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  1. #51

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    Transcribing, or more general playing others solo (or head) it is hard to decide me what is the more beneficial approach a) trying to play the exact timing and phrasing, or b) make it your own.

    Many sources teach that a) is the real purpose, even to try to do it to perfection, and through it learn the jazz expression way. Sounds pretty convincing. It makes a lot of work much more than b). However it raises the question how could have the student a lot of different time feel at the same time,(btw neither is a natural authentic his own) I mean it is way different to play along with Dexter Gordon and say Kenny Burrell? So here is my doubt starts. The student do not want to stick with one single artist, but then is it really good goal to try to emulate different timings, instead of developing one single more authentic, which comes naturally? This would be the b). To make the decision hard, of course I have doubts with b) too: How could a learning student develop a good timing and phrasing other way than conforming the greats? Trying to develop it from scratch his own way sounds a bit risky, and very unefficient way.

    While I always hesitate between a) and b), I tend to apply b). To compensate the drawback the b) I try listen a lot of my different hero’s recordings and I mean really listen, and try put in my musical brain those music really deep. Hopefully a something synthesized my natural way will come out, and I try to listen myself also as a listener, and decide what corrections and improvements to made to enjoy that expression as a listener.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdwaverider View Post
    OK, then, I think the answer is in the woodshed; there's no way around it. I started down the road to improvising in earnest just over two years ago, and every once in awhile, I hear myself play a good one. I think you're well ahead of me, having played all those transcribed solos. You have the tones and the tempos in your ears, so you're going to recognize the sound you are looking for when you hear it.

    David
    Thanks-if you're that far along in just 2 years, that's awesome. I've been struggling with this stuff for 25 years and still feel like Captain Lame.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor View Post
    Transcribing, or more general playing others solo (or head) it is hard to decide me what is the more beneficial approach a) trying to play the exact timing and phrasing, or b) make it your own.

    Many sources teach that a) is the real purpose, even to try to do it to perfection, and through it learn the jazz expression way. Sounds pretty convincing. It makes a lot of work much more than b). However it raises the question how could have the student a lot of different time feel at the same time,(btw neither is a natural authentic his own) I mean it is way different to play along with Dexter Gordon and say Kenny Burrell? So here is my doubt starts. The student do not want to stick with one single artist, but then is it really good goal to try to emulate different timings, instead of developing one single more authentic, which comes naturally? This would be the b). To make the decision hard, of course I have doubts with b) too: How could a learning student develop a good timing and phrasing other way than conforming the greats? Trying to develop it from scratch his own way sounds a bit risky, and very unefficient way.

    While I always hesitate between a) and b), I tend to apply b). To compensate the drawback the b) I try listen a lot of my different hero’s recordings and I mean really listen, and try put in my musical brain those music really deep. Hopefully a something synthesized my natural way will come out, and I try to listen myself also as a listener, and decide what corrections and improvements to made to enjoy that expression as a listener.
    Good points. I think it matters what our goal is.

    My improvising is awful. I am trying to duplicate Raney because his phrasing and feel are great, mine are not. If I "make the solo my own" basically I take Raney's great solo and ruin it, turning his good notes into my poor time and bad phrasing. But if I work hard at imitating what he does, then it begins to break down my bad habits and take me to new places. I am seeing, in my own attempts (in private!) to improvise, that Raney's ideas and feel are beginning to invade my playing, kind of alike a virus--a good one--injecting new DNA into a host.

    So I think the "make it my own" idea depends on whether or not a player already has good feel and phrasing. But if in fact these are the very things one is trying to learn, then your (a) is the best way. I'm tired of sounding like ME, and so I'm using these solos to put some new ideas and changing my feel.

