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How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
#2350112 11/14/14 01:33 PM
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This question takes me for many years. Firstly in the bass line in left hand there is always notes that disappear, and no matter how hard I press. In scales, exercises and classical pieces this is not observed, but there is no a walking bass.
Second, while playing with both hands, the rhythm in the left hand is distorted; at a slow pace almost no, average pace noticeably , and fast - beneath criticism! Of course the traditional working methods are known to me: each hand separately, together slowly, gradually speed up, put the metronome on offbeat - and work patiently.
However, I have reached a certain point, and no more improvement for many years.

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Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350525 11/15/14 10:08 AM
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Hi Nahum,
You may be too critical of yourself. Can u post a short sample of those tempos?

Check out this videos on playing Bass lines. Some of it will be review.Walking Bassline Clinic with Dave Frank -pt.1: http://youtu.be/kyRdNAMfYH4


Also check out this video on playing fast or very fast
Learn to BURN! Jazz Master Class w/Dave Frank: http://youtu.be/fo7VRF_Uj7o
Skip to the end to see this guy play baseline and improvise well in the 300..

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350564 11/15/14 11:24 AM
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knotty, I am very grateful to you for your response! My post is not the result of excessive self-criticism - I just stopped deceive ourselves: each has its weaknesses, I see it as a problem of solo playing. All my professional life I have been fortunate to play with the best musicians from the region , and also from United States; but it was always in the ensemble.Practically, if the orchestra suddenly left me alone to play solo with a walking bass, somebody from friends quietly snapping rhythm for assistance; I never asked about it, but friends and colleagues always know themselves ...
With Dave we are a little friends via all about jazz and facebook , and I watched his videos over and over again - a very high level of professionalism!With Dave we are a little friends via all about jazz and facebook , and I watched his videos over and over again - a very high level of professionalism! However, just by observation can not fix mistakes, if they do not belong to the theory; theoretically, I just know a lot and very well!

http://www.mediafire.com/listen/0wachcvf91eyc6q/How.mp3


Last edited by Nahum; 11/15/14 11:52 AM.
Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350628 11/15/14 04:01 PM
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Nahum,

I'm not sure if you're asking what YOU should do to improve your ability to walk bass lines. Or maybe you're trying to start general discussion about how to walk bass lines? Or perhaps the idea of your question is how to improve a skill when we reach what appears to be a peak?

I myself learned to walk bass lines on gigs I played w/out bass players. I used to play in a lot of clubs in the Newark area in NJ (across the Hudson River) from NYC where bands had organ players who walked bass liness...So no bass players on those gigs. That was just the way it was ....

In those days some organ players brought their organs to gigs in a hearse! So there were more than a few organists and horn players who were surprised to see a guy (me!) show up with a synth–my Roland Juno-106–in a guitar case. One of the bands I used to play with sometimes had Dr. Lonnie Smith–who's still playing and one of the all-time great organists. So the standards in those clubs and with those bands–and the tempos–were up there at a hight level. And tempos could be fast. As in blistering fast!

What I learned from those experiences was SWINGING THE BAND was everything. And that "swinging the band" has absolutely nothing to do with playing a lot of notes or sophisticated lines. Swinging the band is simply swinging the band–meaning playing with a feel that contributed to and helped the band. A "feel" so the tenor play or the guitarist or whomever was inspired to play a solo because everything was swinging.

And then when I soloed the "feel"–the "swing"–had to continue. So right notes? Wrong notes? Articulated notes? Held notes? None of that mattered because what the band wanted to hear were "swinging" notes!

Then when you go to the piano the morning after a gig where you've walked bass lines all night long and particularly with a steaming, smoking drummer you can literally feel and hear how much improvement came about from learning on the gig Because learning on the gig leads you to find your own tricks and your own ways of doing things.

Of course I'm not saying notes and lines don't matter. Of course they they do! And of course the changes had to be made. But all things considered making the band swing–THAT was the important thing and simple lines that swung were preferable to anything and everything else. And the thing about simplicity is it's an art in of itself. We can always simplify more and in so doing reach further to an essential part of the art. ('Tis a gift to be simple!).

All above is to say walking bass lines on a gig where you have to swing the band is a pretty good way to learn how to walk bass lines. So yes, we can practice and slowly and raise tempo bit by bit. (Although that's not what I recommend but that's a different story). Yes, we can work hands apart (which I do recommend). Yes, we can learn everything possible from Lennie Tristano and Dave McKenna–because they're the piano walking bass virtuosos of all time. In olden days I used to sit at the piano bar at the Copley Hotel in Boston where Dave McKenna often played six nights a week. And I'd listen and be amazed. But tthese days Larry Goldings (better known to some as Hans Groiner) may be the "master" walker. Or perhaps Michael LeDonne. But then going back in time Earl Hines is an amazing influence. And my taste in organists would also be to mention Larry Young. Of course there are many other great great players!

