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  1. #1

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    Billie Holiday once said "If I'm going to sing like someone else . . . then I'm not going to sing at all." These words seem forgotten today among the hordes of instrumentalists who study and make a career of playing other peoples licks. "Oh, he plays like
    Freddy . . .he plays like Wes . . . Man, he sounds just like Joe! But, the irony in these statements is that the people we remember and prefer to hear the most have their "own sound." And, it is my opinion that unless you try to develop your sound, you will always play like someone else . . . irrespective of your technical abilities. Why are we still listening to musicians from 60 years ago and talking about them like they were still alive? When Coltrane, Miles, Dizzy, Chet, Zoot, first hit the scene as young men, why did people stop and listen? The answer is simple: because they had a unique sound and concept. And, we kept listening as they evolved because they wanted to improve their musical voice and continue put their stamp on it. Today, it is a rarity to hear a fresh voice and the penchant for speed for speeds sake says less about music/creativity than it does about theater --"Wow, he plays fast!" So, my question is: do you think Billie had it right? And, if so, who are these young lions who are carrying the torch? What do you think? Are we living in an age of Music Machines?
    Play live . . . Marinero

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  3. #2

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    Yes. However to find your voice you will first have to listen to the greats. Everything else is just laziness, like „I don’t bother to imitate xyz, I have my own voice“. I don’t think it works that way.

    Among young guitarists, Julian Lage is the one who probably everyone can agree on. Tbh I don’t listen to contemporary jazz much.


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  4. #3

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    Hand Hartung the painter said an artist’s eye must see through those of whom came before they see the future.
    I know the actual quote is different but thats the idea.

  5. #4

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    On the other hand, Wes started out playing Charlie Christian solos and he's the most important jazz guitarist since Charlie (and Django).

  6. #5

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    I just watched the new film about Billie on Hulu last night. Excellent.

    Im not so sure we have to find some mythical unique voice. Just play what you like. If you enjoy it, do it some more. That's enough.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Yes. However to find your voice you will first have to listen to the greats. Everything else is just laziness, like „I don’t bother to imitate xyz, I have my own voice“. I don’t think it works that way.

    Among young guitarists, Julian Lage is the one who probably everyone can agree on. Tbh I don’t listen to contemporary jazz much.


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    Yes, D,
    We all came from somewhere. However, it's where we are GOING that really matters. And, "somewhere" is a road where many stop and fail to seek their voices. I think there is a belief by some ,based on a lifetime immersed in this madness, that artistry is simply time + technique + repertoire. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. Artistry reflects all of these things but requires the same experience in life that a novelist, poet, or painter needs to go beyond the page or canvas and communicate with their followers/audience. In both Jazz and Classical, we are producing some remarkable technicians but few artists. They have fast hands and know the meat and potatoes of music but play with the feeling of a cardboard box. Is this a reflection of our time? Or, did previous JG/CG artists have a different internal standard of excellence that is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate today based on generational differences? Thanks for your response. I hope there are some on this Forum who will share their perspectives and examples of excellence.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    Here's Sonny Stitt talking . . .


  8. #7

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    billie holiday, like so many singers and instrumentalists, was hugely influenced by louis armstrong...she always gave him credit...

    like her friend lester young, she slowed down with the years and really developed her own unique voice...i always prefer her later recordings..all heart and soul

    lady day & satchmo




    cheers

  9. #8

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    In the classical guitar world I really like Petra Polackova, to me she stands out as a player with real poetry and feeling.


  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Yes, D,
    We all came from somewhere. However, it's where we are GOING that really matters. And, "somewhere" is a road where many stop and fail to seek their voices. I think there is a belief by some ,based on a lifetime immersed in this madness, that artistry is simply time + technique + repertoire. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. Artistry reflects all of these things but requires the same experience in life that a novelist, poet, or painter needs to go beyond the page or canvas and communicate with their followers/audience. In both Jazz and Classical, we are producing some remarkable technicians but few artists. They have fast hands and know the meat and potatoes of music but play with the feeling of a cardboard box. Is this a reflection of our time?

