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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I don't know of an example of Joe Pass doing this. He did talk about singing, but I don't recall seeing or hearing any example. Can you point me?
    He does it at 1:03:30 on this video:


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  3. #52

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    I'm all for the horizontal approach...

    The horizontal approach-excuse-me-please-jpg

  4. #53

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    While everyone seems to be offering their suggestions for how Jazz should be played, or how Bop should be improvised or how the music should be taught etc etc, I'd just like to add my own thoughts. Yes, playing too vertically can sound boring but playing horizontally too loosely can as well. Singing your lines, and trying to play them while you sing them is fine, but unless you work hard on your instrument at expressing THE changes clearly first, then the quality of your sung lines may be limited. Take that 2 - 5 - 1 - 6 progression mentioned. Sure, if it's iim7 - V7 - I - vim7, then even a non musician could probably scat some decent lines agains it, and yes they would probably be generalizing the tonic...

    But turn the V into a V7alt, and the vi into a VI7b9, then suddenly the untutored singer doesn't sound so great. Let's face it, even jazz students at all levels may still manage to sing clams against those altered sounds. And if they don't, then perhaps they're not hitting the juicy altered notes in interesting ways that the schooled improvisor might play on his/her instrument. I bet most of you (if you've practiced vertical lines enough) would probably sound more convincing on Giant Steps playing your instrument as opposed to scatting. The more experienced players (especially the ones that eventually get good at playing what they hear) may be able to sing against these challenging progressions and hit enough important guide tones to sound "legit", but that's only because - and here's my point - they trained their ear to hear these important notes through years of practicing playing the strict changes.

    I certainly hear what Christian is saying, and I know I need to heed the advice, and I do, but only because I'm now ready for it. 5 years ago I certainly wasn't! Like someone said earlier, learn the rules first, and then bend them. I suppose you gotta ask yourself at what point do you start to encourage practicing "skating" over changes? Too soon may lead to lazy habits in some. Too late may entrench different lazy habits for others.

    As I said in my first post in this thread - It's a fine line, innit?

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    But they're not stupid. If we can think of ways and means, so can they.

    Same answer. It's a good job the teachers of academic subjects are so-called specialists!
    A music specialist is not a jazz specialist. It's reasonable that someone like this should receive guidance.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    I certainly hear what Christian is saying, and I know I need to heed the advice, and I do, but only because I'm now ready for it. 5 years ago I certainly wasn't! Like someone said earlier, learn the rules first, and then bend them. I suppose you gotta ask yourself at what point do you start to encourage practicing "skating" over changes? Too soon may lead to lazy habits in some. Too late may entrench different lazy habits for others.
    THERE ARE NO RULES

    there are only resources. The only people who think there are rules are people marking exam papers.

    how did everyone get so afraid to be a musician? Play music. Play melodies. Use your ears. Listen, play.

    Steal someone else's minor key lines and play it on another minor key tune. Quote melodies. Embellish the melody. do what you have to. Just play MUSIC.

    Later, there are resources beyond this.

    Look, Giant Steps is a whole different bag. People who start with Giant Steps are going to get the wrong end of the stick.

    Fine line? More like sunk costs fallacy...

    BTW I'm not anti theory. I'm not anti-theory tests either, even. I am pro context.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-03-2020 at 12:20 PM.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    THERE ARE NO RULES

    ...
    Tell that to your beloved Barry Harris!

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Tell that to your beloved Barry Harris!
    he teaches things you can play. The music, or one branch of the tree at least. Play the music. Students need this because they need to learn the language one way or another.

    problem with the way many people think with jazz - the ones who can’t play it, or rather don’t feel they can ... they think of what they shouldn’t play. Avoid notes, clams, bad sounding notes.

    thats dumb. Basic educational psychology, right?

    Don't think of the pink elephant!

    why do we make things so difficult for students? Jazz takes enough work as it is.

    And the worst thing! Students can’t let this BS go. Because sunk costs. It’s hard to admit you were sold a pup. But the silver lining is that info will come in useful further down the line.

    I see this all the time with students.

