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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Agreed, there are some stumbles, but there's a good shape to the solo, good mix of blues-y licks, arps and 1/8 notes to keep things moving, and the recording sounds really good. That Aria is a great sounding guitar. I strongly agree with what Jeff said upthread about focusing on just playing you for a while, and focusing less on nailing other people's styles. I think that could yield a lot of progress and fun stuff to listen to.

    (snip)

    My one unsolicited comment on some of the takes here is that I find them a little too even and polite sounding. A lot of us come from a blues/rock background and this is a tune that can draw on that because of the boogaloo feel and the relative simplicity of the harmony. The devices we use as blues/rock players -- vibrato, bends, blues/pentatonic licks, dynamics, space/phrasing -- they all work here, so exploit that. I get the sense that some of you are focusing on making the changes, hitting chord tones and getting it "right", at the expense of just going for it with the vocabulary you actually have.
    Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed making that clip and was having fun with the song.

    On the second general remark about more blues/rock, I actually disagree. Our modern music scene is flooded with rock and rock-ish stylings. Almost every tune we've done in this group has featured examples of a more rock oriented style. I actually came into jazz as a kind of flight from rock. I want to make the changes, I want to play a more bop type of style. You pull it off very well, but I think that falling back into the cliches and licks of rock playing, or the "shredding" of fast-for-fast-sake rock scales, will not help us get better as jazz players.

    Just my unsolicited opinion! ;-)

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed making that clip and was having fun with the song.

    On the second general remark about more blues/rock, I actually disagree. Our modern music scene is flooded with rock and rock-ish stylings. Almost every tune we've done in this group has featured examples of a more rock oriented style. I actually came into jazz as a kind of flight from rock. I want to make the changes, I want to play a more bop type of style. You pull it off very well, but I think that falling back into the cliches and licks of rock playing, or the "shredding" of fast-for-fast-sake rock scales, will not help us get better as jazz players.

    Just my unsolicited opinion! ;-)
    Meanwhile, your takes actually embody what I was suggesting people try (i.e., use some of the devices one might use in a blues solo). I wasn't suggesting that people literally just play a rock solo on this tune, play fast for the sake of fast, etc. Putting it a little differently, good improvisation involves covering multiple bases: referencing the harmony and form, phrasing, dynamics, note density, exploiting the instrument's articulation possibilities (e.g., bending and vibrato). This tune is basically all in one key, no difficult harmonic moves, no need for complicated analysis to figure out what notes to play.

    That leaves the field more open to the other elements of musicianship. A lot of us have those elements of musicianship and guitar playing down in simpler genres. This is an opportunity to draw on that because figuring out what notes to play doesn't require as much effort.
    Last edited by John A.; 08-17-2021 at 03:34 PM.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Meanwhile, your takes actually embody what I was suggesting people try (i.e., use some of the devices one might use in a blues solo). I wasn't suggesting that people literally just play a rock solo on this tune, play fast for the sake of fast, etc. Putting it a little differently, good improvisation involves covering multiple bases: referencing the harmony and form, phrasing, dynamics, note density, exploiting the instrument's articulation possibilities (e.g., bending and vibrator). This tune is basically all in one key, no difficult harmonic moves, no need for complicated analysis to figure out what notes to play.

    That leaves the field more open to the other elements of musicianship. A lot of us have those elements of musicianship and guitar playing down in simpler genres. This is an opportunity to draw on that because figuring out what notes to play doesn't require as much effort.
    I see what you mean now. Thanks for the explanation. Actually the thing I dislike about my playing is my tendency to fall back on blues ideas. The reason I've been learning so many rote solos from books by great players is to try to get out of my fixed bag of tricks and internalize some other things. So far... not much transfer on "licks" but I think some other stuff has come over. Others are better equipped to tell on that point.

    I really appreciate your playing and your ability to explain what you're doing without the explanation taking longer than the playing!

  5. #54

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    Well, I could keep quiet but I don't think I will. Speak your truth without fear, someone said.

    Personally, my skills have gone down since I started here. Virtually every single tune has not been what I'd call jazz. The songs may have been recorded by jazz artists bit it's not really jazz. Any bunch of tunes that only demand rock-like pentatonic and blues treatments is a far cry from the subtleties of what I think of as jazz.

    Most of the tunes aren't really guitar-based anyway, they're band stuff, crowd-pleasers. Not an attentive, discerning crowd, but a bunch of cheering foot-tappers out for a good time. It's sort of dumbed-down rock festival stuff.

