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  1. #51

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    I did study flamenco for a couple of years, went to Spain, have about 1000 cds. Still play a bit. The guitar in it, to me, comes third after the singing and the dancing. I only studied compass, aka rhythmic playing. It is the one music that has fascinated me the most, after gospel music and jazz. Eventually I gave up because not having a good fingerstyle background, I could play stuff, but nothing sounded good to me. So I went into classical to improve my technique. But both flamenco and classical studies very clearly showed me the choice thing. I'd spend a few days occasionally playing classical 6 hours a day, and the connection with the instrument would rise, only to fade again when I would go back to 1 or 2 hours.

    How is excellence defined in any genre? By people dedicating their entire lives, 24/7, at it. So that's the only way to go after that. Of course with players doing their own thing (or some extremely talented and dedicated), you see them doing different styles and genres, but even there, because of the way the market works, they focus on one thing.

    Guitar is even worse, because it's many instruments. Electric, hollowbody, acoustic, classical, flamenco. Different techniques, whereas a saxophonist still plays the same instrument in classical and jazz.

    I think learning a new idiom is comparable (in difficulty) to learning a new instrument, that's how difficult and important learning the music is.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I met more than a few guitarists on GJ scene who proudly told me they don't play or interested in anything other than Django and GJ. I hear some challenge in the voice when they proclaim it, like anyone who does otherwise is a bit inferior. Good guys, very dedicated players, aspiring to be good in one particular style, but I can't be like that.
    I can't help but feel Django would have thought this attitude utterly risible. Now he was an eclectic... Technique from banjo, rhythm from gypsy and bar musette, language from Louis, guitar from an Italian classical guitarist turned maker, harmony from Debussy and Ravel. Later, bebop..

    That said, there's nothing wrong with being a dedicated imitator when you are in you early 20s, say. It's a good thing in fact. Later on, it's like - grow up.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I can't help but feel Django would have thought this attitude utterly risible. Now he was an eclectic... Technique from banjo, rhythm from gypsy and bar musette, language from Louis, guitar from an Italian classical guitarist turned maker, harmony from Debussy and Ravel. Later, bebop..

    That said, there's nothing wrong with being a dedicated imitator when you are in you early 20s, say. It's a good thing in fact. Later on, it's like - grow up.
    Interestig that I also thought that Django must have seemed like a mess of everything: American music, European cabaret/variete', and even calssical salon music, jewish music, gipsy gutar idioms etc

    When I put Django to my friend - classical musician who does not know jazz - he said: sounds like Jascha Heifetz!

  5. #54

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    Today's mad eclectic fusion music mashup is tomorrow's purist style.

    See also - New Orleans.

    I can dig the Heifitz thing - I always felt Django sounded like a fiddle.

  6. #55

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    I also thought that this purism partly comes from the idea that out mentality is much science-stipulated.
    (I personally think that there are three more or less essential way of seeing the world: artistic, religious and scientific .. and today in general scientific dominates in everyday life: how people make their 'beliefs or not', how they make conclusions etc.)...

    And scientism influemced much arts too...

    I know a guy who is a brilliant musicisn and expert in medieval music - this is a rare case, he attracted my attention first as a performer (he playes citole) and then I found out that he is a remarkable researcher - very solid within scientific model or historic research. He is a very good writer and lecturer too. And of cours ehe know the history very well (and especially British history - his main passion - together with Aston Villa)

    He has two project - one that performs medieval music - another makes covers of different rock groups in medieval style (mostly it is prog-rock that reflects his interests of youth). the second project is as well eleborated as the first. Yes it is intended to attract audience more but it is very authentic, an dI also noticed that - though the idea in genral is not close to me, and the music of progrock never really interested me - I still enjoy his covers.

    But the important point is I still think he is quite a strong purist (in a good sense maybe)- -- I will explain why... once we talked about music and I mentioned some renaissance conception - an dhe immidiately said: renaissance is not my specialization.
    Another moment was when I sent him a picture of medieval citole player form Venetian Doge's Palace (he collects them) - he answered: Venice is out of the reach of my interests.

    That is the thing which is strange to me... I admire and envy people who manage to stay within one area... I love so many things and try to dig deep an dalways feel I am at the edge of a loss (buy maybe a great loss? Like Faulkner used to say)...
    there is always some mysterious flow in my activities which I believe guides me wherever I go - and I cannot restrict it with deliberat limitation or statement (

    why not look at the early Renaissance - it is the next door from the late Medieval - the question is what are you looking for... this is what is crucial I believe... what is that that you are after...?

