1. #1

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    Hi all,

    Its been years since i've posted anything here as life had become busy and other things demanded my attention. But recently, over the past year or so, my long standing commitment to think of myself as a "jazz" musician has fallen apart and i' not sure where to go next.

    I started on guitar, switched to bass guitar and took lessons on that instrument for 4 years. I went to college anticipating going into music education, but found the possible career prospects poor. After bass, while in college, i fell in love with the piano and all it could do. But, despite 4 more years of hard work, never attained anything close to what I felt like proficiency would look like. I gave that up and switched back to guitar, a sort of compromise between the 2. I committed to jazz, then focused hard on early/swing jazz guitar and finally made some headway in that area.

    Then I realized I didn't want to be stuck in that style anymore, despite feeling like i really built some ability and confidence in it. I felt the void that had been left by not playing music I really loved, which is somewhere between jazz and rock.

    Now i'm not sure where to go. I have years of the swing stuff and solo chord melody under my belt, but many times I want to break away from the association with early jazz and move on. I feel like I got so in depth with the style I can' seem to see my way out of it despite getting back into playing rock and related styles.

    I wonder if anyone here has found a balance between 2 styles they love. I want to maintain and continue to built my jazz repertoire ( I have about 30 standards memorized and playable in any key, and about 12 solo arrangements) but want to focus more on jazz influenced rock and prog rock.

    Part of this confusion has come about because I've become sought out by a handful of people over the years who want lessons, and i'd love to get into doing that, but I know I'd need to really get to work on more rock/pop focused stuff to meet the demand of what most people seem to want.I really want to start to think of myself as a more or less Progressive or jazz rock player and singer who also does jazz.

    to end the rambling post, does anyone else feel like they love jazz, but not enough to make it the only thing you do? how do you balance 2 or more styles? Am I overthinking the whole thing (yes)? I guess the swing and jazz stuff in general became such a way to define myself musically that shedding it feels both liberating and very scary. The confines of jazz and particulaly swing and early jazz were strangely comforting...

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Me too.

    I decided to give songwriting a go. Been several years now. Glad I did, I'm enjoying it. Still study jazz but the purpose is to use that in my recordings of my own tunes and for enjoyment. I'm doing mostly alt rock and Americana.

  4. #3

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    Free improvisation might work. You know the chords; make your own changes.

  5. #4

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    I've found that, for me, there's no way to avoid being enthralled with an array of different kinds of music. Yeah, sometimes it bothers me in that I worry that I'll be a master of none. But I do know this: that whatever the style, I need interesting melodicism and harmony. And I can try to make that come together in an interesting chord progression that supports solos that can blend rock, jazz, whatever. I find that whatever I've worked on in the past tends to feed into whatever type of music currently interests me.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcharles
    Hi all,

    Its been years since i've posted anything here as life had become busy and other things demanded my attention. But recently, over the past year or so, my long standing commitment to think of myself as a "jazz" musician has fallen apart and i' not sure where to go next.

    I started on guitar, switched to bass guitar and took lessons on that instrument for 4 years. I went to college anticipating going into music education, but found the possible career prospects poor. After bass, while in college, i fell in love with the piano and all it could do. But, despite 4 more years of hard work, never attained anything close to what I felt like proficiency would look like. I gave that up and switched back to guitar, a sort of compromise between the 2. I committed to jazz, then focused hard on early/swing jazz guitar and finally made some headway in that area.

    Then I realized I didn't want to be stuck in that style anymore, despite feeling like i really built some ability and confidence in it. I felt the void that had been left by not playing music I really loved, which is somewhere between jazz and rock.

    Now i'm not sure where to go. I have years of the swing stuff and solo chord melody under my belt, but many times I want to break away from the association with early jazz and move on. I feel like I got so in depth with the style I can' seem to see my way out of it despite getting back into playing rock and related styles.

    I wonder if anyone here has found a balance between 2 styles they love. I want to maintain and continue to built my jazz repertoire ( I have about 30 standards memorized and playable in any key, and about 12 solo arrangements) but want to focus more on jazz influenced rock and prog rock.

    Part of this confusion has come about because I've become sought out by a handful of people over the years who want lessons, and i'd love to get into doing that, but I know I'd need to really get to work on more rock/pop focused stuff to meet the demand of what most people seem to want.I really want to start to think of myself as a more or less Progressive or jazz rock player and singer who also does jazz.

    to end the rambling post, does anyone else feel like they love jazz, but not enough to make it the only thing you do? how do you balance 2 or more styles? Am I overthinking the whole thing (yes)? I guess the swing and jazz stuff in general became such a way to define myself musically that shedding it feels both liberating and very scary. The confines of jazz and particulaly swing and early jazz were strangely comforting...
    i think that’s perfectly normal, a good thing in fact.

    any tradition can only take you so far. Making new music often feels very ‘out on a limb’; I’d argue that if it doesn’t you aren’t doing anything new. Sometimes you might not feel able to label your music as anything in particular (which can make marketing it hard, because people love convenient labels.)

  7. #6

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    Thanks guys. It's funny, I almost see a common theme related to this thread in other current threads here and it makes me feel more on track than I did before. I see this idea of being unable to define what jazz even is anymore or where it's going etc being very common again on here. Like we've moved so far past the origins of it, how most of us in jazz have stayed the course of "outdated" harmonic concepts despite what some tried to do with jazz in the 70s and I'm constantly seeing people dating what many consider modern jazz as being some 70+ years old now. Just an interesting observation.

  8. #7

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    I have never been more than a intermediate, amateur player, but I have played some small gigs on a fairly steady basis. A few years ago when the demands of work began to really increase my practice time started to fall off and I started to get a little frustrated that I would never be a better jazz guitarist. I longed just to make music that I liked, and started to focus on classical and flamenco guitar. Now, I split my time about equally between the three styles and it seems to have improved the musicality of my jazz playing. My sight reading and time has improved, and I am approaching jazz from a new perspective. I think it’s helpful to pursue other styles and branch out a bit. It will make you a better musician.

  9. #8
    Kinda goes back to what Duke Ellington said about music" There are only two kinds of music Good and Bad" You know you ve got it if it makes you feel good! Janis Joplin Take Another Piece Of My Heart.