Jazz Improvisation - September 25, 2010

Jazz improvisation recordings, 2010

recordingThis page contains my jazz improvisation recordings from 2010. 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.

All of my jazz improvisation recordings: 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #94, Chi Chi

After six years of sharing my jazz improvisation clips, I thought it was about time that I post a Charlie Parker tune. Until this past week, I never even tried to play "Chi Chi." I guess that's one of the (many!) downsides of being dependent upon the Real Book back when I was in college. If a tune wasn't in Real Book Vol 1, I didn't try to play it. It's too bad "Chi Chi" didn't make the cut for Vol 1, though, because it's a great tune with fun changes. But I think we can all agree it's not nearly as important to the jazz continuum as "Good Evening Mr & Mrs America and All the Ships at Sea," which you will find in Real Book Vol 1. If I had a dollar for every time somebody calls that at a jam session...

Anyway, I've been practicing "Chi Chi" for 10 minutes or so every day during the past week. I started out trying to play a bunch of notes, but as time went on, I found myself leaving more and more space for the chords. You'll hear some of that space in the first chorus of my recording.

JULY 19, 2010

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #106, Zambia

Tonight I tried to record some tracks for an upcoming ear training article, but I wasn't playing very well. Instead of putting my trumpet away for the evening, I thought it might be fun to record another attempt at Lee Morgan's "Zambia." My first attempt at this track was back in 2004 (iwasdoingallright - audio clip here's that 2004 recording). I've played this tune a few times over the years, but I've never really worked on it... which I guess is kind of obvious based on my lack of improvement! I'd probably be discouraged by the lack of progress, but that 2004 recording was one of my favorites at the time so perhaps I'm comparing one of my best nights from 2004 to a so-so night in 2010. If that's the case, then I guess I'm doing all right.

I do think it's interesting, though, that both solos start out strong and then fizzle when I get half-way through. If I ever do decide to practice this tune, I know where to focus.

MAY 1, 2010

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #8, Airegin

Airegin is another one of those tunes that I've always had trouble with. It's a little too fast for me and the changes always throw me off. Having avoided the tune for years, I thought it was finally time to overcome my Airegin aversion. So, a couple of weeks ago I started working on it every day, much like I did last year with Cherokee and like I did below with Moment's Notice. And what do you know... I actually improved! I'm not saying this track is great (I totally missed the high notes toward the end), but I think it's pretty good when you consider that I couldn't even make it through an entire solo a couple of weeks ago.

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Airegin. This time with more trumpet!

Since I haven't posted many recordings this year, I'm including a bonus clip. It's actually more of a blooper. During today's first jazz improvisation recording attempt, the cord to the backing track accidentally came unplugged. I could still hear the backing track, but it wasn't making its way into the my computer for recording. You can faintly hear the backing track that got picked up by my trumpet microphone, but for the most part all you'll hear is me. Consider it my tribute to Mr. David Lee Roth.

FEBRUARY 28, 2010

iwasdoingallright - audio clip Aebersold #38, Moment's Notice

Much like last year, most of my February has been spent working on some new projects at work. Since I haven't had much time to practice the trumpet, I've focused my jazz improvisation studies on just a couple of tunes. One of the tunes, "Moment's Notice," has been a favorite of mine for many years, but I never could manage to play a decent solo. Either the fast tempo or the challenging chord changes would get the best of me and I'd resign myself to the fact that I'm just not good enough. It doesn't help that I've heard Lee Morgan's blistering solo on the "Blue Trane" album so many times that I can't help but compare my playing to his. And let's just say, I haven't sounded very good by comparison.

This recording from tonight isn't anything special, but it's a lot better than my attempts from a year or two ago. I especially like the part around 20 seconds in (right after the second A section starts). I mess up the rhythm a little but then recover such that the mistake almost sounds intentional. A year ago, that mistake would have derailed my entire solo.

If you're familiar with Lee Morgan's solo, hopefully you'll recognize the lick I borrowed (it's near the end of my first chorus).

Comment by Tom Saul

Don't sell your self short on Airegin. There were really cool and clean bebop rhythms in there. So you missed a high note or two. Thaz okay. Next time. I liked the bebopin' stuff. Good time and clean. How 'bout an article on bebop rhythm and articulation?

Comment by Rick

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the feedback and the encouragement. I probably wouldn't write a very good article about bebop articulation and rhythm, though. I've sort of fallen into my current pattern of articulation because I always had problems with rapid single tonguing. To compensate in uptempo jazz, I started tonguing sporadically, accenting notes that sounded good (to me) and slurring in between. In the end, I simply try to do whatever sounds good without worrying about the mechanics.

-Rick

Lots of people would not even be able to pick out any blunders. Your improvisation sounds really good on Airegin. Improvisation is not so much about what's right or wrong but how you take the inspiration from your heart and turn it into sound. Good work there!

Hi there,

Your jazz recordings are quitely improving in every year you have been through. It doesn't really matters if it is good or not. It is a such good work you have done. In improving your skills in that much.

Thanks.

Hey Rick - suggestion... for the tricky parts of any tune I highly recommend running chord tones over the changes. 1357, 1735, etc... just pick two patterns and nail the hell out of the changes with thos patterns. THEN forget it and just play. You'd be surprised what your ears will latch on to once you've got the motion of the form in your head.

I'm sure you already knew this though. ;-)

Comment by James

Hey good stuff bud!

This is one awesome site Rick! I will be placing a link on my site as soon as its finished! Great recourse mate! Well done, great playing too!

Eddie, Liverpool, UK

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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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