Quick Thought: Make Sure You Learn the End

April 3, 2019

I think everyone has an experience where were learning a song, got the double chorus at the end, and said "I got this" and moved on. Then on the show, it turns out there was an ending that you didn't listen to, only 30 seconds of more listening would have hipped you, but you assumed it was probably a fade out and moved on.


However, what my real quick thought is about is solo endings. While it's easy enough to keep track of the form and stop playing give or take two measures of the top. Ending well requires a some discipline, and it takes awareness. So after you learn the beginning of the solo, try jumping right to the end, learn the last 4 or 8 measures, then go back and work through the body.


A couple things to think about while you check out the ending.


a) Is the current soloist setting up something specific for the next soloist such as a break or pick ups (especially if your solo is last)?

b) How much denouement does the soloist use?

c) What does the next soloist play like? (In the Miles Davis Quintet, does miles end solos differently depending on if Trane, Cannonball, Red, or PC is next?)


Different players do different things. So like all things in music, your best bet is to learn what a bunch of players you dig did, and decide what you like the best.


P.S. Rhythm Section People (RSP!) do the same examination for the people comping behind solos. Be better than iRealPro! Help the soloist build their solo effectively, and then make the transition so the next soloist has a great starting point to build from.

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