Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Notebook 3: Yusef Bergonzi

A couple of weeks ago I was flicking through my old practice notebook. I came across a couple of pages of notes on rhythm exercises from a time when Yusef Lateef's Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns found a regular slot in my practice time. Although there is quite a bit of rhythmic variety throughout the book, I took some of the lines and started applying them to rhythms from Jerry Bergonzi's Inside Improvisation Volume 4: Melodic Rhythms.

I have notated some examples below, although when I worked on this I did not write out anything - I just internalised the rhythms and applied them to the original lines. I worked on this with and without using a metronome. You may want to use a play-a-long recording.

It's a simple idea really - take a rhythm and apply it to melodic material. It can be a nice way to break up practicing everything in streams of 8th notes or triplets. The same melodic material can sound very different when it is changed rhythmically. Although the examples of the melodic & rhythmic material below come from books, feel free to create your own.

Here are a few examples:
Excerpt from Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns (page 3) - "Major Triads in Cycle of Down a Major Third and Up a Perfect Fourth"

Two of the "22 Rhythms" from Inside Improvisation Volume 4: Melodic Rhythms (page 16).
22 Rhythms
Combing the first line of melodic material with the first rhythm:

Jazz Improvisation Exercise
Combing the second line of melodic material with the second rhythm:
Jazz Improvisation Exercise
Once you feel comfortable playing the lines with two or three different rhythms, start alternating between the different rhythms.

The next example uses a hemiola rhythm from Jerry Bergonzi's Melodic Rhythms (page 67)
The hemiola applied to the Yusef Lateef excerpt.
Jazz Rhythm Exercise Hemiola
A little later on, I did the same with Volume 5 in the Bergonzi series: Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies.

I also combined melodic material with the rhythms of melodies. Here the line(s) above are combined with the melodic rhythm of Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce." I'm using the rhythm as it appears in the Charlie Parker Tune Book by Fred Parcells (which you can download for free on his website). "Relaxin' At Camarillo" would be a nice one too - use any melody which appeals to you rhythmically.
jazz rhythm exercise
Here, the Bergonzi intervallic lines are applied to melodic rhythm of "Billie's Bounce." Before jumping in make sure you have a solid grasp of the melodic rhythm - you may even start by playing it on one note (from memory, Steve Lacy mentions this in Findings).
billie's bounce intervallic melody
Start off slow and build into it. Once you feel comfortable applying predetermined notes to the rhythms, start improvising your note choices with the fixed rhythm(s). As you can image, the rhythmic variations on a line are endless.

I used the free music notation software Muse Score to create the examples above.
Previous posts from my notebook can be found here: Old Music - New Music & One Free Note.

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