    And in that sense the scientific metality in my opinion brings in a mess and false objects..

  7. #56
    again we seem to come to teh point of original and imitation... natural expression and pretensions...

    Conceptions are ok but it requires complex and elaborated language like in classical or in modern jazz... otherwise it turns into pretensions
    I'm not sure if I'm interpreting this statement correctly - you seem to only allow revolutionary change requiring a complex statement of its values and approaches rather than the iterative change that takes place over time. Every style has its development and at every point I'm sure the old aficionados would baulk and object - In blues, delta, country, gospel, electric, Chicago, white middle class dentist. In jazz Ragtime, Louis, Trad., swing, bebop, cool, Ornette etc etc (these are not official styles...).

    You're right about nuevo flamenco, though Paco (who is dead) is generally deemed to have a good grasp of the traditional stuff as well. He envigorated flamenco for the 21st century market but it's not for me. It's a more trivialised exposition to me which again comes down to the notion of playing an instrument rather than creating an experience driven by a collective endeavour of guitar, singer, dancer, palmas etc. The social construct is pretty strong.

  8. #57

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    Being a guitarist in the US and trying to cover what is considered American roots music means anything from New Orleans ragtime to bluegrass to folk to rockabilly to blues to western swing to Americana, rhythm & blues to swing to jazz to zydeco to cajun to tex-mex to ............it doesn't end. Roots rock, NOLA funk, country western....

    The passion and big link to it all is the....guitar. It's been a mainstay in almost all American roots music, and the longer you play this stuff, the more connected it all becomes, but.....they are all unique in their own way, so they certainly qualify as different styles.

    I find that it is not uncommon with older US guitarists to be skilled to play much of this eclectic mix of styles, because it's the music of our culture.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I can dig the Heifitz thing - I always felt Django sounded like a fiddle.
    Didn't he play the fiddle first ?

    I might have made this up but I think I remember Martin Taylor saying Stefan Grappelli would play the piano if one was on stage while Django played his (SG's)) violin...

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by dot75
    Didn't he play the fiddle first ?

    I might have made this up but I think I remember Martin Taylor saying Stefan Grappelli would play the piano if one was on stage while Django played his (SG's)) violin...
    Heifetz was jew - and though he belonged to the family that was educated in classical musical tradition - he grew up in Vilnius (Eastern Jerusalem) the center of ashkenazi culture, he was definitely influenced by klezmer playing if not directly then spiritually (the sprit breaths where it will?) ...

    I think it also concerns Benny Goodman and Arti Shaw - their clarinets have jewish roots to me even if they did not play jewish music ever.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly
    I'm not sure if I'm interpreting this statement correctly - you seem to only allow revolutionary change requiring a complex statement of its values and approaches rather than the iterative change that takes place over time. Every style has its development and at every point I'm sure the old aficionados would baulk and object - In blues, delta, country, gospel, electric, Chicago, white middle class dentist. In jazz Ragtime, Louis, Trad., swing, bebop, cool, Ornette etc etc (these are not official styles...).
    Not really - I do not have strong conviction here... I think in historical conception there can be very different views. Alexey Losev - one of the greatest art historian ever - considered every style as transitional.

    Revolutionary is a bit strong word... my perception comes from teh strong feeling of personality in art.
    Every person is unique, being true to oneself is the only way to be oroginal, but why one seems original to me and aniother seems imitator - I cannot always say...
    So the style at the end of it all for me can be reduced to personality... if I dig deeper in Handel's music (as I did some time before) I begin to see his style as very distinct and so on... but conventionally I understand that he belongs to baroque -- and in details I can identify Italian French and German baroque in his music, I can hear secular and church music and so on and so (it goes already more into the genre area maybe)...
    But probably his personal style is what attracts me. I believe that his Rinaldo lives, becasue I believe that Handel really lives...


    As for complexity... classical music gives great tool for expressing very complex thing.

    there are great blues players but you cannot express with blues what can be made by Mozartian opera or Bach's passions or Handel's Rinaldo... it overcomes everything.


    it is like a nice, very authentic and simple house and a Gothic cathedral....

    Cultivation is the sign of high art. and I believe there is such thing as The High Art.