    I'll let you know if it works!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  5. #54

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    All you can do is be honest to yourself. Play it as you feel it. If people like it, great. If not, too bad.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I am seeing, in my own attempts (in private!) to improvise, that Raney's ideas and feel are beginning to invade my playing, kind of alike a virus--a good one--injecting new DNA into a host.
    !
    If this is what is happening, keep doing it forever.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    ...but don't try to make people "feel something."
    You do know we're talking about music, right?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Thanks-if you're that far along in just 2 years, that's awesome. I've been struggling with this stuff for 25 years and still feel like Captain Lame.
    I have played guitar for probably 20 years. I've was doing my best to teach myself jazz guitar for the last 8 using books. I have a library full of them. I wasn't getting anywhere. So I reached out to one of the better known pros in the city and asked if he teaches, and he does. I brought all my books to the first lesson and one at a time, he tossed them on the floor and said, "You don't have enough time to wade through all this (I am 63). There's a lot of ways to approach it, this is the way I do it and I'll get you playing fast."

    That was just over two years ago. It's been a lot of work - I'm practicing about 2 hours a day and much more on weekends. He forced me out of the house to play with other musicians, whenever, and wherever, I can. I make that happen at least once a week. And I'm now doing gigs with a bassist. Anyhow, that's a bit of my story ...

    I guess the most important thing I could say is find a a teacher, who can pass this amazing heritage to you - one-to-one. And make some musical friends who will play music with you and allow you the space to [learn] discover your own sound.
    Last edited by 3rdwaverider; 11-23-2019 at 01:02 PM.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Good points. I think it matters what our goal is.

    My improvising is awful. I am trying to duplicate Raney because his phrasing and feel are great, mine are not. If I "make the solo my own" basically I take Raney's great solo and ruin it, turning his good notes into my poor time and bad phrasing. But if I work hard at imitating what he does, then it begins to break down my bad habits and take me to new places. I am seeing, in my own attempts (in private!) to improvise, that Raney's ideas and feel are beginning to invade my playing, kind of alike a virus--a good one--injecting new DNA into a host.

    So I think the "make it my own" idea depends on whether or not a player already has good feel and phrasing. But if in fact these are the very things one is trying to learn, then your (a) is the best way. I'm tired of sounding like ME, and so I'm using these solos to put some new ideas and changing my feel.

    I'll let you know if it works!
    There was once a guy who thought along the same lines. He too didn’t think himself good enough to improvise.

    But more on him later.

    The really important think about making music and the single biggest thing I need to correct in most students is insufficient time taken with internalising the sound of the music they wish to play.

    Now the one area where I would say your approach is potentially problematic is that you need to ensure that you spend sufficient time with the source material. Recorded music is a rich source of implicit knowledge. Notation records only the explicit knowledge valued by the Western musical tradition.

    I’d suggest singing along with the original solo, matching your articulations to Raney’s. The singing does not have to be in tune. It just has to match the phrasing. Do this for five minutes or so, with your guitar in its case.

    You have the music worries about the thing everyone freaks out about (but which isn’t that big a deal in practice) which is getting the notes on your instrument.

    Lastly that guy who didn’t think he was a good improviser and just copied his favourite players solos note for note, did ok. His name was Wes Montgomery.

    Keep going. Some people like to be free and dive in. Others like to be specific. Both are valid.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    There was once a guy who thought along the same lines. He too didn’t think himself good enough to improvise.

    But more on him later.

    The really important think about making music and the single biggest thing I need to correct in most students is insufficient time taken with internalising the sound of the music they wish to play.

    Now the one area where I would say your approach is potentially problematic is that you need to ensure that you spend sufficient time with the source material. Recorded music is a rich source of implicit knowledge. Notation records only the explicit knowledge valued by the Western musical tradition.

    I’d suggest singing along with the original solo, matching your articulations to Raney’s. The singing does not have to be in tune. It just has to match the phrasing. Do this for five minutes or so, with your guitar in its case.

    You have the music worries about the thing everyone freaks out about (but which isn’t that big a deal in practice) which is getting the notes on your instrument.

    Lastly that guy who didn’t think he was a good improviser and just copied his favourite players solos note for note, did ok. His name was Wes Montgomery.

    Keep going. Some people like to be free and dive in. Others like to be specific. Both are valid.
    What Makes a Jazz Solo "Musical"-download-3-jpeg
    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

  11. #60

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    (music-al-ity) is "sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music" or "the quality or state of being musical", and is used to refer to specific if vaguely defined qualities in pieces and/or genres of music, such as melodiousness and harmoniousness.[1] These definitions are somewhat hampered by the difficulty of defining music....

    It's not easy to define what makes a solo 'musical', but I have a couple thoughts more directly centered on the subject than what I posted before.

    It's obvious to all of us that you need the chops. But how do you develop the ability to improvise? I think you can work on that part as a separate skill. I think one really good way is to pick up something you've never tried to play before and see if you can 'get something going' by intuition. Like a hand-drum or a strip of rubber or even a saxophone! (sax is surprisingly easy to play BTW). And if you can get something going then do it a lot more. If not, try a different noise-maker.

    I think another good way is see what you can 'get going' over a tune like So What. Forget about all your tritone subs and functional dominants and just blow. As an aside, this is a great tune for learning how to feel fours, eights and sixteens. Bars that is. You can't improvise real music if you're counting them. I think you feel those divisions in a good solo. Smaller cycles of tension and release within those chunks. This also has something to do with 'phrasing'.

    You still work on the standards with all our beloved changes, but you also work on this: how to blow. How to use intuition rather than analysis. How to make music.

    Even better if you can do it with other folks of similar inclination.

    Learning this stuff takes everything you can muster. Christian has a nice post about how learning guitar is 'inter-disciplinary' or something... one skill informs the other. Transcribing, scales, exercising, reading, jamming, performing, noodling around while watching baseball, noodling with TV off. It all works together.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    That’s an interesting post. I’m not sure I agree with it. But I’m also not sure I disagree with it.

    Hi, C,
    John A. brings up an interesting point. I'd like it to be clear up front I come from another generation of musicians who approached improvisation in a much different fashion-- organically. I understand the educational concept of playing written improvisational solos but I'm not clear how that makes a musician a better creative improviser. For some of us, our root music was the foundation for approaching Jazz. For example, I came from an R and B, Funk, Jazz-Rock background on both guitar and saxophone. And, the solos I played in those genres were foundational to later more complex solos based on a better knowledge of scales, chords and melodic inspired ideas. It was a slow process with many dead-ends and uncountable hours in the wood shed of sheer frustration. But the result of that approach was/is a truly personal message stated musically. When I think of some of my favorite players: Dexter Gordon, Zoot Sims, Gene Ammons, Coltrane, Edidie "Lockjaw" Davis, Chet Baker, Illinois Jacquet, Wes Montgomery to name a few, I cannot imagine them creating the music they did with the "memorized" solo approach and reach the personal voice they all distinctly exhibit. So,in light of this concept, when does your musical message become merely a compilation of others ideas injected into the songs you play? And, how is this a personal voice? Finally, I want it clearly understood that my comments in no way are meant to disparage the OP but rather to express another way most in my generation have chosen to skin the cat. Good playing . . . Marinero
    P.S. And, this is also the reason I find so many Classical Guitar players music so staid, predictable and lacking passion and a personal voice. M
    Last edited by Marinero; 11-23-2019 at 03:23 PM. Reason: deletion

  13. #62

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    I. Shall. Fight. The. Almost. Irresistible. Urge. To. Type. ‘Ok boomer’. And. Actually. Engage. With. What. You. Have. To. Say....

  14. #63

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    Except that Wes Montgomery started out by playing memorised Charlie Christian solos on his first gigs, that has been mentioned quite often.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, C,
    John A. brings up an interesting point. I'd like it to be clear up front I come from another generation of musicians who approached improvisation in a much different fashion-- organically. I understand the educational concept of playing written improvisational solos but I'm not clear how that makes a musician a better creative improviser. For some of us, our root music was the foundation for approaching Jazz. For example, I came from an R and B, Funk, Jazz-Rock background on both guitar and saxophone. And, the solos I played in those genres were foundational to later more complex solos based on a better knowledge of scales, chords and melodic inspired ideas. It was a slow process with many dead-ends and uncountable hours in the wood shed of sheer frustration. But the result of that approach was/is a truly personal message stated musically. When I think of some of my favorite players: Dexter Gordon, Zoot Sims, Gene Ammons, Coltrane, Edidie "Lockjaw" Davis, Chet Baker, Illinois Jacquet, Wes Montgomery to name a few, I cannot imagine them creating the music they did with the "memorized" solo approach and reach the personal voice they all distinctly exhibit. So,in light of this concept, when does your musical message become merely a compilation of others ideas injected into the songs you play? And, how is this a personal voice? Finally, I want it clearly understood that my comments in no way are meant to disparage the OP but rather to express another way most in my generation have chosen to skin the cat. Good playing . . . Marinero
    P.S. And, this is also the reason I find so many Classical Guitar players music so staid, predictable and lacking passion and a personal voice. M
    I’m not sure from the wording of your post whether you meant you can’t imagine and yet that’s what they did, or whether you think that they didn’t learn by copying solos note perfectly?

    In the former case I know what exactly you mean. While I haven’t followed this time honoured route myself (although I did learn a few solos) it does work. Serves as a musical apprenticeship.

    In latter case you would be simply incorrect (at least in the case of Wes and Bird. They learned the complete recorded solos of Charlie Christian and Lester Young respectively.)

    There is a quiet humility to doing this which I find extremely touching.

  16. #65

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    Re. the ‘learn a whole solo’ thing, I never found it that useful to do this. It’s like it was too much information, I just spent too much time trying to perform the memory feat of playing it (badly!).

    Much more useful was to just pick a few phrases that really appealed to me, and really learn them and work them into my playing on any tune where they would fit.

    You should be able to hear those phrases in your head and play them without any thought at all, as if you had invented them yourself. Then you can spend more time on getting a good feel and time to the notes (doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of how the original player played them, develop your own style a bit). I mean I can’t duplicate Jimmy or Wes’ feel anyway, so I just tried to develop a good feel of my own.

    I sometimes changed the phrases a bit, to make them fit better with my way of fingering, articulation, etc. or just to make them easier to play. I see this as a good thing, it is like turning someone else’s influence into your own style.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Re. the ‘learn a whole solo’ thing, I never found it that useful to do this. It’s like it was too much information, I just spent too much time trying to perform the memory feat of playing it (badly!).

    Much more useful was to just pick a few phrases that really appealed to me, and really learn them and work them into my playing on any tune where they would fit.

    You should be able to hear those phrases in your head and play them without any thought at all, as if you had invented them yourself. Then you can spend more time on getting a good feel and time to the notes (doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of how the original player played them, develop your own style a bit). I mean I can’t duplicate Jimmy or Wes’ feel anyway, so I just tried to develop a good feel of my own.

    I sometimes changed the phrases a bit, to make them fit better with my way of fingering, articulation, etc. or just to make them easier to play. I see this as a good thing, it is like turning someone else’s influence into your own style.
    And many great players have also done this way (including you, Emily Remler and Peter Bernstein.)

  18. #67

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    lol not sure I would include myself in that august company!

  19. #68

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    I'd learn a whole solo from a few of my favorite players, if I had the time or patience.
    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

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    All you can do is be honest to yourself. Play it as you feel it. If people like it, great. If not, too bad.
    I actually care a lot about whether people get joy from my playing. Forgive but I can’t take this one piece of advice.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  21. #70

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    Wow. You guys have put some great ideas and wisdom out there and there is a lot of great playing backing up what you say. You’ve given me a lot of great stuff to ponder and try.

    This is why I love this forum.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #71
    Well, the Jimmy Rainey solo I learned with you somewhat ate my lunch, but it taught me a ton. I wouldn't trade the time spent for anything else.

    From the things you're asking about, it almost sounds like you're asking more about the macrolevel structural elements more than the phrases and devices at the local level (like just basic vocabulary and cells and things to be able play over changes). Anyway, if you don't have enough of some of those things you can't really work at the other level, but I think the macro structural level is where Jimmy Rainey's mastery really is in full display: Using rhythmic elements to create tension/release over many many measures at a time.

    Because of his mastery , he's able to COUPLE these devices with his best, and honestly, hardest to PLAY lines. But I think the basic ideas work regardless. I would look at trying to reverse engineer some of these cross rhythm type things that he talks about in the preface to the book. In the "nowhere" solo, there are tons of these.... basically playing 3/4 across multiple bar lines, stretching out the tension of the long phrase and creating interest with syncopation and repeated motifs etc, mentioned in post#6. ALL of that.

    Again, a lot of these raney phrases are really difficult to play in the first place and maybe harder to apply to other tunes or general changes elsewhere. Probably one of the easier to translate as an étude elsewhere is the basic idea in measures 5 thru 7 of the second chorus. A repeating rhythmic motif which basically implies 3/4 crossing bar lines. Anyway, the melodic statements are simple enough that you could basically apply them just about anywhere in other tunes etc.

    Measures 17-21 are similar and probably even better for their simplicity, honestly. You could basically just transcribe the contour of those lines to anything else, in any other context pretty easily. The rhythmic element is the key feature, and the syncopations at the local level are very nice for their own sake. Very bebop. But beyond THAT , they imply the same 3/4 (over-4/4) feel which crosses bar lines and creates tension . Yields longer, multi measure lines by default.

    Probably one of the more genius bits is the section starting measure 19 of the first chorus. Basically, he does the same thing, but with a 3/8 metric thing going on. The problem there is that it's just more difficult to transpose to other contexts in my opinion. It's a pedal tone lick I guess? I don't know what you call it.

    It might be a cool idea to take a few these larger motif ideas to build some larger phrases in a different context, maybe the practical standards tune or something. Post some ideas here. I'd be willing to workshop and post some amateur examples here myself if it's something we wanted to do.

    Anyway, I just think these larger rhythmic structures are a huge part of his genius as a player. They're just so difficult to see because he combines them with very complex melodic vocabulary as well. Much more difficult to see the over arcing form-based structures. It might be cool to work on doing similar ideas at a level witch is easily understood and playable at our own levels as individual players.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 11-24-2019 at 10:27 AM.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Re. the ‘learn a whole solo’ thing, I never found it that useful to do this. It’s like it was too much information, I just spent too much time trying to perform the memory feat of playing it (badly!).

    Much more useful was to just pick a few phrases that really appealed to me, and really learn them and work them into my playing on any tune where they would fit.

    You should be able to hear those phrases in your head and play them without any thought at all, as if you had invented them yourself. Then you can spend more time on getting a good feel and time to the notes (doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of how the original player played them, develop your own style a bit). I mean I can’t duplicate Jimmy or Wes’ feel anyway, so I just tried to develop a good feel of my own.

    I sometimes changed the phrases a bit, to make them fit better with my way of fingering, articulation, etc. or just to make them easier to play. I see this as a good thing, it is like turning someone else’s influence into your own style.

    Hi, Graham,
    Your above method is very close to how I approach music past and present. In the case of Wes and Bird playing "memorized " solos in the beginning, it may be the case but one would have to ask based on their development and musical personality, how did it really effect their eventual musical style when listening to them and their early idols? We are all thieves in our musical journeys but these petty thefts are, in my opinion, not major shapeshifters of our eventual style but rather interludes along the path of personal enlightenment--much as periods in our youth where we dated exclusively shapely blondes rather than slender brunettes or redheads. As a young saxophonist in the 60's,70's and 80's, I cut my teeth on the soulful tenors: Gene Ammons, Illinois Jacquet, Stanley Turrentine, and Grover Washington while aiming towards the styles of Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, and Zoot Sims as my main goal. And, as a guitarist, my influences were oddly not jazz guitarists but rather Jazz horn players whose pacing, and melodic approach are the essence, in my opinion, for solo guitar--whether Classical, Jazz or Bossa.
    As far as my "Baby Boomer" status, as my friend C mentioned from my previous remarks, it is, I believe, a helpful designation from my earlier comments since I feel, in many ways, there are more differences than commonalities among musical generations in both style and approaches to music. And, this is certainly visible in all genres of Music--not just Jazz. Eventually, however, there are only so many directions and paths Music can take before it becomes repetitive of previous styles or stumbles incoherently into New Age Diuretics. Great responses on an interesting topic. Good playing . . . Marinero El Boomer

    Here's one of my favorite performances: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman--"My One and Only Love." Listen to Trane's and Johnny's melodic approach--I hear pure guitar. Must be a "Boomer" thing! M

  24. #73

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    What makes a solo musical?
    Time, swing, dynamics: “feel”.

    Without these, the most brilliant note selection and phrasing are meaningless... the solo just lays there.

    Maybe better to work on some simpler material until it really swings. Memorizing long complex solos may distract from developing these basic skills.
    Last edited by Gilpy; 11-24-2019 at 02:09 PM.

  25. #74

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    I suspect this is one of those subjects where it's far easier to describe what a good solo is not than it is to describe it in positive terms.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    And many great players have also done this way (including you, Emily Remler and Peter Bernstein.)
    I wondering where do you think Peter Bernstein took and metamorphed his phrases from, because his approach to soloing is pretty unique. He obviously digs Monk, but this influence is not like that what grahambop described, more like harmonic.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor View Post
    I wondering where do you think Peter Bernstein took and metamorphed his phrases from, because his approach to soloing is pretty unique. He obviously digs Monk, but this influence is not like that what grahambop described, more like harmonic.
    This is what he said he did. He copped a lot of Grant Green apparently.

    I think it’s easier to hear in his early playing.

    Nowadays I think he mostly makes up music on his guitar.
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-25-2019 at 03:32 AM.

  28. #77

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    The detail and depth of your comments on this solo, both on my playing of it, on the solo itself, and on the general topic I raised, have spurred me to put some material out there that might push the conversation a bit (maybe?). This is the solo played "at tempo" with Jimmy Raney in the right channel and me in the left channel. The Notation for the solo captions the video so you can see what's being played (theoretically) and hear Raney's interpretation and compare/constrast with my hashing of it. Then I play through it a second time, just me, because, well, it's my clip and I can! Actually this is an attempt to play it even-eighths rather than try to swing it with old dotted-eigth concept. I don't know that this is any better, but there you are.

    I've added the measure numbers to the notation to make it easy to refer to.

    I always appreciate the observations and advice of the denizens of this forum.

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  29. #78

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    1) Right, I’m learning that
    2) yes better straight like that than fake dotted swing. You need to find the pocket still which takes me to point 3
    3) the Empire Strikes Back contains an important lesson for jazz guitarists (so does the Last Jedi, but that’s for later) which I keep having to remind myself and took me over 30 years to understand. Really understand, and apply.

    There is no try. Stop trying to swing. Stop trying to execute, relax and let the notes come. You don’t need to make them happen. The body is wiser than you think.

    Also Hal Galper is Yoda.

    Sure I could bang on about the zen gardens in Kyoto or some **** but who am I kidding? It’s 5 year old me watching Star Wars.

  30. #79

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    I like the second time. Getting there.

    When I started to play more in the pocket, it feels sometimes a little bit sloppy or crude timing wise like its too lazy. And then you hear it back and it sounds right.

    If that helps...

  31. #80

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    When I say 'musical' I have strong understanding what is behind this word.

    In short: music is an artistic system that allows us to create meanings if we know and master its language.

    When we read Dickens or Faulkner (considering we are sensitive readers with imagination) we do not read words - we live in their world with their heroes.
    I read a lot as a kid and when grown up I could not alwaysunderstand if some memories I have are what really happened to me or from the book - I remember images, situations, people - but not words.
    (Eventually I came to understanding that it is all my life and there is not need to try to separate these memories)

    I treat music the same way: of course words have more direct connotations of meanoning but still in musical performance I hear first of all not sounds, not even correctly and well-played motives but meanings (I do not want to say images or stories - becasue this can be very induvidual).

    In short - for me 'musical' is when I clearly hear that the performer understands the language and uses it to create something else...

