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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    OK, a couple of things to put the story in context - 1) the 'old cat' was held in high regard by the sax player, 2) the sax player is a top sax player on the UK scene, a vet with plenty of confidence who has worked with top players in NY as well.

    He chose to take it as a lesson.

    As I am sure he'd remind us, that's the way the elder players often taught - laconic, sometimes hurtful, but with a 'ring of truth.' They didn't mince their words and as far as they were concerned, if you get hurt by comments like that you should find another line of work. It was part of their world. Think of Miles, for instance.

    I personally think that I would have been crushed if someone had said that to me, but I also think I would have picked myself up and realised the importance of that lesson. It's a big thing. If someone says this stuff to you, they are testing your mettle as well. Are you serious? Or do you want people to tell you are great all the time?

    Think about it... It's no disrespect either - it takes work to get that far. I'm sure if he hadn't done that work, an elder would have been quick to observe that fact too. It's actually - 'OK I hear your reverence for and knowledge of the music, but who are you?'

    If someone said a laconic, harsh comment like that to someone just getting together, they would be a twat. But those same people are usually full of kindness and encouragement in those situations (not always though lol!)

    When you are trying to make it as a pro, the ultimate compliment is to be taken seriously. This can hurt. But you need to get rid of your ego, and fast.
    no. romanticizing this kind of arsehole behaviour only gives jazz a bad name. if you approach a player (at a jam session of all places) and basically tell him that he's nothing but a copycat, you're not some elder statesman giving an upcomer some tough love. you're just a twat.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    no. romanticizing this kind of arsehole behaviour only gives jazz a bad name. if you approach a player (at a jam session of all places) and basically tell him that he's nothing but a copycat, you're not some elder statesman giving an upcomer some tough love. you're just a twat.
    Absolutely.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    no. romanticizing this kind of arsehole behaviour only gives jazz a bad name. if you approach a player (at a jam session of all places) and basically tell him that he's nothing but a copycat, you're not some elder statesman giving an upcomer some tough love. you're just a twat.
    When Russell Malone was an up and coming player he got onstage with Jimmy Smith. Jimmy called the song Laura knowing Russell probably didn't know it. He fumbled his way through it.
    That was the lesson. No snide remarks.

  4. #34
    One of the worst jam session behaviors I've heard of was a story someone posted on this forum a while back. If I remember the story right a good guitarist was going to sit in for a tune and the leader, a well known musician, called Giant Steps in some weird key. The guitarist had a hard time and afterwards the leader laughed and said "Welcome to the big leagues!" imo that's just big time BS and is one reason why Jazz isn't that popular. I doubt that the leader of that session is playing big time venues for $200/ticket even if he's got a name. There's a story about a jam session at a Greenwich Village club in the 40s. There were some strong cats on the stand including Charlie Parker. The guy telling the story years later was a college kid from like North Dakota who played the trombone. They let him on the stand and he started to play tailgate trombone in an inexperienced manner. Some guy threw him off the stand and he went over and was dejectedly putting away his horn when Parker came over and said "Don't feel bad kid. You play alright it's just that we're doing something different. Keep practicing. I got thrown out of plenty of jam sessions when I was coming up." That's the way a lot of the greats are.

  5. #35
    Coltrane called Giant Steps an academic exercise as in, what was I thinking.

  6. #36
    My jazz teacher was a student of Tristano's and we did a specific system: take 10ish solos, learn to sing one a week along with the record. then go back and sing them without the record (very difficult). then, learn them on your instrument.

    Lennie had his students do this first with either Louis Armstrong, Charlie Christian, or Lester Young. After you did 10 of those, you could pick Bird, Fats Navarro, or Bud Powell. I did Charlie Christian and Bird, and I still can sing all those solos pretty well.

    As a result of doing things this way, I didn't ever write down solos until later, because it wasn't necessary. But, one thing I've noticed since, is that writing down solos has really improved my reading ability quite a lot.

  7. #37
    I think the listening/singing aspect is so important. Much more important than the notes themselves...it's the feel, the rhythmic inflection.

    You do enough of that, it'll translate to your instrument, it almost has to...it becomes the music you hear in your head. I heard someone say it once, and I repeat it all the time...Jazz has to be the music that plays in your head.

    But seriously, take a tune, and just play garbage notes, random anything...but play it with jazz rhtyhm, triplets, syncopation, and record it. Not bad, right? I might need to do a little recording like that for giggles and post it here.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action?"

    --Adam West, as Batman, 1966.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    no. romanticizing this kind of arsehole behaviour only gives jazz a bad name. if you approach a player (at a jam session of all places) and basically tell him that he's nothing but a copycat, you're not some elder statesman giving an upcomer some tough love. you're just a twat.
    May hijack the thread a bit.

