Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recordings, and Comping in Modes

Here's Ceora -- we've never played this before and in fact the Sax player was so scared of screwing up the head. Turned out nice though.


I haven't posted in a bit but that's because my musical activity has grown exponentially. I've been playing out at least once a week and lots of preparation is often required because I always want to do new songs. I also have to accompany a singer in the band (different ones) so I have to constantly do something different. This is what the audience expects so I give it to them. The problem of course is that I can't a new tune with the same relaxed and comfortable style as a new tune.

At this stage of the game, I noticed an improvement in comping. I took some lessons from a different teacher lately just to get some different comping approaches and it showed that theory is a little different from practice.

Specifically, I'm talking about naturally playing modes. It's of course easy to play a 7 stacked triad two handed with 7 fingers and moving it around diatonically up the scale as long as you're on all the white keys. But then of course, a teacher will not do the simple thing, so I was asked to demonstrate playing it in the keys Db, F#, D, Eb, etc. and wham! My failures are placed right smack in front of my face.

Then the teacher, asks me to do the same with So What voicings (Quartal voicing) and moving it diatonically. Easy enough in D Dorian. Somewhat doable in Eb Dorian (yeah- like the first 3 steps...). But everything else, I had to think about slowly.

Then there was the rhythmic aspect to comping. Maybe I'm hearing it differently now. The old Charleston rhythm is too repetitive so I had to listen for comping variations, particularly with waltzes. I started paying attention not just to when to hit the chord but when to cut out and timing that to swing. Also I started to do quicker stabs and quick chord changes. Diatonic movements, chromatic chords, octave hits (ala Garland), on and on.

Well months of practicing this on Footprints appear to be yielding some improved facility. This was a major weakness of mine that I heard in all the old recordings. The mechanical sound to my comping is fading to the past now. Whew...

On to the next problem.

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