Lessons 11 and 12 – more Autumn Leaves

Forgot to post about lesson 11 – we spent more time jazzing up the blues which I kind of got bored with after a while. Oh well – we’ll come back to that.

Lesson 12 last Sunday was great. I told Master that I’d been spending too much time on theory and that I felt I needed to really nail some songs and get to know the properly. He replied that there are various levels of knowing a song, for example:

  1. Being able to play the song all the way through with just the chords without screwing up.
  2. Learning the song in a couple of keys, e.g. C and G
  3. Being able to play the melody of the song all the way through.
  4. Being able to play a walking bassline and maybe chords/bass
  5. …things kind of get fuzzy here – I think he said pop ‘n’ play and then being able to solo over the song.

Number 2 is an interesting one – obviously in jazz you need to know a song in a few keys because of those damn singers and their limited range but Master said when starting out, just learn it in those two keys since that enables you to stay within the 1st to 12th fret and just transpose by moving up and down. More on this later.

Anyway, we revisited Autumn Leaves and I learned this in both C and G. Master said a simple way to approach it is to use those chord forms with the 3rd and 7th on the third and fourth strings, possibly even omitting the root so you just end up playing diads which means you stay out of the range of a singer, vocalist or soloist.

Later he lent me a CD of Kenny Burrell with John Coltrane which has, as its opening track, the number ‘Freight Trane’ which has one of the gayest melodies/heads I’ve ever heard, yet I just felt compelled to transcribe it! Anyhoo, he explained that Kenny Burrell is quite accessible and a good listen/study for the fledgling jazz guitarist since his lines aren’t super complicated.

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