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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    This is a confession: I tried to like the kind of jazz standards that everyone seems to adore for decades, the standards that are based on musicals or other 40s and 50s popular songs, the Real Book variety. But honestly, songs like Misty sound just cheesy to me. "Close your eyes and a thousand violins begin to play" – once you know the line you can never unhear it. But even songs that stay a bit further away from Kitsch just bore me to dead with the stereotype modulations of functional harmony that all of them use. And whatever the arrangement may try and how innovative the interpretation may be – I just can't listen to it for more then a few minutes.
    I like modal jazz, soul jazz, funk jazz, latin jazz and the bluesy, rootsy stuff though.
    I hope it is OK to stay in the forum though I'll never feel inspired to discuss Stella By Starlight?
    I think it's fine to like whatever songs or types of songs you want. I am sure on this forum you'll find conversation partners who share your feelings. You also might wake up one morning and decide you love standards. Or not.

    I hope you do find a set of folks here who can encourage you to make the music you want to make, and we'll cheer you on.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    There is that.

    Dang. That was just wonderful to watch.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    The post-bop, hard bop and modal thing was a big departure from bebop covers of show tunes and contrafacts. It's no secret that Mile's Kind Of Blue tapped into a big audience for jazz that wasn't focused on that chasing the chord changes bebop manifesto.

    I am very drawn to the era of the jazz composer, Mingus, Miles, Shorter, Hancock, etc., and beyond, vs the Great American Songbook. The approaches to harmony are more modern and geared to a more personal approach to concepts and application.

    However...those that choose to ignore the vocab and practices developed by bebop do so at the peril of not sounding "authentic" as you try to tell your story with a path that takes you back and forth between consonance and dissonance, tension and release. It is still fundamentally essential as basic vocab.

    I do remember when mainstream straight ahead jazz was very progressive, and then the "young lions" thing happened with Wynton and his peers, and bam, people went back to the jazz museum and started rehashing old jazz again and it slowed the progressive stuff down a bit, IMO. Jazz academia seemed to become a force in the music.

    Nobody masters all of jazz, and the individualism of the genre dictates we choose the path that best satisfies our creative appetite, but important to know the tradition.
    Well said. It only takes a lifetime or two of playing this music to learn things like this and be able to say them with authenticity.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Ragman makes a good point about playing v. listening. I don’t like hearing Misty much, but if I try and work out a lush chord melody version on the guitar, it suddenly gets a lot more interesting and I start to like the tune a bit more!
    There is this whole school of thought that we ought to learn the words to standards even if we are playing instrumental. But honestly, learning words to some of these tunes can ruin them for me. Also, some of the words were added long after the tune itself was popular, like "Misty." The connection between words and music is not always direct or original. I love the Songbook, but I also respect people who play well in some other bag. I might not buy the CD's, because I like the standards (Pat Metheny exception, of course).

  6. #55

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    Parts two and three of the [COLOR=var(--ytd-video-primary-info-renderer-title-color, var(--yt-spec-text-primary))]Bill Frisell, Bob Bain and Dennis Budimir conversation:[/COLOR]





  7. #56

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    Part of me wishes that I'd never started this thread, but you guys told me to not give up on standards with functional harmony. And it teached me to differentiate as I liked the versions of My Funny Valentine that ragman posted a lot.
    I never said I ignore this kind of music btw. I just said for me it always feels more like 'doing homework' than playing modal and rootsy stuff. I know that doing homework is required, though.

  8. #57

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    No it is not ok... it i like participating in a Mass doubting Immaculate Conceptiion.

