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  1. #1

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    I don't want to take away from the Bobby Broom thread--I was considering moving to Chi-Town so I could study with Andy Brown, Bobby Broom, and Greg Fishman...

    Alas, I can't just move to a new place to study with great jazz musicians (if only).

    I was wondering if anyone else closes their eyes to connect with the music when they play in performance situations. I'm not talking about "look ma, no eyes" showing off. I'm talking about closing your eyes to connect on a deeper level with what you play and how others play around you.

    I find that I can access more sounds in my inner ear if I close my eyes. I also find that I am more strategic with the fretboard when I close my eyes. That doesn't mean that I play everything in position--quite the opposite--I shift all around the board (and it feels right).

    I can also hear the bass more clearly.

    And if I close my eyes, I don't have to worry about others watching me play--it curbs my performance anxiety.

    Just wondering if anyone else feels the same. I know Kurt Rosenwinkie (I know how to spell his name) does the whole eye lids fluttering "playing from another state of consciousness" thing. Maybe there's something to that?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    In my experience (which is not as much as the OP's), playing with eyes closed can help access some "other" levels. I've gone through periods where I only played without looking. Currently I'm OK with letting myself look but I can't say that I'm qualified to comment on whether one is better or not. Peter Bernstein tends to look most of the time IIRC, and it's hard to argue with that. I do think one should be able to play without looking.

    Regarding the eyes fluttering thing / Rosenwinkle, I studied with a local horn player in a combo setting for about 5 years...when he's in the zone he does the same thing with the fluttering eyes. You can tell that's when he's in the zone, or perhaps especially in the zone when that happens....seems like it happens mostly mid-solo, not at the beginning or near the end when bringing it home and preparing to pass off. Others often just close their eyes without noticeable fluttering.

  4. #3

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    I used to when I was playing in rock bands, during a 'big solo', but never really felt like it in a jazz setting. I dunno why... I gotta look deeper and figure it out.

    But also I don't wanna lose a contact with the audience. Some interesting things happen while we playing in the places we playing, so there is that too.

  5. #4

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    Always, when I don't have to look at the music. Unfortunately, when I have a solo in the big bands I play in, I can't keep my eyes shut, because I'm usually sight reading. I'm usually set up in the front line, right next to the tenor soloist, and they're always the best soloists in the band, so I'm intimidated by them. Any visual distractions interfere with the flow of my playing.

  6. #5

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    I've done it occasionally and it helps my phrasing with difficult bits
    just for a moment tho
    most of the time I'm looking at the neck
    or the drummer trying to lock in

  7. #6
    I'm glad I just play jam sessions at the moment. I tend to get REALLY into what everyone is playing, especially the drummer--if he/she is really grooving. My wife came to one of my sessions back in NYC and she said that I looked like I was exorcising the devil or something. Hey, I have fun--who says rock musicians get to have all the fun?

  8. #7

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    I've spent so much time sight reading that when I'm not playing charts, I don't have a tendency to look at the neck anymore. I like looking at other players or the audience instead. Closing my eyes doesn't seem to do much, I can concentrate w/o doing that. I understand the motive for others, if it helps them.

  9. #8

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    Maybe a little strange but sometimes I find it better to close my eyes and use my “mental picture “ of the fretboard rather than actually looking at it. I’ve talked to several guitarists who said the same. I notice Lage Lund tends to often roll his eyes up to the ceiling; certainly works well for him.

  10. #9

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    I like it, it really makes you concentrate on listening.

  11. #10

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    I might close my eyes for a few seconds every now and then, and I think it's fine for any others that do, for whatever reasons.

    What I don't do, and what I don't like others doing is the little too overly expressive head bobbing, head shaking, weird mouth shapes, eye rolling, and other movements that stink of affectation (not the little natural things, but the ones over the top that look as faked as a lead rock guitarist bending one long easy high note but projecting the posture, face, and image of extreme intensity of effort - it's that "See, I'm digging deep into my soul to summon up my unique and profound musical gift just for you!" thing, you know what I mean).

    The eyes fluttering thing / Rosenwinkle... don't like that either; that "fluttering" looks more like a twitch or tic caused by the mental grinding of gears from thinking about theory while playing, similar to those who appear to be talking to themselves (their lips moving) as they play... Rosenwinkle seems to do that, too.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    I might close my eyes for a few seconds every now and then, and I think it's fine for any others that do, for whatever reasons.

    What I don't do, and what I don't like others doing is the little too overly expressive head bobbing, head shaking, weird mouth shapes, eye rolling, and other movements that stink of affectation (not the little natural things, but the ones over the top that look as faked as a lead rock guitarist bending one long easy high note but projecting the posture, face, and image of extreme intensity of effort - it's that "See, I'm digging deep into my soul to summon up my unique and profound musical gift just for you!" thing, you know what I mean).

    The eyes fluttering thing / Rosenwinkle... don't like that either; that "fluttering" looks more like a twitch or tic caused by the mental grinding of gears from thinking about theory while playing, similar to those who appear to be talking to themselves (their lips moving) as they play... Rosenwinkle seems to do that, too.
    Well, Sco does those kind of 'extreme' mouth shapes and face expression sometimes... To the point it's almost funny, but I think it's naturally connected to the sounds he gets out of his guitar. Long sustain notes, string bends, overdrive, funny faces- it all seem connected and make sense.

