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  1. #1

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Makes total sense.

  4. #3

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    When people learn to play the piano, what they play are whole complete songs (which are called "pieces" for some strange reason), and the piano is the whole song, all parts being played by just the piano. This goes on for years, practicing, lessons, recitals, all for the piano, by the piano, and only on the piano. Academic piano practice comprises hallways of little rooms, each with a lone piano, scheduled by a sing-up sheet on the door, and occupied pretty much 24/7.

    Jazz Cat Matt 19:24
    “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a guitarist to cut volume to a combo mix level, than for a pianist to enter into the kingdom of jazz.”

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    When people learn to play the piano, what they play are whole complete songs (which are called "pieces" for some strange reason), and the piano is the whole song, all parts being played by just the piano. This goes on for years, practicing, lessons, recitals, all for the piano, by the piano, and only on the piano. Academic piano practice comprises hallways of little rooms, each with a lone piano, scheduled by a sing-up sheet on the door, and occupied pretty much 24/7.

    Jazz Cat Matt 19:24
    “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a guitarist to cut volume to a combo mix level, than for a pianist to enter into the kingdom of jazz.”
    Good point. BTW regarding song vs piece, I think songs are sung. Say Moonlight Sonata technically is not a song. But I get your point.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-28-2021 at 01:04 PM.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Good point. BTW regarding song vs piece, songs are sung. Say Moonlight Sonata technically is not a song. But I get your point.
    ahahahahahaha

  7. #6

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    I've met a lot of pianists who can drive a jazz band. I mean, propel high energy music with great comping.

    I've only met a few guitarists who can do that.

    Similarly, a lot of pianists can manage a solo, duo or trio gig (referring to bass and drums) but fewer guitarists. It has been done well (check out "Get Me Joe Beck" for a great example), but it's hard to do.

    Sonny Rollins makes an excellent point -- acknowledging that it's a little easier to choose guitar over piano, when the guitarist is Jim Hall.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 08-28-2021 at 05:05 PM.

  8. #7
    Look no further than Ed Bickert for trio comping:

  9. #8
    Actually I don't know if Sonny Rollins was specifically talking about the trio context in the interview. I thought he'd done some guitar trios, so I just assumed that, but it need not be, obviously.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-28-2021 at 06:23 PM.

  10. #9

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    But his premise that all pianists play that way is a false premise. There are more pianists who know when and what to lay out than not.

    He’d have been better to simply say he prefers playing with a guitarist.

  11. #10

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    Listen to Sonny Rollins with Herbie Hancock on RCA and you can hear his annoyance.

    I love this man.

  12. #11

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    I think Sonny had reservations about the piano quite early on, he made 2 trio recordings in 1957 with no piano (Way Out West, and A Night at the Village Vanguard). That line-up (sax, bass, drums) was very unusual at the time. It’s more common now, possibly because of Sonny’s influence.

  13. #12

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    I think in general, the guitar as an instrument sounds sparser and the guitarists choose to play it that way as well. I think it's something about the piano's percussive attack that makes it sound off if it's played sparsely. That isn't to say pianists don't know how to leave space. Look at Monk, he would just lay out all the time because he felt like it.

  14. #13

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    A while back, one of my friends said that they preferred to have a guitar in the ensemble rather than a piano because it kept things more 'open' harmonically.
    It definitely tends to be less dense, since a pianist might be voicing chords with six notes between the left and right hands combined where the average guitar comping style makes do with three or four.
    Add in the fact that we're usually not playing a lot of close voiced chords in most combo settings, and it tends to keep the soloist happy.
    When i played in the jazz duo with a soprano sax, i played a lot of Freddie Green style voicings, emphasising the roots, 3rds, and 7ths and trying not to play too many alterations, which gave the sax a lot of freedom.
    The best compliments i got were when folks would come up and say how full the sound was with just two instruments, but in my mind we were really a jazz quartet, except that i played the role of the pianist, the bassist, and the drummer.
    i only got one paycheck, though, LOL.

  15. #14

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    Great discussion, Tal!
    So, let's make a few generalizations:
    1. The piano has been described as a "complete orchestra" by most academicians/musicians. This is certainly valid
    to anyone who listens to solo piano.
    2. The guitar has also been described ,as above, especially-- among Classical guitarists. Also valid.
    Well, what's the difference? Both can play shell voicings; use silence as a musical statement and be creative without dominating
    the musical interplay. It's simply musical personality and how one chooses to play behind the soloist. One only needs to
    listen to a few pianists to see how different their approach is when playing behind a soloist.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    Here's Tommy Flannagan playing behind Coltrane. Obtrusive? Dominating? . . . or just plain tasty?
    M


  16. #15
    Also as guitar players we are used to being in a more understated role when it comes to comping. If there is a keyboard player in the band, it is understood that the keyboardist is the alpha comper. If there are two guitar players, we trade roles. One tune maybe one guitar becomes the main harmonic load bearer the other one becomes the the filler and visa versa.