    You should take at least 40 day of isolation from forum, feel it through, think it over and take your decision. If you understand that there is nothing - I repeat - nothing as much jazz-realated as 'a kitten on a tree' there the doors of the foum might be open to you

    At least that was a word of one of the oldest forum's gurus when I first doubted about Misty and went to the jazz church for cofession... and he added sing Polka, Dots and Moonbeams 30 times every morning and you begin to appreciate Misty

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    This is a confession: I tried to like the kind of jazz standards that everyone seems to adore for decades, the standards that are based on musicals or other 40s and 50s popular songs, the Real Book variety. But honestly, songs like Misty sound just cheesy to me. "Close your eyes and a thousand violins begin to play" – once you know the line you can never unhear it. But even songs that stay a bit further away from Kitsch just bore me to dead with the stereotype modulations of functional harmony that all of them use. And whatever the arrangement may try and how innovative the interpretation may be – I just can't listen to it for more then a few minutes.
    I like modal jazz, soul jazz, funk jazz, latin jazz and the bluesy, rootsy stuff though.
    I hope it is OK to stay in the forum though I'll never feel inspired to discuss Stella By Starlight?
    We all have different tastes, nothing strange or controversial about that.

  10. #59

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    I may be wrong, but I think it is only guitarists who care about standards. Or maybe it is only northern hemisphere guitarists: I cannot remember when I last heard a standard played live.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I may be wrong, but I think it is only guitarists who care about standards. Or maybe it is only northern hemisphere guitarists: I cannot remember when I last heard a standard played live.
    What do people play in jam sessions in NZ?

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I may be wrong, but I think it is only guitarists who care about standards. Or maybe it is only northern hemisphere guitarists: I cannot remember when I last heard a standard played live.
    A lot of touring jazz musicians still play standards, I think this is still common due to the economic necessity of playing with a local rhythm section for example. In fact even when they bring their own group they usually play at least some standards. The exception to this is when a group plays all their own material, this seems to be more common with European musicians in my experience.

    These observations are mainly based on my attendance at the Watermill jazz club in Surrey, which regularly features American, European and UK musicians.

  13. #62

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    Interesting. I often heard Aussies say their jazz scene is quite different because of their distance from the US and European scenes, maybe more so for NZ.

    The kiwi players I have met seem much like others though tbh, in that they know and play standards.

    Standards are a necessity of being a working jazz musician really.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I may be wrong, but I think it is only guitarists who care about standards. Or maybe it is only northern hemisphere guitarists: I cannot remember when I last heard a standard played live.
    Just to summurize:

    No standards played live by guitarist from Southern Hemisphere or by non-guitarist worldwide .

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I may be wrong, but I think it is only guitarists who care about standards. Or maybe it is only northern hemisphere guitarists: I cannot remember when I last heard a standard played live.
    Based on my experience in Southern California, all the jazz acts I see play some standards. I have found that less standards are played than say 20 years ago. I.e. now I find it to be about 75% original material and 25% standards depending on if the group has a lot of original material, how popular the band or band members are, and the size of the audience; E.g. in a large venue and \ or for bands without a loyal following, more standards are played since most in the audience don't know the band's original material.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    What do people play in jam sessions in NZ?
    I was at a "blues and roots" festival once (no jazz to speak of) where they had different groups and solo performers jam together, a bit. Seems like all they could jam on was the blues. It would have been nice for them to be able to call out some standards.

  17. #66

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    The Black Sedans roll in the middle of the night.

  18. #67

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    Is everyone here familiar with the GuitarWank podcast? It's interesting to hear the contrasting experiences and opinions of hosts Bruce Forman and Scott Henderson. Bruce knows a ton of standards, Scott doesn't, but has other production/recording skills, and their career options reflect that.

    PK

  19. #68

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    guavajelly -

    Sorry, I missed your reply before.

    I think I'm just tired of chains of II V I and I VI II V progressions
    Absolutely, quite agree, they can get repetitive. I quite believe the 80%. Personally, at first I couldn't get them. Then when I'd got them and got bored with them I needed to alter them. Then when I'd got bored with altering them I sort of ignored them (within reason), then when that was too easy I went back to altering them and inventing my own subs. These days I've no idea what happens as long it resolves okay:-)

    our corona infection
    Sorry to hear that.

    ...Kind Of Blue and she asked me to turn it up. I don't know if that is about modal or functional
    I guess that's why it's popular. And it's basically modal, that was the conception behind it.

