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  1. #1

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    This is an excerpt from an interview of Jack Wilkins by Jake D Feinberg. He's talking primarily about John McLaughlin. And he's referring to something I've talked about here. A bone of contention regarding phrasing. I thought it was interesting.

    "(John) McLaughlin's time feel was different from anything I've heard before. It was somewhat baffling, his phrasing was left handed for me. Instead of putting the beat on one and three, he would always put it on one and a half or four and a half. I was fascinated with it in a way.

    AlDimeola also has that off time feel. I've transcribed some McLaughlin and some Dimeola just to know what it was. It's never been my favorite kind of playing, it was too jagged for me. It didn't swing hard enough although I must say their time feel is absurdly great. Like I said, the beat falls in the weirdest places. A lot of jazz musicians can't listen to that because it's not on the beat, it can't connect with the tune, especially if you're playing standard tunes. When they play standard tunes I say, "whoa, that is so not cool."

    I feel the same way about Keith Jarrett, as much of a genius as he is, his standard tune playing is another thing that's just a bit off, Pat Matheny too, for that matter."


















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  3. #2

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    Interesting observation. While I respect all four of the players mentioned, I have never connected with any of them in a big way. I always assumed it was because their note choices did not scratch my musical itch. Perhaps it is their different conception of time?

    Over the years, I have noticed that I click best with players whose time feel is close to my own. There are some great players that I have played with, but could not lock with.

  4. #3

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    Jack is amazing but I can't agree with his assessment of Metheny or Jarrett, and I wonder what work of theirs he's really referencing. I can't imagine listening to the American Quartet or "Rejoicing" and thinking anything is "off" about anyone's time feel on that.

    I've loved John McLaughlin since I was a kid, and I do agree with Jack: I can't listen to that record with jones/defrancesco, straight ahead swing is just not McLaughlin's thing at all.

  5. #4

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    The McLaughlin interview is quite interesting.....George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Jerry Garcia????? Shakti and Black Sabbath????
    The John McLaughlin Interview Set III | Jake Feinberg Show
    Last edited by Eric Rowland; 05-08-2017 at 07:24 PM.

  6. #5

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    I can agree with the assessment that the way Metheny plays "standard jazz," and Jarrett, but to a somewhat lesser but still very noticeable degree, is very different. It's not old school swinging...I disagree with Jack because I happen to like the way they do things too, but I can see if your ears are expecting one thing...

  7. #6

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    McLaughlin has always been one of my favorites. I see some of his playing as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. He is so forceful at it that the eventual grinding of them together will make for a fit. I also find it interesting when he tries to be bluesy. I would imagine that a lot of blues players would say that he can't play the blues, but unlike a lot of players that closely emulate other blues players, McLaughlin leaves a lot of himself in it. In some ways it seems more genuine to me, but I am sure that straight 8 or 12 bar blues is not his preference because (from what I have seen) I am describing live performances.

  8. #7

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    Yeah. I always loved JM too. Jarrett and Metheny as well. I see what he's saying. It's taken me a while to adjust to both of their standard playing. I LOVE the way KJ plays standards for the most part, but I think his observation about the phrasing is interesting. I know a lot of jazz musicians who just can't stand it.

    But I HATE the way JM plays standards or bop. To my mind he can't do it. The phrasing is all off, for me.

  9. #8

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    Don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing...

  10. #9

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    I saw Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin with one of the incarnations of Mahavishnu Orchestra when both bands toured together. Beck was the headliner and as expected at the end of his show McLaughlin comes out and jams with Beck on two or three tunes. It was really interesting hearing together both great, but Beck just had more groove and soul. Then last jam they switched roles for part of the jam, Jeff playing a million notes like McLaughlin and McLaughlin laying back and rocking more. Jeff not only could play the McLaughlin million note style he gave it a groove and soul John didn't when he played it. McLaughlin had the notes and such to play Beck style, but like Henry talks about it didn't quite lay right.

