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Hola all you students of Dave Frank’s Joy of Improvisation (JOI)
One of you recently suggested starting up a thread where we could post recordings of our tunes inspired by JOI. In addition, there are helpful questions that you have posted over the last month and excellent responses which are currently scattered across a few threads. This thread will be a central joint for JOI-related tunes and questions.
This thread is intended to complement and not replace the existing Adult Beginners Forum "Jazz Study Group AL, ATTYA" threads, and will be particularly useful for those JOI students who do not have their own web-sites. Even if you have your own web-site/blog, you can alert us to new recordings via this thread.
So get your recordings ready and hopefully this thread can start filling up with your JOI recordings and questions !
I feel that I have made some kind of breakthrough here, because I am now transcribing other soloists (like Miles Davis and Benny Carter) and working their solos into my playing. This is something I have never done before. Lotsa work, but it really is fun!
Here's mine. I keep the chords and rhythm of Leaf Line so that I only have to think about the melody (it's my first ever jazz composition). A builder slams the door in the last measure. BOO. Criticisms and comments welcome !
That was nice, you got the point of the exercise. Don't worry about the Left Hand, you only want to worry about the melody for now. Maybe later on,you can worry about the LH in another exercise. For now, you are good. If you have some time to kill and want to run through some Bach, that will keep your LH in shape in the meantime
As for your line, a couple of notes: - I love the title - If you could somehow show the sheet, that would help. Don't worry about the LH again, and pencil is fine, but if you can show, that will help a lot see the patterns. - I liked how you use the triplet once, that's good. - The playing itself, try to focus on counting 4s. You are counting in 2 right now. So when you play your 8th note line, count 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 etc... and put a slight accent on the one. That will sound completely different. - See if you can mix phrases lengths. Some longer lines of 4 bars or more. - Let your lines be made of either a flow of 8th, or just space. In other words, on that first phrase, finish of cleanly instead of the quarter note then 2 eights. It's ok to do that, but for now, I would focus on nice long flow of 8ths.
If you post the sheet and I can listen at the same time, I might be able to tell more.
You can move on to chapter 2 from there, or do another, it's up to you.
How's playing the tunes?
your singing sounds really good btw, how's singing the tune?
Knotty Thank you for taking the time to post your detailed comments. I know you’re really busy managing and playing in Knotty by Nature, if you need a vocalist for your band, just let me know ha.
You know I didn’t even realize I was counting in 2s. I thought I was counting in 4s, I think I had set the metronome on 92 or 96 bpm. Maybe I’m unconsciously counting in 2s because when I practise my scales I have the metronome on the backbeats 2 and 4. Can you suggest me something to listen to so that I know what you mean and can readjust to counting in 4s ?
I will try to scan you my penciled score.
Could you please give me examples of ending cleanly ? Do you mean ending with a whole note or a half note ?
I’m on Lesson 3. Is the 3/4 time of A Froggy Day based on Someday My Prince Will Come ?
Counting in 4s. That means you think 4 8th notes at a time, and slightly accent the 1st. Right now, I hear accents every 2 notes. Thinking in 4s will not only make you swing, but it will help you build much more melodic line. It's surprisingly difficult to do. This will come out when you start improvising. Good examples of musicians who play nice long lines of 8th notes are Keith Jarrett or Clifford Brown. If you listen to Dave's recording, he plays a lot of long smooth line. When you pay attention, you can group the notes in 4s. It should be fairly easy to demonstrate on a simple scale the difference between accenting every other note versus every 4, maybe I try to post some if that's helpful.
By clean finish, I mean ending on an 8th note, then taking a rest. Versus ending on an 8th note, and filling the space with a few more notes. For example your first phrase, you finish with 1 quarter, then 2 eights. For now, I would focus on nice clean 8th note lines. Everything else you do will just be weaving in and out of that. Triplets here and there are ok, quarter note lines are ok too, but you want a strong 8th note foundation.
