Lesson 8: ‘Pop ‘n’ Play’, swingin’, ‘be-bop’ and other stuff apostrophized or in quote marks.
I’m getting less and less time to document in detail the enormous quantity of info that emanates from Master each week so I’m going to be starting to jot down basic ideas as reminders to myself later and try to remember the blanks based on these.
Pop and Play
Master said that this pearl of wisdom originated from She-Jazzer Emily Remler who noted that most budding Jazz musicians will at some point benefit from using a technique that she referred to as Pop ‘n’ Play. The basic idea being that you Pop a chord (i.e. just strum a chord) on the 1 beat, then Play a little connecting solo for the remaining beats.
Looking below, you can see we are in the key of G major. We start just by counting 1, 2, 3, 4 to get into the groove. After that, we just start playing a chord on each beat. From there, we then play a chord on 1, then rest for the remaining three beats. Next we play the chord stab on 1, then any notes in the key of G for the remaining three beats.
The next step (step 5) is where things get interesting; looking closely you’ll see that my chord stab is now on the 2nd beat of each bar. Hence, we play our chord, then solo over the end of the bar ending on a chord tone of the next chord prior to playing our next chord stab. This is crucial – now instead of just a bunch of random notes from the key of G, my phrase leads towards the next chord by homing in on a chord tone – in the case of going from bar 1 to bar 2, I visualize all my Cmaj7 chord shapes and aim for one of those guys, and so on.
Taking a simple two chord vamp of Gmaj7 to Cmaj7, first count
- one two three four | one two three four
- chord, chord, chord, chord | chord, chord, chord, chord
- chord, rest, rest, rest | chord, rest, rest, rest
- chord, notes, notes, notes | chord, notes, notes, notes
- notes, chord, notes, notes | notes, chord, notes, notes
later in the lesson, we applied this to a I | vi | ii | V in G, i.e. Gmaj7 | Emin7 | Am7 | D7.
Master mentioned this verbal device of saying the word ‘Be-Bop’ at the end of my phrases as I played some notes along with it which would give them some rhythmic impetus if played on the correct beat/half-beat. Need to ask him more about this – don’t really understand.
Part of what makes Jazz cool is that ‘swing’ feel, i.e. those funny ‘and’ notes in-between the main beats. We spent some time grooving and trying to get my swing feel down, and gravitated towards this exercise/device below.
Essentially, swinging is all about the rhythm he said. In my geometric world of Rock and Metal, I would usually have started all my solo lines on the ‘1’ beat of a bar. Jazz, being more syncopated can be made to feel more swingin’ by starting on different beats and different ‘ands’. We spent some time with him comping and me starting (and badly messing up) new lines on the ‘and of 1’, the ‘and of 2’ etc.
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
& 2 & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
& 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
& 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
Plenty more which I haven’t written here, but this post will end with this great quote from the Wikipedia article on Emily Remler (must track down some of her CDs):
“I may look like a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey, but inside I’m a 50-year-old, heavyset black man with a big thumb, like Wes Montgomery.”
This entry was posted on March 24, 2008 at 1:31 am and is filed under Guitar Playing, improvisation, Jazz Guitar, music theory. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.