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  1. #1

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    So I have pretty much worked out the fingerings for the second example solo on Rhythm Changes in The Joe Pass Guitar Style. This clip is simply putting the solo out there as I've fingered it, really slow, a couple clams, with the notation scrolling across the top of the screen for those that don't have the book.

    I have a feeling this one, which is actually easier to play than the first one, is going to be much more a matter of articulation and emphasis than even the first one.

    Any observations or advice is welcome.


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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    So I have pretty much worked out the fingerings for the second example solo on Rhythm Changes in The Joe Pass Guitar Style. This clip is simply putting the solo out there as I've fingered it, really slow, a couple clams, with the notation scrolling across the top of the screen for those that don't have the book.

    I have a feeling this one, which is actually easier to play than the first one, is going to be much more a matter of articulation and emphasis than even the first one.

    Any observations or advice is welcome.

    Sounds good. Notes are clearly articulated. I didn't see any problems with the fingerings. Looks like it's mostly sixth position.

    The only nitpicks I have revolve around time feel. The notes are written as even eighths. Sometimes they are to be played as a triplet with the first two notes tied. You're pretty close to that. Some suggest dotted eighth and sixteenth. Others go for even eighths. I think the reality is that it's somewhere between even 8ths and triplets. Exactly where on that spectrum depends on tempo. That means you can't write it down, because the timing changes depending on how fast you count it off.

    To my ear, this would sound good closer to even 8ths. I'd also suggest a slightly strong accent on the first note of each measure and a lesser accent on the 5th note. The idea is to try to get the time feel to be leaning a bit forward if that makes any sense.

    Of course, when you're working on simply getting it under your fingers, it's easy to relegate time-feel to the future. I think, based on having done this badly, that it's best to think about time-feel from the beginning.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Sounds good. Notes are clearly articulated. I didn't see any problems with the fingerings. Looks like it's mostly sixth position.

    The only nitpicks I have revolve around time feel. The notes are written as even eighths. Sometimes they are to be played as a triplet with the first two notes tied. You're pretty close to that. Some suggest dotted eighth and sixteenth. Others go for even eighths. I think the reality is that it's somewhere between even 8ths and triplets. Exactly where on that spectrum depends on tempo. That means you can't write it down, because the timing changes depending on how fast you count it off.

    To my ear, this would sound good closer to even 8ths. I'd also suggest a slightly strong accent on the first note of each measure and a lesser accent on the 5th note. The idea is to try to get the time feel to be leaning a bit forward if that makes any sense.

    Of course, when you're working on simply getting it under your fingers, it's easy to relegate time-feel to the future. I think, based on having done this badly, that it's best to think about time-feel from the beginning.
    I'm totally not doing the time feel on this clip. This was about fingerings and positions only, hence no backing track or metronome. I also do understand how 8th notes are notated and generally how they are to be played in a jazz context. Notes and time are like chicken and egg. I can't think well about articulation and time unless I'm comfortable with the notes. We all got our different approaches I guess! But you are right to spot that on this chorus, the notes, which are not spectacular or exciting (though interesting enough) are not as much the focus as how they are articulated and swung.

  5. #4

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    A good start, Lawson. The next thing is to think about how to articulate the phrases and express a sense of continuity in the lines.

    In bars 6-8 for example, with the exception of one surround note (A), there's a descending scale passage down to B natural that is probably best kept as unbroken as possible with the weak-strong beats lying on each string (they can be expressed as slurs wherever you feel appropriate). Similarly, in bars 17-24 I think it may help to keep the chromatic triplet figures connected to their resolution notes.

    Seeing that we're in lockdown again here in Sydney, I've got a bit of time on my hands this morning so here's a short video to give you an idea:


  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    A good start, Lawson. The next thing is to think about how to articulate the phrases and express a sense of continuity in the lines.