    Or, did previous JG/CG artists have a different internal standard of excellence that is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate today based on generational differences?

    Thanks for your response. I hope there are some on this Forum who will share their perspectives and examples of excellence.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    Hi M,

    I'll venture an explanation in the realm of Classical Guitar:

    Last night I dug out an album by the Frankfurter Gitarren Duo, recorded in 1974, when they were both in their early twenties. Not only were these guys allowed to put out an album (probably helped by the fact that one is the son of Heinz Teuchert, the leading guitar pedagogue at the time); they also play a repertoire that is entirely within reach of a competent amateur. I've actually played half of their repertoire with my duo partner!

    What I'm hinting at: obvioulsy the technical standard of the repertoire at the time was lower than it is now, which allowed players to delve deeper into the musical side. I mean, look at Segovia or Bream: half of their concert repertoire is now played by kids who are about to enter the conservatorium! I'm guilty as charged myself, for even if I never entered the conservatorium, my teacher made me play the Villa-Lobos preludes when I was sort of preparing for it.

    I know a few young players from my home town (pop. 60,000 - we have a very good music school) that can play circles around me, but whose playing is, sorry, boring.

    Now I'm not saying that everyone should return to the technical level of Segovia. I'm just saying that technically he could get away with much less than the young crop, but made it up a thousand times in terms of musicality. As to the bit that I italicised, noone today will play even remotely like Segovia because other generations had other experiences and other sources to draw from.

    At the risk of starting an even worse flame war, a similar thing seems to work in Jazz. Up to the 1940s, you didn't need a music education to play professionally, and play well. You still had to be an outstanding musician to become a Louis Amstrong, though, but let's face it - hitting a high C thirty times in a row is something that modern cats do in their sleep. If you read the Blue Note and Prestige blurb on the LP covers, you find an obsession with "development", "moving on", pushing forward" etc, meaning that you had to learn so much more before you even reached a level where you were allowed to say something (and that something had to be new, too). When I read forum posts, American contributors are always insisting on chops, playing anything in all 24 keys, that "he could play", "had paid his dues" (Europeans seem to be more relaxed about it). If I have to learn to play like Django, CC and Wes before I'm even hired, does that leave time to develop anything like an own voice? Even Charlie Parker could only play like Charlie Parker.

    OTOH, Branford Marsalis said something like "forget about finding your voice. Put in enough time and your voice will find you".

    Your thoughts?

  11. #10

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    Niches are hard to come by these days. Most if everything has already been said by the past greats.. there is nothing much left to be said. If you don't even have a niche then what are you really?

  12. #11

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    Dunno. Most people just follow trends in any generation. Most are forgotten.

    Talking about jazz guitarists, quite a lot of the 50s players sound quite similar. I did better picking out contemporary guitarists on that quiz that was going around.

    Not sure I'd tell the difference between Hank Garland and Johnny Smith right away. But Lage Lund and Kurt Rosenwinkel or Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell? No problem.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Billie Holiday once said "If I'm going to sing like someone else . . . then I'm not going to sing at all." These words seem forgotten today among the hordes of instrumentalists who study and make a career of playing other peoples licks. "Oh, he plays like
    Freddy . . .he plays like Wes . . . Man, he sounds just like Joe! But, the irony in these statements is that the people we remember and prefer to hear the most have their "own sound." And, it is my opinion that unless you try to develop your sound, you will always play like someone else . . . irrespective of your technical abilities. Why are we still listening to musicians from 60 years ago and talking about them like they were still alive? When Coltrane, Miles, Dizzy, Chet, Zoot, first hit the scene as young men, why did people stop and listen? The answer is simple: because they had a unique sound and concept. And, we kept listening as they evolved because they wanted to improve their musical voice and continue put their stamp on it. Today, it is a rarity to hear a fresh voice and the penchant for speed for speeds sake says less about music/creativity than it does about theater --"Wow, he plays fast!" So, my question is: do you think Billie had it right? And, if so, who are these young lions who are carrying the torch? What do you think? Are we living in an age of Music Machines?
    Play live . . . Marinero
    All fine and dandy, but in the same breath you dismiss any modern guitar player with a voice of his own for not having the genius and swing feel of Wes and whoever from the "old days".

