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  1. #1

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    Man, my brief forays into playing with other Jazz musicians has me concerned. Finding musicians that want to play the style you want to play, the way you want to play it, at at the level of complexity you desire does not seem to be an easy thing.

    I have four friends that are gigging musicians (each with over 30 years of experience) and their many stories illustrate to me how special it is when you can find bandmates that share your musical views as well as life views, because it is just not an easy thing.

    Please share any thoughts you might have on this subject.

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  3. #2

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    It's all in networking. One gig or session begets others. You find who you're compatible with and who you're not. And often it's not just music. It's personality. Or it's a bass player who is irresponsible, late, gets drunk or loaded where I find it's just not compatible with me. Other guys might find him as a soulmate.

  4. #3

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    Hoo boy, that's a big topic. Lately I've addressing this topic a lot myself and for my students. A few thoughts though, as Henry points out, there're a lot of reasons to play with others and a lot of reasons not to. It's chemistry.
    And also philosophy. I had the good fortune to ask some questions about space and silence to a few seasoned players (among them Herbie Hancock and Dave Tronzo) and even a simple attitude difference of how MUCH to play, how much to leave out can define a player's music. Put that in a group setting and it can be beautiful, energetic, or disastrous. Being buried by someone else's playing is not uncommon. But it may also be a reason not to put yourself in that situation again.
    There may be something specific you want to get out of a particular situation- ex: working on rhythm vocabulary, responding to the awareness of others, dealing with your frustration, sharing your desires for a different direction... and that in itself may be a cause for satisfaction.
    Other times you may feel you got nothing out of it. You got steamrolled. Or you lose touch with the you that you know. That's common too.

    That may not even be your biggest issue. For all situations though, I think there's a different thing to be learned from the size of the group you're working with. Duo and trio are challenging because there's not so many places to hide, but you can learn an awful lot. Drummer changes a lot. Remember too, that you change your entire dynamic by when and where you lay out.

    Now if the issue is just finding people to play with, look for jams, or open mic situations, strike up friendships and work in more intimate situations. You have a craigslist music ad space where you live? You're from Texas I see. Austin? You have a teacher? If you find a teacher, you'll have access to other students who might want to get together. Sometimes exposure to other students can be the most valuable thing you get from lessons.
    When you go out to see music, ask the people at your table if they play. Good way to find people. But know tunes and be ready so if you find someone worth while to play with, you'll have something to offer and you'll be ready to move to the next level. That means you're in a better position to listen to them too.

    Good luck
    David
    Last edited by TH; 05-06-2014 at 12:18 AM.

  5. #4

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    AlsoRan> It's more about what it is you're looking for within realities . . . . than it is about what you'll find. If you're seeking the kind of compatibility you referenced, well . . good luck with that!! Like many of us here in the forum, you seem to be more of a developing jazz guitarist than an accomplished one. As such, just finding other jazz musicians willing to tolerate your level of playing is a difficult search. We can start being choosy about who we play with when we can hang with anyone in any setting. Until that time, I would suggest that you sit in with anyone who doesn't throw you off the bandstand.

    But, even when you do reach that fully accomplished level of skills, experience and proficiency . . . don't expect the most harmonious and compatible relationships within any project you become a part of. It does and can happen. But, when it does, it's a rarity.

    Anyway . . that's my take on the matter. Others may feel differently.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  6. #5

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    Anybody else ever fantasize about a 'virtual café' for musicians, where you could collaborate online in real time (or at least with acceptable latency)? Wouldn't it be cool if you could plug your guitar in via USB and play with others on jazz tunes, commensurate with your skill level? Imagine if we could do it here - online jam sessions with access to lead sheets and percussion tracks. Man, that would be fun.

    I Googled such a query and got a few links to some 'on-line Jam Sessions' sites that have similar goals. Cool idea.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    Anybody else ever fantasize about a 'virtual café' for musicians, where you could collaborate online in real time (or at least with acceptable latency)? Wouldn't it be cool if you could plug your guitar in via USB and play with others on jazz tunes, commensurate with your skill level? Imagine if we could do it here - online jam sessions with access to lead sheets and percussion tracks. Man, that would be fun.

