Got My Butt Kicked in Jazz Class Yesterday

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Thread: Got My Butt Kicked in Jazz Class Yesterday

  1. #1

    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Washington, D.C.
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    Got My Butt Kicked in Jazz Class Yesterday

    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.

  2. #2

    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Washington, D.C.
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    Leon: no clips, but you wouldn't have wanted to hear them anyway!

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
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    Jesus, man, there's a difference between knowing your jazz theory and standards, and actually in the heat of the moment with a million eyes on you being able to sit there and play something pretty damned cool. I can sit down with a Fake Book and read through a set of changes, but actually comping on the fly gets messy for me.

    The good news is, what you're doing is EXACTLY what you need to be doing to progress. By the end of the semester, you'll have grown so much as a player.
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  4. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Black Swamp, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by giannifive View Post
    Leon: no clips, but you wouldn't have wanted to hear them anyway!

    Well, I'm sure it's about 99.999% better than what I would have sounded like up there

  5. #5

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Ontario, Canada
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    Haha, reminds me of being thrown into the thick of a bunch of "pro" players, guys that used to play on cruise ships and thus know tons of standards, having them yell out "okay it's in Bb, you start, GO!". Songs I'd never even heard the title of before.

    Fortunately it was just a private party, but they had called me to sub for their regular guitar player that came up sick at the last minute. These guys had all played together for years and were much more experienced than I was. I felt like a deer in the headlights but yeah, you walk away from it with a great sense of accomplishment and growth.

    Congratz man, I'm sure you'll enjoy the ride.
    We're all musicians, still searching for our roots.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Washington, D.C.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigM555 View Post
    Songs I'd never even heard the title of before.
    Yeah, that pretty much sums up the night for me.

  7. #7

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Nashville, TN
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    Sightreading jazz is hard, but it'll put hair on your chest. I played a gig with some cats from school who had played together before. I was filling in for the guitar player that the saxaphone player usually plays with, who's a beast. It was scary hearing page numbers out of the Real Book called out and having to play the chords and solo on the spot, but it's a good test of your playing
    "I never practice my guitar... from time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat"

    -Wes Montgomery

    Montezuma Fire Machine

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boca Raton, FL
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    Join the club. My jazz teacher, playing the most horrible piece of shit Gretsch I have ever seen wipes the floor with my ass. Some of his chord voicings are in-fucking-human stretches.

    Im tempted to bring in a ukelele scale'd guitar just so I can go "HAHA - I can do that too you elastic fuck."

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