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> Ii-v-i Progressions And What Defines Jazz, From Jazz Notes Series
antonskv
post Jul 2 2009, 08:09 AM
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Hello Jerry,

As per your advice i started on your "Jazz Notes" series as my first task on GMC. Since i want to learn to play Jazz and learn about it so i naturally dived straight in!

I want to ask you, what makes Jazz a Jazz? If that makes any sense! Well for example way back when i was learning Blues, i learned clear definitions... Like for example I-IV-V progression, Pentatonic/Blues Scale, 12 bar format, use of triplets, etc.. usually define the style of Blues. It's not a solid rule, but that's the basic guide line. Does Jazz have same type of guide lines?

I mean II-V-I progression and use of 7th chords seem to be something that i pick up from almost all Jazz related lessons, so it one of definitions, are there more?

In Jazz multiple key change is very common, so can you even do Improvisations over Jazz progressions without knowing the chords? I mean in Blues you can jam just by knowing the key, even u can follow the chords 'cause u know that in I-IV-V progression chords will be the same while you stay in the key. But in lesson "II-V-I Progression" key-wise seem to be all over the place on purpose, so each round of II-V-I constantly moves the key a whole step. So how can person improvise over it without learning chords to follow of that specific progression?

Seems kinda troublesome for me at the moment to comprehend effectively.

Please forgive me that kind of stupidity, but its something new to me, and though I'm not a beginner in guitar playing, this Jazz "theory" so to say, confuses me sometimes.

Thanks

Anton


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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Jul 3 2009, 01:03 AM
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Hi Anton,
thank you for this topic. It's a very common question asked by people who want to "sound jazzy".
Not a stupid question, really smile.gif
I try to answer...

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
As per your advice i started on your "Jazz Notes" series as my first task on GMC. Since i want to learn to play Jazz and learn about it so i naturally dived straight in!


Great choice laugh.gif

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
I want to ask you, what makes Jazz a Jazz? If that makes any sense! Well for example way back when i was learning Blues, i learned clear definitions... Like for example I-IV-V progression, Pentatonic/Blues Scale, 12 bar format, use of triplets, etc.. usually define the style of Blues. It's not a solid rule, but that's the basic guide line. Does Jazz have same type of guide lines?


Well, this is not the place to write a Jazz Theory/History Book but there are some common concepts around almost all Jazz music.

- Improvisation: it's the key element, in my opinion. A Jazz musician shows his abilities during his solos. Those skills are built over hours of practice, listening, thinking and jams with other musicians.

- Swing: this word itself can be the beginning of another book! Anyway, take a jazz standard, listen what the drummer is playing on the ride and probably you'll get what I mean biggrin.gif
There are some jazz songs which are played with a straight rhythm, of course.

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
I mean II-V-I progression and use of 7th chords seem to be something that i pick up from almost all Jazz related lessons, so it one of definitions, are there more?


- Harmony: yes, you're right. Simple triad chords are used less often in Jazz music than other genres. Basically you find 7th chords. Jazz musicians always think about chord extensions and substitutions. Take a pop tune. Probably you don't find a C7b9/#5 chord...
Complex chords are another key element on the Jazz sound.

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
In Jazz multiple key change is very common, so can you even do Improvisations over Jazz progressions without knowing the chords?


Mmm.. no... You should always analyze a tune before starting to improvise. You can learn jazz licks from other musicians, write down some solos but you need to understand WHY those phrases sound good. You should think about the relationship between what the soloist is playing and the background harmony. Take a note on that phrase. Is it the root note? Is it a passing note? Is it a tension?
You can find some concepts about this topic on my Diatonic Improvisation lesson, but you need to understand well all the basics.

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
I mean in Blues you can jam just by knowing the key, even u can follow the chords 'cause u know that in I-IV-V progression chords will be the same while you stay in the key. But in lesson "II-V-I Progression" key-wise seem to be all over the place on purpose, so each round of II-V-I constantly moves the key a whole step. So how can person improvise over it without learning chords to follow of that specific progression?


You're right again. As a matter of fact, to improvise over a Blues tune is easier than improvise over a Be Bop tune, as example. There are many way to practice the II-V-I progression. You can improvise moving up a 4th, a whole step down, etc... Anyway, you should always KNOW the current chords "under" your solo. Talking about standards, you should know also the structure. Is it an AABA, a AAB, etc?

QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 2 2009, 09:09 AM) *
Seems kinda troublesome for me at the moment to comprehend effectively.

Please forgive me that kind of stupidity, but its something new to me, and though I'm not a beginner in guitar playing, this Jazz "theory" so to say, confuses me sometimes.