    I'm still waiting for someone to post a real jazz tune that demands some thinking about. That's the real problem, you know, churning out pent-blues is not learning anything. I've already tried some interesting stuff over the changes to RS but they don't work. Only the pent/blues stuff works. So, yawn, churn it out and kid myself I'm a real jazzer!

    (I expect to be told that if I don't like it, go away, but that completely avoids the issue).

    What's wrong with this? It's attributed to Miles (you can never be quite sure with him) and composed in 1954 (post 1940 per instructions). But wait, all is not lost! It's considered by many to be a blues. Fair compromise.

    JGBE Virtual Jam  (Round 31) - Road Song-solar-jpg

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, I could keep quiet but I don't think I will. Speak your truth without fear, someone said.

    Personally, my skills have gone down since I started here. Virtually every single tune has not been what I'd call jazz. The songs may have been recorded by jazz artists bit it's not really jazz. Any bunch of tunes that only demand rock-like pentatonic and blues treatments is a far cry from the subtleties of what I think of as jazz.

    Most of the tunes aren't really guitar-based anyway, they're band stuff, crowd-pleasers. Not an attentive, discerning crowd, but a bunch of cheering foot-tappers out for a good time. It's sort of dumbed-down rock festival stuff.

    I'm still waiting for someone to post a real jazz tune that demands some thinking about. That's the real problem, you know, churning out pent-blues is not learning anything. I've already tried some interesting stuff over the changes to RS but they don't work. Only the pent/blues stuff works. So, yawn, churn it out and kid myself I'm a real jazzer!

    (I expect to be told that if I don't like it, go away, but that completely avoids the issue).

    What's wrong with this? It's attributed to Miles (you can never be quite sure with him) and composed in 1954 (post 1940 per instructions). But wait, all is not lost! It's considered by many to be a blues. Fair compromise.

    JGBE Virtual Jam  (Round 31) - Road Song-solar-jpg
    Seriously? You can look at the list of tunes we've worked through and say all that? Wow.

  7. #56

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    And I will also say something else. This morning was the worst because the place felt dead. Since posting that last one, I felt energised, cracking jokes to people, and all that. But this morning I felt dead.

    There are some bright people here. I can't be the only one who felt that we were being reduced to a low common denominator of mere enjoyment without a lot of thought.

    I suppose I ought to apologise... but.. who gives a damn.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    And I will also say something else. This morning was the worst because the place felt dead. Since posting that last one, I felt energised, cracking jokes to people, and all that. But this morning I felt dead.

    There are some bright people here. I can't be the only one who felt that we were being reduced to a low common denominator of mere enjoyment without a lot of thought.

    I suppose I ought to apologise... but.. who gives a damn.
    I actually agree with much of what you've said. Most of the tunes from about half-way on to now have been more in the "hard bop" category, which to me was always bop tunes by players who got tired of the chord changes. I could be wrong about the category, but for sure, most of the tunes have not been what I had in mind 'way back when I first suggested this group. I"m not complaining, obviously, I've sat out a bunch of the tunes that weren't to my liking, no hard feelings. I came back on "Road Song" because it's Wes Montgomery and, well, WES. But otherwise, the tunes haven 't been my own particular preferences. I haven't called a tune because I think the caller ought to be willing to work on the tune, or know it already, and for me I don't know these tunes, even this whole category, and so I have basically just played on the ones I liked, and sat out on the others.

    I can't say my chops have suffered; in fact, I've had a lot of fun with "Road Song" spending about 45 minutes every day just jamming on it, working on "my stuff." Not much to write home about there, but I've enjoyed it and my handful of lame licks at least gives me a chance to work on time and groove.

    I have appreciated the conversation about the tunes, even the ones I haven't played. I've listened to most of the takes and been challenged by many of them.

    But the main point you made, that these aren't "jazz" properly so-called, I think I share that feeling, fully recognizing nobody appointed me the Curator of Jazz Authenticity or anything.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    And I will also say something else. This morning was the worst because the place felt dead. Since posting that last one, I felt energised, cracking jokes to people, and all that. But this morning I felt dead.

    There are some bright people here. I can't be the only one who felt that we were being reduced to a low common denominator of mere enjoyment without a lot of thought.

    I suppose I ought to apologise... but.. who gives a damn.
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I actually agree with much of what you've said. Most of the tunes from about half-way on to now have been more in the "hard bop" category, which to me was always bop tunes by players who got tired of the chord changes. I could be wrong about the category, but for sure, most of the tunes have not been what I had in mind 'way back when I first suggested this group. I"m not complaining, obviously, I've sat out a bunch of the tunes that weren't to my liking, no hard feelings. I came back on "Road Song" because it's Wes Montgomery and, well, WES. But otherwise, the tunes haven 't been my own particular preferences. I haven't called a tune because I think the caller ought to be willing to work on the tune, or know it already, and for me I don't know these tunes, even this whole category, and so I have basically just played on the ones I liked, and sat out on the others.

