Monday, March 8, 2010

A month of Progress

So now I'm pretty confident at playing the major scales in 3rds, alternating 3rds, 4ths, 5ths and 6ths between 100-120 bpm. Have also been working on the minor scales in the same alterations.

I have started working on the variations of scale tone 7ths.

Altissimo range is growing up to the last concert D on the piano, but it is quite an effort to get up that high. I've been learning Coltrane's Countdown up the octave so that has helped improve the use of my newly acquired range, as well as learning my scales up there in the same way. Also my various Kenny Garrett transcriptions have also helped, especially with the use of F#, G, A's an Bb's in soloing.

In my transcription work I've almost got Giant Steps up to the CD's speed, Countdown, and Kenny Garrett's versions of the two are coming great and at least a chorus of all of them have been memorised, and I have gotten Trane's Giant Steps in a few keys now, or at least the first few chorus's and the others I've started taking them around, trane's countdown I found the first 32 bars easy, but Garrett's stuff I've found really hard. The way I've been thinking about it is by thinking of the arpeggios and scales and in Jerry Bergonzi's melodic structures book, where he talks about playing 1, 2, 3, 5 on major chords and 1, 3, 4, 5 on minor chords. Well I noticed that these are a major part of Coltrane's solo's that make it much easier to transpose it. I've also gotten the solo's off Amandla down with the Cd, and have looked at a lot of Garrett's solo's off Songbook, starting with She Wait's For The New Sun, which I have got down with the CD.

On the song front I have to learn 10 songs this semester. Which I will choose shortly.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Giant Steps

Hey all,

I've been working on all the scales in 3ds, alternate 3rds, 4ths, 5ths and 6ths. I am well on top of the 3rds and 4ths and 5ths are coming along. However the 6ths I'm finding very hard.

On the Giant Steps front, I've memorised most of the transcription, except for phrases here and there that I forget ever now and then. I can play it at 270bpm now and can play the first chorus in 3 keys, and the opening phrase I can play in all 12 keys.

Still haven't completely got the Kenny solo down, but its coming. The first chorus of Countdown is also memorised on the tenor, and I can play that whole solo at 250bpm. The Kenny Countdown I find very hard, but its coming along.

I've started work on my IR, first task I'm doing is transcribing both Kenny Garrett's and Cannonball's "What is this thing called love" of which the Cannonball transcription is right up my alley and coming along nicely, however the Kenny Garrett transcription of the song is absolutely brutal!!! I think that the day I can actually play it will be a great day in my life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back In to it #2

So this whole week I've been attempting to get back into a full swing of things despite Australia's heat at the moment (38 degrees Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit).

So what I've been working on is making my town better on the Tenor and the Clarinet (after hearing an Australian sax player by the name of Adrian Cunningham and his version of Triste by Jobim that he released on his album Unspoken, I decided to play the clarinet more, he does an amazing job of Triste, I will one day get to learning it).

Secondly I've been trying to perfect my scales, I'm still doing all the majors and minors as well as Blues and Pentatonics, and diminished and Bop scales as well as all the modes. What is taking the time and work (is perfecting or in some casing just getting them right) is performing the minor scales in 4ths 5ths and 6ths.

Then there is transcribing for my Individual Research assignment which is something along the lines of comparing Cannonball and Kenny Garrett. So I've been transcribing both these fine sax players versions of What Is This Thing Called Love. In order to compare them on the exact same set of changes.

On the Giant Steps front, I have memorised the 1st chorus of Coltrane's solo and have started taking it around 12 keys, in particular the lead in bar of the solo which he repeats a number of times. I'm playing it at about 240bpm. The Kenny Solo I have learnt it the way that Will Vinson told me I should learn it which is all aurally and with the CD at speed. I still make mistakes on a few of the lines and occasionally forget whole chunks, and it is much harder, but I most definately feel the benefit from doing it this way.

I have kept with my teachers wish of Learning 2 songs a week, This week I've been learning Central Park West and Alice In Wonderland. They are going ok, I'm finally on top of the form of Central Park West, and Alice In Wonderland is a nice song, have been listening to Bill Evans a lot.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What has been happening

So I haven't blogged in a while. This is due to the fact that while I'm at uni I let a lot of stuff get by me so when I finish I like to tidy my life up so to speak.

On the practice front, every day has been spent taking all the scales into 3rds, 4ths and 5ths.
On the transcription front I'm working on Coltrane's and Kenny Garrett's versions of Countdown and Giant Steps.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, more recital prep

So today started with 45 minutes of Long Tones and a big portion of that was spent on making the F# sound better and be more consistent.

On the scales I ran through them all at 160, 162 and 164bpm. Major modes, Melodic minor modes and harmonic minor modes. Blues and Pentatonic.

The following 6 hours of my day where spent between Transcribing Myron Walden's solos of Red River Revel, Soloing over all 5 of my Recital songs, Have You Met Miss Jones is coming along greatly! Confirmation has been having its moments so I'm going to spend a lot of time on it tomorrow. Dear Lord is going really good now thanks to transcribing Kenny Garrett's version off YouTube. Oh babe is fine on my part and should be sweet with the band. The last 8 bars of the form of Red River Revel is not going good, so need to work on that to.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, 13 hour day

Friday started with 1 hour of overtones, working wonders with the strength of tone of the altissimo register.

I then had a full almost 2 hours of scales including the major modes in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and 7ths, and scale tone 7ths. not all amazing and at speed, but getting there. Then melodic minor and harmonic minor modes normally and in 3rds.

I then had a great rehearsal with the band.

Then a spectacular session transcribing some red river revel solos and some dear lord solos and doing the same work I always do on it. They have been going good, especially Dear Lord. I have learned a lot from the Red River Revel solo by Myron Walden there is so much rhythmic diversity and the choice of tones are so strong.

followed by almost 4 hours of teaching.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday and Thursday

A lot of wasted time waiting for people to arrive at a rehearsal. Probably 3 hours gone for about 45 minutes productivity. Not good, however the 45 minutes worth of playing yielded good results. Ax and I worked for about 15 minutes on getting our phrasing tight on Confirmation.

I then spent about 1 and a half hours soloing through the changes of the 3 main tunes.

On Thursday I had a much more productive rehearsal. After starting my day with a solid long tone session, then major modes at 140-150bpm, in 3rds, 4ths and 5ths, and attempting 6th and 7ths, which are easier than first thought, I'm not solid on 6ths and 7ths, but I'll get there. Harmonic minor scales at 140-150 in 3rds as well, and diminished and blues scales at 140bpm.

Followed by 2 hours of soloing through the changes and 1 hour worth of transcribing Kenny Garrett's Dear Lord on YouTube. I got through the 1st chorus, before I had to go and teach.