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  1. #1

    Default Will All The Jazz Players Please Stand Up?

    Will all the jazz players please stand up?

    Of all the musical styles, jazz is completely American Ė we invented it. Yet unlike blues and rock, jazz is rarely mastered by guitarists. There are valid reasons behind that: ii V7 vamps and the Lydian chord werenít exactly what Jimmy Page was blasting out of his Marshall. And besides, jazz can be difficult to listen to and equally difficult to play. It's just so damn cerebral.

    But despite how it might look on the surface, jazz isnít really about dissonant tritones and finger-splitting voicings. Jazz is about freedom, whim and imagination. It's about being creative and improvisational. In a poetic sense, jazz is perhaps the only place that the American Dream actually exists.

    Spend a deep thought or two about why you're not learning jazz right now. Whether you're a blues or rock player, the motives and concepts of jazz make it one of the most rewarding dialects of the musical language. Jazz is about finding the groove, finding the music... finding yourself any way you want to. So get started.

    Here are a few jazz courses to open the door for you:

    50 Jazz Licks You MUST Know
    You just add water to this one. Quick, simple licks you can start jamming on right away.

    Larry Carlton's 335 Improv
    The master himself breaking down his approach to jazz's quintessential joy: improvisation.

    Fingerboard Breakthrough
    This course will single handedly reveal to you the upper level concepts jazz can bring to your playing.

    Truth. Love. Music.

    Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. - Erica Jong

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Blog Entries

    Question All that jazz!

    I had an instructor once who loved to play what I then called "dinner music" (soft jazz standards and such). I recall him telling me to "take off" using a major scale over some progression. But most of all I recall what he said to me when I did a simple little riff I thought might cause him to laugh. With excitement in his eyes and in his voice, he said, "That's jazz, man. That is what it is all about: improvising."
    Wish I had been smart enough to listen more closely to the man.
    Proverbs 17:22 says "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." So I could be overdosing. Alumnus of Jeff Beasley's Shred Warehouse Classroom; Steve Lasner's Bar Room Blues Workshop; & Les Wise's Fretboard Freedom Fighter Workshop. I'm fairly certain I forever will be simply a guitar student.

  3. #3


    Charlie-I like your encouragement to the group about not being afraid to try a little bit of jazz along their musical journeys. I certainly don't consider myself a jazzbo and have not really studied, but my guitar mentor and his wife (who sings and plays flute) have gotten into the popular jazz standards from the 30's and 40's. I remember initially thinking-"this wasn't the hippest stuff going" when they first started into to it. But initially to humor them, I would try to play along with the charts and took some ugly initial cuts at solos over the changes.

    I play and sing a broad range of stuff from Hank Williams to country rock, rock, blues all the way to Island music, but I have to tell you that in a short period of time, I became hooked on the great melodies that were written back then-and as you said-it's all about total freedom, and the groove. Once you settle into that groove and the music really starts to swing, it's very special feeling that you, your fellow players and your audience instantly relate to.

    I was at a 4th of July music party last night with many solid players of multiple musical stripes. There was a hard core rock thing happening down in the basement, and there was an eclectic mix of country, island, blues and pop on one side of the back yard with jazz standards going on in the other corner of the back yard. While my central taste was with the eclectic mix group, later in the evening, I slid over to the jazz standards session and immediately slipped into some tunes. I found that groove on my solo on the first tune and in the late night open air, it just carried me to another mystical zone-where you can just turn off your mind and become one with your guitar and the feel.

    While clearly this happens in other genres, I urge you to try playing along with some standards-they're totally melodic (no Sun Ra for me) and the harmonies and voicings you will learn in backing the vocalist and other soloists will greatly expand your chordal vocabulary, sense of harmony and harmonic structure. Those things will translate accross any genre you play and make you a better overall musician. I promise it won't make your other chops suddenly wimpy-trust me. Damn-I sound like a jazz teacher--definitely not a teacher, maybe a jazz preacher.
    Check it out,
    "Life's too short to play with dead strings"

  4. #4

    Default On Jazz

    Those are great stories about jazz. I can't play a lick of traditional jazz. I don't know the scales, the chords, the rhythms and I have a terrible time trying to play anything in 7/8 with intention.

    But despite what people know to be jazz as a genre, jazz is whatever comes out of you when you let go. Real jazz cannot be written down and taught. Real jazz is constantly original, constantly changing, constantly different.

    Jazz is eternal originality. If you learn someone's jazz solo, you're not playing jazz, you're playing a cover song. To embrace jazz isn't to embrace the scales, chords and patterns of the jazz that came before you, it's to embrace your musical imagination and then unleash unto the world.

    Play Jazz!
    Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. - Erica Jong

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