Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

more Jazz (part 3)

A few weeks back, we went to The Red Cat Cafe as part of Katheryn's birthday celebration. KTSU as hosting a band with New Orleans roots.

Bleu Orleans played a few sets. This was jazz, but the instrumentation, tempo, and repetition made me think of "funk jazz" or modern jazz. The keyboard and trumpet had most of the lead, with electric guitar and some sax taking turns as well. The tempo was mostly fast, and the structure of most of the pieces called for improv thru lots of measures (some passages were 10, 16 and more measures long).

I heard something encouraging.

During "Ocean View", I was able to recognize the repeating pattern. It was longer than the 4 measure repeating chords I was used to rock and roll. It also had an extra measure thrown in with some syncopated beats. BUT, I found that once I saw the pattern, I was able to follow along. Who cares about how difficult the chords could be... all "hard" chords could be reduced to easier chords.

I've been trying to figure out how I can "get into more jazz". My working thesis is: "I can only get into music that I have a chance to actively play". Just listening or watching someone play isn't enough. But how do I play jazz? I can't just pick up an instrument and play jazz, can I?

A few years back, I got myself a Yamaha QY70 (ebay thru some music store in NYC). It came with a nice surprise... a few songs in its memory. Maybe these were preloaded by Yamaha, but I'd like to think that they were used on a solo trumpet/sax player doing gigs around the city.

One progression caught my attention. A nice tempo and a easy jazz feel. I rearranged a few of the measures and cut it down to a repeating 8-bar phrase:

| F | FM7 | F#dim | C7 C7+b9 |
| FM7 | Dm7 D7 | Gm7 | C7 C7+b9 |

Now THIS is something I can wrap my hands around. F is a nice key, and I love those nice 7s. The tempo is right and there's enough room in the sparse accompanyment of easy set and bass to allow for "bad" notes.

So, in my quest for discovering the secret of jazz, I start with something that takes advantage of what I know. I can do easy chords.
|| hcpark, 10:08 PM


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