    In bars 6-8 for example, with the exception of one surround note (A), there's a descending scale passage down to B natural that is probably best kept as unbroken as possible with the weak-strong beats lying on each string (they can be expressed as slurs wherever you feel appropriate). Similarly, in bars 17-24 I think it may help to keep the chromatic triplet figures connected to their resolution notes.

    Seeing that we're in lockdown again here in Sydney, I've got a bit of time on my hands this morning so here's a short video to give you an idea:

    Many thanks! And thank you as well for the demo, which I'll be listening to several more times. Right now I'm mainly just getting the notes into muscle memory as it were, but those two sections you highlight are ironically the sections I find easiest to remember and I've thought I ought to take my eye off the page for those passages and try to play it "real."

    Good ideas, thank you.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I'd also suggest a slightly strong accent on the first note of each measure and a lesser accent on the 5th note. The idea is to try to get the time feel to be leaning a bit forward if that makes any sense.
    Not too sure about that, rpjazzguitar. Forward motion comes from resolving into the 'one' not accenting it. It can be viewed at different time-levels: accenting weak>strong eighth-notes, the second half of the bar (i.e. the 5th note) into the next bar, bar 2 & 4 in a sequence of four-bar phrases etc. One of the areas where I'm hearing real growth in Lawson's recent videos is his gravitation towards that principle.

  8. #7

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    So I've more or less learned the notes on this solo and have started playing it with a track. This is really slow, maybe 110 +/-. One really odd and interesting thing about this solo is how Joe set up the beginning and end. It starts on the downbeat of TWO in the first measure, which feels really "off" but the line-shape makes sense when you actually play it with the track. The ending is on the downbeat of ONE in the last measure, and you feel like "Hey, I played to fast and ended a measure too soon" but I've counted all my "ones" in the clip and I play that last note on 32:1. Feels really unsteady and odd, but maybe that's the idea!

    I'm also beginning to try to give it a bit more jazz articulation, but really, just getting the notes right is still my main worry.

    Playing through the Polytone Minibrute II, using the Preamp direct line into the box.

    Observations and advice always taken seriously and appreciated.


  9. #8

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    Nice work, LS! Your playing is really making strides. Your patient concentration is paying dividends.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Not too sure about that, rpjazzguitar. Forward motion comes from resolving into the 'one' not accenting it. It can be viewed at different time-levels: accenting weak>strong eighth-notes, the second half of the bar (i.e. the 5th note) into the next bar, bar 2 & 4 in a sequence of four-bar phrases etc. One of the areas where I'm hearing real growth in Lawson's recent videos is his gravitation towards that principle.
    I've read that too. I think Hal Galper teaches it that way.

    Otoh, when I listen to, say, Tal Farlow, I hear a lot of it accented the way I suggested -- with what I think of as forward motion.

    What am I missing here?


  11. #10

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    So now I have this example solo up to about 130 bpm and it is starting to sound like real music. I also started phrasing with slurs, which I had to do anyhow to get the tempo up. I also recalled a suggestion from Christian Miller to pat my foot on 1 and 3. This helped a lot with other work I was doing, so I've incorporated it into this effort. I also made a change in the time values in Measure 17 to make it sound, IMHO, more "Joe Pass" like.

    Comments and advice are welcome. Sometimes I actually follow advice. Sometimes.


  12. #11

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    So I thought I'd do the solo with the L5ces. Amazing... I'd worked so much on the shorter-scale ES175, adapting to the longer scale of the L5ces turned out to be quite surprisingly challenging. Tempo is 130, amp is DVMark Micro50 head, XLR direct to the box. Sorry the piano on the backing track is a little tinny. I boosted the bass and sibilance of the track to hear the high-hat and bass better, and the result was a flattening of the piano. Fine, flatten all pianos!

    I remain very impressed with how the two Gibsons sound. Both of them are such a pleasure to play. I remember in one of the Aebersold books, there was a list of things a jazz player had to do, minimally, to play well. Near the top of the list was "Learn to get a beautiful tone from your instrument." These guitars make that a lot easier.

