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Question for Herbie fans


Ybyb

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Hi fellow jazz freeks, I'm planning to record a master class on Herbie soon, do you guys have any suggestions as to what to focus the class on? Is there anything about HH's playing that particularly intrigues you? I'm not as familiar with his body of work as most of the other celebs..

 

Happy 014, keep swingin!

 

Dave Frank

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HH often changes keys or chord progressions when he solos. Is there a particular way to decide on the solo progressions or key? Does HH have a method by which he decides? For instance, in his "Imagination" album the song "when Love comes to Town" is in Em. HH solos from Em to C - back and forth. What are some tips to use this device in any song?

 

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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I like how Herbie can make some simple chord changes sound amazing. For example the middle part of Chameleon (the Rhodes solo) just has two chords really, yet the way solos around those chords (with reharmonisations) just makes the tune come alive. It still amazes me that tune.

 

 

 

 

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orangefunk.. Don't forget the amazing beyond belief bass player Paul Jackson, and not too shabby drummer Mike Clarke or stellar recording ace Harvey Mason. When a rhythm section is empathically boiling underneath you, well as we used to say back home forget about it.

 

And HH's playing with Ron Carter was so magical... I think DAve THAT relationship ought to be examined purely from a harmonic substitution POV.

Carter And Herbie played together so much and had permission to expand all they wanted to, and did they! I say, the combo of those two is unique in terms of harmonic substitution, on the spot, substitutions.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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can you give me an example or 2 of this combination on CD?

Not off the top... but give me some time and an email. Question, what is the limit of megabytes that can be emailed via gmail?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Two very fine cuts with Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock:

 

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Stella+By+Starlight/56eAX2?src=5

 

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Dolphin+Dance/47Sfsj?src=5

 

Awesome sense of rhytm, harmony, timing like nobody else.

His imagination...the guy could blow a hundred choruses and constantly come up with new things...

Sometimes it feels like his phrasing starts in the middle of nowhere and ends in the middle of nowhere...marvelous

 

My man!

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

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Dave, I've seen Herbie perform pretty regularly, typically twice a year and to this day he still plays in the style in this video. To me he's just going outside but I know it's more thought out than that. So perhaps you can figure out what it is he's doing harmonically.

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zW6-IM5fZA

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Jazz wee Reductionistic over simplicity Sorry mate. No disrespect I feel the need for others sake to challenge reducing Herbie to harmony. It just doesn't ring true. No disrespect. Just wish to leave the mystery intact

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Jazz wee Reductionistic over simplicity Sorry mate. No disrespect I feel the need for others sake to challenge reducing Herbie to harmony. It just doesn't ring true. No disrespect. Just wish to leave the mystery intact

 

Translate... :idk

 

Mystery? Who cares about mystery? I'm a jazz guy. I want to COPY.

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Life is a mystery, as is music.. essence of music, is melodic aspect, lines, melodies, licks, riffs, themes. No one can teach you how to write a melody, not an outstanding one.. it is a mystery. Same idea with "getting up at bat" for a solo, you can strike out, be safe and boring, hit a homer, etc. It is a miracle, a mystery every time you play an outstanding solo. Make sense at all?

This is music, not a logical music by numbers course right?

Math helps, systems can help, but never a guarantee, because best music is a Gift, and a gift is definitely a mystery. Is that any clearer?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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And what is the connection to the point about COPYING? The whole tradition of Jazz is to learn what others have done before. The whole idea to Dave Frank's Masterclasses is to reveal these mysteries.

 

BUT if you think this translates into my playing LIKE Herbie you're mistaken. We all pick little bits and pieces from others but I don't do licks and I don't practice them. There's not a chance in hell of me memorizing how Chick, Herbie or Keith plays and regurgitating them. I couldn't do it if I tried.

 

I fail to "feel" this "Mystery" as you call it. If one practices and builds a "library" of ideas, one is more fluent in conversation.

 

I applaud Dave Frank for unravelling some of these "mysteries". Is Keith Jarrett's playing a mystery? Not to me. He's playing with incredible technique and time with a style that shows his bebop roots. He applies harmonic subs that make sense. And he is a master at his craft. But I will transcribe him to see if I can learn a trick or two.

 

Herbie's approach is a little different than most and I am really interested in seeing what he's up to. If Dave doesn't reveal his harmonic approaches, I'm sure that I'll have to dig in and transcribe him as well.

