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  1. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller View Post
    Being an interpreter of standards as a high level jazz player is is a bit more than the ability to cover on a background standards gig, which I believe Zappa, Guthrie have done in their lives. You realise the difference pretty quick as a player when you encounter someone a high level standards player in a playing or teaching situation….

    But I do understand some are less interested in that side of jazz, and probably aren’t so interested in the difference, and mostly want to hear the composer/instrumentalist at work.

    I do however understand it’s a Very Big Deal in NY and what separates top modern jazz players such as Adam Rogers, Mike Moreno, Ben Monder and so on from the more fusion and virtuoso instrumental rock players who have an understanding of jazz but don’t play lots of acoustic jazz gigs and know hundreds of standards. The NYC guys all seem to LIVE the tunes and the music. It’s to do with that community of musicians regardless of their own projects.

    (I do get impression Julian knows a ton of tunes btw.)

    Not a value judgement, i do think from the interviews he’s done Tom Quayle (who doesn’t often perform live) would be equally keen to make the distinction with regard to himself. He’s obviously a talented player and has carved out a niche for himself but he’s not a working jazz player.

    I don’t think Zappa had much interest in the standards repertoire judging from his own words. Guthrie, no idea. From what I’ve heard his secret passion is more country than standards jazz.
    Personally, I'm not so keen to make such distinctions that separate one group of players from another, especially when it involves nebulous concepts like living the tunes or some such. Even if it doesn't involve making value judgements. How many standards do you have to know or be seen to play to qualify as a bona fide jazz player as opposed to a fusion/virtuoso player? Don't get me wrong there are lots of types of players, but it's more a continuum, I think. Mike Stern strikes me as someone who resists this type of categorisation, and he's not alone in this regard - people like John McLaughlin and Matteo Mancuso seem to straddle the categories. I guess what I'm saying is it's not an either/or with the fusion/standards jazz thing. I'm not sure what the point is in saying Guthrie isn't a standards jazz guy, because even though you say there's no value judgement, just by saying that sort of implies there is (you wouldn't be alone in being a bit disappointed when he turns Stern's Chromazone into a country tune though).


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  3. #77

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    I don’t actually care whether someone is a ‘jazz musician’ or not… I listen to all sorts of stuff.

    my reaction is more to the insinuation that standards playing us some box you can tick off - ‘diatonic standards’, bosh, done, played Stella on a gig.

    of course some people spend their lives doing just that, and get really bloody good at it. I do think a lot of self avowedly ‘progressive’ music listeners can tend to be quite quantitive. Standards are certainly less demanding to play than Zappa charts in that quantitative sense lol but I find that a reductive way to look at music.

    I don’t expect or need the players I admire to all have the same skill set either. I mean, they may well be able to cover, and a good musician can obviously learn new things, but it doesn’t mean it’s their ‘thing’.. obvious right?

    I do know the virtuoso ability to play multiple styles rarely interests me of itself. I like to hear a unique voice. (The unique voice can be used in different settings of course - see Bill Frisell.)

    Time is finite and we all have our roads to travel. This is as true of the masters as it is of us. One thing I’ve also learned is that what doesn’t get used gets forgotten after a few years - I actually think that’s universal.

    An obvious example great jazz pianist isn’t necessarily a great concert pianist. The fact that a jazz pianist can execute the notes of a Mozart concerto doesn’t make them a master of that music’s interpretation. They might even fool a non specialist listener, because listening is another thing we develop over our lives in our own way …my wife hears all sorts of things in classical music I miss. And there’s that saying that pianists fear Mozart more than Liszt precisely because there’s less ‘there’ - theres nowhere to hide!

    In the same way someone who can play a perfectly credible version of a jazz standard on a wine bar gig is not necessarily up to the level of Peter Bernstein as an interpreter of standards.

    It’s a whole bunch of stuff. Re all the ‘history, tradition and tunes stuff’ it’s very obvious right away when you have contact with some of the New York guys, even some of the more modern ‘progressive’ players. Along with finding your unique voice… They’ve all got it drummed into them from their mentors and elders they’ve played with on the scene … they also seem quite self conscious in a way about their place in the tradition and continuity of the music

    It’s a different tendency in London, or Paris, or Berlin. There are some well known jazz musicians in London for example who actually don’t know many tunes. They tend to be brilliant at reading and/or learning really hard contemporary stuff, so they called for that.

