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Jazz Masterclass

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sorohanro
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Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 03:34 PM

For quite a while I was thinking to make a thread like this. For a while I considered that there are better musicians to do it and probably there are not many people interested into jazz.
After a while I've seen that actually there are more people interested into jazz and none of those "cool jazz cats" started a thread like this. So, here's the idea, I will try here to start with some basic jazz explanations, going to more advanced stuff, trying to give some examples and exercises (like homework) for people interested. This I do also to clear some ideas for myself (by explaining, one's self knowledge become clearer).

This "masterclass" (I know, a very pompous word) require some basic music theory knowledge, so, I strongly recommend to take a look over musictheory.net and 8notes.com/theory.
For more specific jazz theory there are some useful links also, tamingthesaxophone.com/jazz-theory and jazz-styles.com (website in French, but Google translator can fix the problem).

So, assuming that you already are familiar with scales, triads and basic concepts of form, here we go with first lesson:

Basic Blues Form
There is a very nice article in Wikipedia about blues, I can't add more to it, so go take a look. What I can do, is to sum a bit all the info and deliver the basic you'll need from the musician/ performer point of view.
1 - Basic form is 12 bars, 4 + 4 + 4, in a structure reminding of "question" + "answer" + "conclusion".
2 - Blue Notes. Because it comes from a very old African traditional form, minor and major gets a bit mixed up. African traditional music didn't have he minor and major concepts so...
3 - One of the basic forms is:
I | I or IV | I | I7 |
IV | IV | I | I7 |
V | IV | I | V7 :|| (repeat form)
however, there are also more complex forms with substitutions.

4 - Pentatonic contain notes from all chords in blues progression, that's why all guitarists overuse it.
:))

Check the links, read and learn.
As a "homework", here's one of the most famous jazz blues themes, "Blue Monk" by Thelonius Monk. In jazz, a theme is just a pretext for your own soloing which is usually improvised.
I made a slower version of the backing track, take it, play over it, practice, record and if you like what you recorded, upload on NG and post a link for future analysis ;)

  • Blue Monk - Backing Track
    Blue Monk - Backing Track by sorohanro

    Click to listen.

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    Blues
    Popularity
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If you would like to record over a wav file, feel free to PM me and ask :)
music sheet from jazz-styles.com

Jazz Masterclass

SineRider
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 03:47 PM

This is great. I was thinking of working on Blue Monk after I finish Autumn Leaves. I'll try and do a little jam over your track soon.

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 03:52 PM

Great !

Sorry for the messed up music sheet, not really my fault.

SineRider
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 03:56 PM

At 9/30/10 03:52 PM, sorohanro wrote: Sorry for the messed up music sheet, not really my fault.

not a problem. I have it in the real book :)

MJTTOMB
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 04:03 PM

If you need some stuff to talk about arranging, I can help out with that. Got some great instruction from Mark Taylor, an arranger for Hal-Leonard. Also worked with a couple other great arrangers, and they've given me lots of wonderful materials that really break down the techniques with good visuals and stuff.


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sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 04:18 PM

At 9/30/10 04:03 PM, MJTTOMB wrote: If you need some stuff to talk about arranging.

That would be GREAT !!! Thanks.

Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 05:56 PM

I feel honoured to take a Jazz class/lesson online. I'd like to know though, when you said homework, I don't understand exactly what you want us to do with it? Do you just want us to play it until we've got it down or what?


Strychnine and cyanide. A healthy part of this complete breakfast.

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 06:20 PM

At 9/30/10 05:56 PM, Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud wrote: I feel honoured to take a Jazz class/lesson online. I'd like to know though, when you said homework, I don't understand exactly what you want us to do with it? Do you just want us to play it until we've got it down or what?

I see that you're not very familiar with some of the jazz concepts, so I'll try to explain.
Usually, the important thing in jazz is less the theme (the main melody, notated here), the important thing is soloing/ improvising on it. The melody is just a pretext for you to construct your own music over the chord progression.
Here, the structure is:
Theme x 2, structure repeating 3 times, theme x1 and outro (last 4 bars repeating 3 times).
What you have to do:
play the theme if you want over first two circles (where you hear trumpet and saxophone), then, where is "empty" (where is no solo instrument) you create your own solo.
You can use pentatonic scale, "blues" scale and dorian scale (it's like playing Ab major over Bb minor).
Try for beginning the pentatonic scale, it's working over all chords.

Breed
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CosmicAlfonzo
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 08:48 PM

I never did care for the Jazz cat approach to the blues. Jazz cats treat the blues like a chord progression or formula. The blues is something that you really just feel. You got to be a special breed of miserable motherfucker. I go to a lot of jams, and the jams that are filled with mostly Jazz Cats.. well.. Jazz cats just treat the blues like a chord progression.. it's something they learned in school... They just don't get it.

That said, I'm not trying to discourage or anything. I'm very interested in this thread, and will definitely check it out so that I can expand my own musical knowledge... However, I will say this.. IF someone really digs a type of music, or a certain sound.. They will figure it out. If they need a teacher, they probably aren't as in to it as they think.

Music is a very spiritual and personal thing.

Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 09:19 PM

Now that you say that, it makes things so much...muddier. You are throwing concepts at me that I don't fully understand yet, leaving me with homework I can't do.


Strychnine and cyanide. A healthy part of this complete breakfast.

SineRider
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 09:28 PM

At 9/30/10 09:19 PM, Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud wrote: Now that you say that, it makes things so much...muddier. You are throwing concepts at me that I don't fully understand yet, leaving me with homework I can't do.

You're just suppose to improvise over the backing track he supplied. You play the piano right? So you'd learn the Blue Monk melody, play that along with the other instruments, then improv in the quiet parts.

S3C
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 10:11 PM

At 9/30/10 08:48 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote: I never did care for the Jazz cat approach to the blues. Jazz cats treat the blues like a chord progression or formula. The blues is something that you really just feel. You got to be a special breed of miserable motherfucker. I go to a lot of jams, and the jams that are filled with mostly Jazz Cats.. well.. Jazz cats just treat the blues like a chord progression.. it's something they learned in school... They just don't get it.

I find your post a little ignorant (but mostly irrelevant). For one, I know sure as hell that not all blues are based on feelings of sadness. Maybe a specific subset or the roots of thematic material in blues, but not the genre in entirety. And secondly, blues can still be broken down into notes and progressions, and scales and chord progressions as well other stylistic elements which commonly appear in blues music Any style can be analyzed as such. And while teaching, it doesnt do much good to just say "play what you feel dude". An approach highlighting the technical aspects of a genre gives you useful bullshit on how to construct such songs. Then, one can start becoming (more) musical. And when you say "they just don't get it", what you really mean to say is they just dont get you and what appeals to your aural senses. As you said, music is a personal thing, so its not a static concept to just "get. Of course, you still need to be a poet to make any type of music, but that already comes naturally when you have a desire to pick up an instrument and do so.

At 9/30/10 09:19 PM, Mystery-Moon-Pie-Aud wrote: Now that you say that, it makes things so much...muddier. You are throwing concepts at me that I don't fully understand yet, leaving me with homework I can't do.

What exactly don't you understand? What do you know in regards to theory? If you dont know much, then you know what websites to go to. Read up on the concepts sorohanro said in his post. For now, just practice improvising with the notes of Bb Major Pentatonic Scale (Bb C D F G) over the piece sorohanro gave you. Then, add in the blues note to the scale (Bb C Db D F G) to see how that sounds. This is a great way to start.

Once you learn the melody however, you can improvise with what the composer had in mind, and then in turn "recreate" the melody then just soloing over a progression, if that makes any sense.


If your work isn't worth fighting for, it's not worth uploading on NG, period. (JrHager84)

Breed
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 10:38 PM

"Homework" - Improvise over this track.

Notice the multiple tutorials I linked that explain exactly how to do this?

Improvising is a great tool! Lately it's been thrown out the window with modern contemporary but people like Bach and Beethoven were improvisational MASTERS...read some, give it a try, THEN come back and say you don't understand it.

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 08:08 AM

At 9/30/10 08:48 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote: Jazz cats treat the blues like a chord progression or formula.

LOL

not a flame war, just a joke

Blues cats treat everything else like an excuse to overuse pentatonic and they always start with "I woke up this morning".

Sorry, couldn't resist :))) Just a joke. Actually I really like Blues when is played well.
@CosmicAlfonzo
Your nickname suggest that you're a Frank Zappa fan. Even that he was ranting many times against the "Academic Jazz" approach (criticizing mostly the Berklee College of Music) he was one hell of a theoretician. He got to collaborate with big names of Jazz and Classical music (to name a few: Jean-Luc Ponty , George Duke, Vinnie Colaiuta, Pierre Boulez and many others) and he was probably the biggest influence in Steve Vai's music ("Flexable" album is totally Zappa).