    I can't say my chops have suffered; in fact, I've had a lot of fun with "Road Song" spending about 45 minutes every day just jamming on it, working on "my stuff." Not much to write home about there, but I've enjoyed it and my handful of lame licks at least gives me a chance to work on time and groove.

    I have appreciated the conversation about the tunes, even the ones I haven't played. I've listened to most of the takes and been challenged by many of them.

    But the main point you made, that these aren't "jazz" properly so-called, I think I share that feeling, fully recognizing nobody appointed me the Curator of Jazz Authenticity or anything.
    All I can really say to both of these comments is that you should call tunes. And I mean that completely seriously and non-snarkily. Let's hear what you think is better suited to the endeavor (whatever that is). I actually agree that the list skews somewhat toward the funk/soul/blues side of hard bop. I called RS because I thought it was a happy medium between fun and serious, and a step a little bit back toward changes-based modern Jazz. But there are lots of tunes out there that are more intellectual than many of these, so name a couple. I'm sure Jeff is willing to revise the schedule for calling tunes. But I draw the line at Some Skunk Funk, much as I would love to rear Rags try it.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    All I can really say to both of these comments is that you should call tunes. And I mean that completely seriously and non-snarkily. Let's hear what you think is better suited to the endeavor (whatever that is). I actually agree that the list skews somewhat toward the funk/soul/blues side of hard bop. I called RS because I thought it was a happy medium between fun and serious, and a step a little bit back toward changes-based modern Jazz. But there are lots of tunes out there that are more intellectual than many of these, so name a couple. I'm sure Jeff is willing to revise the schedule for calling tunes. But I draw the line at Some Skunk Funk, much as I would love to rear Rags try it.
    Unlike Rags, while I agree with his assessment, I"m not upset or disappointed about it. I just wasn't expecting such a run of hard-bop, soul/funk type tunes, which just aren't my favorites. I do think I ought to have a handle on these tunes though, if I expect to ever show up at a real jam session.

    I haven't called a tune because I'd end up calling something I can't play, and can't learn in just a week. The stuff I want to learn, and my own life limits, can't be learned in a week.

    No hard feelings on my part, I was just agreeing with Rag's observation, thought i don't share his discontent with it.

  11. #60

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    SO pursuant to the little discussion we've had this evening (Eastern USA time that is) I thought I'd try a whirl of "Road Song" and do my best for one chorus to use no Pentatonic patterns or blues scales/licks. Obviously there are overlaps between Pentatonics and arpeggios and full scales, but this was actually a very helpful exercise.

    I set it up by playing the head up high, and using a bunch of corny blues ideas to embellish the melody... but I promise, after that, I try to keep it no-blues and no Pentatonics... I'm not sure about the outcome, though. I look forward to any reaction short of projectile vomiting.

    The wheels get off the road a little in the last A-section of the improvised chorus and it doesn't even sound "out" it just sounds... wrong... but I finish okay.

    Also: Loving the Fender Princeton Reverb Re-Issue with the 12" speaker. Just sayin'


  12. #61

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    I don’t share the intensity of rag’s sentiment, but I kind of see where he’s coming from. Then again, if it’s not at least winking or hinting at blues in some way, is it really jazz?

    Even the “simplest” tunes we’ve played have given me a workout and I have learned a ton about learning, internalizing, and playing changes in these several months. When we first started out I was drilling changes for several practice sessions at like 70 bpm before recording my takes. In recent weeks I have tended to throw caution to the wind—maybe that’s because the tunes have gotten more bluesy recently—I’m not sure what or how I’d do with a tune like Dolphin Dance now.

    I’ll say this though: if a tune isn’t challenging enough for ya, feel free to reharmonize it or whatever you need to do to make it more interesting and challenging to play. That’s what Charlie Parker did and it seemed to work for him.

  13. #62

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    I finally had some time to listen to several takes.

    Jeff, fun to hear you burn on this one. Nice fast runs and energy, great phrasing as we know you can deliver so well!

    John, I love the wild and loose approach. Nice slurs and legato stuff!

    Triplejazz, I can hear you searching for the good notes and I dig that! Taking chances, improvising!

    Lawson, great tone and I liked the 2nd version with more improv. All sounded good to me!

    Tommo, you have some nice melodic and harmonic stuff happening in a few spots that I didn't hear elsewhere! Nice!

    Wzpgsr, love your tone. You are once again giving me GAS to a get a Charlie Christian type neck pickup. Sound is so good, and nice lines!

    Nice to hear some new people like Peterson, cool take on the acoustic.

  14. #63

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    Jazz isn't a what, its a how...

    I mean, we had complaints about Wayne Shorter and Herbie and Kenny Barron tunes, now complaints about hard bop...not jazz? Yikes. So what is jazz, then? The whole point of this "jam" was to get out of the GASB and play real jam tunes written by jazz artists...im not sure what people want, but im not calling "All the Things You Are" here...thats stepping on the much longer running Practical Standards thread's toes...

    I really did want more people to call tunes. But what we are experiencing now is something that happens at real jams-- folks calling get on a "kick," calling tunes in a similar vein, piggybacking on each other...and we've definitely been experiencing the summer of hard bop.

    So I get maybe folks are tiring of the bluesy stuff a bit...but I'd also say blues is a very integral part of jazz, and if you get into bebop and beyond where players were getting away from standards and such, there's a lot of blues...why? Because jazz is black music. And jazz guitar, as it exists today, is pretty damn white. So I will freely admit, one of my intentions in this jam was to call tunes by black artists and very specifically NOT guitar players, because I think they get glossed over a bit on this whole page, and I think a lot of the "jazz guitar world" is an insular little subset that doesn't really reflect what jazz actually is.

    So yeah...somebody should call Solar soon. Its a good one, and very much a jam session tune, and you can play bluesy on it too

  15. #64

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    The songs for JGBE are perfectly selected and are a kind of challenge for guitarists.
    By the way, Solar has the form of a 12-bar blues.
    Jazz or not jazz?
    It may happen that there may not be 'jazz' in the so-called jazz / ex. Jazz standard /. ... and vice versa, there can be more "jazz" in a properly arranged pop song.
    Everything is in the hands of the performer.
    Jazz is open music and everyone can express themselves in the jazz language.
    Jazz language is the key to playing jazz.
    Is it possible to play jazz without using the jazz language?
    You have to develop your jazz language all the time. Then it will be much easier to overcome the problems of songs on JGBE.
    I think Reg would have the most say on this topic.
    All The Best
    Kris

  16. #65

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    John -

    Some Skunk Funk
    I could do that... but a lot slowlier


  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone

    Very well done, lawson - no blues "cliches" here at all to my ears. Goes to show that you can play a tune like this without sticking to pentatonic cliches.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronstuff
    I finally had some time to listen to several takes.

    Tommo, you have some nice melodic and harmonic stuff happening in a few spots that I didn't hear elsewhere! Nice!
    Thank you very much!

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    So yeah...somebody should call Solar soon. Its a good one, and very much a jam session tune, and you can play bluesy on it too
    Actually it has been my intention to do so when it's my turn next time around so if nobody will call it in the meantime put me on the list for it.

  18. #67

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    I think this is a healthy discussion here. While Rag may be right about the last 7 or so tunes, he’s wrong about the list as a whole. Nica’s Dream, in your own sweet way, along came Betty as examples. The other thing is I personally love how expertly a jazz musician slips in and out of the blues. It’s a drag to hear blues line after blues lines on some tunes but take a song like Dolphin Dance, it doesn’t exactly lend itself to all blues licks but when they pop out at the right time they are delicious.

    I have the next tune. I had a specific tune in mind because it’s one I want to work on and have trouble making sound good. It’s a Duke Ellington song, how do we feel about his reperatoire? I’ll leave it here for everyone, would you like something classic like Duke, or a real challenge, something that gets called at a jam session of real monster players

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple_Jazz
    I have the next tune. I had a specific tune in mind because it’s one I want to work on and have trouble making sound good. It’s a Duke Ellington song, how do we feel about his reperatoire? I’ll leave it here for everyone, would you like something classic like Duke, or a real challenge, something that gets called at a jam session of real monster players
    I love Duke Ellington's music and I have been working on one of his tunes for quite some time to get it really into my system - not a real difficult one but still..I'm curious what your call will be.

    As for jam tunes: I've never been to a jam since there is no such thing as a jazz scene around here so no jams either. I guess that it wouldn't be all less known / challenging tunes that would leave newcomers in the dust but at least a mix with a good amount of well known tunes thrown in.
    Since this is not a group of "monster players" it doesn't make sense to call "Giant Steps" or the like but rather see what everybody would be playing over "Blue Bossa"....