    I was that person.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-03-2020 at 02:20 PM.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    A music specialist is not a jazz specialist. It's reasonable that someone like this should receive guidance.
    Then why are they trying to teach jazz if they're not qualified? Would they let someone who couldn't speak French teach French?
    Last edited by ragman1; 06-04-2020 at 12:08 AM.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    He does it at 1:03:30 on this video:

    Actually that kind of illustrates my question. I have that video and that's the only place I know of where Joe does it. He clearly can, he clearly does play what he hears in his mind, but I know of no example in a performance where Joe is "singing his lines" vocally like Oscar Petersen or Herb Ellis often do.

    Not disputing the idea of playing what is heard internally, just not thinking of Joe Pass as someone who vocalizes that.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Then why are they trying to teach jazz if they're not qualified? Would they let someone who couldn't speak French to teach French?
    In your world the school big band is run by a dedicated jazz instructor?

    I’m taking about what the yanks call ‘grade school.’

    TBF I know a lot of jazz musicians who teach this way too. Usually it’s because that’s how they were taught. (But not necessarily how they learned.)

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I don't know of an example of Joe Pass doing this. He did talk about singing, but I don't recall seeing or hearing any example. Can you point me?
    I cannot point to an example of Joe Pass doing this. Which isn't surprising, as normally his voice would not be mic'ed during a performance. (We hear pianists because they often have a mic before them so they announce tunes and introduce the band.)

    You can hear Herb Ellis talk about it here. He knew Joe and performed with him; I'm taking his word for it.
    Starts at 10:49

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I cannot point to an example of Joe Pass doing this. Which isn't surprising, as normally his voice would not be mic'ed during a performance. (We hear pianists because they often have a mic before them so they announce tunes and introduce the band.)

    You can hear Herb Ellis talk about it here. He knew Joe and performed with him; I'm taking his word for it.
    Starts at 10:49
    I knew about Herb Ellis, as I said. It was Joe Pass I was asking about. I spent about 15 years being obsessed with Joe Pass. I can't find a single example where he's singing/vocalizing lines while performing. Video representative of his whole career is out there. I never found an example. He can do it, for sure, and has demonstrated it while giving clinics. But so far, I know of no example where he's found vocalizing lines while playing.
    it's small point, to be sure. But I'm feeling cranky!

  14. #63

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    as for singing .... and playing

    Ed Cherry sings right now live from Smalls... Peter Bernstein also hums something but Ed just really sings

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    as for singing .... and playing

    Ed Cherry sings right now live from Smalls... Peter Bernstein also hums something but Ed just really sings
    Good call.

  16. #65

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    Ed Cherry has a great resume and is a great player. I heard him at Small's last Fall, sitting a couple of feet from him. Loved his time feel.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Actually that kind of illustrates my question. I have that video and that's the only place I know of where Joe does it. He clearly can, he clearly does play what he hears in his mind, but I know of no example in a performance where Joe is "singing his lines" vocally like Oscar Petersen or Herb Ellis often do.

    Not disputing the idea of playing what is heard internally, just not thinking of Joe Pass as someone who vocalizes that.
    "Singing" in the sense Herb is using it does not imply singing out loud. Some do. Benson surely does. But you don't have to. And as Joe says in this bit here, he is playing what he hears in his head. That's the guide. I haven't see Wes doing it either but Herb says he did and I give Herb the benefit of the doubt here. Especially with Joe because they worked together often. It's almost as if they could hear the music in each other's heads! They could solo simultaneously and not get in each other's way.




  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    In your world the school big band is run by a dedicated jazz instructor?

    I’m taking about what the yanks call ‘grade school.’
    I recently saw my friend's (non-musician) kids (we were spending holiday together at their suburban house) learning tunes on recorder (recorders are not common in Russia for education as in US of Europe, people have no bad associations with it))) ... but it was terrible... they played Blue Moon - but they never heard the song... they ignored meter and note values (not to say articulation and breath)... and they did not seem to improve it.
    besides - the tune of Blue Moon without comping sounds quite boring fi you are not creative with phrasing or ornaments...

    I asked what they were doing.. he said they go to orchestra... Russia has pretty solid dedicated musical education for kids and I could not believe they went to real musical school.

    He said: No, they just go to 'Noise orchestra'.. they just gather together and play tunes.. recorders, harpsichord, drums, guitar.... and now they do it online.... I imagined this band (these poor kids) doing 'Blue moon' online...

