Jazz "play along"

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BflatBass
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Jazz "play along"

Post by BflatBass » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:57 am

Can anyone recommend a play along jazz instructive system for trombone? Something like "Music Minus One". I did an online search on MMO but didn't come up with anything useful. I'd like to practice my improvising with sheet music and a rhythm section accompaniment. I'd prefer the accompaniment to be something that I can download digitally rather than a CD. It would just be more practical for me.
Back when I was in college, I had something like this but the rhythm section was on a vinyl record. I think I still have that system somewhere but I don't have a turntable to play it on anymore.

Thanks for any help,
Robert
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boomski
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by boomski » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:27 am

I use iReal Pro on my iPad along with RealBooks. iReal Pro is great- you can set the tempo, key, instrumentation, and it has plenty of songs to download the charts for. I also use a bluetooth speaker since the iPad isn't really loud enough...
StefanHaller
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by StefanHaller » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:08 am

I second the recommendation for iReal Pro, I use it a lot, and it's very nice. Of course it's not the same as playing along with real musicians, but the advantages outweigh this (being able to set the tempo and key, or change some chords), and the musical quality isn't bad at all.

Apart from that, I use Aebersold playalongs a lot too. The entire series is on Apple Music (or was, last time I checked), that's some 130 albums that should keep you busy for a while. They are not on Spotify unfortunately, which is a pity.
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tbathras
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by tbathras » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:15 am

There are also the Jazz conception books with CD by Jim Snidero. It’s a CD, but it’s a real live rhythm section. It might not be quite what you’re looking for, but worth a mention.
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Neo Bri
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:24 am

Jamey Aebersold - Though not truly interactive, they are good musicians. Volume 54 is a good place to start.
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Matt K
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:28 am

StefanHaller wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:08 am
I second the recommendation for iReal Pro, I use it a lot, and it's very nice. Of course it's not the same as playing along with real musicians, but the advantages outweigh this (being able to set the tempo and key, or change some chords), and the musical quality isn't bad at all.

Apart from that, I use Aebersold playalongs a lot too. The entire series is on Apple Music (or was, last time I checked), that's some 130 albums that should keep you busy for a while. They are not on Spotify unfortunately, which is a pity.
I can understand not being on Spotify. You' d never get compensated for the time it took to put them there!

I agree with iReal pro. I use it nearly daily. If you want something with a little more control over the accompaniment, Band in a Box is also good but a heck of a lot more expensive. iRealPro has a forum where you can download a boatload of standards and put them there. It's well more than sufficient for me.
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PhilipEdCarlson
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:43 pm

Neobri, you've got Abersol on your phone. How'd you get it there?

I've got some on my phone. I took them from CD -> external drive via laptop -> mSD card via laptop -> phone. So many steps and time! Yours had nice graphics and looked to me like it was streaming rather than stored on your phone. Also my phone version of at least one of the tunes is shorter than yours...

BTW, I've got a for of the books with their CDs but recently got #1,3,24&54 on vinyl. For some reason that's the method I use most. I guess one reason is I don't want to go through the effort to get the CD through the laptop to the external drive and back onto the card and phone.
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Neo Bri
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:02 pm

The biggest problem with Band-in-Box is the archaic nature of the program itself, which hasn't been updated much since Windows 3.1, sadly. It's not just asthetic; the functional and organizational limitations are BAD.

I have the Aebersold tracks on my phone because I copied the files on there. I am not the streaming type.

I can explain in more detail next time!
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by bigtiny » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:38 pm

Neo Bri wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:02 pm
The biggest problem with Band-in-Box is the archaic nature of the program itself, which hasn't been updated much since Windows 3.1, sadly. It's not just asthetic; the functional and organizational limitations are BAD.

I have the Aebersold tracks on my phone because I copied the files on there. I am not the streaming type.

I can explain in more detail next time!
I worked in software development for years and I've always found BinaB to be just abysmal to use. Yeah, it does a lot of interesting things and has great potential, but the usability of the program is a complete mess. The user interfaces sucks, the organizations of the program sucks, it's non-intuitive....I could go on. It obvious to me that it was originally written long ago by amateurs and it's been 'pasted on to' over the years to add functionality. Needs a complete re-engineering, but that's expensive and requires experienced software engineers to do right.
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Matt K
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:57 pm

The easiest way I've found to get files on my phone is through Google Drive or DropBox but I'm an Android user so that won't help Apple folks. I think you still have to go through iTunes to get that to play nice. Although you can play directly from the Google Drive or DropBox apps too.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by baileyman » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:33 pm

One thing they never tell you while working out with a play along, is to play more swinging than the guys on the recording. It's one thing to play notes that fit, even lots of them, and quite another to leave the rhythm section hurting for time.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by BflatBass » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:14 am

Downloading something on to my phone would be ideal. I have a really nice bluetooth speaker that I use with the Tunable app and it gets plenty loud enough to play along with. I looked up iReal pro on my phone (Android) and based on what you all are saying it's worth the $13. I'll get this downloaded and give it a spin.

Film at 11....

P.S. Thanks for all the help
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Matt K
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:53 am

BflatBass wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:14 am
Downloading something on to my phone would be ideal. I have a really nice bluetooth speaker that I use with the Tunable app and it gets plenty loud enough to play along with. I looked up iReal pro on my phone (Android) and based on what you all are saying it's worth the $13. I'll get this downloaded and give it a spin.

Film at 11....

P.S. Thanks for all the help
For good measure, I do recommend the Tuning CD too. It is offered on streaming sites although you can get the flac files from the source. I notice the difference on good quality speakers and if I was goign to get a single album I'd compliment the play alongs with these. I use drones very frequently and would not be at the level I am without them! Specifically the tuning CD. But for play alongs, iRealPro all the way!
baileyman wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:33 pm
One thing they never tell you while working out with a play along, is to play more swinging than the guys on the recording. It's one thing to play notes that fit, even lots of them, and quite another to leave the rhythm section hurting for time.
I generally don't use mine for feel, I use them so I can make sure that I'm keeping the form properly (hitting all the changes) as you mentioned. If I want to work on style, I'll do transcriptions and play along with whomever I'm transcribing. I also recommend that route.

I suppose it's possible to work on style/time too with a playalong but I find it harder since you don't have the interplay you'd normally have with the other musicians. I find that if I practice moving the time too far in any direction that when I play with people they follow instead of acting like the dutiful robots I'm expecting!! I can kind of cope with that by doing metronome on beat 1 of measures and trying to generate the time myself so that I'm within a certain way of playing but still keeping my own time. Rhythm sections tend to like it when I play like that!
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Neo Bri » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:57 am

BflatBass wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:14 am
Downloading something on to my phone would be ideal. I have a really nice bluetooth speaker that I use with the Tunable app and it gets plenty loud enough to play along with. I looked up iReal pro on my phone (Android) and based on what you all are saying it's worth the $13. I'll get this downloaded and give it a spin.

Film at 11....

P.S. Thanks for all the help
Absolutely essential that your bluetooth speaker, while maybe being loud enough, is able to put out BASS. Hearing the bassline is often the only time you can even hear the roots of the chords, on account of typical keyboard jazz voicings are rootless. If you can't clearly hear the pitch of the walking bass, you may want to consider another speaker to use.
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Matt K
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:16 am

When I didn't live in an apartment, I used a subwoofer/speaker unit.

https://smile.amazon.com/ION-Audio-Tail ... ywords=ion

It was pretty good at putting out bass and had bluetooth. (I post this not necessarily for the OP but for someone else reading who might want a recommendation).
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Grah » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:36 pm

I do have some jazz play-alongs, including a lot of Music Minus One books and CDs, but my main accompaniment for practicing melodies and solos is Band-in-a-Box. Great software where you can enter the chords and melody lines and play along with some top musicians:

http://www.pgmusic.com/

I have hundreds of Band-in-a-Box files of most of the standards and jazz tunes, which I have created over the years since I first was given the program as a Christmas gift. It is also great for creating practice sound files for the other members of your band to practice new tunes. Plus, I also use it for small band arrangements and the first roughs of big band charts.
Grah

(Transcribing jazz solos is fraught with difficulties because exact rhythmic notation is well-nigh impossible. So listen carefully because it's the only way to learn how to play jazz trombone so that we can return to the Golden Age.) 8-)
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by BflatBass » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:19 pm

Ok, so I tried out iReal with my bluetooth speaker and yes it doesn't put out enough bass. The keyboards dominate the sound.
Thanks Matt K. for the link. That's the kind of thing I really need. Might be worth the investment.

