Playing the Changes: It’s what separates the men from the boys.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Harmony, Improvisation, Practice Tips

mustachio-boy

Jazz improvisation is inherently subjective. What makes one solo “better” than any other is often a matter of taste, a preference for a given style. But while articulation, swing feel, and phrasing vary wildly from one great player to the next, every noteworthy improviser is able to effortlessly demonstrate a …read more

Roy Haynes Solo on “In Walked Bud”

Following up my first post regarding bebop drum vocabulary, I thought it would be fun to present an incredibly tasty Roy Haynes transcription.  This particular solo is from Thelonious Monk’s 1958 live album Misterioso, and features Thelonious on piano, Johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and the incomparable Roy Haynes on …read more

Patterns: Part 2 – Endless Possibilities

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Improvisation, Practice Tips, Sax

Maybe I’m just a math geek, but I love exploring patterns on my horn. A plethora of jazz literature is available on scalar/pattern studies (Jerry Coker, Oliver Nelson, David Baker, Slonimsky, etc.), each offering a veritable buffet of patterns for you to get under your fingers and have in your back pocket. You COULD just open one of these books, flip to any page, read the lick, and transpose into all 12 keys, and repeat. But for …read more

Bebop Solos for Drumset

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Drumset, Improvisation, Inspiration, Practice Tips

Bebop Drum Solos

One of the challenges in teaching jazz drumset to younger musicians is connecting the dots between their existing physical technique and a stylistic concept of what it means to play jazz/bebop vocabulary.  John Riley has authored three incredible books: The Art of Bop Drumming, Beyond Bop Drumming, and The Jazz Drummer’s Workshop; all of which prove helpful to students over the course of their …read more

Patterns: Part 1 – Why Practice Patterns?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Improvisation, Practice Tips, Sax

Let’s start by eliminating what patterns are NOT:

Most patterns are NOT solo material. Plug in your David Baker diminished pattern lick over the first altered dominant chord you can find at your next gig, and your solo will be about as tasty as soggy, cold French fries. Yes, they are still French fries, and technically they qualify as food, but would you ever walk into B.K. and ask …read more