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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop



Just thought I'd video myself practicing so I could take a look and listen at what I'm doing and what I should fix. Please leave any comments.

Happy playing.



David Friedman Sat, 09/19/2009 - 05:22

Hi James,

I would suggest practicing the tune more as a slow ballad, rather than a slow swing feel. Try and play the chords and melody together at first, making sure the right chord is syncronized with the appropriate melody note. That's a good way to feel the harmonic motion of the tune. It's also a great way to check out voicings with the melody notes on top. Try this for the first two bars:(Ebmi, Bb7, or Ebmi/D) 2nd bar:(Ebmi Ab7) The last two beats of the Ab7 chord could be, for instance, Ab altered(#9,b13),without a melody note on top. Now, continue thorough the rest of the tune. Slow the tempo down till you feel you can play in tempo.

Hope this helps a bit.


james_whiting Sat, 09/19/2009 - 12:06

In reply to by David Friedman

Thanks for the comments David! I only started learning this as a solo a week ago so I'm very much still trying to get my hand around it, so I know its very ruff.

I will definitely work with what you have suggested.


vibraman Sat, 09/19/2009 - 15:09

In reply to by james_whiting

hi james,

i liked it a lot!especially the way you fill in the space of the melody is very tasteful for me plus the way you created the stops in the beginning of the a-section.thanks for sharing...tarik

james_whiting Mon, 09/21/2009 - 19:09

In reply to by vibraman


Thank you for the comments, I'm happy you liked it - means I'm doing something right haha. This site is such a great thing - posting videos and recordings of yourself playing is a great way to learn.

Would be great to see more people posting up here!

Take care,


tonymiceli Mon, 09/21/2009 - 20:08

In reply to by james_whiting

i admire you guys who are posting and talking about your playing. it takes some courage and desire to play.

you have to remember one thing. back in the 40's, 50's and 60's there were clubs (at least here in philly and NY, etc [big cities in the U.S.]) on lots of corners. there was music everywhere. guys were jamming and playing all the time.

in the 70's and 80's it started slowing down but was still around. when i graduated college there were about 15 clubs in center city with jazz, and THEY PAID decent.

we were always playing and talking about our playing and asking pros and listening to others.

things are different now and it's not quite like that anymore. but we have a substitute for all that. here's a place where guys are posting and getting critiques and compliments. and i know the guys who are active here are definitely getting better, and you're one of them! i mean we can see it as you guys post.

anyway, sorry about the diatribe, but i dig this part of the site the most!

Tony Miceli
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

tonymiceli Sun, 09/20/2009 - 01:32

you're on your way i think.

you have good time and you got chops and got musicality.

i think it's great that you videoed this and posted it. for me all the signs of a great player are there!!!

now just work your ass off like the rest of us (sounds like you are already!)!

Tony Miceli
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

james_whiting Sun, 09/20/2009 - 05:06

In reply to by tonymiceli

Thank you for the kind words tony.

I've been trying out all the suggestions Ed gave me from when I put up Beatrice. I found this tune a bit harder to solo over whilst accompanying and I'm taking the perspective at the moment of the 1st form keep it close to the melody 2nd form a bit different but still close up till the 5th form will be a completely different thing.

Any other suggestions for good practice on this?


tonymiceli Sun, 09/20/2009 - 20:53

In reply to by james_whiting

off the top of my head.

first play the melody (even with aebersold) and just the melody.

then add an accompaniment but try not to alter the melody or the phrasing or it. know what i mean? be true to your melody as if it was 2 mallets.

then i would do the same thing with soloing. first solo as if it's a 2 mallet solo. then add the chords.

also listen to other solo versions of it, by piano players or guitar players or even other vibe players.

and then try things. how would you do a block chord solo, how would comp with your left hand and make a melody with your right.

what you have to do, is have a clear melody and accompaniment. you know? that's your solo, that's what you're going after. and all that in time, with time.

i would even work out some things to achieve your goals. almost like making your own etude.

that's my two cents, quickly off the top of my head. let the music come out and from that find your technique.

ok, hope that's helpful.

Tony Miceli
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

Joe Locke Tue, 09/22/2009 - 13:34

Hi James!

There is good stuff here. As Tony said, this is a great starting place. I agree with David Friedman's suggestion to slow it down and begin by harmonizing the melody in a simple, attractive way. I think this also means REAllY learning the melody first. Learning the lyrics, or even one stanza of the lyric, has always helped me to see what the composer meant.

This is a good start though. I can see you are in the woodshed!


james_whiting Wed, 09/23/2009 - 06:56

In reply to by Joe Locke

Thanks for dropping a line!

Yes it has definitely proven to develop more emotion from the song. I will definately look into the lyrics, I think thats a really great idea.

Listen back to it again I feel like I need make a much bigger variation in my voicings. Funnily enough I decided to video this to see if I was rising my shoulders because a comment was made to me that I look tense in the shoulders when I play...but I think that is just my build haha.

Talk soon Joe,


james_whiting Wed, 09/23/2009 - 09:28

In reply to by Marie-Noëlle

Yes - I watch everything Joe throws up here. Amazing performance and a really great lesson. Its good to see a pro talk about the depth of a tuning and meaning. But I totally agree with what joe has said both in the video and as a comment here!

Thanks for checking with me :)


tonymiceli Wed, 09/23/2009 - 21:01

In reply to by james_whiting

in conclusion. what you played was good. and now you have plenty to work on to make it better. that's why you're here right? so that means this is a really good thing.

what i would love to see is when you get more stuff together to post another version and then we can compare the 2 and see your progress.

Tony Miceli
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli