Through look at jazz guitar comping. Great ideas for expanding harmony and rhythm.
Great comping lesson from the jazz/blues great. Keep it funky.
Jazz drumming comping patterns
Descrição: Through look at jazz guitar comping. Great ideas for expanding harmony and rhythm.
Typical comping rhythms used in jazz, pop and latin music
Mike Tracy-Jazz Piano Voicings for non-pianists
Jazz Piano Voicings 101
Jazz Piano Voicings 101Description complète
Jazz Piano Voicings 101Full description
Descripción: after doing this and understanding it i assure that you will play a nice comping and will reharmonize the tunes instantly
Comping By: Hal Galper [email protected] Originally published by Jamey Aebersold in "Jazz Piano Voicings by Hal Galper"
Th e Pianists role in in a jazz group group..
Th e piano is classed classed as a percussion instrum ent. It a lso has a strong m elodic elodic and h armonic comp onent. I n a jazz group group,, duplication of roles roles is to be avoided. avoided. As As soon as t wo instrum instrum ents take t ake the th e same sam e role role (duplicati (du plication) on) the th e music mu sic suffers. suffers. As As a jazz group already has a percu ssion instrumen t (the drums), a harmonic instrument (the b ass) and a m elodic elodic instrument instrument (the soloist), soloist), the ten dency for for the piano t o duplicate du plicate the roles is alway alwayss present . Because of the preceding, I have alway alwayss considered th e piano as being a superfluous instrument in a jazz group. It is just not needed. The other instrum ents are already fulf fulfil illi ling ng the melodic, harmon ic and rhythm rhythm ic roles. roles. Because of it' it' s ability ability to be so interruptive, interruptive, the p iano's iano' s role role in a group is then very sensitive sensitive and must mu st be b e used with with restraint. What th en is the p ianists role role in a jazz group? group? One m ust assu me th at all the mem bers of the group kn ow the chord cha nges, hence th e piano is not needed to plunk down the chords for them . The b ass is already already doing doing th at. The group up already has a drummer so the piano is not needed to keep time and the th e soloist is already playing playing m elody as well. well. Th e pianists role as that of a rhythmic, melodic and harmonic harm onic colorist. colorist. As As a matter mat ter of fact, fact, all instrum instrum ents are colorists. colorists. The pianist m ust strive strive to supp ress the percussive percussive aspects of the pian o and m ake it, in in a sense, " liquid" liquid" . Chords Chords that are attacked in a m anner that is too percussiv percussive, e, too loud, or too active, will interrupt the rhythmic flow of the music and distract the soloist as well as the listener. Voicings with too many notes in them will confine the soloists choice of melody. The qu estion estion of " when" to do something something is as important as " what" to do . Th e attitud e of a professional professional accompan ist is that: all all comping ideas com e from the th e soloist! soloist! Th e pianist m ust n ot impose th eir ideas ideas on t he soloist. soloist. In a
sense, the soloist soloist is the leader of the group eff effort at th at m oment! oment ! Th e accompanists (including bass and drums) should strive to acquire the perception t hat every every idea idea a soloist soloist plays plays is a su ggestion (a signa l) to the accompanists as to what what the soloi soloist st needs beh ind them to support the sound the soloist soloist is trying trying to create. T his mea ns th at all ideas ideas of comping come from the soloist and are played after the soloist plays an idea. Only on a rare occasion does the comper lead the soloist soloist or " feed" a soloist soloist ideas. ideas. N ot every every idea a soloist plays needs a response from the comper. If every idea were responded to, the comp ing would would be too t oo a active active and would would distract d istract the soloist. soloist. If you you run out of ideas while while comping, comp ing, it mean s that you are not listening listening to the th e soloist. soloist. If the soloist soloist is playing playing interesting enough and leaving leaving space in the solo solo for for you you to resp ond, you should n ever ever run out of comping ideas. Be advised that all soloists, especially students, are not aware of a compers percept ion of them . Quite Qu ite often often th e student stud ent soloist soloist is not aware of their responsibility responsibility to the rhythm sect ion to p lay clear concise ideas and leave leave space in t heir solo solo for for them to respond . It should be cautioned at this point, that there are productive and nonproductive uses of play-a-l play-a-long ong records. To u se th em