O.K SO I've been extremely dishearted with my single line phrasing for almost a year now, and last night I sat with a 3 chord vamp till 5 a.m. I slowed down my line and thought Chord tone and a 'feel good' rhythm, like a Hard bop vibe. So I find the the pocket and I'm ecstatic. I'm playing the most rhythmic lines I've ever felt. NOt only that but now when I speed up and pick a scale with speed I'm now able to stay in the 'pocket' through the whole scale. But the point being the next day I notice that my left hand(lines) is now moving very fast, and my touch is WAY lighter than ever. My picking hand is also really solid as well, and it feels that a lot of my nice rhythm is being helped by a confident right hand. I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this? Especially the left hand all of sudden almost feeling light as a feather, when the day before it was strained. Anybody else go through dramatically exciting left hand/right hand breakthrough? Am interested because I would also like to be able to explain it better myself.
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I've had a few of those before, mostly where a concept I've been working on just suddenly clicked. At the moment I'm trying the idea of slow improvising which Warne Marsh talks about. Basically improvising over a standard but having the quarter note on about 60bpm or so. I had never thought about that before but it just makes so much sense, if gives alot of time for me to really hear what I want to play and then once I start playing the standards at a normal speed, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Being that i'm developing just improvisation in general (ie Aebersold books) and stuff, i haven't had a super-duper huge breakthrough.
however, i do believe that playing anything slow and focusing on relaxation and focusing on your lines will really give you a solid foundation.
sometimes, when i just pick up my acoustic and think of a tune and improvise over it, playing chord root tones with my lines, i notice that i often have some of the best lines.
jason, would you mind expanding what exactly was your case? I mean, exactly what was your problem, and what you did to solve it?
I'll definitely try to play some tunes at hyper-low speed. Maybe that way I'll be able to play them right (lol)
Well.....hmmmm.....I try to explain, but connecting to rhythm is hard one to flesh out. But basically whenever I played with a piano player at my school, is solo would come out so nice. His lines were long and connected(not fast), and they grooved, you could feel the rhythm. We are playin Autumn leaves, pretty straight jazz tune. But when I solo I always had this jagged uneven feel. LIke when the piano descends through the scale it really flowed cause everynote was places relatively in the 'pocket'(swung perhaps?) And also becaue he was connecting his melody musically through the changes. Like a clear melody that flowed through 4 chord changes, not playing constantly, but still connected, and ending. This caused me later in the evening to record(loop pedal) a small chord progression, and just sit with the chord tones(arppegios actually) and really think about rhythm. I it could have been scales or any other groups of notes but the point was focusing on the rhythm. Personally I was looking for a jazzy groove(hard bop) vibe. p.s. finding the pocket with that hard bop stuff seems to be a deadly portal into be-bop. As the faster lines are now just decorations around that feel good soulful hard bop feel. I've been listening to Grant Green lately, and listening to his blues influenced feel. The early blue note recordings are filled with that blues jazz vibe, played at moderate tempos. I think some of my problem was that if I couldn't get into this type of rhythm things that were faster and more complicated were just coming out rhythmically dull.
I feel you. Definitely, bebop should be studied before you can go modern.
Also, i think that the nature of the instrument - guitar - makes it difficult to connect fluidity. Two hands have to work together, and technically, a lot has to be considered. On saxophone or piano, connecting notes isn't such a task.
That's my opinion, anyway.
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