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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



« E's & W's: Tone and transition while chording | Main | Pickguards Thoughts »

October 25, 2007 | Playing a solo is like telling a story.

Think about how you compose the words, organize the thought structure, take on the "attitude," and get into the head of the listener when you tell a really good story. You have to be articulate, using words that are accurate and vivid, they have to flow in some sort of structure, take on an emotion consistent with the narrative, and through it all, be entertaining or relevant to the listener.

Good improvisation facilitates strategy similar to story telling. The "words" you communicate with are the notes, modes, and arpeggios consistent with the harmonic structure of the music. Smart solos will have a sense of larger picture, some kind of form and not just blowing. Through tension and release, they will communicate drama and entertain the audience.

Jazzwise.com, the UK's leading Jazz Magazine has some interesting pedagogical resources. One in particular is an excerpt from Jazzwise contributors Simon T and Hugh G. entitled "How do I play better solos?" In this article, they compare the mechanics of making a speech, note cards, preparing an introduction, proper delivery, choosing efficient and effective words, pronunciation, creativity, and poise. These are all just as important in playing a good solo and worth printing out an pondering!

Download two page article:
Speech/Solos: Perparation. Structure. Delivery. Attitude.

Visit Jazzwise website

Posted by Ted at October 25, 2007 8:11 AM


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