Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #1474  by LazyLightnin
 Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:35 pm
Im at a point, where im kinda gettin bored w/ playing all rock. i can improv satisfactory, and can pick up pretty much any song by ear. of course its taken me years of self teaching. but..... i have two sets of buddies who play instruments:

1. guys that can play basic rock and blues
2. guys that know Jazz

great friends really...but heres the catch... guys i play with who know only rock see me play and are amazed, they want me to teach them more, and i have. not to toot my own horn(hate that phrase) but thats where im at.

This is where im at a standstill, my few friends that know jazz, basically refuse to play rock, even just for a fun session. in their eyes im not......
well....qualified to play with them. when i watch them they have a certain kinda confidence about it, and they play stuff ive never seen before.(I'm not a jazz fan) I get the notion that theyre just showing off. :?

now i know there big differences between blues and jazz theory. Will learning some Jazz theory drastically change the way i play? has it for you guys? Ill probably never ever actually play jazz in front of people, but is this really the next step? will it take me to another level?

Ive never considered getting into the theory before, mainly because, and no offense to any jazz fans, but most of it i find unbearable to listen to. ive heard some great free jazz jams, it just sounds like organized chaos. is it a matter of learning new scales and chords and just jamming?

Further more, what makes Jazz so attractive to some people? some of my buddies are into all the big names and ive heard alot of albums. i liked LIVE EVIL i think its by mingus, but its not something id care to hear again.

so thats what im thinkin about in this tank attached to my neck. maybe i could get some of your opinions, am i just not listening to it hard enuff?

:? :? :? :? :? _Lazy

"Love is the answer, and you know that...for sure"

 #1476  by Kenny
 Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:52 pm
Last edited by Kenny on Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 #1477  by Kenny
 Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:10 pm
Last edited by Kenny on Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #1480  by LazyLightnin
 Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:34 pm
very well put kenny. hmmmm, hmmmm hmmmm hmmm.

I often do learn an album note for note and then just forget all about it, because their are no applications for it, cept for impressin the gurls at open mic nite,personal satisfaction, or at the request of other bandmates.(mainly the gurly thing tho 8) ) most of the time ill put on an album like ledzepII or a dead show and just straight jam over the whole dam thing. it often becomes moot. although my coordination always gets a little better. (always good to practice).

I think this weekend ill pay a visit to my "jazz" buddies and instead of reveling, ill observe. i was told once to find as many ways to play 7ths everywhere possible and that might get me started.

this ensable of "jazz friends" are always doing something interesting. currently theyre jamming like this:

Travis "Vacation"- Banjo (he makes us address him as that :roll: )
Pat- Piano, guitar
Ryan- bass (a renowned Grindcore bassist round these parts.)

makes for a very very very interesting sound kinda like a Jazz-Sun-Ra-meets jamaican mento music.

by the way Ken, im never ceased to be amazed at your literary prowess, your the king....

-Lazy 8)

 #1502  by Kenny
 Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:28 am

 #9157  by LazyLightnin
 Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:01 pm
a couple years ago i posted this topic in a very young think tank 8) , since then my playing has grown by leaps and bounds. i am officially a "JAZZ JERK" so to speak. thanks guys :cool:

 #9167  by shakedown_04092
 Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:10 am
Hey Lazy,

I think I am kind of in the position that you were when you first posted this. What have you learned so far that might help me? I wish Kenny's posts were still there so I could read them....

I am kind of stuck in that I've learned my 7 modes and am just trying to learn more about what to do with them, but I am finding it hard to get more creative with it. Have you learned any jazz scales or anything that you talked about in that first post that you could pass along to me?

Looking for more,


 #9180  by wisedyes
 Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:40 am
I'm a bit of a jazz player, Shakedown, so let me see if I can help you out with some things to work on.

You mentioned learning modes, and wondering how to use them. In jazz, what is actually far more important in soling in using chord tones. What you really need to concentrate on is learning arpeggios, in AT LEAST two different positions and on every string set, for Major 6, Major 7, minor 6&7, and dominant 7, 9, 13 chords. Use your scalar tones ( the modes ) and chromaticism to set up the arpeggios in your lines, or as connections between them.

For instance, in jazz, the biggest chord progression to know ( by far ) is the ii-V7-I move. This is a minor 7 ( the 2 chord ), followed by the dominant 7, and ending on the I Major ( usually a Major 7 ) of a given key. So, say in G Major, it would be Amin7, D7, G Maj7. You would want your lines to emphasize the chord tones of the chords ( A,C,E,G over Amin7, D,F#,A,E over D7, and G,B,D,F# over G Maj7 ). To play over this modally, it would be A Dorian, D Mixolydian, and G Ionian, which are all really just the G Major scale emphasizing different notes.

The other important thing to do is to learn the different jazz forms. Generally, there are four areas of jazz; jazz blues, rythm changes, modal compositions, and standards. Work on blues and rythm changes first; they cover the majority of jazz tunes you will ever encounter. Modal compositions are just that ( think "Kind of Blue" Miles Davis ), tunes built around a specific modal progression, and standards are learning how to really play a song - the melody ( head ), accompaniment, and soloing.