    I remember a post from you scolding John Scofield and Pat Metheny. I mean, it's hard to find two more unique voices than those two.

    No offense, but explain to me why you're not a hypocrite? To my ears this is just yet another of your "boomer" posts, where you're all smug about yourself and your time, while putting the rest of the world down. You shtick is really getting old

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    But Lage Lund and Kurt Rosenwinkel or Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell? No problem.
    Exactly

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Hi M,

    I'll venture an explanation in the realm of Classical Guitar:

    Last night I dug out an album by the Frankfurter Gitarren Duo, recorded in 1974, when they were both in their early twenties. Not only were these guys allowed to put out an album (probably helped by the fact that one is the son of Heinz Teuchert, the leading guitar pedagogue at the time); they also play a repertoire that is entirely within reach of a competent amateur. I've actually played half of their repertoire with my duo partner!

    What I'm hinting at: obvioulsy the technical standard of the repertoire at the time was lower than it is now, which allowed players to delve deeper into the musical side. I mean, look at Segovia or Bream: half of their concert repertoire is now played by kids who are about to enter the conservatorium! I'm guilty as charged myself, for even if I never entered the conservatorium, my teacher made me play the Villa-Lobos preludes when I was sort of preparing for it.

    I know a few young players from my home town (pop. 60,000 - we have a very good music school) that can play circles around me, but whose playing is, sorry, boring.

    Now I'm not saying that everyone should return to the technical level of Segovia. I'm just saying that technically he could get away with much less than the young crop, but made it up a thousand times in terms of musicality. As to the bit that I italicised, noone today will play even remotely like Segovia because other generations had other experiences and other sources to draw from.

    At the risk of starting an even worse flame war, a similar thing seems to work in Jazz. Up to the 1940s, you didn't need a music education to play professionally, and play well. You still had to be an outstanding musician to become a Louis Amstrong, though, but let's face it - hitting a high C thirty times in a row is something that modern cats do in their sleep. If you read the Blue Note and Prestige blurb on the LP covers, you find an obsession with "development", "moving on", pushing forward" etc, meaning that you had to learn so much more before you even reached a level where you were allowed to say something (and that something had to be new, too). When I read forum posts, American contributors are always insisting on chops, playing anything in all 24 keys, that "he could play", "had paid his dues" (Europeans seem to be more relaxed about it). If I have to learn to play like Django, CC and Wes before I'm even hired, does that leave time to develop anything like an own voice? Even Charlie Parker could only play like Charlie Parker.

    OTOH, Branford Marsalis said something like "forget about finding your voice. Put in enough time and your voice will find you".

    Your thoughts?
    I think trying to create your own voice is a sure fire way to sound contrived. It must come naturally.

    With Brandon. Hmm. With respect, he would say that. It's a perspective, not the only one.

    He would encourage players to come up through a thorough knowledge of the history, the traditions of the saxophone and diligent study of that. Nothing wrong with that but this is not the only way to go, not the only way to create art.

    Stories you hear; the elders were as much about encouraging younger musicians to find their own thing as much as they were about doffing one's cap to the history.

    Bruce Forman:
    You spend your 20s and 30s thinking 'I want to sound like me!'
    You get to 40 and you go 'oh crap, I sound like me!'

    In terms of the technical side of it; everyone has chops to spare. I do wonder if he haven't squished out the 'technically limited but unique stylist' thing out of jazz; the Billies, the Miles's, Horace Silvers, Grant Greens and so on, but maybe that was only ever a product of limited access to high quality instrumental education (although Miles went to flipping Julliard so it's obviously not that simple.).

    OTOH, the music is a lot more technically taught today, and may just attract people who look at things that way, leaving the more intuitive/untechnical people to go into other avenues.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think trying to create your own voice is a sure fire way to sound contrived. It must come naturally.

