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  1. #1

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    Despite having played jazz on guitar for almost 20 years I think something like 4 or 5% of my entire listening consists music with guitar players. I feel like I should be listening/studying more guitar players but I just don't really find a lot of it all that stimulating. Saxophone and piano have been mostly what I really like listening to. Maybe it's more just the music/groups I like just didn't have guitar. Meh... just wondering if this is common with guitar players or musicians in general.

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  3. #2

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    If you don't like playing jazz, don't play it. It's not uncommon, I think, for guitarists to listen to music made on other instruments, just as it's common for pianists or any other musician to listen to many different instruments. I really would like to play other instruments, and did start out on some, but the noise level was too high for the situations I was in, so I let the trumpet and clarinet go. At this point in life, it's more trouble than it's worth to me to learn a new instrument. I bought a keyboard when I retired with the intention to learn to play it, but I've made little progress. I listen to all sorts of instrumentation - horns, keyboards, vibes, whatever. I'm not stuck on guitar except for playing, but it's the only instrument I'm capable of playing at any level that I can stand to listen to, so it's what I play. I do like listening to guitar players, though, and always have, even before I even started to play anything. But I do listen to other instruments about as much as I do to guitar.

  4. #3

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    I'm like that. I genuinely like playing and studying jazz guitar but the jazz guitarists I like are mostly from back in the day and it's kind of played out haha. I do make effort to seek out new and old jazz guitar but it doesn't make up the majority of my listening.

  5. #4

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    @ariel -- do you like to play jazz guitar??

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    @ariel -- do you like to play jazz guitar??
    Yeah, I love jazz and playing it. I guess I just don't feel like I fit in with the whole archetypal"jazz guitar" thing, if that's even a thing at all. It just happens that I play guitar and and play jazz.
    That said I do play and practice other instruments (tenor, piano, drums, bass) and I certainly love listening to most other players on those. Maybe it's an ego thing, unfortunately....
    Not to say I don't enjoy other guitarists but pretty picky.

  7. #6

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    99% of the 1600 plus jazz song recordings I have, have a jazz guitarist on them. E.g. the only exceptions in my CD collection are a few CDs I got as gifts. I.e. over 40 years I never purchased a jazz CD or borrow one from a friend to record, that didn't have a guitarist.

    When I was 18, I got into jazz because I lived with a professional jazz guitarist, learned to play guitar from him (I played classical violin up until then), and from there it was all jazz guitar, all the time for me. When I travel with my friends that love jazz they now know to bring some of their own CDs (or other device), because when they ask "is all you have here jazz guitar", the answer is "yes".

    (or I end up playing The Beatles or Kinks, the only rock bands I have recording off).

    Yea, my taste in music is very limited and my friends think I'm nuts!

  8. #7

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    Clearly you haven't listened to enough grant green.

    Joking aside, just play and listen to what you want. Theres not rules on this other than show up on time and play in time.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Clearly you haven't listened to enough grant green.

    Joking aside, just play and listen to what you want. Theres not rules on this other than show up on time and play in time.
    Grant's one of the ones I do listen to a bit actually. I hear different things with him, like Wes.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Despite having played jazz on guitar for almost 20 years I think something like 4 or 5% of my entire listening consists music with guitar players. I feel like I should be listening/studying more guitar players but I just don't really find a lot of it all that stimulating. Saxophone and piano have been mostly what I really like listening to. Maybe it's more just the music/groups I like just didn't have guitar. Meh... just wondering if this is common with guitar players or musicians in general.
    I’ve met a few jazz guitarists who feel this way. I think it’s fine.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Grant's one of the ones I do listen to a bit actually. I hear different things with him, like Wes.
    I feel that my favourite guitarists have a more hornlike approach. Grant is one....

    Guitar can be a bit noodly noodly. It’s hard to play it with intensity.

  12. #11

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    There are very few jazz guitarists that do it for me. John Scofield, Wayne Krantz... some of Wes... Joe Pass, but only the live recordings, not the albums... Bill Frisell, but is he jazz?

    I got into jazz through neo-soul. Plenty of super inspiring guitar work happening there. Spanky Alford, Iasaiah Sharkey, Melanie Faye...

    It seems to me the usual pioneers in jazz were mainly horn or piano players. The pioneering guitarists are happening now. And often it’s on the edge of jazz, or jazz-adjacent.

    That’s ok though, it means there are openings for guitarists to do some pioneering...

