Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 100
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Ok, of course many can (but just choose not to), however, I've noticed that jazz guitar comping with a lot of players is about complex rhythms and lots of modern voicings (subs, extensions, quartal etc) which is great except that a lot of players sound like ass if you try to get them to play very basic FG style comping for Swing type tunes etc. I would have thought this style of comping should be easy for most players, but it turns out that it's actually quite hard to sound "good" at it. Any thoughts on this?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    One tends to sound good doing stuff one does a lot.

    It is hard to do well. A lot of people make basic mistakes with it - accenting 2 and 4 too much and so on. Or they may not be used to the type of voicings. Or they may revert to gypsy jazz. It should be possible to play rhythm in a smooth, straightahead way as well as the la pompe style.

    TBH if you are playing with another guitarist it’s often an idea to lay off comping with any notes on the B string and to keep it simple... (as Lage Lund puts it jazz guitarists tend to play their voicings too high); a lot of players seem to struggle with this because they have been taught that jazz = extensions. In fact you should be listening to the whole music; if you play a triad or a simple voicing you allow the soloist to play extensions and so on if they wish.

    To me the ‘FG’ thing (which is actually nothing like how Freddie actually played but that’s another story) is just manifestation of basic unfussy comping that expresses the groove and supports the soloist. That smoothly gradiates into styles which don’t have a chord on every beat. You can turn this into a syncopated 2 feel, or more embellished styles without changing the voicings or the basic ethos.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-08-2020 at 04:06 AM.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I was saying it here many times, based on personal experience. Many straight-ahead or 'contemporary' players suck at it. Right now it's a niche style. Only if you are a guitarist on a swing scene, especially playing for dancers, you are good at it.

    I'm pretty sure they don't teach it at colleges, and I know many teachers discourage this type as passe. Like, don't play like that, we are long way pass that, it's laughable. That sort of attitude.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Strange. So nobody plays guitar in high school jazz band anymore? Not that that would entirely be the solution.

    Though it's not necessary, to my ears for that style you kind of need something acoustic. Everybody just plays an ibanez artstar or whatever these days.
    Last edited by arielcee; 09-08-2020 at 06:04 AM.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Strange. So nobody plays guitar in high school jazz band anymore? Not that would be the solution.

    Though it's not necessary, to my ears for that style you kind of need something acoustic. Everybody just plays an ibanez artstar or whatever these days.
    I met some kids who do, and I had to show them the basics. It's not that easy. And who are the teachers in high school jazz bands? Horn players of course! They dont know how to show that to a kid, and maybe they not too concerned with it either.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Well I think also part of the thing is that it isn’t so much a taught thing as something you pick up. No one’s ever taught me rhythm guitar, and I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and practiced rhythm guitar much, but really learned it by playing with other musicians and listening to the music. And I think it’s worked out to be one of my strong suits.

    Its widely understood that formal jazz education tends to focus on easily quantifiable elements of the music - voicings, pitch choices and so on. Rhythm guitar on the other hand is very much about tacit, embodied and experiential knowledge.

    If you aren’t doing the gigs you won’t have the feel. If you play chopsy fusion all the time, it’s likely your reggae skank will be lacking, for example.

    There are a lot of factoids in jazz education about comping as well ‘don’t double the root’ and so on which actually only apply to a certain style of doing things in a certain type of ensemble. Young players can get a bit confused by these apparently authoritative rules (and yes I know why they are used.)

    i think it is a general failure of jazz education to be super specific about Latin feels etc but never address different types of swing feel and how the music evolved in that sense. Young musicians can get the impression that swing feels are all the same, and not be sensitive to the specifics of the situation; not every gig is a jazz club, not every situation is about interactive comping.

    Again I think that’s best learned on the bandstand, but teachers could prepare students better perhaps.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-08-2020 at 05:36 AM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I'm teaching myself Freddie Green style comping right now (concurrently with other general across-the-board beginner jazz guitar stuff). I don't think there's really an excuse of paucity of instruction and examples out there.

    The best resource I've found is Vinnie Raniolo's 'Rhythm guitar on 3 strings' DVD/download. There's a taster video available to watch for free on YouTube. He's able to play a very straight 4-to-the-bar seemingly with only a very very subtle emphasis and yet it still sounds irresistibly swinging. I also have the 'Swing and Big-Band Guitar' book which is very comprehensive, kind of a Bible for this, and has audio examples. Both of those probably shoot themselves in the foot for having not very sexy titles, so a young hotshot shredder guitarist is probably a bit less likely to investigate them.

