Remedial Work – Swing Eighths

All too often I try to play something that I’m just not ready for.

An example is Greg Fishman’s Jazz Phrasing for Saxophone Volume 1. I can play all the notes, most of them at tempo, but I can’t make them sound right. Problems abound, but the most glaring is that I can’t produce the pattern of accents and timing and continuity that is characteristic of a line of swing eighth notes. I used to be better at this, but after my long break, I can’t control the horn. I’ve played the first tune in this book, solo and with the demo, so many times that I’m starting to dislike it. I need to do something different.

I decided to isolate swing feel and work on it by itself, starting at slow tempos. The book is set aside for now. There’s a block of time set aside every day for practicing this. It doesn’t sound great now, even at an easy tempo in the easy range of the horn. But I think that I have a good mental image of my goal and I’ll be able to acquire the habits I’m aiming for.

Actually it would be cool to link to some examples of great swing feel. And different conceptions of swing feel.

I haven’t done all the homework that I want to do for THAT post, but here’s a track that has intrigued me lately.

(Spotify) Charlie Parker With Jatp All Stars – I Got Rhythm (credits)
(Grooveshark) Alternate Link

I think that Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young both solo on this track, in addition to Charlie Parker and maybe a couple of other tenor players.  Can you tell which solo is which?  Here’s a road map.

  • 0:16 head – trumpet
  • 0:50 first tenor solo
  • 1:53 trumpet
  • 3:28 second tenor
  • 5:10 alto sax (CP)
  • 6:45 third tenor
  • 8:25 guitar
  • 10:00 piano
  • 11:10 drums
  • 12:10 head out – ensemble

So now I’ve spent some of my practice time blogging.  Time to boogie!

This entry was posted by SaxMa'am.

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