    One could say that in general modal jazz provides more space for an improviser, the music can breathe more as the improviser doesn't have to concentrate on modulating keys as much. Now a musician is free to do the same with a functional harmonic piece of music – ist just seems like most don't do that.
    That's an interesting point. It's quite possible to play standard (functional) harmony tunes pretty minimally, I see nothing wrong with it. I think it would depend how it was done, and maybe who did it.

  20. #69

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    Just a thought from the above ...

    Good changes players don’t follow every chord. The secret is to block down tunes to simpler functions and redecorate. That’s what Charlie Parker is doing.

    So; the modal thing is less different from changes playing than I think people suppose. you can get a sense of this listen to Cannonball on Kind of Blue where he is superimposing changes in his bop lines on the mode. This is not very different to what he might do on a rhythm changes.

    OTOH you could take a more modal approach and apply it to a standard. You hear modern players doing this all the time.

    No one should be playing 1 6 2 5. It sounds terrible anyway, and doesn’t give enough space.

  21. #70

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    Joe Pass' cliche was there's only dominant and major or minor. And he rarely, if ever, played a straight dominant (his words).

    So a 1625 in C would be just C or Cm - G7alt.

    (Presumably dims are dominants and augs depend on the type of chord which is augmented).

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Joe Pass' cliche was there's only dominant and major or minor. And he rarely, if ever, played a straight dominant (his words). So a 1625 in C would be just C or Cm - G7alt. (Presumably dims are dominants and augs depend on the type of chord which is augmented).
    Everything Joe Pass played on static C major chord can be played on 251 or 1625 progression. Note how he uses V7 altered over C major often. Heck I even lifted the entire c major etude and played it over the changes of "Night and Day."

    DB



    Last edited by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog; 05-29-2020 at 07:27 AM.

  23. #72

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    Let the dominant dominate

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    Funny enough the opposite is true. From the three interpretations I like Gerry Mulligan's version the best. That doesn't mean I don't like Bill Evans' and Jesse van Ruller's interpretation. Now go figure. ;-)
    I'm the same. But then again I happen to think that the early Mulligan stuff (quartet/quintet) with Chet Baker is some of the best music ever. The way Mulligan and Baker played together contrapuntally, harmonising together, is just so fresh sounding and I've never heard anything else quite like it in jazz.

  25. #74

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    I got into jazz via avant garde music. So the wrong way round, if anything. Started off listening to Anthony Braxton, Art Ensemble of Chicago and free improvisation and then started appreciating Monk, Mingus, Dolphy and from them back to Duke Ellington and from him finally to the crooners. I find listening to standards/songbook arrangements by people like Nelson Riddle on Sinatra's 'In the Wee Small Hours' album, for instance, really quite inspiring in terms of ideas. Same goes for many of the arrangements that accompany Mildred Bailey, Billie Holliday, Fred Astaire and others.

    And the lyrics to standards need not be cheesy. 'You Don't know What love is', 'I Can't Face the Music Without Singing the Blues', 'I'm a fool to want you', 'every time we say goodbye'... the lyrics are pretty good by most songwriters' standards. 'Summertime' too, although it's so common that no-one really pays any attention to the words anymore...

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog
    Note how he uses V7 altered over C major often
    That's also an old blues trick, used often. Instead of a bar or two of the tonic between phrases, they stick in the V. Breaks it up, sounds good.

    Here's Big Bill doing it at the end of the verse.


  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Interesting. I often heard Aussies say their jazz scene is quite different because of their distance from the US and European scenes, maybe more so for NZ.

    The kiwi players I have met seem much like others though tbh, in that they know and play standards.

    Standards are a necessity of being a working jazz musician really.

    The tyranny of distance is not an issue. We are not colonials.

    Jazz in New Zealand is progressive. In large part that is due to the influence of the music schools, through which most jazz musicians attend and where many teach. We have a record label, Rattle, which releases new music in jazz and other fields. Many of the artists receive state funding from Creative New Zealand. The emphasis is very much on composition and innovation. Standards are are still played by combos at weddings and wine festivals, but an audience at a jazz club would expect new music. This is a nation of noodlers.




  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    The tyranny of distance is not an issue. We are not colonials.

