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  1. #1
    Not sure this is the subforum for this but here goes...I'm from the rock and metal camp but years ago started listening to a lot of fusion/traditional jazz and learning jazz theory, mostly out of compositional boredom and wanting to add "color" to my music, as it were. Also, it just kinda seemed like the logical next step after learning functional harmony to jump into jazz theory as it expanded on what I already knew...But recently I wrote a solo on a thrash song and my drummer pointed out that there were lots of "wrong" notes in the solo (not the first time this has happened recently)...He played it for his other metal band and their guitarist (who is much much better and much more experienced than I as far as musicianship goes) said the same thing, quoting "He needs to learn how to play scales"...This was kinda depressing cause I've spent years trying to learn to get outside the restrictions imposed by thinking/playing purely in scales, and had thought I was successful...When I compose a "metal solo" now I think in phrases based around arpeggios mostly, while mixing in the occasional "color" tone, whether diatonic or using chromatic approach notes (like playing a minor triad with a #4 resolving to the P5, or a major triad with the b2 resolving to the root, for example), while taking care to rhythmically resolve on chord tones, especially in cases where the color tones are chromatic...occasionally I'll use 7th or 9th arps but usually I just think of that 7th or 9th as the "color tones", and treat the tone tendencies accordingly, always resolving on either the root, 3rd, or 5th of the tonal center...in other words, I'm well within the boundaries of a naturally-flowing tonal gravity, even when using chromaticism, so it's not like i'm side-slipping for whole phrases or anything or doing something that would sound totally alien in the metal genre...to my ear it the solo sounds totally right, but to my fellow musicians in the rock/metal camp it seems like the occasional outside note doesn't sound "colorful" but sounds "wrong" instead...Is this a perceptual evolution due to my longterm exposure to jazz and will I forever hear things differently than other metalheads? It's kind of concerning cause I don't want to have to second-guess my ears and say to myself "ok, just stick to the simple triadic structure of the scale and everything will be cool"...Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2

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    Odd, I thought I responded to this in a rather lengthy but well thought out response, but it's missing...oh well. The cliff notes version, I guess:

    I think it's definitely possible that listening to a lot of jazz/fusion has changed your ears to hear some things as "acceptable" that others don't.

    Now, whether or not this actually works in your playing situation, I can't say without hearing. I might not even be able to say with hearing, because I might like it-- but I also get why others might not.

    For better or worse, there are expectations when it comes to music/bands/gigs. These can be audience expectations, these can can be expectations of the musicians themselves. And it goes beyond just the music even...I've had to buy clothes for certain gigs to "look" the part.

    There's playing situations that allow us to be ourselves...and there's those that while maybe still rewarding in some way--do require us to conform to an expectation. When I take a straight up country gig, it's an expectation I'll wear a snap button shirt, play my tele, and leave the altered dominant licks at home (well, I might sneak a few of those in...)

    So I don't know. Wear black and use your chromatics sparingly

    And welcome aboard!
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

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  4. #3

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    1) 2) Mr. B. is as he is so often, correct. Very much in this situation depends on the band dynamic. Whose band is it? Is there money involved? If the drummer is running the show, listen to his advice. On the other hand, if this is one of your projects, you might want to consider other arrangements.

    But, yeah, listening to jazz has changed your brain, possibly for the better. Roll with it. For laughs, wear a beret to your next practice. If they throw anything at you, the beret will come in handy in your new life as a wandering mendicant.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 06-20-2018 at 07:37 PM. Reason: Capitalization
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  5. #4

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    Beware, your metal soul is in mortal peril.

  6. #5

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    Certainly you'd have to switch gears from jazz to metal. But given you played metal before you should be able to pull it off. There is the flashy scale speed (and arpeggios) played with almost robotic accuracy that is part of metal. That tight rhythmic feel is very different from jazz.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  7. #6

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    Do you ever miss how cool something used to sound before your ears got used to it? Certain jazzy chords are like that for me now. Now they might as well be cowboy chords. You can't go home again.

