Saturday, May 23, 2015

Joe Locke's solo - On A Misty Night

Here is a transcription of Joe Locke's vibes solo on Tadd Dameron's tune, "On A Misty Night". This gorgeous duo session with the great Kenny Barron on piano features many great songs, and took place in August 1991. That's just short of 25 years ago. Joe's playing has never stopped evolving, but the musicianship documented on this album is of a stunningly high level. Yet, this solo, as well as the previously posted solo on "You Don't Know What Love Is" from Joe's 1994 trio album "Very Early", are great insights into the roots of Joe's much praised and admired musical vocabulary.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chord Melody on "How Insensitive"

Here is a chorus of chord melody on Jobim's composition "How Insensitive". This is a good way to systematically work on solo vibraphone possibilities in terms of voicings, texture, melodic & harmonic embellishment, reharm, etc., in combination with sound production and other technical aspects of the instrument. I would normally just show students at Berklee different ideas on a tune, but sometimes slowing down the process by writing things down can help to better understand and assimilate information, or even generate more ideas. 

Important considerations: If you follow the written music along with the video you will notice I am not playing the written music "literally".  For the most part, I am playing the written notes, but altering the rhythm. The application of rhythmic embellishment is crucial in order to make the music come alive. The goal should not be to play this the same way I play it. It can be a reference to get started, but strive to always change it up. My priority is "sound", so attention to "tone quality", articulation & dynamic nuances is very important.  To that extent, dampening techniques are essential. 

If you have any question, please feel free to contact me. Gustavo

Here is the link to the written music: 

"How Insensitive" Chord Melody (PDF)

Tension Resolution Improv on "Time After Time"

Tension Resolution (TR) on "Time After Time": One of the improvisational concepts that my students and I were working on this week in my improv classes at Berklee was that of TR. We chose specific tensions for each chord change on the beautiful standard "Time After Time" and improvised based upon the sounding of those tensions along with their resolution to the nearest chord tone. The constant tension and release creates forward motion in the improvised line and can be the basis of rich, melodic phrases. I think it's an important and fundamental improv concept that can also be effectively employed along with chord tone soloing. In the improv classes, we also focused on a number of other issues in the application of TR including: simple, melodic phrases; a relaxed, swinging time feel; motives; varied articulation; connecting the line from chord to chord; dynamic shaping of the phrases and rhythmic syncopation.

The concept of Tension Resolution (TR) is addressed in my book The Complete Guide to Improvisation. In the chapter, a three step process of TR is explained and demonstrated on the standard "All The Things You Are". Also included in the chapter are written out TR solos on "All The Things You Are", "Stella By Starlight" and "All Of Me".

A lead sheet of "Time After Time" including the listed tensions used in the TR application can be viewed and downloaded here:

Tension Resolution - Time After Time (PDF)

Ed Saindon's Fulcrum Grip

Past article & videoclips on the Fulcrum Grip.

"This grip really changed my playing since I started to implement and develop it years ago. There are some clips from past clinics posted on my YT channel that deal with the grip. I'm hoping to create a new videoclip that will illustrate and discuss details of the grip".

The Fulcrum Grip (Article)