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  1. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    That is not what I read.
    I said it:

    'Repeating licks is imitative, not creative. A person depending on licks is a prisoner to them. The structure of licks may demonstrate the language but depending on licks is a fool's game.'

    Being dependent on licks? Whatever that is, it is not something that goes together with accomplished playing. It's for beginners. So pretty much an open door.
    Exactly, not accomplished playing.

    I've looked at a thousand licks, I've got books on them, lots. I've played most of them. But it's a strange thing that they never stuck. At best, after all that, I can probably remember only one or two. And I think I use only one of them!

    I got the feel for this by listening a lot and by playing tunes. You hear that a lot here: play tunes. You have to work out what to do with the chords, in context. As Graham was saying. But sitting going through set licks? It's imitative, not creative.

    The best thing, maybe the only thing, is an all-round understanding of the music. That includes everything, scales, modes, theory, subs, reharming, phrasing, all the rest of it, even licks. And not theoretically either, by doing.

    But, as I said, I'm not against licks. If people want to play licks, that's fine. But you get stuck in them, that's the point. One has to get beyond them.

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  3. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    You did say that starting with licks is the wrong thing to do. I disagree with that.

    But the whole aim is to learn and develop beyond the point of just churning them out. Anyone who doesn’t try to do that is missing the point.
    I know, but although I've looked at a zillion licks, as I said, it's funny how they don't stay. So I never started by playing licks thinking I was really playing properly; I knew I wasn't. I only looked at them and moved on. 'This is not the way' I told myself.

    It's like a guru, isn't it?

  4. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I said it:

    'Repeating licks is imitative, not creative. A person depending on licks is a prisoner to them. The structure of licks may demonstrate the language but depending on licks is a fool's game.'



    Exactly, not accomplished playing.

    I've looked at a thousand licks, I've got books on them, lots. I've played most of them. But it's a strange thing that they never stuck. At best, after all that, I can probably remember only one or two. And I think I use only one of them!

    I got the feel for this by listening a lot and by playing tunes. You hear that a lot here: play tunes. You have to work out what to do with the chords, in context. As Graham was saying. But sitting going through set licks? It's imitative, not creative.

    The best thing, maybe the only thing, is an all-round understanding of the music. That includes everything, scales, modes, theory, subs, reharming, phrasing, all the rest of it.

    But, as I said, I'm not against licks. If people want to play licks, that's fine. But you get stuck in them, that's the point. One has to get beyond them.
    Ragman,
    Maybe your English is better than my Polish...but tell me what do you pracitse/I mean jazz/?
    Do you want be better than Miles Davis?

  5. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    But, as I said, I'm not against licks. If people want to play licks, that's fine. But you get stuck in them, that's the point. One has to get beyond them.
    That is the entire point, going beyond them. Licks are only fragments of language or "vocabulary" that you can use as building blocks to create complete sentences in the jazz language.

    What I miss in student level playing is invariably the lack of "real" jazz content. You get people noodling in a diatonic style over changes (fluently or not) which is not "wrong" per sé but simply is NOT the language that is spoken by the masters. It's a poor approximation at best. Like a 3 year old speaking. You see and hear that kind of playing all over the place. It's simply a lack of vocabulary.

    The point is, real jazz content can be found in licks and complete solos by the masters. Not scales or theory.

    DB

  6. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper

    The point is, real jazz content can be found in licks and complete solos by the masters. Not scales or theory.
    Absolutely, it can, but one's still back to imitation. Copying isn't learning. I'm not saying one doesn't learn anything by imitation, one does, but I'm wondering if it really gives any insight into the music.

    You know that old thing: 'Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for life'.

    If someone asks 'How do I play over a ii-V-I?' and I say 'Like this' and give him, say, a couple of licks, what will he do? Imitate them - all two of them. But if he understands how to end a phrase according to the tune, in context, in accordance with what's gone before, then he'll never need a set lick.

    Does that make sense?

  7. #131

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Absolutely, it can, but one's still back to imitation. Copying isn't learning. I'm not saying one doesn't learn anything by imitation, one does, but I'm wondering if it really gives any insight into the music.

