[Harp-L] Getting to the Point

B Boggs ceudoazul@xxxxx
Mon Jan 22 13:08:55 EST 2018

I have also been working on this for a long time and still feel like a

One day I counted all the jazz CDs I owned and came up with 35.

I own around 2000 blues CDs. I set out to own as much jazz as I could and
listen a lot. Whatever I thought jazz was is a very small segment of what I
think jazz is now.

Then I realized I had learned hundreds of blues solos note for note but no
jazz solos.

I started with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. i learned around 20 solos
from each.  The process slowed down when I decided to transcribe in scale
degrees and play each solo in all 12 keys.  It was so worth it.  I have
learned lots of solos by other players now.

I jam along with CDs but also with Band in a Box, which is good because you
can actually see  which chord is happening.  If you  can read music it has
a program where it creates a solo that a famous jazz player might play and
they have many different options of players.

Arpeggiating chords in as many voicings as possible helped.

Playing bass lines helped.  I am serious on bass harp, but the notes are
the same on a chromatic, just higher pitched.  The midi harmonica can sound
like a bass.  Band in a Box will also let you read the music of how they
think a bass player would play.

Playing chords helped.  I play mandolin, keyboards, harmonetta, chord harp
and have developed a chord tuning on the midi harmonica.  The chord harp
and mandolin forced me to come up with substitutions as they cannot play
lots of five notes chords.  I think the piano is the most helpful, because
you can see it and you can play piano with one hand and chromatic with the

Of course, jamming with other musicians is big.

I have a good understanding of basic music theory.  I understand lots about
jazz theory but still am amazed by the seemingly endless ways to approach
it.  I recommend the book The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine.

Michael Rubin

On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 9:30 AM The Iceman via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx>

> Jerl,
> I had a lot of fun years ago working on this very same problem by
> listening to Chet Baker solos - there are even transcribed Chet solo books
> out there if you need the visual.
> Chet had a natural ability to play pretty musical lines through the jazz
> changes. A good place to start.

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