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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    And its sanctimonious nonsense like this that puts young people off getting involved in jazz at all.
    Fraid not. Guitarbuddy has a life-long career in this music as a performer and a teacher. He's a proven person. You on the other hand, have distinguished yourself for (a) having trouble keeping up with the Aebersold backing tracks (b) Claiming bedroom amateurs on YouTube play better than Wes Montgomery (c) asserting the Joe Pass' solo playing is "not all that."

    You have now earned a spot on my very small, every exclusive "Ignore" list. Not everyone qualifies. Only the most ignorant and obnoxious people get on that list. You are no doubt proud.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    And its sanctimonious nonsense like this that puts young people off getting involved in jazz at all.

    Any proof of that stupid statement, troll? You've so far proven that you're basically a tasteless, unsophisticated loser. Keep going. I'm sure you can go even lower. And I'm just as sure that you cannot play at all.

  4. #53

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    Have always been a huge 'Joe' fan - I have probably more of his CDs (remember them?) than any other player because I appreciate solo guitar above all else. Loved the stuff he did with Ella but .........some of his solo stuff can get a little busy at times. Still a monster, though.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes.
    My interwebs must be broken, as I've never seen anything that remotely resembles what you describe.

  6. #55

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    Padraig:

    You’re in your mid 40’s? For real? Prove you are real. Come on troll.
    Anyway . Look, From what I’ve seen Joe was a sweet guy, but he clearly knew he was a genius. He also seemed to me to be highly critical of what he heard . Not in a mean way , just in a way where he knew what was jive. Do you think you could play with Joe , Padraig or whatever your name is. ?Could you run Rhythm Changes or Parker Blues or ATTYA through a few different keys while he blows side by side without him wanting to slap the shit out of you.? A lot of the people on this forum could. He did that with lots of people in music stores and stuff, and he seemed to love it. He did hundreds of tunes in all keys , all ways , in perfect time standing on his head. Can you even do the simplest stuff that he let some lucky folks do when they hung out with him?



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  7. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Jkniff26 View Post
    Padraig:

    You’re in your mid 40’s? For real? Prove you are real. Come on troll....
    Do you think you could play with Joe , Padraig or whatever your name is. ?Could you run Rhythm Changes or Parker Blues or ATTYA through a few different keys while he blows side by side without him wanting to slap the shit out of you.? A lot of the people on this forum could
    No I'm not going to "prove" anything about my identity to randoms on an Internet forum. But yes I am definitely in my 40s, mores the pity.

    And no of course I don't think I could "play with Joe", don't be so absurd.

    I clearly said he was technically great and knew his onions inside out. I also said I rate his work with ensembles or when he was an accompanist. He's brilliant with Ella Fitzgerald.

    All I said was his chord melody solo stuff wasn't that great to listen to. That jazz fans outside of the world of guitar probably wouldn't put on a solo Joe Pass album for pleasure.

    And I stand by that. People have pointed to my own shortcomings as a musician, as if in some way we're not allowed an opinion unless we can play as well as these guys? But that's missing the point, this is music. Music is supposed to be enjoyable, entertaining. And I have two functioning ears the same as the next person.

    I said it was an unpopular opinion, especially so on a forum full of jazz guitarists. Question though, who would you rather listen to play solo, Joe Pass or Bill Evans?

    I know my opinion is not terribly unpopular outside of guitar circles because this whole thing came from a discussion I was having with work colleagues last week, who are music teachers, brass and piano players who play jazz and teach jazz and arrange for bands and conduct bands. And their opinion was that jazz guitarists are usually the weakest link, to the point where they won't entertain them. Can't read music, can't play, can't swing, play from 'patterns', have no sense of balance when playing with others, limited repertoire, etc.

  8. #57

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    I like the post because I think it's good to be able to have respectful discussions about the individual preferences for styles of different players. Jazz legends shouldn't be made untouchable taboos. No player is perfect. Moreover people come to this music with different experiences and mindsets. But sometimes there is a tendency to take any criticism of the "jazz heroes" personally and turn hostile towards the poster.
    It's possible to articulate what you like and don't like about a certain players style. That's called art appreciation. It might help someone else to hear the artist differently, or not.
    For example if someone says "YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes.", I would say I don't hear that because Wes to me is not a lick player. That's just not how I hear him. To me Wes is more like a composer. I like how he develops a solo. How it all flows and comes together. I like his use of lots of space. I like his rhythmic feel. His music makes me tap my foot, bop my head.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-13-2019 at 02:38 PM.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    If a jazz teaching whom I was paying real money to for lessons told me Joe Pass could not swing properly, that would be my cue to drop that teacher

    Say what you want about Joe Pass, he could swing hard with the best of them. I don't know what makes someone thing he didn't.

    Honestly, I hear a lot of envy and jealousy in some of the "Joe Pass wasn't so great" talk. Not all of it, but some of it, for sure. His talent was so enormous, his knowledge of the repertoire so comprehensive, his ideas so unceasing, his technical fluency so limitless, and all delivered with a kind of off-hand nonchalance... it would be easy to want to simply slam my eyes shut and say it's not really that great.

