My Thoughts On Solo Playing - Part 1

Remember I think this:

Most of the time we play solo, we are doing solo playing :-). Doing it right and in time can really help you.

Access: Anonymous


I agree with everything you've mentioned. But the one thing that makes vibes solo playing uniquely difficult is playing a set of tunes. This would be asking the question, "What all can I play for just 20 minutes and avoid the monotony?" I never thought about that the first time I heard Alone At Last, but I think more about it these days as playing opportunities may be more scarce following the Covid Era.

i think there is stuff you can play easily for 20 minutes.

for example. uptempo, med, ballad, latin. that's 20 minutes. and i think if you play well it would be interesting. add talking about the instrument and about players and other things, a blues, you're up to 40 minutes. i think for me that would be the length of the concert.

Good stuff Tony. The feel, the flow, the sentiment, the mood, the essence of the piece,...all important things to try to maintain while playing solo. It's a challenge for me. Also for me, it depends upon the piece. Some are more difficult than others. I remember Gary telling me all of those types of things and more when we worked on solo. I remember one time I was working on Chega and he said it sounded like I was juggling oranges and one of them was ready to fall. Ha!Ha!

that's funny. i have juggled many an orange and dropped them!

what i notice about solo performers is they play, use dynamics, tempo AND they tell stories. makes sense to me.

Nice lesson, Tony! I particularly like your very transparent version of “Bluesette” and your appeal to keep things simple, everybody simple – but with conficence, as you say - according to their level. When I got ‘infected’ with jazz at a young age I was just struck by different people taking the same tune and making it sound and feel completely different. That still fills me with warmth and interest in someone’s individualistic approach and it is so much more attractive than watching someone’s gymnastics on an instrument. Nothing wrong with technique in pursuit of good music. But style doesn’t necessarily need stupendous technique, and technique can’t replace it (think Miles).

Love it and totally agreed! I've developed a few grooves and expanding my chord shape knowledge to be able to pull more out on the spot. I have to remember it is ok to just do melodic as lnog as it gives the progression to the listeners. and then it is about reading the crowd as well. Maybe even go another chorus if the crowd is in a talking mood! One piece could be 20 min depending on the crowd, the player... thoughts?

ha ha the crowd is in a talking mood. that's most of the time in clubs!

I used to love and do cocktail parties (did I talk about this in the video, I don't remember) because no one was listening, we'd turn giant steps into a slow bossa nova so we could work on it!