Ep 1: My Romance | jazz guitar lesson
Brendan: Hello and welcome to jazzguitarlegend.com podcast, episode 1.
And today we’re here with the legendary Dixon Nacey and we’re going to be teaching you how to learn jazz guitar online with easy to follow video listens and tutorials. How are you, Dixon?
Dixon: I’m doing good. I’m doing good. How are you?
Brendan: Good, yeah, sounding smooth today, looking smoothly over the guitar. And, today we’re going to go through an amazing listen. First of all we’re going to talk a little bit about the website, jazzguitarlegend.com. Also, our featured listen today is “My Romance” which is an amazing show tune from the 1930’s. And for the quick tip this week, we will be telling you how you can get hold of the tab and notation for “My Romance”.
How does that sounds, Dixon? Does that sound good?
Dixon: That sounds round about… yes, approximately that’s what we’re going to be doing. So yeah. Well, I guess what we’ll do is we’ll play, I’m going to just play rubato through the tune. It’s one of my favorites standards “My Romance” – Rodgers and Hart tune, wonderful old standard, which isn’t many jazz players (…) to us. So I’ll be playing that rubato, and then I’ll go through some comping ideas so that you can create your own back-in and also, from that comp we’ll try and create for you to use in a practical sense. A beck-in track that you can use and actually work on the melody of the tune and improvise over, and then finally I’ll be looking at a concept, and the concept today for improvising will be melodic embellishment So basically we’ll just take the melody of the tune and show you how to kind of create a little bit more of rhythmic and harmonic freedom, but based around the melody, yeah.
Brendan: A lot of people out there are wondering why set up a website called jazzguitarlegend.com? Obviously you have a Youtube presence with your username of dragondix, which is a story on itself actually. Why don’t you tell us?
Dixon: It’s not really. It was just a gig moment. Back when I used to game, back in my teens. And when the internet came around, that was my space invader name, dragondix.
Brendan: Awesome. You should’ve maybe called it dragonlord.
Dixon: Yeah, I realize it has strange connotations.
Brendan: But, anyway, if you’re listening from Youtube, I think so much, because obviously the Youtube channel is been such a success that we just looked at that and decided how can we serve and help more people. So, I mean, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the motive and the reason behind launching jazzguitarlegend.com?
Dixon: I forgot about the Youtube stuff, the original idea behind that was just someone asked me about some stuff and I thought “Man, I’m going to put this up here, you know? And more and more people asked me more and more questions about things that I was doing or things that they liked and they wanted me to work on for them, either songs or improvising concepts, and I thought, you know, let’s take this questions and try to answer them, but answer them in a good strong solid format, so really for me it was about being able to teach, because people are like “Oh man, that’s a good video, but we used to (…) for that.” And it was too much to do that and I thought if we’ve come up with a format that works as a teaching platform, but also allows me to do what I love to and I passionately love teaching about music and teaching people about how to be creative. So that was the idea behind it and I think this has become a really good form for that, a really good platform for that, and also a good form for community when people come and say “Ok. How do I do this?” and then hopefully I can answer it in a way that other people can use as well, not just that person.
Brendan: Totally. Well, I guess for me one of the main things we want to do is to really help people develop with the art of jazz guitar. And for me personally, I think it’s going to be an amazing platform and I guess I’m going on for the ride with Dixon, trying to help draw out these 18… how many years have you been playing guitar?
Dixon: Well I’ve been teaching for about 18 years, but I’ve been playing for about 23, something like that.
Brendan: 18 years? Well, I kind of see my role in this whole thing for those of you who don’t know, my name is Brendan, in case you’re wondering “who’s this guy?”. And I’ve been, I guess, part of the creative part, says a creative director in (…) profit for many years, and part of my passion is obviously helping people develop their gifting and their passions, so I guess my role here is to try and draw out 18 years off incredible experience in playing with Dixon here and to bring this whole thing together into a website. Is there anything else that you want to talk about with the website?
Dixon: No, I guess I just want to talk a little about where we’re going to be going hopefully and that is that it’s starting some more right now and if you’re in 2012, you know, we got a launch soon with some good content, but I’ll tell you what, we’ve got some great plans for the future. We want to involve other musicians from other local community, like the New Zealand community. We want to interview great guitarists from around the world, and we’ve got some guides lined up for that, so hopefully if this site grows and as this site grows we can do that, we can create a even more comprehensive platform, even more comprehensive learning system for people to enjoy and to learn from it and to get some benefit from. So, yeah, that’s the plan.