    Comment and Advice always accepted, sometimes followed!


  13. #12

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    So I have enjoyed playing with the Aebersold backing track partly because I can cut out the piano. Just hearing the bass and drums really helps me lock in a bit more with the rhythm. So this is also a little faster, 140 bpm.

    Even though this thread has become essentially my private journal, comment and advice are welcome though I reserve the right to be closed minded, hard headed, and stubborn.


  14. #13

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    "...closed minded, hard headed, and stubborn."

    A man after my own heart!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've read that too. I think Hal Galper teaches it that way.

    Otoh, when I listen to, say, Tal Farlow, I hear a lot of it accented the way I suggested -- with what I think of as forward motion.

    What am I missing here?

    I'm a big fan of Tal Farlow for his imagination, melodic unpredictability and harmonic audacity but it's no secret that despite often blistering bursts of speed (impressive enough), time feel was never really one of Tal's strong suits. There's some really nice playing on the gig that you linked but certain later albums (e.g. Trinity recorded with my friend and near neighbour, pianist Mike Nock) find him rushing badly. I suppose that's one definition of forward motion! Maybe if you could point me to examples in the video I'd have a better chance of addressing your question.

    By the way, Tal wasn't alone in that regard. Chuck Wayne and many other bop guitar pioneers struggled to find a consistent rhythmic pocket. For my taste, it wasn't really until Billy Bean arrived on the scene in the late '50s that we find a guitarist with a true command of forward motion; the kind of drive, precision and articulation found in Parker and Powell (although Jimmy Raney's early sides with Stan Getz come pretty close).
    Last edited by PMB; 07-26-2021 at 05:52 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    I'm a big fan of Tal Farlow for his imagination, melodic unpredictability and harmonic audacity but it's no secret that despite often blistering bursts of speed (impressive enough), time feel was never really one of Tal's strong suits. There's some really nice playing on the gig that you linked and but certain later albums (e.g. Trinity recorded with my friend and near neighbour, pianist Mike Nock) find him rushing badly. I suppose that's one definition of forward motion! Maybe if you could point me to examples in the video I'd have a better chance of addressing your question.

    By the way, Tal wasn't alone in that regard. Chuck Wayne and many other bop guitar pioneers struggled to find a consistent rhythmic pocket. For my taste, it wasn't really until Billy Bean arrived on the scene in the late '50s that we find a guitarist with a true command of forward motion; the kind of drive, precision and articulation found in Parker and Powell (although Jimmy Raney's early sides with Stan Getz come pretty close).
    Consider Tal's rapid lines around 3:50 leading to the turnaround. How do you hear the accenting on that?

    What about Warren Nunes? Straight 8ths at a high tempo, accented on the one.



    Chuck (who I heard live back in the day) had a sound which I think can be described as "floaty", as opposed, to, say, Warren's jackhammer approach. I think that it was an artifact of picking style. Chuck used a small teardrop and what is now called an economy or sweep picking. He had his fingerings organized to optimize the picking. Warren used a large pick of his own design (another post) and played with alternate picking, pull-offs and a slide here and there. His fingerings were optimized for his picking style as well, and therefore different than Tal's.

    I hadn't listened to Billy Bean before. I found a couple of live things on youtube, Straight No Chaser, something else and Mr. PC. In the earlier one you can hear strong echoes of CC's phrasing, which is not typical of accenting on 1 and 3. In the later material I hear a mix, including the 1 and 3 accents, but even more where 1 is not emphasized.

    Perhaps you can post a clip of the style you're referring to.

    On another topic ... I haven't heard anyone criticize Tal's or Chuck's time feel before. I guess, as someone with a lot of work to do to achieve great time feel, it's encouraging to know you can reach the top of the profession without it.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 07-26-2021 at 05:54 PM.

