Friday, February 21, 2014
I once heard a story of a great jazz piano player (I think it may have been Bill Evans but I am not certain). As the story goes: a visitor dropped by to visit this musician's house one morning. He found him improvising over a simple set of changes (chord progression). The visitor left for the day and returned 9 hours later and discovered him STILL playing over the exact same changes. When asked about it the response came (paraphrasing) "I like to spend the time and focus on bringing out all the tonal options". Heavy - and very very smart!
Now I am certainly not suggesting you do this for 9 hours! Although, if you got the desire and focus, it would be a valuable experience! The point of this entry is to challenge you to try this. Get a loop going, choose for now, a static chord and set up a simple one chord vamp. Then dig in and improvise freely within it. I do this often sometimes for 2-3 hours at a time on the same vamp (it drives my family crazy!). It is a great rhythmic exercise and really challenges your creativity and control.
The idea is to work over every idea you can muster. Be adventurous - try different scales, chromatic approach notes, bending, whammy bar, slides, sweeps, plus TONS of different rhythmic phrases - whatever! Fail all over the place. Just go for anything you hear. This is a fantastic exercise for developing your own voice on the instrument.
Here is a sample of one I did last night to give you the idea.
Stay well people! Keep those fingers movin!