So I'm working on some bebop tunes, and I want to practice them in a way that I can play them trio, but it's rather tricky to throw in chords during the heads I'm working on (such as confirmation, donna lee, freight trane..). Does anyone have tips or ideas on practicing/combining chords with bebop heads?
Bebop tunes-trio(6 posts)
It's hard I guess, Kurt does it great on "Conception".
Im no good at this myself, but when I practice I try not take work with "big" chords. Have flow and swing in mind when practicing these type of tunes. Kurt use double stops as well as full chords and make it sound rich and full anyway. Check out passages in the head where you can play chord melody on each note. Some passages might have quarter notes or half notes instead of fast 8th notes all the time. Perhaps use that as a motif in your solo?
Sometimes playing a lot of chords on a head in a trio can take away from the melody, I've found at least. I remember a time when I felt a compulsion to play a chord any time I could, and if I heard a recording I'd think "hmm, that really wasn't necessary."
For Confirmation and Donna Lee, the only times I've played any chords in those heads is during a few measures here and there when the melody has a rest for a couple beats or more, like the 4th bar of the B section in Confirmation, and towards the end of Donna Lee over the Fm7-C7#9 part.
i recommend you just to listen th e masters of this style, this instrument, guitar. cause for that specific work you have to notice how they did in first term. to listen other bebop instrument players its ok but the way a piano player do this is obviously different that a guitarist usually does. so copy the masters. these are for me the masters of bebop guitar. Raney and Farlow. check out if you can Billy Bean and Billy Bauer and the great jim hall (last want is the best in comping things but not a bebop player) i recommend to listen too the great joe cohn, he is one of the best now
Listen to the way Joe Henderson plays Cheryl on State of the Tenor. It's all about nailing the rhythm and phrasing of the melody. I occasionally insert chords when playing a bop head, but so many times it is uneccesary because of the rich harmonic content embedded in the melody. I like a lot of trios with just Sax, Bass and Drums just to get a feel for letting the chords be implied by the melodic content over the bass line.
Even if you listen to a pianist like Bud Powell - his melodies are the driving force, more than anything else, he'll use chords as rhythmic accents. So I guess for the guitar it would be a good idea to find some 3 note rootless voicings that lend themselves well to voice leading, and start inserting them where you can - eventually you can pare it down to what sounds best, removing uneccesary stuff (as silverwater said).
Kurt uses IMMENSE chords and small chords, it seems like it would make sense to begin with the small moves, like a minor 9 to a 13 chord on a ii-V, then build up to bigger chords if neccesary. Come to think of it though, Kurt really seems to use the big stuff more on ballads, and medium standards, than on bop.
I suppose it's all about context.
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