Thursday, June 02, 2005

Working for a beat

Rhythm and speed have been my focus for the past couple days. The Phillip Johnston solo is requiring me to play a lot faster than I’m used. My speed exercises, and my practicing of his licks has improved over the past couple days. It’s probably at least a two week project. I’ve incorporated with my speed exercises some scale studies. Both Phillip Johnston & Paul Desmond demonstrated their ability to create beautiful melody lines from their scalular background. I’m refreshing on some fundamental scales and patterns. The Phillip Johnston solo has also hammered home for me the idea of rhythmic variance in a solo. I found his rhythmic choices inspiring.

I did some speed exercises with the metronome. I started at 120 bpm and worked on quarter notes, eighth notes and triplets. I took me a while to get warmed up to it, but my practicing from the past couple days has helped.

I also worked on bring in more rhythmic dynamics with my soloing: fast phrases, slow phrases, spaces and triplets. I think this will manifest itself the more I look at Phillip’s solo.

I also spent some time just improvising over a 1625 in Ab. It’s different when I’m thinking scales and lines, rather than chord tones and tensions. I appreciate the different way of thinking.

I capped off my practice time listening and playing along with an Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong CD. I just listened and played, over and over. Sometimes I would work off the key I was playing, others I would play what my ear thought was right. I played a lot of wrong notes, but I think it was a good exercise.

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