    But it was.
    Luckily, that was a free college! At that time all education was free.

    I was very young and didnt know much about jazz, and frankly wasn't planning to be a serious jazz guitarist, all I wanted to play rock. But I still understood the teacher's general point, it's all about how you fit in a band. Driving swing is more important than virtuosity.

    Anyway, I do dig JP a lot now. He's a perfect guitarist to transcribe in jazz, his lines are so clear and really make sense. His group recordings and as a accompanist are brilliant!

    But still to this day I can't listen to his chord-melody solo stuff. He was a virtuoso, but his concept of how it's done don't appeal to me, it's just a taste preference.

  10. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I like the OP because I think it's good to be able to have respectful discussions about the individual preferences for styles of different players. Jazz legends shouldn't be made untouchable taboos.
    I like the OP too : P

    But no, on a serious note I agree with you. My post was intentially controversial, my intention being to start a discussion along the lines of do we think our guitar heroes really cut it with the wider jazz audience? Or is it a case of hero worship in an echo chamber?

    I titled it "unpopular opinion" for a reason. There are some lovely people who have commented and the discussion is good. It's sad that some people have chosen to call me things like "troll" but not unexpected. Is anyone that disagrees with us a troll now? Is that the new language of debate, if you offer an opinion that goes against the concensus you clearly have no motive other than to antagonise?

  11. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Anyway, I do dig JP a lot now. He's a perfect guitarist to transcribe in jazz, his lines are so clear and really make sense. His group recordings and as a accompanist are brilliant!
    One of the best things about this thread has been that it's made me listen to Joe's ensemble recordings more carefully than I have before. Previously I had heard his solo stuff, thought it was nothing more than meh, and other than that only heard him in "passing", when I was listening to recordings that he happened to play on.

    He was a very good band member. The stuff he did with Ella Fitzgerald was every bit as enjoyable as any pianist that could have backed her. Lots to learn from there.

  12. #61

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    The first Joe Pass stuff I heard was from ‘Catch Me’, which knocked me out and still does. I only heard the solo stuff later and it took me a while to get into it, as others have said Joe was a very ‘busy’ player sometimes. Here’s a track from Catch Me, I just wanted to be able to play solos like this!


  13. #62

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    I need to be in a certain mood to enjoy the more "busy" recordings of Joe Pass or Tal Farlow. But I never need to be in a certain mood to enjoy Charlie Parker. If I'm not in the mood, he gets me in the mood everytime. Even his busy playing.

  14. #63

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    About Joe’s solo stuff I would say that I always enjoyed it more live than on the records. I saw him several times at Ronnie Scott’s and seeing him play it live was completely different. There was a real sense of him ‘walking on a tightrope’, he even took a wrong turn sometimes but he skilfully recovered it every time. Which really made it seem that he had no pre-conceived idea of what he was going to play next. Also he hardly ever played the same tune more than once over the years as I recall.

    By comparison Martin Taylor (who I also saw there several times) was flawless and more polished, but always played the same core set of tunes. It didn’t seem as ‘off the cuff’ as Joe.

    The club was always full when Joe played, he certainly seemed to be a big draw.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Luckily, that was a free college! At that time all education was free.

    I was very young and didnt know much about jazz, and frankly wasn't planning to be a serious jazz guitarist, all I wanted to play rock. But I still understood the teacher's general point, it's all about how you fit in a band. Driving swing is more important than virtuosity.

    Anyway, I do dig JP a lot now. He's a perfect guitarist to transcribe in jazz, his lines are so clear and really make sense. His group recordings and as a accompanist are brilliant!

    But still to this day I can't listen to his chord-melody solo stuff. He was a virtuoso, but his concept of how it's done don't appeal to me, it's just a taste preference.
    That's a totally legit take. I think the issue is that Joe Pass does not do "chord melody" solo playing, not if you mean George Van Epps as the baseline. Joe Pass took solo guitar and shattered the boundaries limiting it just to chord-melody. He reduced many of the chords to fragments, inserted just enough walking bass to make you think he was doing more of it than he actually was, and he inserting long bebop lines in the damndest places where nobody would have thought a solo guitar player would do that. Throw in a few of his totally out of the sky key changes and realize he's doing it improvisationally with a driving swing feel that is just crazy. He scares me a little, to this day.

    So if you're looking for chord-melody in the Ted Greene/George Van Epps mode, Joe Pass is not your man. Chord melody is just one tool in his solo-guitar toolbox. I think that's the thing people forget. He didn't "do great chord-melody." He actually relegated it to a subordinate role in the larger picture of improvising on the solo guitar.

    Joe transformed and redefined solo guitar so that "mere" chord-melody no matter how clever the voicings and how stretchy the chords, just isn't enough any more.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    I like the OP too : P

    But no, on a serious note I agree with you. My post was intentially controversial, my intention being to start a discussion along the lines of do we think our guitar heroes really cut it with the wider jazz audience? Or is it a case of hero worship in an echo chamber?