Maybe the two pianists I've heard who swung the hardest with walking bass lines were Jaki Byard (who's of course well known and I very fortunately studied with him) and Danny Mixon (who used to play with Betty Carter and Charles Mingus). DM's probably best known in NYC. They were both capable of outswinging entire bands on their own .. which was amazing and something that had to be heard.

Certainly there's a lot more to be said about how to learn walk bass lines. And Dave Frank's videos, as Knotty pointed out, are EXCELLENT. So is a book by Neil Olmstead about linear solo piano playing. Maybe it should be said that every pianist should sooner or later play through walking bass trancriptions or transcribe bass lines. And playing Bach is really helpful too.

But, as the final and the best step, playing bass lines on a gig, having to work through all the things that come up in the moment when we play music, that's a gold standard. Because the important thing is walking bass line at the piano is an attempt to emulate the role and sound of a bass player. With that idea in mind,and with the experience of doing it and feeling it as part of a group, things feed into a solo piano style that can be rich with the actual experience of swinging a band.

Here's a blog article I wrote about walking bass lines.

http://www.polishookstudio.com/2014/02/walking-bass-lines-for-jazz-piano.html

The post's more about the philosophy than the practicalities of walking bass lines. But get the philosophy, the concept, of what you want to do and the notes are just practicalities. .... practicalities that may take a long time to learn depending on what's required, of course. But knowing what we want to do. That has to come first.

Anyway, I hope this helps the discussion ....

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350656 11/15/14 05:00 PM
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Nahum, I'd be happy to meet with you sometime free of charge to help you with this, where are you located? On Earth?

Dave Frank

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350699 11/15/14 07:03 PM
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It's so simple.

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350700 11/15/14 07:04 PM
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It's so simple... strange no one ever delivers the pearl of wisdom.

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Dfrankjazz #2350943 11/16/14 08:38 AM
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Mark, this is just grand - not just the answer, but a whole article in the jazz magazine. I can only envy your language proficiency and clear style of statement ! I'm sorry, that does not explain my intentions, poor knowledge of English makes me write almost telegraphic style; otherwise it takes hours of time.
I'm not really an amateur, and if I make money only from jazz, then perhaps I have to a certain extent right to be called a professional jazz musician .

http://jazzideas.com/biography.asp

In recent years, I perform a little, but actively teach ( I do it for 43 years) , and try to do it with a maximum sense of responsibility - what I don't know and can not demonstrate I do not teach, do not want to be a charlatan, which has seen a lot! On the other hand walking bass is an integral part of the jazz piano, and it is necessary to study in any case. However, I categorically deny study a walking bass in the initial stage, and also after that; combine the piano swing melody in the right hand and a walking bass - CRAZY HARD !!! How long does the novice to master the coordination of drive in the left hand with periodic laid-back on the right? What I see around me every day - that's an accurate rendition metronomic rhythm in the left hand, combined with accurate triplets or dotted rhythm in the right hand. Complete distortion of the concept of "sense of swing " .
Jazz in the rhythm of polka?
So IMO a preliminary step to explore a walking bass I consider familiarity with the concept of Erroll Garner with his guitar comp in the left hand. This is certainly easier - hand acts much static and repeats the chords by quarters.
It was interesting to get acquainted with the Mark's way to walking bass. I had no such luck: up to the age of 26 years, I have never played a walking bass, did not know what to play, and how; simply there was no need . Only with the move to the Promised Land, I started immediately to work as an organist in the nightclub - and here the problem came out! ! Since then much water has flowed, and VERY many hours were spent to solution of the problem .
BTW, it is hardly possible to compare the true organists with pianists: I immediately noticed that they had a walking rhythm usually comes out better; Only later I understood - why: organists are stepping on bass pedals as on the floor, and groove is maintained even unconsciously.
Originally Posted by Mark Polishook

Here's a blog article I wrote about walking bass lines.

http://www.polishookstudio.com/2014/02/walking-bass-lines-for-jazz-piano.html


Thanks for the link, Mark, I'll read it!

Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
Nahum, I'd be happy to meet with you sometime free of charge to help you with this, where are you located? On Earth?


Dave, thank you very much for such a generous offer! We have already been in contact - take a look in your email at 24.10.10 - rikimanor.



Last edited by Nahum; 11/16/14 08:39 AM.
Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2350945 11/16/14 08:55 AM
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Hi Nahum,

Glad what I posted was helpful. I agree w/you about Erroll Garner as a first step. With that said, stride is an equally important part of the learning curve. And the discussion perhaps should be reframed to the 'the role of the left hand.'

Don't worry about your English!

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2351003 11/16/14 12:03 PM
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good notes... left heel tap... lead in front of pulse tap (bass horse pulls the carriage, drive it)

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2351116 11/16/14 05:24 PM
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Nahum~~
You are getting lots of good advice to consider. Walking bass line is one of those things I regularly struggle with and I hope my take on it adds to the mix in a positive way for you.

Right and left hand independence and improvisation in each is such a desirable ability/skill, if not one of the most important.

Rather than jumping into trying a walking bass improvisation with RH improvisation, maybe try utilizing a few different-simpler methods to help guide you to that level of technical ability and musical vocabulary.

