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#1505811 - 08/30/10 06:26 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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Re:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTfBpKzu6XA

at 3:35
Exactly the way I comp with my band, too! Finally I can compare to the great Herbie wink

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#1505830 - 08/30/10 07:30 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]  
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Haha, yes, less is more sometimes

#1505949 - 08/30/10 11:50 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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hey, anyone here play Stella by Starlight? I'm going through KJ's intro on his Standards Live album and figuring out the chord progression. It's got a strange (to me) chords, the key is Bb but it switches several times to D-, Ebmaj.

How do you approach songs like this, where the chords are non-diatonic to the melody.

#1505961 - 08/30/10 12:02 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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Everybody plays Stella. I haven't worked out the Jarrett intro though. I was just listening to his later version on 'Yesterdays'. I am not sure I understand your question as Stella is more or less a bunch of 2 5's.

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#1505970 - 08/30/10 12:19 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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I should rephrase that, the chords themselves aren't "strange", but what I have trouble with is remembering the key changes in harmony while playing the melody.

yeah it's all 2-5's, from D-, Eb+ Bb. I just approach songs differently in trying to play melodically first.

I have to consciously remember the shifts.


I hate thinking, ok here's the 2-5 in D- coming up, then Eb, but I guess you can't avoid that.

#1505976 - 08/30/10 12:34 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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Originally Posted by Wizard of Oz
hey, anyone here play Stella by Starlight? I'm going through KJ's intro on his Standards Live album and figuring out the chord progression. It's got a strange (to me) chords, the key is Bb but it switches several times to D-, Ebmaj.

How do you approach songs like this, where the chords are non-diatonic to the melody.


Which chords are you thinking as non-diatonic? As beeboss said, all the chords should have a ii, V or a I function to them, and I believe all of the resting points (such as Eb, D7, Cm7, etc) all are within the diatonic scale of Bb. The only exception is the Ab7 chord, but that is a type of sub for a F7#9 I think. So, if you approach it AS diatonic, and see how the chords fit that model the song becomes much easier to play and understand.

But I do agree with you that it is not an easy tune to make sound good when you first learn it. It seems a bit elusive at times.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1505983 - 08/30/10 12:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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Originally Posted by Wizard of Oz

I should rephrase that, the chords themselves aren't "strange", but what I have trouble with is remembering the key changes in harmony while playing the melody.

yeah it's all 2-5's, from D-, Eb+ Bb. I just approach songs differently in trying to play melodically first.

I have to consciously remember the shifts.


I hate thinking, ok here's the 2-5 in D- coming up, then Eb, but I guess you can't avoid that.


Oops, we cross posted. But in any case, another thing that I force myself to think about when I'm trying to learn a tune is the idea of movement and stability, and how the underlying chords are a function of that. So, everytime a V or a ii V is around I know what I can/should do on these chords, as well as how I should approach the I chords in a different manner.

I think by restricting oneself to just considering the melody it makes the job of understanding the song that much harder. I remember my Royal Conservatory days when I had to figure bass (literally) for melodies in my theory classes. I don't remember really enjoying it either.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1506050 - 08/30/10 02:52 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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The problem for me isn't to know the 2-5-1, it's when you use a 2-5 not of the key. For Stella, the melody is in Bb, but the chords shift from a 2-5 of D- to Ebmaj, to Bb. If I'm playing an E-b5 to A7 (D-), I'm still thinking Bb maj when I'm improvising in the right hand.

To me that's easier than switching all those keys.

the 2 would be non-diatonic relative to Bb, with the E, and same with A7, with the C#.

That's what I mean, you guys get it?

#1506073 - 08/30/10 03:26 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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I don't think I get what you mean. I thought you were looking for advice, but now you are stating that you've found a way to improvise that avoids thinking outside the key. Is that what you are saying? I'm still unclear about what you mean about 'the 2 would be non-diatonic relative to Bb...'

As far as I can tell the piece never moves outside of Bb maj. The chords it lands on at times are all within Bb. I think the trick is knowing how those chords operate.

Also, the 2 5s are not always so evident, as in the Bbmin Eb7 to Fmaj. The Bbmin is a sub for Gm7b5 and the Eb7 is a sub for the C7#9. At least that is how I approached them.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1506082 - 08/30/10 03:39 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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The melody doesn't move outside Bb maj, but the chords do. Like the 2-5-1 in D-, the 2 chord, E-b5 has the E note, which would be a #4 in the key of Bb maj. I consider it non-diatonic.

There's some other chords like that too, which utilize notes outside, but the melody note remains in Bb.

When I play a 2-5-1 in a key, I tend to think more of the key than the actual chord, less complicated.

In Stella it keeps switching but I'd rather just keep thinking in Bb maj.



#1506097 - 08/30/10 04:05 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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Originally Posted by Wizard of Oz

In Stella it keeps switching but I'd rather just keep thinking in Bb maj.



