when soloing over a form...

...do you make phrases at the spot that relate to the tune (which would require singing the melody in your head), or do you more think in terms of "lick"s (which would require a big pre-studied lick repertoire)?

If you think in terms of licks, do you just randomly pick up a lick (e.g. the one you studied last week) or do you choose licks that somehow relate to the tune or what other guys are playing at that moment?

I know both are possible, but I wonder which one is the most common way among jazz drummers.

Thanks in advance.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I just think of the tune. I basically never play worked out licks. Nothing more than two beats long, anyway.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
"I just think of the tune. I basically never play worked out licks. Nothing more than two beats long, anyway." Long time no see Todd glad to see you again (haven't seen your post in awhile??) hope all is well. Actually I'm doing as you suggest now instead of playing so much to recordings I started just playing and recording. Think of tune in my mind and just start playing it-it deletes all the other noise but drums. It's also fun thinking of songs and seeing how well I remember them-yikes. I find when I play to recordings I'm sometimes a microsecond behind because I'm reacting and following rather than leading by confidently playing the tune I know-sort of playing catch up. I've never been much for solos so it helps in that regard too.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It sort of goes for anything, but especially if you play jazz, that just playing along to recordings forces you to just go along and not necessarily learning anyting.

Playing by yourself, along with a 2 & 4 click and play-alongs without drums all play a part. An app like iBeReal is good as you can adjust the tempo to where you're at.

I definetly work from a phrasing standpoint. When I find something cool I work on it until it's clean and flows and see what I can get out of it. Constantly adding to my vocabulary and general freedom on the kit. I work on it in context. It has to swing and flow or it's of no real use.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
So is that IBeReal app or iReal app? I found a iReal Pro App that looks interesting? Thanks for suggestion.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
We have a lot of things going on around us that can inspire what notes we play when we solo over a song. Listening to the melodic music you'll be able to pick out patterns you can use to build what you want to play. Listen to how long the different melodic forms are, listen to the rhythms being played by the different instrument and apply them with or without your own melodic consideration (limited as we may be, there are still tom and cymbal tones that can mimic the music's melodies in lots of cases). You also have the very rhythms you yourself are playing. Often just making small modulations or changes to the basic things you were already playing for the rest of the song get me the most "kudos" from "jazz players" in terms of solo. Bonus points if you can organize yourself and "build the ideas" over a few bars. Lastly, the power you have with just empty space is something a lot of people tend to ignore. Simply dropping notes or rhythms can be just as useful as adding more or playing busily.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Awesome Thanks Tony great video suggestion. Sort of like what I've been doing so I know I am on the right track-dang even a blind squirrel can find a nut. I saw a video of Elvin Jones demonstrating the idea as you mentioned-he started with just a simple phrase-then built on it. It was genius.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
You use all (IF YOU CAN), haha...spontaneous phrases, pick up phrases from the other musicians, LICKS, etc. You have to think about the licks in terms of your vocabulary (or at least part of it), these are like the words you use normally while speaking, other guys tend to use other...your "speech" is what matters. For example it is not important if you use the words you use always, what matters is what you are going to finnally say about, for example, the subject "the Vikings", you mix the words you already know to express an idea, and this idea is what it is not memorized, is unique.

Everybody has licks even the greatests, Tony Williams, Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, etc. that and their sound is what makes them recognizable. Only not good musicians have few or no licks...it´s the other way round...

You have to play off the melody (and harmony, and what guys play), but just playing the melody would make you sound silly (this as a drummer, of course).

See if you can spot any of that when I play:

1) Medium ("Minority" - 8´s):

2) Up ("Mr PC", 12 bar blues FORM):
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Fantastic video Tony. I'm going to bust that out next time I'm playing some free form and they start some trading, I'm wondering how many people will pick out the rhythm as what it is. Probably depends how I voice it.

Also, Tony ain't kidding when he says "it takes time" for me, it was literally years before I started getting anywhere close to using this stuff in a band setting. Honestly, a lot of the required development came from simply listening to good players on records. It somehow gets into you just from paying attention. You start to understand not only how, but why they're making certain choices and it deepens your own understanding.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
But they were all deleted instantaneously the same time. I had been watching his video then bam his post all gone in a blink of an eye-no serial deletion??? Really weird. My response was "WTF" too.
 
I don't understand it at all but I always thought that you deleted your posts yourself regularly since you only have 23 posts and the status of 'Junior Member'. But others seem confused as well... Could one of the moderators please shed some light if none one of this was intended?
Just in case that it's a bug of the forum software and related to the status, I'll add this problem:

I once couldn't post for one or two weeks when my status wasn't 'Member' yet. When submitting a post, I got the message that my post would need to be checked by a moderator first but they never appeared. When I asked Bermuda about it, everything seemed to be okay on his end.. Luckily, the problem hasn't occurred again.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I don't understand it at all but I always thought that you deleted your posts yourself regularly since you only have 23 posts and the status of 'Junior Member'...
There's something odd going on. In a thread, WhoIs shows as having 23 posts. Click on his avatar, and there are 100 posts (and unless he's been deleting his own posts, even that number is way lower than I would've expected.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
The "licks" or phrases you collect ought to be part of your DNA. You don't want to be thinking of them while improvising. A great exercise I came up with is to solo over Miles Davis's "Walkin'," the original version under the banner of "The Miles Davis All Stars." with Kenny Clarke on drums. It's at a medium tempo and lasts a good 10 minutes. It's a blues, so the form is simple. Play along with the soloists. After the last solo comes a turnaround with the horns vamping while Kenny Clarke plays rather simple phrases to punctuate the vamp. Invent your own figures as you practice it. You wont be thinking technically--you'll be singing the tune or the progression as you play. Also: Practice just grooving along with Kenny Clarke on that recording, because it definitely digs in at a rather moderate, and manageable tempo. When you've got it down. Pick another tune. Proceed.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
The "licks" or phrases you collect ought to be part of your DNA. You don't want to be thinking of them while improvising. A great exercise I came up with is to solo over Miles Davis's "Walkin'," the original version under the banner of "The Miles Davis All Stars." with Kenny Clarke on drums. It's at a medium tempo and lasts a good 10 minutes. It's a blues, so the form is simple. Play along with the soloists. After the last solo comes a turnaround with the horns vamping while Kenny Clarke plays rather simple phrases to punctuate the vamp. Invent your own figures as you practice it. You wont be thinking technically--you'll be singing the tune or the progression as you play. Also: Practice just grooving along with Kenny Clarke on that recording, because it definitely digs in at a rather moderate, and manageable tempo. When you've got it down. Pick another tune. Proceed.
I was thinking this just the other day. I feel I'm a "licky" kind of musician, I like simple catchy phrases and heads that I can commit to muscle memory, and especially licks that revolve around tresilo.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
When soloing over a form....I find it challenging to keep the form in my head without the other instruments playing. So if you can keep the form intact mentally, that's a large part of the battle. I'd say you want to heavily imply the melody, and if you can add in some rhythmic stuff around that without losing the form, you're good.

I can describe it but I can't do it lol.
 
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