  17. #16

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    Chuck and Tal’s are known among players for being a bit rushy, not really pocket guys. I have to say I can hear it too. That can be exciting sometimes, they are real fiery virtuosos.

    I don’t think using Chuck’s technique means you necessary rush; Ben Monder and Pasquale both use that technique and feel more solid to me. (I’m also reminded of Frank Gambale who said it took no time at all to learn to sweep pick, but years to get it in time.)

    But I feel you kind of have to fight the rushing with that sort of approach. Chuck was basically inventing this style of playing too, so there you go.

    But it’s a common problem with guitarists. I certainly know how that goes haha. Economy style is unforgiving in that regard; any string crossing using consecutive picking will tend to rush and you have to be absolutely on it to counteract it.

    Tal Farlow AFAIK used a variant of dwps picking, so there’s an economy aspect to his picking. But there’s plenty of players who use a similar technique who don’t rush including Joe … so…

    Players who have sunk time into pure alternate picking (down beat = downstroke) such often argue that it’s easier to lock in… the more I work on upbeats the more I want to play this way - it’s like strumming- but obviously there are limitations and mechanical difficulties with that. Some of my favourite time feel guitarists seem to me more alternate oriented FWIW. But they basically never play triplets…

  18. #17

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    I also feel like the standard of guitarist time in the metronomic sense has generally improved.

    Which is not to say that the time feel of guys like Charlie Christian, Wes, Grant etc have been improved upon, but rather more guitarists are aware of time feel issues that were evident in some of these classic players and work very hard with a metronome to eliminate them as much as possible… which of course is not the same thing necessarily as actually having that deep human feel thing we all love (which you won’t find on a metronome), but it does mean most modern pro players i hear are very on grid and very rhythmically tidy. It’s just expected in most modern jazz situations, that even, cool articulation.

    We could argue about whether the baby gets thrown out with the bath water; one person’s inaccuracy is another person’s vibe or grease sometimes. But tbh beyond the basics so much depends on who you are playing with and what they like.

  19. #18

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    So now I have this thing up to a hair faster than 150 bpm and I feel more confident with the actual notes. This time I played the ES165 Herb Ellis and the Fender Princeton Reverb Re-issue, using the Bugera PS1 Power Soak for a direct line into the box for recording. I think this has a somewhat more "raw" feel as a result of the recording process.

    A couple clams, of course (this is me, guys). But still, I think I'm getting a better feel on this, but maybe I'm just so used to hearing myself I think it's better than it is.

    Observations and advice are welcome and I do try to take seriously your input, despite pushing back a little from time to time.


  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I also feel like the standard of guitarist time in the metronomic sense has generally improved.

    Which is not to say that the time feel of guys like Charlie Christian, Wes, Grant etc have been improved upon, but rather more guitarists are aware of time feel issues that were evident in some of these classic players and work very hard with a metronome to eliminate them as much as possible… which of course is not the same thing necessarily as actually having that deep human feel thing we all love (which you won’t find on a metronome), but it does mean most modern pro players i hear are very on grid and very rhythmically tidy. It’s just expected in most modern jazz situations, that even, cool articulation.

    We could argue about whether the baby gets thrown out with the bath water; one person’s inaccuracy is another person’s vibe or grease sometimes. But tbh beyond the basics so much depends on who you are playing with and what they like.
    Hey while you're here, I just wanted to say again that your advice to try to pat my foot on 1 and 3 has helped me tremendously in getting the phrases straightened out on these long 8th note lines.

    That's one little tip that has helped me with several of these quicker studies.

  21. #20

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    Wes talked about Tal's "drive" in a complimentary way. I interpret that as praising his time feel.

    I have heard some talk about his sloppiness. From what I've heard that was in his later years.

    On that recording of All of Me with Red Norvo, Tal's time sounds great to me, comping and soloing. I don't hear him as sloppy at all.

    Apparently, there are different viewpoints about that.

