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Jazz Sax Lessons: Advanced Soloing: If I Were A Bell

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Here's a great jazz standard for
you called If I Were a Bell.
We worked on this tune in terms of working
on the melody before, so now we're just
gonna work on the improvisation part,
I'm gonna play alto on this one.
I'm reading my E flat chart,
as I normally would if I'm playing alto.
And if you're playing tenor or
soprano you're gonna be
playing off the B flat chart.
And there's nothing really unusual
about any of the changes that we
haven't discussed really.
It's really kind of,
this would be a great tune to do,
remember back in improv 103 where we
played guide tone lines through the whole.
I used All The Things You Are as
our tune to work with.
This would be another great
tune to have that exercise.
Where if it's one that you're learning,
play all the roots,
then play all the thirds in or
out of time, actually and
then all of the fifths of each chord as
you go through and then all the sevenths.
I mean, meaning out of time,
you can just sit here and play, okay,
the first chord that I'm looking
at on my E flat chart, is an E.
So if I'm, if I'm gonna say all the roots,
I can easily look at this and
say okay, first chord.
The root is an E, the next chord is an A,
followed by an A, followed by a D, and so
But then if you're gonna look at
all the thirds, you know, you can,
this is a great way to practice
without actually playing.
And, you know, so if I'm looking at
all the thirds the first E9 chord,
remember an E chord with just
a number is a dominate chord.
So the third here is a G sharp.
Followed my A13 susschord,
but the still just a number.
You know just next to the letter name
of the chord so it's a dominant chord.
So my third is a well because it's a suss,
the third doesn't actually exist so
now the third would be the fourth.
You suspend the third that's what the suss
means, so now it's a suss4 chord so
that degree is now add a D
natural followed by the C sharp,
which would be the third of the next
chord, followed by the F sharp, so forth.
As you go through it, this is one
way we can learn our chords and
then play through the whole thing
like one chord note line and
make sure that all of the first note
of each new chord is a chord tone, and
all the rest of the notes
dream that chord and
are either diatonic passing tones or
chromatic passing tones.
Just again, how we did it if you apply
all the steps in improv 103, it's a great
way to learn any tune, and
this tune has got some stuff in it,
so it would really be fun to
learn this tune in that way.
So, here it is.
I'm gonna play it and you got it.
It's four choruses long.
It's a long form.
So you've got a nice
long track to play with.
So, I'm going to play my solo
over all four choruses and
I'm going to start with the melody.
So, I'll play the melody down one time and
then I'll play three choruses of the solo.
And you can have a listen and
then record your own with
the track here in the lesson and
then if you want to film it and send that
to me I would sure love to see that video.
Okay here is If I Were a Bell.
so in my solo that I just played over,
If I Were a Bell.
We talked a lot about how to
negotiate from one chord to the next.
But I wanna spend just a second
on talking about how you
can extend those chords a little bit.
We always talk about playing inside the
chord, maybe playing outside the chord.
There's all kinds of different things,
you can do to make a harmonic progression
a bit more interesting or a superimposed.
Something as simple as on
a two five one progression.
Basically, of the beginning of this chart,
as If I were a Bell,
it follows the rule of a two five.
You've got the E instead of a minor chord,
the very first chord.
You have a dominant chord, not unusual.
And the five chord is five
suss to a five altered,
which is also not in
jazz all that unusual.
And then to the target chord,
the one chord of D.
But essentially, we're going 2E, 5A, 1D.
And so, you can do something
as simple as a sub-dominant,
where you're going from E and
the substitute for
this dominant chord for
the A would be E flat seven.
So, that you have a half step
motion going from E to E flat as
a dominant chord as the sub five,
and then going to the one chord.
Another thing too that
is just kind of a fun,
common thing to do is
just parallel motion.
Meaning that, for instance,
if you're playing in
say D major for instance,
which is what this tune is in.
So you can do things that are parallel
to that chord, like most commonly,
I guess, a half step higher.
Or even cannonball adderley
used to do things like a minor
third higher sometimes.
Or a whole step higher,
two half steps higher.
So, the beat from D major to E major.
But in every case,
you wanna come back home.
Your home, very often, the way I look
at it is that you've established
where you are, you can experiment out but
then come home.
We can talk about playing out,
doing things that are outside the chord,
but what always ties it in is
coming back in and saying hello.
That's when the aha moment,
the players playing and doing something,
whether he's doing something
parallel in motion,
whether you're over we're talking
a lot about dominant chords and
doing things that just doing
other alternate courses.
Another point to make real quick is
once you open that box of alteredness,
you have a chord that has a flat nine,
suddenly all the altered notes sound good,
the flat nine, the sharp nine,
the sharp 11 the flat 13.
So, all those guys work.
So you can, again, once that sound,
not only once that sound is open.
The cool thing about a dominant chord, a
seven chord is that all of those tensions,
even though they may not be
clearly marking the part or
being played by anybody else in the band.
If you've got, for instance, a D7 chord,
it's just a D mixolydian scale with a D,
F sharp, and A, and C arpeggio.
You can play all the available tensions,
and on a dominant chord,
the tensions are the next
octave of the arpeggio.
So, the arpeggio's root,
third, fifth, seventh.
The tensions, then, are 9, 11, and 13.
Now, you've covered all the notes
on the scale, linearly.
So, on the nine, you have the flat
nine available, and the sharp nine.
On the 11,
you have the sharp 11 available.
And on the 13,
you have the flat 13 available.
Those four, I guess that'd be.
As opposed to just the, I guess,
like on minor chords, you don't have any
alter tensions, but the 9, 11, and 13
are available just as part of the scale.
Anyway, whenever you're playing a dominant
chord, you can play all those cool notes.
That's why when you're playing a dominant
chord and you play a blues scale,
and the blues scale has a flat third
even though in the dominant cord,
the mixolydian scale.
You have a natural third.
Well, that, on the blue scale for
instance, that flat third works,
because the flat third is
the same as a sharp nine.
And, that note, again is an available
tension on a dominant chord, and
even through it's not indicated,
it still sounds good.
So, but in every case,
even on an altered dominant cord.
The dominant cord a lot of times we'll be
going to a target one chord, two five one.
And so, when you play something with
tension, it's the old tension and release.
So, it's that release that for
me as a listener, I go [SOUND].
You know, it's like great, sounds great,
sounds great, [SOUND] and you land.
Man, the guy made the catch.
It sounds good.
Same thing with the parallel motion idea.
I think I may have done that a couple of
times as I was playing my solo here that
you can check out.
But, again, you kinda have to,
you pose the question,
so to speak with playing something
a parallel chord, like I just described.
But it helps to answer that question.
And by answering the question
you go back home,
you refer back to a strong
note in the target chord.
I hope I'm explaining that correctly.
If I'm not, you have any
questions about that, let me know.
That's the beauty of these lessons
is that we can communicate.
So, you know,
you can shoot me a forum question or
video yourself asking the question.
Cuz there's more, there's all kinds of
different things you can do in terms of
leaving the chord, doing something kind
of interesting but that makes sense.
But then coming back and playing out,
but then knocking back on the door and
coming back in.
And I can get more into that whole
idea with you directly, okay.
And, of course, that's the whole
nature of our school here.
We're all in it together.
So,if one person asks that question and
I respond,
we can all see the question,
and we can all, you guys,
you, and everybody else in the school,
I should say, can see my response.
So, that is the beauty of
artist works right there.
All right.
So, enjoy working on If I Were a Bell and
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.