    I Googled such a query and got a few links to some 'on-line Jam Sessions' sites that have similar goals. Cool idea.

    There was a commercial with a similar scenario - Guys jamming with each other throught the internet. I was going to say it could be the wave of the future, but the future may already be here with this subject.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    There was a commercial with a similar scenario - Guys jamming with each other throught the internet. I was going to say it could be the wave of the future, but the future may already be here with this subject.
    I think the problem with jamming live there can be absolutely zero latency otherwise, well you can imagine. There's bound to be networking latency so you'll never get a truly "in synch" session. Maybe if you had a small LAN it might work but then you'd be in such close proximity you may as well jam together.

  9. #8

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    The best advice I can give you is that if you don't "feel it" with certain people, just move on. Keep networking and practicing and eventually you'll find compatible musicians to play with. I might have irritated or inadvertently insulted some people when I decided to stop jamming with them, but I have zero regrets because I went on to meet some great players to jam with and they are the type of players that have helped me get better...rather than hold me back like some of the people I walked away from.

    For me personally, it's less about someone's current skill and more about (a) attitude and (b) whether they practice the types of things that will lead to real musical development.
    Last edited by coolvinny; 05-05-2014 at 01:38 PM.

  10. #9

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    I think jamming live online is cool but ultimately a terrible idea. But you know, it's coming because it's time has come.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by loudneighbor View Post
    I think the problem with jamming live there can be absolutely zero latency otherwise, well you can imagine. There's bound to be networking latency so you'll never get a truly "in synch" session. Maybe if you had a small LAN it might work but then you'd be in such close proximity you may as well jam together.
    Check this site out. I think this might be more of a reality than we would think.

    eJAMMING AUDiiO ? The Collaborative Network for Musicians Creating Together Online in Real Time

  12. #11

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    A few years ago I used ejamming with another guitarist and was surprised how well it worked, the latency was tolerable, at least to me. It was just a duo and we were about 30 miles apart.

    i would think with four musicians from all over the world with distances like 8,000 miles... That is a big difference than what I was doing. With distances like that, even at the theoretical max, the speed of light, there would be quite a bit of latency.

    Maybe with wormholes....
    Last edited by fep; 05-05-2014 at 01:42 PM.
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  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Check this site out. I think this might be more of a reality than we would think.

    eJAMMING AUDiiO ? The Collaborative Network for Musicians Creating Together Online in Real Time
    Hey, where there is a market there will be players. I hope online jamming will be latency free and awesome for those who use it. Of course it's not ideal, but better than nothing for those whom just can't get together with other folks. I also wonder how well this works with 3 or 4 guys.

    I just much prefer playing with folks in the same room. Better sound dynamics at the very least.

  14. #13

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    I know we're going a little off topic but it's an interesting idea.

    i don't know that you could create "magic" with virtual jamming, but.....Our bass player lives 55miles away. The drummer, 30 miles. When we rehearse it's an all day affair. How cool would it be to be able to rehearse and go over tunes like a conference call.

    I picture a large studio with giant flat screens and everybody skyped in and.... Well it could actually work well enough for rehearsal...

    as as for finding musicians, it's about networking, meeting people getting out. And you have to be willing to not be desperate and settle. And possibly face rejection too. Everybody wants to play with those similar in ability or a little better. But personality can be a big factor.

  15. #14

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    Hey Also Ran yes it is incredibly difficult maybe impossible to find "compatible" band mates on that "soul mate" level. I have for myself found it good to have a few strict boundaries when relating with other musicians in gig/band situations...no cocaine, no heroin, no alcoholics, no bigots, no sexists. In some ways, I am sure by following these boundaries I have missed out on quite a few parties where "connections" were there to be made however I don't regret the lack of drama in my life. I also think it is very important to make room for everyone's personality especially as it comes out through the music.Good luck finding guys that you like and want to play with!!!!

  16. #15

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    That's not my problem. My problem is finding anyone who plays jazz. My area of the state is "jazzless".