    What this discussion started with was the idea that it made sense to be able to accent the first and fifth eighths in a measure of eighths. I hear players I like do that. Tal, Warren, Pat Martino all used it plenty. Even when the line starts on 4&, the accenting may be on 1 and 3.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Wes talked about Tal's "drive" in a complimentary way. I interpret that as praising his time feel.

    I have heard some talk about his sloppiness. From what I've heard that was in his later years.

    On that recording of All of Me with Red Norvo, Tal's time sounds great to me, comping and soloing. I don't hear him as sloppy at all.

    Apparently, there are different viewpoints about that.

    What this discussion started with was the idea that it made sense to be able to accent the first and fifth eighths in a measure of eighths. I hear players I like do that. Tal, Warren, Pat Martino all used it plenty. Even when the line starts on 4&, the accenting may be on 1 and 3.
    Yeah it is all subjective to a point, especially if you don’t take the metronome or grid as the be all and end all. That’s where the ‘feel’ side of time feel comes in…

    In the Tal example you posted I still feel him being a little on top, but certainly not rushing to my ears. So, he can be rushy but that doesn’t mean he always rushed… On top can be ‘exciting drive’ or ‘pushing’ or ‘rushing’ depending on the amount of it and the context.

    (After all, Oscar Peterson was known for accelerating tempos and no one in their right mind would claim he didn’t swing.)

    It depends how it manifests; for me while the downbeats can be placed on top at faster tempos, the placement of the upbeats is key, and for my limited experience, I do find articulation of upbeats at faster tempos to be a key problem in my own playing; I can sing them, but articulating them is harder! I kind of feel it’s the fundamental problem with the plectrum guitar, and perhaps just the price of playing that way.

    Tal would certainly be high in my pantheon of rhythm guitarists - that said RG is a different problem in many ways.

    The Nunes cut was a hit with my daughters haha. Super impressive guitar playing.

    Anyway the 1 and 3 thing? I’ve noticed this, I’m wondering whether it’s a natural tendency for guitarists to ‘square off’ the phrasing at faster tempos because we generally chunk together two beat or one bar modules into longer bop phrases using a downstroke. In this sense it can be an artefact of the main problem of plectrum guitar playing - getting the hands to synchronise. Add to this the problem of upbeats, and you have a tendency to accent the downbeats. This definitely happens to me FWIW.

    Actually the thing that many horn players do is they slur from the and into the beat- the attachment of the pickup into the strong beat to me more represents the ideas Hal is talking about in Forward Motion. Some guitarists do this, more recent players I think, but Wes had to do a fair bit of slurring out of necessity because he played with his thumb, and the way he did it is obviously super swinging.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Wes talked about Tal's "drive" in a complimentary way. I interpret that as praising his time feel.

    I have heard some talk about his sloppiness. From what I've heard that was in his later years.

    On that recording of All of Me with Red Norvo, Tal's time sounds great to me, comping and soloing. I don't hear him as sloppy at all.

    Apparently, there are different viewpoints about that.

    What this discussion started with was the idea that it made sense to be able to accent the first and fifth eighths in a measure of eighths. I hear players I like do that. Tal, Warren, Pat Martino all used it plenty. Even when the line starts on 4&, the accenting may be on 1 and 3.
    Tal plays a typically wild solo on All of Me. I love the spontaneity of his playing and way he gets himself out of corners. On the other hand, while it's 'in time' that doesn't necessary constitute an impressive time feel. They're related but different phenomena in my opinion. I don't hear much 'forward motion' in either that solo or in Warren's for all of its incredibly precise velocity.

    Regarding the latter's clip, it's certainly a feat to handle sixteenth-notes at that tempo so deftly but there's a sameness of articulation and dynamic ('jackhammer'?) that's less apparent in the opening eighth-note section. To come back to my earlier point, the articulation in that first section is the reverse of what you suggested earlier - a slight accent on the '1' with a stronger attack on beat 3, the back end of the bar. The line itself leads itself to those accents with the highest notes of each bar appearing on beat 3.