    With Brandon. Hmm. With respect, he would say that. It's a perspective, not the only one.

    He would encourage players to come up through a thorough knowledge of the history, the traditions of the saxophone and diligent study of that. Nothing wrong with that but this is not the only way to go, not the only way to create art.

    Stories you hear; the elders were as much about encouraging younger musicians to find their own thing as much as they were about doffing one's cap to the history.

    Bruce Forman:
    You spend your 20s and 30s thinking 'I want to sound like me!'
    You get to 40 and you go 'oh crap, I sound like me!'

    In terms of the technical side of it; everyone has chops to spare. I do wonder if he haven't squished out the 'technically limited but unique stylist' thing out of jazz; the Billies, the Miles's, Horace Silvers, Grant Greens and so on, but maybe that was only ever a product of limited access to high quality instrumental education (although Miles went to flipping Julliard so it's obviously not that simple.).

    OTOH, the music is a lot more technically taught today, and may just attract people who look at things that way, leaving the more intuitive/untechnical people to go into other avenues.
    Like going into pop, indie rock, hiphop, you name it.

    The Branford quote of course applies to people who want to go down the route of jazz as opposed to any other music.

    And that Forman quote could have been about me. Although, when I listen to some old recordings, I like a lot of what I hear and wish I could rescue that straightness and simplicity from all the stuff I learned in the mean time, not least through this place.


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  17. #16

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    I listen to all kinds of music, some from guys, er people, with great chops AND great musicality (Pat Metheny, Chick Corea) and some from people with limited chops AND great musicality (Keef Richards, Elvis Costello).

    Some people play a shtick and play it well...Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis...and some people change with the times (Miles).

    What you can’t fake is authenticity. Well you can, but then that’s what you’re presenting to the listeners. There’s seems to be quite an audience for fake authenticity.

    Not sure if this answers the question. There are a lot of great jazz singers from the 40’s-50’s, but only one Billie Holiday.

  18. #17

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    A few thoughts:

    1. Expressing music in your own unique way is unavoidable, no matter how hard you try to imitate someone else.

    2. That's especially true when you improvise. The individual is revealed.

    3. No instrument can match the personal stamp of the human voice.


    So, what Billie Holiday said was logical.

  19. #18
    Wow! So many great responses I don't know where to start! So, let's begin sequentially:

    "the technical standard of the repertoire at the time was lower than it is now, which allowed players to delve deeper into the musical side. " Doc

    I don't agree D since all "pros" are still playing the same repertoire that Segovia and Bream played. For me, the difference was purely personal--"soul" as it is called by some.

    "OTOH, Branford Marsalis said something like "forget about finding your voice. Put in enough time and your voice will find you".
    Your thoughts?" Doc

    Well, no. There are some players that will never find their voice but will become "master musicians" which is not a pejorative designation. Voice is related to one's "soul" not one's technique/knowledge.

    "Niches are hard to come by these days. Most if everything has already been said by the past greats.. there is nothing much left to be said. If you don't even have a niche then what are you really?" Jazzynylon

    Hi, J,
    I'm not talking about re-inventing the wheel but rather find "your" voice. When we speak as individuals, we all have our own distinct voice. IMO, this is very possible in music - - - for better or worse.

    "
    Dunno. Most people just follow trends in any generation. Most are forgotten." Christianm77
    Hi, C, Yes.

    "but in the same breath you dismiss any modern guitar player with a voice of his own for not having the genius and swing feel of Wes and whoever from the "old days". Lobomov

    Hi, L,
    I never said that in any post. Can you provide the text?

    "OTOH, the music is a lot more technically taught today, and may just attract people who look at things that way, leaving the more intuitive/untechnical people to go into other avenues." Christianm77

    Hi, C, this is certainly true for Jazz however, it is not the case for CM.

