Tunes and concept for October 10th jam

The following post is for less experienced jammers taking part in the 1st set.

We've decided for future jams it will work better if everyone isn't working on the same tune. We'll list 3 good choices for beginning improvisers and you just pick one. Hopefully, everyone doesn't pick the same tune. The list will stay the same for the session after that.

Tunes: Sonnymoon for Two (Bb Blues), Autumn Leaves, Cantaloupe Island

Of course you can pick any jazz tune you want, but these are easier to learn. Other good choices can be found in Jamie Aebersold  play-along Volume 54. If you don't have this, it's worth picking up.

The concept to focus on next is making b7-3 connections between chords. Try practicing these connections over the chords to the tune you're learning. Transcribe a solo to the tune you're learning and identify these connections. Then pick one of your favorite sounding connections and practice it over the chords to the the song. Transpose as needed to make it fit the chords. This takes time if you haven't done it before. Be patient, we'll stay with this concept for the next 2 sessions.

From jazz educator, Bert Lignon, here are 3 common ways to make these connections: 

There are three common lines found in music from the Baroque period to the present. They may appear with out embellishment or may be highly figured. (I have written a book that deals exclusively with these structures: Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony, Hal Leonard, Inc.) 

Outline No. 1 connects the 3rd of one chord down to the 3rd of the next. 

Outline No. 2 begins with an ascending 1-3-5 arpeggio and the 7th resolves to the 3rd of the next chord. 

Outline No. 3 begins with a descending 5-3-1 arpeggio and the 7th resolves to the 3rd of the next chord. 

The three outlines are shown below for a G7 to C progression. The outlines are used anytime the chords progress down a fifth. .... these basic outlines will be essential vocabulary. 

Outline No. 1               Outline No. 2             Outline No. 3

Photos from the first session

We've added a media page to showcase the jam through photos, audio, and video. Thanks to Martha we now have photos from the first session. These photos only show a handful of the more than 20 individuals that got up and jammed. Go to the media page to check it out.

Jazz jam recap

THAT WAS REALLY FUN! I'm not sure how many people we had, maybe 60? Standing room only at times. Younger, older, newer improvisers, experienced pros, all having a good time. Great tunes, people meeting each other, cards being exchanged - just what we had in mind.

Thanks to Dan Wallach for the gentle feedback to improvisers during the 1st set; Nick Moran, Rand Moore, and Zach Nielsen for sounding great and holding it all together; the Washington Hotel Coffee Room; the Madison Jazz Society for supplying the piano; the many audience members that generously donated, and everyone else that helped out.

The next session is Sunday October 10, 4-7 pm. We should have some pictures up soon and we'll post suggested tunes to work on.

Next time we expect more high school players. West and Stoughton HS were represented, but no students from the other schools. There are some awfully good high school jazz bands in the Madison area so I know there are more young improvisers out there. Let's see you next time.

IMW Fall Season is underway and GREAT NEWS: Madison Jazz Society is sponsoring the piano rental!

Come out This Friday or plan to come another time in our Fall Season Line up at Washington Hotel Coffee Room!

All dates are on Fridays from 6:30 - 8:30pm -- It's a GREAT way to end your work week and start the weekend!

September 3rd – Big Dynamic Changes (Becker, de Broux, Cook, Lang)

September 17th - Single Line Groove and Song Building  (Becker, de Broux, Lang)

October 8 – A Study in Tone  (Becker, de Broux, Lang)

October 22 – How to Make Your Band Work with whatever instruments you have? Featuring Guest Musician: Joan Wildman (piano) with Becker (vibes) Lang (bass)

November 5 – Harmony – Interesting ways to enhance, develop or totally change the angle of a song by shifting or embellishing the harmony (Becker, de Broux, Lang)

November 19 – The Music of Mary Lou Williams featuring guest musicians: Jane Reynolds and John Mesoloras

GREAT NEWS: MJS (Madison Jazz Society) is sponsoring the piano rental for this fall season. THANKS MJS!!!!!!!!

September 17th – Single Line Groove and Song Building (Becker, de Broux, Lang)

Friday, September 17  

6:30 - 8:30pm at Washington Hotel Coffee Room

Here is the FORMAT for: Single Line Groove and Song Building

So these are the “rules” for this “game” of Improv Workshop: 

  1. We will begin by creating “songs” from scratch.
  2. Each player will only play a single line. (so pianists and guitarists who normally might comp and have the ability to play harmony will limit themselves to one note at a time like voice,  horns or winds)
  3. Person #1 starts by laying down a foundational line approximately 4- 8 bars long
  4. Person #2 adds something to support/compliment that line
  5. Person #3 can add something to support or compliment person #1 or create a counter line
  6. Depending on how many people you have there could be more added in here
  7. The person added in gets to solo over the top of the song/groove
  8. When everyone is tired of that song…we start over!

This song building can be lots of fun! So come ready to create, listen, compliment and work together.

As always bring friends and family to hear you sit in and make music, eat the local salads, sandwiches, drink the wine, beer and coffee. Washington Hotel Coffee Room is a GREAT place to gather on an early Friday evening with the view of Monona bay and downtown.

Tune and concept for September 19th session

Although Madison Jazz Jam is open to all improvisers, the following information is aimed at younger or less experienced improvisers who will be playing in the 1st set.

Tune: C Jam Blues
Concept: Rhythmic variations

We are encouraging all early stage improvisers to work on C jam blues for this session. Find a recording of it and listen to it enough so you can sing the melody along with it. Then try playing it on your instrument. You've just memorized the melody and it was pretty easy wasn't it? Now try applying some rhythmic variations. Try limiting yourself to just the melody notes at first and change the rhythms around. You'll find you don't need to play lots of notes to sound good if you have interesting rhythms. If you want to take it one step further try using different pitches over some of the interesting rhythms you've discovered. If you're new to improvising this is all you need to worry about for now. Take your time and feel comfortable with it.