    I saw the Mahavishnu Orchestra another time where they were the headliner and I don't remember who opened for them. Seeing McLaughlin by himself you don't pickup on the on what I'll call it touch of stiffness to his feel, only when a with a feel play like Beck was it noticeable.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    ...Seeing McLaughlin by himself you don't pickup on the on what I'll call it touch of stiffness to his feel...
    I think that he prefers playing his own music even when he is playing someone else's. That's JM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    Jeff not only could play the McLaughlin million note style he gave it a groove and soul John didn't when he played it..
    Well, your bias became very obvious and even risible in this part. I've seen them both many times and Beck is awesome but not even remotely capable of playing in the "McLaughlin" blazing style and Beck himself calls McLaughlin the greatest guitarist on earth all the time.

    John knows so much about rhythm and he makes conscious and informed choices about his rhythms. That it is not most straight ahead players' preference is not surprising but just go read what Dennis Chambers, Tony Williams, Chick Corea, Zakir Hussein, Gary Husband etc have to say about John's rhythmic sophistication.

    Guys as different as John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner had McLaughlin cover bands in the 70s and ironically, the same Jack Wilkins also tried to do a fusion version himself if anyone remembers Alien Army and let's just say it didn't exactly spawn hordes of imitators.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tribalfusion
    Well, your bias became very obvious and even risible in this part. I've seen them both many times and Beck is awesome but not even remotely capable of playing in the "McLaughlin" blazing style and Beck himself calls McLaughlin the greatest guitarist on earth all the time.

    John knows so much about rhythm and he makes conscious and informed choices about his rhythms. That it is not most straight ahead players' preference is not surprising but just go read what Dennis Chambers, Tony Williams, Chick Corea, Zakir Hussein, Gary Husband etc have to say about John's rhythmic sophistication.

    Guys as different as John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner had McLaughlin cover bands in the 70s and ironically, the same Jack Wilkins also tried to do a fusion version himself if anyone remembers Alien Army and let's just say it didn't exactly spawn hordes of imitators.
    I would use the word preference instead of bias, but a fan of both guitarist since the 70's.

    I also feel rhythmic sophistication and groove, swing use term you like don't alway go hand in hand.

    So we have different preferences and opinions and that's a good thing.

  14. #13

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    I realize that McLaughlin is a gifted musician who has worked very hard for the proficiency he has on the instrument but I have never connected emotionally to his music. Perhaps his years of playing Indian music have affected the way he perceives the beat that's at odds with traditional swinging?

  15. #14

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    There's a Gary Burton interview out there on the web, where he talks about 2 occasions he got asked to perform with the Bill Evans Trio (both were festival gigs IIRC) and Burton states he just couldn't find a groove on either occasion. It was only years later when he was seated next to Evan's drummer on a flight that the drummer told him that everyone who ever sat in with the Evans trio had the same problem.

    TBH, I wouldn't be in the slightest bit surprised that Jack Wilkins would be non-plussed by JM's rhythmic phrasing. Personally, I'm pretty sure some of the players mentioned above in this thread actually don't actually like Bebop ( or bop vocabulary or phrasing) for whatever artistic reason, and consequently the boppers feel the same way about them.

  16. #15

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    by the time that mclaughlin was actively recording in the usa, he was already completely involved in the music of india..completely different rhythm structure..of course he sounds different!..thats what he was going for!!!

    george harrison as well..very distinctive slide style, as opposed to open tuning blues and rock guys

    ravi shankar played monterey pop festival & woodstock!...opened up a lot of musicians to "alternative" (hah) music


    cheers

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    I realize that McLaughlin is a gifted musician who has worked very hard for the proficiency he has on the instrument but I have never connected emotionally to his music. Perhaps his years of playing Indian music have affected the way he perceives the beat that's at odds with traditional swinging?
    One thing to realize about McLaughlin is that he is as much about getting the others that are playing with him to stretch out and respond to his playing as he is about his own playing. And he doesn't want to compact or compress it down as to leave out any idiosyncrasies. Beck takes a more refined and direct approach IMHO. Beck also leaves less space for others. I dig them both. Where Beck would write a paragraph on a topic, McLaughlin would write a page. Neither would leave out the point, however.
    Last edited by lammie200; 05-08-2017 at 06:08 PM.

