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  1. #1

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    I've been on this forum a while, and obviously there is a real mix here between the hobbyists and professionals which is terrific. However I just wanted to offer some observations on the craft of jazz guitar that I have noticed in my line of work, which happens to be jazz guitar.

    So I wanted to offer some basic advice to beginners to keep in mind as a road map for development.

    Who am I? Well no one in particular, I would describe myself as an able and employable guitarist, and I do work quite a lot, both as a sideman and leader, racking up a couple of hundred dates a year. Not as many as some, but enough to be able to call myself a pro player with a degree of legitimacy.

    I play pretty much everything - genres ranging from swing to fusion and contemporary. Rather more swing and straight ahead I have to say. I also hang out with quite a few fellow professional musicians including some excellent jazz guitar players.

    This is what I have noticed music wise. I'm not going to cover business stuff because that would sit better in the 'Bandstand' thread and is more relevant to advanced players who want to do this stuff for income.

    OK, here are my pointers.

    1) Jazz is not necessarily about being progressive or complex. Like all forms of music it has a progressive and complex wing, but the core of the music is actually about playing songs in 4/4 with good time.

    I say this because many guitars players come into jazz from a prog rock background looking for the next challenge. I know I did. Jazz is certainly a challenge, but not always for the reasons you might think. Accept the challenges of jazz on their own terms. Become part of a great tradition.

    2) Listen to jazz. You don't need to listen to everything. No one expects that, and I used to get intimidated with the apparent depth of other people's listening, where in fact I should have been open to recommendations. While it is important IMO to get some overview of the history, in the end their will be a few players that really speak to you, and this is a good thing. Listen to them a lot. Find a hero (or three) and listen to them a lot.

    Also you must learn to listen. There are different ways of listening, of which the most intense is what we often call transcription. This means, really, learning solos. Learning someone else's improvisations might seem like a weird way to learn to improvise, but it sharpens your ear and teaches you the way that the jazz language works on an intuitive level.

    3) You need to know tunes to play with people. The more tunes you know, the more people like playing with you. I think of this as the principle of 'making things easy.' In the profession, popular working sidemen - i.e. players that get called to do a gig rather than having to hustle their own - make things very easy for the leader. That's in all sorts of ways, but one key way for straight up jazz gigs is knowing lots of tunes. My advice is - start learning tunes by heart as soon as possible.

    But - this is important - learn tunes you like!
    There's nothing worth than trying to do something becasue you feel you should. If you love a tune, you will play it better....

    4) You need to play with other musicians to get better. Therefore, your practice time should be directed towards this aim, and you desperately need to find players in your area. Preferably players who are in that sweet spot of being better than you but not so much that they find playing with you a drag. Don't be shy. Get out there and do it.

    5) Important skills for playing in a band. Listening. Listening. Listening. Knowing tunes. Reading (a bit) esp. chord charts and rhythms in notation. And of course comping. Make the band sound good. Don't feel you have to be the star when you solo. That's actually less important, and why we have sax players. But seriously, comping is not about learning millions of chord voicings. It's about making really great musical use of voicings you know in order to make the soloist sound good. I know quite a few great players who only ever seem to play the obvious jazz guitar voicings but no-one cares one bit, because they play them so well.

    6) Do simple things well. If you are serious, much of your musical life will be geared towards polishing simple things. No one cares if you know hundreds of scales if they all sound out of time, poorly executed and unmusical. Great players polish their playing until it gleams.

    7) Time. Become a Rhythm obsessive. Rhythm is the most important thing in this music. Find out as much as you can, listen critically to your own time, and above all play with others. Metronome practice, useful though it is, is no substitute for playing with musicians with good time.

    8) The practice room is a means not an end. The end is to get on the band stand and feel as comfortable as possible. It's not always the case that you will be completely comfortable, but you can make life easier for yourself by doing your homework. That's what practice is for. Nothing more.

    9) Not all important lessons are pleasant.
    Music is just like the rest of life.

    10) Lastly, don't become too self absorbed. No matter how good you get, you will never hear your playing the way others do, so don't try to. Go out to gigs and listen to other musicians, try and keep the focus outward to what you can learn from others.