  9. #8
    Whether you're a player just starting out or a player who makes a profession at it, you play what is an expression of who you are, things you like and the music that creates a dialogue; with others you play with, with the environment your music is a part of, with your own soul. Princeplanet, maybe it's a part of your soul, so by all means, work at it as much as you need to and make it a part of your style. It's your time and your life. If you get really good at it, you'll be happy.
    But for a player existing in a contemporary environment, what forces and inspirations provide the impetus for all the time and discipline needed to actually develop the admittedly formidable proficiency needed to become "decent" no less good? Time is a valuable resource and everyone wrestles with the big question: How do I spend my time the best? Very rarely is the answer "Practice something you're not going to use."
    Jim Hall had this in the Freddie Green lexicon because it was real to him when he was learning and he held onto it as a part of his attitude. He crafted a style with that the same way Bill Frisell now includes surf, Beatles and Bacharach as a part of his attitude; it speaks to him.
    Does this music speak to you? How much do you love it? Do you love it enough to commit to the stylistic development of your own playing and the time needed to master it? Will this enhance or preclude the ability to find playing partners in your quest? Is your time on the instrument primarily a mission to recreate a respectful fascination with a bygone era, or is the guitar a means by which you can look to the present in your life and find expression in crafting something that exists now and has never been done before?
    These are deep questions that speak to every player who realizes time is a whole lot more than four to the bar.
    Who are you and why do you play? How willing are you to find the mastery of music beyond the forms of genre (to become good) and what is the lexicon, syntax and semantic content that makes that possible?

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    I'm teaching myself Freddie Green style comping right now (concurrently with other general across-the-board beginner jazz guitar stuff). I don't think there's really an excuse of paucity of instruction and examples out there.

    The best resource I've found is Vinnie Raniolo's 'Rhythm guitar on 3 strings' DVD/download. There's a taster video available to watch for free on YouTube. He's able to play a very straight 4-to-the-bar seemingly with only a very very subtle emphasis and yet it still sounds irresistibly swinging. I also have the 'Swing and Big-Band Guitar' book which is very comprehensive, kind of a Bible for this,
    I'm working through the Swing and Big Band book, too. There's a great video with Vinnie and Evan Christopher that is worth the time too:



    Regards
    Derek

  11. #10
    Well. I'm not about to drop everything and just focus on being a Swing specialist to the exclusion of all the other styles I like to dabble in, but I think I can sound passable at very basic FG 4 to the bar playing trying to make every chord sound just right (tone, duration, swing feel etc). Sure, it uses a different muscle set and requires a different kind of strength and endurance, but I'm just surprised to find these things so lacking in most players if they dare to expose their shortcomings in this way (of course, many won't!).

    I dunno, I just thought "good" players would have enough technique to turn their hand to Swing, Bossa, Funk , whatever, without sounding like rank beginners ...

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    I'm teaching myself Freddie Green style comping right now (concurrently with other general across-the-board beginner jazz guitar stuff). I don't think there's really an excuse of paucity of instruction and examples out there.

    The best resource I've found is Vinnie Raniolo's 'Rhythm guitar on 3 strings' DVD/download. There's a taster video available to watch for free on YouTube. He's able to play a very straight 4-to-the-bar seemingly with only a very very subtle emphasis and yet it still sounds irresistibly swinging. I also have the 'Swing and Big-Band Guitar' book which is very comprehensive, kind of a Bible for this, and has audio examples. Both of those probably shoot themselves in the foot for having not very sexy titles, so a young hotshot shredder guitarist is probably a bit less likely to investigate them.
    Vinnie is the man for this. Super nice guy too. He's a machine on rhythm. When I jammed with him I realized I'm not as good as I thought I am for swing lol. And he doesn't do anything complicated, it just the feel, it's right!

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Whether you're a player just starting out or a player who makes a profession at it, you play what is an expression of who you are, things you like and the music that creates a dialogue; with others you play with, with the environment your music is a part of, with your own soul. Princeplanet, maybe it's a part of your soul, so by all means, work at it as much as you need to and make it a part of your style. It's your time and your life. If you get really good at it, you'll be happy.
    But for a player existing in a contemporary environment, what forces and inspirations provide the impetus for all the time and discipline needed to actually develop the admittedly formidable proficiency needed to become "decent" no less good? Time is a valuable resource and everyone wrestles with the big question: How do I spend my time the best? Very rarely is the answer "Practice something you're not going to use."
    Jim Hall had this in the Freddie Green lexicon because it was real to him when he was learning and he held onto it as a part of his attitude. He crafted a style with that the same way Bill Frisell now includes surf, Beatles and Bacharach as a part of his attitude; it speaks to him.
    Does this music speak to you? How much do you love it? Do you love it enough to commit to the stylistic development of your own playing and the time needed to master it? Will this enhance or preclude the ability to find playing partners in your quest? Is your time on the instrument primarily a mission to recreate a respectful fascination with a bygone era, or is the guitar a means by which you can look to the present in your life and find expression in crafting something that exists now and has never been done before?
    These are deep questions that speak to every player who realizes time is a whole lot more than four to the bar.
    Who are you and why do you play? How willing are you to find the mastery of music beyond the forms of genre (to become good) and what is the lexicon, syntax and semantic content that makes that possible?
    Hippy. :-)

