Re: Practicing Jazz

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Posted by Joe Sellmansberger on April 11, 1999 at 14:43:14:

In Reply to: Practicing Jazz posted by Brian on April 11, 1999 at 02:20:16:

There is an entire series of jazz performance studies at all levels and ( later in the series) covering various famous jazz artists' styles, put out by Jamie Aebersold. The first few things in the series would probably be the most helpful to you at this point. These are play-along-with-rhythm-section things basically, with the melodies and chord changes provided for you to develop your ability in the privacy of your home.

I would encourage you to shift your "model" or "ideal" to someone more like Rich Matteson, who was truly a jazz player, truly a virtuoso, and a complete musician who also had the ability to stand with ease in front of a band or orchestra and perform a (not jazz) concerto in the same virtuoso manner on euphonium OR tuba -- his own horn, or one that was loaned to him that afternoon! I believe that you would enjoy and be inspired and enlighted by Rich Matteson's recordings, especially the later ones, where he performed with musicians closer to his level of ablity. Try to locate a recording of Rich doing his arrangement of "Doxy", with him soloing on tuba and being backed up by a big band. Rich never imitated improvisation by reading written-out solos. His ablities to improvise were world-class, compared to any jazz artist on any instrument. Unfortunately for us who enjoy vituoso jazz tuba playing, later in his life he chose to perform almost everything on euphonium and (perhaps?) considered his tuba playing to be more of a novelty (a monstrously-fine jazz and "legit" TUBA player he was, too). You can hear some of his very slick tuba (helicon) playing on some of the original Dukes of Dixieland recordings dating back to the early 1960's. One memorable one in particular is a session that the Dukes teamed up with Louis Armstrong and produced an album with Rich playing the helicon on everything.

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