This page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2005. As you'll hear below, these jazz recordings feature such highlights as cracked notes, poor note choice, unsteady rhythm, and meandering phrases! And that's why recording myself is so important. It's the best way to evaluate my playing and to chart my progress over time. I don't expect that I'll ever become a great jazz trumpet player, but I am anxious to hear how much better I can get with practice. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
DECEMBER 16, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #104, Bass Piece
This clip is from the Kenny Werner - Free Play play-a-long. I purchased it recently thanks to a suggestion from Dan Jacobs. It's basically a collection of tracks with unconventional rhythms, instrumentation, and harmonies. I really like this collection so far, as it's already pushed me to try some new directions in my playing.
I had only played with this "Bass Piece" track once prior to recording this clip. That first session was about three or four weeks ago, so enough time had passed for me to forget everything except for the fact that it speeds up. There aren't any chord changes, nor is there really any structure to the bass track. My goal with this clip was to make it sound as though the bass and I were actually interacting...
SEPTEMBER 28, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #12, Take The 'A' Train by Billy Strayhorn
This is the last clip I recorded tonight. My chops were worn out and I probably should have put my horn down, but I just had to play one more tune. While soloing, I had this image in my head of a boisterous (and somewhat inebriated) saxophone player belting out a loud sloppy solo. I think that image comes across in my clip...
Since it's the end of the 3rd quarter, I figure I should add in a couple other clips from tonight's recording session, even though they're short.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Clip #1 - Aebersold #99, Super Jet by Tadd Dameron
As you might guess, clip #1 is the beginning of my solo. I continued soloing after the clip ends, but I got tongue-tied and my solo sort of fell apart. After resting for a chorus or two, I started up again and recorded the following:
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Clip #2
SEPTEMBER 13, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Freeform improvisation
Here's a short clip of freeform improvisation. I just picked up my horn, noodled around a bit, and then recorded this clip.
Playing without an accompaniment helps ensure that your note choice, use of motifs, sense of motion, and rhythm are good enough to stand on their own. If/when they aren't, there's nowhere to hide...
AUGUST 25, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #34, Green Dolphin Street by Kaper & Washington
My chops were pretty much shot during this clip. I had to use one of my old tricks to get the notes out: pressure (didn't I just write about that?) I know, I know... I'm setting a lousy example. At least, it's clear in this clip that pressure isn't a cure-all. I totally missed the high note in a fast little run near the beginning.
I like the long descending run towards the end of the solo. Basic notes and rhythms, nothing fancy, but I think it worked out pretty well. Another element that I liked was the fact that I start and end the solo with simple-song fragments. I think this is the first time I've done that.
AUGUST 10, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #100, Margie
This track is from the "St. Louis Blues" Dixieland play-a-long. This was my first time playing with this track. I'd guess this clip was recorded after 4 or 5 warm-up choruses.
While recording, I had to break for a phone call. I continued playing after the call, but I forgot to start the recorder. I hate it when I do that! So, this clip is the best of the lot. There are a few cracked notes, but I think it's still worth sharing.
JUNE 24, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #108, A Shade Of Jade by Joe Henderson
I was listening to the version on Joe Henderson's "Mode For Joe" this afternoon and couldn't help but pick up my horn. Since we're nearing the end of the second quarter, I also figured I should try to get in another recording. I recorded with this track back in 2004, however I definitely prefer today's clip.
JUNE 2, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #56, "In Walked Bud" by Thelonious Monk
I hesitated putting this track on due to several obvious mistakes, but really I had to put something new online because I'm embarassed by how bad I sound in the 2 tracks below (especially "I Let A Song..."). I didn't think they sounded so bad at first, but after some repeated listening... yikes!
In this recording, I nearly missed the first note (D) entirely but pressed on anyway. And of course, I totally missed the high C that I was shooting for near the end. I did manage to play a high C a few minutes earlier, but wouldn't you know it, I wasn't recording at the time.
MAY 24, 2005
This is my first attempt to play along with the following tracks. I didn't look at the changes, nor did I spend more than a single chorus noodling around before making these recordings. I approached "I Let A Song..." with the intention of creating a new melody for the tune, while my "Catalonian" solo is comprised mostly of short rhythmic phrases.
While they're not great solos, I think they're pretty decent (for me) considering my unfamiliarity with both tunes.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #12, "I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart" by Duke Ellington
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #82, "Catalonian Nights" by Dexter Gordon
As you work on your ear training, you should also try to figure out tunes entirely by ear. If you have access to the written changes, take a look at them afterwards to see how you did. It would also be a good idea to record yourself so you can better identify problem spots.
APRIL 25, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #38, "This I Dig Of You" by Hank Mobley
This solo is played over the first two choruses of the tune, where you'd typically play the head.
I didn't get a chance to practice this past weekend so my chops were pretty fresh today. I took advantage of this fact and played a bit more in the upper register than usual. Before I started recording, I actually managed to play a pretty decent E above high C!
MARCH 19, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #86, "Tokyo Blues" by Horace Silver
Instead of using a bunch of notes, I experiment with short melodies and phrases, using syncopated rhythms to create interest in the solo. The rhythmic aspect is best heard in the beginning of the second chorus. Nothing special, but at least it isn't as note-heavy as some of my recent clips...
MARCH 3, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #86, "Mary Lou" by Horace Silver
I bought this play-a-long at the same time that I bought #17 & #18 (see below). I haven't had a chance to try it out, though, until recently. It's definitely one of the better Aebersold's, due to the energetic rhythm section. I recommend it highly.
There isn't much to say about my solo. Mostly, I just wanted to get something online since I missed February altogether.
JANUARY 7, 2005
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #17, "Nutville" by Horace Silver
I really like the recording of this tune on Horace Silver's "The Cape Verdean Blues" especially Woody Shaw's playing. I like the tune so much, that I recently bought this play-a-long specifically so I'd have this track. I played a few choruses to get my bearings and then recorded this clip. There are some weak spots, but I think I did a fairly good job of keeping up with the challenging tempo.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Aebersold #18, "Nica's Dream" by Horace Silver
Now that I've finally got my flugelhorn valves working (read the note in my equipment information page. Updated 3/3/05: Um...), I thought it was time to use it in another recording. Things were going pretty well until I goofed and basically totally derailed my solo. The goof occurs right after the fade out at the end. Clever editing, eh?