In jazz, what separates the good players from the very best?

  • At the end of the day, in my experience playing with musicians from all over, the thing that sets someone apart is their time feel.
  • When I sit down to play with someone, I can instantly tell the caliber of their musicianship by their time feel.

Time Feel

            A good time feel is present in all types of music, from jazz to bluegrass,

rock to classical. While not everyone may understand what’s going on in the theory behind the music, everyone can understand groove.

Listen to your favorite music and think about the groove.

What makes it feel so GOOD?

                    Try playing along with recordings!

                            When playing with friends, see if you can replicate that groove!

Ways to Practice Groove

  • I hate to say it but… play with a metronome!!!
    1. This is #1 because it is the most important element of becoming the musician you want to be.
    2. The metronome is never wrong.
    3.  The metronome is your best friend!!
  • In jazz, its all about the quarter note.
    1. When you’re playing, see if you can lock in with the bass player (the bass drives the groove!)
    2. Can you feel the swing in just a quarter note?
  • Listen to your favorite players and emulate their sound/touch
    1. Listen for how they play their eighth notes
      1. Are they more triplety, or straight 8ths?
      2. Are they connected or detached?
      3. Do they accent certain parts of the phrases?
    2. Try to imitate their sound!

Here are some examples:

Bobby Timmons with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Keith Jarrett Trio

Herbie Hancock and Headhunters

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra ft. Roland Hanna

John Coltrane Quartet

How do YOU groove?

Picture of Sterling Cozza

Sterling Cozza

One Response

  1. Hi! Good Music selection. I’ve made an Harmony analyse about Coltrane’s“Giant Step” and how he made progression from main chord. Could maje a Post about that?? Thanks

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