I need some help. I've been wanting to learn jazz for a while now, but I'm not really sure where to start. I definitely don't know as much theory as I should, but I've been playing guitar for a little over fifteen years, so I have a pretty alright grasp of what I'm doing. The problem I find is that a small amount of the lessons I can find online seem too simplified, and all the rest seem way over my head.
It's not so much about playing jazz (although that would be nice) but learning all the theories involved with jazz. Short term, I'd like to start to be able to understand guys like John Pizzarelli and Joe Pass, and long term, I'd like to maybe learn a bit about what goes on in Allan Holdsworth's head.
Like I said, online lessons are either overly simple little snippets, or they're too advanced. I don't mind working through the simple stuff, but I'd like to know where to go after that, and what to look for.
Is there like a linear series of books or online lessons I should look for? Ideally something that starts with the basics and works through to more advanced stuff.
Oh man. This is such a HUGE topic. It's like asking, "help me learn art."
That said, I guess we can give you some basic tools. First, for now, I'm just going to leave this here:
Second, if don't already know the major scale and all its related modes intimately, such that you can play them fluently across the entire neck as well as spell them out enharmonically ("The Lydian mode is a major scale with a #4," "the Phrygian is a scale comprised of the 1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, and b7," etc) I'd start there.
Third, comping jazz chords could be a subject unto itself, and this actually may be the best place to start. You can go out and learn a whole bunch huge 6-note maj11 and dim7sus4 voicings or whatnot, and this would maybe worth doing anyway especially if you want to play either solo or with the guitar as the primary "chordal" instrument in a sparse ensemble, but I'd also recommend learning a bunch of 3-note simplified forms of maj7, m7, 7, aug, and dim chords, as often times in dense harmonies (and especially when playing with another chordal instrument such as a piano) playing fairly "tight" haromonies and both taking up a small footprint in the arrangement as well as leaving a lot of harmonic space for the other musicians comping and the soloists to push the harmony in the ways they want is valuable.
Finally, and closely relatedly, start brushing up on your major, minor, m7, 7, maj7, aug, and dim arpeggios, and thinking about ways you can use them to imply chord extensions.
Also, how's your chord theory? Do you "get" chord construction?
I'm a pretty poor jazz guitarist myself, especially these days, but I can at least help get you started. Answer some of these questions and we can go from there.