Sunday, January 15, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different: Jazz

Perhaps not remarkably, all of my guitar students are rock and jazz players: I don't have a single student who plays classical guitar. Not one (Though a couple have bought classicals, they play acoustic rock and acoustic jazz on them).

Two of my students have a jazz guitar duo, and I am quite pleased with their progress over the last year. Well, I have been teaching them jazz comping styles, and for a swing tune example, I dug out an old swing style fusion piece I wrote eons ago. At that time, I wanted to be Larry Carlton, so the melody is in a style very close to his (Pentatonically based with hotly dissonant upper structure arpeggios thrown in for good measure). I had just emerged from a Charlie Parker phase, however, so it's definately a swing tune, but it's "poppy" in that it's based on a I vi ii V opening progression. It's reminiscent of Larry's style from the Room 335/Mulberry Street era (Both tunes I played at the time in a fusion group I was in), and it's quite interesting in the fact that the piece is in D-flat major, but it modulates to G major half way through the first phrase. I remember when I wrote it (For a class at Berklee) the teacher really dug the hell out of it. I mean, he was saying "Wow!" and "This is really, really good!" and stuff like that as he played it... on the piano!

Well, I wrote out an arrangement of it for my dudes, and when they heard it I got "that look" from them. If you are a musician who teaches privately you probably know "that look": Wide-eyed and slack-jawed wonder that just screams, "Why... why... my teacher is a god!" I got a tickle out of it.

Anyway, guitar one has the melody, and is not octave-transposed down in this arrangement. I have a great overdrive guitar Soundfont, and that's what I used for the sound. Guitar two is doing a standard guide-tone with bass line comping deal, and I just used a nylon guitar Soundfont for that. The swing is written-out, so it's notated in 12/8 time. Sorry for the sloppy notational layout, but since I wrote it for a teaching example, I wasn't overly concerned with the niceities.

I went ahead and added it to my .Mac FileShare page: Both as a PDF and as a MIDI file, if you want to hear it. The files are JAZZ_one_for_the_dudes.mid/.pdf. You may have to fiddle with the sounds, depending on your Soundfonts or MIDI setup. Since I have a ton of these, and my guys want to play them (Who would have thunk it?), I'll probably be adding more of these from time to time.

I'm well into the next Taneiev post, so that will be upcoming next.

Yeah, baby! That's what I'm talkin' about!


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