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  1. #1

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    Lately I find that playing with other musicians distracts me. I'm trying to work out an idea, and they keep getting into my head with other stuff. Come on, let me do my thing for a chorus - then I'll get out of the spotlight, OK?

    I never really bought the idea that jazz is a "conversation" between a group of players. When I listen to Charlie Parker recordings, his accompanists seem to basically stay out of his way - I like that concept.

    I read somewhere about a top modern jazz guitarist who prefers only bass and drums for accompaniment - that way he doesn't feel "boxed in".

    I remember years ago playing a few gigs in a fifties band where a hardcore free-jazz drummer was subbing. I'd play a rhythmic solo on "Johnny B. Goode" and the guy would "answer" me like a parody of Elvin Jones. Most annoying.

    Or it could be that I'm not a jazz player... or possibly I am an egotistical moron ... thanks for any replies.

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  3. #2

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    I love when the other musicians clearly are listening; but, if it's not your solo, you're supposed to be supporting (not competing with or leading) the soloist.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    Lately I find that playing with other musicians distracts me. I'm trying to work out an idea, and they keep getting into my head with other stuff. Come on, let me do my thing for a chorus - then I'll get out of the spotlight, OK?

    I never really bought the idea that jazz is a "conversation" between a group of players. When I listen to Charlie Parker recordings, his accompanists seem to basically stay out of his way - I like that concept.

    I read somewhere about a top modern jazz guitarist who prefers only bass and drums for accompaniment - that way he doesn't feel "boxed in".

    I remember years ago playing a few gigs in a fifties band where a hardcore free-jazz drummer was subbing. I'd play a rhythmic solo on "Johnny B. Goode" and the guy would "answer" me like a parody of Elvin Jones. Most annoying.

    Or it could be that I'm not a jazz player... or possibly I am an egotistical moron ... thanks for any replies.
    Record a solo and try comping for yourself. One way to find out what you are like to play with.

    Players (esp rhythm section) who don't understand the style are as annoying as hell to play with. Often it's a problem for swing/traddy/NOLA style gigs where you'd really rather a 50's rock'n'roll drummer than a modern jazz player. Often players think jazz = philly joe = ride. It doesn't work with rhythm guitar etc...

    Personally in modern jazz most of my groups are pianoless. Guitar and piano work great when there's a set rhythmic comping pattern - for instance, maybe a bolero feel or an old school swing feel with straight 4 guitar. When the chordal instruments are comping it's all too easy to get in each other's way.

    I like to comp...

    BUT - on the other hand, the audience isn't interested in what's going on in your stupid head, just the overall musical effect.

    You might feel struggle, confusion, distraction, but maybe actually what the audience hears is a bit more interesting than what you meant to play. Maybe what you meant to play wasn't that great really, and the thing you played when you got a bit discombobulated by some drum fill was more interesting and interactive.

    I've learnt that the things I think work the best on gig often don't sound good listening back a few days later, and things that seemed like hard work or frustrating can seem more interesting.

    So I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a good judge of my music in the moment, and maybe it's cool to go with the flow a bit more, let people change the course of my playing, trip me up a bit, for the greater good.

    It reminds me a bit of the mind games Miles used to play with his bands.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    It reminds me a bit of the mind games Miles used to play with his bands.
    Could you please elaborate? I never heard this before. Thanks

    Doug

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    Could you please elaborate? I never heard this before. Thanks

    Doug
    Holy shit! Where to begin.....

    Let's start with the guitar.

    To John McLaughlin (on the In a Silent Way sessions):
    'Hey John can you play that tune just on the guitar?'
    'Well give me a moment, there's lots of chords...'
    'Well, why don't you play guitar like you don't know how to play guitar?'

    OR after his first session with Miles.

    McLaughlin 'I don't understand.... was that any good?'
    Herbie 'Welcome to a Miles Davis session!'

    i'm sure others can add some more...

  7. #6

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    Didn’t he go up to Cannonball Adderley while Coltrane was playing and say ‘listen to him, he’s great, why don’t you play like that?’

    Then when Cannonball took his solo, Miles went up to Coltrane and said ‘listen to him, he’s great, why don’t you play like that?’

  8. #7

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    Gary Bartz was getting pissed off at Keith Jarrett’s over comping on his solos, asked Miles to say something.

    Miles said - ‘hey Keith, Gary loves what you are doing, do it more!!’

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    Lately I find that playing with other musicians distracts me. I'm trying to work out an idea, and they keep getting into my head with other stuff. Come on, let me do my thing for a chorus - then I'll get out of the spotlight, OK?
    Go play alone. I'm not trying to be rude: If playing with people bothers you then stop.

    For what it's worth, that thing which annoys you is precisely what I value most as a jazz lover and a jazz musician. It's what keeps me plugging through another round of some piece I started working on forty-five years ago. It's one of the reasons I wake up.

    But that's me.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  10. #9

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    The list of evil deeds by The 'Prince of Darkness' is never ending. At Bill Evans first rehearsal with Miles, he was told by Miles, "Yeah, you sound good, but if you want to be a member of my group, you have to suck my cock- right now!"
    Bill Evans actually sat there and thought about it for a minute or two, and then told him, "Miles, I'm sorry, but I really don't think I can do that."
    Miles looked at him in disbelief, and then started laughing his head off at him. That was a true story, related by Evans, but this next one was never verified:
    Bill Evans finishes playing a solo at a rehearsal, and Miles shakes his head at him. Bill Evans asks Miles what the problem was.
    Miles tells him "You're rushing, man. You've gotta do something to relax your playing more."
    Bill Evans says to Miles, "But what can I do, Miles?"
    Then Philly Joe Jones motions for Bill to follow him into another room, and shoots Bill up with heroin.
    Bill Evans comes back, high on heroin, and they play another tune. After Bill's solo, Miles says, "Now that's much better!"

  11. #10

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    That's what I get for asking!!!!




    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Holy shit! Where to begin.....

    Let's start with the guitar.

    To John McLaughlin (on the In a Silent Way sessions):
    'Hey John can you play that tune just on the guitar?'
    'Well give me a moment, there's lots of chords...'
    'Well, why don't you play guitar like you don't know how to play guitar?'

    OR after his first session with Miles.

    McLaughlin 'I don't understand.... was that any good?'
    Herbie 'Welcome to a Miles Davis session!'

    i'm sure others can add some more...

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    Lately I find that playing with other musicians distracts me. I'm trying to work out an idea, and they keep getting into my head with other stuff.

    Come on, let me do my thing for a chorus - then I'll get out of the spotlight, OK?
    Are you saying they're encroaching on your solo? That's bad manners on their part and not your fault. You better let them know!

    Or, when you say 'I'm trying to work out an idea', you're sort of doing your private practice in public? And so immersed in it that any other sounds are distracting you? It's not clear what you mean.

    Really, everybody should be listening to everybody else.

    The axiom in my day was that if you're accompanying someone and you can't hear what they're doing you're too damn loud.

  13. #12

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    Thanks for the replies. Working with other people is something I find difficult. Maybe it's more of a "psychology" thing than a "music" thing...

  14. #13

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    Become Jacob Collier

  15. #14

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    Maybe study chord melody playing to become a single and be the next Joe Pass? :-}

    Doug

  16. #15

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    For most musicians, jazz is about playing with others.

  17. #16

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    Nah it's all about YouTube mate

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    For most musicians, jazz is about playing with others.
    Yeah, and sometimes it's about everyone overplaying at the same time...

  19. #18

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    Sounds like you need to find better, more mature musicians to play with.

    I play in a jazz group regularly where everyone understands the difference between a solo and accompaniment. Jazz and music is about communication through sound - when someone takes a solo, your job is to support them so they sound the best they can. BUT, I have played with immature musicians that would overplay constantly, and step all over other people' solos as if they were jealous or something. I simply stopped calling them for gigs. Problem solved

  20. #19

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    it's so hard to say something without hearing your playing... who know maybe you are crazy introvert who would blame the looper in interfereing with his ideas..

    no offence... but really it is hard to judge such things from words only...)))

    I always felt it is a great fun of interacting with others... but on the othe rhand it should be subtle, not too blantant and straight forward like primitive responsive-imitations (though it works sometimes too in some entertaining show style)...

    Also the soloist like Bird or Trane can force the band to 'shut up and support' I think... it is just that his playing is so overwhelming that they cannot interfere into it...

    And some otheres like Miles can just say 'shut up' like here

    Last edited by Jonah; 02-18-2019 at 10:25 AM.

  21. #20

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    Me too. Where do I sign up?

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Become Jacob Collier

  22. #21

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    You have to wear a dressing gown for the rest of your life.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    Lately I find that playing with other musicians distracts me. I'm trying to work out an idea, and they keep getting into my head with other stuff. Come on, let me do my thing for a chorus - then I'll get out of the spotlight, OK?

    I never really bought the idea that jazz is a "conversation" between a group of players. When I listen to Charlie Parker recordings, his accompanists seem to basically stay out of his way - I like that concept.

    I read somewhere about a top modern jazz guitarist who prefers only bass and drums for accompaniment - that way he doesn't feel "boxed in".

    I remember years ago playing a few gigs in a fifties band where a hardcore free-jazz drummer was subbing. I'd play a rhythmic solo on "Johnny B. Goode" and the guy would "answer" me like a parody of Elvin Jones. Most annoying.

    Or it could be that I'm not a jazz player... or possibly I am an egotistical moron ... thanks for any replies.
    You may need to simply say something like “I would prefer you to accompany me in a more supportive manner because I am trying to out some new concepts and I need support”.
    Singers say that kind of thing all the time.


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