    I am not snobbish as it may seem... not at all. But this how I feel and percieve things... I cannot treat comples things simpler becasue in their complexity for me there is their essence (and for me it may be not that complex actually)

    I just realize I see life, world, truth, beauty as complex and subtle (not heavy and perplexed - complexity is sophistication and light here) and I see the tools of expressin this complexity and subtlety.

  12. #61
    Jkniff26 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Being a guitarist in the US and trying to cover what is considered American roots music means anything from New Orleans ragtime to bluegrass to folk to rockabilly to blues to western swing to Americana, rhythm & blues to swing to jazz to zydeco to cajun to tex-mex to ............it doesn't end. Roots rock, NOLA funk, country western....

    The passion and big link to it all is the....guitar. It's been a mainstay in almost all American roots music, and the longer you play this stuff, the more connected it all becomes, but.....they are all unique in their own way, so they certainly qualify as different styles.

    I find that it is not uncommon with older US guitarists to be skilled to play much of this eclectic mix of styles, because it's the music of our culture.
    My man . Exactly. I mean I guess we are all just simpleton dummies in the world view , but the music heritage wow!!! for me Hank Williams , Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson, Ralph Stanley , The Carter Family, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding , Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry , Little Richard, Duke Ellington, Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Nat King Cole , Elvis, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Carole King, Van Halen, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Parker , Chris Stapleton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin.... sorry it goes on for ever but there is a bit of southern gospel and blues in all those people . As a listener or a guy who wants to pick some tunes with a friend or alone ,it all just goes logically together without thinking about genres or arbitrary rules or music critics. F them and the horsie they rode in on.

    sorry for the nationalism, thanks to the Brits for the Beatles and tons of great music, and man I love all things Russian so ya all rock in my book.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I also thought that this purism partly comes from the idea that out mentality is much science-stipulated.
    (I personally think that there are three more or less essential way of seeing the world: artistic, religious and scientific .. and today in general scientific dominates in everyday life: how people make their 'beliefs or not', how they make conclusions etc.)...

    And scientism influemced much arts too...

    I know a guy who is a brilliant musicisn and expert in medieval music - this is a rare case, he attracted my attention first as a performer (he playes citole) and then I found out that he is a remarkable researcher - very solid within scientific model or historic research. He is a very good writer and lecturer too. And of cours ehe know the history very well (and especially British history - his main passion - together with Aston Villa)

    He has two project - one that performs medieval music - another makes covers of different rock groups in medieval style (mostly it is prog-rock that reflects his interests of youth). the second project is as well eleborated as the first. Yes it is intended to attract audience more but it is very authentic, an dI also noticed that - though the idea in genral is not close to me, and the music of progrock never really interested me - I still enjoy his covers.

    But the important point is I still think he is quite a strong purist (in a good sense maybe)- -- I will explain why... once we talked about music and I mentioned some renaissance conception - an dhe immidiately said: renaissance is not my specialization.
    Another moment was when I sent him a picture of medieval citole player form Venetian Doge's Palace (he collects them) - he answered: Venice is out of the reach of my interests.

    That is the thing which is strange to me... I admire and envy people who manage to stay within one area... I love so many things and try to dig deep an dalways feel I am at the edge of a loss (buy maybe a great loss? Like Faulkner used to say)...
    there is always some mysterious flow in my activities which I believe guides me wherever I go - and I cannot restrict it with deliberat limitation or statement (

    why not look at the early Renaissance - it is the next door from the late Medieval - the question is what are you looking for... this is what is crucial I believe... what is that that you are after...?

    And in that sense the scientific metality in my opinion brings in a mess and false objects..
    Yep. For example, what Stravinsky thought about Charlie Christian is of interest to me (he singled him out as a favourite.)

    Most scholars of Stravinsky would not care.

    so we miss a little bit of the man and his art?

    just had to sit through the most tedious lecture. ‘This is what is wrong with classical music education culture’ - could have told you that ten years ago. Seriously, that took x years of someone’s life to realise?

    classical musicians stuck in their own world even when they critique their world. Fantastically frustrating and they DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOLD by an outsider. I have experience of classical and non classical worlds. But they are learning the hard way.

    how many of these people have experience outside of that world? On what experiential basis do they form their conclusions? Bugger all most likely.

    And that’s never really a part of this sort argumentation. 'academic rigour'.

    but that’s true of all specialisms, not having a go at classical in particular.

    But artists - always seem broader. Find ways of making connections... Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto is not in any way jazz, but it's a fascinating thing that wouldn't have existed without jazz.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-15-2020 at 08:46 AM.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I like to think of my approach as syncretic.