to dev d evelo elop p repitoire repitoire an d practice ideas upon will be helpful. As a substitute for playing with a live band, when none is available, they will be non-productive. You will not be learning the conversational skills needed to play in a group context. A play-along record does not respond to a soloist and you will actually be learning how to ignore a rhythm section rather h ow to play with with one. N ote: I have m ade m any Play-a Play-a-l -long ong records for Jamey. am ey. T he chall c halleng enge,as e,as you can see from from the preceding, is th at there is no soloist soloist pla p laying ying on the record. Wher Wh eree then, then , did I get m y com ping ideas? In m ost cases, cases, I im agined agined a soloist soloist playing playing and reacted to t o the th e im agined solo s olo.. T his was all all right right as far as it goes but this m eant eant that th at the drum drum s and bass m ay have been reacting reacting to a differ different ent imagined solo than m ine. On certai certain n tu nes on this recor recording, ding, we had Jamey Jamey scat scat solo to us th rough the earphon earphones es . T his m ade our task m uch easier easier and cohesive as we all had a common resource for our comping ideas. It should sh ould also also be u nderstood nderstood th at the interacti interactive ve process process of com ping m ay not be as observable observable on a play-aplay-a-long long as it wou ld be on a recording recording of a jaz jaz z perform perform ance as the listener can can n ot tell how the com per is reacting reacting to a soloists soloists ideas.
Listening: Th e art of comping can not be tau ght in a book. Comping is a self-taught self-taught process that can only on ly be learned t hrough the experience experience of liv live performan performan ce and trial t rial and error. Worki Working ng on th e band stand is the greatest classroom.T classroom.The he best teach ers I have had were vocali vocalists. sts. It is from from them that I learned to "Comp". A good accomp anist m ust b e willi willing ng to t o be h um ble, wil willi ling ng to t o take a b ackseat to the th e soloist. soloist. Vocali Vocalists sts requ ire that t he accom panist pan ist listen listen intently, intently, use
restraint, good taste and su pport th eir eff efforts. By By supp ort, I mean t hat, th e accompanist accomp anist mu st not distract th e singers concentration by being too activ active nor mu st take t he au diences att ention away from from the th e vocal vocalist ist or soloist. soloist. Th e accompa nist mu st know how to listen listen and pay attention! Although t his may seem an obvious statement, it is much more complex than appears. Questions should occur in the readers mind: What is listening?, listening?, What What do I listen listen to? H ow do I listen? listen? What What do I do with what I h ear when listening? listening? Is there m ore than one way to listen? listen? H ow do I pay attention and t o what what do d o I pay attention to? Is th ere more than one way to pay attent ion? What is the p ianists role role in a group context?
E arly arly in my career, career, I had h ad th e good fortune fortune to t o start my accompan ists education by working with Chet Baker. As a vocalist and a soloist, he was most demanding. At that time, I h ad thought I was a good " listener" istener" , when when it came to comping but, but , Chet made m e see otherwise. otherwise. H is method of education was (as was was most of the great ba nd leaders I eventually eventually worked worked with) with) to t o use fear, intimidation and p ublic hum iliation iliation as a teaching tool. EXAMPLE: In 1962, I was playing with Chet's group at a club in Chicago call called the t he " Plugged Plugged N ickel" . It was a Satur Saturday day night and th e club was fill filled. Chet was singing, singing, the club was dark dark and hush ed. T he spotl sp otlight ight was on him. It seem ed that th at I could never com p soft enou gh for him him (I am rather lar large ge physically and have big arms) and he had been on my case about it for quite a while. I had the soft pedal on and was comping as lightly as I could but in the middle of a chorus, I slipped and played one chord just a little bit to loud for him . H e stopped singing, turned turned around around and looked at me and said, so that the audience could could hea h earr him ; " Y ou've got it H al". At that point, the light light m an tur tu rned the spotl sp otlight ight on m e and the audience al all turned turned to look look at m e . All of a sudd en, I was the center ce nter of the audiences aud iences attention atten tion and 120 120 sets of eyes were looking at me. You can be sure that after that embarrassing exp erience, erience, I played a lot lot softer.