    Jazz in New Zealand is progressive. In large part that is due to the influence of the music schools, through which most jazz musicians attend and where many teach. We have a record label, Rattle, which releases new music in jazz and other fields. Many of the artists receive state funding from Creative New Zealand. The emphasis is very much on composition and innovation. Standards are are still played by combos at weddings and wine festivals, but an audience at a jazz club would expect new music. This is a nation of noodlers.



    I hope to visit NZ one day, and to be noodled when I'm there.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    The tyranny of distance is not an issue. We are not colonials.

    Jazz in New Zealand is progressive. In large part that is due to the influence of the music schools, through which most jazz musicians attend and where many teach. We have a record label, Rattle, which releases new music in jazz and other fields. Many of the artists receive state funding from Creative New Zealand. The emphasis is very much on composition and innovation. Standards are are still played by combos at weddings and wine festivals, but an audience at a jazz club would expect new music. This is a nation of noodlers.



    I don't want to be funny, but people constantly try to make this into a dichotomy - 'oh we don't do standards we're progressive' or 'we don't play originals because we honour the tradition'. I don't even care really, but it does seem a pattern. I think it's a bit of an excuse either way.

    There's much to learn from both. It's not as if John Coltrane didn't know any songs. I know plenty of players much more modern than me who also know more tunes, and regularly go out with bands playing completely original music. So they aren't making excuses. And I won't either.

    For context, most of the gigs I played this year (lol) were 90% original music and adaptations of unusual repertoire such a medieval stuff, rock, classical voice rep, whatever. The albums I have out and that are coming out are primarily original material.

    One album coming out this year is a mix - it's London themed, so there's some unusual arrangements of well known tunes. So it's not 'Real Book' - it's sitting down with the tunes and reimagining them. I find this kind of thing just a creative and fun as composing. The advantage is people can still hear the song, so you can get away with more 'progressiveness' if anything, especially if the tune is really well known.

    People who don't ever do this are missing a trick. But you need a song with a very strong melody. It must be said standards are usually easier to do this with than more contemporary pop material.

    Anyway, it's perfectly possible to compose, arrange, and adapt all kinds of material and still know tunes. In fact, I think you will write shit tunes if you are not intimately familiar with some sort of repertoire. (Again, that could be anything.)

    But standards - and songs in general - taught me a lot. Jazz musicians are hung up on harmony, but when it comes to composing, that's just one aspect. There's so much more to a song than that. If that wasn't true you wouldn't be able to reharmonise them so easily. So as a composer and arranger that's always interesting. Especially as I lack the proper compositional chops to come up with longer forms... but there's something useful about 32 bar forms. Jazz can do something with that.

    Also as a player - thinking about melodies has made me change my approach to soloing; ultimately focussing more on playing around and ornamenting a melody. This is, if you haven't tried it, very hard at first. All the great players can do this without exception however progressive or traditional they are.

    But if you can learn to do it as well as the best jazz players, that'll serve you in any music. You will always sound like you are playing the music. It gives your music heart and focus, and yet it is rarely talked about. But that's something I learned both from jazz standards and from Middle Eastern music where there is no harmony. And Wayne Shorter.

    And all of this can happen with or without standards, but I do feel this is something that standards give to a budding jazz player that can be easily missed when focussing on more originals based music.

    People who have problems with standards - I suggest this. Stop learning the songs your jazz teachers told you to, and learn some tunes that you love. Anything. Emotional connections are all important.

    No one particularly wants to hear Stella by Starlight. Well, it's always fun to play for me. But none of the punters know it at functions, and jazz musicians have played it a zillion times. Autopilot jazz. People just play it because the repertoire is based around what Miles played in the 50s or whatever, and that seemed like a good starting point when people were putting together the foundations of modern jazz education. I think we can be more imaginative and more connected than that.

    Anyway as I say I don't care. I'm not the standards police. Just some observations from my own experience. I think we can easily come up with BS narratives that can block us from being open to things. Me more than anyone lol.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-30-2020 at 07:05 PM.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't want to be funny, but people constantly try to make this into a dichotomy - 'oh we don't do standards we're progressive' or 'we don't play originals because we honour the tradition'. I don't even care really, but it does seem a pattern. I think it's a bit of an excuse either way....

