Jazz Time Feel Class Content | Jamie Taylor
Jazz Time Feel- with UK jazz guitarist Jamie Taylor
Amazing time and fantastic feel is the constant factor that unites all the jazz greats in history, from Louis Armstrong to Kurt Rosenwinkel. I’m always surprised that it isn’t discussed more often, and there are certainly a lot of myths surrounding the topic, such as “feel can’t be taught”, “jazz quavers are really triplets” (at best, a massive over-simplification!), or the contrasting and equally misleading tenet that “jazz quavers can’t be notated”.
Of course, the truth is that feel can be analyzed and worked on just like anything else, and a little bit of focus on this topic can produce really dramatic improvements in your playing in a short time. Sometimes what we need to do as musicians is not to get new things into our playing, but to deliver our existing vocabulary better. That well-worn II-V-I lick you’re so tired of can suddenly sound like a million dollars when you get it right in the middle of the pocket!
This lesson includes:
• Analysis and demonstration of different kinds of jazz quaver feel
• Exercises to develop your relationship with the time – play deliberately behind the beat, then snap back up against the pulse!
• “Gear shifting” exercises to improve your rhythmic accuracy.
• A wide range of metronome exercises to really benefit your improvisation and comping.
• A highly flexible “phrase chart” exercise, that helps you to develop complete variety and control in your phrasing and articulation over familiar forms.
• Advice on preparing to play repertoire from either end of the tempo spectrum.
• Suggested listening to help you identify the different types of delivery employed by the jazz greats.
• Synchronized on-screen captions so that you know exactly what you’re hearing, as you’re hearing it!
• Neatly presented written examples of all exercises in PDF format.
View a clip from Jamie’s class
|Jazz Time Feel|
|Jazz Time Feel||01:12:00|
Further Phrasing Concepts Class Content | Jamie Taylor
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.
View a clip
|Further Phrasing Concepts|
|Further Phrasing Concepts||01:09:00|
Rhythm Changes – A Two Speed Approach Class Content | Jamie Taylor
A ‘Two-Speed’ Approach To Rhythm Changes
It’s probably the second most called tune in the repertoire, after the blues, but the famous “Rhythm Changes” (i.e. the many variants of Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”) always presents a challenge to musicians at every level of experience.
As we study this tune, we should be aware that it’s simultaneously the most complex and the simplest piece in the book; hence the ‘two-speed’ approach. This lesson has been carefully designed to offer something to everyone: on the one hand, it includes a wide range of chord substitutions, lines and progressions we can add to the basic form, whilst on the other hand, we deconstruct the song and reduce it to its barest essentials.
This jazz guitar lesson includes:
- Advice on creating lines over a static major tonality.
- Advice on breaking down the difficult A section into a simpler (but still convincing) progression.
- Simple lines to negotiate the full A section changes, broken down into their component parts, so that you can create similar ones of your own.
- Thorough discussion and demonstration of several different bridge progressions.
- Thorough discussion and demonstration of many different harmonic substitutions, including ideas relating to the playing of great saxophonists like Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane.
- Advice on how to get “outside” the changes in your lines.
- Clear and detailed PDF containing many written examples.
- Synchronised on-screen captions, so that you know exactly what you’re hearing at any given moment.
- Every concept discussed is broken down slowly, and then performed at tempo with rhythm section backing, so you can hear it in a performance context.
|Rhythm Changes - A Two Speed Approach|
|Rhythm Changes – A Two Speed Approach||01:12:00|
Blues – A Two Speed Approach Class Content | Jamie Taylor
A “Two-Speed” Approach to Blues
Following on from a customer suggestion (thanks Ray!), this class utilizes the two-speed approach previously applied to Rhythm Changes, to deal with another essential jazz progression, from first principles through to advanced variants. Players at all levels should find something beneficial amongst nearly 1hr 50mins of detailed material.
- Discussion of the essential blues vocabulary. Forget the so-called “blues scale” – there’s much more to the sound than that!
- Demonstration of the classic “Kenny Burrell” sound, over a simple I, IV, V chord progression.
- Learn how the standard “jazz blues” changes differ from this, and how to bring out the crucial changes in your solo lines.
- Learn how to use a variety of harmonic techniques to get “outside” the changes and create real tension in your blues lines.
- Analysis of ten different variant blues progressions, as recorded by the jazz blues greats.
- A close look at two brand new blues-based compositions, which show how the essential format can still be manipulated into an infinite range of variations.
- Synchronized on-screen captions.
- Detailed PDF, including transcribed examples and lots more.
