Jazz instrumental recommendations…

Blank Williams

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Hey everybody!

I didn't have a scintilla of animosity in my heart when I wrote my previous posts. However people seem to be treading lightly around me. I apologize. We're all in agreement, so let's get back to it and let's forget whatever I accidentally said.
Maybe I missed something but I didn’t get anything negative from what you said. I welcome all opinions/suggestions.
 

plunker

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Check out James Hill's duets for one uke book. Lots of jazz/bluesy type music in an interesting arrangement.
  • After You've Gone
  • Cheek To Cheek
  • Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  • Freight Train
  • Georgia On My Mind
  • The Glory Of Love
  • Here Comes The Rain Again
  • I Saw The Light
  • L-O-V-E
  • Plaisir D'Amour
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
  • Summertime
  • Sweet Sue-Just You
  • Till There Was You
  • Viva La Vida
  • example
 

Jimpro

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Hey everybody!

I didn't have a scintilla of animosity in my heart when I wrote my previous posts. However people seem to be treading lightly around me. I apologize. We're all in agreement, so let's get back to it and let's forget whatever I accidentally said.
Hi ripock! Nothing negative from you at all! I thought it was me so no worries! All good.
 

LukuleleStrings

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Frank Vignola says the best way to learn jazz is to learn a lot of jazz songs. Eventually you start to catch chord progressions and then start to fill in with your own stuff because, through all of your studies, you know what works and doesn’t work for you.

He’s a pretty smart guy. He would also tell his students to learn something like ten songs and then go out and try to get gigs. I think this was when he was developing the jazz course for Arizona State.

I really, REALLY wish he’d teach a ukulele course. ;-)
 

ripock

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Frank Vignola sounds totally legit for those who can do it. I think it would require more social skills than I have to get a band together and then get gigs. Also, maybe I am really dim, but I think it would take playing countless standards in order for me to deduce the principles. Plus, I hate playing other people's music. It would be a chore for me to play "Autumn Leaves." That being said, it does seem like a fruitful curriculum for those who have the personality for it.

I am sorry but I don't really have an alternative. I am doing things but it is probably as exciting as watching paint dry. I'm currently playing over minor 2-5-1 and making melodies using harmonic minor modes and melodic minor modes along with diatonic enclosures and the dim7 arpeggio. Perhaps it would be easier to get a few guys together and play "Stella by Starlight" at an open mic at the pub, but I don't know the guys, I don't have the discipline to learn that song...so I am just doing my thing in my corner.
 

ripock

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I have the Jerry Coker book and it is really good.
 

LukuleleStrings

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The Jazz Theory Book - Mark Levine
Improvising Jazz - Jerry Coker
Jazz Theory Handbook - Peter Spitzer

You need to learn some basics like decoding Standard Notation onto your ukulele fretboard to a basic level to get the most out of these books.

Also they are based on having access to a piano keyboard, so you need to work out how to use your ukulele fretboard instead of a piano.

Also they do not have any complete tunes, just fragments to illustrate the lessons. You have to find the recordings they refer to if you want complete versions. Then you have to work out how to use the recording to work out how to play the melody or progression or both on your ukulele.

The books require some intellectual activity to be of use to ukulele players. They are not spoon feeding easy play arrangements to ukulele players.

But they are available on Kindle, which you can load onto your device. So instead of playing social media computer games all day, you can turn off the data to your device and just leave the voice and text on, and then open Kindle and read the Jazz Books. These are books which you read many times and then use them for reference, so you may not ever get tired of them. Maybe you would turn the data on for a moment to find and download a tune to study, then you can turn it off again. If you are on a bus or train you can work out the stuff in your head and work it on your ukulele when you get back to your ukulele.

Another thing you can consider doing is reading more widely. The book: "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac (also on Kindle), was written about the era of Be-Bop style Jazz, according to some. If you read this book, you may pick up some of the atmosphere of the times and terminology and if you read the analysis of the people in the book etc. you may get a better feel for the life and times of Be-Bop genre of Jazz. Or you may get offended by the Maleness of the book, whichever, you will get some more ideas on the atmosphere of the music you want to study. There are similar books and biographies you can find and read which are about the atmosphere of the times when the music was created. These books make great interludes when your hands are worn out from playing or you hit a plateau or whatever.
Ted Gioia would probably be a better source for books about the times and people around jazz. I’ve read a couple of his books on it and they’re legit.
 

ripock

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Enough theorizing and wishlisting. What are you all actually doing? What I'm currently doing is practicing improvising using the modes of the E harmonic minor and the E melodic minor, played over the minor 2-5-1, which is harmonized from the harmonic minor. I have been doing this for over a year and it still isn't stale because there is such a learning curve and everyday presents something new.
 

Blank Williams

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Just ordered some books. Until those show up I’ve just been messing around with the “jazz” chords that I already know and stringing together little tunes. Basically killing time until I have some decent references.
 

ripock

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That's a good idea. Everyone always says that jazz chords are so hard, but they aren't. With a major chord you put your fingers here, here, here, and here. With a half diminished or major 7 chords you put your fingers here, here, here, and here. The only different are where the "here" is.
 

Blank Williams

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Yeah I don’t find the chords hard to play, it’s more learning their relationships with each other.
 

DuckyI

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Yeah I don’t find the chords hard to play, it’s more learning their relationships with each other.
In the meantime, you could start learning inversions (up to 3) of each basic chord type (major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, half diminished, diminished) in the most common jazz keys (C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db and G). That’ll come in handy for chord melody playing!
 

Blank Williams

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In the meantime, you could start learning inversions (up to 3) of each basic chord type (major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, half diminished, diminished) in the most common jazz keys (C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db and G). That’ll come in handy for chord melody playing!
Thanks that’s a good idea.
 

ripock

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I kind of did what Ducky suggests. For each of those chord qualities, I found a moveable shape with a root on the G, on the C, on the E, and on the A. Then I can play any key; I just have to move the shapes up or down.