    I titled it "unpopular opinion" for a reason. There are some lovely people who have commented and the discussion is good. It's sad that some people have chosen to call me things like "troll" but not unexpected. Is anyone that disagrees with us a troll now? Is that the new language of debate, if you offer an opinion that goes against the concensus you clearly have no motive other than to antagonise?
    you don't get it. people called you a troll because they gave you the benefit of the doubt.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    My post was intentially controversial, my intention being to start a discussion along the lines of do we think our guitar heroes really cut it with the wider jazz audience? Or is it a case of hero worship in an echo chamber?
    A point worthy of discussion. When I got into jazz it was fairly clear to me that the ‘heavy hitters’ in the genre were sax, trumpet and piano. Only a few big guitar names seemed to get similar attention e.g. Django, Charlie Christian, Wes. I can’t say this ever bothered me, presumably the same applies for flautists, violinists, trombonists etc.

    Whilst I appreciate and enjoy the guitarists, I have probably listened more to the horns and piano in terms of really understanding and learning what the essence of jazz is about, they are as big an influence on me. I don’t understand guitarists who only listen to guitarists, I think we should listen to and learn from all the great jazz players, on all instruments.

    Actually Wes Montgomery was probably one of the few guitarists that really did get wider jazz respect back in the day, he played a gig with Coltrane and was allegedly asked to join the band permanently, a truly unique honour for a guitarist. (He turned it down though!). He also became very popular with the wider public for his last few years with his ‘pop’ based records (which often contain great examples of how to play short melodic solos by the way).

    Nowadays I think the guitar is on more of an equal footing, looking at the current scene it seems that the newer generation of guitarists e.g. Julian Lage, Gilad Hekselman, etc. get to play with everybody and are considered equally as important.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    That's a totally legit take. I think the issue is that Joe Pass does not do "chord melody" solo playing, not if you mean George Van Epps as the baseline. Joe Pass took solo guitar and shattered the boundaries limiting it just to chord-melody. He reduced many of the chords to fragments, inserted just enough walking bass to make you think he was doing more of it than he actually was, and he inserting long bebop lines in the damndest places where nobody would have thought a solo guitar player would do that. Throw in a few of his totally out of the sky key changes and realize he's doing it improvisationally with a driving swing feel that is just crazy. He scares me a little, to this day.

    So if you're looking for chord-melody in the Ted Greene/George Van Epps mode, Joe Pass is not your man. Chord melody is just one tool in his solo-guitar toolbox. I think that's the thing people forget. He didn't "do great chord-melody." He actually relegated it to a subordinate role in the larger picture of improvising on the solo guitar.

    Joe transformed and redefined solo guitar so that "mere" chord-melody no matter how clever the voicings and how stretchy the chords, just isn't enough any more.
    I see, that's a perspective I haven't thought about. If I try to analyze what exactly I don't feel good about JP solo, I guess I'd say he often compromised the groove to be more adventures and virtuoso as a guitarist. He tried to stretch too much, fit as many notes as possible, or so it seems. Like he was trying to prove a point? Was too ambitious? If I hear ambitions in music it ruins it for me a bit. I want a party, not a labor.

    Just to make clear where I'm coming from in terms of solo guitar... There is this guy here, Jonathan Stout, we all know him, who's carrying on a tradition of pre bebop styles of jazz. His concept of solo guitar is what I think the most entertaining for me. More chords than single lines, always strummed rather than plucked classical style, it flows better that way! So this, or on the other, modern end of the spectrum, the minimalist approach of John Scofield, where again, the groove and flow is always incredible.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I see, that's a perspective I haven't thought about. If I try to analyze what exactly I don't feel good about JP solo, I guess I'd say he often compromised the groove to be more adventures and virtuoso as a guitarist. He tried to stretch too much, fit as many notes as possible, or so it seems. Like he was trying to prove a point? Was too ambitious? If I hear ambitions in music it ruins it for me a bit. I want a party, not a labor.

    Just to make clear where I'm coming from in terms of solo guitar... There is this guy here, Jonathan Stout, we all know him, who's carrying on a tradition of pre bebop styles of jazz. His concept of solo guitar is what I think the most entertaining for me. More chords than single lines, always strummed rather than plucked classical style, it flows better that way! So this, or on the other, modern end of the spectrum, the minimalist approach of John Scofield, where again, the groove and flow is always incredible.
    Well nobody here is going to knock Mr. Stout, especially not me!

    But if that's what you think of as the baseline for solo guitar, then sure, you are not going to go for Joe Pass's solo guitar style. But that's credible entirely because you have articulated specifically what you like.

    I disagree about JP sacrificing the groove. I think he maintains an amazing time and swing through what he does, given what he is reaching for. I don't think he's trying to prove anything. I think he's trying to find something. He reaches. He stretches. He takes risks, gets stuck, has to play himself out of a corner.

    That's improvisation, and that's what I love about his playing!