- Running Time: 1hr 50min
|Blues - A Two Speed Approach|
|Blues – A Two Speed Approach||01:48:00|
A Guide to Practical Comping – Part 1 Class Content | Jamie Taylor
Advanced Jazz Guitar Lesson: A Guide To Practical Comping – Part One:
The art of jazz guitar accompaniment, and the study of chords in general, can be daunting topics, especially if you’re new to the style. That’s why this lesson dives straight in with the essentials; it’s full of devices that you can go out and use on your next gig. The focus here isn’t on complicated harmonic theory; it’s all about getting stuck in to the basic changes of well-known standards, and giving them a sprinkling of the magic dust! During almost 90 mins of easily digestible material, we learn all sorts of tips and tricks that the pros use to make their accompaniments sparkle. Even if you’ve never comped a set of jazz chord changes before, this video gives you all the tools you need to emulate greats like Joe Pass, Freddie Green, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Martin Taylor. No need to worry about struggling to keep up either – every concept we cover is broken down slowly and notated fully (including tablature) on the accompanying PDF. There’s plenty to keep the more experienced player occupied too…
Topics covered include:
- Quickly build a rock-solid foundation of basic jazz shapes.
- Add passing chords to basic progressions to keep them moving.
- Introduction to moving inner parts.
- ‘Freddie Green’ style 4-to-the-bar comping. What shapes to use, what technique to use, how to get that sound!
- Martin Taylor/Joe Pass style bass line comping. The class includes a complete chorus of this over “All The Things You Are”, played slowly and fully tabbed out on the PDF.
- Voice leading through common progressions – all over the guitar.
- Combine voicings with scales, to make exciting chord/melody phrases.
Finally, the class comes complete with a 13-page PDF booklet (including standard notation and tablature), plus synchronised on-screen captions, so you know exactly where you are at all times.
|A Guide to Practical Comping - Part 1|
|A Guide to Practical Comping – Part 1||01:27:00|
A Guide to Practical Comping – Part II Class Content | Jamie Taylor
This jazz guitar class builds on the foundations established in Part One of a guide to practical comping, to expand the vocabulary to the point where we can comp with total melodic freedom over any almost any kind of harmonic situation. The advanced player may wish to take this class as a standalone lesson in its own right, but when combined with the first video, it supplies a pretty comprehensive approach to fret board harmony.
The main focus here is on combining our chordal repertoire with our knowledge of scales, so that we are able to produce accompaniments that are as varied and interactive as we would want our solo lines to be. During almost 1hr50m of material, we examine a huge range of harmonic possibilities, whilst relating everything back to something familiar. If you’ve ever had the feeling that you understand the theory but find it difficult to apply, this class might have some practical solutions.
Topics covered in this jazz guitar lesson include:
- Quartal voicings for the major scale and all its modal applications
- How to apply this to appropriate pieces from repertoire
- Extended modal voicings to facilitate more complex textures
- How to see and hear these in the context of something familiar
- Discussion of simple and more complex triad applications
- Quartal and modal voicings for the melodic minor scale
- Specific application of these to appropriate standard repertoire
- A simple, accessible guide to diminished and whole-tone harmony
- Specific application again to appropriate standard repertoire
- Some general practical advice from the bandstand
The class comes with a 14-page PDF booklet (including tablature) cross- referenced with a series of synchronized on-screen captions.
|A Guide to Practical Comping - Part II|
|A Guide to Practical Comping – Part II||01:48:00|
Making the Changes – Jamie Taylor’s approach Class Content | Jamie Taylor
After going to hear a recital of baroque music recently, I was reminded of the way that composers over the centuries made such harmonically beautiful music despite drawing on what, in jazz terms, could appear to be a rather limited palette of quite simple chords. Of course, these long-established harmonic principles also formed the vocabulary for the Great American Songbook classics that we all love to improvise on.
In my view, this stuff really isn’t as complex as it’s sometimes made out to be. It would seem logical that the same devices used to create these tunes, decades ago, could be used to inform our attempts to solo over them. It’s never really made sense to me when we try to explain Cole Porter songs in terms of a analytical language that he almost certainly wouldn’t have recognized.
Over the last fifty years or so, we have seen the emergence of “jazz theory” as a discipline in its own right. I don’t intend to add to the debates that already exist about the merits of various approaches – all these things can have great merit when used in the right context. Nevertheless, the aim of this session is to try and explain the very simple infrastructure at work in jazz standards, and to show that there are times when a very literal ‘match the scale to the chord symbol’ approach may well confuse matters by leading us into poor note choices.
If you understand major and minor keys, you know everything you need to get started, and shouldn’t go far wrong. Maybe we can put away those huge textbooks filled with terrifying mathematical concepts that make our brains ache – at least for a while? I like wrestling with all that stuff sometimes too, but there must be easier ways to get started…
IN THIS CLASS
For the Less Experienced
For the less experienced player, I aim to offer some understanding of how standard songs work, so that you have some ideas about how to quickly find effective note choices against changing chords. If you’ve ever wondered why that textbook Mixolydian scale doesn’t sound right over the dominant 7th you’re playing over, the answers can be found here.