    I guess piano players don't get as much practice being in that more introverted role.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-29-2021 at 12:27 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    But his premise that all pianists play that way is a false premise. There are more pianists who know when and what to lay out than not.

    He’d have been better to simply say he prefers playing with a guitarist.
    I agree.

    Creatively ambitious young musicians have always found opportunities to play with other musicians in a variety of contexts. It used to happen through informal mentorship and sitting in at clubs. Now they go to conservatories and play in all kinds of situations. Pianists aren't just playing solo piano with a rhythm section.

  18. #17

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    lol, we all know better than Sonny Rollins what suits him.

  19. #18

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    It's both the capability of each instrument AND the idiom.

    Guitars can only play max 6 notes at a time and they usually only play 3 or 4 to comp with thinner lines connecting the chords if any, unless it's PG. Piano can slam down max 10 notes at once, hold the pedal, and fill out countless more between chords to make a whole texture of harmony.

    Then there's what's idiomatic to each instrument. It sounds great if guitarists comp sparse shell voicings and leave space. With piano if you did that, it sounds kind of off and like the pianist is playing badly. That isn't to say that any good pianist can't leave as much space as a guitar, it's just idiomatic of each instrument to be played that way.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    If there is a keyboard player in the band, it is understood that the keyboardist is the alpha comper.
    I've seen that often here on this forum, but why is that? Why can't the piano play lay out and let the guitar be the alpha comper?
    TBH, in my limited experience in jazz, the piano players that joined a jam where I was already comping simply started doing their one-man-band-thing without even making eye contact with the person that was already comping. I've even walked out a jam once with such a thing happening.

    Maybe in general there are many misconceptions about the guitar. On my most recent 'band camp' after having played three days with a base player, drummer and lots of horn players, one of the saxophone players who was doing some scales as a warm up, said to me; "aren't you glad you never have to practice these scales?". I said: "because the last three days I only played chords in my solo's you mean?". He looked at me a bit puzzled and I said: "If I want to play single lines I need to know scales right? And if I want to know how chords are built, I need to know scales, right?". He said: "I thought you only need to play a few chords".

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Sonny Rollins Video:
    Space... The final frontier...


    .

  22. #21

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    It appears to me that SR was trapped into a polarised strawman argument during a general interview. He was given only two choices and he could pick only one. It's not as if he walked out on stage and began this discussion by himself.

    He chose guitarists who were gifted in replacing a pianist. Most guitarists like that are difficult to find on Main Street.

    One thing I can add to the conversation is that the tone of each instrument differs. The pure, clean tone of the piano, especially the bell-like electric piano or the harsh clavinet, can begin to compete with a brass instrument, especially when sustained, while the guitar string tone has more odd upper partial harmonics that contrasts with a saxophone, producing some separation. Also the softer tones of the guitar die out quicker, so less interference. Not including pedals, high amplification and special effects, of course.

    If Sonny Rollins feels that way, where he would give the slight edge to a guitarist, it would behoove us to listen to pianists much more closer than we do, in spite of the 10 to 4 digit difference. And more of Jim Hall and Ed Bickert.

    ...

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Joeontheguitar
    I've seen that often here on this forum, but why is that? Why can't the piano play lay out and let the guitar be the alpha comper?
    The same reason why if there is a horn player in the band, they play the head and they are the alpha soloists. It's just the culture and history of jazz. Horns, the piano, double bass and drums are the primary jazz instruments in most people's minds I think.

    Of course there is also some degree of meritocracy here. Most horn players are better soloists than most guitar players in terms of melodic content, tone production, articulation and dynamics; and most objective listeners in the live audience would prefer sax or trumpet as an instrument to play the head over a guitar.

    Also most pianists have a better understanding of the harmony and they are better at throwing around chord voices than most guitar players too probably. At least that's the perception.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-29-2021 at 06:14 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    lol, we all know better than Sonny Rollins what suits him.
    And who wants to push a piano up a bridge?

  25. #24

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  26. #25

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    And Peter Bernstein! If I remember correctly from an interview, Peter played some 80 concerts with Sonny.

    Sonny's always had a bit of a thing for calypso. That's more guitar than piano music, tho Flanagan did OK on St Thomas :-)