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  1. #1

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    Hey!

    I don't remember a general discussion of this angle.
    Would be cool to get to know about not only the "superstar" players - with those we kinda have seen what they did and do now.
    Since the topic is really generic and subjective, feel free to post examples of your buddies if you like

    Be well!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Interesting/great topic, thanks! It seems most of the greats were great when young, and were great throughout their careers, so it's hard to see/hear "improvement."

    Here's an easy one, though, to start; I think the kid has made some clear improvements!



    And now:


  4. #3

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    Hard to call it an improvement, but Jim Hall was still reaching for new stuff in his later years...he was definitely "expanding," if not improving.

    Some of Jimmy Raney's later studio stuff is among his best.

  5. #4

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    Coltrane - there's a recording of him at age 19 where he sounds very ordinary, within a few years he was playing with Miles...

    Bill Evans once claimed Scott Le Faro went from ordinary to great in a matter of months.

    Then there are those that peaked early, and became less compelling to listen to after that...

  6. #5

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    Pat Metheny seems to have grown a lot of technique since his early days.

  7. #6

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    I’m not sure I’d say Kurt Rosenwinkel has improved exactly but he has certainly evolved - I think he’s been great and clearly himself since the late 90s.... the early recordings don’t really sound like him.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-09-2020 at 06:55 PM.

  8. #7

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    Not really a jazz player but Jeff Beck has a mastery that keeps on expanding it seems.

    Envoyé de mon SM-G930F en utilisant Tapatalk

  9. #8

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    a friend went to Berklee w/Emily Remler and said she was by far the worst player there, terrible in fact.

  10. #9

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    Larry Coryell is someone that comes to mind;




  11. #10

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    Benson was of course a great young prodigy but there was a period around 1974 to 76 that he seemed to just completely transform into the incredible legend that he was thereafter. He really got his language down and his technique was just on fire from this period onwards.

  12. #11

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    Early Brad Mehldau sounds very little like how he plays today. If you listen to Brad on "Somethin's Burnin", he pretty much sounds like Wynton Kelly. Then on "Signs Of Life", you can clearly hear him playing more contrapuntally and playing with two hands, but he isn't as daring harmonically as he became a few years later.

    I think almost all my favorite players, you can hear them play a lot differently over time. People like Chris Potter and Peter Bernstein always seemed to play great, but their early records are very different than the way they sound today. Peter's playing is more florid than it used to be, I feel like his early records he is more economical in terms of note choices and space.

  13. #12

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    Early Dave Douglas is some of the most impressive bop trumpet I've ever heard.

    So players can sometimes move sideways... develop their own voice, often at the expense of their earlier virtuoso, but less individual, playing.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    Early Brad Mehldau sounds very little like how he plays today. If you listen to Brad on "Somethin's Burnin", he pretty much sounds like Wynton Kelly. Then on "Signs Of Life", you can clearly hear him playing more contrapuntally and playing with two hands, but he isn't as daring harmonically as he became a few years later.

    I think almost all my favorite players, you can hear them play a lot differently over time. People like Chris Potter and Peter Bernstein always seemed to play great, but their early records are very different than the way they sound today. Peter's playing is more florid than it used to be, I feel like his early records he is more economical in terms of note choices and space.
    Pete is a bit more of a straight-up language player early on. There's a lot of Grant Green and Charlie Christian. Now, he plays relatively little 'language language'; recognisable things that sound like 'bebop' or whatever, but makes everything he plays sound like language.

  15. #14

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    Paul McCartney.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Paul McCartney.
    Hell, George Harrison improved massively as a guitar player over the career of the Beatles.

    Have a listen to Pauls' isolated playing on Here Comes the Sun for instance, quite interesting.


    It just goes to show what will work in the mix often sounds - how shall I put this? - not quite so slick on its own; and that the Beatles were truly more than the sum of their parts. No session bass player would play this way; but then it wouldn't be the Beatles.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Hell, George Harrison improved massively as a guitar player over the career of the Beatles.

    Have a listen to Pauls' isolated playing on Here Comes the Sun for instance, quite interesting.


    It just goes to show what will work in the mix often sounds - how shall I put this? - not quite so slick on its own; and that the Beatles were truly more than the sum of their parts. No session bass player would play this way; but then it wouldn't be the Beatles.
    Paul was great, always played the song as all of them did, that was what they were about rather than being slick. To be fair, all I hear here is a suppoortive melodic bass part that didn't stick to a script and had dodgy intonation caused by the Rickenbacker rubber string mutes.

  18. #17

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    John Abercrombie is worth listen in this respect. He's got a good handful of standard tunes that he's recorded multiple times over his decades long career, it's instructive to see how his approach grew over the years. I think his last recording was with Canadian bassist Jim Vivian, that "In Your Own Sweet Way" was so good it's heartbreaking...

    It's interesting to contemplate what constitutes improvement, and if all styles or artists have the same potential trajectories. You can hear the development of an interactive/motivic artist like Jim Hall, but if your goal is to deliver flawless vocabulary with driving time feel (Benson, Martino) the difference between their initial peak and later work is much more subtle...