 

I'm not certain what your learning approach is Tee, but I don't think approaching Jazz as a mystery will ever teach me anything practical. So far, most of it is hard work and hard learning with the occasional spark of ideas IMHO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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This reminds me of our old poster Dave Horne talking about the repetitiveness and recognizability of Oscar Peterson's licks...certainly erased any chance of a mystery there...

 

Mystery of a Melody: Tension ---- Release.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I would agree that anything off of the Miles Smiles recording would be wonderful to analyze. If I remember correctly, this is the LP in which Herbie acts at time like another single note instrument and chooses not to comp on his solos.
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Herbie's notes have been free to slow down and copy Mr Jazzwee. Why do you need help, if it is as simple ( simplistic ) as you describe it. Maybe you are one of those legions of players who believe there are legions of great players out there.. I don't quite think this way.. there are legions of well trained copiers, yes. But a player like Herbie is a once in decades type of player. Train all day long, copy all day long, and again, like a great ball player at bat, some times you hit and other times you do not. It is a mystery level of playing.

 

To reduce a melody like Butterfly, or Dolphin Dance, to tension and release, I am sorry, is grossly oversimplifying the great talent, and Gift, to make such a melody.

Wagner said of his amazing Tristan, it just came to him ( ahem a Gift ) on an intuitive level... but as my teacher said.. Wagner had to have the training, the craftmanship, to turn that gift of hearing this amazing music in his head, into music. There is a vital place for training, as Dave is offering, but that training does not guarantee an excellent solo, nor melody.

 

As far as solos being reduced to "harmonic thinking", remember all the legions of players in the world have the SAME harmony in front of them that they have analyzed to death... but how often is a great solo produced over those changes eg of Dolphin D??

Or an even better example The Simple BB KIng type Blues. Same old chords, how often do you play a memorable solo on the Blues. Keep it simple, so you can see more clearly this point.

None of these words are against what Dave is so graciously offering btw. But a great solo IS a Gift, because it involves a higher level of awareness ( as distinct from mere common thinking ) .. an awareness that, to paraphrase Dizzy Gillespie.. 'the music invites you in'. The best music has less ego in it.

Peace

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Herbie's notes have been free to slow down and copy Mr Jazzwee. Why do you need help, if it is as simple ( simplistic ) as you describe it. Maybe you are one of those legions of players who believe there are legions of great players out there.. I don't quite think this way.. there are legions of well trained copiers, yes. But a player like Herbie is a once in decades type of player. Train all day long, copy all day long, and again, like a great ball player at bat, some times you hit and other times you do not. It is a mystery level of playing.

 

To reduce a melody like Butterfly, or Dolphin Dance, to tension and release, I am sorry, is grossly oversimplifying the great talent, and Gift, to make such a melody.

Wagner said of his amazing Tristan, it just came to him ( ahem a Gift ) on an intuitive level... but as my teacher said.. Wagner had to have the training, the craftmanship, to turn that gift of hearing this amazing music in his head, into music. There is a vital place for training, as Dave is offering, but that training does not guarantee an excellent solo, nor melody.

 

As far as solos being reduced to "harmonic thinking", remember all the legions of players in the world have the SAME harmony in front of them that they have analyzed to death... but how often is a great solo produced over those changes eg of Dolphin D??

Or an even better example The Simple BB KIng type Blues. Same old chords, how often do you play a memorable solo on the Blues. Keep it simple, so you can see more clearly this point.

None of these words are against what Dave is so graciously offering btw. But a great solo IS a Gift, because it involves a higher level of awareness ( as distinct from mere common thinking ) .. an awareness that, to paraphrase Dizzy Gillespie.. 'the music invites you in'. The best music has less ego in it.

Peace

 

 

Not sure why you're focused on me Tee. Why don't you address your comments to Dave Frank, since he's the one who's asking for some area of Herbie to unravel?

 

I'm a huge Herbie fan so you don't have to convince me about how outstanding he is. He is why I started playing Jazz.

 

If someone of Dave's level is offering to analyze Herbie's playing, I'm sure as heck not going to refuse it. His prior Masterclasses are OUTSTANDING.

 

Learning about the Harmonic constructs of what he's doing is important and it gives some sort of basis to guide a player to how he does these subs. Although his playing is unique, amazing, and original, attributing the word mystery gives it a metaphysical realm though that I just can't buy.