  18. #17

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    I've never been able to listen to most of those mentioned for very long. Maybe it's the time feel, maybe something else, I've never really spent any time analyzing it, because I just don't like listening to them. Wilkins, OTOH, I do like, always have.

  19. #18

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    On the album "my goals beyond" john plays "goodbye pork pie hat" ..to me he played it "on time" also when he was on the "tonight show/Carson" he played "Cherokee" with the band..at a nice brisk tempo - on a nylon string guitar..and smoked it..I am sure in his journey he has studied and played standards in time..and yes he can do a 12 bar without resorting to a million notes per bar..

    my view of why he doesn't..he doesn't want/have too..in the early time of "fusion".. Mahavishnu was the template..johns' compositions, direction and execution by each musician and the collective made many musicians pay attention to this "new" genre .. johns playing influenced many guitarists and musicians in general..

    I agree his playing is not for everyone..as was Holdsworths'..did it break rules..Im sure it did and still does..and I hope musicians continue to do so .. now some don't consider what john plays "jazz" .. fine..perhaps the term has limits..it shouldn't given its birthright..its the form of music that breaks away from the molds of "you cant do that" .. yep its going to have some rough edges and twists in its wiring and from there new channels will be defined..

    I venture frequently into the path less taken and have to step back to see/hear what it looks/sounds like..and try not to label it

  20. #19

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    Well McLaughlin has great time. It's not that he doesn't. I'm talking about the way he phrases. I find most guitar players, especially post JM, have a phrasing issue. Picking. Strong vs weak beats. And yeah, most of those guys probably don't like bop. Fine. No problem there. But I find bop as one of the primary hallmarks of jazz. If you can't swing or bop you got to go back to the basics. Or not. I'm just pointing it out.

    And no I don't think JM nailed Cherokee at all. I mean he played it and he sounded good. Great. But his phrasing wasn't what I thought was all that. He sounded like JM. The highest compliment a musician can aspire to is to be recognizable. So I'm not putting him down. I greatly admire him. He was one of the most influential guitarists for me. It was interesting hearing his take on Cherokee. But it just didn't do it for me. I'd MUCH rather hear Clifford Brown or Cannonball play it. Now THAT SHIT is right. It swings. That tune is SUPPOSED to swing fast. JM just played it fast. Almost straight 8ths, which is how he plays. He doesn't turn the corners on the chords.

    Compare those guys to our alternate picking speedster guitar hero's. It's not that they're playing out of time. They're nailing the time. It just sounds the same. Maybe dynamics but articulation tends to be samey. Like a speed saw. No rhythm in that. Not time. Rhythm.


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  21. #20

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    When I was starting to learn the guitar, everyone was talking about how great McLaughlin is, or AlDimiola for that matter. When I listened to those guys, I was just intimidated by their technique, and not once I felt like I wanna listen to the music itself again. But publicly I was saying 'yes, fantastic guitarist, totally, the best, I will practice to sound like that for sure', afraid to admit that I didn't like it all that much really... Because I'd be called an idiot by those guitar bullies.

    Well, that was another time, another geographical location, but now, all these years later, I still don't dig JM, and I'm not afraid to say it anymore! I know what I like now, and how I like it. I like groove oriented players, those who swing hard, no matter what style. Rhythm, groove, swing- those are key words! JM may have the fastest right hand, or harmonic sophistication(??), or he might have traveled to India more than anyone else... But Rhythm, Groove, Swing are not the words that come up with his name.

    Sorry, but actually not sorry, haha!

  22. #21

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    That's a good term for them, 'guitar bullies'...

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    I realize that McLaughlin is a gifted musician who has worked very hard for the proficiency he has on the instrument but I have never connected emotionally to his music. Perhaps his years of playing Indian music have affected the way he perceives the beat that's at odds with traditional swinging?
    I was going to mention this also.
    As a teen I also saw Jeff Beck and McLaughlin and I remember wondering what Beck was going to Play...
    And surprisingly he came out and played the entire Blow by Blow album - which either had not been released or not distributed widely yet.

    Beck was very focused and Pro -
    I also as some of you have never connected with McLaughlin's Music even Mahavishnu although some of the Acoustic Stuff is interesting..