  8. #7

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    Maybe give them some Allan Holdsworth records to listen to...

    And, yes, jazz has changed your brain. Unlike the comments from your metalhead friends, music is NOT playing scales. That's just practicing. Lots of musicians practice in public and think they're playing music.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Beware, your metal soul is in mortal peril.
    Lol, i know right...Thanks for the responses guys...A lot of that makes sense, especially what Fep said about the feel being very different, I think that has a lot to do with it too

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont

    When I take a straight up country gig, it's an expectation I'll wear a snap button shirt, play my tele, and leave the altered dominant licks at home (well, I might sneak a few of those in...)
    LOL...I can see what u mean about expectations in a gig setting...luckily this is just a recording project me and my friend are doing for fun, nothing serious, so I can experiment all I want...he generally tweaks the song arrangements since he's got a better knack for it, and in our case it's give and take when we collaborate, there's not really a leader, only compromise and willingness to try something the other suggests to see if it sounds better

    Quote Originally Posted by Binyomin
    Do you ever miss how cool something used to sound before your ears got used to it? Certain jazzy chords are like that for me now. Now they might as well be cowboy chords. You can't go home again.
    Yeah that's been exactly my experience...it used to be like "wow what is that guitarist doing and how do i do it?" and now it's like, "yup he's implying the whole tone scale there"...the first time I played a dominant 7th chord was like "wow, this chord is magic!"...and now it's just like, "meh" lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Unlike the comments from your metalhead friends, music is NOT playing scales. That's just practicing. Lots of musicians practice in public and think they're playing music.
    That's a good point, and part of the reason i felt so restricted by using scales initially, no matter how many scales I learned...my solo attempts sounded linear and boring and I felt the need to use all 7 notes cause why not right?...Once I learned a bit about harmonic motion my approach changed completely.

  10. #9

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    You might want to check out Mike Stern, I think the way he combines jazzy/bebop lines with rock guitar sounds is quite effective. Not sure if you could get away with slipping that kind of thing into a metal session but who knows!

  11. #10

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    If "out" notes do not sound "right" immediately, they are "wrong".
    The concept of getting used to something to begin sounding right, is wrong.
    Give it enough time and any random banging on piano will start to sound acceptable.
    Also, I experienced many times something to sound "right" for a while, or on casual listening, but to become completely unlistenable after a while, or after giving it some attention.
    If it's of any worth, no matter how far "out" it is, it will sound "right" right away and always.

    It does not mean you ever have to like it.
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  12. #11

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    after playing only jazz for about 10 years, I randomlly joined a powerviolence band (hardcore punk but faster and meaner) which is what i was into in highscool. I wrote about 5 “tunes” in a week that were completely free of any sign of swing or wrong notes. It wasn’t a challenge, I just knew what the style sounded like, and it doesn’t sound like anything besides chromatic, minor, and dimnished. So that’s how my riffs went. “accidently” swinging out of habbit wasn’t an issue haha.

    You don’t have to play everything you can play— you know what sounds like metal and what doesn’t
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  13. #12

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    It's hard to respond to the specifics of the OP without actually hearing what he played, but more broadly, yes, listening to and learning jazz has affected my experience of other music. Lots of things I might have heard as dissonant and weird earlier on no longer seem that way to me. On the other hand, it has also left me less tolerant of long improvisation on harmonically simpler music. My ear wants to hear changes, altered dominants, etc. A lot of jam-band music (and blues-rock/psychedelic antecedents) that I used to like bores me. On yet another hand, it has also heightened my appreciation for soloists who can really tell a story in 8 or 16 bars (George Harrison't solos just sound better and better with the years).

    John

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    If "out" notes do not sound "right" immediately, they are "wrong".
    The concept of getting used to something to begin sounding right, is wrong.
    Give it enough time and any random banging on piano will start to sound acceptable.
    Also, I experienced many times something to sound "right" for a while, or on casual listening, but to become completely unlistenable after a while, or after giving it some attention.
    If it's of any worth, no matter how far "out" it is, it will sound "right" right away and always.

