Evolution of ii - V - I

(5 posts)
  1. piggyfly0000

    Hi all,

    I'm a few years into playing jazz, and I wanted to hear your personal thoughts on ii - V's. When I started playing, a teacher suggested I should outline the changes of a standard and connect the last note of an arpeggio with another note < a whole step of the next arpeggio. This exercise was great in the beginning but limited my playing in the end. Then I started thinking about tension and release while I paid attention to the rhythm and feel of the music. I tried not to think too much about the "theory" behind my lines. This approach was liberating in a sense, but I still outlined the chords and incorporated some passing notes to phrase my lines. Then, someone suggested I should sing what I would play before I placed my hand on an instrument. I suck at singing, so it helped a little bit. I'm still dissatisfied and need some advice. Can you guys tell me how you started off thinking about ii-Vs, and how you approach them now?

  2. fakejake

    I started out pretty much the same way as you described, practicing arpeggios and targeting guide tones. Learning a couple of lines also helps a great deal. Recently I started to work on triad pairs which instantly give you a more modern sound when playing over 251s.
    As with anything in learning an instrument, it's a circular process. I guess you'll always come back to practicing arpeggios and outlining the changes, and each time you grasp more of the underlying concepts and language.
    I'm far from being a good or accomplished player, still I play way better than I ever thought I would when I first started out listening to and playing Jazz, so I guess there is hope....

  3. piggyfly0000

    I completely agree that learning jazz is very circular. I actually decided to work on my triplet feel today haha.

  4. Sandemose

    I like working with intervals, like for instanse, sixts and make my way through a song being consistant in playing only sixts. Like in Autumn Leaves, you might play Bb-G (Cm), B-Ab (F7), C-A (Bbmaj), D-Bb (Ebmaj). Then I pick another interwal, now I work quite much with 4ths. I like the stuff Kurt talks about in the Gdansk clinic. Work hard with the basics. Learning stuff so you can play it by heart.

    Off topic: I realized that I memorize tunes better when I first play through it a couple of times, making a simple bass note/chord arrangement (if possible) of the tune (Alice in wonderland is the latest), and then I transpose it a major 3rd up or down, trying to play the song just by ear, using different sting sets and chord stuctures. It gets much better internalized. I realized this when I played with this great singer, and she wanted to play a song a major 3rd down. The song totally opened after a few turns.

    Best, Sandemose

  5. piggyfly0000

    I just realized something. Once again, I approached music the wrong way. I just finished reading an article on Brad Mehldau's website. In one of his articles he writes, "When a jazz musician blows an uninspired solo, he or she dies right in front of us – and we die with them, of boredom. When a jazz musician blows a great solo though, he or she avoids dying a creative death in real time, right in front of us, for all to see. It is a victory and it’s a thrill – it’s the jazz Sublime." My dissatisfaction comes from a lack of inspiration. Basically, I think I'm not getting out of any of these exercises because I am not inspired as of now. I now understand your satisfaction with your sound is NOT a product of all of the exercises you have done. I think I will only feel good about my playing when I play something out of true inspiration.... right???? hahah



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