dear friends,

i am working on oleo (slowly) but i have difficulty sounding good at the bridge.

as there is no melody in the bridge, i understand that the piano should do something interesting in that space.

my approach is to sound percussive (thinking as a drummer) using the following voicings:

d7 = d, c  /  f#, b
g7 = g, f  /  b, e
c7 = c, bb /  e, a
f7 = f, eb /  a, d

any other voicing ideas that can help me sound better.?

thanks in advance
There are 18 comments, leave a comment.
are you playing solo piano?  you might try these:

lh d  rh f#ce
lh g  rh fbe
lh c  rh ebbd
lh f  rh ebad

if your playing with a bass player, you can play the above rh voicings with your lh and add some other tones with rh like:

rh dad
rh dad
rh cgc
rh cgc

(or whatever chord tones you want)
yes dr. whack, i'm playing solo piano.

thanks for your recomendations i will try them.

any altered extention can be added?
solo piano, i often play a cut time (half note bass pattern). it's a hopping bass, not a walking bass. hopping root 5th 8 5th bass sounds more modern to me than walking. right hand solos.

d7: 1 5 8 5 (ascending)
g7 8 5 1 8 (descending)
c7: 1 5 8 5
f7: 8 5 1 8
oops, should read

d7: 1 5 8 5 (ascending)
g7 8 5 1 5 (descending)
c7: 1 5 8 5 (ascending)
f7: 8 5 1 5 (descending)

mal waldron played the bridge like that.
notice how it reverses directions each time. that way it sounds smooth and is easy to finger.
actually mal waldron does this half note bass pattern with the last two notes of each line being quarter notes:

d7 8 5 1 5 b5 (descending)
g7: 1 5 8 5 b5 (ascending)
c7: 8 5 1 5 b5 (descending)
f7: 1 5 8 5 b5 (ascending
where you see a straight i7 chord, you can usually split it into vmi - i7.  thus d7 becomes ami followed by d7.  you can voice these in the left hand as g b c e going to f# b c e (i.e. rootless inversion of ami9 followed by rootless d 9 13). the 'minimal finger movement' sequence for the whole bridge then becomes (one measure each):
g b c e to f# b c e to
f a c e to f a b e to
f a bb d to e a bb d to
eb g bb d to eb g a d
and you're back to bb

since these are all rootless voicings, it takes nerve to play them solo but if you believe, it'll work.  otherwise use a kind of stride pattern to put in the root notes.

also try tritone substitutions of 13ths for that bebop feel (two bars each):
f# b c e (d13) followed by
f bb b eb (db13 = g7 #9 b13)
e a bb d (c13)
d# g# a c# (b13 = enharmonic f7 #9 b13)

or conversely
gb bb c f (ab13 = enharmonic d7 #9 b13)
f a b e (g13)
e g# a# d# (f#13 = c7 #9 b13)
eb g a d (f13)

does this make sense?  maybe i should find time to put up a midi file.

have fun - if you like patterns in music, the rhythm bridge is just what the doctor ordered.


i post my comments.

last night i was practicing your suggestions. they sound really cool.!!!

much fun.>!!

!! thanks a lot !!
when i play oleo solo in a lounge setting i make sure i have bourbon straight up nearby.  when i get to bridge i lay out and bob my head back and forth so on the rare ocasion there is a musician in the audience they know i am actually keeping time as i sip my bourbon waiting for the bridge to finish and come back in with the a section.  normally the audience looks at me oddly thinking it is an odd time to decide to take several sips of my bourbon.  and they think it is particulary odd that i am tapping my foot and bobing my head while i am drinking it.  to me, that is entertainment.
and that is jazz
and it is better than those voicings you are πlaying.

another truly inspirational post.  i wonder if you could post a video on youtube of your head bobbing whilst sipping?  do you have a bourbon preference?  does call better than bar?  i'm partial to jim beam, but i wonder if a more rock gut bourbon wold give my playing a little more edge?
better than bar?"
another thing that can sound cool is to treat all of the dom7 chords as if they were sus7 chords. sort of along the lines of what sid said about imposing a ii chord, in that you play the voicing for the ii chord, but play the bass note of the v chord, i.e. a-7/d.  you can add in the 5th above the root in the left hand for a fuller sound.


lh: d a  / rh:g b c e

i also do the "bob head and drink" thing as well, not only just on the bridge to oleo, but for entire gigs sometimes. except they aren't really gigs, it's just me sitting alone in a bar wishing people thought i was cool.
makers mark bourbon my good doctor.  and if they do not carry it, make a big scene about it.  make them feel like they should not even be open for business without it.... like they are some kind of kiddie bar.  insult them hugely.  go on and on about it.  this is your chance.  that way if they ever have any complaint about you... you can always say under your breath just loud enough for them to hear or loudly for every patron in the place to hear how they are a second rate place that does not even carry makers mark.
another thing by the way i like to do with oleo by the way when i am playing solo is... play the a section twice,  get up go to the can, take a piss, come back play the a section one more time and then end.  this is something that is cool to do when playing oleo with a band too.  but only and i stress only when you are the band leader on the date otherwise you may not get paid at the end of the gig.  another words other band leaders may not think it is as cool as you know it is.
since i stopped drinking i have to get my buzz with coffee and some kind of sugar product.  this also means that i have lost the ability to fall asleep during the bridge and wake up "in time" without falling off the stool.
drinking some coffee during the bridge works just fine.  i have done that once or twice.
i wonder who the first piano player was who decided to lay out on the bridge... who ever he was he deserves some kind of hall of fame tribute.
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