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Jazz Bass Lessons: Play Along: "Bird's Way"

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This next one,
Bird's Way.
This is based on Charlie Parker's
blues changes that he did.
There's a lot of tunes that have these
changes where it starts off with a major
seven chord.
And then there's a cycle
that goes down in two fives
that we dealt with in the tutorial,
So there's a lot of things that
I want you to learn from this.
I would say listen to some
Charlie Parker records.
Tunes like Confirmation
have some of these changes,
although Confirmation also has a bridge.
But there are other tunes of Charlie
Parker's that also have these changes.
They're called Bird Blues changes.
It's still the Blues.
It's still 12 bars, but it's very melodic.
And again, this is a great medium tempo
for your two feel, the walking feel.
I did a lot of cells
that you can check out
to develop your line construction and
your composition.
And I want you to really
pay particularly close
attention to the way I'm
really playing off the trio.
Actually in all these play alongs,
I'm really listening right now,
as if I'm on stage or
in the studio with them and it's the first
time that I'm hearing what the piano
phrases are like and the drum inflections.
And notice also that you have to
concentrate when you trade twelves.
You trade a chorus with the drummer.
He plays a full 12 bar chorus,
then the piano comes in blowing.
12 bars of drums.
So the focus on the beat and
listening to phrase lengths.
Remember we talked about practicing
counting phrase lengths.
Well, here's a full chorus of
the blues that you have to know.
And I would hope that you
could develop this so
that you wouldn't have
to count all 12 bars.
Again, listen to lots of records where
the jazz musicians play Blues's and
also listen to the drum trades.
And remember we were talking
about singing drum solos?
Try it in your head.
He was doing stuff like [SOUND].
If you can sing in time like
that in rhythm, you can do it,
slow the tempo down and go.
was 12
I know it like I know my name
at this point because I've
played this music most of my life and
12 bar forms,
the Blues forms to me are like
part of my DNA at this point.
And that's what I want to make it for
you guys.
I want you guys to really feel this forms
so that you don't have to count them so
that you naturally feel these things.
And part of it is to sing along with the
drum solos, learn the little drum licks.
Cuz if you can sing in rhythm then
you can play better in rhythm.
But if you can't sing in rhythm,
then it's gonna be difficult for
you to really play in time, and
be really rhythmically strong.
So Bird's Way is an excellent way to
develop that blues and that swing.
You notice they were really swinging.
The pianist John Coward and
Adam Cruz on drums,
they're really playing a lot of neat
stuff that you can play off of.
You notice that when he played certain
solo ideas, I changed directions, or
I actually got lucky a few times and
I heard what he was doing it, and
I reacted to it, and
caught him on the way back of a phrase.
Sometimes if your walking line
construction follows a similar line to
the solo, all of a sudden, it sounds like
you rode it out and that you planned it.
But you didn't.
You were just using your ear.
These are the kind of happy surprises that
happen when musicians really learn to
improvise and be interactive also.
In all these play alongs, especially in
this advanced section, I really want you
to, once you learn the tune and you start
to really understand the harmony and
the feeling and the rhythmic parts of it,
that you start really playing off being
an interactive player with other people.
That's a huge thing in bass playing.
The bass players that have
made history like Ron Carter,
Ray Brown, Oscar Pettiford, these people
have big ears, they say in the trade.
They had big ears.
They could hear stuff, they could react.
They were sensitive.
They were engaged and they were focused
on making the whole thing sound better.
Not just, well, I got my little thing and
I want to do this or that,
or I'll just bide time
until my solo comes.
Your foundation and your compositional
expertise in your bass lines will make or
break the groups you're in.
And I really wanna inspire you and
encourage you to take your role as
a composer very seriously in this music.
So this is a great 12 bar form to practice
your compositional skills, your cells.
And as far as the improvising
I want you to check out,
the things that I did
were pure bebop lines.
So, if you wanna learn
more about that as well,
we're gonna have to also deal
with some transcription.
I would like you to actually get a blues,
go and
get some Charlie Parker records where
they're playing these type of changes.
And, actually, see if you can
learn some of the phrases by ear.
And if you can write them down,
if you read music enough to do that,
write them down.
And look at them and go,
why is that so melodic and beautiful?
It doesn't have to be the double time
stuff where they're playing really fast,
but just the eighth notes.
Get something where they're
playing at a medium tempo and
try to, by ear, learn some of the lines.
The language of bebop is best
learned by ear, in my opinion.
Yes, you can analyze, okay,
he played the flatted ninth.
And then he played this and that.
We dealt with the harmony
at the piano already,
but It's not enough just to play
scales through these things.
The stuff that I'm playing here for
you when you hear my solo, it's based on
listening to 80 million horn solos and
the greatest players of all time.
I would direct you also to listen to,
for these kind of changes,
recordings with the players like,
obviously Charlie Parker and
Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins,
people like Dexter Gordon.
These are people that really inspire us.