    I'm sure I've missed a load of them!
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-03-2016 at 07:53 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Perfect advice for all aspiring players looking to do what you are doing, i.e., 200 gigs (or more) per year.

    I wonder, though, if most aspiring players on this Forum actually aspire to being a regular gigging player playing old tunes to small (often distracted) audiences ? More than 50% ?


    I'm probably not typical, but I know that my own interest lies in composing tunes in the Hard Bop / Post Bop style with a view to doing a handful of performances each year with good players, most of whom I'd need to pay. In that respect, most of your tips still apply, but maybe in a different way...

    If I had to suggest a point # 11, it would be something like - Embrace all that makes your playing unique, and work at making it your thing. Better to be yourself and suck, than to be an impressive clone....

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Perfect advice for all aspiring players looking to do what you are doing, i.e., 200 gigs (or more) per year.

    I wonder, though, if most aspiring players on this Forum actually aspire to being a regular gigging player playing old tunes to small (often distracted) audiences ? More than 50% ?
    Haha ---- oooohhh feel the burn.

    (Actually I have played a lot of originals in my gigs over the past few weeks as it happens. It comes and goes.)

    True enough. But I would say that my advice stands just the same if you want to play frequently with musicians in any context. And for players at any level of development.

    The main driver of improvement in anyones playing IMO is working with others, whether that's rehearsing for fun, playing at jams or getting together at someone's house (which is something I do myself in the quiet months). But beyond that, it is what jazz is to me - a music played with others.

    I'm probably not typical, but I know that my own interest lies in composing tunes in the Hard Bop / Post Bop style with a view to doing a handful of performances each year with good players, most of whom I'd need to pay. In that respect, most of your tips still apply, but maybe in a different way...
    Is this something you have actually done?

    If I had to suggest a point # 11, it would be something like - Embrace all that makes your playing unique, and work at making it your thing. Better to be yourself and suck, than to be an impressive clone....
    +1

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    So I wanted to offer some basic advice to beginners to keep in mind as a road map for development.
    great post. Thanks!

  6. #5

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    Hey, I wasn't puttin' ya down! You have my admiration and respect for doing what you do. Really. But great to know that you get the occasional originals across.

    Me? I don't gig much these days, I Produce and play on recordings for a living. TBH, not many people know my passion is Jazz, it's not a burning desire of mine to get my Jazz playing out there. It's a serious, private hobby. I have friends who are top players (world class actually), and they're happy for me to sit in, but I'm still developing my "thing", which was supposed to be ready 5 years ago ...

    Your tips #4, #8 and #10 are things I struggle with. I'm a big believer in the "performance", and musical interaction (I hate overdubbing and/or editing where not necessary or appropriate). Yet, curiously, I'm perfectly content creating backing tracks to play against. This is because I'm always practicing something hard, and when I get it down I move on to something else that's too hard. Haha, I guess if I ever get to the point where nothing's too hard anymore, I'll feel ready to play with my Jazz buddies!

  7. #6

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    I really think most of that advice can apply to anybody wanting to get better...and not just in a jazz style!
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I really think most of that advice can apply to anybody wanting to get better...and not just in a jazz style!
    I think this is an important point. I'm at a point in my life right now, with teenage-busy life, and with them gone in the next few years, where all of my music gigs outside of the house are non-jazz, and will mostly be that way for the next two or three years.

    Honestly, even as a bedroom jazzer for this season, I have had a very profound benefit in my playing and enjoyment of playing with others OUTSIDE of jazz as a result of my jazz "hobby". There have been improvements in all aspects, but most profoundly in rhythmic interplay. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had, even in the most straightahead, mundane kind of music, which may happen to pay the bills at the moment, when you get "into the cracks", rhythmically, with the subdivisions and grooves which you can use "around " other musicians who may be playing more straightahead.

    It's greatly increased my awareness of ways to help my young drummers with problems of overplaying, because you can actually deal with the issues of "drummer boredom " in straightahead styles, by simply making the grooves and interactions slightly more sophisticated - actually playing less, but in a much more interactive, nuanced and stimulating way as a musician. I find I actually enjoy all styles of music more from the small number of years I have spent studying and listening to Jazz.