    In my opinion in music it is mostly expressed in the time feel (not rythm or meter) but time as combination of all relations melodic, harmonic, metric... it's the feeling when soundscape becomes almost touchable, you can feel the time flow physically.
    It is like watching a complex cathedral walking around it - it is always there and stands still but it always changes.
    Maybe this comparison fits more classical music.

    In jazz it is almost always some type of narrative intonation... when I feel melodic soloing as a good narrator speech - with its breath, pauses - where every 'word' (not note but a meaningful musical entity like a phrase or a motive or an episode) has its weight of personal experience behind... daring and challenge, attempts and risks are the part of personality too...
    an artistic courage ...


    Speaking of Jimmy - my revelation was his solo on But Beautiful - I was just breathless.

    But in general it is mostly about the performer - it is very seldom the performer who plays musically - does not do that. It may be that in some records he is more creative, in some more exhausted... but usually the basic thing (that time feel) that makes him musical for me is always there...

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I like the second time. Getting there.

    When I started to play more in the pocket, it feels sometimes a little bit sloppy or crude timing wise like its too lazy. And then you hear it back and it sounds right.

    If that helps...
    I am not sure that it is what you mean... but when I record I find that if I force myself a bit forward..... to go what I naturally feel a bit ahead...
    then on record it sounds well... (when I don't it sounds sometimes too much behind)...

    In my opinion it is some kind of personal relation of perception and physical coordination...

    On the other hand - when there were no records and people just heard it right now and that was it.. did it matter?

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    I am not sure that it is what you mean... but when I record I find that if I force myself a bit forward..... to go what I naturally feel a bit ahead...
    then on record it sounds well... (when I don't it sounds sometimes too much behind)...

    In my opinion it is some kind of personal relation of perception and physical coordination...

    On the other hand - when there were no records and people just heard it right now and that was it.. did it matter?
    Well I tend to play on top, so to relax into the pocket feels/felt strange to me. I remember when I first got it and I remember feeling ‘well this feels gnarly.’ Sounds like you have the opposite problem.

    Anything you are not used to doing feels weird.

    OTOH you can’t just play loose and sloppy. You have to have a strong idea of the rhythms and phrases in your mind’s ear. If you audiate strongly enough and you e practiced the technique etc your body will take over.

    It’s just that you don’t need to make them happen, force them out of the guitar. It’s easy to think this sounds rhythmically assertive, but actually it just sounds on top.

    But this is very much like singing. Again trying to control your sound is a bad idea, you have to step back and relinquish control, once the physical skills are mastered.

  34. #83

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    Well I tend to play on top, so to relax into the pocket feels/felt strange to me. I remember when I first got it and I remember feeling ‘well this feels gnarly.’ Sounds like you have the opposite problem.
    It is interesting that when I hear you playing alone you sound like an agile brisky and very forward-headed player.
    But wehen I hear you in a group you sound very much laid back (sometimes too much to my ear).


    It’s just that you don’t need to make them happen, force them out of the guitar. It’s easy to think this sounds rhythmically assertive, but actually it just sounds on top.
    For me this word 'actually' is what makes feel a bit crazy... is record more actual than what I (and audience) hear when I play it? (Again record changed both performer's and listner's mentality).

    I think there is much about it in the personal feel of time - that is why playing in a group can be very different experience... and some players who can be convincing solo player - can be not always that good in a groop (at least at the beginning... usually ofc ourse good musicians accomodate themselves quickly). Because they are just not used to coordinate their own timing with others.

    I always had problem of being a bit 'late' in a group... (it was anywhere -- in an army band, in a group, in a choire)...
    I connect it with my general physiology: I speak and walk slowly, I am not use to physically transfer internal imbulses in body panguage.

    ( I am not sure it is connected ... but I also tend to like super slow tempos... to be at the point where the connection seems to fall apart)

    At the same time I react and think very quickly (quick than most fast people I know, oftne I feel like I have 'to come back' or to wait for people to pick it up)...
    I do not know what it is and how it works...

    When I listen to music I also hear it very detalized - sometimes to an extent as if I can almost stop it.. you know like reading a book - you can make a pause or slowdown if you wish... I have almost the same feeling when I listen to music (though I do not stop the playback of course).



