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How to be "original"

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randulo

randulo

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As someone who is a big fan of the monthly SOTM/BOTM, it never entered my mind to post an original song. Next time I will, but it's likely to turn up less participants. The richness of those monthly collections is that there are by definition several, sometimes hundreds of existing versions of the song. It's usually, but not always, a song most have heard. My first choice was El Choclo which I first heard done by Earl Bostic. It appeared to be a good exercise in tango style. Nature Boy was a great choice with the haunting melody and multiple great versions to inspire creativity.

I finally listened to 15 or so random contributions from wikiloops in several genres. Ward has done a good job of playing over these tunes, but it's hard for me to imagine asking everyone to play with them, and perhaps that adds some strength to his arguments, although as we know, few players here are formally educated in the context Ward talks about. The thing about wikiloops music is that unless you pick a genre like ambience, they sound like the genre they're judged to be. If we want an R&B challenge, doesn't it make sense to use a track by Donald "Duck" Dunn, rather than one that emulates (not copies) his playing, often on a computer? I think wikiloops is a great idea and the music is agreeable and well done. But it's logical that fewer would rise to the challenge of tracks like those. I did ask about doing a Rubato of the Month and an Original of the Month. I'd be happy to kick either one off. In December or January.
 
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randulo

randulo

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I am going to start a post called "Originals" in the media files section. In it, I will post songs I've written with as much material as possible, such as backing tracks and charts, as well as a recording of me or someone else playing the song as an example. Anyone who wants to record a version of it will then be welcome to add it to the post. I'll start with the modified blues shuffle Mr. Roulette, since I have a few versions of it. If you've been contributing thoughts here, I invite you to try one or more of these compositions.

Original Music is Here
 

Wade Cornell

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I'd certainly be keen to give a bash to any original that strikes my fancy. Bring them on Randy!

What I get from wikiloops is around 100 tracks a day to choose from and a library of 170,000 + tracks. That's a lot of choice. Randy is right about the fact that many of these may be a bit difficult, but certainly not all. The problem with possibly preferring to play with a "Donald Duck" version is copyright. We can't bring those here.

Having a genre, but not a specific "known" tune is the challenge, and can help players move away from playing mechanical riffs and arpeggios when what's often missing is a melodic lead line. The vast majority of music isn't structured around playing a head, then a bunch of solos. This is a MAJOR FAULT of just having standards to practice and reinforces the whole problem of keeping sax players stuck in a mid 20th century mode. Working with different structures that don't always include solos is an important thing to learn. Some of the Wikiloops tracks also give the opportunity to play backing so that the player can experience being in the position of playing behind a singer and not playing over them. What's needed (IMHO) are more tracks that are like playing in the real world with bands who are playing originals. Practicing "standards" can prepare you for jams with others who aren't professionals. Live jams can also be a practice, but often become "cutting contests" with more experienced players trying to establish "pecking orders" based on technical fluidity rather than musical content...fastest sax in the west? A very unfortunate and un-musical game to play.

Playing with unknown tracks can give you practice for real time jamming as a professional. It's a totally different exercise and much closer to what's generally expected if you're joining a band that plays originals. Whoever "writes" a composition, whether it's really written or not, usually won't write out a part for you, much less transcribe it into your key. You (as a pro) are often expected to come up with your own part, which isn't necessarily going to be just playing chord tones or a bunch of riffs and arpeggios. You need to hear the structure and play a line that fits and compliments what's happening.

The problem with nearly ALL standards and backing tracks posted here is the presumption that you are the soloist. That's just not real, but it's OK as a limited exercise if balanced with other types of playing. An exercise that will make you a better player is to hear where you can fit WITHIN THE MUSIC, not on top of it. Learning to listen is the key. If you're always playing the same "standards" then you're probably not listening as you already know what's happening. and only concentrate on playing your solo. That's OK up to a point, but there needs to be a time when you crawl outside the cocoon of a known tune and an over-practiced solo. The goal is to become a REAL well rounded musician.
 

Wade Cornell

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That may be your goal, but it isn't mine.
My goal is to have fun playing music.
This whole thread is about being "original". What's said is in that context. Hopefully all of us, whatever our goals, will enjoy what we are doing. The information given is to assist those who strive to be original and wish to become better players. I'm sorry if this doesn't fit with your goals, but it may help others.
 
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randulo

randulo

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That's an interesting and original idea, @Wade Cornell, posting accompaniment tracks that either already have a lead or don't need one. You play with the band. The online course I'm taking has at least one of those, The Jazz Police. I prefer standard ballads for as I said, it's good practice for long notes and tone production. By the way, Eric has a cool solo at 3:00 minutes.
 

Wade Cornell

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Not sure why you'd think that you can't play long tones or go for good tone production if playing in "free improvisation". No rules other than doing the best you can to be saying something to your listeners (other that I've got fast fingers...I don't Ha!)

One question: I have no idea how to post a track here other than through Wikiloops...never have otherwise that I can recall. Maybe post to you Randy?
 
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randulo

randulo

23 months since I began - 3.7% of my adult life
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One question: I have no idea how to post a track here other than through Wikiloops...never have otherwise that I can recall. Maybe post to you Randy?
You can insert YouTube or Soundcloud URLs and there are others, but those are the ones I use.
 

Targa

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That's an interesting and original idea, @Wade Cornell, posting accompaniment tracks that either already have a lead or don't need one. You play with the band. The online course I'm taking has at least one of those, The Jazz Police. I prefer standard ballads for as I said, it's good practice for long notes and tone production. By the way, Eric has a cool solo at 3:00 minutes.
Disappointing, I thought it would be the far better piece of music
The Jazz Police
 
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