    Of course, the larger point is still that most of those benefits AREN'T going to happen if I'm NOT playing with others regularly.

    Sorry, if OT.

  9. #8

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    I don't think it's off topic at all.

    I think there's an especially important meaning to jazz players maybe (which overlaps into some other styles as well) but the point is if you're playing music that is so reliant on communication, listening, and reacting, you're simply not going to get any better at that stuff without playing with other living beings.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    ....

    It's greatly increased my awareness of ways to help my young drummers with problems of overplaying, because you can actually deal with the issues of "drummer boredom " in straightahead styles, by simply making the grooves and interactions slightly more sophisticated - actually playing less, but in a much more interactive, nuanced and stimulating way as a musician....
    You've hit on a point that makes me prefer (for the moment) practicing with backing tracks rather than good players. Obviously I know from years of experience that the magic is in the interaction, it's also what I listen for. Let's face it, it's everything. But when I play with good players, the drummer is always " good" too, and likes everyone to know it - all the freakin' time.... As much as I love listening to Elvin, Tony Williams as well as the modern guys, busy drumming really annoys me to play with. I want the groove to be more explicit and the only drummers who play "less" around my parts are pretty crappy with their time/feel. Yep, backing tracks are stiff, and have no surprises to bounce off. But they don't overplay, and they can keep solid swing time. Heck, it's only practice, it's not like anyone else is going to hear it...

    So yeah, there's good and bad stuff about playing with others. Even playing along with great recordings sometimes can feel equally, or even more organic. Depends on the style. I know guys who gig all the time, and you hear how it's affected their playing. It's not always good. Sometimes it sounds like everyone has learned to fit in between the drummer's cracks, like that's the whole point. (But it is the whole point! they cry...) Well, thankfully I can disagree. I just don't like what happened to Jazz drumming after 1965, it's too much, and when it is simple, it's too "rock", or too "funky" for my tastes....

    There, I said it.
    Last edited by princeplanet; 10-03-2016 at 11:41 AM.

  11. #10

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    Can't emphasize enough, from my point of view, the importance of repetition and simplicity and listening. The stuff you most internalize is the stuff you really listen for; and to do simple things well it's really important.

    As an adult who came to the guitar late and learning to play from scratch ( thus, never went through the Metallica or Erruption phase, so I couldn't tell you a damn thing about that ) but an adult with two college degrees, when I was taking lessons, I will always remember the most important lesson I was given: "youre very smart and you think you understand things but you understand them from an intellectual perspective: you will never understand until you do it and can do it without fail, and that takes constant repetition of doing things correctly "

    The other thing I would add for anyone starting out is to get a good teacher to simplify and make sense of the big picture and outline a big roadmap. There's too much information out there: ultimately, a good teacher will help you become your own teacher, I.e., learn to develop your own sense of inquisitiveness and to be able to ask questions and search for answers.

    Otherwise, one will always be constantly throwing shit against the wall, desperately hoping that something will stick .

    Again, I will throw in a Sid Jacobs quote ---" oh my god oh my God, what am I gonna play, am I going to play the altered scale, am I going to play Lydian dominant, am I going to play mixolydian ? Everybody will be gone by the time you figure it out "
    Navdeep Singh.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    You've hit on a point that makes me prefer (for the moment) practicing with backing tracks rather than good players. Obviously I know from years of experience that the magic is in the interaction, it's also what I listen for. Let's face it, it's everything. But when I play with good players, the drummer is always " good" too, and likes everyone to know it - all the freakin' time.... As much as I love listening to Elvin, Tony Williams as well as the modern guys, busy drumming really annoys me to play with. I want the groove to be more explicit and the only drummers who play "less" around my parts are pretty crappy with their time/feel. Yep, backing tracks are stiff, and have no surprises to bounce off. But they don't overplay, and they can keep solid swing time. Heck, it's only practice, it's not like anyone else is going to hear it...