  13. #12

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    It's not a chore. You don't have to do it. You're your own person. Play what you can and listen to what you feel like. And silence (listening to no music) is always an option.

  14. #13

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    Silence is an option, but far from the best one most of the time. Sometimes it's what I want, though. Nothing is perfect forever.

  15. #14

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    Poor Jazz Guitar, nobody wants to hear it, not even the people who actually play Jazz Guitar...

  16. #15

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    Well, truth be told, sax is probably the best jazz instrument, sometimes more moving than the human voice. Good bass playing is something too. I suppose the sound of jazz guitar is somewhere down the list; it's not an 'A' instrument. Miles Davis didn't much care for guitar apparently. But now and again you get a jazz guitar player who can be genuinely exciting and hit the right spot.

    But guitar is what I can do best of all. I think the physicality of it has something to do with it. It's sensuous. And it keeps me off the street :-)

    But guitar in some other styles can't be beaten, just no replacement possible.

  17. #16

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    I am pretty much in the same boat. I like playing jazz on guitar but there are not a lot of jazz guitarists who really move me. Most of the jazz that I do like, including guitar jazz, kind of petered out by the late 60s. I think part of the reason for the death of jazz guitar (or at least, it's poor health) was the era where speed became the basis for improvisation. Sure, it's nice to see some really rapid-fire playing from time to time, but just like in heavy metal, speed as a thing in itself gets old very fast. Whenever I heard the term "gypsy jazz" I run screaming in the other direction because I know I will be pounded by a bunch of guys whose goal is to play everything as fast as possible.

    Just my 2 cents.

  18. #17

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    I wonder if part of the problem (if there is one with Ariel) is the way other musicians treat Jazz guitarists. Do they fully embrace the Jazz guitarist's role? Maybe like many, they feel a bit snobbish toward the guitarist?

    I wonder...

  19. #18

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    I don't think it's weird at all. I love all kinds of music and all kinds of instruments. Probably only about half of all the music I listen to regularly is guitar-oriented, and a fair proportion of that is good ole snarling rock'n'roll.

    I think most of us like to listen to non-guitar stuff and learn a lot about comping and improvisation from listening to other instruments.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by doc w
    I am pretty much in the same boat. I like playing jazz on guitar but there are not a lot of jazz guitarists who really move me. Most of the jazz that I do like, including guitar jazz, kind of petered out by the late 60s. I think part of the reason for the death of jazz guitar (or at least, it's poor health) was the era where speed became the basis for improvisation. Sure, it's nice to see some really rapid-fire playing from time to time, but just like in heavy metal, speed as a thing in itself gets old very fast. Whenever I heard the term "gypsy jazz" I run screaming in the other direction because I know I will be pounded by a bunch of guys whose goal is to play everything as fast as possible.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Pretty darn good 2 cents there, doc w.

    Interesting thread. I've always felt guilty about not listening enough.

    There's another thread here titled "What Are You Listening to Now" and I have to say..."me".

    I prefer to to make little discoveries myself and add them into a solo than pick up something from another player.

    Also agree on the speed thing; it has its place but not always.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, truth be told, sax is probably the best jazz instrument, sometimes more moving than the human voice. Good bass playing is something too. I suppose the sound of jazz guitar is somewhere down the list; it's not an 'A' instrument. Miles Davis didn't much care for guitar apparently. But now and again you get a jazz guitar player who can be genuinely exciting and hit the right spot.

    But guitar is what I can do best of all. I think the physicality of it has something to do with it. It's sensuous. And it keeps me off the street :-)

    But guitar in some other styles can't be beaten, just no replacement possible.
    Said it pretty much to a T. Thank you.

  22. #21

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    I thought ride was the best jazz instrument.

  23. #22

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    I might just add that I do in fact like jazz guitar haha

    But it did take me a while to come around to the real 50s/60s stuff. Swing and fusion I got right away. But rather like Mozart, I came round to it eventually.

    These days, as soon as I type 'I don't really like this era/style' I then think of several exceptions, so although I don't like all jazz guitar players, the ones I do are a fairly eclectic bunch.

    Players like Wayne Krantz - well I've seen Wayne play twice live. Phenomenal, I love his music, but has very little to do with the corner of jazz guitar I've been primarily concerned with. I mean, who knows maybe I'll get a Strat and a JCM800 and let rip at some point.... I'm due a mid-life crisis...

    And instagram's concept of 'jazz guitar' is basically.... guitar haha.

