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The theory of Bop
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Bop Reply with quote

Know the Changes! "Bop" tunes are normally just standard chord changes, but the bop players approached it more frm a melodic minor standpoint. OVer a ii V try using a lydian dominat (melodic minor scale ii chord). In the case of iim7b5 to vb9 use altered scale.
Another approach is trying Jimmy Bruno's 12 tone approach. Check out his website. Also his scale book is exceptional.
But as parker said (learn the changes, then forget them". Know the changes intimately and the sounds will come forthe.
Hope that helps. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jimmy Bruno stuff closely accords with my own approach - that's reassuring!

Personally I never use the Lydian Dominant purposefully. It has a nice sound though. Personally, I think the most instructive thing is to go and listen to some Charlie Parker. Why not learn fromthe master? Transcribe his lines (if you can!) otherwise work through the Omnibook - fifteen quid and more useful info in there than in a thousand 'how-to-guides.' Obviously you will need to be able to read music to get anything out of it.

Dizzy of course. People are down on Miles as a be-bop player. I'd say he's not really representative of the style, but every self respecting jazz student should work through Miles. Now I need to follow my own advice.

I think Miles was a flawed but very interesting soloist in the '40s but terrfic be-bop soloist in the '60s. Listen to him over Seven Steps to Heaven on Four and More.

Be-bop guitar players - Charlie Christian is the one to beat - get his stuff at Minotn's (terrrible recording quality but playing to die for.) Barney Kessell has more of a swing sensibility to his playing - harmonically swing and be-bop are actually fairly similar, but it's the rythmic sensibility that really marks out the difference.

Also - Lester Young really invented be-bop long before Bird or Dizzy showed up. I read a musicologist go as far to say that Bird was just Lester played at the wrong speed (33% faster!) Smile

Have fun above all - there is no right and wrong. Miles and Monk played 'wrong' from the Great International Standard Be-Bop Theory point of view, but they were bop musicians through and through.
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Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:21 pm    Post subject: bop Reply with quote

there are 3 very simple secrets to playing jazz:



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Henry Johnson

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:01 am    Post subject: BeBop Reply with quote

Hello everyone. As a player who has been playing bebop for over 30 years, I hope that I can shed some light on this subject for some of you. I was dealing these same questions when I was 18. In spending time with Dizzy Gilespie, and many of the great bebop players I was fortunate enough to be around, I learned that bebop is a musical language. And when learning a language, listening to it a lot is over half the battle. Some of you said something that really rings true; transcribing solos from your favorite players is an important part of the learning process.

Dizzy learned how to play by transcribing his favorite players and this is something that all the great players have done, and continue to do. Learning scales and arpeggios will not teach you how to play jazz. The Omni Book and any other books of transcribed solos will help as long as you use them along with the recordings they came from. You will gain the most benefit by sitting down and putting this music on your instrument.

Scales and arpeggios are just tools for learning how to gain some facility on your instrument, but you need to start learning songs right from the beginning. The songs you learn are going to be the vehicles for you to improvise on. This is why it's important that you learn as many songs as you can. It gives you a place to apply the phrases that you learn from transcribing. As you play along with your favorite recordings, there are several things going on that you may not be directly aware of.

First, the sound of the music gets in your ear. You get used to hearing tons of different ways to approach playing a II V I progression. You start to recognize how some players can combine sounds like the whole-tone and diminished sounds against a major chord to create a certain texture. Then, as you learn to do this on your instrument, you build up the chops that will inable you to play these sounds that you hear at will. Your solos will sound like musical statements when you play because you learned how to phrase by transcribing some Dexter Gordon solos. And, you will learn the importance of playing in time, and what it really means to have good time.

You may have heard this called, "playing in the pocket". Playing along with recordings will teach you exactly what it feels like to play in the pocket. And guys, for the record, don't listen to some writer who tells you that Lester Young was playing bebop before Charlie Parker. If you transcribe some of each of their solos, you will find that statement to be totally inaccurate. Listen with your ears. If you listen enough, you'll hear these things for yourself. In order to learn how to improvise over complex harmonic chord changes, you need some models or templates of how it's done. This is what transcribing gives you. Thank all of guys for allowing me to share this grain of knowledge with you. Keep on pickin'!
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stand corrected!

However, Lester Young is still fantastic, so study his solos anyway....
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Steven D'Antonio

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: The theory of Bop Reply with quote

Hi Phil,

It's still a mystery to me. Actually I know the theory, just can't think fast enough to apply it yet.

Concentrate on cord tones at first, or even just playing arpegios over the changes. Run the changes slow with a friend forst before you try to go full tilt boogie. Aebersold has a great book (I forget the title, but it's one of the coltrane books) which goes through the entire process in exquisite detail.


Anonymous wrote:
I was wondering what the theory is for playing it. Is there any obvious thing that once you know what makes it work, you can experiment with for a long time?

Thanks a bunch,
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: playing bop Reply with quote

When it comes to playing bop I don't think there is any
substitute for learning arpeggios. First I would learn
arpeggios for all the main chord types (M7, m7, dom7,m7b5)
out to the seventh extension. Then I would spend a lot of
time working on ways to connect the arpeggios notes in a
manner that is independent of the seven note scales. For
example lower neighbor approach and chromatic
connections. You will notice your ears will improve
dramatically with this approach.

Then I would learn the arpeggios extended out to the ninth.
This gives you a five note scale to work with and you can
play these arpeggios with two notes per string. This has
great technical advantage. You will also begin to really
hear the ninth.

Just two more notes and you have the standard seven
note scales but scales are over-rated if you ask me!
I say this because you really need to be aware of
where the tension and relaxation notes are in order
to shape a excellent solo.

Practice using the arpeggios by simply following the
chord changes of the standards. You will be amazed how
good you can sound with just four notes per chord (and
even more so with the added ninth) and various scale-
independent ways to connect them.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: django Reply with quote

since when can django be considered anything but a pre-cursor to bop?
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Mark Stefani

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 5:10 pm    Post subject: BeBop Reply with quote

I wonder if any of the readers/posters here are aware that a man who I consider one of the top five jazz guitarists on the planet took the time to contribute such an elegant, valuable post in this forum, and then had the graciousness to thank you for being able to share his knowledge?

No, we should all be thanking Henry Johnson, and I only wish that there were more players of his magnitude willing to share their priceless tips and insights with other aspiring players, because no one has paid their dues more than this man. It shows with every note he plays, and the conviction of everything he says when it comes to jazz.

I've been in this field as a player and educator for 35 years, and had the privilege of reviewing Henry's latest CD ("Organic" with Nancy Wilson) for Just Jazz Guitar, plus helped conduct his recent interview in Jazz Improv Magazine. For the record, I also did the JJG cover story interview with Chris Standring (Feb '04). Since I rarely get over here, I'd just like to thank Mr. Standring for doing such a magnificent job at Play Jazz Guitar.

Regarding Henry's post, I have nothing to add to his words of advice with respect to the language of jazz and the value of transcribing. I would highly recommend that you print that post and tack it on your wall as a reminder of what the true path is all about. If you've never heard the man play, you owe it to yourself to check him out. He is the real deal!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When changing from a 'argh lots of changes!' to a 'oh, good lots of changes' mentality, I found Mr John Etheridges words of wisdom put me on the right road. Maybe they can help you in your bopward journey....
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW - what exactly is be-bop anyway?

The more I think about it the less it seems like a style and the more it seems like an attitude.
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