Brendan: Awesome. Alright, right now we are going to go into our featured listen.
Dixon: What I’m going to do is (…) rubato play the melody and (…) to the chords and some base lines and stuff like that, but essentially it’s kind of like playing a ballad, so I hope you enjoy it. Here we go. My Romance.
Ok, so that was “My Romance” played rubato. I took some liberties with the melody because today our concept that we’re going to be discussing when we’re talking about improvising is playing with the melody and embellishing the melody that’s harmonically and rhythmically and obviously melodically. That’s what we’re going to be doing and right now I’m going to create for you a back-in track that you can play along to if you want to work out, hopefully you’ve got a lead, here in this tune and you can, then, play the melody as written over these chords that I’m going to play for you, and also I guess the second idea behind why we’re doing in back-in tracks is because you’ve got to be playing with music, you know, I think you’ve got to be doing that all the time and if you perhaps don’t have people around you that can play the music, or you can’t get a hold of people or it’s late at night, you want to practice, this is one the best ideas that I find for practicing, so you can also create your own back-in tracks to improvise and embellish the melody or work on this particular concept that we’re covering now. So what I’m going to do, is I’m going to take a specific stall, specific comping stall, so rhythmically you’re only going to play chord or notes, (…) with your thumb; I’m just using this side of my thumb to create a nice really propulsive kind of like, just nice straight rhythmic sound. And because I think from a comping perspective I think it’s important to just create that harmony and the rhythm of a piece of music, without trying to get too fancy, especially if you want to do improvising over a back-in track, so that’s my first tip. So what I’m going to do is I’ve got with my little friend here, Ms. Chord I’ve got him on 60 beats per minute but that is clicking on the 2 (…) to count. If you count 1 2 3 4.
And now that clicking that you hear that my little friend Mr. Chord here is going to emulate that clicking sound by clicking on the tune form at 60 beats per minute. So we’re actually playing 120 beats per minute, chord and not pulses, and I just want you to play, I’m going to play very simple rhythm and very simple chords. I’m not going for anything fancy, like I said. It’s a beck-in track so we’re going to lay it down really solid for our soloist, which is actually going to be you.
Okay, so there we hear a fairly simple taken on the chords, I was mainly playing guide terms, which is the 3 and 7 of the chord.
1, 7, 3, That’s a kind of common chord voice to play, or, and that’s maybe roof 4 or roof 5. Might me something like: which is 1 3 7.
Mainly I wasn’t too worried about extensions. I put a few little fancy things in there and rhythmically I really tried not to vary from that chord note comp, so just to hold it down. So, you can now use that beck-in track as your basis, on which to improvise, and try and work out the melody and embellish the melody so we’re going to now look at ways that you can do that. Okay, so now we’re going to play the melody. I’m going to play the melody exactly as it is written in, you know, as you will commonly find in a real book. Here we go.
Ok, now I’m going to play the melody with some embellishments and the melody that I’d just played you, you’d find in any real book, pretty much written as is I’ve had a very difficult to play it exactly as the real book specifies, because it feels so stiff, but you get a really great sense of what, Rodgers and Hart were trying to write about, just a very simple melody that had these [sounds].
What does that mean? Especially when it’s put to get lyrics; So it’s important to understand that first. Now I’m going to get a few of these. I’m going to try some different rhythmic ideas and explore some scalar things, some motifs, some… just basically trying to keep it organic, but with a sense of the melody, so this is kind of what this listen is all about; keeping a sense of the melody, never losing the tune and the chords in your (…). That’s the most important thing, to be able to feel and hear those. OK? Let’s try this.
Brendan: Well, thank you so much for that, Dixon. I’m absolutely sure that everybody in the jazzguitarlegend.com community, we really appreciate that free listen that you’ve given today. So thank you so much for that. Remember we’re going to give you this week quick tip which was how you can get a copy of the tab and notation for “My Romance”. Well, it’s very simple, if you haven’t done so already go along to jazzguitarlegend.com and sign up and click on the free member section, free lessons and you’ll see right there you can download a copy of the tab and notation, complete tab and notation for My Romance. Also, as a bonus for our free members, we’re going to upload the jam-along track for this podcast and you can jam along and practice in the comfort of your own home, so that’s fantastic. Remember, if you like this podcast and you want us to keep posting, we’d love to get your feedback please, give us a review on iTunes. You can do that by clicking the review button above the post. Also, if you have any comments or questions or feedback, please email us at email@example.com. That’s all we have time for this week and we’ll see you next time.