Some absolutely excellent method books to get you started on this would be Jazzin'the Blues in the Blues You can Use series by John Ganapes, the excelent All Blues for Jazz Guitar series by Jim Ferguson, the Beginning and Intermediate Jazz Guitar books by Jody Fisher are fantastic ( ), and another excellent book on soloing that I have just come across is by Garrison Fewell, Melodic Improvisation for Guitar. This book uses a different concept for building solos, using the arpeggios of the ii minor and I major chord over everything and embellishing upon that. All these books start simply and by the time you are done with them, you will be playing some pretty advanced, very hip stuff.

And yes, like it or not, rock and blues playing, while I love them too, are extremely limited in scope compared to jazz. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule ( like King Crimson - those guys are OUT there ), but in order to really progress beyond scratching the surface of what is possible, you have to break out of playing rock and blues. I look at music as a form of language, and most rock music is prety much on the order of Dick and Jane books, where as with jazz you're getting into Shakespeare. And just like learning any language, the more fluent you become, the more you increase your vocabulary, the more compelling speaker you can be.

 #9184  by Crazy 9.5 Fingers
 Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:22 am
LIVE EVIL - Miles Davis. An electrified free-jazz album. One of Miles late 60's - 70's albums I think. I am a bit of jazzer and not trying to sound cocky here, but all it has done is made my rock, blues playing a little more sophisticated than what most guys bring to the table.

The greatest rock guitarists ever in my mind are Hendrix and Page and you can hear in both of their playing that they listen to not only a lot of roots blues, but a lot of jazz. It is also safe to say Garcia would not have been the guitar player he was without his enormous passion for jazz musicianship. I don;t listen to much jazz anymore at all, but I can hear it in my playing all over the place. IMHO, the best musicians are those that draw and develop their style from as many types of music as you can.

There are concepts in jazz that can be universally applied and you would never think to play them unless you learned them. The same can be said for the jazz player who can bust out a Hendrix lick on the trumpet. In the Miles Davis autobiography co written by Quincy Troupe (GREAT BOOK!)MIles talks about how into Hendrix he was and that they were both coming from the same place musically and pushing the limits.

I agree with the guys who posted here that it can only help your playing and honestly most of the guys I have played with who have dissed jazz are the guys who just don't get it and can't play it. As humans, we mock what we don't understand.

Wes Montgomery, the great John McLaughiln, and Grant Green are what I would say are the guitar players' jazz guitarists. Take a listen to their stuff and I think you will be very pleased to study jazz.

 #9284  by LazyLightnin
 Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:20 pm
ya, although ive come a LONG way in the last few years, there are so many better people here to learn from lol. but not only has my playing grown but also my taste has become more "cultured"

 #9303  by tigerstrat
 Sat Sep 30, 2006 2:32 pm
Two names in jazz guitar, imo, soar high above all the rest:
Django Reinhardt & Charlie Christian

Some other truly great masters that haven't received mention here:

Oscar Aleman (the "other Django", who was a contemporary of his)
Joe Pass
Kenny Burrell
Larry Coryell
Fareed Haque

to name but a few.

 #9371  by mttourpro
 Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:56 am
I look at music as a form of language, and most rock music is prety much on the order of Dick and Jane books, where as with jazz you're getting into Shakespeare. And just like learning any language, the more fluent you become, the more you increase your vocabulary, the more compelling speaker you can be.

Couldn't have said it better. It's all about playing through the changes/rhythm and making it sound good--

Rock=Simple changes/rhythm, Jazz=more complex changes/rhythm

 #10088  by neonr
 Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:28 pm
vicedyes nailed it. That post was accurate in its info. Here are some jazz players who I spend considerable time with: Grant Green (Idle Moments cd is my favorite) George Benson (early Benson, It's Uptown) Joe Pass (Virtuoso one and two). But Grant Green is something. Jimmy Smith is fun to listen to (jazz organ Back at the Chicken Shack), And Wes Montgomery is THE man.
this guy's books are worth a look also: ... =11&Go.y=8

I do chord melodies, arranging them is like doing puzzels and you learn mucho from doing it. I would spend time on understanding jazz harmonies before applying scales in a melodic way though (the 2-5-1 is a huge big deal in jazz).

 #12547  by cunamara
 Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:04 pm
When there are big long URLs, it stretches out the text making the page inconvenient to read (at least in my browsers). Sadly Amazon is the king of big-ass URLs, really kind of a PITA to e-mail them to someone. You can use and shrink those huge URLs into a little bitty one, thus preserving the easy readibility of the board. Jus' something to ponder. I've done it too (recently in fact. D'oh!).

 #12548  by cunamara
 Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:16 pm
My formal training is in jazz and I listen to a lot of it. Pretty much I listen to the Dead, Hot Tuna and jazz 90% of the time. But man, it seems like most jazz stuff just doesn't really sound very good in a rock context. But since this is a Dead board, we're used to music that is a bit more harmonically adventurous than most rock music. You can fit a lot of jazz stuff into Dead tunes and it works great.

The Dead were inspired by jazzers like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Some jazzers dug the Dead a bit, including Charles Mingus, Miles, Branford Marsalis, Ornette Coleman. Brandford and Ornette played with the Dead and Ornette- who has his own unique music theory called "harmolodics"- had Jerry play on an album.

I think that the Dead's music is a great portal into the world of jazz. The guys mentioned above would appeal to a lot of Deadheads. For guitarists, I'd go along with Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian as being seminal players that we should all know about (Jerry and Bob did/do). When you hear those guys you'll recognise where Jerry got some of his ideas. I'd add Tal Farlow to that mix too (try "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow).