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  1. #26

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    My dad was a working guitarist in the 50s and 60s in Toronto and he always carried these two black binders of charts with about two tunes per page/300pages each book. His bandmates had them too. Meticulously laid out and contained everything from bop to Irish folk tunes. I wish I still had them. I don't remember them having many errors.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27
    Seeing this great old video reminded me of when I saw Primus Live. They ran a lot of early black and white animation from some really early material. It sure made for a very enjoyable evening. Sean Lennon has good taste in electric bass players with Les Claypool. Wonder how much he paid him?

  4. #28

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    To be honest, to me the Real Book is much more a practice tool than the definitive source of how any tune should be played.

  5. #29
    I heard that some of the East European jazz students who could only hear Voice of America radio show behind the Iron Curtain got Really,Really Good at transcribing tunes and had very strong memorization skills by necessity. I lived in Boston and was going to Berklee when the RB came out. I know the name of at least one of the original authors. That thing was illegal and sold like dope untill the nasty biz of the copyrights was taken care of.Some of the writers like Pat Metheny were just glad to get their music played by as many people as possible. I seem to remember some may have had references to what albums you could find a song on,like something by Freddie Hubbard. Red Clay. The goodness far outweighs any flaws in my book. But a good teacher should NOT ALLOW a student use it as crutch!!! MEMORIZATION RULES IN JAZZ!!!

  6. #30

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    In the video Adam is less critical than Peter but the crux of the conversation holds true; many things are missed and probably gone for ever now that the Real Book is the definitive canon. I’d liken it to this, “Luke, I am you father” is not a quote from Empire Strikes Back but has turned into the most quotable quote from the Star Wars series. A similar comparison is made to tunes like ATTYA in this video
    Last edited by Triple_Jazz; 06-08-2021 at 06:59 PM.

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Let us say this is so. (I don't believe this is so but I don't want to argue the point beyond saying: If this were true, one would not expect to see so many professional jazz musicians staring at charts on their tablets or phones while performing jazz standards.)

    But let us say this is so. But even there, which recording of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" do you learn the tune from? (Many players of melodic instruments listen to Ella Fitzgerald and / or Frank Sinatra to get a clear sense of how the tune goes, but Ella and Frank recorded some songs many different times with various arrangements.) I've read that Peter Bernstein seeks out original sheet music of tunes to see how the composer wrote it, the so-called original changes, though such "original sheet music" is rarely from the hand of the composer but rather from the hand of someone who was hired to write playable parts for amateur musicians, who were the main market for sheet music for generations.

    I don't object to people learning from records. I don't have a quibble with how the pros are doing things nowadays. Though all the people you speak of came along after the rock era when many artists were also the writers of their own songs and thus there were definitive versions of them. Say, "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix. You learn "Purple Haze" from that record. (Or from someone who learned it from that record.) There is no record that holds that status for "Honeysuckle Rose", even early recordings of Fats Waller doing it.

    Who now plays / sings "Honeysuckle Rose" the way Fats did? (The rhythm guitar is fine in the video below.)
    Or "I Got Rhythm" the way Gershwin did?
    When was the last time you played with a piano player who played "Billie's Bounce" the way Dizzy did on the record? (For those who don't know, Dizzy Gillespie played trumpet and piano on that recording.)
    Now if we're talking about something from Miles' "Kind Of Blue," it's a bit different. Those are the definitive versions of those songs. And the band sounds so good.
    Coleman Hawkins' "Body and Soul" (1939) is a classic recording but who can hear that today and want to play it like that orchestra did? (And is there a more lionized version of "Body and Soul"?)



    As for record players, they became very popular in the '60s and '70s.(The first stereophonic records were made in 1958.)

    In the '30s and '40s, the radio was much more popular than records. Musicians were much more likely to hear a recording on the radio than on a record player in their own home. (For that matter, they heard a lot of live music on the radio----many a bandleader had a regular radio gig featuring live performances at some ballroom or other.)

    (Some people with reel-to-reel recorders captured live broadcasts from the radio and could go over them later if trying to learn various parts.)

    And the fidelity of early jazz records tended to be poor: the bass can be an indistinct muddle and the drum cymbals can be indistinguishable from hiss and static. Even today with better stereos it can be hard to suss out what's happening on some early recordings. Imagine only hearing them via a radio and trying to do that.

    "Kind of Blue" was recorded on three-track tape and released in both a stereo and mono version. (Miles preferred the mono version. It's the one he provided input for.)
    Oh I overlooked this post.

    First of all let’s say it is so, because it is so :-)

    OK, so more rigorously, if your thesis is - radio was as important as records for jazz learners, OK.

    In practice musicians used whatever clues they could get; the mid century was not an information rich era for jazz players. A record player was one important tool in this pursuit, but just one.

    If your thesis is - radio was far more important than records, then the burden of proof as far as I'm concerned lies with you.

    (So, interesting theory, but ...)

    I've read so many accounts of the 20th century masters learning from records. A first stop for any research into this would probably be Paul Berliner, who has extensive sections to 'learning from records'. I would need to revisit, but as Berliner's book is very much about oral history detailing mid century jazz practice in NYC, it would be a rich source of these accounts. To be honest I don't have time to dip into this book at the moment and I don't really feel the need to based on what you have said so far.

    I would say that you should definitely check it out (assuming you haven't) if you are interested in this topic. It's one of the few academically rigorous accounts of jazz out there, but it's also highly readable.

    More interestingly, for a sort of synthesis between what you are saying and how I understand the historical nature of learning jazz, is Bruce Forman's take; he feels that a certain amount of inaccuracy was priced into the way things were done with records; that is you could only listen to things so many times, problems with fidelity you mentioned etc. So he feels that this encouraged evolution in the music itself.

    Adaptation by mutation if you like.

    In terms of which recordings you choose to check out to learn a tune, I think the Open Studio videos model a good approach. Understanding how tunes evolved doesn't not limit you to playing them one way, it can inspire you too try other things; on the contrary it's the Real Book that encourages that by being a 'definitive text.'

    If, lastly, you are trying to justify learning tunes from the Real Book, I'm afraid that's your business haha. ;-)
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 06-09-2021 at 04:59 AM.

  8. #32

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    I'll quickly add that even with all our modern technology it can still be very hard to hear things clearly; many jazz recordings are rather lofi, and some things are just hard to hear even if you have the best ears the world, and obviously one's ears are developing over time.

    Take some of Ellington's big band voicings for example. Or some of the unaccented notes in bop heads... (even the players on the records don't always sound sure haha)

    So you are forced to use a bit of creativity sometimes, interpret what you are hearing. I like that about ear learning. When something is written down, everything is equally 'weighted' literally in black and white; it's kind of how a lot of student jazz players play every note in bop heads with equal weight, which is always a tell they learned these tunes from a chart. Ear learning is much more about shades of grey.

  9. #33
    That's a sharp observation from Bruce Forman and more or less all old-school performers and educators say things along the lines of memory and hearing being foremost. Hal Galper would learn solos by rote with fellow students of necessity because often they had to pool their money to buy a single album for all of them. Some say you shouldn't even slow down the record lest it condition you to hear music slowly (the sax guy from Snarky Puppy), and instead stop the playback just after two notes if necessary - where, for instance, you would clear as a bell hear a fifth interval, that you wouldn't have heard otherwise; then go on to the next few notes, etc. As to Adam and Peter, both fine fellows, as I remember they were mostly discussing mistakes in the fake book, a worthy discussion to have IMO, which doesn't mean the fake book should be banned.

    For those familiar, a legend of French radio, Jean-Christophe Averty, now passed, for many years had a historical music programme where he played jazz and related recordings from the Golden Age. I was always impressed at the range of incredible music recorded in that era. He said the frequent lacking (technical) quality of the recordings was never a problem for him as imagination could step in to fill in the gaps. Same process when reading a book in a way. On the other hand I rarely have patience with poorly engineered modern recordings.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by m_d View Post
    That's a sharp observation from Bruce Forman and more or less all old-school performers and educators say things along the lines of memory and hearing being foremost. Hal Galper would learn solos by rote with fellow students of necessity because often they had to pool their money to buy a single album for all of them. Some say you shouldn't even slow down the record lest it condition you to hear music slowly (the sax guy from Snarky Puppy), and instead stop the playback just after two notes if necessary - where, for instance, you would clear as a bell hear a fifth interval, that you wouldn't have heard otherwise; then go on to the next few notes, etc. As to Adam and Peter, both fine fellows, as I remember they were mostly discussing mistakes in the fake book, a worthy discussion to have IMO, which doesn't mean the fake book should be banned.

    For those familiar, a legend of French radio, Jean-Christophe Averty, now passed, for many years had a historical music programme where he played jazz and related recordings from the Golden Age. I was always impressed at the range of incredible music recorded in that era. He said the frequent lacking (technical) quality of the recordings was never a problem for him as imagination could step in to fill in the gaps. Same process when reading a book in a way. On the other hand I rarely have patience with poorly engineered modern recordings.
    I prefer going at full speed as much as possible. It also gives the sense and flow of the phrase better, generally makes it easier to sing and hear, I get less stuck puzzling out notes.

    Yeah - imagination. Listening is a creative act.

  11. #35

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    Man, I can't wait to get to a jazz jam and butcher some songs.