January 23, 2019

Jazz Style

Other Important Elements of Jazz

Trying to play jazz without knowing scales is like trying to speak English without knowing your ABC’s. You can get somewhere by copycatting grown ups (transcribing more advanced musicians), but without a conceptual context it’s hard to form original and interesting thoughts.

The goal is to communicate those interesting thoughts. The below videos explore what that looks like in a jazz context, given the idiosyncrasies of the jazz style and common harmonic schemes.

Beginner- Play Along Swing with Christian Howes

Learn to play over a common jazz progression.

If this progression or concept is unclear, please review the Tonal Improvisation module

Intermediate- Stomping at the Savoy

Various exercises on the piece “Stomping at the Savoy”

For more ways to use looping to your advantage while practicing, try Loops and Vamps

Please download the backing track from here. (MP3)

Advanced- Unaccompanied Jazz Violin

Some ideas for practicing playing jazz pieces with no accompaniment. How to create a accompaniment part and how to play melody with it.

More on playing unaccompanied in the Violin Harmony Handbook, found in the Harmony module.

Advanced- Donna Lee

Donna Lee is a bebop tune composed by Miles Davis and first recorded by Davis and Charlie Parker. The melody of the tune (0:00-0:32 on the video) is famously difficult; here, Christian models a way for violinists to navigate complex bebop melodies with the bow. Following the melody is relatively advanced solo which makes use of traditional bop language, as well as more modern licks and also some blues.

For more on some of the concepts used here, check out the Bebop Scale and Melodic Minor modules