Idk about Band in a Box right now. It's a bit pricey compared to iReal. But I like the idea that you can input your own chord changes. We'll see. I'm still a beginner.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Neo Bri » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:29 pm

BflatBass wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:19 pm
Ok, so I tried out iReal with my bluetooth speaker and yes it doesn't put out enough bass. The keyboards dominate the sound.
Thanks Matt K. for the link. That's the kind of thing I really need. Might be worth the investment.

Idk about Band in a Box right now. It's a bit pricey compared to iReal. But I like the idea that you can input your own chord changes. We'll see. I'm still a beginner.
You can also put in your own changes in iRealPro. It's not quite as customizable, but it's good.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:32 pm

You can also use a text editor and upload them with email or somethin gin iRealPro. It's a little clunky that way but if you get familiar with it you can do a whole tune in like 60 seconds.

As far as bass, you can also adjust the individual accompaniment volumes. I crank bass up pretty high. By default they're all the same volume.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by afugate » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:26 am

BflatBass wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:19 pm
Ok, so I tried out iReal with my bluetooth speaker and yes it doesn't put out enough bass. The keyboards dominate the sound.
Thanks Matt K. for the link. That's the kind of thing I really need. Might be worth the investment.

Idk about Band in a Box right now. It's a bit pricey compared to iReal. But I like the idea that you can input your own chord changes. We'll see. I'm still a beginner.
iReal does have a built-in mixer. You could try adjusting the mix to add more bass and lower the keyboard. (Won't fix physics, but might help?)

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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by ddickerson » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:35 am

IRealPro has a mixer button on the bottom where you can mix the instruments, so if you think there is too much piano, you can bring it down to the level you like.

On mine, I will turn down the piano to silent so that I can practice my piano skills, then turn it back up for trombone. Very versatile indeed.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by BflatBass » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:23 pm

StefanHaller wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:08 am
I second the recommendation for iReal Pro, I use it a lot, and it's very nice. Of course it's not the same as playing along with real musicians, but the advantages outweigh this (being able to set the tempo and key, or change some chords), and the musical quality isn't bad at all.

Apart from that, I use Aebersold playalongs a lot too. The entire series is on Apple Music (or was, last time I checked), that's some 130 albums that should keep you busy for a while. They are not on Spotify unfortunately, which is a pity.
So I googled "Aebersold playalongs" and it takes me to Jazzbooks.com. There's a lot of stuff here. The JJ Johnson Vol. 111 looks really good. And it looks like I can download the tracks onto my phone then buy the book seperate (no CD) and I'll be set.

Thanks for all the help :good:
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by SaigonSlide » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:42 am

I recently downloaded a few Aerbersold albums. It only worked ok. A number of tracks will not transfer onto my phone for some reason- just computer, and others required multiple download attempts. Further, they don't send lead sheets digitally, only hard copy to physical address. Weird IMHO. So you need to find the tunes on line or figure out the changes yourself if you don't know the tune. I personally would just prefer if you could do it all through iTunes.

One site playjazznow.com has a number of playalongs. I downloaded through iTunes. 2-5-1s, blues, and rhythm changes in all 12 keys. Not bad.

As noted by MattK above, now that I've played for a while, I actually prefer to play along with actual recordings of the tune I'm working on, in addition to transcribing it.

How to learn tunes is another post i guess...
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Matt K
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:12 pm

SaigonSlide wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:42 am
I recently downloaded a few Aerbersold albums. It only worked ok. A number of tracks will not transfer onto my phone for some reason- just computer, and others required multiple download attempts. Further, they don't send lead sheets digitally, only hard copy to physical address. Weird IMHO. So you need to find the tunes on line or figure out the changes yourself if you don't know the tune. I personally would just prefer if you could do it all through iTunes.