    No one particularly wants to hear Stella by Starlight. Well, it's always fun to play for me. But none of the punters know it at functions, and jazz musicians have played it a zillion times. Autopilot jazz. People just play it because the repertoire is based around what Miles played in the 50s or whatever, and that seemed like a good starting point when people were putting together the foundations of modern jazz education. I think we can be more imaginative and more connected than that....
    I was reporting what I have observed.

    If audiences don’t want to hear the old songs, and players don’t want to play them, they fade away. So far as I know, they are not the foundations of jazz education in New Zealand schools. New Zealand jazz is more imaginative and connected than that.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I hope to visit NZ one day, and to be noodled when I'm there.
    You will be most welcome here.

  32. #81

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    A few years back I was at the Green Mill, listening to Dave Liebman play with a great local rhythm section. The were calling chestnut upon chestnut, Softly, Night and Day, Invitation. Over a drink after the set, I remarked how the last time I heard him, it was all original music with the Quartet, and I was lucky to hear him in both situations. He raised his glass and said "It's both sides of the tradition, Baby!"

    when.

    I have toured a solid amount, playing original music in the US, Europe and Japan. It's a fairly regular occurrence to play a bunch of standards with the people you are playing original music with, depending on the situation This summer, I should have been rehearsing a CD of original material of mine with Dave, Drew Gress and Vinnie Sperrazza. The project got postponed early on in the lockdown, but a Public Radio appearance I was going to do duo with Drew remained on the books. We held out hope for a while, figuring we'd just show up and play standard tunes, but the radio appearance also got postponed, so who knows what will happen and when....

    I've never felt the urge for dichotomy, both sides of the tradition work for me....

    PK

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I was reporting what I have observed.

    If audiences don’t want to hear the old songs, and players don’t want to play them, they fade away. So far as I know, they are not the foundations of jazz education in New Zealand schools. New Zealand jazz is more imaginative and connected than that.
    I perform with and count as friends a bunch of New Zealanders living here in Sydney from Mike Nock to Steve Barry. They all compose and play original, modern music but play the crap out of the tradition as well. For instance, Mike was in one of the world's first fusion bands, The Fourth Way in the mid '60s but also worked with everyone from Coleman Hawkins, Sarah Vaughan and Zoot Sims to Tal Farlow. As Christian and Paul K suggest, it doesn't have to be either/or.

  34. #83

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    I have to say the NZ musicians I have worked with have absolutely no problem playing straight ahead. One of them is actually a bop/swing specialist although I think they mostly move elsewhere probably down to the fact that there’s not so much of that in NZ itself.

    I was responding more to the rhetoric of the post. A we/them dichotomy.

    I hear that in the UK which in many ways shares aspects with the NZ scene as you describe (ie a lot of Arts Council funded music graduates touring their originals), and I think in trying to create a sort of divide between the straightahead players and the more progressive players I find it unhelpful. there’s a lot of PR copy like that here.

    OTOH the opposite extreme is also toe curling.

    Mind you most people grow out of that inevitably.

    The tradition of jazz is as much about finding your own voice and moving the music forward as it is about learning from the past. One without the other is not really the music IMO. And there’s plenty of room for your own ideas and creativity within that.

    Part of this is I admit the vague feeling of annoyance that so many talented players on social media seem happy to noodle over vamps and declare this to be #jazzguitar. I’d just like a bit of musical nourishment, a song of some kind.

    So what this is about is a feeling of inadequacy in some way that people dress up in some sort of narrative that validates them and diminishes other people’s choices and skills. ‘Oh I don’t know any tunes’ or ‘I haven’t written anything’ or ‘I sound old fashioned’ or ‘I can’t do the straightahead jazz box thing’ becomes ‘I’m progressive, not like those old farts’ or ‘I’m versed in the tradition, not like those modern cats who can’t swing.’

    We all do it to some extent. At least I do/did, BIG TIME.