It finally inally occurred occurred to m e what Chet was trying trying to t o tell me. H e wasn' t just trying trying to t o get m e to play softly softly.. H e was trying trying to t o get m e away from from paying p aying attention attent ion to just just m y own own sound soun d and pay attention to the total sound of the group, blending my sound in with it! His point being that the group sound takes preceden ce over over any indivi individu dual al memb er of the group s sound ! After that lesson was learned, I realized I could hear myself better if I picked a point in the room ( a lamp, or poster or whatever) whatever) to focus focus up on while while playing. playing. I could th erefore erefore hear m yself in relation relation to th e whole group an d control the soun d of the piano p iano better.
As beginning accompanists, it is understandable that one might be focused on their own playing. You are trying to get your voicings together, achieve smooth voice voice leading, create harmonic interest an d respond to the m elodic, elodic, harmonic harm onic and rhythm rhythm ic signals the soloist is creating, all of which which is q uite a challenge. challenge. But in truth , all this b ecomes easier when you direct your attent ion away from yourself! Listening Logistics: A challenge challenge for the comp er is how to " hook up" with with the th e drums, drum s, bass and soloist soloist to create a group sou nd that is cohesive. cohesive. I never forgot forgot some ad vice that Dizzy gave to piano players in an interview in Down Beat many years ago. H e said: " If your your having having trouble 'h ooking up' with with a rhythm section and a soloist, soloist, the pianist shou ld listen listen to the sn are of the drums d rums an d try to syncopate syncopate with its rhythms." rhythms." In oth er words, words, the comper should get rhythmic comping ideas from the drum mers snare as opp osed to listening listening d irectly irectly to the soloist soloist for for rhythmic ideas. Th e logistics logistics work this way: Th e drumm d rumm er is listening directly to th e soloist soloist for rhythmic rhythmic comping ideas an d th e snare is the d rummers accompaniment line line to th e soloist. soloist. By having having th e piano listen listen to th e snare drum (assuming (assum ing the drum mer is comp comp ing app ropriately ropriately), the pianist is autom atically atically " hooking up" with with the soloi soloists sts rhythmic rhythmic ideas through the d rummer. H owever, owever, the p ianist does listen d irectly irectly to the soloist for for harmon ic signals.These signals should suggest the color (alterations and substitutions) and density ( num ber of notes and their spacing) for voici voicings ngs th at would compliment what a soloist soloist is playing. playing. I have often often d escribed this p rocess as providing providing a harm onic " carpet" for the soloist soloist to walk walk on. on. Th e pianist may also giv give and take ha rmonic suggestions to an d from from th e bassist as well well Physical Ph ysical Signa Signals: ls:
It is advisable advisable that pianists not comp with with their t heir eyes eyes closed! closed! On e should b e looking looking at the soloist and th e mem bers of the rhythm section at all times. Playing with your eyes closed makes one too introspective and liable to miss any physical physical signals signals that tha t may m ay occur. occur. Phy Ph ysical signals signals are qu ite comm on in group p erformance erformance b ecause talking du ring a performance performance is n ot allowed, allowed, except in exceptional circumstan ces. When When a soloist soloist is n ot looking looking at you during a solo and sudd enly is looking looking you you in the eye, you you can be su re it is a signal and m eans somet hing. Possibly a change chang e that is desired or the end of the solo is coming. It could mean many things and signals and their mean ing, can vary vary from mom ent, according to what is happ ening in the music at the time. Understanding signals means " thinking on your your feet" while while performing. performing. P hysical hysical signals can ta ke any form form (shoulder movements,head nods, turning, looking, stomping,etc.) and the comper must learn a soloists st yle yle of signaling.
EX AM PLE : I was once doing a tour of the m id-west, as as a single, single, playing playing with different rhythm sections each performance. One night, after a set with a new rhythm section, the drum drum m er came u p and apologized apologized to for having having missed an"eyebrow" signal.