    We are not atomised individuals. And if we get booked, we get booked to do what people know us for, which encourages us to go further into our niche. It’s a knock on effect especially when we get busy and there’s limited time to practice.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 11-23-2023 at 04:26 PM.

  4. #78

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    What goes around comes around:

    Zappa admitted in an interview that even when dealing with parody he worked on harmony and melody in a manner which years later he considered musically valid. Thus one of his cleverest songs, ‘America Drinks and Goes Home’ turns out to be his protest at the banalisation of jazz. A parody of a lounge band playing watered down jazz. 'It was based on the same subconscious formula that all those pukers of Tin Pan Alley used: you know ii-V-l progressions modulating all the way round,' he said. It was used in the album Absolutely Free as a parody of a cocktail lounge love song with ringing tills, brawls and drunken revelry. Yet when pianist Alan Broadbent arranged the piece in 1974 for the Woody Herman Orchestra on the Grammy-winning album Thundering Herd, with Frank Tiberi on bassoon, it became an affecting, memorable ballad.

  5. #79

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    For those who might like to hear Julian's live recording:

    Julian Lage - Live in Los Angeles - YouTube

  6. #80

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    I was surprised by all the dislike for this song, thought it was really nice, and very accessible too (ie my wife who isn't a jazzer likes it). But for those who thought it wasn't jazzy enough, check out another new song just released from the same album, pretty swinging!


  7. #81

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    That is a great one. Looking forward to the album very much. It seems to be quite a different sound from the Telecaster trio.

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  8. #82

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    Digging the two new tracks quite a bit

  9. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmbmusic View Post
    I was surprised by all the dislike for this song, thought it was really nice, and very accessible too (ie my wife who isn't a jazzer likes it). But for those who thought it wasn't jazzy enough, check out another new song just released from the same album, pretty swinging!
    I have listened a bunch of Lage's music, never thought of him as a jazz musician. He swings when he wants. Does what he wants.
    Probably this approach is gonna be the common trend of new musicians for a long while.

  10. #84

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    Been a Julian Lage fan since I heard Gary Burton's album 'Common Ground'. His album 'The Layers' inspired me to pick up the guitar again.

  11. #85

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    I was just at SF Jazz for two nights this weekend to see Lage. He was in an artist -in-residency there.

    The first night he had the entire group there who recorded the new album, and they played it right down. I definitely felt the Americana vibe, and Joe Henry came out and did a couple of songs which made it even more so. But still it was very inventive and performed at an extremely high level. And- wonder of wonders- my wife loved it as well!

    The next night he came out with a jazz group in a Jim Hall tribute, featuring Chris Potter, Scott Colley and Joey Baron- and I'm sure this would have been more to the liking of the more traditional jazz fans here. They completely killed it, played a couple of standards and Jim Hall tunes. We were all reminded pretty quick of how great a straight ahead jazz player he is!

    And the previous two nights he did a solo concert and one with his wife, in the band called Rude Ruth.

    I have to say that sometimes I too wish that Lage would play straight ahead more often, but after seeing his versatility in these concerts, I totally get why he wants to explore different genres. I say more power to him, he has proven his classic jazz chops, and should be free to explore whatever direction interests him. And if it brings him to a bigger audience and expands the jazz following a bit, great! I even think that it's OK if he makes some money. YMMV etc.

  12. #86

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    Sorry I didn’t read all posts, so forgive me if I’m repeating something.

    Listening to the Charles Lloyd Trio recording Sacred Thread with Julian Lage and Zakir Hussain. It is stellar, as are all the 3 trio recordings—one with Bill Frisell, one with Anthony Wilson.

    It is very free form but rooted in melody’s. Very atmospheric. It is interesting to listen to how Lage solved the “problem” of filling the space in Lloyd’s pieces and then compare to the other guitarists. He plays rather “Frisell-like”, but still has his own style.

    Add this to the list of great recordings made by older jazz musicians (Lonnie Smith, Pharaoh Sanders) who never stop exploring.

  13. #87

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    Julian already said goodbye to all these clichés and is doing his own thing. That’s good. He’s still my favourite guitarist, even if this song is not my cup of tea. I miss a bit more extravagance, but that‘s just me.

  14. #88

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    The next album track is out. Seems like it’s going to be mainly acoustic (although there is a Tele lurking from behind).

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  15. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve View Post
    The next album track is out. Seems like it’s going to be mainly acoustic (although there is a Tele lurking from behind).

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    There is ALWAYS a Tele lurking from behind.

  16. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    There is ALWAYS a Tele lurking from behind.
    And that’s a good thing.

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