    So, these have been some very thoughtful responses and, I believe, listening to others ideas in relation to your own views is a necessary part of our musicial development . . .especially in the time of Covid where we have little, if any, contact with other musicians. It doesn't mean that you have to buy into another's mantra but rather that we can think about how we view this mania called Music. There is one caveat and that is for the neophyte or hobbyist who just seeks to make sounds, these discussions may have no value, but for the serious musician it is, IMO, of prime import to his/her growth.
    Finally, returning to Marsalis's earlier comment, it implies that everyone will eventually find their own voice but I can tell you from playing with many fine musicians in the past that it is not the case. So, if this is true, then how do you think it is possible and what are the elements that nurture this enlightenment?
    Play live . . . Marinero

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero

    Hi, L,
    I never said that in any post. Can you provide the text?
    Sure

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    I showed up late to this gig. However, I don't like Metheny for the same reason I don't like McLaughlin, Lage, Frizell, Rozenwinkle, Scofield,Coryell, etc. They are, imo, rock -based guitarists who morphed into "Jazz." I detest Rock Music, generally, and this influences their style which shows clearly in their playing
    States pretty clearly that you detest those players, be it my mention of Scofield and Metheny ... or Christian's examples of players with unique voices of Lage, Frisell and Rosenwinkel

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Sure



    States pretty clearly that you detest those players, be it my mention of Scofield and Metheny ... or Christian's examples of players with unique voices of Lage, Frisell and Rosenwinkel
    Hi, L,
    How does that have anything to do with my quote? I merely stated that I detest Rock-based JG's. I also detest fusion JG's. I never mentioned Wes or the "old days." My tastes are "straight ahead" Jazz( a genre of Jazz) much as I prefer 19th Century Classical Music to Renaissance, Neo-Classical, or Classical Music--purely genre related and nothing to do with the age of the musicians. There are many players today that play "straight ahead" Jazz of the younger generation. I listen to them. Thanks for your honest response.
    Play live . . . Marinero


    P.S. O.K., Lobo,
    I know it's early but grab a snifter Amontillado Sherry and Cohiba Red Dot and listen to Danny and his talented young group blow their asses off with some "straight ahead" Jazz! Enjoy . . . M




  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, L,
    How does that have anything to do with my quote? I merely stated that I detest Rock-based JG's. I also detest fusion JG's. I never mentioned Wes or the "old days." My tastes are "straight ahead" Jazz( a genre of Jazz) much as I prefer 19th Century Classical Music to Renaissance, Neo-Classical, or Classical Music--purely genre related and nothing to do with the age of the musicians. There are many players today that play "straight ahead" Jazz of the younger generation. I listen to them. Thanks for your honest response.
    Play live . . . Marinero


    P.S. O.K., Lobo,
    I know it's early but grab a snifter Amontillado Sherry and Cohiba Red Dot and listen to Danny and his talented young group blow their asses off with some "straight ahead" Jazz! Enjoy . . . M




    This thread is about unique voices and not about straight ahead jazz ... and you clearly only like unique voices that are part of your estethic

    And sure .. the 1940s-1960s esthetic is a thing of the past .. The world keeps revolving and people have moved to other stuff, so no new talent is trying to hit a vibe that is 60-80 years back in time.


    Listen M. .... I have no problem with you having a specific taste in music. You do you. Like what you want ... But what you're doing again and again is telling us that the players of today have no talent and no voice .. Telling us that they are just robots. In reality the issue is that they just don't play that old school stuff that you happen to like.


    There are plenty of unique voices today, you just don't like any of their music. It really is that simple.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, J,
    I'm not talking about re-inventing the wheel but rather find "your" voice. When we speak as individuals, we all have our own distinct voice. IMO, this is very possible in music - - - for better or worse.
    Ah okay cool apologies for my misunderstanding then. I'll sit back and watch as I don't have much of an opinion regarding finding one's voice but it'll be interesting to see where this thread goes (if anywhere)

  24. #23

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    Dunno, I kind of think even the straightahead players are at least as distinctive now. I wouldn’t mistake Pasquale Grasso for Peter Bernstein. Or Ed Cherry; or Dan Wilson; or Russell Malone etc etc

    I did think to myself ‘is this just a tone thing?’ Most guitarists in the 50s were playing either an ES175 or an L5 through Fender or Gibson amps.