H armony armony : A soloist will often give harmonic que's if a specific chord change or alteration is desired at certain place. It is a general rule of signaling that: All signals (rhythm (rhythm ic, harmonic or m elodic) elodic) should b e given given at a t least twice! If the same thing h appens app ens at the sam e place twice, it it is usu ally ally a signal, signal, especially especially if accomp accompanied anied by a physi p hysical cal signal. A soloist soloist may be p laying laying " In side" the key or or chord. When When a soloist soloist play p layss someth ing " outside" a chord it may be difficult difficult to hear. EX AM PLE : I was once playing playing a gig with Sam Sam Rivers. Rivers. We were were playing playing " Green Green Dolphin Street" Street" in the k ey of E -flat. -flat. At one point, during during th e 1st. 1st. four bars of a chorus (which has a pedal point on E-flat) , Sam started"honking& quot; qu ot; a repeated repeated note all all through that first first fou r bar section. I could tell te ll that it was a note that was " outside" the chor ch ords ds but b ut couldn' t tell what it was. was. In trying trying to t o find a voicing voicing that t hat would wou ld m atch his h is note, I first first tried the sharp-1 sharp-11 1th. of the k ey. T hat was not it. it. It th en tried tried the th e sharp-9 sharp-9th. th. of the k ey. T hat was was not it. I then th en tried tried the+5th. the+5th. of the key (that being the " outset" note I k new at the tim e),and e),and that was not it. After the set was over , I ask ask ed Sam what the note was. H e told m e it was was the flat-9th. flat-9th. of the key ke y (an E-natur E-n atural al). ). A note I would have never considered at that time!
Some sugg estions on simplify simplifying harm onic " thinking on your feet" feet" : If a note sounds sounds " outside" outside" on a " one" chord(Maj chord(Maj.), .), then it could could be one of the " out" notes described in t he story above.On above.Onee can eventually eventually tell which it is by the tension ten sion the note creates. If a note n ote sound s " out" on a Min.-7th. Min.-7th. ch ord, it can b e: a flatflat-5 5,flat-1 ,flat-13 3 , or Maj.-7 Maj.-7th.. th.. If it it sound s " out" on an altered two chord, it can be one of the altered note, played unaltered or natural or a flat-9. If note sound s out on a Domina nt Chord, it will will be one of the altered notes: flat or sharp-9, sharp-11 , flat or sharp-5. N eedless to say, the p rofessional rofessional comper will will need m any voici voicings ngs und er their hands in order to have a variety of ways to harmonize (color) a note. It sh ould also be noted that, althoug h chords are b uilt, in in theory th eory,, from from e bott om u p (root, 3rd., 3rd., 5th., 7th., 9th., 11 11th., th ., 13th., 13th., etc.), in practice,the pract ice,they y are constructed from from th e top d own. Chord voici voicings ngs are a re always always harmonizations of top notes. T hese top n otes are a secondary, obligated obligated melody, that is
suggested by the soloist soloist melodic line! line! Th is is a technique t hat is un derstood by most arrangers. EX AM PLE : In order order to develop develop this th is way way of un derstanding derstanding com plim plim entary entary harm harm onic accom accom panimen t, I spen t m any hour hou rs listening listening to the backgroun background d string string arr arrangem ents ent s on the recordings of Frank Frank Sinatra Sinatra and Barbar Barbara a Streisand.
Rhythm: The rhythmic aspect of the music is it's most important feature. We have previousl previously y discussed some of these asp ects bu t m ore need to b e pointed out. It is important to be a ble to control the intensity and volum volum e of your your chordal attack. E xcept for for " fill ill in" in" chord sequ ences, chord volume volume should b e a little little bit " und er" the total vol volum um e of the group. I f the comp er starts out by playing playing as hard ha rd as possible, there will will be n o place for for the music mu sic to go. A solo solo mu st progress from from a low end to a high en d of intensity. intensity. If there is more than one soloist, this cycle must repeat itself for every solo. The comper must use emotional restraint and control at all times b ut esp ecially ecially in the beginning beginn ing of a solo. A little little more rhythm ic activity activity should should occur bet ween the pianist an d drum mer at th e turn around ' s, these being, generally generally: the end of an 8-bar 8-bar or 12-bar phrase (d epend ing on th e form form of the tun e) and most esp ecially ecially at th e end of a chorus, going into a new chorus. T his process exists exists to hide th e resolutions that occur at these points and keeps the tension in the music. Th is should also occur at the en d of a solo solo to " finish off off" the solo. It will will be educational, educa tional, when when listening listening to records or p erformances, erformances, if you you p ay attention to how diff different rhythm sect ions accomplish this techn ique. Rhythmic placemen t and subd ivisi ivisions ons of your your chordal attacks on th e beat should b e well well defined defined an d contribute con tribute t o the flow low (groov (groove) of the m usic. A weak or or undefined attack can send u ncomfortable " vibes" outdo th e rest of of the group , making them feel insecure. insecure. Work Work on getting comfortable with with attacking attacking " on top" , " down down the middle" middle" and " behind the beat" , vary varying ing your your placement placement according according to what's going going on at the m oment. To keep your comping interesting, you should vary chords of different duration and volume, activity and inactivity. Avoid oid hitting " one" of the bar. H it the " and" of four in in the b ar preceding preceding " one" . Some Some soloist, soloist, can tolerate less less " ones" than others. You You can t ell if you are avoiding avoiding to man y " ones" if the soloist soloist seems t o be insecure by your your doing so. Be sure that you are hitting a ll the n otes of a chord at exactly the sam e time!
