NIgEL pRIcE, part 1

So what’s be­hind Nigel Price’s as­ton­ish­ing chord melody play­ing? Dario Cortese has been on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery and is ready to re­veal all.

Guitar Techniques - - NEWS -

This amaz­ing Bri­tish jazz gui­tarist as­tounds with his first video mas­ter­class on chord melody.

to in­ves­ti­gate the se­cret of his suc­cess we caught up with Nigel and asked him to shed some light on some of the grey ar­eas of jazz guitar; the think­ing be­hind it, so to speak. In this first in­stal­ment we will fo­cus on Nigel’s ap­proach on chord melody. With the aim of mak­ing things as sim­ple as pos­si­ble we kept ev­ery­thing in the key of c ma­jor and c mi­nor and left you, dear reader, the task of trans­pos­ing the con­cepts into other keys. to make the ma­te­rial as us­able as pos­si­ble, we con­cen­trated on the most widely-used chord pro­gres­sion: II-V-I-VI.

In the ex­am­ples you’ll also find the chords writ­ten out in two ways. The first way refers to what is ac­tu­ally been played and this is shown above the no­ta­tion. the sec­ond way is shown brack­eted be­tween the tab and the score and refers to the ba­sic chord pro­gres­sion on which the play­ing is built. the un­der­ly­ing story, if you like. this is done to stress how im­por­tant it is to in­ter­pret the har­mony in­stead of sim­ply read­ing it. For in­stance, you’ll find that the ba­sic chord is sup­posed to be Dm7 and Nigel plays a Dm11. or the sim­ple chord is G7 and Nigel plays a G7#5#9. the way to un­der­stand this is to re­alise that the ba­sic chords – the ones of­ten found in song­books such as the Real Books – usu­ally rep­re­sent the fam­ily of the chord and not the ac­tual chord be­ing played. Dm7 doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that we need to play a Dm7; it means that we can play any­thing in the fam­ily of Dm7: like a Dm9, or Dm11, etc.

So how do we learn chord melody? What are the var­i­ous steps? Nigel uses a very sim­ple sys­tem that pro­vides a clear path to master this play­ing style.

It starts by or­gan­is­ing the chords ac­cord­ing to their melody note. Have a look at Ex­am­ples 1 and 4 and you’ll see how Nigel is able to go through a chord pro­gres­sion, keep­ing when­ever pos­si­ble the same melody note. this is a tremen­dously use­ful skill to have and a very pi­ano-like way to play guitar. the next step would be to start mov­ing those chords in a sim­ple ascending or de­scend­ing melody like Nigel does in ex­am­ples 2 and 5.

How well we master these first two steps de­ter­mine how free we feel in cre­at­ing and im­pro­vis­ing chord melodies. Once we’ve built this solid foun­da­tion the next step would be to start us­ing these chords to cre­ate melodies. this can be done im­pro­vis­ing, like Nigel won­der­fully demon­strates in ex­am­ples 3 and 6, or even ar­rang­ing some fa­mous melodies.

I do hope you en­joy this se­ries as there’s so much great stuff here, whether you’re a jazz player or you sim­ply want to try new ideas. Join me next month when we’ll look at more great con­cepts from Nigel’s play­ing.

His style is char­ac­terised by a mas­tery of the blues side of the jazz tra­di­tion.

Nigel Price: one of the UK’s finest jazz im­pro­vis­ers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.