    But I get your perspective and see why you like what you do. All's good.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  20. #69

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    It’s the whole idea of let me say something confrontational and see how much response I get. I mean even if if you are a great jazz guitarist and this guy is not, but even if you are who cares if you don’t like Joe Pass or Wes Montgomery? What good does that debate really do anyone? It’s just worthless dribble. Joe was loved worldwide by real audiences. He was loved by Ray Brown , Oscar Peterson , Ella Fitzgerald , and man that’s some company. He is a titan. Why does it matter what some guy that may or may not be a real person thinks?
    Sorry, I should not have engaged. It’s a waste of time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Jkniff26 View Post
    Why does it matter what some guy that may or may not be a real person thinks?
    Lol, so I'm not a real person now?

  22. #71

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    I don't agree with the OP as I'm a JP fan and have been for years. Yes, I like his stuff with groups and Ella better than the later solo improvisational stuff because I just don't appreciate improvisation as much as a lot of the folks on here do - it bores me to tears. But I also got many of the same comments when I made a disparaging remark about Jimi Hendrix and on the acoustic forum when I said that I didn't care for Tommy Emmanuel's playing. It's seems that we can't express an opinion any more without being called names. Loved Johnny Smith, Wes, Herb, Charlie Byrd, and JP - don't enjoy Jim Hall that much or Pat Martino or Pat Metheny for that matter. It takes all kinds, though.

  23. #72

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    I'm late to this post, so my question is . . . What?

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by ESCC View Post
    I'm late to this post, so my question is . . . What?
    Haha that was my thought too, you mean Joe Pass wasn’t all that...WHAT?

    At least he used to finish his sentences.

  25. #74

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    I have listened to "sports" fans go into the "who was the best" thing and there was always someone who would say.."I dont think this player is/was that good" and all that..now we have to realize these opinions are just that..

    when I studied with Ted Greene I saw him make "mistakes" and he would just acknowledge them and move on..which only made him more just a guy who plays guitar and I could relax more with him..

    in one lesson I brought him the sheet music for a song that was in a movie so it was not a popular tune..Ted read it through then played it...in a chord melody style..after that ..if any one had something to say about his playing I just would let it slide..

    how bout them Dodgers..
    play well ...
    wolf

  26. #75
    People aren't called out as being trolls for having an opinion or even a differing opinion. I don't really think anyone really cares if some bedroom player likes or doesn't like Joe pass. Who cares?

    Trolling is when you additionally say that Wes wasn't "all that" either... It at least raises suspicion that you're only there to stir people up.

    The final thing is you have to be someone that nobody knows , having posted nothing in the way of playing etc. etc. ...all while saying something like "YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes."

    Great. Start the "YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes" thread. I would love to see dozens and dozens of videos of playerswho are merely "bedroom players" doing this.

    It's not going to happen because the statement is BS.

    It's classic, textbook trolling. This thread is getting way too many sincere, well-intentioned replies. It doesn't deserve this much thought.

  27. #76

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    Just to say that it strikes me as ironic that an unproductive thread such as this one - face it, this is not going anywhere - gets more attention than some amazing original music seemingly doomed to languish in the composition subforum.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Another funny thing, when I got to meet the head of the jazz department in my first college, who was also a keyboard player and a big band leader and arranger, he told me right away not to listen to Joe Pass or Al Di Meola, but if I must play jazz on guitar, listen to Wes! And surprisingly(but not really) he also approved Sco. He pretty much hated guitarists in jazz, because , in his words, they can't swing proper. Ok, he was an asshole, but he had a point!
    I was listening to "Midnight Blue" today and marveling at Kenny's unerring swing and groove. He couldn't put a note in the wrong place if he tried. Ditto Wes. Joe Pass knew where the groove was although he was sometimes a bit looser with it.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Question though, who would you rather listen to play solo, Joe Pass or Bill Evans?
    Joe Pass, hands down. I've tried for years to dig Bill Evans and I just don't, with the exception of his stuff on "Kind of Blue" and a few other recordings.

    The criticisms by your colleagues as far as guitarists go are in some cases spot on and in some cases not; it depends on the individual. And yet for all that, guitar has had a role in jazz music for as long as it has been recorded.

    To my ears some of the worst offenders along those lines are pianists. They can't stop playing the bass line, the chords and the melody all together- leaving no room for anybody else to play any music with them. When they solo, they're too often only listening to their own comping and not anybody else.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  30. #79

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    woo some serious jimmies getting rustled here .

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    To my ears some of the worst offenders along those lines are pianists. They can't stop playing the bass line, the chords and the melody all together- leaving no room for anybody else to play any music with them. When they solo, they're too often only listening to their own comping and not anybody else.
    Ah, if your where I am you hear this on a regular basis, along with other sonic joys like 3 harmonic instruments randomly trying to express harmony at the same time. As Brando would say “ The Horror, The Horror”

  32. #81

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    I question the whole notion of rating musicians, at least after a certain level of skill.

    I love some music and I don't care for other music. Plenty of people I respect love music that I don't care for much.

    How can I sensibly rate something that doesn't appeal to me?

    I prefer Joe Pass' work with bands to his solo material. Is the material that I don't care as much for proof that Joe "wasn't all that"?

