Saturday, October 29, 2011

Solar - Again

So here's Solar at 210bpm

And at 200bpm

I did it at 220bpm too but with less time to think my lines became mechanical. With a bop tune, it's not easy for me because I'm not really a bop player.

Not happy with my articulation at this tempo. Just lots of little timing issues that really bug me. I think a practice strategy is to slow down the phrases where the articulation suffers and analyze it.

Beeboss also suggested I vary the left hand. Good thing because I wasn't paying attention to it at all. It all sounds good in practice but turn on the recorder and everything goes to pot.

Interesting comments from people. I didn't really think about this much but I don't actually play bop. My style is completely different and heavy on an intervallic approach. Teacher's influence I guess. Bop tends to be linear and he discourages that in me. However, there are times when I don't even go chromatic and this is one of them. I tend not to and I have consciously add chromaticism. Just some elements from the toolbox.

Now why I would try to do runs at 200bpm, I don't know. Seemed doable at the time but really, it's hit or miss at this tempo.

Maybe I'll post this at the ABF Recital in a couple of days. Or maybe I come up with something better.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Keith Jarret's Touch

Something that really got me thinking after seeing Keith Jarrett's trio play was observing KJ's touch. Now I have the records so I've heard it before. But when listening to it on a record, I turn up the volume and the piano is mic'ed. In a live performance, where you can really judge the true volume of the piano, I was suprised to hear how gentle his touch is on EVERY note. Every note is rounded tonally. This would mean such control over the dynamics at all times.

Incredible to me when playing jazz since while improvising, you often don't know where you'll be going next until the moment. So there's always akwardness in hand and finger position and resulting in unevenness common to most jazz pianists. But not with KJ.

Since this is obviously a lifetime of training to develop, (and I'm past having that kind of time), at least being conscious about it is better than nothing.

The other thing that I learned was to distinguish "harmonic embellishment" in KJ''s playing and the "melodic phrases". I didn't observe till now that there's a tension and release between these two approaches and that this gives one, your "voice". Lots of practice involved here to balance these two with deliberate control. There's a difference in phrasing between the two as well. I find that the melody making side is like a singer and there's a lot of rubato phrasing. Such a contrast to just bebop blowing.

This KJ concert was like a major jazz lesson.