Sunday, May 22, 2005


Saturday: I forgot to jot down what happened yesterday. Here’s what I remember: I probably spent another 2 hours on the Phillip Johnston solo. I transcribed some pretty difficult measure (lots of fast notes) and then spent a good deal of time working how to finger them. It sounds so easy when he plays it, why can’t I do it so fast? My fingers got a little fatigued during this process and I had to let them cool down. I remember going to type an email after a practice session and my left hand was like goo. The words I was typing weren’t coming out right because my left hand was all confused. I felt like it was dizzy or something. Either way, I knew enough to give it a break. There is some neural processing that needs to happen and think typing to soon after my practicing kinda confused my brain. It was nice to have a night off. I thought I could enjoy watching SNL. I was wrong.

Today Afternoon: I’m working on some modal ideas that Tim Miller shared with me. They are modal chord ideas for vamps and improv. It’s keeping me busy. I have sit down and analyze it a little bit further. There is something I don’t understand about modal playing and there is something I’m close to discovering about modal playing. Hopefully the later will help out the former.

Evening: I was a little stuck with my modal playing so I decided to go to a source. I plugged in Miles’ "So What" and worked on learning the legendary piece. I knew pretty much everything in D minor, but when it went to Eb minor I wasn’t so sure, so I spent the most of mine time just looking into those parts. The D minor area is pretty much the arpeggio, but the Eb minor areas use more line playing and substitute changes plays: some things I was talking to Tim Miller. I spent some time working on two big phrases, trying to get the fingerings down. The first one miles uses a major triad based of the bVII (Db) of the chord going to a major triad based of bIII of the chord (Gb). The second big phrase was more linear and it moved to the D minor section of the tune. It was really neat to look at and refreshing to play. I think just spending some time working on the feel of Miles as well as Trane and Cannonball gave me some ideas for some modal playing. After this investigation I went back to the loopstation and working out some of these ideas. I put down a D dorian groove based off some of the harmonic ideas Tim shared with me (it was much different than "so what"). I began improvising using Tim’s ideas and the phrasing and melodicism from the Kind of Blue record. It was a neat experiment. The thing that I’ve been noticing recently is how easy it is for me to play a note. It seems like when saxophone players play a note that have to be constantly listening to their horn to hear if they are in tune and as a result I think they can feel the variable tension of the notes they are playing based of the chord changes. I think they really can feel when they play something in and they play something out. It’s a little harder for me to feel such things because (I think) I don’t have to breathe when I play and I don’t have to worry about my intonation as I play. The thing that I was keying in on today was the idea of superimposing this feel in my playing… really listening to the tension I was melodically creating. This is really important to me. I feel a little empty in jazz melodic ideas. My melodies sound so angular and arpeggio based.
Everything else was basically refining this idea. I’m getting new ideas for the loopstation and my effect pedals. I’ll try to get a recording of what I’m working on up this week or so.


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