    So, rather like a sneeze, jazz is a hard thing to measure the edge of... I would say the thing I don't care for in the modern guitar playing thing, esp. online, is the tendency of guitarists to communicate only with other guitar players. It's a very technical thing. I think my favourite players are all musicians first and foremost.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, truth be told, sax is probably the best jazz instrument, sometimes more moving than the human voice.
    I think the problem is that there has been a long running scam that makes jazz guitarists throw away much of their expressive possibilities, stuff bedding cotton in their guitars and play with bridge suspension cables, anything to make each note a fat boink.

    Resist!

  25. #24

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    Listening to other instruments is healthy.


  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    I think the problem is that there has been a long running scam that makes jazz guitarists throw away much of their expressive possibilities, stuff bedding cotton in their guitars and play with bridge suspension cables, anything to make each note a fat boink.

    Resist!
    One can get a very fat sound playing straight ahead jazz.


  27. #26

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    As far as music where I focus on the role of the guitar rock/fusion are the genres. In solo instrument classic music the piano is my preference - and of course Evelyn Glennie on anything. When it comes to jazz my preference at the momemnt is bass. Upright or electric.
    But I like to play the so called standards on guitar.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by teeps
    As far as music where I focus on the role of the guitar rock/fusion are the genres. In solo instrument classic music the piano is my preference - and of course Evelyn Glennie on anything. When it comes to jazz my preference at the momemnt is bass. Upright or electric.
    But I like to play the so called standards on guitar.
    So you're saying that when you listen to jazz (e.g. a quartet) you listen mostly to the bass player and the most interesting part for you is the bass solo?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    So you're saying that when you listen to jazz (e.g. a quartet) you listen mostly to the bass player and the most interesting part for you is the bass solo?
    Well, not exactly what I mean, but almost.I really appreciate music where the bass is allowed to come forward as a melodic instrument, especially so in a jazz or jazz inspired musical context. So this affects my choice in what I listen to. But of course it depends on the band, and the music genre. In the context of the thead the relevance is that what I play differs from what I listen to. If that makes sense ...

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by teeps
    Well, not exactly what I mean, but almost.I really appreciate music where the bass is allowed to come forward as a melodic instrument, especially so in a jazz or jazz inspired musical context. So this affects my choice in what I listen to. But of course it depends on the band, and the music genre. In the context of the thead the relevance is that what I play differs from what I listen to. If that makes sense ...
    You'll like this then. Lots of bass fiddle.


  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Despite having played jazz on guitar for almost 20 years I think something like 4 or 5% of my entire listening consists music with guitar players. I feel like I should be listening/studying more guitar players but I just don't really find a lot of it all that stimulating. Saxophone and piano have been mostly what I really like listening to. Maybe it's more just the music/groups I like just didn't have guitar. Meh... just wondering if this is common with guitar players or musicians in general.
    Common with me... all instruments hold the problem of being " 'y ", as in, the guitar can sound "guitary". Of course that is stressed when the instrument is part of commercial music, etc., but for a guitarist it can be maybe not quite a dead end, but a path that limits one's overall musical sense; at least I think so.

    If I listen to too much jazz guitar, my musical mind gets congested. My playing is already naturally bombarded with ideas, the well is never dry. I think a large part of that congestion is rejecting the "guitary" stuff (in the sense that consistently Charlie, Django, and Wes avoid sounding so). Most of my ideas these days come from listening to trumpet players, old Miles.

    We know the path to learning some facility on the guitar is one thing; the path back undoing the "guitary" sound is different and I think one has to eventually somewhat step away from guitar immersion.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    one can get a very fat sound playing straight ahead jazz.

    fuhlaaannnngggge!!!!!!!!!!

  33. #32

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    I guess my problem then, and the thing that's holding me back, is that I just crazy-love the guitar. I dream about it. When I'm repairing fences, building stone walls in my pasture, stacking bales of hay, whatever, I have guitar music playing in my mind.

    Is it okay to unashamedly love the guitar or does that disqualify me as a jazz musician? It almost seems like it's "hip" for guitarists to dislike their chosen instrument. I don't care. I love this thing. It'll be the death of me, or insanity, but I love it. God help me, I love it.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by teeps
    Well, not exactly what I mean, but almost.I really appreciate music where the bass is allowed to come forward as a melodic instrument, especially so in a jazz or jazz inspired musical context. So this affects my choice in what I listen to. But of course it depends on the band, and the music genre. In the context of the thead the relevance is that what I play differs from what I listen to. If that makes sense ...
    Thanks for the feedback. I really enjoy hearing a fine bass player live and up close where I can really see what they are doing and really get the FEEL for the low-end they are carrying. E.g. a guitar and bass duo or piano and bass; I.e. no more than 1 or 2 other instruments.

