1. #1

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    Hello all,

    This semester I'm writing my Bachelor thesis, which is meant as an academic paper to support a musical product, making up the whole Bachelor Project - in my case, 25 minutes of my own music which I'll record with my band.
    My topic / problem is this, although keep in mind that it sounds more academically sound in its native norwegian:

    "What characterizes the jazz funk / fusion of L. A. in the 1970s, and how can I use this knowledge as a songwriter and as a musician?"

    Here's an old rehearsal clip of a tune I'll include:

    and a cheap midi sketch for one of the new tunes:
    slim jim.mp3 by MarwinMoody | Marwin Moody | Free Listening on SoundCloud

    I'll be looking into a lot of "West Coast" music from the 70s, and I'll be focusing on the composition, improvisation and phrasing, and the sound - in particular, records like Aja, Yellowjackets, Call of the Wild, as well as artists and bands like Robben Ford, Tom Scott, the L.A. Express, Crusaders, Generation Band, and many others. I'll be looking more into the "cooler" cuts, and what makes me perceive them as such, alzo, groove and pocket. The playlist I'll include in my reading list is called "The World's Coolest Dude", if that imagery tells you anything.

    The reason I'm posting here is because a lot of youse were active as musicians and as concert-goers in L.A. in the 70s and early 80s, and have seen some of these now-legendary crews tear it up on stage, in a club, what have you. I've posted about early 'jackets before, and got a few comments from people who used to go to their shows in the 70s at places like Donte's and The Baked Potato. I'd love to hear if any of you have anything to say about anything on the subject, be it milieu, personal stories, opinions, memories, technology and gear, anything goes. Even if you never went, I won't mind any discussion of it here either

    Here's some of the music that has given me the inspiration to choose this topic for my thesis:




    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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  4. #3

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    That is an impressive period. There were such great musicians, and finally the technology to record them properly. I love the sound of those recordings, in fact most of the stuff out of southern California during that period. "Laid back" is the term we used at the time.

    Another person to look at is Joni Mitchell, whose early 70's albums included a lot of the above musicians like Tom Scott. Help Me and Free Man in Paris are 2 good examples...Larry Carlton on electric guitar.

  5. #4

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    In case you need some background, here is a TV documentary from 1972. Reyner Banham, the English architectural theorist, presents his impressions of the city.

  6. #5

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    I enjoyed and was influenced by that music back in the day, it was important stuff for young cats, but a big factor in the creative environment that it originated from was the fact that all these guys were busy studio musicians, and this LA fusion stuff was very commercially oriented or it never would have seen the light of day. Jazz labels weren't marketing that stuff. We ate it up like jazz candy.

    It helped bring a lot of new fans to..er.. jazz, but it also helped to pressure a lot of straight ahead jazz artists to do a lot of stuff they weren't artistically commited to, just to make a buck. This detour really didn't help jazz in the long run, IMO. It ended up being the father of smooth jazz.

    The best stuff was good in it's day, and it held up pretty well.

    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 01-29-2020 at 06:13 AM.

  7. #6

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    I was 12 in 1970 and 21 in 1979 and grew up in the L.A. area near Hollywood. Those years to a large part formed my musical tastes. It was a Lee Ritenour concert sometime in the 70s that completely blew my mind. I saw him a lot. The Captain's Journey, Captain Fingers, and Frendship albums were my favorites. As Cosmic Gumbo said, the scene was made up of L.A. studio musicians. The ES 335 was a favorite guitar.


    More Compositional

    And check Bill Champlin's singing, wow

  8. #7

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    While some of the outfits like Tom Scott's, the Crusader and the Yellowjackets were good, the I think those cats played best behind a singer like Joni Mitchell or a group like Steely Dan. They really benefited from some tight structure, which still allowed them a little room to stretch out. Otherwise there was a tendency for fluff verging on smooth jazz.

    I also think the early 70's stuff was the best. The end of the decade saw a slide toward mediocrity in almost all areas of music.

  9. #8

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    FWIW I think this sounds like a great project, and I'm interested to read a draft or two, and listen to any tracks you want to share. I think you'll easily find a lot of these sounds and musicians in today's music. For example, Carlton, Rit, Tom Scott, and Robben Ford arguably defined much of this idiom and are as influential as ever.