    I do feel competent to state that he had great time, great chops, great improvised melody and great harmony. Sometimes he had what I think of as great tone, sometimes not. Was it bad tone? How could I know? All I know is that I preferred other tones. (specifically, my favorite of his albums is Tudo Bem, which I love despite the dry tone).

    I'm certainly aware when a player lacks the skill for what he's trying to do. Heaven knows I've been there enough with my own playing. But, Joe Pass? One of the all-time greats.

  33. #82

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    This reminds me of how I used to feel about Pat Metheny. I listened to a lot of Pat Metheny and decided that I just flat didn't like it. None of it. Didn't seem to swing, didn't seem to be "musical" in the way I thought was musical in those days, too many chops and technique, to many layers of effects...

    Then one day, after I'd been banging my head against the wall trying to make a very elementary breakthrough in the business of swinging, a Pat Metheny tune came on the radio and I almost had a wreck. It grabbed me so hard I couldn't stand it. Suddenly it was like my ears "popped" like when you are going up a mountain and I really heard. I didn't know it was PM until after the track finished, and I realized I had that CD and somehow, when playing it before, I just didn't get it.

    I don't know what it is that we can not find a player appealing, and then, one day, it's all we want to hear. To this day, I really enjoy Pat Metheny. Not my cup of tea as a player, but I still love his skill, his fluency, his musical creativity, his boldness, and his constantly pushing me to listen for more. I'm a Pat Metheny fan now, and it was more of an epiphany than anything else.

    Since that time, I've been very, very cautious about making statements about players who have an established reputation for excellence. More often than not, if I don't think much of their playing, it's more a statement about me than about them.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  34. #83

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    Good point Lawson. I used to think jazz was boring crap before I fell in love with it. This thread is pretty futile really.

    Having said that, I am still a little curious to hear the amateur bedroom youtuber who is better than Wes!

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Having said that, I am still a little curious to hear the amateur bedroom youtuber who is better than Wes!
    Yeah that was what killed his entire argument.

    I happen to think that being able to properly assess someone's playing, you have to have a developed ear and the best way to have that ear is by being able to play yourself to a certain degree.

    As a lecturer, I have been assessing BA students all my professional life and I was only able to do that because I studied the subject myself to a higher degree than my students. That's the way in our educational system. You teach and assess BA students, you have to have an MA degree. To teach and assess MA students you have to have a Phd etc.

    Though in conservatories it still works this way, this is not entirely the same for assessing someone's playing - I admit that so don't start arguing this with me on this one- but still, a beginner cannot possibly give a good assessment of a guy like Wes or Joe on a technical level. He lacks the harmonic and melodic insights to be able to do that. He can only state what he likes or not and have an opinion but NOT give a REALLY meaningful assessment of the quality of the playing.

    Of course this is not how the internet works at all, where everybody is equal and is supposed to be an expert, regardless of skill and knowledge. And that's why posts like "most bedroom players are better than Wes - will always be part of forum life. People just post an uninformed opinion, turn this into a fact and than claim they every right to do so because everybody is entitled to ... blah blah.

    I have seen it all over the years. Pat Martino is boring and repetitive, Barney Kessel did not swing, Bireli only plays scales fast etc. etc. Go to Youtube and you will find all the "expert" remarks underneath the vids.

    It's the way of the internet and it will never go away. But this is not how it goes in real life fortunately - especially in personal communication - where we still tend to evaluate the message by looking at the quality of the sender or simply by at least knowing who he is saying what.

    DB

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    I happen to think that being able to properly assess someone's playing, you have to have a developed ear and the best way to have that ear is by being able to play yourself to a certain degree.
    I think this is largely right.

    Yet I wonder at something. All of us were beginners at some point. Indeed, there was a point when we had not yet begun. And most of us were not born with perfect pitch. Yet many of us heard someone----Wes, Charlie Christian, Django---and we were wowed. We didn't know what the hell they were doing. How could we? But we were drawn to it. And it just so happens that a lot of the guitarists that inspire many people to take up an instrument (or pursue it more seriously if we'd just been half-assing it until that moment) are very good.

    So even though I could in no way properly assess what Wes was doing the first time I heard "No Blues" from "Smokin' At The Half Note", I knew it was extraordinary. Same thing with my first exposure to Django and Charlie Christian.

    Again, I am not disagreeing with you. I think what you've said is in the right. And yet I would reserve a space for those who are not yet competent but still recognize exceptional quality. (Maybe this is what we mean by 'having an ear for music' but not yet a well-developed one.)

    Perhaps another way to see this is through singing. I am a crap singer but I can hear that Ella Fitzgerald was a great singer.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    Yeah that was what killed his entire argument.

    I happen to think that being able to properly assess someone's playing, you have to have a developed ear and the best way to have that ear is by being able to play yourself to a certain degree.

    As a lecturer, I have been assessing BA students all my professional life and I was only able to do that because I studied the subject myself to a higher degree than my students. That's the way in our educational system. You teach and assess BA students, you have to have an MA degree. To teach and assess MA students you have to have a Phd etc.