    So yeah, there's good and bad stuff about playing with others. Even playing along with great recordings sometimes can feel equally, or even more organic. Depends on the style. I know guys who gig all the time, and you hear how it's affected their playing. It's not always good. Sometimes it sounds like everyone has learned to fit in between the drummer's cracks, like that's the whole point. (But it is the whole point! they cry...) Well, thankfully I can disagree. I just don't like what happened to Jazz drumming after 1965, it's too much, and when it is simple, it's too "rock", or too "funky" for my tastes....

    There, I said it.
    Don't want to sound like a dick, but if they are overplaying they aren't really good players.

    A good player plays the gig.

  13. #12

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    ^^^ yep!


    You have to remember it's MUSIC.

    Jazz is one of those things, I really can't imagine how anybody could play it if it's not the music that "plays in their head." And the only way to get to that point is tons of listening. Ravenous listening. Obsessive listening
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Don't want to sound like a dick, but if they are overplaying they aren't really good players.

    A good player plays the gig.

    Yeah, but let's face it, not every gig is going to be with great players on every instrument every time.

    Part of improvisation is not just "what do I play over this chord?," but "where's my place in this group and how do I make us sound the best we can?"

    That's something you can only learn in the moment.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    I will always remember the most important lesson I was given: "youre very smart and you think you understand things but you understand them from an intellectual perspective: you will never understand until you do it and can do it without fail, and that takes constant repetition of doing things correctly "
    That's advice that could apply to quite a few people on this forum to be frank.

    This is advice it's taken me a long time to realise myself. I always thought I could get away with things. You can't. You have to put in the time.

  16. #15

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    And I still think better to really know 5 things than "know of" 50.

    I'm always surprised at how simple things like fretboard knowledge and chord building can cover so much ground in jazz. It's really not as esoteric as folks like to make it out to be.

    Perhaps it's a case of "I paid for this education, I'm gonna use it dammit!"
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Preferably players who are in that sweet spot of being better than you but not so much that they find playing with you a drag. Don't be shy. Get out there and do it.
    Hardest thing for me. Most of the players around here who are better than me are pros.

    7) Time. Become a Rhythm obsessive. Rhythm is the most important thing in this music. Find out as much as you can, listen critically to your own time, and above all play with others. Metronome practice, useful though it is, is no substitute for playing with musicians with good time.
    ^^^^THIS^^^^

    I was at a session last night and played for part of it with a pianist who had terrible time, and a drummer who was a bull in a china shop (i.e., he had good time, but didn't really listen to what others were doing). Trying to stay on beat, and do something that the drummer wouldn't step all over was a real challenge.

    I guess I would add - for jam sessions at least - pay attention to the etiquette and the way the other folks are doing things. If everyone is taking two choruses, start with that. Sometimes you can get away with 3, but nobody likes it when a guy comes in and blows 20 choruses when that's not what the rest are doing. Watch the leader, too, and learn the sign language (it's pretty obvious - pointing to the head to play the head, holding up 4 fingers for trading fours, etc, but it's amazing how many people either don't know this stuff or aren't paying attention.) Also, go in prepared with a couple of tunes to call. It always seems to happen where someone says, "what do you want to play" and everyone goes, "I dunno... you got one?"

    Oh, also (I learned this one from a couple of comedian friends): You're going to bomb. You're going to have nights where nothing goes right. You're going to sound like ass. It WILL happen. Keep going regardless. You'll have fewer of them as you progress.
    Last edited by Boston Joe; 10-03-2016 at 12:25 PM.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Perhaps it's a case of "I paid for this education, I'm gonna use it dammit!"
    "I suffered for my music. Now it your turn."
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Don't want to sound like a dick, but if they are overplaying they aren't really good players.

    A good player plays the gig.
    I'm not talkin' about young wannabes playing drum solos over the whole friggin' tune, we've all been there. I'm talking about seasoned pros with a bit of a "name". They probably think they're underplaying- maybe you guys might think they are too, and not have a problem- but to me they're not serving the tune as well as I'd personally like.

