Shop Jazz Duets
"Nicely done! Fun, easy to play for kids, swinging, a winner. I look forward to more."
- John Chudoba, currently in demand lead trumpet in NYC, member of Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, former lead with MF, Woody Herman.
From the Introduction...
The primary focus in the practice of these duets is rhythm. Though there is plenty of melodic content, the emphasis is on becoming familiar with basic swing figures, rhythms, and patterns. I wrote most of the duets in a comfortable range so the player can focus on playing good time and swinging. However, they should also provide a fun “workout” for more seasoned players who just want to read through the tunes.
Most of the duets here are contrafacts, written over the chord progressions of jazz standards and harmonic structures that are common in jazz music. I did this hoping the player may hear and recognize chord progressions that are used regularly in jazz. There are many tried and true “licks’’ throughout the collection. This is intentional, again, that the player may learn to recognize these phrases on sight. Listening to great jazz where you will hear these figures played by the masters is a must. My sincere gratitude goes to all the legendary jazz masters who originally played these ideas. You are my heroes.
My mentor, the late trumpeter Ollie Mitchell, used to say sight reading a chart is “just like reading a book, man.” I could not relate to that when I was a young student. But once you recognize rhythmic figures and phrases on sight, it is like reading a book. In the same way a fluid reader of words recognizes sentences instead of going through the arduous process of sounding out syllables like you did as a kid. The process is similar. You may have to “sound out some rhythms” at first, but with practice you will learn to recognize them on sight.
I have included chord symbols in each duet as a reference or in case you want to do some soloing. The tempos are “suggested” and not written in stone. The duets should work at almost any tempo, but probably feel best at the suggested tempo. Play them slower if you need to, while keeping in mind that:
“Speed will come unbidden after accuracy” - Ollie Mitchell.
“It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” - Duke Ellington