For the Experienced Improviser
I hope to offer some perspectives that might not have occurred to you, even if you already solo pretty fluently over chord changes. There’s a good chance that there might be easier ways to think about some of those awkward harmonic corners in your favourite tunes.
This class includes:
- A detailed 22 page PDF booklet with analysis, chord symbols, standard notation, and TAB.
- Synchronized on-screen captions.
- Explanation of some centuries-old harmonic concepts which shed light on why the chords in standard songs do what they do, and offer an alternative to some of the really daunting jazz theory concepts such as diminished scales and altered modes etc.
- Analysis of two well-known standards, contrasting older and more recent ways of looking at what’s happening.
- Example lines notated and tabbed – not only mine, but some from great jazz recordings too!
- Running time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Hopefully there’s something here for everyone – look forward to seeing you in class!
|Making the Changes - Jamie Taylor's approach|
|Making the Changes – Jamie Taylor’s approach||01:27:00|
Making the Changes – Jamie Taylor’s approach – Part 2 Class Content | Jamie Taylor
After going to hear a recital of baroque music, I was reminded of the way that composers over the centuries made such harmonically beautiful music despite drawing on what, in jazz terms, could appear to be a rather limited palette of quite simple chords. Of course, these long-established harmonic principles also formed the vocabulary for the Great American Songbook classics that we all love to improvise on. In my view, this stuff really isn’t as complex as it’s sometimes made out to be. It would seem logical that the same devices used to create these tunes, decades ago, could be used to inform our attempts to solo over them. It’s never really made sense to me when we try to explain Cole Porter songs in terms of a analytical language that he almost certainly wouldn’t have recognized.
Over the last fifty years or so, we have seen the emergence of “jazz theory” as a discipline in its own right. I don’t intend to add to the debates that already exist about the merits of various approaches – all these things can have great merit when used in the right context. Nevertheless, the aim of this session is to try and explain the very simple infrastructure at work in jazz standards, and to show that there are times when a very literal ‘match the scale to the chord symbol’ approach may well confuse matters by leading us into poor note choices. If you understand major and minor keys, you know everything you need to get started, and shouldn’t go far wrong. Maybe we can put away those huge textbooks filled with terrifying mathematical concepts that make our brains ache – at least for a while? I like wrestling with all that stuff sometimes too, but there must be easier ways to get started…
Running time 60 minutes
33 pages of written material including transcriptions and examples in standard notation and TAB
|Making the Changes - Jamie Taylor's approach - Part 2|
|Making the Changes – Jamie Taylor’s approach – Part 2||01:00:00|
Heads, You Win! Class Content | Jamie Taylor
Over many years of working with jazz guitar students, I’ve noticed that memorizing, retaining, and delivering standard song melodies is a very common area of weakness. Student players often seem to be in a great hurry to get stuck into their solo, to such an extent that they sometimes haven’t learned the melody at all, or else they are only able to deliver it in a rather stiff fashion, ‘context-locked’ to a particular key or area of the fingerboard.
This has a number of detrimental effects – it makes it very difficult to remember tunes, it makes it unlikely that our solos will sound particularly musical, and it can mean that listeners are inclined to draw negative conclusions about our playing before we’ve even begun to improvise. On the other hand, if we take a more careful and thorough approach to learning heads, we can sound convincing from the very first measure, with some of the 20th century’s greatest composers doing most of the work for us! Not only that, but when we then come to improvise, we can continue to follow the melodic signposts that have been left for us in what they wrote.
The great Jim Hall once said “I don’t want my solo on All The Things You Are to sound the same as my solo on Stella By Starlight” which seems to suggest that he based his improvisations on the total song, rather than reducing everything down to a series of chord progressions.
As for the class itself:
• We look at the melodic structure of two very well-known standards, with a view to being able to understand and access them in a flexible way.
• We consider how these melodies relate to the underlying chord progressions, with suggestions for how we might see this relationship on the fretboard and also understand it aurally.
• We work on a task that combines the written melody with improvisation, to help generate a symbiotic relationship between the two.
• We look at an example setting of “Just Friends” which provides strategies for avoiding the rigid ‘chord melody’ approach that tends to compromise the momentum of the music.
• We look at a layout of “Solar” which transforms very simple chord shapes into a piano-like interpretation that carries the melody, implies the harmony, and maintains a rhythmic drive.
• We engage in a detailed analysis of “Donna Lee”, by way of extending the techniques to cover more complex heads, which are always more difficult.
• Finally, we create two “mash-ups” by combining transposed elements of “Donna Lee” with other tunes, to show how these phrases might have a life outside their original context.
• Includes a detailed 21 page PDF booklet with analysis, notation, and TAB.
• Synchronized on-screen captions.
Again, hopefully there’s something there for everyone – look forward to seeing you in class!
