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combo vs solo voicing
#1141926 10/26/07 10:50 PM
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DaWF Offline OP
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Hello,

I new to jazz and jazz piano to an extent (I'm mainly a vibes/set player, but the theory transfers..)

So I'm coming from a largely classical background on timpani/percussion. (So I love roots and fifths, lol)

I understand that in a combo setting you generally leave out the root, so that you don't mess with the bass player. What's a typical voicing to use then?
I've heard to start with just 3/7 and to leave out the 5th. how far is generally acceptable to extend to? would 3/7/9/11/13 be too much?

Also, when playing solo jazz piano, how do you adjust to playing without a bass. I've been told
LH: 1/3/7 or just 1/7 works, but it feels strange not to have a more pulsing rhythm, is there a remedy to that?

also, it was recommended to me to learn my ii/V/Is, but I don't really see how to apply that to practical use. Any ellaborations?

Thanks!

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Re: combo vs solo voicing
#1141927 10/30/07 05:07 PM
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I'm new here, so I'm just now catching up to threads...

A standard beginner's technique is to learn "shell voicings" which are 3rds and 7ths (LH) in their simplest form. Then things get more complicated from there.

I'd suggest checking out Aebersold's www.jazzbooks.com, since he has just about every method ever published. For example, Phil DeGreg has an interesting jazz comping method, complete with CD. On that same site, Aebersold has a few downloadable study pages that are highly useful too. I carry a couple of those in the notebook I always carry with me (scale syllabus, etc).

Here's another thing you could try...check out his v54 play-along, which is one of his beginner volumes. He also sells a "comping" book which shows the actual comping used on the recording.

As far as the ii-V7 goes, that's pretty much the language of jazz (bebop, especially). If you don't understand the practicality of it, and you continue to study jazz, I'm sure you'll get there within a couple of years. Modal jazz tunes don't necessarily use the construct all that much, but pretty much everything else does, even jazz-blues.

An unsolicited opinion: I've never been too fond of self-teaching when it comes to jazz. There are ways to do it, of course, but I've always felt it is much more efficient to find a good teacher to get a jumpstart.

Re: combo vs solo voicing
#1141928 11/02/07 08:18 AM
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DaWF - To what Guy said, I would add that you need to listen to jazz players. You simply can't listen too much. Every jazz player has their own "style" of comping, their unique little phrases, voicings, patterns ect. You will, no doubt, become very familiar with ii-V-I's and all their variations - Some PW participant even has "ii-V" as a username. But the real secret to success is to listen and remember that the best players are always the best listeners.

Re: combo vs solo voicing
#1141929 11/02/07 09:05 AM
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I'm a huge proponent of "you are what you eat"...there is virtually no way to absorb the language of jazz unless you listen to it. So, pianojazz has an excellent point.

My jazz guru always referred to the ii-V7 as a "Two-Five" (as in one word). He stressed that in the language of jazz, you really can't separate the two. Of course, there are styles where it isn't as important, but for a large majority of what we call straight-ahead jazz and especially bebop, the ii-V7 is a standard pattern.

While Aebersold, Berklee School of Music and others may stress chord-scale relationships when soloing, my guru would stress that the ii-V7 is really just one construct (with two different modes of the same major scale) and we'd practice patterns for the ii-V7 as a whole.

Take a look at any fake book, such as the Real Book. With jazz standards, you'll find ii-V7's all over the place. Sometimes they are hidden because of tritone substitutions...a dominant can have a substitute, by a dominant a tritone away.

Example: ii-V7-I in C is Dm7-G7-CMaj7. Substitute Db7 for the G7 (note that the 3rd and the 7th of the G7 become the 7th and the 3rd of the substitute) and you get Dm7-Db7-CMaj7...a nice chromatic descending bass line.

But as pianojazz says: listen! You are what you eat.

Re: combo vs solo voicing
#1141930 11/02/07 06:23 PM
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The rule of thumb I go by is:

Combo - 3rd and 7th in the LH, 6, 9, 5, or even root in the RH.

The most important voicings to start with for combo playing are 3-note voicings. 3rd/7th/9th, 7th/3rd/6th, and 7th/3rd/5th.

Solo - Root and 7th in the LH, melody note and add the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 5th, or whatever I feel like along with it.

For studying both, RUN and get the Phil DeGreg jazz keyboard harmony book. It's a GOLDMINE for the basics.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: combo vs solo voicing
#1141931 11/03/07 07:19 PM
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Although I have played for a long time - I have only come to playing jazz in combos in the last few years. The advice above is totally sound, but a technique I find useful, especially with new numbers, or new bass players, is to stick my left hand in my pocket and listen hard to the bass players lines, while I playing one handed. This has two benefits
1 - bass players love you - well, at least they dont hate you
2 - you can play your left hand in gradually, to build a line that complements the bass - and doesnt get muddy if you have a busy bassist.


Steinway K - Kurzweil PC 88(wrecked and sold for spares) - Yamaha S90 - rhodes 760 - korg wavestation- Hammond XK1 etc..

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