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple_Jazz
    I have the next tune. I had a specific tune in mind because it’s one I want to work on and have trouble making sound good. It’s a Duke Ellington song, how do we feel about his reperatoire? I’ll leave it here for everyone, would you like something classic like Duke, or a real challenge, something that gets called at a jam session of real monster players
    I'm all for Ellington. A bunch of them are regular jam session calls IME.

    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    I love Duke Ellington's music and I have been working on one of his tunes for quite some time to get it really into my system - not a real difficult one but still..I'm curious what your call will be.

    As for jam tunes: I've never been to a jam since there is no such thing as a jazz scene around here so no jams either. I guess that it wouldn't be all less known / challenging tunes that would leave newcomers in the dust but at least a mix with a good amount of well known tunes thrown in.
    Since this is not a group of "monster players" it doesn't make sense to call "Giant Steps" or the like but rather see what everybody would be playing over "Blue Bossa"....
    I actually toyed with calling Giant Steps, but figured it would piss off too many people. It's nowhere near as hard as people think it is to navigate. It's a beast at really fast tempos, but it doesn't have to be played that way and can be quite fun (e.g., the Metheny medium-tempo versions). [cue someone hating on the Metheny versions ...]. But Blue Bossa is cool, too, .

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple_Jazz
    I think this is a healthy discussion here. While Rag may be right about the last 7 or so tunes, he’s wrong about the list as a whole. Nica’s Dream, in your own sweet way, along came Betty as examples. The other thing is I personally love how expertly a jazz musician slips in and out of the blues. It’s a drag to hear blues line after blues lines on some tunes but take a song like Dolphin Dance, it doesn’t exactly lend itself to all blues licks but when they pop out at the right time they are delicious.

    I have the next tune. I had a specific tune in mind because it’s one I want to work on and have trouble making sound good. It’s a Duke Ellington song, how do we feel about his reperatoire? I’ll leave it here for everyone, would you like something classic like Duke, or a real challenge, something that gets called at a jam session of real monster players
    We did a Strayhorn tune. Why not Ellington? I’d hate to see us get into the business of arguing about someone’s pick, or voting on any individual’s pick of the week, dissecting whether a tune is too bluesy or not bluesy enough. The nice thing about the weekly format is that if someone isn’t interested in a tune—for whatever reason—there will be a new tune called seven days later.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I'm all for Ellington. A bunch of them are regular jam session calls IME.



    I actually toyed with calling Giant Steps, but figured it would piss off too many people. It's nowhere near as hard as people think it is to navigate. It's a beast at really fast tempos, but it doesn't have to be played that way and can be quite fun (e.g., the Metheny medium-tempo versions). [cue someone hating on the Metheny versions ...]. But Blue Bossa is cool, too, .
    Hey I have heard that 26-2 is actually a better place to dive in for learning Coltrane harmony. Is that true? I’ve never once jumped into his stuff and was wondering how one might attempt a gentle entry.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    We did a Strayhorn tune. Why not Ellington? I’d hate to see us get into the business of arguing about someone’s pick, or voting on any individual’s pick of the week, dissecting whether a tune is too bluesy or not bluesy enough. The nice thing about the weekly format is that if someone isn’t interested in a tune—for whatever reason—there will be a new tune called seven days later.
    This has been my feeling. The last several tunes haven’t been my preference (except Road Song) but I’ve listened to all the clips and enjoyed hearing how the tunes got handled. When it’s a tune I like or feel I ought to work on, I jump in.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Hey I have heard that 26-2 is actually a better place to dive in for learning Coltrane harmony. Is that true? I’ve never once jumped into his stuff and was wondering how one might attempt a gentle entry.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    26-2 is waaaay harder, in my opinion.

  25. #74

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  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple_Jazz
    . While Rag may be right about the last 7 or so tunes, he’s wrong about the list as a whole.
    I didn't say the whole list. The 'last 7' were quite good enough :-)

    Nica’s Dream, in your own sweet way, along came Betty as examples. The other thing is I personally love how expertly a jazz musician slips in and out of the blues. It’s a drag to hear blues line after blues lines on some tunes but take a song like Dolphin Dance, it doesn’t exactly lend itself to all blues licks but when they pop out at the right time they are delicious
    Absolutely.

    I have the next tune. I had a specific tune in mind because it’s one I want to work on and have trouble making sound good. It’s a Duke Ellington song, how do we feel about his repertoire? I’ll leave it here for everyone, would you like something classic like Duke, or a real challenge, something that gets called at a jam session of real monster players
    Choose the one you feel is right. We know you can do it!

    26-2 we is far too old now for dat stuff