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Lester and me

BigMartin

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This is a clip of me playing along with a Lester Young solo with Count Basie et al on Lady Be Good. My teacher suggested this exercise about three months ago, and it's taken me this long to get it half-way decent. In the meantime I've learned a fair bit about keeping a pulse and about phrasing. I'm really impressed by how relaxed Lester sounds on this. He seems to have all the time in the world, and I'm really struggling just to keep up.

http://soundcloud.com/bigmartin/ladybegood
 

rhysonsax

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Really nice, if that's all one take then it is an excellent effort.

I think that Lester Young, at least early Lester, is a great model for bouncing swing.

My favourite Pres recording is 'Blue Lester' and I have great fun playing his transcribed solo along with a backing track that I made up with Band In A Box.

Rhys
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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An absolute joy to listen to Martin. You did really well on that, nice tone, great timing and you actually sound like your having fun with it as opposed to sounding like your counting or concentrating. All in all, a really convincing performance.
 

BigMartin

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Really nice, if that's all one take then it is an excellent effort.
Thanks, Rhys, and everyone else. It's one take, but not the first!

I think that Lester Young, at least early Lester, is a great model for bouncing swing.

My favourite Pres recording is 'Blue Lester' and I have great fun playing his transcribed solo along with a backing track that I made up with Band In A Box.

Rhys
Just found that on YouTube. Love it. Would it be possible to share the chords for that? I can transcribe the melody for myself, but I can't get the chords down with any confidence.
 

BigMartin

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An absolute joy to listen to Martin. You did really well on that, nice tone, great timing and you actually sound like your having fun with it as opposed to sounding like your counting or concentrating. All in all, a really convincing performance.
Thanks Pete. Took a fair amount of work (eg with the metronome on 2 and 4) to to get to the "not counting" stage, and I still am in places. Definitley am concentrating or it all falls apart horribly. It's been quite a revealing exercise as well as fun, and I'd recommend it to anyone, whatever kind of music they're into.
 

rhysonsax

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4,380
Just found that on YouTube. Love it. Would it be possible to share the chords for that? I can transcribe the melody for myself, but I can't get the chords down with any confidence.
The chords (for tenor sax) that I have got in the Hal Leonard book for 'Blue Lester' are:

Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|
G G7/B|C6 C#dim7|G/D G7/B|A7 D7|
Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|
G G7/B|C6 C#dim7|G7/D |G7 |
C6 C#dim7|G/D G7|C6 C#dim7|G/D G7|
C6 C#dim7|G/D E7|A7 |D7 |
Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|Gm Gm/F|Eb7 D7|
G G7/B|C6 C#dim7|G/D |D7 G|

So it's a 32 bar tune in G for the tenor and I love it !

 
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BigMartin

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Thanks for going to the trouble, Rhys. It'll be nice to have something a bit less energetic to go at.
 

BigMartin

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Am I missing something? All I can hear is Lester Young.
Lucky you! I should be on the right-hand stereo channel. If it helps, Im the one who keeps coming in late (although once or twice I'm a bit early) and who hasn't got time to think about niceties like vibrato.
 
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Nick Wyver

noisy
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Ah, cheers. Loose connection at my end meant I wasn't getting the RH channel at all. Nice one!
 

Young Col

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It's one of the great solos and always still sounds fresh, even though it's from 1936. You've done a great job and I'd be happy just getting a few phrases right. Gunther Schuller has a transcription in his book on jazz and analyses it well too.
YC
 

visionari1

Senior Member
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1,581
Very well done Martin,
I've done a little transcription before & this, I think is quite a difficult one as it moves along at a great swinging pace, your ears, timing & fingers must have learnt heaps by doing this tune.
How actually did you do it?
In transcribe ?
By ear only.... Slowing sections down?
I've been told the best way is to learn directly from the tune and listen to the recording heaps until you can sing it, then start getting sections off perfectly and building from there?
I tend to have to write the notes down, so I have something to come back to at the next learning session as I found I sometimes have to start at the beginning again.
A few tips on how you did this would be great.
Brilliant stuff mate




