Friday, December 30, 2011

Uptempo Jazz 5: Anthropology part 2

Continuing where I left off in the last post, here is some more advice about developing uptempo comping vocabulary based on the melody of "Anthropology".  To start off, the recording at the top from "Art Pepper +11" is a great way to familiarize yourself with this melody (the great Mel Lewis is on drums).
Longer Phrases
Instead of playing only one bar fragments of the melody, the next step is to try to string these fragments into phrases.  Take the time to practice these phrases using the tempo doubling exercise discussed in the last post.  You start with a two bar phrase, move on to the next two bar phrase, and then string the phrases together into a four bar phrase.  If you are having difficulty transitioning between the phrases, make a new two bar phrase of the middle two bars and practice that.  Here is an example of me playing through the first four bars in this fashion:

Isolating Particular Rhythms
As you start to go through this melody, you will probably begin to notice particular rhythms that are obstructing your ability to get through a phrase.  Rather then ignore this problem and try to practice going through the entire phrase awkwardly, use this as an opportunity to explore that particular rhythm and figure out why it is tripping you up.  Isolate the rhythm and take it through the doubling exercise to find the exact problem and fix it.  These tiny, incremental improvements in your ability to play and hear fast comping rhythms eventually add up to overall improvement. 

Max Roach Exercise #8
Here is the full version of this exercise as it will appear in my forthcoming book "Melodic Syncopation"

Max Exercise #8 Full