Jostein Gulbrandsen: Thoughts On Improvisation

New York based Jazz Guitarist Jostein Gulbrandsen shared his thoughts on improvisation to readers of his Facebook page and he was gracious enough to allow Jazz Guitar Life to share it with you all as well. Some serious thoughts here from a serious player! Thanks Jostein!

  1. Think in terms of sentences. Follow up and develop the ideas.
  2. Start out with more rhythmic phrases.
  3. Use elements of the melody of the song in the improvisation.
  4. Leave space.
  5. Try to tell a story with your improvisation. Have a clear beginning and a clear ending.
  6. Listen to the people you play with and blend in with the sounds and volumes as well as the rhythm and groove. Try to interact.
  7. Don’t try to prove or impress when playing. If you hear a faster line, play it. But if you don’t hear it, then don’t play it.
  8. Most people overplay. With good phrasing and content you can play a lot of notes, but without, it can be tiresome for the listener.
  9. Try to offer the listener something to hold on to. Shorter rhythmic motifs and melodic lines is often the way to go.
  10. Play the tune. Don’t play the same way on a ballad as you would on an up-tempo tune.

NYC based guitarist Jostein Gulbrandsen has three albums out as a leader and has released the method book “Modern Jazz and Fusion guitar” on Hal/Leonard. He is also an artist for Collings Guitars and Quilter.

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