- Video is 1hr 10min
- Includes 22 pages of PDF material
|Heads, You Win!|
|Heads, You Win!||01:10:00|
Comprovisation – The Missing Link Class Content | Jamie Taylor
Composition + Improvisation = ‘Comprovisation’!
Over the years as a teacher, the question I’ve probably been asked more than any other is: “What can I do to get more vocabulary into my solos?”. Meanwhile, another very common enquiry is: “What’s the most efficient way to go about transcribing?”, which implies a similar sort of overall aim.
Even students who know their theory (and are already engaging in transcription tasks) sometimes express frustrations like “it still doesn’t sound like jazz when I do it” or perhaps “it takes so long for any of it to actually come out in my own playing”. There’s no magic wand, of course, but nevertheless I do think there are ways to speed all this up, so that we can quickly assimilate the sounds we hear, and avoid wasting time. After all, it’s perfectly possible to spend weeks transcribing a long solo, only to look back a year later and realize that virtually nothing has stuck.
The advice I generally give is that, if we want “vocabulary” to appear in our improvised solos, we have to spend time consciously creating it in the practise room. However many scales we know, and however many solos we’ve transcribed, the things we’re hoping to hear aren’t just going to fall out of our instruments. Instead, we may need to think a little bit more like composers, and consider the musical architecture of the ideas we’re going to play; whether these are of our own making, or taken from a recorded source. How is the new phrase structured? How could we develop the idea, and where might it fit in with our existing ones? If it’s someone else’s, how can we make it feel like it’s ours?
None of this is to say that we want our solos to consist entirely of pre-meditated licks or that we shouldn’t aspire to hear spontaneous melodies in the moment of delivery. It’s just that our musical engine needs more specific fuel than a bunch of scales and arpeggios (even the really clever ones) can provide.
In the full 1h15m class:
• We look at nine different melodic ideas from diverse sources such as Oscar Peterson, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, and John Coltrane. The ideas reference both mainstream and contemporary styles; some are also taken from famous composed melodies.
• We analyze the structure of each one and consider how it might be expanded beyond its original context.
• Using well-known tunes as “test beds” for the resulting vocabulary, I demonstrate how I might end up employing the ideas, in contexts that may be quite different from the original source.
• A selection of the resulting lines are then transcribed (and tabbed out) in the accompanying PDF booklet.
• Synchronized on-screen captions and timecodes mean that you can always cross-reference between the video and the written materials.
|Comprovisation – The Missing Link||01:15:00|
Anatomy of a Standard – “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” Class Content | Jamie Taylor
- Learn to internalize songs quickly
- Learn to lay them out effectively on the guitar
- Learn to personalize the song on the fly, with a range of substitute progressions that might also generate intros and endings.
How is it that some musicians seem to be able to pick up a new tune in no time at all? Even if, initially, they don’t seem all that familiar with a song you’ve called, they only sneak the most cursory glance at the changes, if they even do that. A few moments later, they’re playing the piece with creative flair and total confidence. Not only that, when the time comes, they’re ready to put the perfect intro and ending on it as well.
Were they just kidding? Maybe they knew it all along! Perhaps it’s just luck that they have ‘those ears’…?
Well, there could be a little of that involved sometimes, but experienced jazz musicians really can internalize tunes incredibly quickly, and that’s because there’s a knack to it. What’s more, it’s the same skill set that allows them to deliver seemingly endless variations that always remain compatible with what everyone else is doing. It’s also knowledge that can boost aural awareness and, finally, from a guitar standpoint, it’s a huge part of what enables us to generate complete sounding renditions of a song by ourselves.
In the full 1hr08m class:
- We break down the original chords and melody of Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been In Love Before”, so that they’re easy to remember and treat creatively.
- After going over some essential first principles, we then look closely at a solo guitar rendition, starting with a really simple ‘block-out’ of the basic chords and melody.
- The basic rendition gradually evolves towards a more complex setting, that includes 12 different harmonic variations within the basic road map of the tune. These also give us some ideas for appropriate intros and endings.
- Everything we discuss is fully notated and tabbed in the 28-page PDF that accompanies the class.
- Perfectly synchronized on-screen captions ensure that you can always see exactly what you’re hearing, even on a bar-by-bar basis at the full performance tempo.
As usual, I’ve tried to accommodate learners at different levels of experience. Someone relatively new to standard repertoire will learn some very important first principles, and shouldn’t have too much trouble with the basic solo guitar setting of the tune. The fully expanded rendition may be more aspirational at this stage but, even then, the concepts behind it should be easy enough to understand.
Meanwhile, experienced players should find themselves able to deliver all the material without too much trouble, but even someone familiar with the general principles involved may well have their eyes and ears opened to new possibilities. For both groups, the over-riding aim is that the student takes away transferrable ideas that will inspire self-directed study in the future.
|Anatomy of a Standard||01:08:00|