    But actually, I think there’s a diversity of approach now. Most 50’s musicians were passing through the bottleneck of copying Parker licks. The 60s allowed players to diversify a bit as well maybe.

    Maybe that’s rubbish, but it’s kind of how it sounds to me.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Dunno, I kind of think even the straightahead players are at
    least as distinctive now. I wouldn’t mistake Pasquale Grasso for Peter Bernstein. Or Ed Cherry; or Dan Wilson; or Russell Malone etc etc

    I know .. I just decided to make it totally black and white ... 100% clear cut .. Simple black and white statements grounded in M. disliking Sco, Metheny, Lage, Rosenwinkel and Frisell.


    But thanks Christian for further elaborating that there is plenty of interesting unique talent in all genres (including straight ahead) today

  26. #25

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    Also Sco for instance. still sounds like Sco on an acoustic.



    maybe this is still to jazz rock for M though lol. It seems a bit unsporting to sing the praises of individuality on the one hand and object to someone’s individuality on the other when one doesn’t like it.

    part of the the package of having a voice is that people can hate it.

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    This thread is about unique voices and not about straight ahead jazz ... and you clearly only like unique voices that are part of your estethic

    And sure .. the 1940s-1960s esthetic is a thing of the past .. The world keeps revolving and people have moved to other stuff, so no new talent is trying to hit a vibe that is 60-80 years back in time.


    Listen M. .... I have no problem with you having a specific taste in music. You do you. Like what you want ... But what you're doing again and again is telling us that the players of today have no talent and no voice .. Telling us that they are just robots. In reality the issue is that they just don't play that old school stuff that you happen


    There are plenty of unique voices today, you just don't like any of their music. It really is that simple.



    Sorry, L,
    I've explained it well and provided an excellent example. I'll allow my remarks to stand as written.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    maybe this is still to jazz rock for M though lol
    Lol .. but speaking of acoustic Sco .. One of my all time favorite records


  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon
    Ah okay cool apologies for my misunderstanding then. I'll sit back and watch as I don't have much of an opinion regarding finding one's voice but it'll be interesting to see where this thread goes (if anywhere)
    Hi, J,
    An apology was not my intention for your honest and valid remarks . . .rather clarifying my own comments. Thanks for your reply.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  30. #29

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    Or Allan Holdsworth on acoustic for that matter





    i kind of wish they hadn’t played electric their acoustic playing is so lovely

  31. #30

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    Anyway that’s a bit beside the point. But of guitarists that are known to be effects heavy it’s interesting the extent to which they have the sound in their fingers. Bill Frisell is another example.

    So the amplified tone thing, I think, is not actually all important. If you sound generic, you will sound equally non descript through effects. (And as most effects are also pretty generic... well you get the picture.)

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Sorry, L,
    I've explained it well and provided an excellent example. I'll allow my remarks to stand as written.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    That is fine .. Dislike Scofield, Metheny, McLaughlin, Lage, Rosenwinkel and Frisell

    Then spice that up with lamenting that there are no unique voices these days and that all modern players are unimaginative robots.


    Whatever makes you happy

  33. #32
    " It seems a bit unsporting to sing the praises of individuality on the one hand and object to someone’s individuality on the other when one doesn’t like it." Christianm77

    Hi, C,
    I am fully supportive of individuality irrespective of genre. However, it doesn't change my tastes in music. For example, Stevie Vai is considered ,by some, a musical guitar genius. It may be so but, I couldn't listen to 2 bars of his cacophony.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    ... there is a belief by some ... that artistry is simply time + technique + repertoire.
    Disclaimer: I'm not trying to refute anything that M. has said. I just have a few thoughts I'd like to share.

    I don't think anyone who's worked in any of 'the arts' for more than a decade or 2 believes this. Certainly anyone who believes this is not an artist.

    In my experience, audiences have rather highly developed bullshit detectors. It's actually quite difficult to go out there and pretend to be other than who you are and have any success.