I think using a variety of approaches helps to deepen your connection to the type of music you want to play as well as to help teach you to develop your own style.

Find an instructor to help you directly. It is invaluable. Contact Dave

1. Try playing a bass pattern you can easily internalize. For example, take a blues bass line that you can maintain with a steady, strong, tempo. Then improvise your right hand over the structured/emphasized bass figures. Watch this guy explain/show how good left hand independence using simple blues figures in the left hand can be an advantage. There are lots of good examples out there, I really like this approach:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2o4cjHFJJI

2. Stride/Ragtime piano is another huge influence in jazz piano history and can help you develop hand-brain independence
Stephanie is one of the best stride/ragtime piano players out there
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2o4cjHFJJI

3. Play some Bach - inventions, for example
4. Play Chopin Mazurkas

5. Record yourself often as another method of feedback. Don't worry about sounding bad. It's inevitable.

6. Listen to lots of jazz

6. Be patient, it's a process and most of all - have fun!!

Hope this helps


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Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2352320 11/19/14 01:12 PM
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Thanks all of you for your advices! Now, I can build on the topic clear curriculum.

A dialogue with Dave Frank introduced me to a brilliant teacher, precise guides student to solve the problem.

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2352369 11/19/14 02:57 PM
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I know a guy in Oakland who doesn't play bass at all with his left hand. He does chords, he comps, pretty much does it all except bass lines. He simply can't, he doesn't have the coordination for it. If a gig requires him to do bass, he declines to do the gig, or if he's looking to join a new band that's one of the things they talk about.

And before I get some snarky responses, this guy has made his living from music for the past 40 years. He toured with the Whispers in the 80s and wrote a couple of their songs (one called "Can't Stop Loving You" which is pretty well known), and he gigs frequently around the Bay Area. So the point is you don't necessarily need to play bass lines.

Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Michael Martinez #2352404 11/19/14 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
I know a guy in Oakland who doesn't play bass at all with his left hand. He does chords, he comps, pretty much does it all except bass lines. He simply can't, he doesn't have the coordination for it.

Michael, I understand that the guy you are talking about, does not play a walking bass for 40 years. I also understand that in his left hand he plays chords, not doubles right hand.
On this my understanding ends. If this guy can talk while walking, and it is much more difficult to coordinate, it can also play a line in his left hand! If he is not able to talk while walking - and it happens to very old people, then another thing !There are a number of diseases that lead to ataxia, but in your post about it doesn't say anything.

Last edited by Nahum; 11/19/14 04:10 PM.
Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2352463 11/19/14 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
On this my understanding ends. If this guy can talk while walking, and it is much more difficult to coordinate, it can also play a line in his left hand! If he is not able to talk while walking - and it happens to very old people, then another thing !There are a number of diseases that lead to ataxia, but in your post about it doesn't say anything.


This guy does not have any disease, he's not very old, he just finds it hard to play bass while also playing in his right hand. But my point is that it hasn't prevented him from making a career as a keyboardist. In your post you said you have been stuck for many years without progress. Well, maybe you simply can't get any better in this particular thing, but it shouldn't preclude you from moving forward overall. if you're doing a solo gig you don't necessarily NEED to play walking bass lines.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 11/19/14 06:25 PM.
Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Michael Martinez #2352469 11/19/14 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by Nahum
On this my understanding ends. If this guy can talk while walking, and it is much more difficult to coordinate, it can also play a line in his left hand! If he is not able to talk while walking - and it happens to very old people, then another thing !There are a number of diseases that lead to ataxia, but in your post about it doesn't say anything.


This guy does not have any disease, he's not very old, he just finds it hard to play bass while also playing in his right hand. But my point is that it hasn't prevented him from making a career as a keyboardist. In your post you said you have been stuck for many years without progress. Well, maybe you simply can't get any better in this particular thing, but it shouldn't preclude you from moving forward overall. if you're doing a solo gig you don't necessarily NEED to play walking bass lines.
I think the discussion here is about improving the skill of playing walking bass. A separate thread about the importance of playing left hand bass to gig sounds like something you can start.


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Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Michael Martinez #2352582 11/20/14 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez

This guy does not have any disease, he's not very old, he just finds it hard to play bass while also playing in his right hand.

I wonder how he plays works by Bach. But there is a difference, and maybe this is where my problem: one thing - to play two accurately learned constant lines , another - to create these parties spontaneously, even with preparation.


Quote
In your post you said you have been stuck for many years without progress. Well, maybe you simply can't get any better in this particular thing, but it shouldn't preclude you from moving forward overall. if you're doing a solo gig you don't necessarily NEED to play walking bass lines.

In a slow and slow - medium tempo it goes, faster - no. Somewhere in a brain sits supervisor, who knows a lot, but from time to time does not know what to choose.


Re: How to combine a walking bass with improvisation in r.h.
Nahum #2352901 11/20/14 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Somewhere in a brain sits supervisor, who knows a lot, but from time to time does not know what to choose.


happens to the best of us. Not necessarily a flaw.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 11/20/14 06:23 PM.

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