    You know that old thing: 'Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for life'.

    If someone asks 'How do I play over a ii-V-I?' and I say 'Like this' and give him, say, a couple of licks, what will he do? Imitate them - all two of them. But if he understands how to end a phrase according to the tune, in context, in accordance with what's gone before, then he'll never need a set lick. Does that make sense?
    Insight ... do you need insight? I take it by insight you mean chord scale theory? For, what else is it? Playing is behavior. Not necessarily knowledge. Suppose you tell somebody to play Dorian, Mixolydian and Ionian over a II V I. He will sound like shit even when he understands the scales and so thus has the insight. But the point is, no real jazz man is playing that lame scales sequence over a II V I. You learn him a Joe Pass lick and it is real music. And you may even explain to him that Joe is avoiding the I and playing altered/melodic over the II. The advantage is that you go out from a real playing example. Not some artificial scales construct that nobody in his right jazz mind ever plays over the II V I. You can't speak or type jazz music. You have to go to the real sounds.

    Theory is a set of grammatical rules of a language. Interesting for teachers yes. Maybe interesting for non native speakers of the jazz language even. But you should focus on the sounds first.

    I am convinced you can even forego the after the fact analysis and learn by imitation only. We have a shitload of gypsy jazz players over here that do not even know the names of the chords they are playing.

    So insight is ok with me if it is based on real playing examples (licks and solos)

    DB
    Last edited by Dutchbopper; 02-05-2021 at 10:47 AM.

  8. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    If someone asks 'How do I play over a ii-V-I?' and I say 'Like this' and give him, say, a couple of licks, what will he do? Imitate them - all two of them. But if he understands how to end a phrase according to the tune, in context, in accordance with what's gone before, then he'll never need a set lick.
    My point was that by learning phrases off records by ear, you are getting all of that musical context and information as well as the vocabulary. Of course you need to understand some musical structure and theory as well, you don’t learn this stuff in a musical vacuum.

    But this is just getting back into the same tedious discussions we’ve had before around these subjects. The simplest answer is to judge any methods by their results. Anyone can listen to all our respective clips or videos, they can make their own mind up from that.

  9. #133

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    If you want to play jazz convincingly, it has to be the music you hear in your head. I have no idea how you could do it without a ton of listening and hearing and singing licks and lines.

  10. #134

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    Ragman you are wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #135

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    If you are talented or not taleted first you have to get a cookie to eat it.

  12. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    If you want to play jazz convincingly, it has to be the music you hear in your head. I have no idea how you could do it without a ton of listening and hearing and singing licks and lines.
    Good point. Lennie Tristano was a great exponent of the ideal of ‘pure’ improvisation, yet I believe a key part of his teaching was that he made his students learn to sing Charlie Parker solos by ear until they were note-perfect.

  13. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    But this is just getting back into the same tedious discussions we’ve had before around these subjects. The simplest answer is to judge any methods by their results. Anyone can listen to all our respective clips or videos, they can make their own mind up from that.
    Quite so. The clips never lie.

    Please do not take this the wrong way, but ... from the clips in the JGBE virtual jams I can so easily hear who is (trying to) speak(ing) the language and who is noodling diatonic style without actually speaking the language of jazz. For some it is logical because they are beginners. For others a different approach based on applying licks and learning solos might help.

    DB

  14. #138

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    All great improvisers-they had their masters before.

  15. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    I take it by insight you mean chord scale theory?
    No, I did NOT mean that! Good lord. I meant how, after a long time of playing, trying, experimenting, and all the rest of it, things begin to fall into place. It's not something one can easily convey in words either, it has to be happen, and it happens gradually and unconsciously. One can never say 'I've got there'. There's no end to learning.

  16. #140

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    Speaking of mindlessly playing licks and scales... last night as I was finishing work, hadn't played all day, I decided to just take two choruses and record it, just to see what came out. Actually I wasn't totally disappointed.

    Always open to thoughtful observations and advice.


  17. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    Quite so. The clips never lie.