    My experience is this:

    1. Some guys won't say anything, some will. How nasty it comes out has nothing to do with their skill. Rather it has to do with their personality. That is, the nastiness is completely superfluous.

    2. Some players make everybody on the bandstand relax and play their best. Others sow nervousness or conflict. Again, nothing to do with their skill level. I have played in jams with some world class players who made me feel great and allowed me to play my best (and I'm nowhere near that level). Other players, even amateurs make me nervous. I believe it's personality not musical ability.

    3. I've heard my share of nasty comments. I don't condone that behavior. That said, I've learned to pay close attention to them because, sometimes, maybe even often, the message contains something you need to know about your playing. In a way, it can be a gift -- because nicer people might not be willing to tell you something you need to hear.

    4. Speaking more generally, sometimes, if you can handle the blows to your self-esteem, you may be able to tolerate an unpleasant situation that will make you grow as a player.

    5. Or, you can find some other way to achieve the goal. I don't think there's anything essential about building up musical-emotional scar tissue.

  9. #39
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    Yeah rpjazzguitar.... (BTW the thread has been derailed into a discussion of how feedback should be given.)

    I would never express myself in that blunt kind of way, but I am a product of my times. I neither want to throw cymbals at anyone nor have them thrown at me so to speak.

    But the truth remains that sometimes a hurtful or snide comment can actually be really useful. Far more than a compliment or a carefully couched non-judgemental feedback. For instance - a fantastically rude internet troll recently set me on a path to correct my left hand technique for instance, and it might just be one of the best things to happen to my playing. A friend or someone from this forum might have said - pay him no attention. But he was right - and pretty funny to boot (at my expense.)

    Some people have given me (to me) hurtful remarks that 10 years later I realise - damn, they were right, and I no longer hate them. If they'd not got under my skin I might have ignored them.

    And sure there's a nice way of putting it, but you know some people are crap at people skills or come from backgrounds that were tougher and more outspoken but it doesn't mean they don't have ears. It also doesn't mean the info must communicated this way, but it was part of the culture. Not even a hurtful thing.

    If I was to say something like 'hey man - you have done so much work - I can hear Lester Young, Cannonball Adderly and Sonny Stitt (say) - but what's your voice?' (assuming a position of authority.) The point still stands ...

    Actually there is no 'nice' way to say because it is deeply challenging and cuts through to the centre of what art is about. Who are you?

    The point being that a certain approach to transcription can result in that type of playing. It's a stage you pass through right?

    If you are a serious jazz musician, these are precisely the sorts of questions you need to be brought into contact with every day. You can't be doing it for the money. (And it's perfectly possible to be a professional musician with loads of gigs and no voice of your own - or an amateur with an original voice.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-19-2017 at 05:24 PM.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    'yeah I have all those records, too.'

    "so, don't you like them?"

    "cool, what's your dj name?"

    "yeah, so does kenny g"

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Oz
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    140
    What one runs into sometimes is simply the bitter part of someone's own disappointment in the expectations they have of the music and their own careers.
    Its going to happen if you travel and encounter lots of musicians and different playing situations. You might also find yourself that close to being one of those people if something crosses you the wrong way - we are all human. After being on the receiving end of this a few times over the years I think carefully about what I say - especially to younger players. Theres usually nothing to be gained by being an a**hole.
    "I thought I was in Heaven, but I was only up a tree"

  12. #42
    regarding feedback, this is a tough thing to discuss because culturally (and generationally) it varies so much. I would have no problem with an elder statesman making a remark like that to me, and would take it as completely constructive. but, like everyone else, I'm a product of my environment. In many cultures that kind of comment is simply not ever appropriate.

    In the context of the NYC jazz scene, especially with older musicians who are as a rule, a lot more surly to each other and everyone else, that kind of comment is just part of the game. If you want to spend time hanging out with older musicians, you get comfortable with that kind if thing quickly.

    Not everyone's cup of tea, surely. But, I think it's impossible to talk about that kind of comment outside the cultural context it was given (which christian did a great job of explaining, and why I feel I can comment on it).

  13. #43
    Just because everyone else has said it in this thread, I’m going to say it, too: twat. Thank you.

  14. #44

    Limitations of transcription

    My mediocre jazz guitar duo was playing a gig for nobody at a “spiritual” bookstore. An old dude who plays sax out on the street, with a hat on the sidewalk for donations, came in for a drink of water. We struck up a conversation, hinting that maybe he’d like to play a tune with us. We were on break so he hadn’t heard us, but he declined to play anyhow. His reasoning was that he had come up under the tutelage of Joe Henderson and it would be disrespectful to Joe if he should play with us. He drank his water then went back outside with his donation hat.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    (Spurts coffee and scrambled egg across table...)
    "Each heart vibrates to that iron string."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    (who obviously played in Carl Kress tuning)

  16. #46
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    Mar 2013
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    Waaaankaaaarrr!!!!

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