    Though in conservatories it still works this way, this is not entirely the same for assessing someone's playing - I admit that so don't start arguing this with me on this one- but still, a beginner cannot possibly give a good assessment of a guy like Wes or Joe on a technical level. He lacks the harmonic and melodic insights to be able to do that. He can only state what he likes or not and have an opinion but NOT give a REALLY meaningful assessment of the quality of the playing.

    Of course this is not how the internet works at all, where everybody is equal and is supposed to be an expert, regardless of skill and knowledge. And that's why posts like "most bedroom players are better than Wes - will always be part of forum life. People just post an uninformed opinion, turn this into a fact and than claim they every right to do so because everybody is entitled to ... blah blah.

    I have seen it all over the years. Pat Martino is boring and repetitive, Barney Kessel did not swing, Bireli only plays scales fast etc. etc. Go to Youtube and you will find all the "expert" remarks underneath the vids.

    It's the way of the internet and it will never go away. But this is not how it goes in real life fortunately - especially in personal communication - where we still tend to evaluate the message by looking at the quality of the sender or simply by at least knowing who he is saying what.

    DB
    So, what you're saying is: one is not qualified to express an opinion on his/hers dislikes in music without being a better player or more musically educated than the player? A masters degree can only be critiqued by a PhD? A BS can only be judged by a Masters? In 'academia', maybe, but in the real world, that's absolute rubbish. Remember the old saying, " those who can't, teach". That's just pure arrogance IMHO.

    There are reasons beyond 'technicality' and 'proper' use of harmony, etc., etc., to like or dislike someone's playing - could it be that you just don't like it, without getting all anal about 'why'. Every person has his/her own ideas about what is good in a piece of music and why they like something and it's not fair to denigrate them because of lack of education or not being one of the 'kool kids'. Jazz and classical enthusiasts, by elevating their genres to cerebral heights, have pretty much 'shot themselves in the foot' in trying to gain more widespread popularity.....or maybe that's what they want. I've always said that about the worst thing that ever happened to jazz was letting the educators get a hold on it. I don't remember hearing of any colleges turning out a bunch of Wes Montgomerys, Ben Websters, Herb Ellis', Tony Rices, Doc Watsons, or Merle Travis' lately. Sorry for adding the country guys to the list, but they're more fun to listen to at times. That's what it all boils down - listen to what you like - only you can be the judge and your opinion on what you like is just as valid as anybody's, PhD or not.

  38. #87

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    Most opinions that go contrary to conventional wisdom are posted by someone who has never posted their own playing on the forum. I can't remember any of the good players ever having these out in left field type of opinions.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Most opinions that go contrary to conventional wisdom are posted by someone who has never posted their own playing on the forum. I can't remember any of the good players ever having these out in left field type of opinions.
    Oh, so all of the 'good players' are on exactly the same page and follow the straight and narrow? And what is so 'out in left field' about not enjoying a particular player's music? I, personally, don't like Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis - many do - I don't for various reasons that I don't feel obligated to discuss. Just because others like their music, does it mean that I'm an idiot because I don't? You may like a player that I can't stand, but I'm not going to badmouth you because you think they're the best thing since canned beer and girls.

  40. #89

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    Skip wrote:

    So, what you're saying is: one is not qualified to express an opinion on his/hers dislikes in music without being a better player or more musically educated than the player?

    No read my post again. You can like dislike all you want.

    A masters degree can only be critiqued by a PhD?

    No. You can critique all you want. But when graduating the final vote goes to the professor in the academic world. You'd like a housewife or porter to judge the technical side of dissertations?

    A BS can only be judged by a Masters? In 'academia', maybe, but in the real world, that's absolute rubbish. Remember the old saying, " those who can't, teach". That's just pure arrogance IMHO.

    Those who can't teach? That's BS and has always been just that. In the music world many great players teach.

    There are reasons beyond 'technicality' and 'proper' use of harmony, etc., etc., to like or dislike someone's playing - could it be that you just don't like it, without getting all anal about 'why'.

    Agreed. There are yes. Be my guest to dislike all you want. Love what you want. Hate what you want. But there is a technical side to jazz that can only be judged by someone that knows what he is hearing because otherwise you get people telling that Joe Pass sucks.

    Every person has his/her own ideas about what is good in a piece of music and why they like something and it's not fair to denigrate them because of lack of education or not being one of the 'kool kids'. Jazz and classical enthusiasts, by elevating their genres to cerebral heights, have pretty much 'shot themselves in the foot' in trying to gain more widespread popularity.....or maybe that's what they want. I've always said that about the worst thing that ever happened to jazz was letting the educators get a hold on it.

    I disagree. All the great Dutch players (Jesse van Ruller, Martijn van Iterson) have studied and carry degrees. They are a product of music schools. Education is not necessary (the Rosenbergs) but it helps some. Others not so much. I do think music schools have stimulated jazz a lot over here. It would have been long dead without them.