 

Obviously a deep analysis of tunes reveals that note choices in a solo of the top tier players are well thought out within the framework of the intended harmony. If you don't acknowledge this, then I have no idea how you decide what to play. Instinct? Random? Everything is a Blues scale? Then why are these top players consistently following this rule? (revealed by Transcription).

 

What's unique about Herbie is that his harmonic sense is atypical (not even counting his rhythmic approaches). So his solos reflect that.

 

 

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Virtually anything from Herbie's time with Miles would make for a fine example, but a couple standouts off the top of my head are "Orbits" and "Footprints" off Miles Smiles. Stellar interaction between Herbie, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams.

 

For those who haven't seen Dave's Masterclasses, they are really focused only on the Piano side in the past. He doesn't really approach "interactions" between players which is a whole different issue.

 

I can't recall the title right now, but I do have a book that deals with the band interactions of the "Second Miles Quintet".

 

Analysis of Orbits and Footprints from this era though would be amazing.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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The Analyze is the Analyze (for the most part.) Where I can possibly learn something is when someone else, like Mr. DF shares a peek into his mind and how he thinks the soloist was thinking

 

If you believe everyone learns differently, I do, then sometimes it takes the forth person teaching me the same thing, in their way, to really start to incorporate it in my playing. - Peace

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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Jazzwee I will not waste time arguing the essentially philosophical point I am failing to make with you about magical, mystery. Let's agree to amiably disagree, and move on to what so much interests you.... harmonic thinking!

Little by little the possibility that a large collection of pitches that I previously did not associate with a given chord, COULD in fact be so associated.

Just for fun sake: E A Bb C Db How many different harmonic overlays can you place over those tones? Or how many bass notes can you see under those tones?

This question, for me, relates to the magical mind of Mr Hancock or merely the harmonic flexibility of his mind.. with help from bassist extraordinaire Ron Carter and Buster Williams, to name the two I associate with HH. This kind of mental dexterity if my hunch is correct, would afford a tremendous sense of freedom.

Maybe even less notes.. how about C D and F# How many bass notes can you envision under those 3 notes? It is a rhetorical question, left for us to spend the rest of our lives playing with the possibilities.

 

A? absolutely, Bb ditto, B definitely, skip C, C# or Db hmm a challenge because three consecutive chromatic steps. worth searching for a voicing though. Skip D, Eb absolutely, E ditto , F yes, skip F#, G yes, Ab yes,

So out of the 12 tones ( we skipped the three starting tones C D F# of course ) left us 9 tones, and only one was a challenge.

 

I believe based on instinct, that this approach to harmony ( I am just a musician not a teacher like Dave -) ) is a key to the broad world that genius Herbie Hancock inhabits. and it is a magical world.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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The analysis that you make Tee, from a single point in time as not that revealing. Obvious to me at least that almost all the 12 tones are available based on that premise.

 

But true analysis relating to strong beats, passing tones, encirclement, approach notes, diminished cycle subs, etc. etc. reveals at least some consistent thought processes with most players.

 

I for one don't attribute some random thought process to the choice of notes. Maybe it's my day job that incites me to think this way, but I look for patterns and structures in everything and when I listen to these top players, I hear it. And Herbie's patterns aren't just from him.

 

There's clearly genius in the initial creativity of coming up with this ideas, but since they're trapped now in audio history, we can now go back and try to duplicate it.

 

It is this process of analysis that teaches us something new. Otherwise we are left to constant self-discovery and that is not really the jazz tradition. Haven't you read the history about how Monk, Gillespie, Bud Powell, etc. would hang out after the gigs and start jamming at dawn and exchange ideas?

 

In a similar way, my teachers have imparted information to me from their own experience hanging out with the original Jazz masters -- now getting fewer and fewer every day.

 

Now it would be better if the Herbie himself or any of the still living originals, reveal their own thought processes and that would be more in keeping with tradition but we don't have that luxury.

 

Any attempt to capture a thought process through a third party (like DF) is an abstraction of course, but beggars can't be choosers.

 

BTW - I watched Herbie with Wayne Shorter do an entire gig at Disney Hall just with armed with a handful of melodic fragments that Wayne came up with the night before. The melodic fragments were simple and short. But Herbie and Wayne overlayed that melodic fragment over an assorted variety of "free" chord progressions and free time. Since there's no recording of this available to us, I couldn't even begin to imagine what kind of ideas were flowing. The only thing clear to me at the time was it was "interaction based". They were responding to each other. Magical? Again, I hate to be metaphysical. But clearly their ability to hear is outside the realm of most of us. So maybe this is the closest we'll get to agreeing on that.