  17. #16

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    Here's my issue with online jamming -- and I said, it's cool. A great idea. BUT more and more musicians are becoming cubicle musicians. I think music has always, until very recently, been a social aesthetic. You play WITH real time live musicians you can see and touch FOR real live people who are listening in real time.

    I just think it's going in the wrong direction of encouraging more and more people to be more and more introverted; away from the anxiety of sharing playing music face to face with other musicians, in favor of hiding and not being forced to learn by rubbing against the possible ire and love of players.

    The home studio has really brought this cubicle musician thing to the fore. I really don't think I would have learned half as much if I just played by myself with my little DAW.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwmol View Post
    That's not my problem. My problem is finding anyone who plays jazz. My area of the state is "jazzless".
    Move north!! Lots of good players in Salt Lake.

  19. #18

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    Great subject Alsoran,
    If you want to improve, it's great to play with people who are somewhat better than you. You don't want to be completely in over your head and struggling/failing, but it's good to have the bar set a bit higher than you can currently "jump". You shouldn't bullshit and waste some one's time that you know is on a much higher level either. I'd suggest if you will, being "90% honest" about your abilities. Be honest and confident in what you really do bring to the table. Playing in just this scenario will quickly make obvious what you need to improve and provide plenty of incentive to get there. I think that is where the quickest improvement can be made, and I've found many musicians will be willing to contribute to getting you up to that new higher level if they hear that you are close, and getting closer every time you get together. Many years ago when I played bass, a guitarist I'd played with a few times brought me to a jam. There were some good players, at least one sax that teaches now at Berklee. I probable did get 90% of the job done, but all my ears could hear was the other 10% of course. When we were packing up I thought "now I'm gonna hear a mouthful, or worse, they won't say anything at all". The silence was deafening (to me anyway) when the really good sax said " you're coming back next week, right" (helps to be a bassist)? Two or three months later I was on a different level.

  20. #19

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    Not that I did not play with people previously, completely and relatively, unknown to me, but it never ended well.
    I don't say it did not work musicaly, while playing, but in social aspect it always sucked big deal. Always I found out it's much better to play with bunch of friends, on whatever level of musicianship they were, getting accustomed to each other in style and goals, than pursuing some strict idea. Even when we can't get along any more as a band, we can still hang out as friends.

    On the othe other hand, it gave some great musical experiences, playing with "musicians".

    So, if your goal is to be pro, session musician, you should forget about compatibility, and play whatever with whomever.
    If you just want to play for fun, you should forget about ideas and quality, try to have that fun from the begining of the sentence.

    If you have some big idea, be sure to have enough resources to finance it.
    Last edited by Vladan; 05-08-2014 at 02:33 AM.
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  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Move north!! Lots of good players in Salt Lake.
    The weather and air quality keep me away.

  22. #21

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    I live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and found the guys I play with in my band through a local jazz workshop that meets weekly. The workshop has been running continuously- albeit at times very sparsely attended- since the 70s and many of the local jazzers got their start there. I started a blog (see link below) and started running a weekly ad in the musicians section of Craigslist; response was immediate and we went from 2-4 people a week to 8-12 people a week within a month. There are people out there, in most every town, who want to get together and play jazz.

    Not every community has one of these but many if not most communities could. The Minneapolis Jazz Workshop has been affiliated with the park district, getting a practice space (and equipment storage) for free. Many park districts would love to have something like this going on, those buildings exist for a reason and are often underutilized. The upside for getting one of these together is to have a venue for meeting other aspiring jazz musicians. Starting one could be a good tool for finding a band plus providing an opportunity to be in a jam setting on a regular basis.

    At the Minneapolis workshop I met my band's trumpet, sax and bass players. I could tell from the first time I played with them that there was a connection in terms of skill level and how we hear music, as well as compatible personalities. We got our drummer via Craigslist and again at the audition he clicked with us.

    The workshop:

    mplsjazzworkshop.blogspot.com

    Our band:

    Optimum Trajectory Jazz Quintet

  23. #22

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    Cool sound of your band, Cunamara.
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