    With recordings, I'm less of a fan, but there are some duos or trios where the bass is fully a partner instead of just keeping-time that I enjoy. E.g. NHOP and Catherine, The Poll Winners , etc...

  35. #34

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  36. #35

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    I don't think it's unusual to listen more to other instruments than the one you play. In fact, it is probably a good idea because other instruments may open up possibilities you didn't consider on the guitar. On the other hand, being fully conversant with the range of the guitar, ie playing guitaristically, means you become thoroughly familiar with and hopefully competent at playing it. When I listened to a lot to jazz (many moons ago), it was exclusively to guitarists. I wanted to know what was possible on the guitar. I wanted to sound like a guitar player, not like a guitar player imitating a saxophone player. But that is just me. When there weren't many jazz guitarists around, I suppose you had to listen to other instruments. But then that space was filled by so many amazing players that the guitar won a spot in the jazz limelight. Now, nobody ignores us.

  37. #36

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    I guess one reason I can really dig Grant Green is he just does what he does. It doesn't sound pretentious, doesn't do anything but make good music. At least to my ears. It seems like so many guitar players are trying to do fancy, flashy, complex stuff which can be cool but for me it loses some of the music aspect. Grant can get boring too, but he sticks to his guns and stands out in the end.

  38. #37

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    The reason i started playing guitar was not jazz. The reason I like jazz, was not the guitar.
    If i look at my favourite jazz-musicians there is one guitar-player that stands out: Pat Metheny. And that is because of his outstanding capabilities as a guitar-player, but especially because he writes great music. With or without the guitar.
    Among my favourite jazz-musicians are sax players, pianists, trumpet players. Brecker, Corea, Davis, Snarky Puppy, Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Kamasi Washington, Tomasz Sta?ko to name a few.

  39. #38

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    Everybody secretly wants to be a guitarist.

    Difficulty getting into Jazz Guitar, despite playing it.-7f1567ee-4593-4c27-ba73-827930b033cd-jpg

  40. #39

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    Elvin Jones couldn’t keep his hands off the guitar, here he is playing it:


  41. #40

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    Milt Jackson had a go on the guitar too:


  42. #41

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    Let's face it, when it comes to playing or listening to an instrument, the piano is limitless. It's the cats meow. And it never gets boring. Or, Freddie Hubbard on Flugel, or Dexter Gordon on sax, who never runs out of ideas.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Let's face it, when it comes to playing or listening to an instrument, the piano is limitless. It's the cats meow. And it never gets boring. Or, Freddie Hubbard on Flugel, or Dexter Gordon on sax, who never runs out of ideas.
    Actually I do find the piano boring, precisely because it is so "limitless." 88 keys, 10 fingers, absolutely regular geometry, no responsibility for primary sound and tone production... to me that adds up to boring. The piano has exercised a tyranny over western music that privileges the large, the loud, and virtuosic physicality. The piano sucks up all the air in the room.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Actually I do find the piano boring, precisely because it is so "limitless." 88 keys, 10 fingers, absolutely regular geometry, no responsibility for primary sound and tone production... to me that adds up to boring. The piano has exercised a tyranny over western music that privileges the large, the loud, and virtuosic physicality. The piano sucks up all the air in the room.
    So you don't like piano? No Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Gene Harris, or even Ahmad Jamal? Nothing? You don't own a single piano recording? Playing with all 10 fingers requires more dexterity than playing with four.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Despite having played jazz on guitar for almost 20 years I think something like 4 or 5% of my entire listening consists music with guitar players. I feel like I should be listening/studying more guitar players but I just don't really find a lot of it all that stimulating. Saxophone and piano have been mostly what I really like listening to. Maybe it's more just the music/groups I like just didn't have guitar. Meh... just wondering if this is common with guitar players or musicians in general.
    Let's face it, when you acknowledge preferring piano or saxophone to guitar on a guitar forum, some will go to war to defend the guitar. I suppose that's only natural. But I find it very odd that very few here play anything but guitar. The beauty of music is it's wonderful to play it on any instrument. Whether it's flugelhorn, or tenor, or the piano, some of the finest recordings ever are on the piano. So yes, I can see where you find guitar recordings that aren't from the golden age, meh.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    no responsibility for primary sound and tone production
    How hard you hit a key hugely affects the tone produced, not just the volume. Glenn Gould, Ellis Larkins and Martial Solal all spring to mind as wizards who seem to wring an uncanny amount of timbral variation out of those keys.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    How hard you hit a key hugely affects the tone produced, not just the volume. Glenn Gould, Ellis Larkins and Martial Solal all spring to mind as wizards who seem to wring an uncanny amount of timbral variation out of those keys.
    those 3 are criminally underappreciated today, I especially have a soft spot for Larkins, what a beautiful player.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    So you don't like piano? No Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Gene Harris, or even Ahmad Jamal? Nothing? You don't own a single piano recording? Playing with all 10 fingers requires more dexterity than playing with four.
    I'm not much of a fan of piano. Louder, faster seems to be the theme. Like trumpet players: High Loud Fast. I do have recordings of pianists, usually comping for guitarists ;-)