    If you do that playing big archtop through a cleanest amp... then maybe not so much.

    Don't mean to turn it into the Guitar Faces thread btw, just playing along.

  13. #12
    yes, let's turn it into the Guitar Faces Thread

    Granted, I usually make those faces when other people solo. When I solo, I close my eyes to get me away from the distractions of my knobs, fretboard, people in the audience, people on stage--etc.

    And closing my eyes brings me closer to the most important element--the SOUNDS I create (or fail to create)

  14. #13

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    I tend to keep my eyes open so I can dodge any flying bottles.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I tend to keep my eyes open so I can dodge any flying bottles.
    Word!

    The places I used to play (not all dives, but not jazz rooms, either), a moment's inattention could get a guy hurt. Not joking.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I tend to keep my eyes open so I can dodge any flying bottles.

  17. #16

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    When I do that i usually miss a cue

  18. #17

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    I've played some with a drummer who kept his eyes closed.

    The band was accustomed to using some visual signals, every one of which he missed.

  19. #18
    visual cues aren't hip these days:


  20. #19

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    RosenwinKEL.

  21. #20
    RosenwinKIE

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87
    visual cues aren't hip these days:

    Oh they nicked that idea from Krantz

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87
    I don't want to take away from the Bobby Broom thread--I was considering moving to Chi-Town so I could study with Andy Brown, Bobby Broom
    I'm not sure when Bobby teaches around here, but hes at the showcase this weekend, and does the Thursday jam at Andys... which is half the jazz clubs in town

    Re: eyes closed...I suppose you have to be careful not to miss a cue/communication from other players, but there's definitely something to being "in the zone" like that. You remove a sense, the others heighten. Hopefully the band has good hygiene.

  24. #23
    so there aren't that many jam sessions in Chi-town?

    Move to Washington, Jeffy B! I think it's better for teachers out here as well.

  25. #24

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    Oh, my jam session days are over, for now at least. I have a bedtime.

  26. #25

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    Room completely darkened beats playing eyes closed.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    I might close my eyes for a few seconds every now and then, and I think it's fine for any others that do, for whatever reasons.
    What I don't do, and what I don't like others doing is the little too overly expressive head bobbing, head shaking, weird mouth shapes, eye rolling, and other movements that stink of affectation (not the little natural things, but the ones over the top that look as faked as a lead rock guitarist bending one long easy high note but projecting the posture, face, and image of extreme intensity of effort - it's that "See, I'm digging deep into my soul to summon up my unique and profound musical gift just for you!" thing, you know what I mean).


  28. #27

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    Playing Guitar With Your Eyes Closed-c9d48cbc-394d-488e-9850-861cd6eaed57-jpg

  29. #28

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    I b s?
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Playing Guitar With Your Eyes Closed-c9d48cbc-394d-488e-9850-861cd6eaed57-jpg

  30. #29

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    Straining to get the notes out.

  31. #30

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    Graham, you beat me to it! He's been doing that since he took a solo with Simon and Garfunkel at the Central Park Concert in the 70s.
    He's a smart dude; he knows people listen with their eyes.

  32. #31
    Nah, he's doing that look because he's secretly jamming to Kenny G in his head.

    I can't escape this man, no matter how hard I try

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh they nicked that idea from Krantz
    John McLaughlin talks about being totally lost on joining Miles because the band had so many non verbal as well as musical cues, Miles would look a certain way, or play a few random (to McLaughlin) notes & the next tune would start without being named, let alone counted off.

  34. #33

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    Chick Corea talks about the importance of sightlines on the bandstand - 25.40 if you can't wait,

    01: Inside Chick's CD: The Making of the Vigil with Tim Garland [Podcast] - Chick Corea Music Workshops

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87
    Nah, he's doing that look because he's secretly jamming to Kenny G in his head.

    I can't escape this man, no matter how hard I try
    That's because he's after all of us! If you want a good time at PM's expense, read Gary Burton's autobiography, He reams PM for an entire page, talking about how he had to fire PM, because he was acting like a goon; getting into shouting matches with GB when he was in his group. He also said that PM would go back into the studio, and do "little fixes" on all of his solos.
    Jim Hall also complained about PM doing that to such an extent on the album he made with PM, that he couldn't even listen to it again, because PM had turned it into some type of "Frankenstein's Monster" by doing all his "little fixes".
    I could say more, but I'd probably have to kill you!

  36. #35
    Pat gets off telling every new guitar player (except for Grasso) sounds like him. His whole diatribe against Kenny G was beyond obnoxious--I don't like Kenny G either--but, grow up! I just don't like him.

    Whatever, one persons hate for Pat Metheny won't hurt him any! Just don't ever compare my sound to his (cue everyone on the forum telling me that I sound like Pat Metheny)

    And even as someone who wears his hair a little long, I gotta say, cut your hair, Pat! What happened to class? Look at George Benson, class!

