Jazz Improvisation - January 7, 2004

My first audio post

iwasdoingallright - audio clip - my first audio clip post. I'm playing with an Aebersold recording of Black Nile (by Wayne Shorter). As mentioned in other posts, I'm going to be putting up a variety of audio clips so I can listen to my progress over time. I hope my clips motivate you to occasionally record yourself as you practice (if you don't already).

Recording yourself is probably the best (and only) way to truly evaluate your playing. I know that I've listened to plenty of recordings where I thought I had played a good jazz solo, but upon review I notice flaws: uneven tempos, sloppy articulation, poor intonation, etc. All stuff that can be worked on, but somehow the recording is the only place where it really stands out.

As you listen to this clip, you may hear things that sound good and things that could be improved. Don't be shy… please share your comments.

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

When you listen to my clips you may be thinking: is he playing the kazoo? In all honesty, my tone is A LOT better than it sounds in these recordings. Unfortunately, this is about as good as I've been able to sound with my $30 microphone…

ONE MORE THING

I'm trying to keep the file size down to a minimum by limiting the recording length. As I listen to this clip, I feel it's hard to get a feel for the changes at first. You may need to listen a couple of times for things to sink in.

SYSTEM NOTES

I modified the way bullets look for archived & featured jazz blog entries that contain audio. Take a look at the left side of your screen to see what I'm talking about.

Comment by Eric B

A while back you let me hear a video with you playing 'A Train' - I hear a definite improvement in your tone on this new recording. You sound good man (nice song selection too... Shorter is the MAN). Keep doing what you're doing. If I can ever get to the point that you are now I will be pleasantly pleased.

Do you ever get a chance to play with other musicians? My goal in 2004 is play somewhere... anywhere... live. I'm actually working on the tune "Freddie Freeloader" in hopes of being able to call it at a jam session one day. We'll see how that goes.

Again - well done!

Comment by Rick

Thanks for the compliments.

I'm not sure that my tone has improved in that short of a time, but my upper range has definitely strengthened. The video clips that you saw used the camera's built-in mic as the source, so perhaps that is the cause of the tone variance.

Playing with others: I haven't played in any type of group since I stopped playing the trumpet 8 years ago (I'll explain my playing history in an upcoming journal entry). I look forward to the day, though, when my chops are strong and I can once again play out. Until then, it's all preparation...

Another note: since you're learning tunes for jam session settings, and since you're a big Wayne Shorter fan, ya gotta learn 'Footprints'. It's a great "getting to know you" jam session tune --an ideal warm-up before 'Cherokee' in C#!

Comment by Ron H

Man, that sounds superb! After reading your blurb, especially the "kazoo" comment, I was wondering what to expect. If I could play like that, I would be extremely happy. An inspiriation, thanks!

Comment by Rick

Thanks for the kind words.

I guess the kazoo remark was a bit of an exaggeration… I just wanted to make clear that my tone isn't as nasally as it sounds in the recordings ;-)

Anyway, I hope you'll continue to visit, and I look forward to checking out your site when it is ready.

Comment by Chris

Rick, thats some nice playing! Especially since it was ur first audion recording. I liked how you built on you original phrase and the runs fitted the chords very nicely and had a great tone. I have been listening to some of your other clips and some of them are definatley comparable to miles, and the little bit of distortion actually makes it sound like your playing with a very light wood mute. I like some of your stuff and your ideas sound very natural which is always good. I also just wanted to compliment you on your site and tell you that your doing many people a great service...

As james morrison says;

"Keep swinging"

Chris

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Jazz Improvisation

I practice and hone my skills with the goal of becoming a better (dare I say "good") jazz improviser. In this section, you can read about the methods I use to improve and you can listen to recordings of my playing. The recordings will help you determine if any of the stuff I'm doing actually works ;-)

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