Thanks

Anton


Yeah, it's pretty normal. Take your time, talk with other musicians, read some theory book, experiment with your guitar.
Andrew helped me a lot with texts on my Jazz Notes Series - look at the video #2. If you have time, spend some time reading these texts and I'm sure you'll find many answers to your questions.
We have also a good theory section and many good lesson from other instructors about Jazz.
Hope this make sense biggrin.gif


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antonskv
post Jul 3 2009, 05:18 AM
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QUOTE (Jerry Arcidiacono @ Jul 2 2009, 08:03 PM) *
Yeah, it's pretty normal. Take your time, talk with other musicians, read some theory book, experiment with your guitar.
Andrew helped me a lot with texts on my Jazz Notes Series - look at the video #2. If you have time, spend some time reading these texts and I'm sure you'll find many answers to your questions.
We have also a good theory section and many good lesson from other instructors about Jazz.
Hope this make sense biggrin.gif



Thanks Jerry, yeah that makes sense. I guess the more you explain the more i am convinced that Jazz guitar just might be he highest level of skill as per creativity and complexity. I don't want to undermine anybody else's style of music, and each style brings something very unique, we all can respect the shredding skills of pro Rock guitarists, right? That's why though i don't listen to every particular style of music, i do try to learn to be a versatile musician.

I mean for example i don't listen to old blues in particular, but i spent a great deal of time of Blues. I mean you heard the expression "Blues is the roots and everything else is the fruits"? hehe. So for any guitarist i think it important to know what Blues is, since like that saying goes Blues gave birth to a lot of other styles. Eventually i found it extremely fun to play Blues when jamming with other people. Even before that i didn't jump into Rock guitar right away, i spent time learning the finger style and stuff related to it. So i guess learning Jazz guitar is a logical next step.

I do read the additional texts there, actually i don't really watch the rest since lessons comes with the tab. But the main text explanations are the most valuable, since they contain most of knowledge as far as i can see. But i don't think everything will sink in as fast as i want, i think it will take time and i will have to come back to this series to understand it completely.

Once i get little bit into it, i'll try to post some YouTube vids on the forums, and we'll see if I have enough talent to learn what Jazz really is.

Thanks for taking time to answer to me Jerry.

Cheerz,

Anton


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Staffy
post Jul 3 2009, 06:55 AM
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Jerry wrote some very good stuff above, and I will not try to duplicate it... :-)
I've been playing jazz for about 20 years by now, and to me, jazz is about playing what you hear.
There is not a big mystery about the music, just 100 years of experience... *l*
No, what I mean is that most great musicians I know pays a lot of respect to the tradition and can actually
play in most styles, from old jazz to very modern one. To be able to do that, I believe that Charlie Parker or Django Rheinhardt stuff will be a good starting point. Then it's just to move on..... Miles Davis, Coltrane... and all the great players until today. Of course there's a lot of theory involved in this, and one must know his instrument very well. I think there is some vids out there of Pat Metheny classes, watch them and You see what i mean. He knows it all....

Best !

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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Jul 3 2009, 08:36 AM
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QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 3 2009, 06:18 AM) *
I don't want to undermine anybody else's style of music, and each style brings something very unique, we all can respect the shredding skills of pro Rock guitarists, right? That's why though i don't listen to every particular style of music, i do try to learn to be a versatile musician.

Absolutely! I love rock music! In my opinion, too much words and labels about music styles are not necessary. People should listen only to the MUSIC, feeling some emotions, hopefully.
What about shred? I don't like this word too much. Ok, it's about playing fast and clean. Does Charlie Parker was a sax shredder? huh.gif
We have already discussed an article by Greg Howe here. Take a look.
Also, if you look at Wikipedia, there is still a discussion about what shred is.
Back to the original topic, usually you can start by learning the melody for some easy standards: Blue Monk, Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, All Of Me, Summertime etc... and then start to improvise over their chord changes.

QUOTE (Staffy @ Jul 3 2009, 07:55 AM) *
Jerry wrote some very good stuff above, and I will not try to duplicate it... :-)
I've been playing jazz for about 20 years by now, and to me, jazz is about playing what you hear.
There is not a big mystery about the music, just 100 years of experience... *l*
No, what I mean is that most great musicians I know pays a lot of respect to the tradition and can actually
play in most styles, from old jazz to very modern one. To be able to do that, I believe that Charlie Parker or Django Rheinhardt stuff will be a good starting point. Then it's just to move on..... Miles Davis, Coltrane... and all the great players until today. Of course there's a lot of theory involved in this, and one must know his instrument very well. I think there is some vids out there of Pat Metheny classes, watch them and You see what i mean. He knows it all....


Yeah, thank you for your post Staffy. Yes, the ultimate goal is to play what you hear in your mind, without thinking too much. This means hours & hours of practice.


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antonskv
post Jul 3 2009, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Staffy @ Jul 3 2009, 01:55 AM) *
Jerry wrote some very good stuff above, and I will not try to duplicate it... :-)
I've been playing jazz for about 20 years by now, and to me, jazz is about playing what you hear.
There is not a big mystery about the music, just 100 years of experience... *l*
No, what I mean is that most great musicians I know pays a lot of respect to the tradition and can actually
play in most styles, from old jazz to very modern one. To be able to do that, I believe that Charlie Parker or Django Rheinhardt stuff will be a good starting point. Then it's just to move on..... Miles Davis, Coltrane... and all the great players until today. Of course there's a lot of theory involved in this, and one must know his instrument very well. I think there is some vids out there of Pat Metheny classes, watch them and You see what i mean. He knows it all....