Not a good idea in Stella. There are many tunes like this where you really have to make the changes and not rely on a generalized scale. It only goes so far to take these shortcuts IMHO.

In Giant Steps, for example, there is no opportunity for faking it. You've got to make the changes. Period.

To me the best approach is to look at each portion of the progression and specifically write what key that's in. Stella, ATTYA, etc. all change keys frequently. So why not just accept that?


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#1506101 - 08/30/10 04:07 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]  
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Originally Posted by knotty
Re:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTfBpKzu6XA

at 3:35
Exactly the way I comp with my band, too! Finally I can compare to the great Herbie wink


LOL grin That really made my day! I'm not so bad after all...


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#1506137 - 08/30/10 05:21 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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I think I get what you mean. Stella is a weird tune- the melody itself is almost entirely diatonic but the chords move around quite a lot. Many of the changes that jazz players now play are not really in the original, rather the sequence has been made gradually more complex over time. It should be possible to do a decent melodic solo without playing many notes outside of Bb major, but this is surprisingly difficult to do.
I would suggest a dual approach.... firstly decide on the sequence you wish to use and try really outlining the harmony as much as possible until you have completely assimilated it (ie forgetting entirely about Bb major and just working on the chord of the moment).
Then try playing really simple melodic ideas that never stray far from Bb major but that also don't clash with the changing chords.

#1506159 - 08/30/10 06:03 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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I think it may be that Wiz has not fully assimilated the harmony here. When I play Stella, I don't think I even think of scales, keys, or anything. It is so ingrained that I will not pick a wrong note. And I will not stick to Bb at all. I don't know how you could. There are minor ii-V's in here that require alterations.

This approach of forcing some single scale cannot work on tunes like Very Early. So why even bother? To me there is but one rule. Follow the harmony (i.e. play the changes).


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#1506212 - 08/30/10 07:51 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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Man, I've recorded Stella a few times, and I don't have one single version that I haven't played at least one regrettable note. I'm not even sure any more as to what my problem is, but I had given up playing the tune for some time because I could never make it sound as nice as other tunes I've worked on.

Care to post a version or two of Stella anyone? I'd love to hear the PW locals do some solo piano versions of it.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1506289 - 08/30/10 09:47 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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lots of good versions on youtube, I like 7notemode's solo take:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFu286OQLkY


Yeah I need to get the chord progressions worked out.

KJ's intro on Standards is still the best. I got a transcription and he follows pretty much the exact chord changes in the fake book, good to know!

#1506290 - 08/30/10 09:48 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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I'll be sure to put it on my todo list Scep. Although, I'm way behind right now so it won't be too soon.

When I started playing Jazz, I started with Stella almost from the very beginning. I thought that together with ATTYA, these two tunes give you a real workout in keeping up with the changes. However, just playing with the changes is one thing. Coming up with something coherent is a separate matter smile

But I have to still post Falling Grace and some Blues...

Scep, I was just playing some Blues a moment ago and if approached as a modern jazz project (using a Chick kind of thinking), it really sounds cool; a lot of it sounding outside. But I have to practice this kind of playing a bit as it is hard to play all this ALT stuff. It doesn't flow well with the fingers. I hope you join me in this as no one else seems interested.






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#1506349 - 08/30/10 11:26 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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Ya, I'll join you in it. Remember we did Porkpie Hat a while back? I think that's the closest I've come to the blues in a while. I think my playing in general gravitates towards the 'blues' sound though, despite my recordings that would seem to indicate the contrary.

So, any head of interest? A Monk blues? I'm not sure where I'm going to start.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1506495 - 08/31/10 08:10 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee


This approach of forcing some single scale cannot work on tunes like Very Early. So why even bother? To me there is but one rule. Follow the harmony (i.e. play the changes).


Well we know it can work as the melody of Stella is virtually diatonic (with only one E and one F sharp if I remember correctly). So for your scale choice on each chord you could just choose to use those notes which as also in Bb major scale.
For E half dim for example you could use Bb C D F G A (notes that are in E locrian and Bb major scale), for A7 you could play A Bb C F G (the notes in A dim W/T and also Bb major) etc. If the chord is more distant there are less notes in common but there will always be some. I have never tried this but I don't see why it shouldn't work. Limiting the notes to use in improvisation can be a really useful technique, it forces you to get more out a smaller set of possibilities.
I'll try it and report back.

#1506498 - 08/31/10 08:17 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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Originally Posted by scepticalforumguy
Man, I've recorded Stella a few times, and I don't have one single version that I haven't played at least one regrettable note. I'm not even sure any more as to what my problem is, but I had given up playing the tune for some time because I could never make it sound as nice as other tunes I've worked on.


I know what you mean. We all have tunes like that. A train is my one, I just hate playing on it.
I used to play Stella so much and it is such a cliche that I don't really like playing it anymore. It's a great sequence though so maybe I'll try it again.