    As individuals we may not appreciate who a particular artist is, and believe him to be a pretender. Often times what's actually going on is that we don't understand their expression, or we don't have a taste for their art, or we don't approve of the lifestyle of the folks who do.

    I have a little story I'd like to share. For a large chunk of my time in NYC trying to be a guitarist my day job was studio assistant to a very successful (though not widely known) painter/sculptor. It was an up close and very personal education in the creative process. At one point he said "By the time you recognize a trend it's already too late to take advantage. All you really have is your own gut feelings and vision. You just have to keep ploughing ahead." I think it takes a long time to learn that, and in the meantime you're one of the pretenders.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    " It seems a bit unsporting to sing the praises of individuality on the one hand and object to someone’s individuality on the other when one doesn’t like it." Christianm77

    Hi, C,
    I am fully supportive of individuality irrespective of genre. However, it doesn't change my tastes in music. For example, Stevie Vai is considered ,by some, a musical guitar genius. It may be so but, I couldn't listen to 2 bars of his cacophony.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    That’s not the point you were making though is it?

    I am sure I would recognise Vai’s playing cold anywhere.

    I actually think that’s more important than whether or not I like his playing in fact. It’s something that actually transcends mere personal taste.

  36. #35

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    I mean there’s a lot of music I don’t like that I have to respect just for it’s - uniqueness? Individuality.

    like bloody Schumann. Awful stuff, but he did a thing.

    Also I didn’t get Schubert for years. And now he is possibly my favourite composer. So I have to reserve judgment on some level. It’s more fun that way.

  37. #36

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    But I’m also reminded of the quite someone posted of Cootie Wiliams saying that the bebop era made everyone play the same; like Charlie Parker.

    I certainly see the 50s as an era of relative stylistic uniformity; like the baroque era. Musicians had their own voice within that but individuality came to for a bit later, in the 60s which is like the Romantic era of jazz in some ways.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    But I’m also reminded of the quite someone posted of Cootie Wiliams saying that the bebop era made everyone play the same; like Charlie Parker.

    I certainly see the 50s as an era of relative stylistic uniformity; like the baroque era. Musicians had their own voice within that but individuality came to for a bit later, in the 60s which is like the Romantic era of jazz in some ways.
    Hi, C,
    Well said!
    Play live . . . Marinero

  39. #38

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    As soon as you can get me a 7 days a week gig I'll develop my voice. It's funny how we forget the most important part of the golden years. Miles didn't come up performing once a month at the coffee shop.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Most 50’s musicians were passing through the bottleneck of copying Parker licks. The 60s allowed players to diversify a bit as well maybe.

    Maybe that’s rubbish, but it’s kind of how it sounds to me.
    Absoluuuuutely. More than a few things changed in the 1960s.

  41. #40

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    I don't think an "Ok Boomer" was ever more appropriate

    There is so much young talent out there but ofcourse you need to want to see it.

  42. #41
    "I am sure I would recognise Vai’s playing cold anywhere." Christianm77

    Hi, C,
    To be honest, I could not since my knowledge of that genre of music is almost zero. However, perhaps among devotees, it is quite clear as you have stated. . . ergo . . a voice. Play live . . . Marinero

  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by waltf
    I don't think an "Ok Boomer" was ever more appropriate

    There is so much young talent out there but ofcourse you need to want to see it.
    So, W,
    Danny Janklow and his terrific group ,in my above post, doesn't count among the many young players I listen to regularly? How young do you mean, then? Pre-natal? Play live . . . Marinero

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I mean there’s a lot of music I don’t like that I have to respect just for it’s - uniqueness? Individuality.

    like bloody Schumann. Awful stuff, but he did a thing.

    Also I didn’t get Schubert for years. And now he is possibly my favourite composer. So I have to reserve judgment on some level. It’s more fun that way.