Don' t roll roll or " break" them . Th ey wil willl not ring as well. well. If you you do roll a chord, do it from from th e outside fingers inward inward and an d m ake sure th e roll roll is is an exact subd ivisio ivision n of the beat. Range: Th e comper should avoid avoid being in th e same range as th e soloist. soloist. Comp Comp ing to high on the keyboard can be nerv n ervee wracking wracking an d will will distract the soloist.Th soloist.Thee best ran ge for comp comp ing voicings voicings is about D below middle midd le C to F an octa ve above middle C. Comping Comping in the range of middle C is challenging challenging because lower interval limits can make voicings muddy and you have to use less notes and space them well. Voicings of three to five notes are best. Rootless voicings oicings should be u sed (The (Th e bass b ass is already playing playing th e roots). Single Single lines lines should not b e played played in comp ing. Th e exception to this rule is when when p ianist plays a single line behind vocalist. Activity: Th e pianist should avoid avoid a hyperactive hyperactive app roach to rhythmic comp ing. The illusio illusion n of space m ust be b e created. The ad vice of " Less is best" appli app lies es here. During group p laying, laying, the comper will will feel feel many internal rhythmic imp ulses but must mu st learn not to respond t o them all . There are times when a ctivity ctivity should b e increased. At At tu rn around ' s (not all) or when th e soloist soloist leaves leaves a longer longer space sp ace th an usual. usua l. All All rhythmic activity activity must coordinate with th e drummer. Of course, a pianist will spend a lifetime developing various chord voicings or differ differing ing situa tions. But generally generally, comping comp ing voicings voicings sh ould not have so man y notes in th em th at they th ey will will be dictatorial. Th is means t hat voicings voicings with too many notes will confine the soloist. A comper sh ould also not be sh oving oving voici voicings ngs and a nd subst itutes d own a soloists soloists throat. N ote: If you you are trying trying to t o play these transcribed t ranscribed voici voicings ngs an d th ey don' t sound to you you like like they sound on t he record, it means th at these voicings voicings are not suited to your touch. EX AM PLE : When Wh en I was studying at Berklee, there there was, a teacher teacher there there that loved to transcr transcribe. ibe. H e had p erfect erfect pitch and could copy anything. H e would always be glad to copy for you anything you couldn't hear yourself. You could put your order in for someone's solo or voicings and he would have them for you in two week s. At the tim e, the person I w as trying trying to copy was Red Garland. When I finally got home with the transcriptions in my hot little hands, I would listen to the record and play the solos and voicings. Much to m y disappointmen disappointmen t, they just just didn't sound the sam sam e.
