Sometimes a change in perspective is all you need…
Jazz improvisation is a demanding pursuit, one that combines intellect, feeling and expression.
It’s easy to grasp the music theory side of things, but it’s much more difficult to grok the more dubious concepts…things like strong phrasing, connecting ideas, having a unique musical perspective, or the concept of “telling a story.”
The thing that nobody ever thinks about is that you’re not limited to the confines of jazz or music to draw inspiration from to help clarify these more esoteric concepts.
In fact, there’s inspiration all around you, from the books you read to the people you meet and the places you go.
But one of the most obvious and most effective places to draw inspiration from you’re already highly familiar with: the craft of writing.
Drawing inspiration from writing
Jazz is a language, but because it’s a musical language it’s difficult to define exactly what that means.
By turning to an actual spoken language and understanding the precise use of syntax and strategies skilled writers use to shape this language, you can gain a whole new perspective on how to think about improvising a solo.
This idea comes from one of the greatest tenor saxophonists to ever live: Joe Henderson.
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“I try to create ideas in a musical way the same as writers try to create images with words. I use the mechanics of writing in playing solos. I use quotations. I use commas, semicolons. Pepper Adams turned