    It's all about what you end up doing on gigs for money day in day out haha.

    It's probably not going to be contemporary jazz. It might be pop/rock, show work. Or in my case swing dance gigs.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I guess a big part of it is, that you need an acoustic guitar to do it right. Ideally it's also set up especially for playing rhythm. I guess that's too much of a threshold for many.
    I'm 27 and most players i know are not that much into swing, and so they probably aren't too interested in keeping a guitar just for that style.

    Paul

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Webby
    I guess a big part of it is, that you need an acoustic guitar to do it right. Ideally it's also set up especially for playing rhythm. I guess that's too much of a threshold for many.
    I'm 27 and most players i know are not that much into swing, and so they probably aren't too interested in keeping a guitar just for that style.

    Paul
    Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I just have to clarify a point that gets often lost in the cracks in these discussions.

    Right, OK rhythm guitar is NOT necessarily a 'swing thing' as in 1930s/40s thing. This is a bit of a misconception.

    Even Freddie Green's best known style is from the 50s Basie albums and not how he was playing in the late 30s.

    Check this out at 1:48


    Bop rhythm guitar, NOT swing. Recorded in the '60s.

    Tal Farlow
    Ray Crawford Jr
    Herb Ellis
    Jim Hall (early)
    Billy Bean
    Russell Malone

    right? (and Vinnie above.)

    They all played electric archtops, L5's, ES175s that type of thing. Roll down the volume and play precussively but don't BANG

    If you want to play swing (as in swing era jazz), that's a heavier feel, and acoustic sounds best. In that case I would advise just doing it on a standard flat-top until you are sure that you want to buy a Gypsy box or something. But that's a different feel.

    Not many people play a smooth bop style rhythm guitar, there's a lot of 'gypsy jazz style' rhythm which is not the same thing at all.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-08-2020 at 08:46 AM.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    I think I can sound passable at very basic FG 4 to the bar playing trying to make every chord sound just right (tone, duration, swing feel etc).

    I dunno, I just thought "good" players would have enough technique to turn their hand to Swing, Bossa, Funk , whatever, without sounding like rank beginners ...
    Maybe the ones you think are lacking are after something you don't feel. Mary Halvorsen is going to have a different set of values that determine, and accentuate the players she's playing with. Ed Bikert's time is very good, but it's not about jumping on or to the beat. And then again, maybe the people you don't like just haven't matured enough to have command over the beat; it's a developmental thing, you know, being a fully developed musician. I think one's time feel and personal aesthetic takes time to develop (an old school player told me "you won't find your own style before you're 40 so don't try-it'll just come when it comes after a lot of playing".)
    You're absolutely right, a lot of players DON'T have a solid sense of time. It takes a lot of work and attention. It's extremely mindful practicing. I don't know that playing chunka chunka on an 18" New Yorker strung with 15's is going to serve everyone from a stylistic point. There are many ways to practice time, if that's a concern. Developing that skill with the instrument you work with everyday is a good place to start. The requirements needed to pull off impeccable time are between you and the instrument. Wayne Krantz has unreal time sense. He found out that no amount of speculation can replace the brute force of months chained to a metronome. Lotsa players like Wayne, but they don't put in the hours. So they sound lame.
    Time. It's not how you count it, it's how you master it.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    (an old school player told me "you won't find your own style before you're 40 so don't try-it'll just come when it comes after a lot of playing".)
    That's reassuring. I think I spent my 20s not having a clue, and my 30s imitating other players. Now I feel I'm actually coming up with something. Seems about right.

    Also, to add to what you said, just because you can play rhythm guitar well it doesn't mean your time for soloing or more interactive or broken up comping is solid. Improvising and keeping the time together is harder than just playing a steady pattern obviously. It's easy to lose focus on the pulse.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    I 've always found Freddie Green style comping one of the most difficult things to successfully pull off on the bandstand, probably because one, the swing feel is a lot different from the bebop feel that most modern players are used to, and second, because you play all the quarter notes, so you are in the same boat with the drummer and bass player, and that's a challenge!

