Improv Tip Week #4-Rhythm Series..."Rhythmic Quoting" - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #4-Rhythm Series…"Rhythmic Quoting"

Hey Everyone! Welcome to the last week of the rhythm series. This week, we’re going to talk about rhythmic quoting. Before we talk about rhythmic quoting, let’s talk briefly about what quoting is for those that may not know. Many of our favorite improvisers will often times “quote” melodies we’re familiar with inside of their solos. Those melodies fit within the chord changes of the moment, but may not necessarily be the song they’re playing. These melodies often come from cartoons, lullabys/children’s songs, classical music or other jazz standards. As long as it’s a recognizable melody…listeners will notice.

Now, let’s talk about this week’s topic…”rhythmic quoting.” We can take the same concept of melodic quoting and apply it to rhythms. The great thing about this tip is that there many sources of songs that have interesting rhythms (bebop heads, big band charts, Latin charts, Pop/R&B charts, etc). If we remove the melody and keep the rhythm, we can use that rhythm as a source for ideas in our improvisation. The listener may not be able to recognize the rhythm you’re playing, but it’s a great way to vary up the solo from running eigth note lines.

Below are a few examples. The first example is the rhythm to the first four bars of the jazz standard, Solar
Solar Rhythm Example
The next example is taking the first four bars of a blues and using the rhythmic example of Solar

Solar Example over Blues

Let’s take another recognizable jazz standard, Pent-Up House and use the same process. The first example is the rhythm from Pent-Up House that we’re going to use followed by the musical example.

Pent-Up House Rhythm Example

Pent-Up House Musical Example over II-V-I

I hope this week’s tip is helpful in giving you more rhythmic creativity in your improvisations! For more information on using these type of rhythmic ideas, be sure to check out Breaking the Monotony or look into one-on-one lessons through Skype!




About the Author jasonklobnak

Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground.  The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).

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