    It’s all hot air and BS TBH. And you can be open to new things without admitting some sort of weakness.

    To the OP- The way I look at it is not ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ but more - playing standards can offer a lot to a musician. If you like a song learn it. It’s that simple. If you don’t, don't. Life is too short for shoulds and shouldn’ts.

    It’s perfectly easy to get an idea in your head and then spend time pointlessly subscribing to it.

    And I’d know.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-31-2020 at 05:09 AM.

  35. #84

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    As I said earlier, I was reporting what I have observed of jazz in New Zealand, not trying to create a dichotomy.

  36. #85

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    NZ must have a gov't subsidized jazz economy....

  37. #86

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    TBF a lot of places do outside the states.

  38. #87

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    Also the idea of music having some natural tendency towards progression and innovation generally is something I also question. the use of terms with a value judgement built in kind of reinforces this idea.

    I think this is a bit of an import from the philosophy and history of classical Music. Usually defined in terms of positivist/enlightenment aesthetics in jazz. Music evolves but new music is not necessarily an improvement on old music.

    i doubt you were thinking of any of that, but it does reveal how people’s assumptions operate.

    i personally prefer to frame the journey of a musician as finding ones own voice within a community of music, and using the terms like contemporary, individual, modern, fashionable and unusual, instead of ‘progressive’, ‘advanced’ or ‘innovative’ because I think that takes a step back from it a bit more.

    In some ways today’s music represents a simplification of Parker and Bud Powell for instance, and in some ways a development.

  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    NZ must have a gov't subsidized jazz economy....
    We do, effectively. We need it. A lot of the pubs that used to host jazz gigs, the London Bar in Auckland especially, have gone. New Zealand music would not be recorded, were it not for state support. That support tends to favour the modern.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    i doubt you were thinking of any of that, but it does reveal how people’s assumptions operate.
    I am not surprised in the slightest that you should doubt that. I am quite aware of the fallacy of progress (I follow John Gray), and that of New Zealand exceptionalism: I am an historian of sorts, with a PhD. It seems I am trying to describe what is happening in my adopted country, while you are trying to tell me that it cannot be so. If nothing else, that is really rather condescending.



  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I am not surprised in the slightest that you should doubt that. I am quite aware of the fallacy of progress (I follow John Gray), and that of New Zealand exceptionalism: I am an historian of sorts, with a PhD. It seems I am trying to describe what is happening in my adopted country, while you are trying to tell me that it cannot be so. If nothing else, that is really rather condescending.


    sorry if I came across as condescending, I mean most people don’t really care about this sort of thing and that’s fair enough.

    I wanted to give an idea of why I interpreted what you said the way I did.

    my words came across as a bit snippy. Reading them back I can see that. sorry.

  42. #91

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    I’m alienating people and spending too much time on here. Time for a break?

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’m alienating people and spending too much time on here. Time for a break?
    I've outlived my welcome has been trending lately

    You could also just accept that the interwebs make you bonkers at times and own it (especially in these isolation times, it's easy to drift off)

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    I've outlived my welcome has been trending lately

    You could also just accept that the interwebs make you bonkers at times and own it (especially in these isolation times, it's easy to drift off)
    Errr ... wibble?

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Errr ... wibble?

    Indeed .. Now get of your arse and go to recommend me some music in my "Recommend me something beautiful/nostalgic" thread

  46. #95

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    Thank you, Christian.

    While noodling tonight, I found myself playing Love for Sale, a song I have never learned. So perhaps you have a point.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't want to be funny, but people constantly try to make this into a dichotomy - 'oh we don't do standards we're progressive' or 'we don't play originals because we honour the tradition'. I don't even care really, but it does seem a pattern. I think it's a bit of an excuse either way.

    There's much to learn from both. It's not as if John Coltrane didn't know any songs. I know plenty of players much more modern than me who also know more tunes, and regularly go out with bands playing completely original music. So they aren't making excuses. And I won't either.

    For context, most of the gigs I played this year (lol) were 90% original music and adaptations of unusual repertoire such a medieval stuff, rock, classical voice rep, whatever. The albums I have out and that are coming out are primarily original material.