Red' s voici voicings ngs an d lines sounded good when he p layed layed them th em because b ecause th ey fit his touch! That was when I realized realized that I had to find find my own own voicings voicings and
lines that fit my own touch. The truth is that your particular "sound"on the instrument will have a lot to do with how and what you play. I h ave ave had man y students stud ents com e to me, asking for my voici voicings ngs and an d I try to encourage th em to try to find find th eir own. own. Sometimes Sometimes copied voici voicings ngs d on' t " ring" right but sound better with your touch by adding or subtracting a note from them. th em. I found found this to b e true for me when copying Bill Bill Evan' s voicings. voicings. Forward Motion: When listening to a record or performance, performance, it sometim es appears app ears that t he rhythm rhythm ic attacks of the chords are isolated isolated events, events, a lmost as if they exist exist only at th e mom ent of playing playing them . This Th is is a static perception. All All music mu sic is played played going toward certain points in t he future, including comp ing. Because of this, it is sometim es possible to rhythmically rhythmically (and harmonicall harm onically y) predict pred ict where a soloist is going. By playing with a particular soloist for a length of time, the com per begins to get a sense of how a soloist soloist is going going to go to the next chord or section of a tun e. This shou ld not be too difficult difficult to understan d as, for for examp examp le, chord motions are always always discussed as " going to" this chord or that. Comping Comp ing Styles: Styles: It is imp ortant to learn as mu ch about ab out a soloists soloists style style as possible.Does the soloist soloist prefer prefer to be " comped close" close" or prefer prefer that you you comp " indepen dently dent ly " (Phil Woods Woods preferred preferred close comping where as Joe H enderson a nd James Moody preferred preferred indepen dent com ping)? " Close Close comping" is when when you respond respond to the soloist soloist quickly quickly and " answer" answer" a m usical idea. Independ ent comping is when you stay away from what a soloists doing, doing your own thing with the soloist soloist playing playing against th e comping. T ests can be m ade to tell which kind of solo soloist ist you you are a re comping for. for. If you you m atch a soloists soloists ideas a nd you notice n otice them trying trying to get away from what you doing, d oing, then they prefer prefer to be comp ed indepen dent. I f you match mat ch every everything thing an d there is no reaction reaction from the soloist, soloist, then " close" close" comping comp ing is OK. Some soloists prefer legato comping, where you are playing anticipated whole whole and half-note half-note rhythms. O thers m ay prefer prefer a more staccat o rhythm rhythm ic concept, bu t be aware that chord attacks th at are too staccato can be nerve nerve wracking wracking to th e soloist soloist and the listener. H armonically armonically, you you may notice certain stylistic stylistic patt erns of a soloist, soloist, such as the use u se of a flat-5 flat-5 substitute subst itute when a Domina nt ch ord is going going to a "one"chord. EXAMPLE: I had the good fortune to play many gigs with Zoot Sims. On the f fir first few gigs with him , I tried tried to use alter altered ed ch ords ords b ehind him . As I soon realized ealized , he was a diatonic diatonic im provisor provisor and and alm alm ost never n ever used altered altered chords, consequently, consequ ently, I stopped trying trying to shove them down h is throa throatt because I thought m y chords chords were were so " ;H ip" .
If you you are n ot sure h ow a person likes to be com ped, ask. Th e soloist soloist will will be flattered that you' ve shown interest in ma king their mu sic better. It is also advisable advisable to do as much mu ch tune t une research as p ossible. ossible. If you you know kn ow you you are going to be playing with a particular player, then try to find as many of their records records as you can and learn learn their th eir tunes. EXAMPLE: I got my first "big time" gig with Chet Baker this way. I was living living in B oston and a bass player player friend friend of m ine called called m e from Providen Providen ce R.I (where Chet was playing) and alerted me to the fact that Chet was com ing to town th e nex t week and was looking looking for a piano piano player player.. I went w ent out and borrowed as many of his records and tried to find as many lead sheets of his tunes as I could. could. When Wh en he cam e to town, I went to the club and and asked him if I could sit in. in. H e said said OK and and wh en when I got to the bandstand, he asked m e what I would like like to play. play. I m entioned entioned " My Shining Shining H our and " But n ot for for Me" ( two of his his big songs). songs). H e nodded his head head at me and we were off. After the set, he offered me the job.
Th ere are many diff differing sets of changes chang es to a tun e and you shou ld know as many of them as possible. That way you will never be thrown by a new set of changes. chang es. If you can' t hear them , then ask someone what th ey are. Buy Buy as many tune books as possible and get a thorough education in chord substitution. Acquiring th e ability ability to be a good com per should b e the first task of any pianist . You You can then get work and refine refine both b oth your comping and soloing soloing in the only true school that exists: Th e Bandstan d! Note: Matters of touch, tone, timbre cannot be addressed in this book as they require require " one on one" one" teaching techniques. techniques.
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