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I recommend the solo on "Orbits" (time no changes)

 

When I analyzed Herbie's solo on "Orbits", and not by traditional analysis, I finally understood and realized nearly everything he was doing. I clearly bracketed and labeled every phrase using Sibelius and now use it to teach my students. Sort of like Dave Frank's analysis of Chick's solo in his Master Class video where he does an excellent job of explaining nearly everything Chick is doing. He uses a half a dozen devices over and over very well.

 

As a prerequisite to help you understand how Hancock thinks, read Mark Levine's illuminating chapter titled "Masters Of The Sequence".

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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" A great jazz solo consists of 1% magic

 

99% stuff that is:

Explainable

Analyzable

Categorizeable

Doable

 

This book is mostly about the 99% stuff.

 

There is no one single, all inclusive "jazz theory." In fact, that's why the subject is called jazz theory rather than jazz truth. The only truth is in the music itself. "Theory" is the little intellectual dance we do around the music, attempting to come up with rules so we can understand why Charlie Parker and John Coltrane sounded the way they did. There are almost as many "jazz theories" as there are jazz musicians.

Having said this, it's OK to come back to reality and state that there is a common thread of development in jazz theory, a thread that has evolved logically from the earliest days of jazz through Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, to Mulgrew Miller and beyond. All these musicians could have played with each other and understood one another, even though their terminology may have differed. Louis Armstrong recorded with Duke Ellington,^ Duke Ellington recorded with John Coltrane^ and all three sounded as though they enjoyed the encounters.

 

Charlie Parker once said "learn the changes and then forget them." As you study jazz theory, be aware of what your ultimate goal is in terms of what he said: to get beyond theory.

 

When you're listening to a great solo, the player is not thinking "II-V-I," "blues lick," "A A B A," "altered scale," and so forth. He or she has done that already, many years ago. Experienced musicians have internalized this information to the point that they no longer have to think about it very much, if at all. The great players have also learned what the chords and the scales look and feel like on their instrument. Be aware of what your eyes see and what your hands feel when you play. Do this just as much as you focus your mind on the mental stuff, and you'll get beyond theory-where you just flow with the music. Aim for that state of grace, when you no longer have to think about theory, and you'll find it much easier to tap into the magical 1%.

 

In order to reach this point of mastery, you'll have to think about-and practice-theory a great deal. That's the 99% part. "

 

Mark Levine

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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Did you expect Tee or anyone for that matter to verbalize the secrets of Mr Hancock? I feel what I said about aiming for 12 bass notes over more and more structures is very related to those "secrets" :wave:

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Jazzwee I just listened to your offering of Herbie trio with Chambers and Washington. As I am listening, it is clear to me it is not just magic, you are right ( I think magic, is partly your once or twice in a lifetime to die for rhythm section, plus other elements too ) but it is not just harmony as I keep saying ad nauseum. it is intervallic logic, it is melodic and rhythmic.. harmony is only one aspect. Intervals are a biggie in my opinion.

Thanks for listening and for the trio cut.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Tee, I agree with your observation completely.

 

One of the reasons I pointed out the Autumn Leaves example is that we can analyze it simply over a constant ii-V-I progression (minor and major). Keeps all other things constant.

 

Herbie is known for all the things you mention. Having watched many of Dave Frank's videos, I was just looking for the pieces I personally didn't understand and a subset that he can focus on. Like most of the respondents here, the substitutions he makes are what interests people most.

 

There are parts to what he does that are apparent to most. Herbie will take a pattern and move it up and down the keyboard for example. Well that should be fairly self explanatory. If he simply goes up a half step to go outside, or use a Tritone sub something like that, that's pretty obvious as well. But I don't believe that's what he does here and when I've watched him recently.

 

If you listened to him on Autumn Leaves, he's doing some subs on the entire progression, not just the V chords. I just haven't transcribed this due to lack of time but I do want to.

 

In the recent concerts that I watched, he's playing with even more tension than this. He has gone more hardcore in a way. So he used the elements that I heard here but more often.

 

I agree with Jazz+ that he uses particular devices because I hear them all the time. I just never figured it out. I know the word 'device' is not magical but seems contrived but it is what it is. Combined with his particular rhythmic sense, it just hits me just right.

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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