George Garzone's Random Chromatic Approach

George Garzone
 Jody Jazz released a two DVD package on George Garzone's Triadic Chromatic Approach a while back, which I did an extensive review of on this blog. The DVDs covered two main concepts, the Triadic Chromatic Approach and the Random Chromatic Approach. The first, the TCA, is a way to created 12-tone lines on the fly. I wrote a few TCA etudes to illustrate this concept, see links below:
Etude 1
Etude 2
Etude 3

The other main concept is the the Random Chromatic Approach, something I did not write much about and I think it is worth considering. The RCA can be thought of as a Post-Bop chromatic approach (as opposed to a Bebop chromatic approach). The Bebop chromatic approach, or 'enclosure' as some educators like to call it, is a way to link ideas together, add interesting directional elements and to give more forward motion to a line. Below are a few examples of Bebop approaches from Steve Neff's Approach Note Velocity book:

Bebop lines just would not sound like Bebop without this essential element and every student of Bop would do well to spend plenty of time working this. First start out with the simplest approaches and work on approaching any given chord tone with every type of approach. One could even argue that armed with only a knowledge of chords and Bop approaches a player could create a compelling Bebop solo without ever learning chord/scales.

Garzone has an interesting take on the chromatic approach, and it is quite an easy, especially compared to the difficulty of his Triadic Chromatic Approach. Below are a few pages from Garzone's ebook that comes with the TCA DVD.

(click the above graphics for a larger version)
If you follow Garzone's guidelines you will end up with very modern sounding chromatic lines that have a lot of forward motion. These random chromatic lines serve to same purpose that traditional Bebop chromatic approaches: they give lines interesting direction, they link ideas together and they add forward motion to the line.

In the TCA DVD Garzone has several play-along tracks where he trades fours, giving the student a chance to respond to his phrases. A former student of mine in Japan transcribed George's fours from the DVD and it is quite interesting to see exactly how he constructs his chromatic lines. George doesn't strictly follows his own rules (also the case when it comes to his TCA), so do not be surprised if you do not see the concepts from the PDFs above strictly applied.

I highly recommend both of the Garzone/Jody Jazz DVDs to any student looking to add more modern concepts to their playing. Also worth noting is the fact that Jody has drastically cut the price of the TCA DVD since it was first released.

1 comment:

tjjazzpiano said...

Definitely worth checking out! Someone told me once (possibly Matt Otto) that George would have his students improvise on the blues while thinking of all the changes one half-step higher. I've tried it and the phenomenon of when the "out" starts to feel "in" is really refreshing.