same. SOLOING standpoint....how? Do you improv in a similar style in that song to a rock song? If you do, then you have a lot of listening to do. Chord progressoions? They're completely different. I think you're full of it.

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        8. by phathorn
          (165 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          perhaps if you would be so kind as to DEFINE rock music, since you've seemed to pigeon hole it pretty well. Listening? I come from the city where gospel gave birth to both blues and rock. I've been fortunate enough to hear things that you'll NEVER hear on the back 9....

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        9. by mooing_sheep
          (20 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: ROCK phrasing

          Listen to Supertramp (WAAAA oldies!!!). I know it's completely different from what you're used to, but a couple of their songs have some really model rock sax solos (Logical Song), to help you get an idea. It couldn't hurt to check it out. Maybe it'll give you some good ideas. and... >>

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