Jazzedge Community Forums PianoWithWillie General Music Discussion Putting in New Orleans Blues bass lines and riffs while comping and improvising

Putting in New Orleans Blues bass lines and riffs while comping and improvising

This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Stephan Gerber Stephan Gerber 2 years, 11 months ago.

  • Participant
    Stephan Gerber

    Good day Willie

    Hope you are well.
    I just wanted to ask you if you can help me with a question I’ve got about putting in
    New Orleans bass lines and blues riffs while comping and improvising over a jazz standard
    or jazz improv section please.

    I thought it would be cool to bring up this topic as I think there’s other musicians that would like to put in some blues riffs in a jazz song, because Blues and especially New Orleans Blues is very soulful and it would sound great in a jazz song.

    1.
    The problem that I find is that if I’m comping in the left hand and I suddenly change the rhythm to fit the Blues bassline it doesn’t sound if the riff or bassline belongs there almost like the song is coming to a stand still and then you pick it up again when you’re comping. I hope it makes sense.

    2.
    I don’t really know where to put in the riff or bassline. Like if I’m playing a 2-5-1 the I personally play the riff over the 5 chord of the 2-5-1. Depending on which riff I’m choosing there’s really no room for error if you choose to put in a Blues riff over the 5 chord in a 2-5-1. If you choose to use Blues riffs in a jazz song, where would you put in the riffs so that it sounds good with the music? Like would you change the song then for a moment to a 12 bar blues and then come back in with a 2-5-1 and how will you do it?

    Best regards
    Stephan

    Keymaster
    Willie

    Hey Stephan, that is a difficult question to answer on the forum via text because there are a lot of moving parts to this situation.

    I can not give you a “do this” kind of answer because there are too many variables. However, I can share this…

    It is best not to think of licks as “whole entities,” rather think of them as a collection of notes that can be broken apart.

    I mean this, if your blues lick is 4 beats in length, you can always use just 2 beats of the lick.

    Or, thinking of another way, if the lick is 8 notes long, there is nothing wrong with using only 4 of the notes.

    A lick works great when you are using it in its intended style, rhythm and length. Now that you’re expanding your playing, you are realizing that these licks do not always “fit” in other places. In order to get them to fit, you need to break them apart and use only sections of a lick rather than trying to “jam” that lick into every situation.

    Make sense?

    Participant
    Stephan Gerber

    Hey Willie

    It makes total sense what you’re saying.

    My question is:
    While I’m comping in a normal jazz swing style can I throw in a New Orleans bassline or any other Blues boogie bassline if I choose to put in these riffs in my playing? What I mean is basically that is there pianists out there that would put in a bassline totally unexpected while comping to give the left hand some form of rhythm to break up the comping to give a tune a different shape?

    Best regards
    Stephan

    Participant
    Stephan Gerber

    Hey Willie

    Just to add to the question:
    Do you know of any pianists that changes it up between comping and another left hand rhythm style so that I can have a look at how they do it?

    Best regards
    Stephan

    Keymaster
    Willie

    I would suggest checking out Brad Mehldau. He has incredible facility in his left hand.

    Keymaster
    Willie

    You CAN, but that doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. It is ultimately up to you, but I would be careful about changing styles too much in a song. If you do change styles, think in terms of sections. So play one style for 8 measures before changing to a new style.

    2 measures of say funk MIGHT sound good in a song. It is really up to your ears and what you want to hear.

    Participant
    Stephan Gerber

    Hey Willie

    It makes sense what you’re saying about sections and I guess you are talking about a standard 32 bar tune with 4 x 8 bar sections. In other words an AABA tune for instance.

    What I like to do is to use the A section as a verse and I consider the B section (bridige) as my chorus and I would extend the B section of 8 bars to 32 bars. My whole idea is to make the AABA form to a more modern form like a Pop/Rock song form like:

    Intro
    Verse 1 (A section)
    Chorus (B section over 32 bars)
    Verse 2 ( Repeat of the A section in a different style like Funk, Blues or Latin)
    Chorus (B section with Funk, Latin or Blues riffs/grooves in some places)
    Outro (A section)
    Ending

    The reason I ask all these questions is because you know every style inside out and from your experience do you think the way I want to compose a tune in this modern Pop/rock form will be appreciated by audiences as well as the style changes in certain areas?

    Thanks very much
    Stephan

    Keymaster
    Willie

    LOL, even though I know styles, I have no idea what will be appreciated by audiences 🙂

    My suggestion is…try it. Record it then play it for some people and get their reaction. Now, when you play something for friends, remember they will tell you it is great. Try putting it online like SoundCloud or YouTube and allow comments. You’ll get all kinds of comments. Don’t get discouraged, just weed through the comments that help and chuck the rest.

    Good luck!

    Participant
    Stephan Gerber

    Hey Willie

    Thanks very much.
    You just gave me the greatest idea ever.
    I never thought about it that way.

    Thanks so much

    Stephan

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