    Besides Freddie Green, i have found Grant Greens comping style to be extremely interesting and fun too. Different style, but he plays very old fashioned, always playing grooves and phrase style comping, which is a rhythm school on its own..

    I like both styles, and find them very different from the more open and abstract bebop styles that followed.

  19. #18
    I think it's also the nature of the beast, simple Jazz style comping on the guitar is harder than it might seem to many. I just showed my wife how to comp charleston style for a half dozen common standards on the piano, just drop 2 voicings (I don't play piano). She has no piano experience (Fur Elise from when she was a kid). Anyhow, after 2 weeks she had 3 pieces down, Jazz Blues in F, Autumn Leaves and Just Friends. 2 weeks from scratch! Her time and sound was fine, and possibly more musical sounding than many experienced guitarists (even Jazz guitarists) playing the exact same thing, who often will sound imprecise and a little sloppy here and there.

    It has been an interesting exercise, and more than a little disconcerting ...

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    A lot of the time I find myself comping in duos on the 1 and 3 with occasional upbeats and 4's and things. It gives the soloist space I think, 4 can sound a bit hemmed in sometimes, unless it's that sort of a gig.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Also, to add to what you said, just because you can play rhythm guitar well it doesn't mean your time for soloing or more interactive or broken up comping is solid. Improvising and keeping the time together is harder than just playing a steady pattern obviously. It's easy to lose focus on the pulse.
    True too. In my case, if I have to do interactive, boppish style I not necessarily have problem with rhythm, but have problem with ideas. Also feel like a fraud, like what do I do exactly, because I really just want to do rhythm, not comping. Usually end up playing steady riff figures, more to do with pop or blues or rocknroll. Then again, I can count on my fingers how many times I was called to do a real jazz gig, so all is fair.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I think a certain component of the answer to this question is psychological. When Green started out, the role of the instrument was different and there was not an emphasis on the guitar as a solo instrument in the forefront of a band. In the last 70 years, that has completely changed and now the guitar is expected to comp, solo, playing extended chord melody solos, etc.

    There is a certain inherent patience and selflessness necessary to be in the background as part of the musical glue that holds the rhythm together, with your contributions being "felt" more than "heard." It's both almost a lost art and somewhat of a lost cognitive framework. To me, that cognitive framework is as important as people today being less familiar with the style.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Yeah, that's exactly it. You find a place in the mix behind what is going on, and keep it locked in. It's like you've got the secret ingredient that elevates everyone if you are doing it right.

    One frustration is when bandleaders complain that I am too low in the mix, that they can't hear the harmony. I feel like saying 'learn to play the changes then' haha. It's a balance, having enough chord in there to give the harmony, but not so much that it start to get in the way, and you lose that nice attack/delay thing. And with a PA it can be a bit of a nightmare.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Here's an excerpt from Herb Ellis' instructional video (now DVD). He is trading fours with the home viewer, so he solos for four bars and comps for four bars.

    Herb knew Freddie Green. They admired each other. They made an album together. But Herb---who was an excellent rhythm guitarist--didn't comp like Freddie did.

    (You also hear Terry Holmes in the background here. He doesn't comp like Freddie either. Ray Brown is playing the bass.)


  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    For some great info & resources examining Freddie Green's playing style, see Freddie Green Style: Lessons & Technique:

    Freddie Green Style: Lessons & Technique

    and here is a beautiful recording of him accompanying Kenny Burrell and Frank Wess:


    Jim Hall wrote about his great admiration for Freddie Green's playing:

    'When I was in my 20s I tried to pattern my life after Freddie Green...
    "How can I make my driving like Freddie Green's playing?" Comfortable, no bumps, pleasant.'
    (Jim Hall Exploring Jazz Guitar, p.63)

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I 've always found Freddie Green style comping one of the most difficult things to successfully pull off on the bandstand, probably because one, the swing feel is a lot different from the bebop feel that most modern players are used to, and second, because you play all the quarter notes, so you are in the same boat with the drummer and bass player, and that's a challenge!
    Our own Jonathan Stout refers to himself as a pre-bebop guitarist. He can swing 'the old fasioned way.' He's also aware of the difference between the swing of Freddie Green and that of, say, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis (and so on). His blog is a great resource.

    Here he is with a block chord version of "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." (Not the same thing but you'll be glad you listened.)


