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  1. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    .. there is often an arrangement with some of the players reading it.

    That makes perfect sense to me. If you can put the music in front of you just by whipping out a large-ish phone, why not? Seems some want to use how many songs you have memorized as a metric for where you're at in the progression of becoming a jazz guitar player. Might have been true at one time. However technology has transcended that requirement. IMHO, memorization is a natural process. If you play/practice a tune a lot, you memorize it. If not, just choose it on a menu and run with it. Allows practice time to be spent on more important things.

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  3. #77

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    In the early ‘90s I would take a Mac Plus with a primordial version of Band-in-a-Box to a “solo” gig at a hotel bar every Friday night. I had entered a bunch of jazz and pop tunes with my own changes and substitutions and saved them in playlists. Big tips ensued. Previously I was just doing the strumming guy singer thing with an acoustic guitar - close to my least favorite musical context. It was more fun to play with my robot backing band. Now Band-in-a-Box sounds better than a lot of guys in your contact list.

    iReal Pro is tolerable, but really, if you’re going to do a lot of practicing at home on your own, Band-in-a-Box is worth the money - less than you would spend on a group of good players to back you for one night.

  4. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Warren Nunes told me that if he heard a song on a jukebox one time, he'd know it for the rest of his life.

    The NYC wedding musicians of my youth were never stumped and could play anything in any key. The leader would signal with fingers up or fingers down (number of sharps or flats) and count it in.

    But, in a story I've recounted here before, I was in a group with two well known guitarists, one a college professor of jazz guitar, when Stella got called in F. Neither one got it on the first chorus. One got it on the second, one (the professor) on the third.

    In my small corner of the music world, I'm rarely in a situation where I'm expected to play random tunes from memory. Even on standards gigs, there are often arrangements which have to be read. Even the leader/arranger is reading.

    There's a pretty high level jam I go to occasionally at a local restaurant. B3 kicking bass. The guys sitting in never use charts, but the B3 player has IRealPro on his phone sitting on the organ. And, depending on who is there, they stick with pretty common standards so that the young horn players have a chance of knowing the tune. For example, when I called I Should Care, they asked me to pick something else. We ended up with Another You. The horn player who runs that jam seems to know every tune that's called -- and he has a jazz Grammy.

    I did a horn/guitar/bass standards gig recently. The leader was on sax and called all the tunes. He played from memory -- which, of course, is easier when you're calling the tunes. I knew a lot of them, but I was glad I didn't need to find out exactly what I meant by "knew". The bassist had a tablet with the RB charts and we both looked at that. Didn't miss a chord all night as a result, which is better than I'd have done without it. Embarrassing? A bit. But, I certainly felt that sense of security another poster talked about. Oh, and having the RB chart rather than the IRealPro chart allowed me to play accurate melody on tunes I didn't know well. I could have stumbled through the melodies without the chart, but there's that added sense of security.

    That horn player, btw, was the same one who has to read his own compositions in the band I mentioned.
    are you talking about tony peebles in the bay area?

  5. #79

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    The restaurant jam was run by Tony Peebles, a great player and gracious jam host.

    Tony has, I believe, a Grammy with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

  6. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    - No melodies
    - Robotic accompaniment (don’t practice with that shit, please, play with humans live or on record.)
    - Playing ‘over’ standards (rather than learning to outline harmony in their lines)
    - People start to think learning tunes is memorising chord progressions
    - Bad changes very often
    - excuse for people not to learn repertoire
    - jazz gigs devolve into people staring at their phones just like the rest of modern fucking life

    As a tool it is very useful, but increasingly it is becoming a crutch. A couple of these issues could also be identified from using the Real Book or Aebersold playalongs.

    But iReal takes these problems, centralises them into one place and adds some more. It is another step down the line of the devolution of our music into ‘notes over chords’ and robotic, non swinging rhythm. More automation of the soul. More pseudo music.

    (No wonder the technocrats think they can automate music with AI.)