    Ironically- he seems to have more of a Groove in Shakti and if you let go of Western Time as a Listener- he is in the Pocket there.

    Other than the speed factor and - "we have to learn to play this fast now ?" Factor I also never connected with DiMeola other than taking 40 years to catch up (lol) but playing wider Intervals and different Rhythms interests me much more- and I am much more knocked out by Benson than either of those two.

    I like to listen to McLaughlin's views of Music - and he had a Video about Fluency recently - I'll Post if I can find it- and although he is using mostly Scales - not much' Vertical' Playing mixed in-
    I remember thinking his Time Feel and relaxed Technique sounds more ' conventional' in this Video.

    You have to FAST FORWARD the Video to hear him play against the Rhythm Track with Chords not just the Metronome- it is a more conventional swing than JM normally has - not Benson - but not the Fusion Mode JM either.



    He says he is very Flamenco Influenced as was/ is Di Meola and they Both have very little Blues or ' 'Urban' Time Feel .
    JM probably by choice .

    I assume as highly Professional Musicians - they Both could have Sat in with Earth Wind and Fire or James Brown and gotten it right- but they may have benefitted from it if they did it for 6 Months-
    Edit- I would benefit from hearing McLaughlin playing Rhythm Guitar ( and Polyrhythmic Guitar, expanded voicings etc.) over R&B a LOT more than JM would - lol.

    Or maybe NOT - because obviously my biases and preferences are leaking in here- they DiMeola and JM may be very Flamenco Influenced and that may influence their Time Feel- although ideally you could change hats and alter your Time Feel for the Style- that's easier said than done.

    I mentioned on another Thread that Metheny - who I have not heard much other than years ago when I listened to some Jazz Radio- really is amazingly devoid of Blues Clichès - probably by design and creativity- I was actually surprised at how well he Plays ... and he is very creative and Melodic and Lyrical even on Blues...so you don't get the Raw but Sophisticated Benson thing...but Pat created a Style...and a Great Writer.

    Seems like McLaughlin either Naturally or Intentionally avoids the Urban Time Feel and raw Blue Notes ..
    Where Metheny does also by Creativity and possibly choice and Metheny has a more 'conventional' time feel and seems to have drastically improved his chops since he first emerged - unless I just never really heard him Play early on...

    Aha! - Here's the Video where McLaughlin Plays and Swings more Conventionally - and when I heard it I wondered why he did not Play this way and then throw in some Polyrhythms here and there- push the time a little ( swing Harder )/ stretch the Time a little ( lag phrasing) etc. etc. meaning work from Inside to outside Time Wise instead of being unconventional mostly.



    That said - he kicks ass in Shakti but it's Indian Time feel .

    >Also - he does some really cool stuff in this little Instructional Video probably not even trying to but he sounds better than about 90% of the Smooth Jazz Guitar Tunes - ( and I really like some of the Smooth Jazz Guys like Norman Brown - but I wish they would play to their ability and rough up the Grooves- so I very very rarely listen to smooth Jazz ).

    There are some very cool McLaughlin Moments on his instructional Video though and he's responding to the Basic Backing Track- but still 'lighting it up 'sometimes because he's so good/great and like I ssid , relaxed more conventional Time Feel.

    Still - when I heard his ' Instruction Video' or stumbled upon it - I wondered why he didn't use THIS Time Feel as his Base ...then leave and come back to it..(even within a single Tune) but He is one of the more Famous and successful Guitarists - so what am I really asking for here ?

    McLaughlin probably (wild guess) decided to be somewhat 'different' and a 'Trailblazer' rather than 'fit in' and that's what he has done.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-20-2017 at 06:26 AM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa
    ...I assume as highly professional musicians - they both could have sat in with Earth Wind and Fire or James Brown and gotten it right- but they may have benefited from it if they did it for 6 months-

    Or maybe NOT...
    Here is the square peg in the round hole:


  25. #24

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    Damn Costello's so flat ( below target pitch )....
    it's like he's Tone Deaf- ever work with anyone in the Studio where you need 30 takes for each line ?