    Look, I think it's just me. I'm pretty sure no one else I know has a problem with modern Jazz drumming. TBH, it's not just modern drumming that irks me. If I compare the 10 best records from last year to the 10 best from 1964, I'd probably come up with a long list of things I prefer about the older recordings!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I'm not talkin' about young wannabes playing drum solos over the whole friggin' tune, we've all been there. I'm talking about seasoned pros with a bit of a "name". They probably think they're underplaying- maybe you guys might think they are too, and not have a problem- but to me they're not serving the tune as well as I'd personally like.

    Look, I think it's just me. I'm pretty sure no one else I know has a problem with modern Jazz drumming. TBH, it's not just modern drumming that irks me. If I compare the 10 best records from last year to the 10 best from 1964, I'd probably come up with a long list of things I prefer about the older recordings!
    Actually I know what you mean.

    One thing it is quite hard to do is find someone who plays with that really defined old school sound. A case in point is ride cymbal - finding someone who really expresses time with ride and doesn't just wash everything out. Someone who is happy to play groove and not play fills all the time.

    Someone who knows when to interact and when to hang back, when to improvise and when to play it simple, and is sensitive to the historical context of the music.

    Someone who understands that jazz isn't a free-for-all but a music with a profound basis in African American dance music.

    Someone who swings.

    Man, that's true of all instruments TBH.

  21. #20

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    I got a confession to make: 3) that's always been a struggle. It's not that I don't know many tunes, I got enough to play a 4 hour gig... but it's still not enough! Not in NYC. When you play with pretty much the same group of people most of the time, you know the tunes that you need, and that will cover it... for the moment. It is a very slow process with me, learning new tunes. Many of them don't excite me that much, and I have to force my senses. Well, like it's been said, not everything meant to be pleasant, especially if it's a job.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I got a confession to make: 3) that's always been a struggle. It's not that I don't know many tunes, I got enough to play a 4 hour gig... but it's still not enough! Not in NYC. When you play with pretty much the same group of people most of the time, you know the tunes that you need, and that will cover it... for the moment. It is a very slow process with me, learning new tunes. Many of them don't excite me that much, and I have to force my senses. Well, like it's been said, not everything meant to be pleasant, especially if it's a job.
    Sure. The more tunes you learn the easier it gets.

    One of my goals is to good enough at learning chord progressions I can do it on the bandstand while playing it.

    Actually, I already find mastering the melody much harder than getting an outline of the changes good enough to solo on. That's the next hurdle...

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    American musicians will never do #7.
    Speak for yourself.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  24. #23

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    This post is one of the reasons I appreciate this forum - members being generous in sharing their experiences, knowledge and time for the enlightenment of their fellow forum members, thank you Christian et al.

  25. #24

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    3 choruses? Shit, how important do you think your playing is?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    If you lose the groove on the 3rd chorus I'll know. Happens all the time.
    Yeah, well, play with better people.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Sure. The more tunes you learn the easier it gets.

    One of my goals is to good enough at learning chord progressions I can do it on the bandstand while playing it.

    Actually, I already find mastering the melody much harder than getting an outline of the changes good enough to solo on. That's the next hurdle...
    It's not that it's hard to improvise on... I can find my way through changes even if I don't know the tune very well. Not very artistic, but saves a day.

    It's not what I was talking about exactly... Just sheer amount of songs you need to internalize if you don't want to use the charts on the gig. And the problem is often they are kinda harmonically similar to one another, so improvisation part is easy, but the melody and details in form are different.

    Speaking of FORM... I'd make it an important point for aspiring player- learn to feel the form of a tune! It saved my ass so many times when playing an unfamiliar tune, and just listening to the form. Then you can't never get lost really, because you know when the A part ends, and B part begins, and A comes back again. You can BS your way through even if you don't know all the changes. (Of course it assumes you have a good timing feel, but that should be pre requisite for playing publicly anyway). There is simply nothing more embarrassing than to find yourself finishing your solo in the middles of a chorus, thinking it's the end of it, and bandmates looking at you like wtf dude, really? haha

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    Jazz used to be dance music+ballads but those days are long gone. The swing bands and funk era is over.
    If you play something like bop it all sounds like random noise to the average person. It it's Bird imitators it sounds like random noise to me.
    Learning to play dance music is a matter of doing the same thing over and over and over until you become a zombie.
    Where would we be without zombies?
    The Walking Dead is the best TV show of all time.