#1506529 - 08/31/10 08:58 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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Odd, Stella is one of the few tunes I feel comfortable on. I agree with it being cliché though.
I have the Keith Jarrett transcription from Standards Live if anyone is interested, PM me.

#1506595 - 08/31/10 11:10 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: KlinkKlonk]  
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Beeboss, that would be interesting to hear. It would be quite challenging as some of your avoid notes would turn out to be important chord tones (like 3/7).



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#1506630 - 08/31/10 12:44 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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One way I approach it is if there's a chord that's non-diatonic I'll just play the note along with what key it's in.

So for Stella, some chords use the E instead of Eb, just play that, still keeping in the Bb key.

Easier to think that way.

#1506636 - 08/31/10 12:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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It's not such an easy logic. In fact I just tried it and there's huge problems.

Let's just start with one of the early chords. Fm7. How you call this Bb Major? Your LH is comping the Ab. If you play A you have a wrong note. A7 on LH, what about the Db?

Now you can say, yes I'll just avoid all the non diatonic stuff. BUT your LH is already playing Ab or Db! In fact there's many cases here because we're talking about the 3rd and 7ths of several chords that will be in the LH voicing.

My teacher would declare this a big no-no. The only way to make it work is to reharm the LH so you're playing completely different chords. In which case, it may not sound like Stella and will be overly simplified IMHO. I'm not sure what the point would be.

It is simply declared to be a shortcut? It doesn't work. It's like your LH is not talking to the RH.




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#1506638 - 08/31/10 01:02 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]  
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Originally Posted by scepticalforumguy

So, any head of interest? A Monk blues? I'm not sure where I'm going to start.


The way I was playing this, which was doing a lot of outside sounding stuff, a basic head didn't seem to fit. It was too contrasty. I tried Blue Monk, Tenor Madness, Bessie's Blues, etc.

I'll likely skip the head. If anything, maybe a slow version of Matrix seems to fit for me.


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#1506639 - 08/31/10 01:02 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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Wiz,

I don't get the logic either.
If the progression is in a minor key, it seems easier to think in the minor key.
E-7b5 to A7 is a minor ii-5
Minor keys are just as important as major ones.

My default is to use major scale on a major 2-5 and a harmonic minor on a minor 2-5.


#1506642 - 08/31/10 01:06 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]  
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And minor ii-V's are altered so it's not even just a regular A7...


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#1506690 - 08/31/10 02:37 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
It's not such an easy logic. In fact I just tried it and there's huge problems.

Let's just start with one of the early chords. Fm7. How you call this Bb Major? Your LH is comping the Ab. If you play A you have a wrong note. A7 on LH, what about the Db?


I think the only problem is that it an unfamiliar restriction on notes to chose from. We are more used to selecting our notes from scales or from chord tones maybe. Say you are playing on the Fm7, you can use Bb C D Eb F G - that is 6 notes to choose from, including the Root, 9th, 11th, 5th, 6th, b7. Not exactly difficult. Just need to get used to not playing A or Ab. And obviously many of our established licks and tricks aren't going to work because almost all of them will use the Ab, so we are forced into a new area.
The fewer new tones we use the simpler the improvisation will appear to a listener, maybe because it is simpler it may also be more obviously melodic.

#1506697 - 08/31/10 02:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]  
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I still don't get the logic.

The changes I have for Stella are
E-7b5 | A7b9 | c-7 | F7
F-7 | Bb7 | Ebmaj7 | Ab7

Wiz, are you saying that you think in terms of Bb throughout? I just don't see how that can work.
To me, the most simple, most straight forward, as far as which scales work is:

D harm minor X2 | Bb X2
Eb X3 | Ab Lydian dominant.

Thinking in terms alterations of the Bb major scale does not seem to add up for me.


Last edited by knotty; 08/31/10 03:58 PM.
#1506741 - 08/31/10 04:50 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]  
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Yeah for me I think melody first, so I run through it single hand a few times.

I hate switching up keys 3-4 times in a song, some you would have to like for Dolphin Dance, but for Stella I don't see a need.

I have to drill the chord changes in my head a few times, like everyone said it's all 2-5's. But I like to delve deeper into how and why the composer chose it that way.

Like the 2-5 of D-, then Bb maj, then 2-5-1 in Eb major, all while staying in Bb for the melody.

How did he end up picking those chords? They are in keys quite similar to the Bb; D- just has the 1 flat, and Eb has 3...


The scale/chord for each bar approach is standard pedagogy for jazz, but I think in different terms.

We all have our own ways of playing the music.


As for wrong notes and stuff, you can try and see how different notes clash with a chord, like F-, and some of the notes in Bb. For all V7 chords, you could pretty much use all the alterations so there aren't "wrong" or "avoid" notes.

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