    As for Billy Bean, the clips you referenced were from the '80s. He still sounds great, despite being an alcoholic for years and barely touching the guitar. Even Bean's early studio recordings often don't show him in full flight. For those, take a listen to the late '50s bootleg recordings with John Pisano and various other rehearsal sessions. Here are a couple of examples:

    "Airegin"
    "Have You Met Miss Jones" (Billy's solo at 3'00"):
    ...and one from his official album with John Pisano, "Makin' It" (Billy takes the first solo):
    I'd be glad to discuss all these things further, rpjazzguitar but maybe via message or a new thread as I feel we're starting to hijack Lawson's video journal.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Tal plays a typically wild solo on All of Me. I love the spontaneity of his playing and way he gets himself out of corners. On the other hand, while it's 'in time' that doesn't necessary constitute an impressive time feel. They're related but different phenomena in my opinion. I don't much hear 'forward motion' in either that solo or in Warren's for all of its incredibly precise velocity.

    Regarding the latter's clip, it's certainly a feat to handle sixteenth-notes at that tempo so deftly but there's a sameness of articulation and dynamic that's less apparent in the opening eighth-note section. To come back to my earlier point, the articulation in that first section is the reverse of what you suggested earlier - a slight accent on the '1' with a stronger attack on beat 3, the back end of the bar. The line itself leads itself to those accents with the highest notes of each bar appearing on beat 3.

    As for Billy Bean, the clips you referenced were from the '80s. He still sounds great, despite being an alcoholic for years and barely touching the guitar. Even Bean's early studio recordings often don't show him in full flight. For those, take a listen to the late '50s bootleg recordings with John Pisano and various other rehearsal sessions. Here are a couple of examples:

    "Airegin"

    "Have You Met Miss Jones" (Billy's solo at 3'00"):

    ...and one from his official album with John Pisano, "Makin' It" (Billy takes the first solo):

    I'd be glad to discuss all these things further, rpjazzguitar but maybe via message or a new thread as I feel we're starting to hijack Lawson's video journal.
    A new thread would be cool. I find I learn a lot from these sorts of discussions.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Yeah it is all subjective to a point, especially if you don’t take the metronome or grid as the be all and end all. That’s where the ‘feel’ side of time feel comes in… .
    A comment on the metronome issue. Some swear by it. Jimmy Bruno, if I understand his comments, said that metronomic time is not good time. Some players who recommend it will admit they never did it. Players I respect and who have incredible time recommend it. One recommended Time Guru and indicated that he practices with up to 50% of the beats dropped out at random. That is not easy!

    I spent some time trying to figure the time thing out while doing a Covid style recording. The story is complicated, but basically, a bunch of people, including a terrific drummer, recorded separately and submitted tracks. We thought the groove was best with the bass on the click and the drums 17ms ahead. Piano and guitar were close to the click but maybe a little more flexible. Just a quartet.

    Generally, it helped to move things closer to the click, except that drum track. When played right on the click the drums felt lifeless. 17ms ahead and they sounded edgy and driving.

    The bassist played a few notes slightly behind, and they sounded better when we moved them right onto the click.

    The other day, I recorded a jam in which a fine horn player played a solo that I thought was great during the session. When listening to the recording later, I thought he was painfully ahead of the beat. Every note he played was early and his strings of 8ths didn't seem to relate well to the bass/drums.

    My inclination is to think that both impressions were right. In the moment, a soloist can take you with him and the time will feel edgy and exciting. The next morning, with the critical faculties awakened, it might sound like bad time.