    PK

  19. #18

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    I have listened to Pat Martino much more than I have listened to George Benson (even though I have owned my Ibanez GB10 for 34 years). I don't get into George's singing and pop stuff so much. But Martino's playing development is quite interesting if you compare "El Hombre" with, say, "Formidable." His tone has certainly changed; his drive and rhythmic feel are more flexible and subtle. On his early records he sounded like he was playing to impress at times and in his later recordings he sounds like he is playing to express.

    It's also interesting to compare Jim Hall's first album as a leader, which was straight ahead bebop with a bright and really rather hard tone. You could be forgiven for thinking you've stumbled into a Jimmy Raney or Tal Farlow album of the era by mistake. Compare that to the later live material with the Canadians, still to me his high point, Or his records with Desmond, or the material towards the end of his career on Telarc with Bill Frisell, etc. The breadth of his playing over the course of his career is astonishing.

  20. #19

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    All of you have made interesting comments about jazzers, so I think I will stick to pop.

    Of course all the Beatles improved exponentially over the course of their time together. I would venture to say Ringo was the most mature musician of the group when they started.

    Ditto the Stones. Their early stuff has a raw power but very crude—imitation blues and Chuck Berry. By the late 60’s they were masters of their genre.

    Another interesting example is the Kinks, specifically Dave Davies. He went from 3-chord chunka-chunka to serious shredding by the mid 70’s.

    And then there’s the famous story of Bob Dylan. David van Ronk relates how Dylan showed up in the Village in 1960 and could barely tune a guitar, let alone play. Of course his singing was a work in progress. By 1962 he was the hottest thing on the folk scene and had a record deal with Columbia.

    Given these examples, it’s really remarkable how developed some musicians were—Prince, Tom Petty, Bowie—who had a fully developed sound very early in their career.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzVocab
    Paul was great, always played the song as all of them did, that was what they were about rather than being slick. To be fair, all I hear here is a suppoortive melodic bass part that didn't stick to a script and had dodgy intonation caused by the Rickenbacker rubber string mutes.
    Compositionally it’s a great bassline! Check out how that little pentatonic fill makes a contrary motion thing with the descending scale in the acoustic guitar riff/fill. Very nice details.

    In term of the execution its a bit out of tune and not really conventionally in the pocket rhythmically, quite on top. You can hear some of the repeated notes are a bit rhythmically weak and so on. The stuff I tend to agonise over when I’m recording a part....

    Obviously music was not ‘on the grid’ back then in the same way as today, but you can imagine how different one of the great Motown bass players would have handled the part.

    I can find you videos of YT bass players playing the exact part perfectly and yet.... it doesn’t have the vibe. Perhaps it is that slightly rough, on top quality which makes it work against the simple and solid drum track for instance (note Paul is often a bit jokey/dismissive about Ringo’s time lol.)

    i don’t really intend this as a criticism because why criticise one of my favourite records? I just find it absolutely fascinating that you can put ingredients together that sound a bit ‘meh’ in isolation and come up with magic. That counts for the mix too. A lot of the isolated bass and drum tracks on Abbey Road sound really thin and unpromising, poorly recorded even, and yet in combination we get that fat, warm sound we all love...

    (I also heard it said it might actually be George playing bass on this track, which is interesting.)

    Theres always that argument that by aiming for perfection all the time you can kill the magic....
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-06-2020 at 04:26 AM.

  22. #21

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    Sonny Rollins' whole bridge experience is a pretty popular part of jazz history. Legend has it, after hearing Coltrane play, he took 3 years off to shed underneath a bridge for about a thousand hours every day. He came out the other side a completely different player and cut an amazing album afterwards called The Bridge.

  23. #22

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    Scofield grew a lot from his early sideman dates in the 70s, to his evolved fusion style in the 80s to playing straight ahead in the 90s.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Compositionally it’s a great bassline! Check out how that little pentatonic fill makes a contrary motion thing with the descending scale in the acoustic guitar riff/fill. Very nice details.

    In term of the execution its a bit out of tune and not really conventionally in the pocket rhythmically, quite on top. You can hear some of the repeated notes are a bit rhythmically weak and so on. The stuff I tend to agonise over when I’m recording a part....

    Obviously music was not ‘on the grid’ back then in the same way as today, but you can imagine how different one of the great Motown bass players would have handled the part.

    I can find you videos of YT bass players playing the exact part perfectly and yet.... it doesn’t have the vibe. Perhaps it is that slightly rough, on top quality which makes it work against the simple and solid drum track for instance (note Paul is often a bit jokey/dismissive about Ringo’s time lol.)

    i don’t really intend this as a criticism because why criticise one of my favourite records? I just find it absolutely fascinating that you can put ingredients together that sound a bit ‘meh’ in isolation and come up with magic. That counts for the mix too. A lot of the isolated bass and drum tracks on Abbey Road sound really thin and unpromising, poorly recorded even, and yet in combination we get that fat, warm sound we all love...

    (I also heard it said it might actually be George playing bass on this track, which is interesting.)

