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Keith’s solo CD is available on iTunes! Click on the photo below!
Check out Keith’s new Quintet CD – Available on iTunes! Click the photo below!
Tip #1 – Efficient Practice (video)
Tip #2 – Ron’s Tip
My Thought’s on the “great innovators of Jazz”
Hello everyone! After reading some of the responses last week and reading Keith’s responses back to the readers, I thought it might be a good thing this week to focus on some of the great founders of Jazz. Of course the #1 innovator in 1925 was the great Louie Armstrong. His “Hot Five” group and his “Hot Seven” (1928) group made history in his Illustrious career.
As I studied at one of the most successful conservatories in White Plans, N.Y., I remember my teacher telling me when I was 17 years old; “You need to listen to this guy.” (Which I really didn’t at the time.) Today I realize that I was so ignorant of the fact that these guys were the stepping stones to my jazz career or to at least improvising with a swing feel. Yes it is true, normally most young players today on trumpet are more concerned with playing high notes… I had been playing since the age of 6, and I took formal lessons all of those years after thanks to my dad.
But what triggered my brain into going to music school and continuing my studies after high school (more or less), was knowing that while I was in high school I would be in the Stage band, Concert and Marching band. While in the stage band I was the “#1 Player,” but when it came to a solo – I just wailed away when it was my my turn to solo. I knew nothing about chords, but knew that technically I had the edge over most players my age. Actually In my senior year at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, NY., I was awarded the “Who’s Who in Music Among high school students.” While that was an honor to me, I knew I wanted to improvise and know what to play / learn how to accomplish that so I went to Music School in college. This was the best thing I could have done because I was lucky enough to have met one of the finest jazz instructors around; Bob Arthurs.
Some Music schools have different agendas, but this small yet great conservatory was in a mansion on Gedney Esplande road in White Plains, NY. At the time, I was so excited to be part of this place… Bob’s main concern was to teach me how to improvise. As I mentioned in one of my earlier weekly archives Bob said to me, “Ron, you have to stop listening to guys like Maynard Ferguson and Doc Severinsen.” First of all I would like to say that I thought then that Maynard Ferguson was one of the greatest players that ever lived… not only as a high note balladeer but also as a jazz player – and still today I feel that same way. Yes, after all these years (and through my education in jazz) I realize now what my Bob was trying to convey to me. “To become a good jazz player you have to listen and try to study the pioneers of jazz!”
This is not to take anything away from what Maynard Ferguson / Doc Severinsen do because Maynard could play like no other in a special way… and Doc?, well you are talking about one of the greatest if not the greatest technical / all around players of our generation. I Love them both… but the players who influenced jazz improvisation are as follows… Let’s start with Louie Armstrong; who started it all, then Bix Biederbeck of the 1920’s. Then Let’s talk about Clifford Brown – who many have studied and emulated, like the great Lee Morgan. Also there is the great Freddie Hubbard, and of course Dizzy Gillespie who can play anything frombe bop to Latin jazz. One of Dizzy’s students is of course, the great Arturo Sandoval! Then there is the legendary Miles Davis who you can say is the most charismatic and mysterious player out of all of them. Miles believed in playing with the attitude“less is more.” He was a great innovator!
There are so many more, I could not even list them… but these are a few that you as an up and coming jazz player should listen to. This was all part of my studies that have influenced me and made me a better and professional and studio cat today… My suggestion to all is to pick one of these players and get one of their recordings… like Louie Armstrong or Miles Davis and Listen to them >sing their solos and then try to play with them. Take just one solo at a time as this will take weeks. But you can learn so much from just one solo. I prefer a Slower ballad to start. I did leave a tune by the great Freddie Hubbard a few weeks back which I think would be beneficial called “Skylark” but another one I suggest to get you to get the feel of things is “Struttin with some Barbecue” by Louie Armstrong. If you click on the link I left here I think you will benefit from listening and working on it. Also, I left you with “Hotter Than Hot”by Louie. Good Luck, Sincerely Ron Tenore