    I don't remember hearing of any colleges turning out a bunch of Wes Montgomerys, Ben Websters, Herb Ellis', Tony Rices, Doc Watsons, or Merle Travis' lately. Sorry for adding the country guys to the list, but they're more fun to listen to at times. That's what it all boils down - listen to what you like - only you can be the judge and your opinion on what you like is just as valid as anybody's, PhD or not.

    Try Jesse van Ruller and Martijn van Iterson. Pasquale Grasso too. They went to colleges.The only thing I claim in my post is that if you have no idea of harmonic or melodic concepts you should not be analysing someone's playing. You end up with nonsense in the vein of the OP.
    For the rest DO dislike Joe Pass or Wes or whomever you wish to.

    DB

  41. #90
    Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion , and I don't think anyone really has an issue with that. There's a very delicate art to trolling , and it has a lot to do with making controversial statements which aren't explicitly opinion and then claiming "opinion" when people take issue with it.

    If you don't really have a good idea of what an opinion actually is, this argument could be used about anything. I mean, is it fair to just go back and claim that basically everything I say is an opinion after the fact?

    "I don't get Wes. His playing leaves me cold. Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand why He has the status he has " etc. etc. etc.

    This is all 100% opinion. It's all based in what you actually think.

    "I don't think Wes is 'all that'. He's overrated. He's always talked about as being this legend, yet there are plenty of amateur players who could do the same thing. ....People claim to really dig Joe's solo playing maybe because they feel like they're supposed to say that".

    Not saying that OP actually said all these things. I don't remember, and I don't care. But these are examples of veiled criticisms of OTHER'S thoughts and feelings,... of consensus, ...of a player's status in history etc. etc. ...MORESO than simply the OPINION of the individual who's saying them. Simply inserting profuse amounts of "I think , I believe, I feel , just my opinion " etc. etc. doesn't change this fact.

  42. #91

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    I had probably the same feelings about Joe, and still have partly...

    But!

    Much later I began to appreciate his playing in a diferent way...

    I still was not much fascinated with this 'one-man-band' thing but I began to like and appreciate his lines in the impros, his sense o groove... his humour, wisdom and humanity I did not recognize beore

    I seem to begin to catch something that had escaped from me before.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion , and I don't think anyone really has an issue with that. There's a very delicate art to trolling , and it has a lot to do with making controversial statements which aren't explicitly opinion and then claiming "opinion" when people take issue with it.

    If you don't really have a good idea of what an opinion actually is, this argument could be used about anything. I mean, is it fair to just go back and claim that basically everything I say is an opinion after the fact?

    "I don't get Wes. His playing leaves me cold. Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand why He has the status he has " etc. etc. etc.

    This is all 100% opinion. It's all based in what you actually think.

    "I don't think Wes is 'all that'. He's overrated. He's always talked about as being this legend, yet there are plenty of amateur players who could do the same thing. ....People claim to really dig Joe's solo playing maybe because they feel like they're supposed to say that".

    Not saying that OP actually said all these things. I don't remember, and I don't care. But these are examples of veiled criticisms of OTHER'S thoughts and feelings,... of consensus, ...of a player's status in history etc. etc. ...MORESO than simply the OPINION of the individual who's saying them. Simply inserting profuse amounts of "I think , I believe, I feel , just my opinion " etc. etc. doesn't change this fact.
    Yep - it is opinion. I don't know all the theory in the world, but I do know enough to do what I need to do and to me, that's all that's important. I would never try to evaluate someone's playing from a purely theoretical standpoint because my mind doesn't work that way - I like it or I don't from a visceral standpoint - do I enjoy it? Yes, I do or no, I don't. Do I like it enough to learn it? Maybe, maybe not. But, whatever it is, it is MY opinion of whether it's good or bad. Using the term "I don't like such and such" is much better than saying "that sucks and the guy is no good" (unless discussing Justin Bieber, and rap 'music', of course).

  44. #93

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    You shouldn't have to though, that's one of my points. Music shouldn't be an auricular exercise, it should be simply enjoyable. If the audience can't tell what you're playing then you're not playing it right.

    The respect for the audience (readers, listners, watchers) is shown when the artists consider them to be equal with him, when he honestly speaks to them as he would spoke to themselves.

    Trying to meet the expections of the audience and to change oneself going down (or trying to preted higher) on their level will lead to the feeling of false and fake actions.

    Being true to yoursel is the real respect for the people you play for.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    Oh, so all of the 'good players' are on exactly the same page and follow the straight and narrow? And what is so 'out in left field' about not enjoying a particular player's music? I, personally, don't like Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis - many do - I don't for various reasons that I don't feel obligated to discuss. Just because others like their music, does it mean that I'm an idiot because I don't? You may like a player that I can't stand, but I'm not going to badmouth you because you think they're the best thing since canned beer and girls.
    You probably need to reread my post. I didn't say, "all of the 'good players' are on exactly the same page".
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Most opinions that go contrary to conventional wisdom are posted by someone who has never posted their own playing on the forum. I can't remember any of the good players ever having these out in left field type of opinions.