Cheers & ciao
Jimu

"Together We Create Beauty"
 

BigMartin

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3,904
Very well done Martin,
I've done a little transcription before & this, I think is quite a difficult one as it moves along at a great swinging pace, your ears, timing & fingers must have learnt heaps by doing this tune.
How actually did you do it?
In transcribe ?
Yep

By ear only.... Slowing sections down?
Trial and error. Lots of error.
Try it by ear. Write something down. Play it back, (mostly using the keyboard in Transcribe), Sounds wrong. Try again. Repeat. Took me ages, but I got quicker as I went along. Had to slow some bits down, but still ended up guessing on some of the quicker decorations as the recording quality is not that great.

I've been told the best way is to learn directly from the tune and listen to the recording heaps until you can sing it, then start getting sections off perfectly and building from there?
Sounds like a plan. I just did a bar or so at a time.

I tend to have to write the notes down, so I have something to come back to at the next learning session as I found I sometimes have to start at the beginning again.
Couldn't have done it without writing it down. Still don't think I could play it from memory.

A few tips on how you did this would be great.
Brilliant stuff mate
Thanks for the kind words.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
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1,581
Thanks for the reply Big M.

Interesting you say you doubt you could play it without the music..... You must be so close to doing this as you have the timing & phrasing off very well.
I think another big jump up for you is also very close, as once you don't need the dots, feeling, emotion, and your sound will come.
Just before I read your post, I read the last article from jazzadvice.com and think was very revelant to this post.

http://jazzadvice.com/5-solutions-to-improvisation-that-are-hidden-in-plain-sight/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Jazzadvice+%28jazzadvice%29

Cheers & ciao
Jimu

"Together We Create Beauty"
 
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BigMartin

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Interesting you say you doubt you could play it without the music..... You must be so close to doing this as you have the timing & phrasing off very well.
I think you're probably right there. My fingers kind of find their way round each phrase, but I'm using the dots mainly to remind me which bit comes next.

I think another big jump up for you is also very close, as once you don't need the dots, feeling, emotion, and your sound will come.
Just before I read your post, I read the last article from jazzadvice.com and think was very revelant to this post.

http://jazzadvice.com/5-solutions-to-improvisation-that-are-hidden-in-plain-sight/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Jazzadvice+(jazzadvice)
Thanks for the link. I just skimmed that. Those are pretty much the kind of things I'm working on. If only there were more hours in a day and/or I was more organised!
 

visionari1

Senior Member
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1,581
Yeah big M...
I know that problem... only too well


Cheers & ciao
Jimu

"Together We Create Beauty"
 

Wade Cornell

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A lot of work went into this and it seems like it was a good learning experience for you. Learning to emulate what a "great" has done has merit, but at some point needs to not just be a pattern to be repeated, but to open up what that individual was thinking and how they were hearing. If you aren't sick of this piece may you could take it to the next level and instead of copying note for note what Lester did you can try to hear harmonies and counterpoint to this same piece. In other words, play off him rather than with him. As Jimu said and you responded this could be a singing exercise at first to find how your "voice" can compliment, harmonize and accent against Lester's.

I know it's a big ask, but if we are ever going to achieve much in music it's got to be more than just copying what has already happened, it should be about taking music further and adding something of ourselves.

A great effort that shows how determination has allowed you to "match up" with a great. Now, the challenge is to do your own thing.
 

BigMartin

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Thanks, Wade.

Yes, this was meant as a technical exercise and I think I've learnt something about timing and phrasing by doing it. I've put it aside for now, but yes, the next stage (apart from maybe sorting out a few details) would be to go back and play some improvised lines. Might work better with a different section of the recording as Lester's solo doesn't leave a great deal of space. I've been a bit shy about posting my improvisations here but I am working (or is it playing?) on that side of things too.
 
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