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Jazz Bass Lessons: Play Along: "Summer's Eve"

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Jazz Electric with John Patitucci. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Jazz Bass Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
This is a ballad
called Summer's Eve.
This one is very important,
because when we play a ballad it's
very exposed kind of playing.
When we're playing the company int
bass part, we have to have nice,
thick, round notes that
are [SOUND] that have core.
You really feel a thickness.
[SOUND] Make sure we
think about the R arm.
The weight of the arm dropping and
producing a beautiful sound on the bass.
[SOUND] And
our left hand holding onto notes.
[MUSIC]
So the notes ring, and
have some beauty, and sustain.
We think of leaving lots of space.
Not playing too many notes
as we're accompanying.
No double-time feel.
Don't play a bunch of
fast things on a ballad.
Just really open.
Try to create a mystical
beauty in the music.
Oftentimes I think, when we hear a great
ballad, it stays with us forever.
I remember being a young musician.
My family moved from New York,
and we lived in the Bay Area for
a while, near San Francisco and
I went to see McCoy Tyner once.
And he played a solo piano
version of Lush Life.
And I still remember, I heard it
in my teens, and I'm 51 years old.
So the power of a ballad is never
to be underestimated when you
hear a great singer sing ballads.
Listen to Billie Holiday.
Listen to Diana Washington.
Listen to Ella Fitzgerald.
Listen to Louis Armstrong sing a ballad.
Listen to John Coltrane play a ballad.
These things are very important.
The ballad is the place where we
tell our story, and we slow down and
really think about playing in sentences
and phrases that really touch people.
So it's supposed to be
a very emotional experience.
Can't be just the slow tempo that we play.
Okay?
So the other thing is
phrasing this melody.
I'm gonna play it for you, of course.
And also, we have a nice version
of this with John Coward and
Brian Blade on the site to see.
But here's a situation where we have
to play the melody, the first part then
the piano joins at letter B at letter
A there we have the melody on the bass.
So once you've learned the melody,
I want you to experiment
slowing down speeding up
phrasing the melody this melody it
goes like one, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Okay,
that's the written melody.
Okay?
You can play it like this.
[MUSIC]
See I'm stretching out some notes,
playing some a little quicker.
This is the kind of think you really
got to practice with your metronome.
So you get the idea of music
isn't always just straight up and
down, it's not always vertical.
It's also horizontal.
When you deliver a melody
you have to sing it.
So watch me, what I do.
And I'm going to try to sing
in an expressive manner.
Again, we used some vibrato.
We pull and push on the rhythm,
so that we get a singing feeling.
Now one final thought, I want to leave you
with before you start playing this one.
On the solo section,
you'll be playing on the bridge.
I want you to play simple
phrases based on the melody.
Use your ear, and just approach
it like you're singing the song.
And there's nothing wrong with using
some of the melody in your solo.
All the great masters do this.
So really think about that,
try to use your ear.
Of course, by now you know the chord,
and what the scale is?
You've learned all the arpeggios.
And you've had some theory about
the scales that go through them.
So I want you to think about melody here,
and
use your ear and
try to add notes based on the melody.
And really think about story telling and
phrases and sentences.
[MUSIC]
Now
at
this
point,
you
might
want
to
send
me
a
video.
I've given you a whole
batch of play-alongs.
You can choose one, that you're working
on that you particularly like, and
send it in.
Before you send it in, check out what
I've said to the other students.
And I'll take a look and
give you some feedback.
[MUSIC]