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Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

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Musix and all things Dix Bruce

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Dix Bruce is a guitar and Mandolin instructor who has published for, “Mandolin World News,” as well as, “Flatpick Guitar Magazine,” and his own publishing company. I highly regard all of his material as well as his authentic playing across many genres. From old-time fiddle music, to hot club gypsy jazz and all across the spectrum.

I learned this tune from a book of his on Gypsy Jazz

His playing is always tasteful and to the point, not a wasted note. A lesson in melody, and that less is often more. The flashy tricks are overrated in music. Tone, clarity, and expression are first priority. I encourage players at all levels to check out his contribution to the acoustic music world. Dix is up there with Steve Kaufman and Happy Traum in his legacy of clear accurate instruction for the self motivated musician.

Dix own website

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Duke Ellington phrasing, make it swing.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The chords for this little exercise are as follows:

G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, D7, G
G, D7, Em, D, C, Bm, Am, G

Jethro Burns published this a while ago as a way to get your playing swinging. < - -, < - -,.... < means strong or accented, - meaning weak or not accented, Think: STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG This can be used with a band or a metronome to accent your favorite melody or any playing one wants to get away from the straight 8th notes feel.

Every player has rhythmic nuances that literally need to be heard to understood. Books and notation can only touch the surface. Think of Clarence White in the bluegrass world, or Wayne Shorter in the Jazz world. Playing right in front, or or behind the downbeat of a tune can really make a song chug along or glide smoothly. Wayne and his band create lots of movement with the phrasing of his horn and the comping of the piano and bass in the backdrop. They don’t change the tempo as much as they play, “around,” the beat not right on top of it. Below Horace Silver really gets it on piano!

In terms of lead playing, Miles Davis as well as guitar greats like Charlie Christian, Pat Martino and Django are great guys to listen to for new poly-rhythmic ideas to wrap one’s ears around. In terms of piano playing and comping, Horace Silver as well as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett are players with great senses of time. Below is a video of Wayne Shorter playing some Ellington-esque phrasing, as well as some other ideas I must call all his own. Altered timing is a great way to reveal one’s own unique voice, while dodging the ever tempting trap door of playing too many notes. One clear convicted voice is the goal, don’t be afraid to borrow from your favorite players. Use the stepping stones provided, but remember to tread your own path along the way.

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Georgia on My Mind, style of Tony Rice.

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Below is a video I recently recorded of me playing my guitar as a change. Guitar will always have a special appeal to the solo artist. This arrangement is borrowed from Tony Rice, almost note for note. His playing of jazzier tunes is some of my favorite listening out there so I can’t help but try to imitate parts of his playing from time to time.

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Turnarounds, uses in Jazz and beyond.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Below is a video where I examine the 1-6-2-5 turnaround, using all dominant chords. Ie. G7, E7, A7, D7. Watch for yourself, they are fun to play and come in handy at jam sessions.

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Blue Bossa

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Here is a recording of me playing two guitar tracks and one mandolin track on the tune, “Blue Bossa.” Having a fake book or better yet, “IrealBook,” for a computer or smart phone makes learning jazz standards easier to do. In turn, making the process more fun. Start with songs you have in your head, that helps beyond anything else.

Blue Bossa

This track can be used as a back track for you own lead playing. The chords are
C-7////%////F-7////%////
Ddim7////G7b9////C-7////%////
Eb-7////Ab7////Dbmaj7////%////
Ddim7////G7b9////C-7////Ddim7//G7b9// repeat.

This is something I put together in just a few hours today. More fun is jamming these tunes with your friends. Having accurate chord charts and time signatures is a nice start. Worth the $7.99 for IrealB in my opinion. Now if I could just get my fingers to play the lead lines I hear in my head. With backtracks or friends to jam with this goal is attainable. To improvise tastefully, with command and conviction.

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Jethro’s Tune, the A part

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Jethro Burns is one of my favorite all time musicians. He really changed what was considered mandolin music for the better. From bluegrass to Swing, to Gypsy Jazz and back. Beyond description. Below is a video of me playing half of a tune he wrote, so this is in honor of the man himself.

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My own, “All Blues,” by Miles Davis

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

This is a recorded version I created as a back track, today I improvised over it adding the mandolin part. Recording the back tracks to songs you like to play, and/or finding from other resources is a great way to practice.

All Blues

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The use of triplets, a useful trick

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Below is a video where I demonstrate a trick I have learned for implementing triplets.

Below is some sheet music and tabs for some Major scales as played on the mandolin. The G major scale and A major scale that are used in the above video are included.

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Jethro Burns’ pinky workout!

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

This little warm-up routine is great for building strength in one’s little finger. Repeat it, make variations but make sure the notes fretted by your pinky ring clear. I got this from, “Jethro Burns Mel Bay Complete Mandolin Book,” by Jethro Burns and Ken Eidson. One of my favorite resources for playing outside the bluegrass box.

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Performance of flamenco with a flatpick

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Here I play my Ibanez hollow body electric guitar. This video starts with a performance than introduces the harmonic minor scale which I plan on expanding on in the future. Enjoy. Questions and comments encouraged.

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