    Noise orchestra! ...

  19. #68

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    A video by Adam Neely on audiation.


  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    "Singing" in the sense Herb is using it does not imply singing out loud. Some do. Benson surely does. But you don't have to. And as Joe says in this bit here, he is playing what he hears in his head. That's the guide. I haven't see Wes doing it either but Herb says he did and I give Herb the benefit of the doubt here. Especially with Joe because they worked together often. It's almost as if they could hear the music in each other's heads! They could solo simultaneously and not get in each other's way.



    The point of vocalizing is important though, because it's pretty much universally affirmed and expected that the great players play "what they hear in their heads." That's in literally every guide to improvisation, every analysis of the great players.

    But when one singles out as examples people noteworthy for doing so audibly, I think that's another step and is a very interesting thing. But Joe Pass is not one of those who did this audibly. It's not a judgment on anyone or anything, just a descriptive statement. If one is talking about players who "sing their lines while they play" and the examples involve vocalizing, the Joe Pass does not belong in that group because he didn't do that typically in performance. All these great players have internal singing of their lines, so it's the vocalizing that's distinctive.

    But it's not worth pursuing further.

  21. #70

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    Another teacher going over the same ground.

    "If you can sing it, you can play it."


  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    But when one singles out as examples people noteworthy for doing so audibly, I think that's another step and is a very interesting thing.
    I think you misinterpret what was said. Herb said all the guitarists he knew (and liked) did this. Joe Pass is one. He did NOT say that Joe did this out loud or that you could hear him do it on record. Indeed, the only one he mentioned doing it so you could hear it was George Benson. "It's part of his act." (But this does not mean you can always hear George doing it, or see his lips move when he's on camera.) John Pizzarelli does this as part of his act too, but that does not mean you can always hear him doing it. Hell, you can't even always hear Oscar Peterson do it on the records where you can clearly hear him doing it at times. ;o)

    Again, Herb did NOT cite Joe Pass as a noteworthy example of someone doing this audibly. He cited Joe Pass as an example of a guitarist he knew and liked who did it, period. You have introduced an emphasis ("doing so audibly") that was not in the original. This is reinforced by Herb's reference to George Benson along with the gloss "you can HEAR him to it." This means that in most cases one will NOT hear the guitarist 'sing what he plays'.

    Being heard by others is NOT part of the meaning of 'sing what you play' (or 'play what you sing'.) You can't always hear / see Herb doing it in this very video wherein he emphasizes the importance of doing this very thing.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    When playing horizontally (in functional music) one is still playing changes because melody notes have function. If you just sing a melody then you're very likely implying one of the common progressions (I vi ii V etc). That's because these progressions sound pleasing to us (the ones that come up again and again).
    I don't know about you but I think I vi ii V sounds shite.

    The question is what actual progression are you imposing your implied changes over when playing horizontally. If there is a mismatch and it's unintentional it'll sound like scale noodling. But if one is familiar with the tune and aurally aware of the harmony, then they have a lot of freedom as the what melodic devices to employ and sound coherent over the changes. Targeting primary chord tones is just one device not the only one.
    Yeah? But also, the framing of this is still kind of off for me.

    People have this ingrained don't they? Harmony is the solution! It's all about harmony.

    I would hope that the Lester Young solos would be a strong counter example to this. I mean, there's this thing called the blues for the matter?

    Logically, pitch choices on chords cannot be the problem, because we can exactly quantify both. So the reason Wynton sounds badass playing D on Bbm6 is for other reasons that make him badass. Tone, taste, time, the way he's hearing it, and above all swing. All the stuff they can't put in a book.

    Never mind.

    Anyway, consider this for a sec: the reason why scale noodling sounds like noodling is not because it's scales with notes that clash, but because it's noodling.
    - Why is it noodling? It's because the player isn't really hearing what they are playing. That's what noodling means.
    - How do you fix this? By learning to audiate what you play.
    - How do you do that? Learn music by ear and sing your lines.

    Aha, you say - by learning music by ear you will learn harmony aurally! To which I say - yes, isn't that nice! But you will also learn rhythm, phrasing, melody and vocabulary.

