Just some thoughts.......
Bird had incredible ears and gifted depth of creativity he picked out
the hip ideas that other musicians were playing and then added his own
to make those incredible new lines of his. He was mostly using his
THINK ABOUT THAT- the guy was ultra-melodic.Very very easy to hear.
Another way is that a musician can learn to improvise let's look at
the COLTRANE thought process. Trane was the opposite of Bird. He didn't
stop practicing and studying. He slept with his horn so that he could
start practicing the moment he got out of bed. He practiced on the
breaks at gigs and every other free moment he could find.
He was a searcher. He searched for new scales and modes from all over the world.
He studied out of violin books and harp books. He used the Slonimsky
book of scale patterns. Trane learned by studying as well as using his
own incredible ears!
As Charles LLoyd said to me " Bird invented the atom.....TRANE smashed
So we have two very different ways of learning the mechanics of
improvisation but, and here's the big but, when Bird or Trane got on
the bandstand to perform neither of them spent much time "thinking"! In
performance they were both in the same state of incredible
self-awareness. The mechanics became unimportant on the bandstand and
the emotional side of their improvisations took precedence. They played
from their heart and soul. This is the key to their greatness. They
both had an incredible natural gift for being able to open themselves
up to their inner creativity and let out their amazing ideas with
wonderful ease, excitement and wonder.
In fact of all the hundreds of bands I've played in not one has ever
said to me, "play a mixolydian scale here" or lets only play a
diminished scale there.
Never! LETS REMEMBER.....jazz is personal expression.
:REMEMBER ~ you do not have to reinvent the wheel !!! ::::
Virtually all of Bird's solos have already been transcribed.Go study
My personal favorites though are "Nows The Time " and "The Song Is You
". There are transcriptions of those solos around too. I'm sure if you
TRY to sing them along when driving in your car...you'll got the SHAPE
and HARMONIC PARTS in your ear.
By analyzing the already transcribed solos, you'll save yourself a lot of time if your main intention is to "learn more about his vocabulary".You'll find that Bird used a lot of the same priniciples and tricks over and over. After a couple of years study you should have a decent handle on the underlying concepts and then it's all about putting those principles to use in finding your own voice. I think any kind of transcription work you do well benifit your ear.
These are just some thoughts on this.Maybe it hits ya maybe it
But most of all keep trying-playing-listening.
That is MOST vital to personal growth.
For those of you in the Reading, Pa area - Stop by my saxophone workshops this Friday and Saturday.
TILL NEXT WEEK- Keep on and long tones is the ticket!
~ Tim Price
ALSO- Don't forget ;
With Tim Price
Study with Tim. ( in nyc or pa )
Bring SELMER artist Tim Price to your college or school for clinics and
On line lessons;
Articles on the masters;
Books for sale thru Amazon;
Great Tenor Solos;
~Bird-ology Studies to Improve Time, Phrase Lengths, and Intensity
Feel free to print out all the lessons to so you have them-
there is a massive bunch of information of mine on there.