    At the same time I noticed that in group I can easily correct it once I just get myself more got together physically... so maybe it is really a connection of mind and body as medium.

  35. #84

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    and I am not really sure that recording yourself is a good tool for correction of mistakes...
    for me on the contrary it is a compromise.
    The fact that I do not like myself recorded does not always mean for me that I played it badly.
    Especially if I felt it was good while playing.

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    and I am not really sure that recording yourself is a good tool for correction of mistakes...
    for me on the contrary it is a compromise.
    The fact that I do not like myself recorded does not always mean for me that I played it badly.
    Especially if I felt it was good while playing.
    Recording myself is a painful but good tool to hear myself with a new second pair of ear. Especially when I relisten the recording after a week or more. It helps to cut all unnecessary and meaningless “style” parts, for example overused embellishments, badly interpreted rhythmic idioms. It also helps to recognize the parts what I thought musical when played are no so musical for the listener, because the thought was only in my mind, and not went through.

    Human psyche has guard mechanisms, but your sentence about The fact...

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    It is interesting that when I hear you playing alone you sound like an agile brisky and very forward-headed player.
    But wehen I hear you in a group you sound very much laid back (sometimes too much to my ear)
    Interesting. I do adjust my beat placement based on style and so on, even within a solo. If I play swing I need to be much more on top. Modern/contemporary jazz is more behind the beat. Raney to me defined the modern jazz guitar aesthetic really early on. I hear a line going from him right up to Kurt via Allan Holdsworth who loved his playing. Allan didn’t play swing feel much but when he did he was a champion lagger, hanging off the arse end of the beat very much like Raney.

    But there is a sweet spot. You want to be locking in to something not just floating around.

    (If you said the latter to the Hot Club Band I do they’d be like .... whaaaa? Christian rushes.)

    It all depends on context. The Hot Club thing for instance comes with a lot of expectations attached. One of them is to play lots of notes and to push the beat and play more locked in with the downbeat, hit the string hard, make something happen. I’m slowly letting go of these....

  38. #87

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    The other secret is knowing what to lag and what not to lag.... some things have to be locked in with the beat. One thing that makes earlier jazz sound more brisk and locked in is they play more quarter notes and on beat accents. These have to be on the beat or even pushed to sound swinging.

    On the other hand long strings of 8ths can have upbeat accents and the connecting 8ths can really be behind the beat.

    The triplet is an interesting feature. It is always on the beat and exact. In bebop it acts as a way of creating rhythmic energy that pushes and pulls.

  39. #88

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    That said I don’t think you need to be that anal about it. I reckon if you lock the accents of the line into the swing 8th grid, you can then play nice and even and the result will sound good. The secret is (I think) to see the rhythmic emphasis embedded in an 8th note line. Raney is interesting for this....

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    The detail and depth of your comments on this solo, both on my playing of it, on the solo itself, and on the general topic I raised, have spurred me to put some material out there that might push the conversation a bit (maybe?). This is the solo played "at tempo" with Jimmy Raney in the right channel and me in the left channel. The Notation for the solo captions the video so you can see what's being played (theoretically) and hear Raney's interpretation and compare/constrast with my hashing of it. Then I play through it a second time, just me, because, well, it's my clip and I can! Actually this is an attempt to play it even-eighths rather than try to swing it with old dotted-eigth concept. I don't know that this is any better, but there you are.

    I've added the measure numbers to the notation to make it easy to refer to.

    I always appreciate the observations and advice of the denizens of this forum.

    Now that's a "chorus" effect I can get behind! And the solo take was nice and relaxed. Thanks, Lawson - nice job!
    Best regards, k

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I like the second time. Getting there.

    When I started to play more in the pocket, it feels sometimes a little bit sloppy or crude timing wise like its too lazy. And then you hear it back and it sounds right.

    If that helps...
    Often it seems like when I play with the best feel, I miss a lot of notes, it isn't clean, etc. Thank you for helping think that maybe that's progress!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town