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"Viper's Dream" solo

HCPhillyHCPhilly Phila. PA✭✭✭✭
edited January 2008 in Licks and Patterns Posts: 147
Hey folks,

I just finished putting Django's Viper's Dream solo into Powertab.
Hope that you'all enjoy it. It's harmonically pretty simple, but the timing was a challenge to write down.
One of the aspects of Django's playing that is really evident in the recording is his approach to rhythmic placement, which includes;
playing on the beat, and playing ahead & behind the beat.
He also mixes it up by playing swing 8ths and straight 8ths.
[There is a very cool little bit of what might be called linear chromaticism
early on, [bar 5, counting the pickup bar as bar one]. This bit is similar
to a common device used by Django that uses a 3 note diminished shape
[or dom.7 shape], moving by half steps to create harmonic and rhythmic tension, often with a barline shift feel, [ hemiola].
All of the above devices are very important aspects of playing jazz.
In teaching and learning this style,
I have to say that it's an aspect of playing that is very often not really happening at all with many aspiring players. It seems to me that when I listen to beginner and intermediate players, a lot of the time they aren't really swinging much at all, [they also aren't really locking in with the rhythm players. [Hey swing is fun, right? Seriously, don't you think the sense of joy is important to really swing? Shouldn't that come across?
[This isn't death metal or classical music :roll: At times they'll start to play more notes to try to make something happen, but that doesn't help. If it doesn't swing when you play long notes it still won't when you play fast! :lol: We all have to learn this the hard way!
Of course this all takes time, and we are all at different levels of learning. Another part of the issue is that a lot of players that are into the style are coming from Bluegrass and/or rock, etc., and they really don't have a good grounding in swing, especially the roots era stuff, Louie Armstrong, etc.
An important and related issue is a lot of times players don't employ
the use of passing tones upper and lower neighbors, chord subs etc. Again,
those elements are really important, and the best way to ingrain them
are by listening and transcribing, etc. It's experiential knowledge.
Most of this sort of thing is not found in Rock, [somewhat in Bluegrass, which also uses syncopation, of course]. If you're solos seem pretty lifeless it may well be because they lack rhythmic drive. the best way to learn to swing is to listen to horn players, singers, etc., and to try to understand what they are doing with beat placement.
If you have good sense of swing, everything falls into place, and you can just relax and groove, and you can play a lot less notes and keep the listener's attention. [That is what we want, right]?
Anyhow, to learn this solo, you really need to listen to the recording and use a slow downer to ingrain the nuances. [The devil is in the details]!
Cheers.
Let me know how you all make out with this, and if any of what I said is helpful.
Thanks,
Barry

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