So I've only recently started to listen to jazz. Of course, I've grown to be very interested in players like Kurt, and the thing I struggle most with is soloing. I have so much trouble with my phrasing as well as staying ahead of the song mentally. I always find myself falling behind or struggling to play chord tones over the changes. Since I've only recently entered the world of fusion and jazz (from blues and rock), the frequent modulations have been difficult for me. How should I learn to play better solos in jazz?
Where to start with jazz soloing?(2 posts)
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There's one exercise which has helped me a lot. This will really help get comfortable with the changes of the song that you're working on as well as getting familiar with chord tones.
Play through the song that you're working on using only chord tones, start out with playing strictly half notes (two notes in a bar of 4/4). There's two ways to do this, you can either vary it up by alternating between the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th. Or you can just pick one, and play the 3rd of each chord for one chorus. Then repeat using a different chord tone, say the 7th.
So if you're playing Autumn Leaves in Em, the first 8 bars go Am / D7 / Gmaj7 / Cmaj7 / F#m7(b5) / B7 / Em / Em
So you play the third of each chord, which would be C, F#, B, E, A, D#, G. Try and play in all registers and positions, though it helps to be systematic, and learn one position at a time.
Since Autumn Leaves has mostly one chord per bar, it lends itself well to playing two notes per bar. You can do an exercise where you play the 3rd and 7th of each chord. So you play C G / F# C / B F# / E B / A E / D# A / G D
For more one this type of stuff I really recommend Forward Motion by Hal Galper. There's a lot more detail, and he also talks about the importance of rhythm in your phrasing.
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