    It does not mean you ever have to like it.
    IMO, It is certainly true, that in the short term, repetitively playing something "wrong" will become more tolerable over time, even to the point that coming back to something you previously thought sounded awesome, you discover sounds like crap. This takes place even at a mixing/mastering level; the ears become frequency-tolerant very quickly, so I can only mix something for 15 mins or so, have a smoke, and then re-listen to it...i often use a reference mix just for this purpose...lots of other guitarists i've met who have gone back and forth between 2 amps to see which sounded better have had similar experiences; the 2nd amp sounds like crap compared to the first until you play on the 2nd for a while, then the first one sounds like crap when you go back to it...and while the same thing happens on a tonal level, it's different from the long-term or even the very very short term, so the concept of something musically happening "right away" is kind of a gray area to begin with...musical memory is a weird thing and can play tricks on you, which is why if I make a mistake on stage, but then purposefully repeat the mistake in a way that it resolves naturally, it can sound like I did it on purpose and in some cases actually sound awesome...Just because a specific tonal tension is unexpected doesn't mean it won't sound right AFTER it resolves, the musical mind hears the phrase as a whole and can make it sound right after the fact, but again, that's really only the case in the very very short term where something sounds "wrong".

    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758
    after playing only jazz for about 10 years, I randomlly joined a powerviolence band (hardcore punk but faster and meaner) which is what i was into in highscool. I wrote about 5 “tunes” in a week that were completely free of any sign of swing or wrong notes. It wasn’t a challenge, I just knew what the style sounded like, and it doesn’t sound like anything besides chromatic, minor, and dimnished. So that’s how my riffs went. “accidently” swinging out of habbit wasn’t an issue haha.

    You don’t have to play everything you can play— you know what sounds like metal and what doesn’t
    Good to see you again Joe! Powerviolence, eh? never heard of that subgenre, sounds awesome ...Yeah hardcore is pretty liberal tonally so you can get away with a lot, I've written a lot of grindcore where playing waaaay outside progressions and notes is completely acceptable...in the case of this song I've tried to dial it down, since thrash is more melodic and more often founded on common scales like harmonic minor.

    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    My ear wants to hear changes, altered dominants, etc. A lot of jam-band music (and blues-rock/psychedelic antecedents) that I used to like bores me.
    I'm the same way and that's actually a great point about changes and something i haven't really thought about; maybe i'm using too much internal harmonic motion via upper structures and i need to approach it in a more modal manner.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathByIcePants View Post
    IMO, It is certainly true, that in the short term, repetitively playing something "wrong" will become more tolerable over time, even to the point that coming back to something you previously thought sounded awesome, you discover sounds like crap. This takes place even at a mixing/mastering level; the ears become frequency-tolerant very quickly, so I can only mix something for 15 mins or so, have a smoke, and then re-listen to it...i often use a reference mix just for this purpose...lots of other guitarists i've met who have gone back and forth between 2 amps to see which sounded better have had similar experiences; the 2nd amp sounds like crap compared to the first until you play on the 2nd for a while, then the first one sounds like crap when you go back to it...and while the same thing happens on a tonal level, it's different from the long-term or even the very very short term, so the concept of something musically happening "right away" is kind of a gray area to begin with...musical memory is a weird thing and can play tricks on you, which is why if I make a mistake on stage, but then purposefully repeat the mistake in a way that it resolves naturally, it can sound like I did it on purpose and in some cases actually sound awesome...Just because a specific tonal tension is unexpected doesn't mean it won't sound right AFTER it resolves, the musical mind hears the phrase as a whole and can make it sound right after the fact, but again, that's really only the case in the very very short term where something sounds "wrong".
    Well, yes and no. From sentence to sentence, from coma to coma, in your response to my my post, you agree with what I wrote, then disagree. Or is it my understanding that varies?

