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Marek Konarski – The Art of Jazz







English translation of the film

Welcome all!


We are Marek Konarski quartet and together with our musicians: Jacek Szwaj – the piano, Damian Kostka- double bass and Mateusz Brzostowski – the drums we are going to invite you to our jazz music workshop. We have started with  Body and Soul and we would like to show you our jazz arrangements, starting with two different ideas. The first one will based on the theme and the later, bplayed by Jacek,  on harmony. We will also add pieces based on triplets. This way we will show you two aspects: harmonic and rhytmic one.

The first one goes as follows:


 The music being played


That was a jazz standard of Body and Soul.

And now we would like to show you various rhytmic concepts, we will play at fast-paced minor blues and we will check two options:

What will happen if rhytmic section will play at fast pace and how it will influence the  solo artist. In this case I will play solo first. Then we will do it the other way out , the section will play at a very slow pace- we will check it how it influences the solo artist , who probably will have to use smaller rhytmic divisions.

So now we will show you minor blues, probably in the key of c mol, which is the favourite one of jazz musicians. I will ask the rhytmic section  to play at fast pace and I will show you how to play big rhytmic divisions. This is the trap that young musician fall into when going to jam sessions. At very fast pace they are not able to play eighth notes at a very fast pace or they are not able to play an eighth note for , say, eight bars and then the time falls apart. We will show you how to get out of this situation by using big rhytmic values.


The music being played .


Of course it will be hard to build up tension and make this solo interesting for five minutes, but it is easier to do so by playing big rhytmic values to a big pace, because of a big rhytmic contrast.

Now let’s do it the other way out. The section will play at a slow pace and Jacek will frequently introduce double time, that is twice smaller rhytmic values.


The music being played


As we have just heard it was an interesting way of building up the tension.


Now I would like to try out the third solution, I mean the solo artis will improvise at the same pace that the rhytmic section plays.   If we play a slow pace we use quarter notes and half notes , if we play a fast pace we appropriately use quarter notes or eighth notes in the given pace. Please note that when we play through the chorus, we will play quarter notes in pace: one, two three and it will be hard to build up tension for the soloist, but it will force the rhythmic section to play more actively . There will be static playing on the part of the soloist and the rhythmic section will be more active.

So we will start with a slow pace minor blues and I will improvise at the same pace but without  double time. It will make the section to be more actively involved .

One , two, one two three


The music being played


It was clearly audible here that Mateusz was playing small rhytmic divisions coming out of a triplet or sihteenth note so as to build up tension in contrast to my improvisation, that is the use of quarter notes.

Let’s play something similar wit Jacek at a fast pace.

Jacek, do not play quarter notes please, base on the eighth notes- use only eighth notes as rhytmic values for the solo part.


The music being played


This is the pace that encourages to play, so I am not surprised Damian wished to continue .

We will play now the same again, but Jacek I would like you to use quarter notes because it sounds great using eighth rhytmic values. It would be hard to build up tension for five minutes with the solo part not being static. To make a contrast and introduce some rhytmic changes let’s play at the same pace but try to use quarters to contrast the rhytmic section.


The music being played


We managed to stop playing together. We are playing shorts now but this is to show you what we used to practise and now we do it spontaneously. This is what inluences the audience’s mood , when we play ballads we use  slow pace and one can feel peace, when we play at fast pace with triplets, eighths and sixteenths people feel tension. We want to draw your attention to the way we inluence people who listen to our music. At the same time we would like to introduce some theoretitical background.


Now let’s play a different jazz standard On Green Dolphin Street and we will show it to you in two different ways : in  three fourths and then in seven fourths.  We will show you that fast pace and a large number of chords in one bar do not harmonise with each other  when playing a piece of music   in  odd metre.  We won’t have more than two chords in one bar in Old Green Dolphin Street.

Let’s play the theme only in three fourths then stop and play it in  seven fourths and then we will show you different options.

Green Dolphin Street at three fourths.


The music being played


This is most often played in even metre because it was written that way, but we,jazz musicians, have been looking for new ways to try out  odd metres since the 1950 when Dave Brubeck recorded his first album The Time Out . So now we will play the same in seven-fourths metre , just the theme only to compare this two options.


The music being played.


That was seven fourths metre . Now I would like to come back again to the original four fourths metre and make the section play in three fourths at a medium pace and I will play parts in five-eighths, four eighths and a pause of eight , which is the simplest way to brake a static play into strong parts of the bar. This will bring us to the phenomenon of polyrhytmia.


The music being played


Of course the whole solo part cannot be based on polyrhytmic phrase because that wouldn’t be interesting.  However, I believe it introduces interesting tension.

Now let’s play  a piece of music in seven fourths metre . Jacek I would like you to improvise with the theme. Playing like this we get the impression that this clavi is very stiff and restricts the soloist . Therefore let’s try to play something that is more difficult for the soloist , Green Dolphin Street in seven-fourths metre but with a walk.

Let’s not take too fast pace.

Two bars


The music being played.


It was clearly played. I believe it is more difficult for the soloist to improvise while the section is playing walk. We are used to three fourths, two fourths and four fourths metre in our latitude , seven fourths metre sounds also natural for us because it is often heard in jazz music.

We have been talking about the most important rhytmic part in jazz music.To end up I would like to show some harmonic in Green Old Dolphin Street.  Let’s play in four fourths , I will play the solo part the chords earlier – you play the chords at the bars, I will sometimes get ahead , take dominant longer so as not to play four bars , two bars, two bars, two bars I will break it and shift the harmony as I see it fit. I will try to do my best and do it clearly. And then we will play in contrast to it , I will stop and Jacek will play the same within harmony into the chords.

One two, one two three.


The music being played


I think it sounded quite aggressive , I tried to get ahead and we had some upper structures

we overlapped chords , rhytmic section played S major and I had already played the dominant .

I believe it builds up tension and breaks static play in four fourths .

Now let’s play the same and Jacek could you play  harmony  into the chords please.


The music being played


Thank you very much.

I do hope that young musicians as well as other musicians will be encouraged to explore improvistation and rhytmic harmony.

Thank you very much.



















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