  37. #36

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    While PM is not my fav player by far, i dont buy his albums (except the one he did with Sco- that was awesome!), or go to his shows etc, I still would prefer him to most modern post Rosenwinkle players. At least he has some rocknroll in him, and not nearly as nerdy. Go Pat, make those faces!

  38. #37

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    I prefer Pat as a sideman.

    I went to see the PMG about 15 years ago. I found it quite boring, everyone else in the audience was absolutely loving it. I came to the conclusion then that I don't really like PMG.

    Kurt is really great. Most of his imitators are talented guitar operators, but Kurt has a vibe.

  39. #38

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    Kurt is the Boss of academic jazz, he started it. He sure has a vibe, just not the right kind for me.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Kurt is the Boss of academic jazz, he started it. He sure has a vibe, just not the right kind for me.
    I don't think you can blame Kurt for that lol. I hold him responsible for many things, including the 30 years war, but I think academic jazz was well underway before Kurt turned up with his delay pedal and collection of headwear.

  41. #40
    I'd still see Kurt over Pat--and Pat would definitely say that Kurt is copying him.

    Meh, whatever.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Kurt is the Boss of academic jazz, he started it. He sure has a vibe, just not the right kind for me.
    Have you ever listened to his Reflections trio album? I just don't understand where this "he's too academic" thing comes from, or the "he's thinking too hard about theory" jab I've heard once or twice.

  43. #42
    I've never been the biggest fan of Kurt's tone--it's important to get granular with what you like and don't like in the musicians you listen to--but his melodic and harmonic concepts are very interesting to me. If academic means stilted, than I think that's wrong. I really like how Kurt applies George Van Eps's concepts into his own harmonic voice--that's what I am trying to do--it's HARD!

    Kurt's big band stuff is very exciting as well.

  44. #43

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    When I say academic, i mean their music is removed from the 'street' as far as possible. Jazz was born on the streets (of New Orleans) and my fav players, I can still hear the connection. That or the blues/rocknroll. My fav guitarists, from Charlie Christian to Sco, I can hear it. Sco's biggest influence is BB King. 'Nough said.

    Starting from Kurt, I can't hear it anymore. Sophisticated harmony is not a big deal to me. I wanna party.

  45. #44
    I meant how Kurt voices his "chord movement"

    Hep, you should watch the Fareed livestream I posted on the Ear Training Journal--you'd REALLY dig it. Everyone keeps asking Fareed "what scale do you use here, what scale do you use there?" Fareed says something like "our favorite jazz musicians knew how to take a blues scale, add some chromaticism, and make music with it". Then he starts to talk about his Chicago influences. He's a party player through and through.

    Also, Hep--you'd get a kick out of this--I went to another jam session last night. It was a mix of young and old. One of the older bass players kept talking about how everyone sounds like they came from Berklee. I ask him if he can tell the difference between East and West, and he said it all sounds the same. I played a couple of tunes and he pats my back, smiles, and says "You sound very New York!"

    I guess I'm actually making progress with my playing

  46. #45

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    Cool Irez, I'll check it out!

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87
    I'd still see Kurt over Pat--and Pat would definitely say that Kurt is copying him.

    Meh, whatever.
    I've seen PM play several times and listened to a good few albums but I just don't get it. "Question and Answer" is the only album he's done that I'd want to hear again, and even then it isn't a desert island disc or anything, just a fairly enjoyable album.

    Interesting that some posters are complaining Kurt is a bit cerebral/bloodless because that's exactly my problem with Pat. His skills are undeniable but they don't translate into music I particularly want to hear.

    Rosenwinkel on the other hand is one of my favourite players and the one time I saw him live was mind blowing, among the best concerts I've seen in any genre.

    As people my impressions of both are pretty negative tbh but in terms of the depth of my response to the music Kurt is on a different level so the differences seem to be mattering more to me than the similarities. All one man's subjective response of course.

  48. #47

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    This video, Irez? Yea, thanks for hipping me up to Fareed, that's a player I can listen and learn from!

    Funny, his name doesn't come up often. It should!


  49. #48

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    I had a gig with one of Kurt protege's once. He was subbing for one of the regulars. What was supposed to be an easy-peasy trio brunch gig turned into quite torturous 3 hours for me. Bass and two guitars, all standards (the owner loves blues, so that what we are set out to play a lot), what can go wrong? Let's just say that the concept of simple jazz rhythm guitar or blues shuffle was pretty much lost on him. His lines were beautiful though, I could tell that's what he spent his most time practicing. Very smooth and clever, nice dreamy tone... just like his hero. Ask to play ala Freddie Green or lay down solid blues groove- lost in the water!

  50. #49

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    Yeah I always find that odd. I mean have they not listened to Jim Hall? He’s a dab hand at rhythm stuff.

    I think they just think it’s not hip. Whereas actually not playing the gig is not hip.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Yeah I always find that odd. I mean have they not listened to Jim Hall? He’s a dab hand at rhythm stuff.

    I think they just think it’s not hip. Whereas actually not playing the gig is not hip.
    Jim Hall was really good at that stuff indeed. Maybe he's not hip enough either.