    What I was saying, in one sentence, would be: You can fool some people, some of the time ...

    In more sentences ...

    If you played some notes and your drummer heard them as wrong, then notes you played were wrong. After a while, couple repetitions, or rehearsals, your drummer may adapt and begin hearing them as not wrong. However, it won't make those notes any more right than what they were on first listening.
    It would be wrong to interpret drummers change of attitude as if you actually played right notes.

    The other possibility is, your drummer did not actually hear your notes as wrong musically, but he just did not like them, for whatever the reason. Over time he may begin to actually understand and like them. As oposed to previous example , notes were right all the time.

    There are disonances that sound right and dissonances that sound wrong, depending of context.

    If something is wrong, no resolution can make it right. It's a myth. Counting on it is fooling own self.
    If you think resolution made something sound right, you are wrong. It was right all the time, only you did not understand it at time.

    By use of psychology tricks, like constant prolongued exposure, repetition and so on, you can make something that is wrong appear as if it was right. For a while. Eventually, magic will dissapear.

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  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Well, yes and no. From sentence to sentence, from coma to coma, in your response to my my post, you agree with what I wrote, then disagree. Or is it my understanding that varies?

    What I was saying, in one sentence, would be: You can fool some people, some of the time ...

    In more sentences ...

    If you played some notes and your drummer heard them as wrong, then notes you played were wrong. After a while, couple repetitions, or rehearsals, your drummer may adapt and begin hearing them as not wrong. However, it won't make those notes any more right than what they were on first listening.
    It would be wrong to interpret drummers change of attitude as if you actually played right notes.

    The other possibility is, your drummer did not actually hear your notes as wrong musically, but he just did not like them, for whatever the reason. Over time he may begin to actually understand and like them. As oposed to previous example , notes were right all the time.

    There are disonances that sound right and dissonances that sound wrong, depending of context.

    If something is wrong, no resolution can make it right. It's a myth. Counting on it is fooling own self.
    If you think resolution made something sound right, you are wrong. It was right all the time, only you did not understand it at time.

    By use of psychology tricks, like constant prolongued exposure, repetition and so on, you can make something that is wrong appear as if it was right. For a while. Eventually, magic will dissapear.

    Sent from My Blog Page
    Sorry maybe i didn't explain clearly enough...I do agree that constant prolonged exposure in a short period of time can make something that sounds wrong become more tolerable, and yes the magic does disappear once you walk away; you're brain's tonal cache forgets it, or it is overwritten by exposure to something else...But that is distinct from the phenomena of something resolving so that it sounds right, after the fact...there is more than one reason why something can sound wrong, sometimes a mixture of things...If you played a ii V I but stopped on the V instead of resolving it, for example, it would sound "wrong" to me, that dominant chord wouldn't be at rest, and the dissonance would not be pleasing...a lot of that has to do with expectation, like Mr. B mentioned...Side-slipping, as another example, works that way in the extreme; all the notes of a whole phrase are out of key, and if I don't resolve it correctly on the next change, then it just sounds like i played a bunch of wrong notes, but if i resolve it smoothly, then it sounds "outside" but still "right"...that right there is proof enough for me that resolution can solve wrong notes after the fact...You are definitely right about context tho, and that right there is the core of what I think I'm doing wrong, as others have pointed out, something that sounds great in jazz can sound terrible in metal...My drummer hearing something as "wrong" I think is just a subtle difference in what we've been exposed to and expectations based on it, which I think of as yet another separate phenomena; musical nurture vs. nature, as it were, and of course preference plays a large role...That being said I would rather trust his ears and it sound right to both of us than only one of us, even if it's less interesting for me; Serveth the song, not thyself

  17. #16

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    I totally understand if you dont want to but...
    It would be nice if you could upload and post the track that is up for discussion.
    I enjoy metal myself quite alot and it would also be fun to hear your composed solo!