    Look, I'm just pulling your leg here. I think you get my drift though.
    I got the gags
    But don't get the drift .... (Seriously)

  29. #28

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    I got up on the wrong side of the couch today. I removed my gibberish.
    It sounds like good advice to me. I don't have much to add.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 10-03-2016 at 04:49 PM.

  30. #29

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    Thank Christian, I am taking your advice.

    Two others that pros have given me

    1 always sing what you play

    2 write every day, wether that be walking down the road singing a new tune or at the guitar

    thanks again
    mark
    “When you’re creating your own ...., man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
    Miles Davis

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    I got up on the wrong side of the couch today.
    It sounds like good advice to me. I don't have much to add.
    I know what you're saying about rhythm. There's probably still plenty of players out there that can groove it's just that I never hear them much. I only really know about the US and Mexico. I can't speak for Canada, Asia, Europe or So. America. A lot of it just comes down to taste. You know, whatever pulls your tractor, and just because I'm not feeling it doesn't mean it's not happening. I listen to hip hop sometimes which isn't exactly my bag, but I'll give it a run for it's money, and the vocals and production can be cool if you're into that sort of thing but the instrumental parts are often weak and the rhythm is stiff. Those hard 2 and 4 snare accents are more than just a cliche. They've become a fetish. But we're living in a stiff non groovy world so maybe that's just the deal. I personally would rather listen to old school Mexican corridos or cumbia than most of what's coming out of the States. Be it Jazz or contemporary Funk/RnB/Hip Hop. Someone posted on another thread that most of the players on the big time RnB pop touring circuit were Gospel musicians. I believe it. They're probably the best around at this point in time as far as rhythm and groove go. imo rhythm is a fragile element and could be the first thing, musically, to suffer when things get culturally out of whack. And it's a chicken or the egg thing. Is it the audience or the players?

    Just one old man's opinion
    Last edited by mrcee; 10-03-2016 at 07:19 PM.

  32. #31

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    It's not what I was talking about exactly... Just sheer amount of songs you need to internalize if you don't want to use the charts on the gig. And the problem is often they are kinda harmonically similar to one another, so improvisation part is easy, but the melody and details in form are different.
    Actually that is kind of what I was trying to say.

    Speaking of FORM... I'd make it an important point for aspiring player- learn to feel the form of a tune! It saved my ass so many times when playing an unfamiliar tune, and just listening to the form. Then you can't never get lost really, because you know when the A part ends, and B part begins, and A comes back again. You can BS your way through even if you don't know all the changes. (Of course it assumes you have a good timing feel, but that should be pre requisite for playing publicly anyway). There is simply nothing more embarrassing than to find yourself finishing your solo in the middles of a chorus, thinking it's the end of it, and bandmates looking at you like wtf dude, really? haha
    Definitely

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    I know what you're saying about rhythm. There's probably still plenty of players out there that can groove it's just that I never hear them much. I only really know about the US and Mexico. I can't speak for Canada, Asia, Europe or So. America. A lot of it just comes down to taste. You know, whatever pulls your tractor, and just because I'm not feeling it doesn't mean it's not happening. I listen to hip hop sometimes which isn't exactly my bag, but I'll give it a run for it's money, and the vocals and production can be cool if you're into that sort of thing but the instrumental parts are often weak and the rhythm is stiff. Those hard 2 and 4 snare accents are more than just a cliche. They've become a fetish. But we're living in a stiff non groovy world so maybe that's just the deal. I personally would rather listen to old school Mexican corridos or cumbia than most of what's coming out of the States. Be it Jazz or contemporary Funk/RnB/Hip Hop. Someone posted on another thread that most of the players on the big time RnB pop touring circuit were Gospel musicians. I believe it. They're probably the best around at this point in time as far as rhythm and groove go. imo rhythm is a fragile element and could be the first thing, musically, to suffer when things get culturally out of whack. And it's a chicken or the egg thing. Is it the audience or the players?

