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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
Joined: Dec 2023
Posts: 17
OP Offline
Joined: Dec 2023
Posts: 17
Hi all,

I'm at a point with jazz tunes where I can pretty much play the chords, and I can read and learn the melodies (with some practice).

Are there any free/shared BB/RB file collections that include the actual melodies of songs from "The Real Book" rather than just the chords ?

Also - when it comes to improvising, I can find the keys and where they change, and I know the positions of major and minor scales throughout the fretboard. I could use the melody as a base and improvise by ear within the key using the scale shape...where I'm stuck and overwhelmed is the idea of creating phrases that target particular notes in each chord. I almost need to write out and compose lines, which is like composing a classical piece, rather than "improvising" in real time. Is there a structured approach to learning this ? I suppose even if there is, it's a daunting task and many, many hours of practice to reach this level.

Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,899
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,899
I mostly create them myself from the PDFs the band send me, partly because we have some unusual numbers and our own arrangements. I do have some that I obtained from the web and I've sent a pm as I think I'm not allowed put that information here in the thread.

Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
Kawai MP6, Korg M50, Ui24R, Saffire Pro 40.
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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,111
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,111
Joe, there are BiaB Real Book files with melodies in the public domain as well as some pay source. Here is a recent discussion.

For some people, jazz improvisation is easy and intuitive. I'm not one of those people. I'd recommend learning as much jazz theory as you can, understanding the essential jazz cliches, and listening to improvisations that you like and figuring out why you like them and how they get that effect. Then you can start to build an improv vocabulary. But it all goes back to YOUR ears though, and not repeating a string of cliche licks. It is a journey, but can be an enjoyable and rewarding one...

Good luck!

DC Ron
BiaB Audiophile
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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 738
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 738
Its important to know a few heads when you show up for a jam. Those you can get out of the Real Book. Close enough. Listen to a few versions to find a few embellishments on the head you like. If its a vocal tune listen to singers play it. Ella, Frank, etc. Tony Bennett is something on a lot of Jazz tunes.

One exercise I use is playing the 4 note chord arpeggios across the changes. 1,3,5,7 are the tones you are looking for.
Adjust major,minor,diminshed,dominant as necessary. For the time being dont worry too much about the 9ths,11ths 13ths.
You'll get there
As you advance You can add passing tones (diatonic and/or chromatic) to them to spice it up.
Hammer ons and triplets add a nice rhythms to phrases.
When going from chord to chord try landing on the 3rd of the chord. Pivot arpeggios will help you on this.
Passing tones help here also

Listen to the players you like. Not trying to imitate them, just trying to get a sense of their phrasing.
Knowing what to play is important as is Knowing how to play it,. The true lifelong journey.

Above all Be brave, don't worry about a clam here and there.
Play with others everytime you can.
Finally, If you're the best in the room, you're in the wrong room

Logic Pro X
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