Best !

//Staffay


QUOTE (Jerry Arcidiacono @ Jul 3 2009, 03:36 AM) *
Yeah, thank you for your post Staffy. Yes, the ultimate goal is to play what you hear in your mind, without thinking too much. This means hours & hours of practice.


Yeah only problem is..... I have a very bad musical hearing, since i started playing it has surely improved a lot, but still i feel like a Tone Deaf person when it comes to listening and working with what you hear.

I do practice on daily basis, that has never been a problem. Guitar and everything related, is pretty much only thing i do on my spare time. So i know eventually i will get there unless i turn out to be completely talentless as far as studying Jazz goes. Let's hope not, but since i picked up the guitar i have had a lot of snags..... I mean at some point it seems that i will never get over the rut, but in time i do.... Jazz though gives me a lot of problems, it always has since I've been trying to learn it.


Jerry, can you tell me what kinds of rhythms are popular in Jazz? I'm asking 'cause i knew from somewhere else even before i started with GMC, that there is such thing as "Charleston Rhythm" which one of the teachers from other website taught to me. Is there any more such non-traditional rhythms that exist in Jazz?

If so.. you can just type some names as for example, once i know the names i can find out the rest myself. Or am i pushing it and should stop asking questions and do my own homework?



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 3 2009, 10:52 AM
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I suggest to start with chords first. Jazz is not hard to learn, but it happens over time. Needs a lot of work because it's specific form of music.

Starting out with chords is a crucial thing. Common thing for every jazz starter to learn is ii-V-I in every key. Start with C major key, and go through all they keys and learn the chords properly. Another very important thing is to get used to various common chord progressions, so your ear will be able to anticipate the next chord in line easily. When you cover all these changes systematically, good way to start doing some improvising is to start playing those chords as arpeggios, just to be able to follow the chords note by note. Do the 7th arpeggios for starters, since you will be doing 7th chords as basic voicings usually.
After you go trough the keys, and you feel comfortable with all the changes, it may be a good idea to start modulating now. In jazz you can modulate many times during the course of ii-V-I, so for example you can start in C major key, and modulate within the progression to Bb when it comes to first ii chord, and then it modulates to G major key again when it comes to the I in the end.

V (G7) - I (CM7) - ii (Cm7) - V (F7) - I (GM7)

So we went through 3 keys here in just a handful of chords, and this is why with jazz it is very important to get yourself familiar with common chord progressions in ALL keys. After you do that it will become easier to follow any give progression. Of course playing jazz standards will also help greatly, and in time everything will be easier and easier, specially with covering all the changes with arpeggios.
Hope this makes sense, if you need any more help let me know. Cheers.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jul 3 2009, 10:54 AM


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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Jul 3 2009, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE (antonskv @ Jul 3 2009, 11:19 AM) *
Jerry, can you tell me what kinds of rhythms are popular in Jazz? I'm asking 'cause i knew from somewhere else even before i started with GMC, that there is such thing as "Charleston Rhythm" which one of the teachers from other website taught to me. Is there any more such non-traditional rhythms that exist in Jazz?

If so.. you can just type some names as for example, once i know the names i can find out the rest myself. Or am i pushing it and should stop asking questions and do my own homework?


There are many solutions, usually you have some freedom while comping for other players.
A common pattern is a chord played on the first beat, for a dotted quarter note and then another - or the same - chord for a eight note. I believe this is the "Charleston Rhythm" you're talking about. You can add longer chords, arpeggios, slides, anticipation, delay and so on, or just play quarter notes with some muted notes and a swing feel.
It depends on the style too. A jazz-funk tune - like Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock - requires a different comping from a swing tune or a bossa tune.
One of the next lesson on the Jazz Series will be about different comping figures.
My suggestion, once again, is to listen and see what the great players have done on their records and their shows.


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Staffy
post Jul 3 2009, 09:22 PM
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Like Jerry said it's a good idea to pick some easy tunes and learn them, if You know the chords of a tune, you can start to improvise using only the chord tones with passing notes that leads in to the next chord tone (or next chord). I'ts a good thing to practise just even eight notes with swing feel at a slow tempo. (there's a story about John Abercrombie out there, that states that he was practising all the be-bop tunes EXTREMELY slow, like 30-40 bpm....) You will find that many good phrases is really built from "broken" chords in different inversions with an interesting rhytm approach. It's very much about experimenting and learn from what other players did, and then try to use kind of same approach without really copying note-for-note (unless it's for learning and understanding).....
I remember a book written by Joe Pass that was really good, which was written solos over common chord changes. It was a great introduction for me back in the 70'ths.

Good Luck!

//Staffay


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