    Hi, C,
    I am a firm believer in listening to what you like not what you "should" like. I had a friend in the past that thought Bartok was the greatest composer that ever lived. I listened to almost all of his major works over a period of months and they did nothing for me. I have played Bach since my early 20's and although I appreciate his genius, his music doesn't move me emotionally. The genres of music we like, I believe, are based on our own unique personality and that illusive, much abused term "soul." Why should anyone, unless for academic reasons, devote time to something you don't like. If your friend loves oysters Rockefeller and you find them repugnant . . . you get the point. Should your listening experiences be a manifestation of Sturm und Drang or do they bring you somewhere away from the mundane life into personal gratification? So, whether young or old, listen to what moves you . . . and save the rest for the academics.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  45. #44

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    Sorry mr. marinero, you said “Today, it is a rarity to hear a fresh voice”.
    It’s not, it just so happens you don’t like them.
    So basically the discussion is: “why am i not hearing more musicians play the music that I like” which is as boomer as it gets . I’m considered a boomer as well by my students so don’t worry ?



  46. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by waltf
    Sorry mr. marinero, you said “Today, it is a rarity to hear a fresh voice”.
    It’s not, it just so happens you don’t like them.
    So basically the discussion is: “why am i not hearing more musicians play the music that I like” which is as boomer as it gets . I’m considered a boomer as well by my students so don’t worry ?


    Hi, W,
    Are you and my friend Lobo drinking buddies?
    Play live . . . Marinero

  47. #46

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    An important point: if you don't get to play live with musicians better than yourself, then your development will necessarily be stunted (in jazz, especially). As a jobbing musician for the first 3 decades of my "career", I played all the time, sometimes 400 gigs a year. Many were jazz, some were reading gigs, some were accompanying singers, many were solo restaurant or wedding ceremonies. What I do know was that my earliest experiences playing with older and more experienced musicians were the ones that pushed me into my own style; mainly because those experiences taught me to listen and react. While it's easy to be influenced by a recording artist such as Wes or Jim or Tal, it's even easier to be influenced by the pianist or saxophonist right next to you on stage. As I practiced and listened, I found myself playing better when really accomplished players were on the stand, simply as a matter of "belonging" to that moment. As far as whether guitarists are brought up on jazz or folk or classical, it has never really mattered. There are too many stories of great jazz guitarists starting with folk, country (JOHNNY DAMN SMITH!), Beatles, Hendrix, whatever, and becoming world-class artists.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, W,
    Are you and my friend Lobo drinking buddies?
    Play live . . . Marinero
    I don’t think so but i guess we could be. We could be as well marinero.
    I’m sorry you don’t hear a lot of unique voices, but maybe a lot of great players that found their own voice are
    playing something else then what you call ‘straight ahead jazz’.

    I had never heard of Danny Janklow before but i doubt i would recognise him if played on the radio.
    A Kamasi Washington song I would probably recognise.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by waltf
    I don’t think so but i guess we could be. We could be as well marinero.
    I’m sorry you don’t hear a lot of unique voices, but maybe a lot of great players that found their own voice are
    playing something else then what you call ‘straight ahead jazz’.

    I had never heard of Danny Janklow before but i doubt i would recognise him if played on the radio.
    A Kamasi Washington song I would probably recognise.

    If you're ever in Copenhagen, I'll gladly buy you a drink!

  50. #49

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    We've gotten away
    From Lady Day :-)

    I don't think she was in the best condition when this was done...


  51. #50
    Just a couple brief comments. Post #46 by RonJazz is one of the best descriptions of the "pathway" I've read. It "is" the process and sadly it is being lost in numerous ways by our culture and our times. They are the words of a true working musician. Also, thanks to Ragman for the excellent interview with BH and the request to return to the original topic and away from personal invective which destroys these discussions through personal animus and takes them to a lower level.
    Finally, in the recording, Billie reiterates that you can't learn Jazz . . . your born with the talent. I would agree with one caveat: namely, that the idiom can be taught. However, knowledge of the idiom is no guarantee for a personal voice or to rise above the "craftsman'" level to artistry. This is, for me, a secret society with few members. Thanks again for the great posts.
    Play live . . . Marinero