    One album coming out this year is a mix - it's London themed, so there's some unusual arrangements of well known tunes. So it's not 'Real Book' - it's sitting down with the tunes and reimagining them. I find this kind of thing just a creative and fun as composing. The advantage is people can still hear the song, so you can get away with more 'progressiveness' if anything, especially if the tune is really well known.

    People who don't ever do this are missing a trick. But you need a song with a very strong melody. It must be said standards are usually easier to do this with than more contemporary pop material.

    Anyway, it's perfectly possible to compose, arrange, and adapt all kinds of material and still know tunes. In fact, I think you will write shit tunes if you are not intimately familiar with some sort of repertoire. (Again, that could be anything.)

    But standards - and songs in general - taught me a lot. Jazz musicians are hung up on harmony, but when it comes to composing, that's just one aspect. There's so much more to a song than that. If that wasn't true you wouldn't be able to reharmonise them so easily. So as a composer and arranger that's always interesting. Especially as I lack the proper compositional chops to come up with longer forms... but there's something useful about 32 bar forms. Jazz can do something with that.

    Also as a player - thinking about melodies has made me change my approach to soloing; ultimately focussing more on playing around and ornamenting a melody. This is, if you haven't tried it, very hard at first. All the great players can do this without exception however progressive or traditional they are.

    But if you can learn to do it as well as the best jazz players, that'll serve you in any music. You will always sound like you are playing the music. It gives your music heart and focus, and yet it is rarely talked about. But that's something I learned both from jazz standards and from Middle Eastern music where there is no harmony. And Wayne Shorter.

    And all of this can happen with or without standards, but I do feel this is something that standards give to a budding jazz player that can be easily missed when focussing on more originals based music.

    People who have problems with standards - I suggest this. Stop learning the songs your jazz teachers told you to, and learn some tunes that you love. Anything. Emotional connections are all important.

    No one particularly wants to hear Stella by Starlight. Well, it's always fun to play for me. But none of the punters know it at functions, and jazz musicians have played it a zillion times. Autopilot jazz. People just play it because the repertoire is based around what Miles played in the 50s or whatever, and that seemed like a good starting point when people were putting together the foundations of modern jazz education. I think we can be more imaginative and more connected than that.

    Anyway as I say I don't care. I'm not the standards police. Just some observations from my own experience. I think we can easily come up with BS narratives that can block us from being open to things. Me more than anyone lol.
    Best post you've made for a long time. Bravo, well said, etc. Spot on. Even if I say so myself

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    One album coming out this year is a mix - it's London themed, so there's some unusual arrangements of well known tunes. So it's not 'Real Book' - it's sitting down with the tunes and reimagining them. I find this kind of thing just a creative and fun as composing. The advantage is people can still hear the song, so you can get away with more 'progressiveness' if anything, especially if the tune is really well known.
    Yes, very well thought, Sir. What's that album you are talking about?

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    Yes, very well thought, Sir. What's that album you are talking about?
    It's not out yet. Don't worry, I'll be annoying about it when it is.

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Albert Ayler liked a standard or two, but functional harmony wasn't his thing.

    I'm late to this thread but anyway.

    Once when dining with Danish friends, Dexter Gordon lost his appetite when Aylers name was mentioned. He put down knife and fork and said: "You know, if Albert had a bad tone it could become better with practice. But he doesn't have any tone at all so there's no hope."

  51. #100

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    I felt the same way as a teenager for the most part. Then I heard George Benson and BAM! This led me to a guitar teacher who introduced me to Pat Martino, then Joe Pass, Taal Farlow, etc..

    My era was the 1970's with the CIT era jazz fusion records from Freddy Hubbard, George Benson, etc along with The Crusaders, Chick Corea, John McGlaughlins Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc.
    There was no SMOOTHE JAZZ, that was Soul music on the radio still.

    Anyway I have come to discover the Great American Songbook sung by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Julie London, Nancy Wilson,etc.
    And now that's my favorite music. But to be fair I'm 63 and comfortably old,lol!