One site playjazznow.com has a number of playalongs. I downloaded through iTunes. 2-5-1s, blues, and rhythm changes in all 12 keys. Not bad.

As noted by MattK above, now that I've played for a while, I actually prefer to play along with actual recordings of the tune I'm working on, in addition to transcribing it.

How to learn tunes is another post i guess...
That sounds like a problem with iTunes or your hardware, not a necessarily a limitation on the content itself. The digital copies are probably a legal limitation of some kind for how they acquired the rights to publish those leadsheets in the first place. You might want to contact Apple customer support if you are having difficulties. I dropped Apple quite some time ago in part because of similar proprietary limitations on syncing.

I would suspect most people buying them from the Apple Store digitally have a hard copy of the book and have lost the CD (or tape or even vinyl!) and sought a replacement. OR they have a copy of the RealBook (or FakeBooks) and just want the playalongs. The Hal Leonard Real Book is missing some good tunes but is actually a pretty good resource either way AND you can buy them digitally. Although the DRM mechanism forces you to use something like the Kindle app which is a real drag for a multitude of reasons. I believe Hal Leonard also sells the realbook digitally with accompaniments for EVERYTHING which is a much better deal than the Aebersold books in terms of pure money/songs but I don't personally own it so I can't comment on the quality further other than to say I studied with some of the guys who did the recordings and they were no slouches!

If you are going to go the Aebersold route, I'd personally buy the physical book + CD if they're still available. I much prefer to rip them myself as .flac files. If you are even vaguely an audiophile, you'll probably be able to tell the difference!
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Grah » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:56 pm

I still think the best way to go with playalongs is to create the files yourself using Band-in-a-Box, as I have been doing for nearly 20 years. You can create each tune with melody lines, harmony if required, solos and in all the genres of music you would ever need. When practicing you can mute whichever tracks you do not require to be playing. Plus you can transpose at the touch of a button and print in any key for the different instruments.

http://www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.htm

I suppose the only snag is the initial purchase price and the fact that you must have access to the music and chords for each tune you require if you want to enter it yourself. I have a huge collection of sheet music and that is not a problem for me. But also the Band-in-a-Box files are available from other users and there are even some big libraries/archives of tunes available for download, such as:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Ban ... Files/info

The above site is The Independent Band-In-A-Box User Group, a FREE and ever growing newsgroup on Yahoo of BIAB users. This site has the largest BIAB file collection on the web. It even ran out of Yahoo allocated disk space and so had to set-up another group to archive it's zip file collection.

There are also other archives available.

You can save the Band-in-a-Box files in most common music formats for transferring to other media and software.

Here is one of my backing tracks stored on SoundCloud. As I said, to use as a playalong, you just mute the trombone track:

https://soundcloud.com/grah-bonejazz/da ... of-lovewav

And you can create good arrangements in next-to-no-time using the program itself to create harmony parts etc. Here is my "Danny Boy" for 5 trombones:

https://soundcloud.com/grah-bonejazz/da ... -renderwma

I could not exist without my Band-in-a-Box software!
Grah

(Transcribing jazz solos is fraught with difficulties because exact rhythmic notation is well-nigh impossible. So listen carefully because it's the only way to learn how to play jazz trombone so that we can return to the Golden Age.) 8-)
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:57 am

Grah wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:56 pm
And you can create good arrangements in next-to-no-time using the program itself to create harmony parts etc.
Is this a good way to write out horn parts? When you say create good arrangements, is that just for playback or will this print parts out for a section to read?
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by tjonz » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:03 am

PhilipEdCarlson asks:

> Is this a good way to write out horn parts?
> When you say create good arrangements,
> is that just for playback or will this print
> parts out for a section to read?

