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Jazz Comping

BonesBones Moderator
in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 3,320
There was a thread going a while ago about comping chords and the rhythm guitar throwing color tones at the soloist. As I was saying I mostly keep it spare and in the lower register to stay out of the soloists way.

This is a pretty good discussion with Jimmy Bruno about this topic and I think it pretty much applies just the same to GJ.

One great quote he says is even if you knew what the soloist was going to do and you doubled it with your comping he says that is "like writing on a white board with white chalk." You take all the tension out of the soloists line.

The other great one is "stay out of the guys way just because you have 10 fingers doesn't mean you need 10 notes" (relative to piano comping but the same applies to guitar comping.



Again, I think that it is about sometimes less is more.
wimaltonJosechikyjsp775

Comments

  • edited April 2018 Posts: 3,707
    There is a difference in playing the notes that define a 4 note chord (usually the 3 and 7 sometimes the 6) and playing extended chords. HIs comments are interesting and are particularly relevant with piano. Mixing guitar and piano in jazz is one of the most challenging things to do as it can get pretty harmonically dense pretty quickly.

    Like all things musical there are times to add colour and times to keep it simple. Knowing when is the artistry of it.

    Listen to Miles second great quintette (herbie and wayne) stuff. Good education on ensemble improvisational playing.

    I love the way Ed Bickert comps.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Yeah for the guitar the only absolutely "must" have are the 3 and b7 (if dom) or maybe maj6. The bass already has the root and 5 typically. Obviously the guitar can double the root and 5. Anything else is 'thickness' and/or color. Dry, percussive, quiet are all a plus generally speaking. Hey even a plain triad sounds great sometimes. Not saying u can't use more color just don't over do it (like anything).
  • edited April 2018 Posts: 3,707
    Too true. The brighter the colour the more careful one has to be in using it.

    I find that in GJ I will use voicings that double the third fifth or less frequently the seventh if it works with the melodic line. If comping for someone I dont know musically KISS when they solo seems to go over well most of the time, though in truth i find many GJ soloists aren't really listening to what is going on but seem focussed on their own thing.

    Ensemble playing is, to my mind, all about listening to what others are playing and expressing a common ??words fail me.....statement, expression.....??? and not thinking about your own stuff.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Yeah exactly good way to put it. The more one does (color, thickness, etc) the more careful one needs to be. especially in a jam context with multiple rhythm guitars.
  • Jam rules are to my mind completely different. Unless everyone is playing the same voicings, keep to one or two notes....assuming one is having a good social experience.

    Large jams do not qualify as "music" to my ears. There are so many nuances to timing and attack and voicings its like saying listening to the babble in a convention hall is like having a conversation LOL. Having fun, absolutely....... people can have a fun doing it.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,857
    At DiJ a few years back, a few of us found a quiet place to jam in a stairway.

    We started playing "Sweet Sue" in the key of F.

    Gradually more and more guitarists appeared in the stairway and joined the session, but mysteriously, most of them preferred to jam along in the key of G...

    Talk about adding extra colour!
    t-birdBones
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • AndrewUlleAndrewUlle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 541
    We started playing "Sweet Sue" in the key of F...
    Gradually more and more guitarists appeared in the stairway and joined the session, but mysteriously, most of them preferred to jam along in the key of G...

    Talk about adding extra colour!

    That reminds me of a show where I was asked to come up on stage in front of 800 people or so and join in on harmonica. The song is in E (confirmed with the band), so I brought my A harp, ready for the big solo.

    Unfortunately, the absent-minded guitarist forgot he was using an alternately-tuned Strat, then neglected to switch back to standard tuning.

    My harmonica solo added a LOT of color to that song. The rest of band eventually compensated, but I was kinda left hanging...

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