    Now, want my recommendation for a great jazz app? Drum Genius is amazing.
    Such prissy BS. All of your points are applicable to many systems. And your solution is impossible at this time in many cases. 40 years ago, there were enough 6-night-a-week gigs for us to really learn the tunes and the feels on the bandstand. Now, there are none. I've been a pro player for over 5 decades, and I can swing my ass off with iReal Pro, in spite of the limitations of the "robots". By the way, there are as many live situations where live musicians can't swing as not. iReal Pro is not the problem; the breakdown of musical culture is.

  7. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    iReal Pro is not the problem; the breakdown of musical culture is.
    Amen.

  8. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    The restaurant jam was run by Tony Peebles, a great player and gracious jam host.

    Tony has, I believe, a Grammy with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.
    Ha, that's a name I haven't heard in awhile. When he was a student here he used to come to jam sessions where we were the house band. He sounded pretty good even then and was a nice guy. I'm pretty sure he was playing alto then. Heard he moved to the west coast but hadn't heard his name in maybe a dozen years until now.

  9. #83

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    In I’ve posted this elsewhere but this is good advice on how to make iReal more of a helpful practice tool



    The last year have been interesting in light of my previous comments. I’ve obviously had few gigs. Heres where I’m at:

    1) I’ve forgotten loads of tunes

    2) I’ve learned quite a few tunes and then forgotten them again

    3) I now REALLY HATE backing tracks of any kind, human or machine. The idea of playing with another one makes me sort of depressed and like I’d rather not play. I don’t think I’m alone in this; after a year of basically no gigs, my friend (a great sax player) said ‘I want to murder Jamie Aebersold.’ I think this might be a little harsh, but I sympathise.

    Drum Genius saves my life. It’s fun to play with.

    4) I hate chord symbols even more than I did 2 years ago; but I do know how to read them.... that’s nothing to do with the Rona; just changing the way I view tunes and harmony.

    Hmm, I sound a bit uncompromising above don’t I?

    Well each to their own. While I think my points are correct, and represent general frustration with the way real books etc have come to dominate jazz teaching and practice, I think massive projection on my part obviously, these days I’m a bit more chilled out.

    @ronjazz, yes, a good musician can swing on iReal. Is there value in practicing that? I would have to be convinced to make myself go through the torture haha.

    For a pro on a gig, iReal is nice to use to try out an unfamiliar tune, with intention of learning it later. I don’t know what people use it for in terms of practice though. I use it for checking my work and comparing when learning a tune, and practicing reading charts.

    For the less experienced I think I was somewhat concerned with the way people view jazz now; as the realisation of chord symbols. At least the old Real Book had the melodies....

    Anyway I don’t think I said anything terribly controversial above, everyone I know who is a good straightahead player says pretty much the same thing, but I get it if people are annoyed by the tone lol.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-16-2021 at 11:01 AM.

  10. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    For the less experienced I think I was somewhat concerned with the way people view jazz now; as the realisation of chord symbols. At least the old Real Book had melodies.
    For the past few years, I have played with many young musicians in an “elite” university-level jazz education context. They all have iReal Pro on their phones, and with rare exceptions, they consider it the authoritative source for tunes (though the program actually contains no “tunes”), especially the rhythm players. I find this amusing and a bit troubling because, as you note, there are no melodies in iReal Pro. You call a tune, they reach out their finger and make a few taps and swipes, you count off and they disappear into their tiny rectangular glass wormhole, not to make eye contact again until the tune is over. Every song is is reduced to a harmonic sequence, whatever they play over a Imaj7 -> II7 in “Take the A Train” they will also deploy in “Desifinado”, with no reference to the melody of either tune, just fulfilling the demands of the chord progression. Occasionally, if I know the verse of a standard, I’ll play it solo as an introduction. Generally they just look at me blankly, probably wondering what the hell I am doing, as they wait for the moment when they can play the first chord symbol in the upper left corner of their screen.

    I’m an older guy, in my late 50s, so I don’t want to go “get off my lawn” on these young players. But I think they are missing something important by using a source that doesn’t include the melody. I came up in the Real Book era, which has its own shortcomings, but at least when someone called a tune I could see the tune, and often I would make a note to really learn it later if it seemed intriguing or likely to come up again.

