Does any of this sound familiar?
You’re building a repertoire of jazz tunes and you’re starting to feel comfortable playing the heads and getting around the changes when you solo. You know which notes fit over which chords and you’re developing a nice collection of voicings for accompaniment. It’s all working fine, as far as it goes. But there’s just one problem – you’re starting to notice that it sounds a little bit ‘square’. Maybe you’re getting trapped in four-measure phrases, or you feel as though the bar lines have become like a prison? Perhaps you tend to fall into repetitive patterns when comping? If only it all sounded a little bit more ‘hip’ rhythmically…
Rest assured – we all know that feeling! Almost all my intermediate to advanced students tell me a version of this story at some stage, and it’s something I’m always trying to work on myself. That’s why this lesson is designed to equip you with a host of exercises and ideas to get your phrasing onto the next level; I hope it also demystifies some of the rhythmic things that we all love on our favorite records. It’s not about playing everything in 5/4 or 7/4 (although I may well explore that in subsequent classes, if people would like me to) – it’s about achieving maximum rhythmic interest and variety in 4/4 and 3/4 time.
Although this is a stand-alone lesson in its own right, it builds to some extent on the material covered in my ‘Jazz Time Feel’ class; the two are certainly complementary to each other. That lesson was about giving our sense of time a real workout, whereas this one is about being rhythmically creative.
The lesson includes:
• Exercises to help you start and end phrases anywhere within a 4/4 measure.
• Polyrhythmic exercises that superimpose 3/4 against 4/4 time.
• Polyrhythmic exercises that superimpose 4/4 against 3/4 time.
• Exercises to help you feel 4/4 as 12/8, to open up phrasing possibilities.
• Explanation and demonstration of metric modulation.
• Exercises that employ uneven melodic and rhythmic groupings against a regular 4/4 pulse.
• Synchronized on-screen captions so that you know exactly what you’re hearing, when you’re hearing it.
• Neatly presented transcription of all materials in PDF format, cross-referenced with the on-screen captions.
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