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Maiden Voyage: Autumn Leaves

Dave Mac

Honest, I'm Trying
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380
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Home is Aberdeen Scotland
Got Jamey Aebersold's Maiden Voyage a couple of years ago .... and completely failed to keep track with Autumn Leaves. Decided that I was out of my depth, and try again at a later date - which was yesterday! Well, now I can keep track of the backing track and play along with the melody and the bridge - which takes me to bar 32 of the backing track.

Now, here's my problem ..... there are 136 bars in the backing track, so what am I supposed to do for the remaining 104 bars???!! I fully understand that I am supposed to (learn how to) improvise a solo somewhere, but there doesn't appear to be any direction as to what to do .... or when! Surely, not a rambling 104 bar solo, that would be very painful?

I see a few "Coda" signs, but no "DS (or DC) al segna, so I'm pretty well lost ..... or still way out of my depth.

Any helpful suggestions?

Dave. :(
 

Chris

Well Known
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Hi Dave, first of all on getting through the first chorus, it feels good when you manage it. For the rest of the tune you can play what you like:w00t: It can seem very daunting at first. 'Aldevis' is running the IOTM thread which you might find useful.
What I said you can play what you like, you can just follow the harmony the chords create. Just play simple short melodies/phrases over 2 or 4 bars for example. You can start by using the chord tones. That is one example, you could play the melody again, adding extra notes as you play, leaving out notes and adding your own, just finding certain key melody notes. There are many many pages written about jazz improvisation, even our very own Pete Thomas has written a book on it 'here' a very good book as well.

Chris..
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
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3,964
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Manchester, UK
Do whatever you want. That's the good (and also the bad) thing about a backing track. The band doesn't care what you do, they'll just play the same thing over and over.. The track consists of 4 choruses (a chorus being once through the 32-bar sequence) and the last time through you go to the Coda at the marked point. Options might be:

1. Play the melody and just stop
2. Play the melody, "sit out" for a chorus getting the sound of the chord sequence into your head (eg try to sing the chord roots). Improvise two choruses.
3. Play the melody solo for two choruses and play the melody again with some alterations.
4. Just listen to the track while you make a coffee.
......

I'm not being facetious about #4, btw, it can really help.
 

Dave Mac

Honest, I'm Trying
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380
Locality
Home is Aberdeen Scotland
Great! Thanks guys (Chris/Martin) - the penny seems to be dropping. The Melody + Bridge =32 bars, and also 1 CHORUS!! (I've just noticed at the top of the page "PLAY 4 CHORUSES") So, 4 choruses equals 128 bars ...... plus the 8 bar Coda = 136 Bars!!!

It seems so simple when you guys (so clearly) explain it, but I don't think I would ever have gotten there. Again, many thanks - now I'll have to go try this improvising malarky!!

Dave.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
What saxophone are you playing? Is it in the key of Eb or Bb?
 

Little My

Practice makes better.
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401
Locality
Wiltshire, UK.
Ah, Autumn Leaves, that brings back memories of a lesson dedicated to 2 5 1s.. The chords given below the piece are exactly the same as the ones in the "head", with the addition of the coda. You may find it easier to keep your place if you read the chords from the top rather than the bottom as you have the melody there too. Then again, seeing as you know exactly how many bars the piece has you probably don't have any issues with counting bars :respect: Definitely a great idea to listen with a cup of coffee (and a pencil), you can see/hear how the chords change through the piece.
I keep thinking about creating a Light bulb thread about Aebersold playalongs. They can be invaluable but seemed impenetrable to me for a very long time.
 

Dave Mac

Honest, I'm Trying
Messages
380
Locality
Home is Aberdeen Scotland
Ah, Autumn Leaves, that brings back memories of a lesson dedicated to 2 5 1s.. The chords given below the piece are exactly the same as the ones in the "head", with the addition of the coda. You may find it easier to keep your place if you read the chords from the top rather than the bottom as you have the melody there too. Then again, seeing as you know exactly how many bars the piece has you probably don't have any issues with counting bars :respect: Definitely a great idea to listen with a cup of coffee (and a pencil), you can see/hear how the chords change through the piece.
I keep thinking about creating a Light bulb thread about Aebersold playalongs. They can be invaluable but seemed impenetrable to me for a very long time.

Yes, impenetrable is a good word to describe my efforts to "playalong" with Jamey, and as my original thread explains - 2 years on I'm still finding it more than just difficult. Yes I can count the bars, but If I lose count I can't tell where I am in the piece. It's difficult (for me) to "playalong" and count at the same time. Practise, practise, practise.
Dave.
 

Little My

Practice makes better.
Messages
401
Locality
Wiltshire, UK.
If it's any consolation I had some of mine for close on ten years before I could start making sense of them. Admittedly that included a five year break from playing, but even so.....
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
I keep thinking about creating a Light bulb thread about Aebersold playalongs. They can be invaluable but seemed impenetrable to me for a very long time.

Great idea, and just the sort of thing I had in mind when I suggested the 'Light Bulb' idea!

At the time when the penny drops there is often some sort of realisation of why it has done so and why it didn't happen before.

These flashes of insight may be subjective, maybe even no more than a feeling of what contributed to the breakthrough, but can be incredibly useful in understanding how your own learning works - and helpful to others.

Of course, bags of practice and study over time (which you have definitely done) gives somewhere for insight to come from. Or to put it another way, in order for pennies to drop you've got to earn them first!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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14,769
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
The way to make sense of them is to

Firstly learn the tune so you can play it without dots and then practice all the chords of the song on your instrument till you're completely familiar and can trot them out when required.

Then play them with the song. If you start by playing just the root on the first beat of each bar, then add a third or a fifth on the third beat. Eventually four notes per bar. When you're happy mix it up a little with little phrases.

A 100 hours on a song should get you to a point where you're beginning to be relaxed and can feel the changes.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
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3,964
Locality
Manchester, UK
Yes I can count the bars, but If I lose count I can't tell where I am in the piece. It's difficult (for me) to "playalong" and count at the same time.
Hence my remark about singing the chord roots along with the track. Listen to what the bass player is doing in particular. First note of each bar will usually be the root. Eventually you get to the point where, if you're momentarily lost (and I suspect it happens to even the best players), you can just hear where you are without thinking about it. The more I learn about jazz (ie not that much so far) the more I realise that it's all about listening.

Edit: posted this without having read Colin's post which says much the same thing.
 

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