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 09:17 AM

I'm very down for this. I'm getting a new midi keyboard and I was hoping to get a lot of actual piano practice done! Yay!


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CosmicAlfonzo
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 10:11 AM

There isn't anything ignorant about what I'm saying. There is a certain personal element required to make good music that can't be taught. Saying, "Play what you feel, dude" would not be an effective teaching method.. However, there really isn't.. It is something that has to hit you like a revelation. XP

This is something outside the scope of current theory. Theory makes things easier for composers, but it is mostly for musicians. A good composer.. might make something that when analyzed looks insane, complex, or even impossible.. but to the good composer, this comes out naturally, and without much effort. What I'm trying to say is.. You can go to Berkley, and get a masters majoring in compositional physics in polyphonic humming(I'd like to see that), but that doesn't mean you are able to make anything that doesn't look like an example from a theory textbook. You really have to love music to make good music.

You may not get, or agree with what I'm saying, and shit, it might be an auditory preference.. but you know, just look at the blues a crusty old black man made in the 50s... now compare that to the blues you might hear listening to the college radio.

It's not bad, but holy shit, they definitely have a different soul, even if they both follow the same progressions. The funny thing is, these newer musicians look back with utmost respect to those older crusty black man who made blues kick ass. If those same old crusty black men played blues today, without their previous recognition... the blues community wouldn't give a shit about them, and probably call them sloppy musicians who need to lay off the sauce, and get a real job.

And this, all by the way, is VERY relevant. Especially to Jazz, which features a lot of improvisation.

@sorohanro

Yeah, I'm not trying to exalt blues to a level where it is some higher art form or anything.. Blues is the music of the poor and uneducated man... Even if it seems like most people who play the blues nowadays learned how to do it in college. >.>

And yes, I'm a huge Zappa fan. As a composer, he's in a league of his own. He bridges my love for modern classical and Avant Garde with my love for rock, jazz, and humor. I discovered him late, after having exposed myself to enough music to get what he was doing. First thing I heard from him made me shit my pants, because everything I was listening to at the time he put in one song.

I discovered him through Last.fm like an ass age ago XD

And yeah, my approach to music is philosophically similar to Zappa. Sometimes I get the delusion that he made all that music just for me, because it so perfectly fits my tastes. Hah

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 02:22 PM

At 10/1/10 10:11 AM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote: And yeah, my approach to music is psychopathologycally similar to Zappa.

Here, fixed (added to favs also).

Ok people, start recording solos on it. I plan next week to go next step.
Next step will be a faster blues theme.

S3C
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 02:56 PM

At 10/1/10 10:11 AM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote: There isn't anything ignorant about what I'm saying.

Well you said blues can only be played by miserable motherfuckers, and if youre trying to apply that to the entire scope of blues, that is ignorant.

There is a certain personal element required to make good music that can't be taught. Saying, "Play what you feel, dude" would not be an effective teaching method.. However, there really isn't.. It is something that has to hit you like a revelation. XP

This is something outside the scope of current theory. Theory makes things easier for composers, but it is mostly for musicians. A good composer.. might make something that when analyzed looks insane, complex, or even impossible.. but to the good composer, this comes out naturally, and without much effort. What I'm trying to say is.. You can go to Berkley, and get a masters majoring in compositional physics in polyphonic humming(I'd like to see that), but that doesn't mean you are able to make anything that doesn't look like an example from a theory textbook. You really have to love music to make good music.

Well I agree. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you dont have any desire to express yourself, the knowledge is pointless.

Technical Knowledge =/= making good music
Heart = making good music

Now if you add heart with technical knowledge (the dry bullshit taught in conservatories), then you're even better.

You may not get, or agree with what I'm saying, and shit, it might be an auditory preference.. but you know, just look at the blues a crusty old black man made in the 50s... now compare that to the blues you might hear listening to the college radio.

And compare the blues from a crusty old black man in the 50s, with a crusty old black man in the 20s :D Is one more "correct" than the other?