  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    i think james chirillo is one of the best freddie style players out there




    here's great prepared guitar site with page of great fg style info, lessons, links and vids...a treasure trove of very thorough research!!!

    PREPARED GUITAR: Freddie Green

    cheers

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    wim overgaauw was a fantastic "four to the bar" player



  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Not many people play a smooth bop style rhythm guitar, there's a lot of 'gypsy jazz style' rhythm which is not the same thing at all.
    again wim overgaauw:





    speaking of bop guitar comping, i'd also love to hear recordings or just recollections of the pat martino/sonny stitt duo.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    OT but ......
    Wow Eddie Costa on that Yesterdays is totally phenomenal !

    carry on swingin

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    OT but ......
    Wow Eddie Costa on that Yesterdays is totally phenomenal !

    carry on swingin
    He is absolutely amazing on that cut. A tragedy he didn't live longer.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    As a jazz noob coming from rock/pop/folk, I don’t understand why it’s so coveted to “play like Freddie Green”. First of all, I noticed (and not just in this thread) that nobody really seems to know what/how he played. Maybe because nobody could hear him? And again, not just in this thread, I notice an agreement that those who appear to play like Freddie Green really aren’t.

    As a jazz student, first thing a teacher starts you with is “Freddie Green style comping”, except that it really isn’t, and nobody plays like that unless they play in an old jazz of ensemble. It sure made me sound like old Disney movies and I almost bailed from the genre... if not for the fact that none of the modern (what’s modern really, since Wes?) players play like that.

    Freddie is a hero from an era when the role of guitar wasn’t well developed. Today, a highly rhythmic supporting guitar in an ensemble is more like Cory Wong, Mark Lettieri. And you hear that kind of playing in modern jazz.

    Except as an excercise or when reconstructing a style, I don’t see the point.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    As a jazz noob coming from rock/pop/folk, I don’t understand why it’s so coveted to “play like Freddie Green”. First of all, I noticed (and not just in this thread) that nobody really seems to know what/how he played. Maybe because nobody could hear him? And again, not just in this thread, I notice an agreement that those who appear to play like Freddie Green really aren’t.

    As a jazz student, first thing a teacher starts you with is “Freddie Green style comping”, except that it really isn’t, and nobody plays like that unless they play in an old jazz of ensemble. It sure made me sound like old Disney movies and I almost bailed from the genre... if not for the fact that none of the modern (what’s modern really, since Wes?) players play like that.

    Freddie is a hero from an era when the role of guitar wasn’t well developed. Today, a highly rhythmic supporting guitar in an ensemble is more like Cory Wong, Mark Lettieri. And you hear that kind of playing in modern jazz.

    Except as an excercise or when reconstructing a style, I don’t see the point.
    complete nonsense to put it mildly.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    complete nonsense to put it mildly.
    Is that really a constructive comment?

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cmajor9
    Is that really a constructive comment?
    Actually, yes. Quite literally nonsense in every sentence.
    Last edited by Hep To The Jive; 09-09-2020 at 07:10 AM.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    FWIW I remember four-to-the-bar Freddy Green comping being taught in Fred Hamilton’s intro jazz guitar class at UNT in the early 90s (I never went any further in that program, switched to CG and music comp). Guess that was preparing students for the lab bands

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I just have to clarify a point that gets often lost in the cracks in these discussions.

    Right, OK rhythm guitar is NOT necessarily a 'swing thing' as in 1930s/40s thing. This is a bit of a misconception.

    Even Freddie Green's best known style is from the 50s Basie albums and not how he was playing in the late 30s.

    Check this out at 1:48


    Bop rhythm guitar, NOT swing. Recorded in the '60s.

    Tal Farlow
    Ray Crawford Jr
    Herb Ellis
    Jim Hall (early)
    Billy Bean
    Russell Malone

    right? (and Vinnie above.)

    They all played electric archtops, L5's, ES175s that type of thing. Roll down the volume and play precussively but don't BANG

    If you want to play swing (as in swing era jazz), that's a heavier feel, and acoustic sounds best. In that case I would advise just doing it on a standard flat-top until you are sure that you want to buy a Gypsy box or something. But that's a different feel.

    Not many people play a smooth bop style rhythm guitar, there's a lot of 'gypsy jazz style' rhythm which is not the same thing at all.
    I thought OP was talking about Freddie Green explicitly. I tried doing that with an electric guitar when i was younger and certainly would never try to do so again.

    I totally agree about the bop rhythm thing though. It's a completely different style though.

