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During the last fifteen years I have played many note for note transcriptions of solos by Evans, Hersch, Jarrett, Grusin, Shearing, Charlap, Alexander, Johnson, Waller, etc. But I have no training in jazz so I don't know most of the basic terminology. I'm hoping some of you real jazz pianists can fill me in.

1. I've noticed that much of time the pianist plays the song rather simply the first time, then does several improvisations, and then returns to a more straightforward playing of the song the last time. Are there names for the first and last time?

2. In some performances the pianist begins with some kind of motif that gets repeated or close to repeated throughout the performance. Here are several examples of what I'm talking about. Is there a name for this repetitive part?




3. When pianists like Waller or Tatum play one can usually clearly here the melody even when they are doing one of the improvisations, For many other pianists the melody become much less discernible during their improvisations and may only become easily identifiable again at the end of the song. Are there names for these two approaches?

4. Is there any special terminology for pianists who place a big emphasis on technique like Tatum or Peterson vs. those who don't play so much in that style like Evans or Hersch?

Thanks.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/05/21 11:02 AM.
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pianoloverus1. I've noticed that much of time the pianist plays the song rather simply the first time, then does several improvisations, and then returns to a more straightforward playing of the song the last time. Are there names for the first and last time?

https://www.apassion4jazz.net/glossary2.html

Head: The first (and last) chorus of a tune, in which the song or melody is stated without improvisation or with minimal improvisation.

4. Is there any special terminology for pianists who place a big emphasis on technique like Tatum or Peterson vs. those who don't play so much in that style like Evans or Hersch?

Chops: Technical ability, to execute music physically and to negotiate chord changes. Distinct from the capacity to have good ideas, to phrase effectively and build a solo.
Cool: The style of the early 50s, taken up by many white musicians and popular on college campuses. The basis was bebop, but the fastest tempos were not used and the sound was quiet and understated. Miles Davis was one of the main originators.

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If you want to think of it as sonata form: Head In is the exposition where the melody is introduced. After that players will improvise over the changes very much like the development section and then recapitulate the melody in the last chorus also called the head out.

The extent to which players incorporate the melody in their solos varies from player to player as does the style and amount of technical virtuosity.

In the first shearing track he chose to incorporate elements of the intro into his presentation of the melody and he set the melody of the second track in an impressionistic style accompaniment.


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I'd at with respect to the Shearing tune that what jazz players do at the start of a tune (before the Head) is the Intro, and what they do at the end (after the Head) is the Outro. These are frequently original ideas (some jazz tunes do have standard Intros and Outros) and often the performer will first decide on the arrangement they want for a tune and then write an Intro and Outro that fit the arrangement.

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The first time you play the melody it's called a

yodel

The 2nd time you play the melody at the end is called a

strudel

Last edited by Dfrankjazz; 05/05/21 05:37 PM.
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In about 5000 jazz gigs I’ve played (on bass) the only term I recall is the head, as in ‘back to the head’. The head refers to the melody played kinda straight.


Speaking of George Shearing, I was fortunate to see him and his group play a symphony pops concert in the ‘70s. It was with the Vancouver Symphony. The Pops series were sponsored by a Canadian cigarette company Du Maurier. Du Maurier always tortured everybody with it’s jingle, a well known (to Canadians) little ditty repeated constantly on tv and radio.

George Shearing had fun with the jingle and improvised endless versions to the point of the audience in stitches. He may of played the theme 30 times, in interesting ways.

Last edited by CaseyVancouver; 05/05/21 07:47 PM.
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Dfrankjazz:

If you are a yodel lover,
then don't hide behind the cover ;
but note that your favorite poodle
may choke on a piece of strudel!

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haha

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Dfrankjazz:

If you are a yodel lover,
then don't hide behind the cover ;
but note that your favorite poodle
may choke on a piece of strudel!

Great, now I want some strudel. smile

Interesting conversation.


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I always thought the first time through straight, is sorta serving the melody. Sort of, out of respect.
Between musicians, it sort of shows that one can actually play the melody straight. Yes, there are some that go straight for the improvisation b/c they can't play the melody. That's called slop. Don't bring that fancy stuff if you can't play it straight. That's the way to get busted.

Tatum could cook. He could play Blue Skies for half an hour.


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pianoloverus--ysk that in your 3rd vid above, Shearing is hardly improvising at all. The opening and closing are parts of a piece by Francis Poulenc, Mouvements Perpétuels, no. 3.

imo, not a great thing to do. just sayin.


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