    Disclaimer- Costello is more like a Songwriter who sings a bit than a Singer/ Songwriter-
    Maybe like Leonard Cohen ...or Randy Newman type...but re: this Performance - not retracting what I said above.


    OK - McLaughlin sounds not horrible Rhythmically - but he's got some unresolved chromatic tones ( is it a b9 ? ) where they don't belong and needs a cleaner Tone not completely undynamic...

    But he maybe didn't Rehearse..more than one run through...probably Rusty...
    But yeah - I get it...
    Thinking if he even jammed on the Tune for 5 minutes( before Performance ) - probably would have been much better or great ...

    Also Virtuoso Solos kind of don't belong with this Music- unless you are a Master of sneaking the Phrases in...like Brecker could...

    Give JM credit for being willing to Play with these Guys..no fear...lol.

    It's a really odd pairing.

    Playing some cool fills on Acoustic and a pretty Solo with James Taylor..might work...

    Or maybe on Acoustic with Costello would have been better.
    Bang out some chords and solo on the low strings..

    OK - I don't want to ruin my Kharma any more than this..
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-10-2017 at 11:35 AM.

  26. #25

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    I heard this early McLaughlin album a few years ago and was very surprised. he's much more grounded in bebop than I had realized.


  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    ...he's much more grounded in bebop than I had realized...
    I think the blues as well. But I don't think that he ever wanted to mimic it. I respect that about him.

  28. #27

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    My favorite McLaughlin records are Que Alegria and the live album with similar trio (Kai Eckhart replaces Dominique DiPiazza). McLaughlin's music is unique, his technique is astonishing, and his music can be frighteningly intense and achingly beautiful. In terms of peaks and valleys, his music has everything. I also love Shakti, and the friday night in san francisco for pure athletic joy.

    all that said, I've just never enjoyed hearing McLaughlin playing anything swing related, and I don't think he sounds good on cherokee at all. what he's playing has nothing to do with the rest of the band.

  29. #28

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    Yes. I have mostly only heard Metheny years ago on Jazz Radio ..for example

    And hearing this recently I was surprised that he can
    Play this well...

    And I notice that his Playing is remarkably free from
    Blues Clichès - and he actually has more interesting unique things to explore...very Lyrical and Melodic etc. and free...I can hear why he is so highly regarded...seems like he improved his technique a lot since he first emerged...but maybe I am too unfamiliar with all of his Material...I always thought 'James' was
    Brilliant - an Instrumental as Memorable and Melodic as a Beatles Tune -

    A few Santana Instrumentals are like that too...

    Anyway - JM may consciously avoid Blues Clichès -
    .

    Metheny sounds like he has too much to say Musically to play them..at first he sounds ' Blues Lite'
    but then I realize he's too brilliant to use most Blues Clichès or maybe avoids them purposely ...

    Pat's a Happy sounding Improviser- kind of Rare in that way...
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-10-2017 at 11:37 AM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing...
    'If you don't feel the Groove- don't play the Tune.'

    Robert K Scorpio

    Can I be famous now ?
    Oh I forgot I have to either Play or Write Something Great first...

    That quote is something I wrote for myself..actually.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-10-2017 at 10:30 AM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Well McLaughlin has great time. It's not that he doesn't. I'm talking about the way he phrases. I find most guitar players, especially post JM, have a phrasing issue. Picking. Strong vs weak beats. And yeah, most of those guys probably don't like bop. Fine. No problem there. But I find bop as one of the primary hallmarks of jazz. If you can't swing or bop you got to go back to the basics. Or not. I'm just pointing it out.

    And no I don't think JM nailed Cherokee at all. I mean he played it and he sounded good. Great. But his phrasing wasn't what I thought was all that. He sounded like JM. The highest compliment a musician can aspire to is to be recognizable. So I'm not putting him down. I greatly admire him. He was one of the most influential guitarists for me. It was interesting hearing his take on Cherokee. But it just didn't do it for me. I'd MUCH rather hear Clifford Brown or Cannonball play it. Now THAT SHIT is right. It swings. That tune is SUPPOSED to swing fast. JM just played it fast. Almost straight 8ths, which is how he plays. He doesn't turn the corners on the chords.