    By the way: I would never have thought, that studying freddie Green style rhythm would help me that much in other styles aswell.
    I guess the main point is about finding the right spots (rhythmical and harmonical) where you fit. Thinking about that stuff actually boosted my Funk chops aswell!

    Paul

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Taught at Berklee too, at least a little bit.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Webby
    I thought OP was talking about Freddie Green explicitly. I tried doing that with an electric guitar when i was younger and certainly would never try to do so again.

    I totally agree about the bop rhythm thing though. It's a completely different style though.

    By the way: I would never have thought, that studying freddie Green style rhythm would help me that much in other styles aswell.
    I guess the main point is about finding the right spots (rhythmical and harmonical) where you fit. Thinking about that stuff actually boosted my Funk chops aswell!

    Paul
    'Freddie Green style' is often used among jazz guitarists to mean any straight fours playing, so it gets confusing; in fact what we think of as a 'Freddie Green style' doesn't really reflect what Freddie did on his most famous recordings. The voicings (as Jonathan Stout points out) are actually from George Van Eps.

    FG's rhythm style in the 50s is rather different to that of the 30's. IIRC James Chirillo demonstrates more the 50's style in the video above - the 'one note/tenor line' thing. It actually works pretty well on electric, because you aren't playing the bass strings. (John Pizzarelli uses it.)

    For an insight into FG's early rhythm style and how he evolved check out the Savory collection recordings of the Basie orchestra (late 30's) where the mic captures the guitar really well; makes a very interesting comparison.

    Matt Munisteri gets a good early/rhythm sound from an electric archtop (an ES150), incidentally, rolling down the volume definitely helps, and IIRC the ES150 is a reasonably loud guitar acoustically. I think he'd rather play acoustic, but you can hear him use electric at the Ear Inn sessions:

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    I'm not so old that I feel any generational vested interest in swing guitar, but I would feel short-changed if I took a jazz course and it didn't teach me swing-to-bop era techniques and chops. Playing like Cory Wong or Mark Lettieri wouldn't really be on my wish list: even if I were a big fan of either of them I certainly wouldn't expect that to be near the top of the syllabus.

    Now I happen to disagree with the premise that "Freddie Green style" (and we all know what that useful shorthand refers to, irrespective of what FG actually played or when) is only about recreating swing. I think learning smaller voicings, learning those rhythms and emphases and playing with them is going to help you out in other ways I reckon.

    But even if it really were only about recreating swing, can you really be so confident that you are never ever going to want to play some swing tunes in the entirety of your professional or just-for-fun musical existence? I wonder at what point the music of Miles or Coltrane will be dismissed as an archaic irrelevance to today's precocious young jazz students. Or even, shock horror, the likes of Cory Wong or Mark Lettieri... some of that Lettieri stuff sounds a little bit 1980s, no?

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    I'm not so old that I feel any generational vested interest in swing guitar, but I would feel short-changed if I took a jazz course and it didn't teach me swing-to-bop era techniques and chops. Playing like Cory Wong or Mark Lettieri wouldn't really be on my wish list: even if I were a big fan of either of them I certainly wouldn't expect that to be near the top of the syllabus.
    They are highly accomplished but to my ears stylistically derivative players.

    Now I happen to disagree with the premise that "Freddie Green style" (and we all know what that useful shorthand refers to, irrespective of what FG actually played or when) is only about recreating swing. I think learning smaller voicings, learning those rhythms and emphases and playing with them is going to help you out in other ways I reckon.
    Yes. I see that same principles extended into the comping of players like Peter Bernstein and even Lage Lund. Myself, I see it as a continuum, a spectrum from rhythm guitar to interactive comping. There are many steps along the road.

    But even if it really were only about recreating swing, can you really be so confident that you are never ever going to want to play some swing tunes in the entirety of your professional or just-for-fun musical existence? I wonder at what point the music of Miles or Coltrane will be dismissed as an archaic irrelevance to today's precocious young jazz students. Or even, shock horror, the likes of Cory Wong or Mark Lettieri... some of that Lettieri stuff sounds a little bit 1980s, no?
    TBF a lot of young players in London have been involved with the popular swing and gypsy jazz scenes, and often have an interest in bop guitarists such as Billy Bean as well. Some of the most old school players I know are younger than me. Here's one particularly fresh faced chap:


    And here he is playing modern


    Pretty great comping in both cases IMO.

    I really struggle with the idea that Wong or Lettieri are jazz guitarists rather than guitarists who have studied jazz and can play it, but are know primarily for playing funk and pop/fusion based music. I mean, you could say the same thing about a lot of players who aren't considered jazzers!