    So, perhaps one person's edgy, maybe-rushing, is another's idea of great jazz time. Perhaps that's why Mr. Bruno doesn't like metronomic time. The players I think of as having great time all have a propulsive edge, at least on faster tunes. Our own Reg is an example. I don't really understand what he (and others) are doing to sound so propulsive. I can imitate it briefly, but, so far, I've been unable to extract the essence and get it into my playing. Work in progress.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    A comment on the metronome issue. Some swear by it. Jimmy Bruno, if I understand his comments, said that metronomic time is not good time. Some players who recommend it will admit they never did it. Players I respect and who have incredible time recommend it. One recommended Time Guru and indicated that he practices with up to 50% of the beats dropped out at random. That is not easy!
    Yeah this is an interesting one, and I found it very confusing when I first came across this attitude tbh. So many players and teachers recommend practicing with a metronome that it can come as a shock that there is any dissent on the subject. FWIW pretty much all the pro players I know practice with a metronome. Most would also tell you that it’s not the be all and end all.

    The other thing to realise is life is unfair and some people just have naturally great time. Playing with a click may not be important to them, unless they need to learn to record with one. (Oscar Peterson famously complained that the metronome dragged.)

    For me, I would say that my sense of time is markedly better when I am NOT playing the guitar haha. I wonder if that isn’t true for others.

    I also subscribe to the idea that time sense is linked to aspects of physical coordination and balance; the click doesn’t address these things of course. But it’s a big topic.

    I spent some time trying to figure the time thing out while doing a Covid style recording. The story is complicated, but basically, a bunch of people, including a terrific drummer, recorded separately and submitted tracks. We thought the groove was best with the bass on the click and the drums 17ms ahead. Piano and guitar were close to the click but maybe a little more flexible. Just a quartet.

    Generally, it helped to move things closer to the click, except that drum track. When played right on the click the drums felt lifeless. 17ms ahead and they sounded edgy and driving.

    The bassist played a few notes slightly behind, and they sounded better when we moved them right onto the click.

    The other day, I recorded a jam in which a fine horn player played a solo that I thought was great during the session. When listening to the recording later, I thought he was painfully ahead of the beat. Every note he played was early and his strings of 8ths didn't seem to relate well to the bass/drums.

    My inclination is to think that both impressions were right. In the moment, a soloist can take you with him and the time will feel edgy and exciting. The next morning, with the critical faculties awakened, it might sound like bad time.
    Yeah it’s certainly true that what’s the right thing in the studio is often very different to what’s great live playing… and that groove involves micro rhythmic nuance that isn’t quantised to the grid.

    and we’ve all been staring at waveforms for a year. Playing live feels like a wonderful release, a license to take chances again.

    That said, if you aren’t locking, you aren’t locking. You can feel it.

    So, perhaps one person's edgy, maybe-rushing, is another's idea of great jazz time. Perhaps that's why Mr. Bruno doesn't like metronomic time. The players I think of as having great time all have a propulsive edge, at least on faster tunes. Our own Reg is an example. I don't really understand what he (and others) are doing to sound so propulsive. I can imitate it briefly, but, so far, I've been unable to extract the essence and get it into my playing. Work in progress.
    Ok so jazz has never been metronomic. That said, players who practice with a metronome don’t have a metronomic sense of tempo either (although their subdivisions etc may be very on grid) because they are not machines. Beat placement is a separate issue. If you are not defining the space between the beats, you aren’t projecting a sense of tempo.

    Some players do a better job of that than others, and some tend to lean on the rhythm section more, or the click, so may be draggy Another tendency is to overdo it …

    A lot of feel comes from accentuation and negative space; the way that notes are terminated and the gaps between them. Listen to Wes for instance. But it’s not something that I think needs to be analysed so much. Playing phrases along with the record is one time honoured way to develop feel, and of course playing live with great players.

    The way I square the circle theoretically is that working with a metronome is not actually about developing a metronomic sense of time but about learning to synchronise, and keep pulse awareness while playing.

    Guitarists are notorious for poor time, but also most have no rhythmic independence skills. So I think there’s a link here. If you dance or drum, or play the piano, this will be less the case.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 07-27-2021 at 06:44 AM.