    Compare those guys to our alternate picking speedster guitar hero's. It's not that they're playing out of time. They're nailing the time. It just sounds the same. Maybe dynamics but articulation tends to be samey. Like a speed saw. No rhythm in that. Not time. Rhythm.


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    Yeah ...my favorite ( that I know of )' Time Players' in
    Jazz are Brecker and Benson- they are so Funky and Eloquent at the same time that their Jazz sounds like Blues Funk and R&B even though it's harmonically expanded..

    If McLaughlin had Benson- like Time Feel and added some Polyrhythmic Stuff here and there...it would be amazing...but ..almost no reason( for me ) to Play Guitar if someone did that...ha.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 05-10-2017 at 12:19 PM.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa
    Damn Costello's so flat ( below target pitch )....
    it's like he's Tone Deaf- ever work with anyone in the Studio where you need 30 takes for each line ?

    OK - McLaughlin sounds not horrible Rhythmically - but he's got some unresolved chromatic tones ( is it a b9 ? ) where they don't belong and needs a cleaner Tone not completely undynamic...

    But he maybe didn't Rehearse..more than one run through...probably Rusty...
    But yeah - I get it...

    Also Virtuoso Solos kind of don't belong with this Music- unless you are a Master of sneaking the Phrases in...like Brecker could...

    Give JM credit for being willing to Play with these Guys..no fear...lol.

    It's a really odd pairing.

    Playing some cool fills on Acoustic and a pretty Solo with James Taylor..might work...

    Or maybe on Acoustic with Costello would have been better.
    Bang out some chords and solo on the low strings..

    OK - I don't want to ruin my Kharma any more than this..
    Haha, there are a lot of mysteries for me in the world still, one of them is how Elvis Costello is actually not some random guy trying to do karaoke in a bar, but a houshold name singer. Never could figure that one out.
    On the other hand, JM tone is appealing to me in that video, and the whole band is awesome!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    ...and I don't think he sounds good on cherokee at all. what he's playing has nothing to do with the rest of the band.
    I know that a few people have responded the same in this thread. Funny how people can view/hear the same thing and have very different reactions. With the exception of the first 12, or so, bars where he seemed to be tentative, I think the rest of it is great. Miles Davis saw something in him. I am glad that he did. The bigger packages of In a Silent Way, Jack Johnson, Bitches Brew, etc. have a lot of good JM stuff in them IMHO. They were stretching.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Haha, there are a lot of mysteries for me in the world still, one of them is how Elvis Costello is actually not some random guy trying to do karaoke in a bar, but a household name singer. Never could figure that one out...
    He wasn't a household name singer for quite a few years and had to break down a lot of barriers with hard work to get there. Quite prolific to say the least. If you have ever seen him live you might be influenced.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Haha, there are a lot of mysteries for me in the world still, one of them is how Elvis Costello is actually not some random guy trying to do karaoke in a bar, but a houshold name singer.

    Different strokes! I think Elvis is one of the greatest musicians of our time. His album "Painted From Memory" with Bacharach is perfect, and he has a great episode of "Piano Jazz" with Marian McPartland, who was a huge fan as well.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    I know that a few people have responded the same in this thread. Funny how people can view/hear the same thing and have very different reactions. With the exception of the first 12, or so, bars where he seemed to be tentative, I think the rest of it is great. Miles Davis saw something in him. I am glad that he did. The bigger packages of In a Silent Way, Jack Johnson, Bitches Brew, etc. have a lot of good JM stuff in them IMHO. They were stretching.
    I'm not throwing JM under the bus. I'm not saying he can't play. How come some people can't see subtleties? How come everything has to be all black or all white? Either all great or all terrible?

    JM is great. One of my biggest hero's. But not everyone plays everything great. I don't think he play bop well. And that's ok, right? It's not his thing. And by the time Miles got JM it wasn't his thing any longer either. Miles wasn't interested in playing bop stuff. Jazz was no longer about that. It went modal and free. JM was a perfect fit.

    But since that time jazz returned to a more wholistic approach. Where modal lived side by side with swing and bop and free, funk and hip hop, country and classical. A cool time. I like it except for the money and lack of gigs.