    Just look at #jazzguitar on instagram lol. I'm an old fart, what can I say.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    There is a generation of musicians today that believe they can learn everything from a video/book. And, perhaps its true in a sense that so much knowledge is available today to prospective musicians that wasn't available in the past. However, musicians are like plants. We sprout and grow in certain soils and our flowers represent that experience from the seed to the flower. When I listen to a Jazz musician, I know immediately, for example, if he began as a Rocker, C@W(rarely), or R@B/Funk player. It permeates everything they play since it was ingrained in their psyche. And, you can teach people the style but you can't teach the feel. That is much more complex. I listen to Jazz musicians all the time and their style reflects their past. Did McLaughlin play R@B in his youth? Was Grant Green a Rocker? We all know about Jim Hall. The point is if we are to play our best . . . we cannot forget our roots. And, if we hope to find our own voice . . . it cannot be purchased like an online video or a book from Barnes and Noble. It must be nourished until bloom and it is only then that we know if it is a dandelion or an orchid. Play live . . . Marinero

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Strange. So nobody plays guitar in high school jazz band anymore? Not that that would entirely be the solution.

    Though it's not necessary, to my ears for that style you kind of need something acoustic. Everybody just plays an ibanez artstar or whatever these days.
    There's one guitarist in the high school jazz band, and a dozen guitarists who come to jazz some time after high school,

    John

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I really struggle with the idea that Wong or Lettieri are jazz guitarists rather than guitarists who have studied jazz and can play it, but are know primarily for playing funk and pop/fusion based music. I mean, you could say the same thing about a lot of players who aren't considered jazzers!
    “What is jazz” is a bigger topic but we could just say that they are jazz informed guitarists that are primarily known for their rhythm playing. It’s hard to find “jazz guitarists” with that profile because jazz today (and yesterday) is a genre focused on lead playing. When we talk of a typical jazz guitarist there is “...and he/she is also a great comp player” or some such.

    Another example of someone who is primarily known as a comp player, with a vast contribution across genres, is Spanky Alford. One *could* (and some people do) argue that D’Angelo and that branch of hiphop is to jazz what bebop is to blues. And Alford is a prime contributor. Listening to what he and his colleagues play, it sounds a lot like modern jazz comping.

    Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that ... ok a really bad analogy but here goes ... suppose a beginner walks in with a strat and wants to learn rock. The teacher tells him/her to put away the strat and grab a resonator because the first thing to learn is play “Son House style”. The first half of most books about rock rhythm guitar start with “Son House comping”. On the forums, questions are asked “why can’t modern rockers play Son House”.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    “What is jazz” is a bigger topic but we could just say that they are jazz informed guitarists that are primarily known for their rhythm playing. It’s hard to find “jazz guitarists” with that profile because jazz today (and yesterday) is a genre focused on lead playing. When we talk of a typical jazz guitarist there is “...and he/she is also a great comp player” or some such.
    I can't tell you exactly when jazz ends, but pretty much everyone agrees what it definitely is - on guitar it's definitely Wes, Benson in his bop years, Jim Hall and so on, and lest I be considered and old fogey I think you have trouble categorising Reiner Baas, Lage Lund and Pasquale Grasso as anything else.

    OTOH I remember no less an old school player than Ivor Mairants included Eric Clapton in his jazz guitar books.

    The penumbra of jazz is another thing. I started as a rock player, and if I listen to players somewhere in the middle - Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Lettieri, Wong... I don't immediately think 'jazz'; furthermore I don't think someone outside of jazz would have in the 70s, but maybe more so now. All instrumental non-classical music will eventually be labelled 'jazz' it seems. Is Eddie Van Halen jazz? Probably someone on Instagram thinks that. After all, he was influenced by Holdsworth....

    Another example of someone who is primarily known as a comp player, with a vast contribution across genres, is Spanky Alford. One *could* (and some people do) argue that D’Angelo and that branch of hiphop is to jazz what bebop is to blues. And Alford is a prime contributor. Listening to what he and his colleagues play, it sounds a lot like modern jazz comping.
    Yeah, D'Angelo invented a new rhythmic concept, much like Bird.

    Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that ... ok a really bad analogy but here goes ... suppose a beginner walks in with a strat and wants to learn rock. The teacher tells him/her to put away the strat and grab a resonator because the first thing to learn is play “Son House style”. The first half of most books about rock rhythm guitar start with “Son House comping”. On the forums, questions are asked “why can’t modern rockers play Son House”.
    Why aren't people interested in the shit I'm interested in? These kids!!!!!