    I tire of piano after about 15 minutes. Peterson is astounding. But after 10 minutes you've heard all he's got because he put it all out there in the first tune. He uses his entire vocabulary on every single chorus because the piano invites it. Maybe I like Bill Evans more.

    So no, I don't like piano enough to spend a lot of time listening to piano-centric music.

    If it's blasphemy, then stone me.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Let's face it, when you acknowledge preferring piano or saxophone to guitar on a guitar forum, some will go to war to defend the guitar. I suppose that's only natural. But I find it very odd that very few here play anything but guitar. The beauty of music is it's wonderful to play it on any instrument. Whether it's flugelhorn, or tenor, or the piano, some of the finest recordings ever are on the piano. So yes, I can see where you find guitar recordings that aren't from the golden age, meh.
    A lot of people do not have time or inclination to learn lots of instruments. I admire people who can play lots of instruments. But that's not me. If I wanted to play piano, I'd take lessons. But I don't want to. The woods are full of pianists, all of whom play too loud in the ensemble, play to much, double the melody for others who don't need it, and consume all the harmonic space. They suck up all the air.

    And yes, this is a GUITAR forum, so naturally we generally prefer the guitar. I certainly do. I also think it's pathological to devote lots of time and energy to one instrument and then go around saying one really doesn't care much for that instrument and really would rather be playing some other instrument.

    I find pianists to be some of the most technically advanced, but musically messed up people. They think the ensemble revolves around them. Like the drunk uncle at thanksgiving who won't stop talking.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    But after 10 minutes you've heard all he's got because he put it all out there in the first tune. He uses his entire vocabulary on every single chorus because the piano invites it.
    I see what you mean and maybe I agree. I have a recording of Chick Corea (Acoustic band) on which he sounds pretty much the same the whole album. After the first song you know what Corea has to offer. But . . . . on the other hand this invites us to listen to the music. The chords, melody, rhythm, etc. Not to Chick Corea.
    But this could be a guitar-player listening to a piano player. When I listen to a guitar player it's easier to hear differences, because I know the instrument better. I recognize some sax players but most of the time I hear a sax player.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    A lot of people do not have time or inclination to learn lots of instruments. I admire people who can play lots of instruments. But that's not me. If I wanted to play piano, I'd take lessons. But I don't want to. The woods are full of pianists, all of whom play too loud in the ensemble, play to much, double the melody for others who don't need it, and consume all the harmonic space. They suck up all the air.

    And yes, this is a GUITAR forum, so naturally we generally prefer the guitar. I certainly do. I also think it's pathological to devote lots of time and energy to one instrument and then go around saying one really doesn't care much for that instrument and really would rather be playing some other instrument.

    I find pianists to be some of the most technically advanced, but musically messed up people. They think the ensemble revolves around them. Like the drunk uncle at thanksgiving who won't stop talking.
    I never met anyone who didn't like the piano. The entire orchestra is right there. If you're into arranging that's the place to do it. Many of the jazz greats who played sax, or trumpet also played some piano.

    I've heard this complaint about pianists who play to loud. But I don't know pro pianists who play with issues. And there's hundreds of them. I can't imagine not listening to Keith Jarrett over and over again. His beauty is beyond reproach. Or Gene Harris, whose timing and rhythm are nothing but perfection. But what the heck, I'm biased for piano. It's the most beautiful instrument ever created.