Ear training is highly sought after in jazz because much of the music involves using our ear to hear progressions, licks, movements and much more. The better ear you have, the better player you will be. So how exactly do we go about improving our ear and helping it to hear movements and notes better. In this podcast that’s exactly what I will tell you.
To make our solo’s sound good we need to be able to connect the chord changes smoothly in our right hand. This means hitting chord tones on down beats without having to think about it. The ability to play these chord tones on down beats as the chords are changing will allow our solos to reflect the harmonies perfectly. We want to practice this very slowly at first until we build up our spontaneous flow. This is not something you will be able to go fast with. If you do you will hinder your learning of this skill set.
Jazz information has always gone about jazz piano improvisation as if it is some trip to outer space. Well you have to explore yourself in order to find out how to improvise. I couldn’t disagree more. Jazz improvisation in the beginning is definitely a step by step process. In this episode we move on to step number 2, connecting the chord tones with notes from the major scale.
My good friend and also Dr. Samuel Griffith shares his insight about jazz. He has traveled and played in many different cities with many different artists. When it comes to jazz pedagogy and playing he is the man to talk to. I was learning so much even as I was interviewing him. I strongly suggest you get a pen and paper to take notes because this interview is filled with nuggets you can use in your playing! Enjoy!
Ballads can be tricky to play over because they are going so slllowwwlllyyy. What do you do to spice things up? Listen to the way Wynton Marsalis phrases his lines in this ballad recording I took when I was in college at the New School University. It’s an amazing texture to have available to use. Instead of holding out long lines with his horn, he actually plays very simply short lines and ends them with a short articulation. It’s as if he is talking through his trumpet and putting periods at the end of all of his lines. I hope you enjoy this. If you have questions please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer. Enjoy!