    If "syncretic" means "swiping everything I can get my fingers around.
    Interesting word choice. I think I've only seen it used in connection with religion, but it might be a good alternative to eclectic in the arts.

    John

  15. #64
    I think I've only seen it used in connection with religion, but it might be a good alternative to eclectic in the arts.
    Yeah, I first came upon the term 'syncretic' in Nara in Japan, in a description of Buddhism arriving from Korea and mixing with Shintoism. The result seems to be a version (one, nb) of Buddhism that has a seriously management-heavy layer of buddhas at the top.

    Jonah - I really like your posts! Are you an intellectual? I am sure your answer will be wonderfully European - 'No I don't think so' or 'Yes, I suppose I am'.

  16. #65
    they DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOLD by an outsider.
    Just make them take 16 bars of Moment's Notice, or say where '1' is in a son montuno played by Cubans.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Interesting word choice. I think I've only seen it used in connection with religion, but it might be a good alternative to eclectic in the arts.

    John
    But jazz is a religion, is it not? Beliefs about it seem to be held with an at least quasi-religious fervor.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly
    Just make them take 16 bars of Moment's Notice, or say where '1' is in a son montuno played by Cubans.
    This isn’t a pissing contest. I can’t sight read symphony.

    im taking about sociology really.

  19. #68

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    It's interesting to avoid a thread due to opinion, but to eventually read it through and find such a rich discussion; the best the internet has to offer.

    Hugo, welcome.

    Christian, holy shit man you are resourceful.

    Jonah, you are heavy by how you write - I can only imagine what you have devoted to music.

    And all others. Thanks

    To answer the question. I couldn't when I was young; now: passion?

    Spend it when you find it.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    But jazz is a religion, is it not? Beliefs about it seem to be held with an at least quasi-religious fervor.
    People do like to turn everything into tribalism and purity tests. You know, that's the problem with humanity: people.

    John

  21. #70

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    onah - I really like your posts! Are you an intellectual? I am sure your answer will be wonderfully European - 'No I don't think so' or 'Yes, I suppose I am'.

    I will answer like Isaak B. Singer








  22. #71
    I will answer like Isaak B. Singer

  23. #72
    Thanks.

    To answer the question. I couldn't when I was young; now: passion?
    Yep. But it can be replaced by 'increasing equanimity' which has its place :-)

  24. #73

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    Great question, and one I've wrestled with in more than one way over the years. I've never come up with a permanent, black and white answer. It's worse if you play more than one instrument than just different genres.

    I've come to the general conclusion, though, that unless you're a top-level pro (or aspire to be one) and your "brand" relies on it, it really doesn't matter. Just learn to play well enough that it's enjoyable and you don't feel limited or frustrated. If you DO want to get to a better level, well, you'll have to practice more and something else will have to slip. And that has to be OK, or you'll always feel tormented that you're not working hard enough, or you've wasted your energy on the other thing.

    Jazz guitar is what I'm best at, but I also play trumpet. Rationally, it makes sense for me to quit trumpet (and I have, for weeks, months, even years) and focus on guitar. But passion keeps me coming back. Some days i play trumpet and don't have time or energy for guitar.

    With guitar, years ago I was in a rut and felt like jazz was a dead end, and couldn't stand the idea of playing All the Things You Are again, etc. For a few years, I worked on more acoustic stuff, fingerstyle blues, Merle Travis' style, etc., learning more, simpler tunes, and fingerpicking,etc. that expanded my repertoire. And i even played some 3 chord classic rock with some retiree's garage band.

    I eventually got bored with that and came back to jazz, digging in deeper than before, playing more chord melody, swing, and rock tunes, and less bebop. But the stuff I detoured on made me a more versatile, experienced player.

    It's ok to try other things, the path doesn't have to be linear.

  25. #74
    It's ok to try other things, the path doesn't have to be linear.
    That's nice, I agree.

    It is a matter of time, but I am also discovering that discipline, in terms of making time to do the other thing, actually is helpful, in that it is a pleasure to do the (other) thing you love.

  26. #75

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    Paco de Lucía certainly played flamenco contemporáneo; I'm not sure that nu flamenco would be the best way of rendering that into English. If you're familiar with the term palos (bulerías, fandangos, soleás etc etc), great, if not ....

    Someone here saying Paco "could play flamenco"? Right, good to know.

    Vicente Amigo, anyone?