When I want parts from a BIAB arrangement I export it to MIDI, import it into MuseScore, and continue to massage the parts from there. Works quite well.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Grah » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:58 pm

PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:57 am
Grah wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:56 pm
And you can create good arrangements in next-to-no-time using the program itself to create harmony parts etc.
Is this a good way to write out horn parts? When you say create good arrangements, is that just for playback or will this print parts out for a section to read?
No, Band-in-a-Box is no good for printing out all the section parts for a big band. I have always exported the BiaB harmonised section files to a proper arranging program, such as Overture 4 or Sibelius, to create the parts for printing. Same as Todd. BiaB saves you the time of working out all the harmonies, which is the big time consumer in writing arrangements IMO. I will admit that sometimes I change some of the harmony parts, which is easily done in the arranging programs. There are a number of different file formats you can use so that the receiving program does not have any problems importing the files.

If PG music could solve some of their printout problems they would have the best arranging program in the world. I have been asking them to do this for years on their forum but they are presently heading in a different marketing direction, trying to become the leading program for creating backing tracks to be used on gigs, such as you get with the one-man guitar groups that you see so boringly often these days providing the entertainment in clubs etc.

When it comes to small band arrangements, then I use BiaB on its own and I do print out all the parts for my 7-piece from BiaB itself. I have two complete band libraries in BiaB for two of my previous band, involving hundreds of arrangements. And I am presently creating a new band book for a new band using a combination of the old arrangements and some new ones.
Grah

(Transcribing jazz solos is fraught with difficulties because exact rhythmic notation is well-nigh impossible. So listen carefully because it's the only way to learn how to play jazz trombone so that we can return to the Golden Age.) 8-)
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Davidus1 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:15 pm

I have the second all the recommendations for the Aebersold books and recordings. They are time tested and will lay a solid foundation for improvisation.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by PhilipEdCarlson » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:48 pm

Grah wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:58 pm
PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:57 am
Grah wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:56 pm
And you can create good arrangements in next-to-no-time using the program itself to create harmony parts etc.
Is this a good way to write out horn parts? When you say create good arrangements, is that just for playback or will this print parts out for a section to read?
No, Band-in-a-Box is no good for printing out all the section parts for a big band...

When it comes to small band arrangements, then I use BiaB on its own and I do print out all the parts for my 7-piece from BiaB itself.
I'm looking at doing 2-5 piece horns for a blues (rock) band. I'm a novice. Do you think BiaB might be a good starting point?
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Matt K » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:30 pm

PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:48 pm
Grah wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:58 pm
PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:57 am


Is this a good way to write out horn parts? When you say create good arrangements, is that just for playback or will this print parts out for a section to read?
No, Band-in-a-Box is no good for printing out all the section parts for a big band...

When it comes to small band arrangements, then I use BiaB on its own and I do print out all the parts for my 7-piece from BiaB itself.
I'm looking at doing 2-5 piece horns for a blues (rock) band. I'm a novice. Do you think BiaB might be a good starting point?
If you're talking about the engraving of parts, I'd probably stick with a notation software. If your budget isn't high, musescore has came a long way in the few years and can handle those types of things easy
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Bach5G » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:18 pm

A slow-downer app will let you transcribe/play along with actual recordings. I have one called Transcribe which works well. Lots of these around.
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Re: Jazz "play along"

Post by Grah » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:43 pm

PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:48 pm
Grah wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:58 pm
PhilipEdCarlson wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:57 am


Is this a good way to write out horn parts? When you say create good arrangements, is that just for playback or will this print parts out for a section to read?
No, Band-in-a-Box is no good for printing out all the section parts for a big band...

When it comes to small band arrangements, then I use BiaB on its own and I do print out all the parts for my 7-piece from BiaB itself.
I'm looking at doing 2-5 piece horns for a blues (rock) band. I'm a novice. Do you think BiaB might be a good starting point?
Yes, it would be a good starting point, especially as they have a lot of backing tracks for that style of music. You may even be able to use some of the standard horn parts generated by Band-in-a-Box RealTracks, instead of trying to come up with your own lines for the horns.
Grah

(Transcribing jazz solos is fraught with difficulties because exact rhythmic notation is well-nigh impossible. So listen carefully because it's the only way to learn how to play jazz trombone so that we can return to the Golden Age.) 8-)
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