Yes it's going to be different as music evolves, as would Bach be different from Pythagoras, as Beethoven would be different from Bach, as Bartok would be different from Beethoven, as Stravinsky would be different from Bartok. Probably not the best example in terms of correlation as I dont know my music history -_-


And this, all by the way, is VERY relevant. Especially to Jazz, which features a lot of improvisation.

Sorry, you're right. Your insight is invaluable when creating any type of music (especially improvisational). I guess I just thought you were trying to downplay learning theoretical approaches to creating music, which is very useful as well.


If your work isn't worth fighting for, it's not worth uploading on NG, period. (JrHager84)

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 03:19 PM

Too much philosophy, too little sitting on your asses and practice/ playing music.
I want your blouses NAO !!!

err... sorry, blues I meant

LOL

I made two versions of soloing already and added a Hammond, just for the sake of my love for the sound of it :)

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 3rd, 2010 @ 05:46 AM

Last call for download and record over my backing track. Next week still about blues but a faster track and some soloing techniques/ tricks.

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 3rd, 2010 @ 08:12 AM

This should all be good for me, considering blues and jazz (especially jazz) are the main areas I need to work on. I need to rid myself of my virtuoso style of play.

sorohanro
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 5th, 2010 @ 02:41 AM

Today or tomorrow I'll upload another track, so we have to get over this one. Still, nobody yet made anything :(

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 5th, 2010 @ 06:02 PM

At 10/5/10 02:41 AM, sorohanro wrote: Today or tomorrow I'll upload another track, so we have to get over this one. Still, nobody yet made anything :(

Well shit, ok, I'll try to record something then. My currently shiet internet is taking forever to download the backing track, and I have to work around my work schedule.. but hah... If anything, I like this lesson because it teaches the importance of variating a theme, rather than just mindless shredding and attempting to show off technique. You can show off technique, and still play something that goes along with the theme, ja know?

Yeah, a lot of Jazz is basically just masturbation(which really turned me off of jazz for the longest while until I later actually heard some good jazz), but good jazz musicians actually care about the music rather than their pathetic egos. You gotta really love music to make good music. You really have to be in touch with certain emotions to make certain types of music.. It's really easy to go by theory, and make something that sounds "sad" for instance, but only someone with true pain in their heart, with honesty can express that in the right way. You go straight by the things you learn in school, and it comes across as artificial to those who get it.

And it has nothing to do with music changing over time. Bach sounds completely different than Mozart.. Mozart sounds c completely different than Tchaikovsky. They all sound completely different than Stravinsky.. Leadbelly sounds nothing like Robert Johnson.. and neither sound like Buddy Guy... It's not about music sounding the different, it's about it sounding the same. When you go by a strict academic approach, you sound like a trained monkey, and those who really and truly love music understand and can hear this.

You gotta love music more than anything.. even the poontang and beer. If it isn't wrecking relationships, you probably don't love music enough. You have to be a crazy motherfucker to get what I'm saying. I mean, think about it.. We are talking about vibrating air molecules.

I'm not saying that it is stupid to learn theory, or even to be taught things relating to music.. Hell, I'm not at all ignorant of music theory. I'm self educated, and despite that, I still would like to go to a college to learn more about music.. However, there is a human element. .there is even a random element that makes good music what it is.

Theory is good for explaining facts(like intervals.), and making it easier to communicate musical ideas.. and having a good knowledge of theory will make you a better musician and even composer.. period... However, music theory is not perfect at this time. I can hear something, and it will fill me with great sadness, or joy, and someone else can hear the same thing, and feel nothing at all.

Once theory allows us to control minds with music, and it is fact, then maybe I'll take those universities seriously. But of course, by then, I probably won't have a just but to take them seriously. XD

Anyway, yeah, I'll try to record something, because I am very interested in this topic. I'll consider you a teacher for now, sorohanro. =p

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 5th, 2010 @ 07:20 PM

Thanks for the nice words :)
However, I do not consider myself a teacher, I just try to clear things for myself and the best way to do that is to try to explain to others :D

Anyway, looking forward to hear your track. there is a 24 bit wav also available, but if your internet is slow...
Anyway, here http://www.mediafire.com/?ckltsn6da8v8hz l

As for theory debate, well, theory is like grammar. You need it to express your thought correctly, but that ain't put thoughts in your head :)

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 6th, 2010 @ 12:05 AM

At 10/5/10 06:02 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:

Yeah, a lot of Jazz is basically just masturbation(which really turned me off of jazz for the longest while until I later actually heard some good jazz), but good jazz musicians actually care about the music rather than their pathetic egos. You gotta really love music to make good music. You really have to be in touch with certain emotions to make certain types of music.. It's really easy to go by theory, and make something that sounds "sad" for instance, but only someone with true pain in their heart, with honesty can express that in the right way.