    Please do not take this the wrong way, but ... from the clips in the JGBE virtual jams I can so easily hear who is (trying to) speak(ing) the language and who is noodling diatonic style without actually speaking the language of jazz. For some it is logical because they are beginners. For others a different approach based on applying licks and learning solos might help.

    DB
    Great post!

  18. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    My point was that by learning phrases off records by ear, you are getting all of that musical context and information as well as the vocabulary. Of course you need to understand some musical structure and theory as well, you don’t learn this stuff in a musical vacuum.

    But this is just getting back into the same tedious discussions we’ve had before around these subjects. The simplest answer is to judge any methods by their results. Anyone can listen to all our respective clips or videos, they can make their own mind up from that.
    On the authority of "the clips" I'd say you and DB have given us many good lessons on this music. My own rudimentary playing hardly qualifies me to pronounce, but I know I have made the most progress when I've combined learning solid lines and phrases from masters (like Raney or Bird) with experimenting on my own. Learning "lines and licks" forces me to fingerings and ideas that I just don't think of on my own. The problem with "just playing the music that's inside" is that sometimes there just isn't very much inside, or what's inside isn't that great. We need to expand "what's inside" and I think learning the lines and phrases of masters is central to that.

    Like I said, I have no authority, except that of someone who has taken baby steps, and I know the difference between taking a step and falling on my face.

  19. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    No, I did NOT mean that! Good lord. I meant how, after a long time of playing, trying, experimenting, and all the rest of it, things begin to fall into place. It's not something one can easily convey in words either, it has to be happen, and it happens gradually and unconsciously. One can never say 'I've got there'. There's no end to learning.
    Has that happened for you?

    I agree that there is no end to learning. Still, if it takes you 40 years to play a decent jazz solo, I'd say you are not studying the right things.

    DB

  20. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    On the authority of "the clips" I'd say you and DB have given us many good lessons on this music. My own rudimentary playing hardly qualifies me to pronounce, but I know I have made the most progress when I've combined learning solid lines and phrases from masters (like Raney or Bird) with experimenting on my own. Learning "lines and licks" forces me to fingerings and ideas that I just don't think of on my own. The problem with "just playing the music that's inside" is that sometimes there just isn't very much inside, or what's inside isn't that great. We need to expand "what's inside" and I think learning the lines and phrases of masters is central to that.Like I said, I have no authority, except that of someone who has taken baby steps, and I know the difference between taking a step and falling on my face.
    You are to be recommended for your honesty and I respect you for that. I like what you did with the Raney solos. A lot!

    DB

  21. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    Has that happened for you?
    I say slowly, gradually, unconsciously, there's no end to it, and you say 'Has it happened?'. Like I said, someone who says 'I've got it' has not; it's endless.

    I agree that there is no end to learning. Still, if it takes you 40 years to play a decent jazz solo, I'd say you are not studying the right things.
    Can't disagree with that. Or they just lack the flair, of course.

  22. #146

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Speaking of mindlessly playing licks and scales... last night as I was finishing work, hadn't played all day, I decided to just take two choruses and record it, just to see what came out. Actually I wasn't totally disappointed.

    Always open to thoughtful observations and advice.

    Best one yet. Natural, energetic, unforced, and it got better as it went on. And it had feeling. I put it on again

  23. #147

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    The problem with "just playing the music that's inside" is that sometimes there just isn't very much inside, or what's inside isn't that great. We need to expand "what's inside" and I think learning the lines and phrases of masters is central to that.
    .
    Do you spend much time singing lines without an instrument?

  24. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Do you spend much time singing lines without an instrument?
    Yes, especially if whistling counts. I don't do it in a formalized way, but I hum and whistle a lot and usually a tune I'm working on is in the back of my mind. I find since I've worked through more solos of great players, I actually do this more.

  25. #149

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    I think Mr. Ragman definitely has a philosophical approach to the art of improvisation.
    I recommend playing more and less talking.
    Jazzingly
    Kris

  26. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    I think Mr. Ragman definitely has a philosophical approach to the art of improvisation.
    I recommend playing more and less talking.
    Jazzingly
    Kris
    So... you have mainly talking posts, and one playing clip. Why not play more and talk less?