George Coleman – Jazz Saxophone Legend

When you start thinking about music, I mean, you could go on forever, and never play maybe the same thing completely the same way, you know.

With all these different keys, and different notes. If you just played maybe everything in Bb, you would be limited. 

So, they’d ask me, how are you able to play in those keys?

That’s what I used to do, because the piano was so out of tune, you had to, what they call…we got to cross!

That was the word they would say.

So, the guys would say, man did you have piano tuned?

It was like a joke, but it really wasn’t, the guy said, oh yeah, I had it painted the other day. I just put some fresh paint on it.

Ear training, which we talk about, which I’ll demonstrate on the piano sometime.

I’m going to play these minor chords that are random.

I might play [riff]

Then I’ll play this. [riff] 

And that’s very distant from that, in a sense, but it’s not.

It might be a tri-tone. Things like that, tri-tone substitutions. Then you get involved in the Lady Bird turnaround.

Bb. Db7. F#major. Then back to a B7 to Bb.

Because it’s harmony and rhythm, when you start talking about jazz.

You know, you got to play with a beat, you know? So, you got your triad pairs on all of those 7th chords. Back to the bridge.

Nothing has to be unintelligible, so to speak. You know, you don’t have to play a lot of this… You don’t have to do that.

You play something really crisp, and clean. I combine what I hear, and what I know. The knowledge is one of the most important things in playing this music, you know.

You can have a good ear, you can have a lot of talent, as far as hearing things, but it’s always good to know.

You know, always good to know what you’re playing and where you’re going.