Have you ever heard a ‘straight’ musician reading jazz music or a jazz musician reading ‘classical’ music?
The results can be extremely funny
The jazz notes come out all straight from the classical musician – and – the classical notes come out all bent from the jazz musician.
Ignorance of each other’s styles usually results in an unmusical un—idiomatic mess! Nowadays though, more and more musicians learn the differing styles together and can move from one to the other with ease.
This is achieved by learning to count note values in two different ways.
Listen to the following four bars of music on Audio Podcast 1 while you read the notation below. They are played 4 times.
The difference lies in the counting of each beat in the bar. In the first and third playings each of the four beats in the bar is divided by two giving two equal quavers, the second of which is counted by an “and”. In the second and fourth playings each beat is divided by three into a triplet which gives us a jazz ‘feel’.
(say it as trip—o-let to gain the feeling of 3 equal parts).
Listen to the same four bars with a ‘count’ and follow the music. This time the jazz ‘feel’ is written as it sounds in triple time but it is always written straight.
You have now played 4 choruses 0f a 12 bar blues which is the most common chord sequence in jazz.
At this stage, let’s not worry about chord changes just play along with the Audio podcast 9 using any of the rhythmical models you have played or better still — invent new ones of your own using the Blues Scale for your melody.
And now, 4 choruses of blues in Bb to do your own thing.
As you can hear, the Blues Scale can be played over all kinds of chords without any problem. Can you hear when one chorus finishes and the next begins? If not, count off 12 bars from the start of Audio Podcast 9 and you will hear the rhythm section “set up” each new chorus.
Hearing chord changes is one of the great skills in Jazz, so now, let’s look at Jazz Harmony.