I think it was Knotty who commented in some thread that when you slow down solos to learn them, it is sometimes amazing what you find. Case in point: I'm working on Take the A Train, so I sang along with one of Ella Fitzgerald's recordings and tried to learn her two scat-singing solos. (This is way out of sequence in JOI - it is actually listed in Volume 2.) I guess I assumed that scat lines would not be complex, compared to instrumental lines, but look at this:
Looks suspiciously like a hemiola to me - sung in scat style at 200 BPM - really! Whodathunkit?
And BTW, the whole recording is a masterpiece, to my ears!
Counting in 4s. That means you think 4 8th notes at a time, and slightly accent the 1st. Right now, I hear accents every 2 notes. Thinking in 4s will not only make you swing, but it will help you build much more melodic line. It's surprisingly difficult to do. This will come out when you start improvising.
hmmm I still dont really get what it means to count in 4s please someone help
Knotty I'm with saiman, I'm still finding it difficult to differentiate counting in 4s and counting in 2s. It would be REALLY helpful if you could let us know with an example, if you find the time. I'm up to singing Got No Blues. It's nice that the banjo player got a brief go at soloing. I'm good at Hanons and the Blues tunes but I've spent a long time perfecting the rhythm of A Froggy Day. I think I might have cracked it today.
now that I see, I look at it a little differently.
The first thing is that I like how you mix short and long phrases. you have some nice long line in B and C. You do a few other things - You play tones in uncommon places. For example, your first line ends on the 9th, which is ok, if that's what you're trying to do, but 3 and 7 will provide less tension. Same on that Ebmaj7, ending on the #4 is ok, but tense. Experiment with those, but realize that 1 and 5 are very solid places to end, 3 and 7 next. Likewise, in B, when you start by playing the 4th on Cm7 on beat 1, that's uncommon. PLaying chord tones will make it sound more stable. Again, a matter a choice and taste. If you can hear all those things, that's great. If not, be sure to hear the chord tones first. - You use a good mix of scales vs arpeggios, that's nice. Though, when you lay out a G-7 argeggio over A-7b5, that is again uncommon. You just want to be aware of it. - The last thing I see is large leaps. The 2nd line of the B section. Leaps are ok, but they give a scattered effect. So if you use them a lot, it's break the feel of flow. You want your lines to visually look like Mountains and Hills, rather than cliffs. Guys like Eric Dolphy use lots of leaps. In fact, I think Dave is doing a master class on Dolphy next week, we'll see what he has to say about it.
I wish I could take credit for the long and the short phrases but I used Dave’s rhythm. In my next composition over Leaf Line, I’m going to do my own phrasing.
Tones in uncommon places Some were intended e.g. the first phrase ending on 9 was to produce an “elevated” effect (per the Frank Zappa masterclass !). But a lot of my ending tones were accidental e.g. ending with the Lydian on the Ebmaj7 produced a happy effect, but as you correctly pointed out, it’s too tense.
I didn’t think about the type of note with which I started on Beat 1. From now on, as well as looking at the way I end, I will make sure that I’m aware of how I start the first beat.
Arpeggios/scales which don’t match the chord You’re right, the Gmin arpeggios over Amin7 look weird. I used it because: - firstly the whole line was in Gmin, hence I could use the Bb, and - secondly, the next measure was in D7, hence I could anticipate it with the F#.
Shape of phrases Wow, I hadn’t thought of subjecting a tune to a topographical assessment. I’d like to aim for your “mountains and hills” landscape next time. When I look at your Yves’ Tune (btw I really like that title), it’s much smoother than mine.
I’m really looking forward to the Eric Dolphy masterclass.
Hey Simon Cool one ! Don't you love how everyone on JOI sings/hums. Yours was melodic and easy to sing along to. I really liked your long phrase of eighth notes at the end of Section A. It had a nice feel. Thanks for posting.
Thank you so much for commenting. I am sure knotty will find lots of room for improvement but its a start. I liked yours too. It sounded great. How did you manage to notate your score so well. I am struggeling to write music. Almost like a chore to me
Simon Thank you for the compliment about my tune. I don't know why you think you can't improvise. Having a melodic sense is the beginning of improv and yours sounded melodic enough to my ears. Did you write out the notes for your right hand melody ? I forgot whether you said you have a classical background or can read music ?