    Just one old man's opinion
    Millennials are doing mumble rap and comedy+rap- crap. It's pretty funny.
    I'm trying to decide who's culture I'm going to appropriate next. It will be Psy-Trance or bluegrass. Something like that.
    Is it the audience or the players? IDK. I gave the ex CA and Japan. I took the east coast and mid-west.
    I'm going to Nevada as soon as someone buys my house.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 10-04-2016 at 12:59 AM.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    A....finding someone who really expresses time with ride and doesn't just wash everything out. Someone who is happy to play groove and not play fills all the time.

    Someone who knows when to interact and when to hang back, when to improvise and when to play it simple, and is sensitive to the historical context of the music.

    Someone who understands that jazz isn't a free-for-all but a music with a profound basis in African American dance music.

    Someone who swings.

    .....
    Exactly! Have you found him/her yet?

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    As much as I love listening to Elvin, Tony Williams as well as the modern guys, busy drumming really annoys me to play with.
    Man, I love a busy drummer. Gives me food for thought, and allows me four notes to a bar rather than twenty-four.

    Playing rock most of my life, I've found the backbeat drummers to be a drag. Give me Keith Moon or Mitch Mitchell -- or in a jazzier context, Narada Michael Walden or Steve Gadd ... not that I'm fit to wash their socks, but you know what I mean.

    I love having a complex rhythm underpinning what I'm doing, it makes me sound smart without too much extra work.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Yeah, but let's face it, not every gig is going to be with great players on every instrument every time.

    Part of improvisation is not just "what do I play over this chord?," but "where's my place in this group and how do I make us sound the best we can?"

    That's something you can only learn in the moment.
    The most important gear any of us will ever own is a pair of ears.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    You have to put in the time.
    How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    ....Man, I love a busy drummer. Gives me food for thought, and allows me four notes to a bar rather than twenty-four.

    Playing rock most of my life, I've found the backbeat drummers to be a drag....
    Well I certainly don't mean 4 to the floor rock drumming! Talking about Jazz drumming, but contained, cool and smart. Think Blue Note late 50's - early 60's. Lion and Gelder always looked for groove from the rhythm section, and there's about 20 drummers who did their best work on that label, IMO...

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Exactly! Have you found him/her yet?
    Yes but now he plays with Van Morrison :-(

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    Man, I love a busy drummer. Gives me food for thought, and allows me four notes to a bar rather than twenty-four.

    Playing rock most of my life, I've found the backbeat drummers to be a drag. Give me Keith Moon or Mitch Mitchell -- or in a jazzier context, Narada Michael Walden or Steve Gadd ... not that I'm fit to wash their socks, but you know what I mean.

    I love having a complex rhythm underpinning what I'm doing, it makes me sound smart without too much extra work.
    Yeah the backbeat can be such a crutch can't it?

    But I don't like complexity for the sake of complexity. Complex can be great, but it has to grooving. This is why Gadd is great. And you can't say Gadd doesn't play the gig. Have you heard on Jim Hall's Concierto by the way?

    Vintage Soul and Motown is where it's at for me for pop drumming. There is a great backbeat but it's never overstated.

    Now: "Make it groove, let's hit the 2 and 4 because everyone knows they're the cool beats!" (Simplistic understanding of rhythm.)

    You hear a lot of backbeat in swing rhythm guitar even these days. It's bullshit.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-04-2016 at 06:05 AM.

  41. #40

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    Just give me Billy Higgins any day.

  42. #41

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    Billy's are good at drums. Billy Higgins, Billy Hart.

    I also like Bill Stewart.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Billy's are good at drums. Billy Higgins, Billy Hart.

    I also like Bill Stewart.
    I remember seeing Billy Higgins at Ronnie Scotts a few times. He seemed to have a tiny drum kit with little more than bass, snare and 1 tom. But he had this enormous ride cymbal which looked about twice as wide as most people's, and this seemed to be his main focus. He produced this glorious, sizzling, dancing sound on it the whole time, it was such an amazing groove. The rest of the kit just seemed to be there to provide a bit of light accompaniment to that cymbal.