    If you are really hearing your lines in G major, you are less likely to play a clam like E against a Cm chord. OTOH if you do it won't be a clam, because you will have heard it and it will sound good in context.

    But also, you won't really worry about it. And worry is the thing I find is the problem. Because theory gives us things to worry about if we take it in the wrong way. Theory is useful for contextualising things but it cannot drive the music, at least not at the beginner-intermediate level.

    And that's what people who struggle with jazz do - they worry. And often they don't know any songs or solos because they've spent so much time worrying. Their time is shit because they are soooo stressed out and thinking.

    And now people think jazz is theory. Which perpetuates the whole stupid cycle. It's what people expect.

    The other extreme is if you just pedal on the tonic note over the entire changes. It won't sound like you are functionally clashing with the harmony. It'll sound like you're deliberately bringing out different colors of the chords. You can also do that not just with a single note but with phrases and motifs. I hear a lot of coloristic, motivic playing in Miles's playing.
    Sure. Why not start on that now instead of getting involved with all this other drama?
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-03-2020 at 05:27 PM.

  24. #73

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    YOu guys saw the drawings of Stravinsky of music?

    Does 'Bach' look like horizontal or vertical approach?

    Art is ambiguity... we never catch but theough making it.

  25. #74

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    Singing your lines can be done very quietly, with an airy sound. I always sing the rhythmic phrasing of everything a play, I can't help it. The problem is that it interrupts steady normal breathing. Barry Harris does it, Erroll Garner grunts it, Monty Alexander, Keith Jarrett whines it.
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-03-2020 at 06:45 PM.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't know about you but I think I vi ii V sounds shite.



    Yeah? But also, the framing of this is still kind of off for me.

    People have this ingrained don't they? Harmony is the solution! It's all about harmony.

    I would hope that the Lester Young solos would be a strong counter example to this. I mean, there's this thing called the blues for the matter?

    Logically, pitch choices on chords cannot be the problem, because we can exactly quantify both. So the reason Wynton sounds badass playing D on Bbm6 is for other reasons that make him badass. Tone, taste, time, the way he's hearing it, and above all swing. All the stuff they can't put in a book.

    Never mind.

    Anyway, consider this for a sec: the reason why scale noodling sounds like noodling is not because it's scales with notes that clash, but because it's noodling.
    - Why is it noodling? It's because the player isn't really hearing what they are playing. That's what noodling means.
    - How do you fix this? By learning to audiate what you play.
    - How do you do that? Learn music by ear and sing your lines.

    Aha, you say - by learning music by ear you will learn harmony aurally! To which I say - yes, isn't that nice! But you will also learn rhythm, phrasing, melody and vocabulary.

    If you are really hearing your lines in G major, you are less likely to play a clam like E against a Cm chord. OTOH if you do it won't be a clam, because you will have heard it and it will sound good in context.

    But also, you won't really worry about it. And worry is the thing I find is the problem. Because theory gives us things to worry about if we take it in the wrong way. Theory is useful for contextualising things but it cannot drive the music, at least not at the beginner-intermediate level.

    And that's what people who struggle with jazz do - they worry. And often they don't know any songs or solos because they've spent so much time worrying. Their time is shit because they are soooo stressed out and thinking.

    And now people think jazz is theory. Which perpetuates the whole stupid cycle. It's what people expect.



    Sure. Why not start on that now instead of getting involved with all this other drama?
    Yeah this is interesting. Maybe harmony is over emphisized when people talk about jazz improvisation. Melodic sensibilities and phrasing are more important in eliciting emotional response from the listener and keeping their interest.

    I actually wasn't trying to make a case against the horizontal approach. But I think it's unlikely Lester Young would've played his solo on any tune exactly the same way over a different progression (in the same key) despite thinking more horizontally. I'm sure that's not what you are suggesting either. So harmony does inform melodic choices even for horizontal players. Therefore having absorbed the harmony of a tune would give one more melodic freedom. You don't think so?

    I do appreciate you thoughts about de-emphising harmony in improvisation. It's giving me something to chew on. But may be your frustration on the subject is resulting in an over-correction or do you really mean relying on transcribing melodic phrasing as a way of digesting harmony?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-03-2020 at 06:09 PM.