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    "The first thing to understand is to accept the fact that there will always be this gulf between where you are and where you would like to be as a musician. That never changes. So, understand the fact that that's not gonna go away. That will be there with you indefinitely. Till we draw our last breath and play our last scale." -John Stowell

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Desm0nd View Post
    I totally understand if you dont want to but...
    It would be nice if you could upload and post the track that is up for discussion.
    I enjoy metal myself quite alot and it would also be fun to hear your composed solo!

    Skickat från min SM-G920F via Tapatalk
    Well ok, since u asked so nicely screw it ...mind you it's not mixed nor been properly arranged...the attempted solo starts at about 2:44

    Zippyshare.com - Once Evil - Riff134.mp3

    Let the online ego-spanking commence lol

  19. #18

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    I think it sounds great and I dont hear any wrong notes. I actually find that it sounds quite idiomatic.

    Skickat från min SM-G920F via Tapatalk
    "The first thing to understand is to accept the fact that there will always be this gulf between where you are and where you would like to be as a musician. That never changes. So, understand the fact that that's not gonna go away. That will be there with you indefinitely. Till we draw our last breath and play our last scale." -John Stowell

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathByIcePants View Post
    Is this a perceptual evolution due to my longterm exposure to jazz and will I forever hear things differently than other metalheads?
    I started out playing rock and metal. It took me years to learn how to "hear" jazz. Nowadays when I listen to music I just take it for what it is. Has my listening been changed forever? Sure. But it keeps on changing.


    Quote Originally Posted by DeathByIcePants View Post
    It's kind of concerning cause I don't want to have to second-guess my ears and say to myself "ok, just stick to the simple triadic structure of the scale and everything will be cool"...Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
    The reason why a scalar approach is overwhelmingly favored in metal is because it facilitates playing fast. There's nothing wrong with a harmonic, outside approach to soloing. If your fellow musicians don't like it, maybe you could get them into jazz? Or perhaps get them to listen to some Alex Skolnick or Vernon Reid. Other thrash guitarists (Hanneman comes to mind) were fearless about playing outside as well, even if they took scalar approaches.

    Not sure that's very helpful.

    ETA: Your playing is fine. Your bud needs to be told about tension and release, 'cause you use them to good effect in that solo.
    Last edited by Thumpalumpacus; 06-22-2018 at 08:00 AM.

  21. #20

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    Sounds good, thats all that matters.

    Seems like your friends, like a lot of people, are mistaking obtuseness for discernment, seems to me you should trust your own ears with confidence.

    D.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathByIcePants View Post
    Well ok, since u asked so nicely screw it ...mind you it's not mixed nor been properly arranged...the attempted solo starts at about 2:44

    Zippyshare.com - Once Evil - Riff134.mp3

    Let the online ego-spanking commence lol
    Your solo is all good. IMO. I believe it's all already heard within genre, broadly taken as HM. Your drummer is stupid.

    Overall sound is too unpleasant for older people, my ears are bleeding.
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  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Your solo is all good. IMO. I believe it's all already heard within genre, broadly taken as HM. Your drummer is stupid.

    Overall sound is too unpleasant for older people, my ears are bleeding.
    Bleeding ears, melted faces, imploded brains, that's the goal lol...Thanks for the replies guys, that makes me feel a lot better knowing it's not necessarily my ears that are the problem...I feel stupid for being afraid to post the song lol...I know my technique needs A LOT of work but as long as it sounds tonally right to you guys I can work with it...As far as introducing my drummer to jazz goes, he's actually the one who got me into jazz-metal/fusion bands like Cynic, Animals as Leaders, Chimp Spanner, Exivious, ect to begin with...and after that I just went on a fusion and jazz listening binge going backwards temporally until i hit Bebop, and then it was over; my mind was permanently boggled ...he's mentioned he likes Chick Corea so I know he's at least heard fusion, probably a good amount of it...so I dunno, maybe it is just a preference thing...I'm really relieved that it sounds ok; doubting my ability to hear things as they are is terrifying as a songwriter, especially when it's something that theoretical analysis says is in a gray area, contextually-speaking...So thanks again guys, seriously