  44. #43

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    You can't overstate the importance of the ride cymbal too much.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah the backbeat can be such a crutch can't it?

    But I don't like complexity for the sake of complexity. Complex can be great, but it has to grooving. This is why Gadd is great. And you can't say Gadd doesn't play the gig. Have you heard on Jim Hall's Concierto by the way?

    Vintage Soul and Motown is where it's at for me for pop drumming. There is a great backbeat but it's never overstated.

    Now: "Make it groove, let's hit the 2 and 4 because everyone knows they're the cool beats!" (Simplistic understanding of rhythm.)

    You hear a lot of backbeat in swing rhythm guitar even these days. It's bullshit.
    Let's hear it for Al Jackson Jr.!!

    the hat more than the ride

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    You can't overstate the importance of the ride cymbal too much.
    Unless you are trying to play acoustic rhythm guitar in which case they become THE ENEMY

  47. #46

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    In reply to mrcees post that seems to have vanished - what should drummers do with acoustic rhythm guitar?

    It's ok to ride the cymbal from time to time, but the big modern ride cymbal is too sustaining for that type of work. Also it will completely obliterate unamplified guitar.

    Pre war rhythm sections are all about short, decaying sounds and everyone working together as one big instrument.

    You need a lot snare and hi hat, and a proper four to the bar bass drum. Guitar plays snare and hat, bass goes with bass drum.

    Getting the instrumentation right helps a lot. Modern jazz kits aren't really set up for this.

    But basically tell the drummer to go listen to Jo Jones in the 30s and 40s...

    It seems to me that jazz drummers find this very hard because ride cymbal is the absolute foundation of their playing. Classically trained players often have better use of instrumentation in this context. And some of them can swing, too!

    Jonathon Stouts band has an excellent period style drummer btw
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-04-2016 at 09:30 AM.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    2) Listen to jazz. You don't need to listen to everything. No one expects that, and I used to get intimidated with the apparent depth of other people's listening, where in fact I should have been open to recommendations. While it is important IMO to get some overview of the history, in the end their will be a few players that really speak to you, and this is a good thing. Listen to them a lot. Find a hero (or three) and listen to them a lot.
    I see this kind of thing a lot in jazz advice, and I'm surprised it needs to be said. Are there aspiring jazz musicians out there who aren't already passionate jazz fans? I sure hope they're not getting into it for the money or the fame.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    In reply to mrcees post that seems to have vanished - what should drummers do with acoustic rhythm guitar?

    It's ok to ride the cymbal from time to time, but the big modern ride cymbal is too sustaining for that type of work. Also it will completely obliterate unamplified guitar.

    Pre war rhythm sections are all about short, decaying sounds and everyone working together as one big instrument.

    You need a lot snare and hi hat, and a proper four to the bar bass drum. Guitar plays snare and hat, bass goes with bass drum.

    Getting the instrumentation right helps a lot. Modern jazz kits aren't really set up for this.

    But basically tell the drummer to go listen to Jo Jones in the 30s and 40s...

    It seems to me that jazz drummers find this very hard because ride cymbal is the absolute foundation of their playing. Classically trained players often have better use of instrumentation in this context. And some of them can swing, too!

    Jonathon Stouts band has an excellent period style drummer btw
    Thanks for the reply. I had deleted my msg to re do it and got called away. In the interim I did watch some Basie with Jo Jones.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah the backbeat can be such a crutch can't it?

    You hear a lot of backbeat in swing rhythm guitar even these days. It's bullshit.
    YOu can hear backbeat in Western swing type rhythm guitar a lot, like this guy Whit Smith I'm transcribing now, I love it! La pompe is leaning toward accentuating 2 &4, isn't it? Plus, if you good with 2 and 4 in your rhythm you can get a lot of Octoberfest gigs, if ya know what I mean

    I feel like more traditional pure swing a la Freddie Green doesn't assume backbeat indeed. But... it's not the only way to play IMO.

  51. #50

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    I'd rather hear good programmed drums than a not so good real drummer. Not for jazz but for contemporary dance music and such things.