Thursday, 26 July 2012

Another Way To Look At Autumn Leaves

Carrying on with Autumn Leaves, have a listen to this version by The Bill Evans Trio.

LaFaro takes a completely different approach to the Sam Jones line I looked at last month. Where as Jones seemed to take each chord and walk through it in quite a traditional approach, LaFaro treats pretty much the whole first chorus as one big C-, playing almost exclusively straight up and down the C Dorian mode. He does break out of this occasionally and outlines the chords a little more but in a more broken approach than Jones took. 

One example of this is over the same ii V I we used in the last post. 
Over the C- LaFaro plays R 3 5 R, goes back to C Dorian over the F7 and then plays 3 7 5 R for the BbM.

So there we have a very quick look at another way to approach the changes in this tune, it's not something I'd thought of doing before and I'm definitely going to be spending some time experimenting with this way of approaching bass lines. 

Click here to download the PDF, which on a side note I have now started uploading as PDF's as quite a few people were having trouble opening the XPS files. Enjoy!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Lick of the month #2

Our second LOTM is another ii V i from Autumn Leaves, but this time it's a minor ii V from the bassist, Sam Jones.

This is a great lick with some simple but effective tricks in it. Here it is in the original key and then in two more keys, moving through the cycle. This lick should be practised in all keys even though I've only wrote it out in the first three!

The opening bar plays root, natural 9, 3, root. The natural 9 is used as a tension note between the root and the third as it is out of the key but still fits quite nicely. The second bar starts on a chromatic run down to the root, practise this as it is a great way to get out of the habit of jumping straight onto the root for beat 1! The last beat in this bar is a chromatic note leading to the root of the i chord. This lick is finished off with a simple R 3 5 3 arpeggio which helps to reinforce the harmony of the chord sequence after a bar of almost all chromatic notes.

As you can see from the example above, you may have to tweak these licks to take them through all 12 keys but the ideas are still the same - the A-7 arpeggio in the final example is ascending rather than descending.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Autumn Leaves Bass Transcription

Continuing the Miles Davis theme, here's a transcription of Sam Jones' bass line under Miles' solo on Autumn Leaves! This tune is full of ii V I's (4 majors and 5 minors per chorus!) which makes it a valuable tune to have some proficiency on. Next month I will be transcribing the full Miles solo that fits over this bass line to see how the two work together.

This is the first walking bass line I've transcribed and there where a couple of things in particular that I wanted to see how Jones approached; how he tackled two chords per bar, which crops up at the end of each chorus. And also his note choice on the C9. The C9 appears in bars 27-28 and 59-60. Both times this comes around Jones plays the same phrase, I would guess that this is to help the listener's ear become accustomed to where the end of each chorus is coming up. When I play over this section of the song I tend to get a very boxy and obvious bass line coming out as I play R - 5 or R - 3, something like that. Jones does start with R - 5 for the G-7, but then doesn't play another root until bar 31/62! The notes Jones chooses for the C9 are the 7th and 9th which help outline the harmony.

As you may expect what I got from this transcription was a whole lot more! There is so much even from the two choruses I have gone through that I won't be able to highlight every example but I'll go through some of my favourite moments.

The first thing that I noticed about this bass line is the use of very simple ideas, it most definitely makes me realize the art of not over playing, filling the role of a bass player and supporting the soloists. A great example of this comes in bar 24 over the Eb major.

I often feel that while I'm walking it's a crime to go back and play the note I've just played for fear of sounding boring, Jones proves this isn't the case again on bar 41 playing C octaves over a C-7. Again on the Am7b5, Jones plays R R b5 R, clearly outlining the overall harmony on that bar.

Continuing from Jones' simple ideas, I was also quite surprised at the amount of standard arpeggios I found. Pretty much every time the double bar of G-7 comes around he will play up and down the G- arpeggio, the same thing happens when the BbM7 EbM7 come around.

Another feature that really stood out to me was the shape of the line being played. You can clearly see from the example below without even needing to play the line how much it flows. This is pretty much a constant feature through the song, as well as through most jazz bass lines! This smoothness is definitely something to strive for when creating your own line.

The final point to make with this is his use of chromatic notes to lead you into the next bar. This is something that has been heavily covered in online lessons but when you play through this transcription you will see why! 
Two examples of this stood out to me in this transcription, the first in bar 46 where Jones plays a chromatic leading note on beat 3 and 4 instead of just 4. The second was in bar 54 where Jones plays an E natural over the F7, the third of the chord, but he uses this as a passing note to a Bb (5) on beat 1 of the next chord, EbM7. This example is below and also doubles up as a nice ii V I to learn.

For more on this specifically visit Scott Devine's website and look for his lessons on beginning walking lines.

Full transcription available here!

And here's the video :)