So, I signed up for jazz combo class at the local community college as a way of expanding my horizons. The first class was yesterday, and boy did I get my butt kicked! I was one of only two new people there (out of about a dozen total), so naturally the instructor wanted to hear the new guys play.
Ten minutes into the first class and I'm on stage with a handful of talented musicians, in front of the whole class, and I'm asked to call out the tune. "How about we do 'So What'?" A nice simple tune to start, with easy changes, right?
Despite my familiarity and comfort with this tune, my nervousness renders it something akin to walking up a wet rock face with bowling shoes on. There's nothing worse than hearing the instructor call out "Eb dorian" when you thought that's what you were playing... :roflatmyself:
After barely making it through the very tune I called out, the whole class splits into several different small combos and heads off to the practice rooms. I stay on stage with the existing lineup and we run through a bunch of tunes in the Real Book.
By the end of the night I felt like I was starting to at least follow along with the other guys, and my sightreading and comping was improving drastically. On one tune in particular I kept getting lost near the end of the section---the 6th edition of the Real Book modifies some tunes relative to the 5th edition---but always found my place when I heard the piano hit the Ddim7 chord. Small victory, I know, but a proud moment for me when I realized I could "hear" that chord color.
I'll definitely be back next week. I think this class is just what I need. Being the scientist that I am, I have a pretty good grasp of music theory, but lack the experience of application. I'm really hoping the experience will improve my improv skills for any genre.
Leon: no clips, but you wouldn't have wanted to hear them anyway!