  24. #23

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    Hey Deathbyicepants, I'm not sure what I find funnier, your name, or the fact you seem to actually care what your metalhead pals think of your "outside" note choices! If it sounds good it is good, and all that....

    speaking of heavy metal, beat this:


  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Hey Deathbyicepants, I'm not sure what I find funnier, your name, or the fact you seem to actually care what your metalhead pals think of your "outside" note choices! If it sounds good it is good, and all that....

    speaking of heavy metal, beat this:

    It always wows me when a musician is so good at articulation and phrasing that they can emulate a completely different instrument, especially emulating guitar since it's got so many ways it can be articulated/expressed...kinda reminds me of this but with the roles reversed:



    I dunno if he's using a swell fx or just awesome at using his volume knob with bends or what, but it sounds like he's emulating a flute or sax to me

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathByIcePants View Post
    it seems like the occasional outside note doesn't sound "colorful" but sounds "wrong" instead...Is this a perceptual evolution due to my longterm exposure to jazz and will I forever hear things differently than other metalheads? It's kind of concerning cause I don't want to have to second-guess my ears and say to myself "ok, just stick to the simple triadic structure of the scale and everything will be cool"
    Interesting. I'd say it's whether it suits the genre or not. Play a country song and put a b9 in and it sounds gross. Play a 6, 9, or even a #9, and it sounds interesting.

    Depends whether your 'jazz' notes work or not. If they enhance the tune, then great. If it sounds like you're trying to play jazz instead of metal then expect filthy looks :-)

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    If it sounds like you're trying to play jazz instead of metal then expect filthy looks :-)
    Makes sense...Like that scene in Back to The Future where Marty Mcfly goes all shreddy on Johnny B. Goode LOL.

  28. #27

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    You can bring a jazz sensibility/aesthetic to rock/metal etc. It comes off sounding "Fusiony" of course, plenty of examples of it from the 70's on.

    Now on the other hand if you try to bring a metal approach into a Jazz idiom, you'll just look and sound like a dickhead.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    If it sounds like you're trying to play jazz instead of metal then expect filthy looks :-)

  30. #29

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    Yep OP you're totally screwed... there's no turning back now.

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha

  31. #30

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    Welcome to the dark side.....!

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  32. #31

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    I know it has affected me...I can't really enjoy listening to another type of music except for jazz nowadays, and even then it's limited to early jazz till around the 1960s.

  33. #32

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    Now on the other hand if you try to bring a metal approach into a Jazz idiom,
    you'll just look and sound like a dickhead.




    Perhaps this is really jazz played in a rock rhythm environment. Whatever it is, I like it.
    From an early David Binney recording "The Luxury Of Guessing".
    Ben Monder rock solo at 0:58 approximately.

    IMO, with the right players, anything can work.
    For purists, none of it works, cause they know so well how it should be done.

  34. #33

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    Monder's Hydra is pretty Metal in places.

    When it's not 12-tone Beach Boys, or suddenly haunting American art song.

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post


    Perhaps this is really jazz played in a rock rhythm environment. Whatever it is, I like it.
    From an early David Binney recording "The Luxury Of Guessing".
    Ben Monder rock solo at 0:58 approximately.

    IMO, with the right players, anything can work.
    For purists, none of it works, cause they know so well how it should be done.
    Wow that's pretty atonal sounding...But it works for me, and it's a good example of something only being able to work because of the context I think (and of course with the right players like you said); the head is establishing an outside sound right off the bat so there's a lot of breathing room for the solo...I like how he goes from being totally outside at the beginning of the solo to being more and more inside and recognizably in pentatonic minor near the end; very bluesy rock-n-roll ...I might have to sit down and attempt to transcribe/analyze what's happening on this one, if it CAN be analyzed lol.

    Happy 4th guys!