    This is a good rule of thumb. But great artists may have odd opinions. Tolstoy hated Shakespeare.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    So, what you're saying is: one is not qualified to express an opinion on his/hers dislikes in music without being a better player or more musically educated than the player? A masters degree can only be critiqued by a PhD? A BS can only be judged by a Masters? In 'academia', maybe, but in the real world, that's absolute rubbish. Remember the old saying, " those who can't, teach". That's just pure arrogance IMHO. There are reasons beyond 'technicality' and 'proper' use of harmony, etc., etc., to like or dislike someone's playing - could it be that you just don't like it, without getting all anal about 'why'. Every person has his/her own ideas about what is good in a piece of music and why they like something and it's not fair to denigrate them because of lack of education or not being one of the 'kool kids'. Jazz and classical enthusiasts, by elevating their genres to cerebral heights, have pretty much 'shot themselves in the foot' in trying to gain more widespread popularity.....or maybe that's what they want. I've always said that about the worst thing that ever happened to jazz was letting the educators get a hold on it. I don't remember hearing of any colleges turning out a bunch of Wes Montgomerys, Ben Websters, Herb Ellis', Tony Rices, Doc Watsons, or Merle Travis' lately. Sorry for adding the country guys to the list, but they're more fun to listen to at times. That's what it all boils down - listen to what you like - only you can be the judge and your opinion on what you like is just as valid as anybody's, PhD or not.
    I used the acadamic reference as a figure of speech. Do not take it literally. All I want to say is that it is better to know what you are talking about and have some argumentation once you start making controversial statements such as the OP.

    DB

  48. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    The only thing I claim in my post is that if you have no idea of harmonic or melodic concepts you should not be analysing someone's playing. You end up with nonsense in the vein of the OP.
    I am no jazz musician, I've said as much in this thread and in others. But I have played violin all my life, and to a reasonable standard. I played classical guitar all the way through school but lost interest in my 20s. To say I have no idea of harmony or melodic concepts is just a cheap insult.

    Like many people with a background in classical music, I find jazz difficult. Incomprehensible at times. The matter isn't helped when it seems there's so much absolute twoddle written about it. Modes? I've never heard any classically trained musician talk about modes as anything other than an historical footnote. Yet jazz forums like this are full of it. I know a violinist who plays for a very well known symphony orchestra in the UK and I kid you not he says he doesn't even know the key signatures. He says he knew them once when he was a kid and had to pass theory exams but other than that, not a clue. He just plays the notes on the score. And I tell you what, it is astonishing to stand next to him, a foot away from the instrument and hear the quality of tone and the musicality he can get from even the most simple melody. Furthermore, I've never seen a piece of music that he's even had to stop to think about, just reads and plays like we read words on a page. Then I hear someone like Wes and yes I think, what's all the fuss about? Good at what he does maybe, good because he was an innovativor in his genre maybe, but not "great". Not "legendary" or "genius". These are not terms I would use.

    I dabble in playing jazz on the guitar and wish I was more competent. Likewise I'd love to be able to play jazz violin but I can do little more than play the heads of tunes and for improvising my approach is to embellish the melody whilst trying to keep it in time and with the right 'feel'.

    I know what sounds musical when I hear it though and that's enough to have an opinion in my book. Some of the solo work from Joe Pass does not sound musical to me. It sounds like somebody playing random notes with a very generous sense of rubato. If you like that then great, crack on.

    I'm willing to learn, I'm willing to accept my opinion is unpopular here. But I'm not willing to accept I'm a "troll" or that my opinion shouldn't count because I've not got a PhD in music theory.
    Last edited by padraig; 05-14-2019 at 11:57 AM.

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    This is a good rule of thumb. But great artists may have odd opinions. Tolstoy hated Shakespeare.
    Good point.

    I didn't word my thoughts properly. These threads that blow up and seem like the OP may be trolling... I just don't remember any of our strong players starting these kind of threads.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  50. #99

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    Unpopular opinion Sunday - Joe Pass wasn't all that.-d9693d0dc7a9f3b6ef7cf84387883c9c-jpg

    Richard Bach, Illusions

  51. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    These threads that blow up and seem like the OP may be trolling... I just don't remember any of our strong players starting these kind of threads.
    The best replies have been the ones that pointed out what I'm missing. The people that entered into the discussion with sincerity and good humour. I started this thread on Sunday and guess what I've been listening to since Sunday... Joe Bloody Pass. I've listened to Intercontinental, which I hadn't heard before, and I think it's great. Ive been listening to his work with Ella Fitzgerald and I think it's great.

    The discussion forum is working wonders, I feel differently about Joe Pass today than I did three days ago. I've had my eyes opened and I've started to rethink my previous opinions.

    The most unhelpful posts have been the ones that called me a troll, the ones that called for other people to stop replying and ignore me, and the ones that have implied that I'm so crap at music I shouldn't be allowed an opinion.

    And some of them have been the people you refer to as "our strong players"

    This is part of the problem with jazz. It's cliquey. It's full of people that want to keep it a private members club and would rather bully people until they go away than educate or help them. It smacks of insecurity to be honest. It's music, it's supposed to be a good time, entertainment. Not an intellectual exercise.