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  37. #36

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    JM on acoustic guitar has always been a huge inspiration for me.

    I spent many many hours listening to Live at Royal Festival Hall with Kai Eckhardt and Trilok Gurtu while working in the darkroom in the 90's.

    His duets with Katia Labeque on the flip side of "Mediterranean" are beautiful, intimate and full of delicacy


  38. #37

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    My introduction to JM was Extrapolation... no mention of it so far?


  39. #38

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    I think my introduction was Turn It Over. Tony Williams Emergency.


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  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    My introduction to JM was Extrapolation... no mention of it so far?

    Wow. His comping was so cool on this .. and he was
    very close in many ways to sounding like Modern Sax...( not the Tone so much ).
    When you hear him ' doubling' some of the Horn Lines it suggests that much of his ' time feel' was by
    choice - not by Limitation ....

  41. #40

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    The expression of musical rhythm is as much an art form as anything else. Beyond a certain point - i.e. can you play accurately in time?

    It's not like players who have developed their craft have simply good or bad time the way any more than they make good or bad note choices.

    When Jack Wilkins says Metheny or Jarrett's standards playing is 'off' we must assume he is referring to previous models, such as for example Wes or Bill Evans. Standards playing is based for him perhaps on a certain vocabulary and rhythmically this includes a particular way of phrasing eighth note swing as much as it does specific note choices (more so in fact.)

    A detailed understanding of what swing is and how it manifests itself and has changed over time is I think is well worth going into. One poster I find particularly worth listening to on the forum is Robert Koa - he has good ears, man! Taught me a lot already.

    What specifically distinguishes MacLaughlin or Metheny from Wes or Kenny Burrell? That's much more interesting to me than the pitch choices. Wes can play the whatever scale and sound like Wes, and Metheny can play chord tones and sound like Metheny.

    Anyway the detail here is really interesting. Thanks.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-10-2017 at 05:36 PM.

  42. #41

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    I'm curious to know, as has been mentioned about JM or DiMeola, how being grounded in flamenco time and feel translates to playing jazz rock electric guitar with a plectrum.

    Thinking aloud, off the top of my head: Flamenco guitarists are perhaps the only finger-stylists who can hang, speed wise, with plectrum players in terms of single note lines. (as a point of reference, Joe Pass mainly played fingerstyle, but when the tempo was ramped up, he knew to pick up a pick (his pick was weird: he cut a small teardrop pick in half, which apparently allowed him to obtain a certain tactile feel or grip of the pick).

    John M and Al D play strictly alternative picking. In flamenco, to repeat a finger is an absolute NO-NO when playing picado (unless, of course, the repeated finger use is separated by a slur/legato/ligado. Failure to alternatealso kills the rhythmic feel.

    Do you mean John M's feel and time is different because he maybe locked into a longer rhythmic cycle???Flamenco rhythm usually based on iterations of a 12 beat cycle with accents on the 3,6, 8, 10 and 12. Indian (Hindustani and Carnatic) classical music is even more complex with its talas (various beat cycles and accents).

    In other respects, playing flamenco doesn't translate to electric guitar. Rasgueados on a steel string? Forget about it. The reason they play only cowboy chords (err, sorry, "por medio" y "por arriba") and with the capo is because the open strings are necessary for the attack and sound of the rasgueados.

    In jazz, open strings are frowned upon. Generally.

  43. #42

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    Might be worth pointing out that there is a link between Flamenco and Indian Music & Dance, deep down... Silk roads, gypsy migrations etc.

    JM is obviously a devotee of Carnatic (?) rhythmic concepts, which are quite in vogue in jazz education generally.

    If I had to call it, I would say JM's phrasing is based primarily on additive mono-metrical rhythm, but it's a long time since I've listened to his later stuff. Different rhythmic approaches - including vocalisations - give a different feel to rhythm even though the basic mathematics might all be the same.

    One interesting point from the book on Cuban music someone suggested here is how the author points out the contrast between Cuban rhythmic concepts (derived from Congo) compared to the African-American rhythmic inflection which is related more to West African rhythmic concepts.

