Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Play the Blues

  I'm not sure who, but someone said that you should always try to play the blues, no matter what kind of music you are playing.  I agree it does sound a bit weird, but we can derive an important meaning, or philosophy of improvising, from this statement.

    Many aspiring jazzers often neglect the blues.  They see it as rudimentary because of the simple structure of its 3 pillar chords: the I, IV, and V.  Because of its simple form, though, one doesn't have to think about the underlying chord structure so much in order to make meaningful music with the blues, that is, one can sound "expressive" or "soulful" easily.  It's structure also promotes good phrasing, which is why the blues is usually the first thing you learn to improvise over.

    All music is supposed to be expressive and soulful, right?  That's the point of art, to express your feelings.  Charlie Parker said "music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."

    Whatever you are playing, find a way to apply the feeling and soulfulness of the blues.  That might mean gaining a better understanding of the changes, training your ears, knowing the chord tones on your instrument.  Whatever it means for you, do it.  Music isn't about scales and chords, it's about your life experience, your feelings, it's about what can't be expressed with words.

    So shut up and play the blues.



1 comment:

Feel free to ask any questions you may have if you don't understand something, or challenge my ideas if you don't agree with something. I want to hear from you whether or not you liked it. I would love to debate topics and ideas with you, or just let me know what's up. Either way, I want to hear from you!