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that ... ok a really bad analogy but here goes ... suppose a beginner walks in with a strat and wants to learn rock. The teacher tells him/her to put away the strat and grab a resonator because the first thing to learn is play “Son House style”. The first half of most books about rock rhythm guitar start with “Son House comping”. On the forums, questions are asked “why can’t modern rockers play Son House”.
    Sounds like an excellent way to teach rock guitar to me. It might at least turn out players who can do something a bit more musical than the wannabe teenage shredders I hear every time I visit a guitar shop.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Yes indeed, what is jazz?!

    One of my favourite "jazz" guitar styles to play is rhythm guitar. Here I say "jazz" in inverted commas because I'm aware from this thread (and many others) that for a lot of people jazz has to be improvised - or it ain't jazz. When I play rhythm (and lead, to be honest) it's certainly not improvised, so maybe I'm not playing jazz (although I think I am, and the more I read the more I discover many great solos aren't improvised). Secondly, the type of "jazz" I enjoy is early jazz - Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Sidney Bechet, Bix etc. Again, reading some of the threads on the forum I get the feeling (possibly mistakenly) that this no longer counts as jazz - it's more the recreation of something historic that is no longer relevant. Again, I'd disagree - bebop, doesn't seem to get the same condescension here, but that's not much newer. Covid aside, there appears to still be a fairly healthy scene for this historic music - much as there is for classical music, big bands, be-bop, Chicago blues etc. Possibly there's even more of audience amongst non-musicians for these traditional styles than for modern jazz? So I think the traditional is still relevant, but I do accept for some it's only improvised music at the cutting edge of modern jazz that should, these days, be awarded the description.

    Anyway, all that irrelevance aside, I love playing the four to the bar type rhythm guitar. I'm aware that I'm not playing Freddie Green style - what I enjoy is more La Pompe, Western Swing rhythm, Allan Reuss style and so on. I don't do any of it well, but for me there's something wonderful about a series of chords that move logically with inner harmonies and walking bass and include passing chords and lovely inversions and all that. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to do, and in my continued absence of any skills whatsoever in improvising lead lines, the rhythm guitar thing is where I find myself focussing.

    Will I ever use it in anger?

    I doubt it. I suspect my rhythm guitar outings will be very infrequent indeed, although there are seedlings in the ground that depending on how the virus things pan out may see a small traditional combo out there one day.

    But more likely my jazz rhythm playing will never see the light of day. Still enjoying playing it at home though and I thoroughly enjoy it. I see nothing wrong with that.

    Derek

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Check this out at 1:48


    Bop rhythm guitar, NOT swing. Recorded in the '60s.

    .
    Clearly accenting the 2 and 4. Amateur.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    This thread has already given me the incentive to spend a little time with the Raniolo video lesson last night and the 'Swing & Big Band' book this morning, so thanks for creating it.

    When I follow the examples in each, I often find myself trying different comping patterns and rhythms after I've got them down as straightforward 4-to-the-bar. This morning I was applying it to 'Fly me to the moon', a standard I've spent a lot of time on recently working out a chord melody version. It's been really instructive subsequently trying to work out a 'rhythm guitar' version just using three-note voicings. It was interesting trying to apply straight 4-to-the-bar to that particular standard as it doesn't really feel right: if you think of the melody line's rhythm, playing it it always feels like the second half of each bar should be syncopated and some subsequent first beats too.

    That's a long-winded way of saying that by trying to learn 'Freddie Green style' comping, I'm also learning some good different voicings and picking up a few things that would help out chord melody playing and other rhythmic comping. You can turn these 4-to-the-bar comping exercises into bossa nova comping exercises or more syncopated comping exercises very easily.

    Plus I like singing standards too, so it's quite important for me to get the hang of simple strummy comping for self song-accompaniment.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    Yes indeed, what is jazz?!

    One of my favourite "jazz" guitar styles to play is rhythm guitar. Here I say "jazz" in inverted commas because I'm aware from this thread (and many others) that for a lot of people jazz has to be improvised - or it ain't jazz.
    These people have been misled. Jazz is full of set piece solos that are performed almost note for note. The Ellington orchestra is jazz. Jelly Roll Morton records are jazz. Joe Henderson playing pretty much the same solo every night is jazz.

    Improvisation is a key part of the tradition for sure, but jazz is a language, tradition, community and style of music.

    Improvisation takes place in every musical culture - even classical historically. It's not really that unusual unless you happen to be a classical player who's never tried it.

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Clearly accenting the 2 and 4. Amateur.
    What. A. Dick.