    Theres always that argument that by aiming for perfection all the time you can kill the magic....
    Don't forget the wobbly organ accompaniment on HCTS...they "fixed it" with the remastering for LOVE, and it has a sterile quality to it. (The Wiki says that Paul played Rickenbacker on that cut.)

    I think you said it well--the whole is better than the sum of the parts.

    That reminds me--listening to Led Zepp, I'm always amazed how sloppy their playing is. Ringo I think said that Bonzo was a hard drummer to play in front of, because he was all over the beat. Of course, listening to any LZ cover--even a very good one like the ones that Heart has done--they all fall short. There's something about the grunge of the original. (Same with the Stones, though Charlie and Bill provided a rock solid foundation for Keith and his partner to mess around in.)

    And then there's Neil Young--many of his electric solos are like a first-year teenage guitar student walked into a store and plugged an LP into a Marshall and wailed. Sometimes they work--Cinnamon Girl, My My Hey Hey, etc.--but sometimes they don't and go on way too long, e.g., Down by the River. He is a very good acoustic picker, though.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 07-07-2020 at 08:17 AM.

  25. #24

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    bill frisell..i found his early playing angular and jagged...rough toned..now he flows like water...really breathes his music...and beautifully toned

    as per abercrombie ^...hard to beat some of his early playing..gateway trio, timeless, duets with towner...like many young guns of the fusion era including coryell, mclaughlin, etc...they turned to the softer standards more in later days...different, but not necessarily better

    cheers

  26. #25

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    There are a lot of musicians who started out with only a rudimentary knowledge of playing an instrument but over time became reasonably accomplished.

    The Talking Heads for instance...I think Jerry Harrison was the only real musician in the group when they started. Tina Weymouth had to learn to play bass to be in the band.

    Brian Eno started out as an engineer and gearhead--played the mixing board and the VCS3 for Roxy Music LOL. Over time he gained expertise in both keyboards and guitars, as well as percussion. He is arguably one of the most successful non-musician musicians in pop music, given his work with TH and U2, among others, as well as his solo work.

    Peter Gabriel took piano lessons after he left Genesis and became quite a good pianist, as well as a very innovative user of the Fairlight synthesizer.

    Lou Reed was also a very rudimentary guitar player but became rather good at a certain style of playing, in particular when paired with Robert Quine in his mid-career solo works.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cidec
    Sonny Rollins' whole bridge experience is a pretty popular part of jazz history. Legend has it, after hearing Coltrane play, he took 3 years off to shed underneath a bridge for about a thousand hours every day. He came out the other side a completely different player and cut an amazing album afterwards called The Bridge.
    I get hauled over the coals for this, but I prefer all Rollins (very) early work to his post Bridge output. "Chasin' the Trane" was a regrettable choice in his case, in my extremely humble and ignorant opinion...

  28. #27

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    Chris Whiteman.
    His playing on his videos get better over time.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    There are a lot of musicians who started out with only a rudimentary knowledge of playing an instrument but over time became reasonably accomplished.
    Ian Anderson pretty much learned the flute on Jethro Tull gigs, having started out on guitar/harmonica.

  30. #29

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    Steve Kahn is someone that has really grown as a musician over the decades. When I first heard him with Larry Coryell, my friends and I would joke that he sounded like us,,, which was not-so-good. This became more clear when we would listen to the Coryell \ Philip Catherine recordings. Kahn wasn't at their level. Of course Kahn had a musical heritage from his father, Sammy.

    The recordings Kahn has made in the last decade or more are that of a first rate musician.


  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine
    Ian Anderson pretty much learned the flute on Jethro Tull gigs, having started out on guitar/harmonica.
    True. He said in interviews he had to do something with his hands, and he already had a great guitar player, so he took up the flute.

    I have to say technical or not, he's one of the most entertaining flute players out there.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Steve Kahn is someone that has really grown as a musician over the decades. When I first heard him with Larry Coryell, my friends and I would joke that he sounded like us,,, which was not-so-good.
    Kahn wrote on his blog/website:


    When I moved to New York in January of 1970, I thought that I was arriving ready to play, ready to be an artist and to pursue my dream of becoming a great Jazz guitarist and musician. I arrived only knowing two people: David Friedman(vibes) and John Miller(ac./el. bass). It didn't take too long to realize that upon arrival, I was NOT the musician that I had thought that I was - or, better said, that I hoped that I was. David Friedman, who is one of the greatest musicians that I have ever had the privilege to know and work with quickly recognized my shortcomings, and, in a quiet moment, suggested that I go and take some lessons from the great Jim Hall. And so, as I knew that David was right, I phoned Jim, made an appointment, and began my studies....Eventually, I discontinued my studies with Jim, because I didn't feel that I was getting what I needed from him. It was not his fault, again, I just wasn't ready to be his student!
    Jim Hall "Careful!" Solo Transcription and Analysis by Steve Khan
    It's a great little essay about studying with Hall and Hall's playing, with a coda about John Abercrombie. I can imagine growing up in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s with your successful show-biz dad being a buddy of Frank Sinatra's could make life seem a little easier than it is as a young man.