    The 6/8 displaced onto beats 2 and 4 (see Larry Koonse's fantastic Over the Barline video) is and this is something I hear in say Wes (and most if not all of the American jazz players of his generation) and can also derive many of the key rhythms of classic straight ahead jazz. That's something that's rather important to my concept of Swing. That Bembe lilt against the European 4/4.

    I hear this less in the more modern players such as JM.

    Obviously the influence of Cuba can be felt in New Orleans - and most obviously in bebop, so it's a complex fusion of influences as always. The classic NOLA march beat is kind of a fusion of Cuban Clave and US 12/8 lilt.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-10-2017 at 07:47 PM.

  44. #43

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    Incidentally dead straight can swing really hard if you have a really 12/8 inflected drummer. As Robert Koa points out, Benson's upbeats are very often pretty straight.

    Also I believe there might very often be a habitual difference between the position of a joining 8th (between two beats) and the placement of structural offbeat - a push or anticipation - in jazz phrasing. How consistent this is I couldn't say ATM, and probably varies from player to player, but structural offbeats do often tend to be on the 3rd triplet of the beat.

    Some players also hang back on the beat so they are catching the swung upbeat but also playing straight - Jimmy Raney springs to mind, and this is a feel I like to play around with because it's so flipping cool when it clicks..

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz

    As far as the original discussion on McLaughlin, et al, my take has been, for some years, that he is playing 21st-century jazz,
    sounds like early 70's jazz/ROCK to me ?

  46. #45

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    Lol. Yes. 70s fusion extrapolated to now. There's not enough history represented for me to think of it as 21st century jazz. That's just me though. The ability to swing is still a fundamental component for me. Not that it has to swing but the artist should be able to. JM doesn't. ITS OK. He's still great.

    Maybe it's that he's always playing too fast to swing. When the band is swinging 8ths but you're always playing 16ths and above it's hard to swing that. Meaning you're not swinging the 8th notes. The way you do that is in how you phrase. Coltrane. Brecker. Hubbard. Brownie. They can play double time and phrase in a swinging manner.

    Also when playing fast it's easier to get the phrase if you articulate on the beat. Not always. But if you're always starting your phrase on the up it can confuse the other guys on the bandstand to not feel where you are. They might think you've lost the beat, which unfortunately guitar players are famous for doing.


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  47. #46

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    I see Pat Metheny mentioned often here too, so I re read the OP... I mean that's kinda rediculos to bundle him with JM. Nothing in common. PM rhythm is sublime, swings like a mofo. Im not a fan of his solo albums, but the one I had with John Scofield, and the concert with Joni Mitchell and Jaco, thats enough to see.

    And yeah, I remember that recent thread that ended up discusig PM ability to swing and got locked I think? I had a good laugh.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    My introduction to JM was Extrapolation... no mention of it so far?

    I've mentioned and posted Extrapolation on a couple of threads. I think it's a great album.

  49. #48

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    You know PM is one of my favorite guitarists, but I couldn't say he swings his ass off. I mean he CAN. But he's a melodic player primarily. His phrasing isn't really built around be swinging. He plays over the bar lines a lot. That purposely blurs and makes vague. SWING is deliberate and not blurred or vague. It's the opposite of that. All the note placements are designed to make you feel the rhythm in your bones regardless of the notes, almost. Pass and Wes swing. Very deliberate.


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  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    You know PM is one of my favorite guitarists, but I couldn't say he swings his ass off. I mean he CAN. But he's a melodic player primarily. His phrasing isn't really built around be swinging. He plays over the bar lines a lot. That purposely blurs and makes vague. SWING is deliberate and not blurred or vague. It's the opposite of that. All the note placements are designed to make you feel the rhythm in your bones regardless of the notes, almost. Pass and Wes swing. Very deliberate.


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    Pass? Barely. Wes of course, but it's old fashioned. Still good and timeless, but... Metheny is modern swing type! Adopted to the new rhythms, not just bop related. I dig it. At some point jazz musicians just need to stop living in the past, and look forward somehow!

  51. #50

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    True. No argument there. But we're talking about swing which is a very specific thing.


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