If you have no musical knowledge, youre most likely not going to get what you want out of an instrument, it doesn't matter how "deep" your emotions may be. There is a poetic/emotional/expressive side to music and there is an athletic/technical/logical side to music, and while the latter may be more important towards the overall goal, without having both musical cerebrums churning simultaneously it will all fall apart.

You go straight by the things you learn in school, and it comes across as artificial to those who get it.

Correction- you go only by the things you learn in school and lessons, and then you start to sound artificial....But even with that said, not EVERYTHING in school is cutthroat and dry.

And it has nothing to do with music changing over time. Bach sounds completely different than Mozart.. Mozart sounds c completely different than Tchaikovsky. They all sound completely different than Stravinsky.. Leadbelly sounds nothing like Robert Johnson.. and neither sound like Buddy Guy...

Well now you're drifting towards a somewhat different tangent. At first you were criticizing how modern "jazz cats" sound completely different from crusty old black men. To which I responded on how they will inevitably sound different, as music changes over time and neither one is more right than the other.

It's not about music sounding the different, it's about it sounding the same. When you go by a strict academic approach, you sound like a trained monkey, and those who really and truly love music understand and can hear this.

Who only goes by a strict academic approach?

You seem to still be under the impression that school is just a glorification of baroque counterpoint rules and going by exactly what teachers you tell you. There is a time for studying and following this, and time to just jam and just let the notes speak to you dude. Good music pedagogy delves into both states of mind. Some may still soley stick strict academic approach, but everyone's mind functions differently and theres still going to be a (stifled) personal element, regardless.

You gotta love music more than anything.. even the poontang and beer. If it isn't wrecking relationships, you probably don't love music enough. You have to be a crazy motherfucker to get what I'm saying. I mean, think about it.. We are talking about vibrating air molecules.

Wrecking relationships? Not sure if youre exaggerating. No, I don't think I love music anywhere near that much. And I'm fine with that. And I see what you mean, but I don't get it. Like, in trying to figure out women type of way. Or that one episode of South Park where Stan's dad uses the n-word on wheel of fortune.

Theory is good for explaining facts(like intervals.), and making it easier to communicate musical ideas..

Yes!

and having a good knowledge of theory will make you a better musician and even composer.. period...

That is EXACTLY what I'm trying to say, and did even say lol, quite frankly. And if you love music....then why not become a better musician?

However, music theory is not perfect at this time. I can hear something, and it will fill me with great sadness, or joy, and someone else can hear the same thing, and feel nothing at all.

(hence why its called music theory ;)...)

Case and point: there is no one correct approach to making and teaching music, though there are common and effective ways.

and sorohanro, even all this is related I feel bad for "hijacking" your thread and its a shame no one has uploaded anything. I havent because, 1.) I have no recording equipment and 2.) I just....suck at playing music. The second reason more than anything lol. I have downloaded and played with your backing track though! Looking forward to seeing your next 'lesson', do continue its helpful :)


If your work isn't worth fighting for, it's not worth uploading on NG, period. (JrHager84)

CosmicAlfonzo
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 6th, 2010 @ 09:25 AM

Most of your beefs with my words result from you not understanding what I'm trying to say.

There really isn't anything to debate =p

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 6th, 2010 @ 05:30 PM

Lead by example
This is what I want to hear from you:

  • Blue Monk-Sorohan soloing
    Blue Monk-Sorohan soloing by sorohanro

    Click to listen.

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AccountableMasses
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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 6th, 2010 @ 06:50 PM

having a hard time reading it.... will record something soon as I'm able to play it.

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Response to Jazz Masterclass Oct. 6th, 2010 @ 06:53 PM

At 10/6/10 06:50 PM, AccountableMasses wrote: having a hard time reading it.... will record something soon as I'm able to play it.

Come on man, it's Bb and Blues (not the most typical harmony but not "Giant Steps", right ?).
I'm sure you'll make a good solo on it. Anyway, the theme is already played, just need soloing ;)