    Probably the most educational gig I ever had was a weekly weekend restaurant duo gig with a pianist who - on this gig - played nothing but standards from memory, and never stopped during the set, we played continuously for 45-50 minutes - no time for flipping though Real Book pages. As we reached the final chord of a tune, he would ask something like “Do you know ‘Sometime Ago’?”. I often would answer “No.” He would reply with a wry smile “You will.” and launch into an introduction. I don’t think my attention has ever been that focused since and I learned a lot of great tunes.

    That being said, I think iReal Pro and Band in a Box can be useful practice tools, but they are not reference works.
    Last edited by BickertRules; 01-16-2021 at 03:23 PM.

  11. #85

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    I use Irealpro regularly for practice.

    13 repeats, key change by a 4th every chorus.

    Play the head. Solo and comp in every key. The idea is to get past having to think about the names of the chords. And, that works pretty well.

    I use bossa and swing rhythms and I find them adequate for my purpose.

    I use it with bass full up, drums clearly audible and a little bit of piano.

  12. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by BickertRules
    For the past few years, I have played with many young musicians in an “elite” university-level jazz education context. They all have iReal Pro on their phones, and with rare exceptions, they consider it the authoritative source for tunes (though the program actually contains no “tunes”), especially the rhythm players. I find this amusing and a bit troubling because, as you note, there are no melodies in iReal Pro. You call a tune, they reach out their finger and make a few taps and swipes, you count off and they disappear into their tiny rectangular glass wormhole, not to make eye contact again until the tune is over. Every song is is reduced to a harmonic sequence, whatever they play over a Imaj7 -> II7 in “Take the A Train” they will also deploy in “Desifinado”, with no reference to the melody of either tune, just fulfilling the demands of the chord progression. Occasionally, if I know the verse of a standard, I’ll play it solo as an introduction. Generally they just look at me blankly, probably wondering what the hell I am doing, as they wait for the moment when they can play the first chord symbol in the upper left corner of their screen.

    I’m an older guy, in my late 50s, so I don’t want to go “get off my lawn” on these young players. But I think they are missing something important by using a source that doesn’t include the melody. I came up in the Real Book era, which has its own shortcomings, but at least when someone called a tune I could see the tune, and often I would make a note to really learn it later if it seemed intriguing or likely to come up again.

    Probably the most educational gig I ever had was a weekly weekend restaurant duo gig with a pianist who - on this gig - played nothing but standards from memory, and never stopped during the set, we played continuously for 45-50 minutes - no time for flipping though Real Book pages. As we reached the final chord of a tune, he would ask something like “Do you know ‘Sometime Ago’?”. I often would answer “No.” He would reply with a wry smile “You will.” and launch into an introduction. I don’t think my attention has ever been that focused since and I learned a lot of great tunes.

    That being said, I think iReal Pro and Band in a Box can be useful practice tools, but they are not reference works.
    The thing is I used to think that was what jazz was even in the years before iReal; a bunch of chords to be used to improvise music. Chord symbols have that effect almost inevitably I think.

    These days, I don’t know nearly as much repertoire as I would like, but what I know is more honest; based on the music not some second hand rendering of it into notation.

    And the jazz musicians I look up to, young and old, all do it the honest way. Plus it just makes you a better, more listening musician. There’s no downside...

    For myself I regret the wasted time, which is why I am a bit evangelical about all of this.

    But honestly as with many things it depends on cohort and environment. I know many young student musicians who regard iReal with contempt. I think it’s that desire many young players have to connect with an actual musical tradition instead of symbols and numbers.

    (OTOH jazz can end up being just historical recreation if you go too far with that... and people get dogmatic and culty about it.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-17-2021 at 07:36 AM.

  13. #87

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    just to play devils advocate for a minute ....

    I’ve learned a lot of how harmony ‘functions’ by looking at (good)chord symbols to tunes
    you have all the alterations notatable F7b13 etc
    and you also have slash chords C/Bb etc
    it’s quite a powerful system ....

    and with a bit of roman numeral analysis
    it chimes in with how my mind works
    I think , that’s just me

    (I’m baffled by figured bass WTF ???)

    of course it doesn’t show Rhythms

    I’m a very slow music reader
    but I do like standard notation for rhythms
    even though it doesn’t show ‘feel’ or
    ‘swing’

  14. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by chancho
    Just downloaded the app iReal Pro to my phone and laptop.

    There's a wealth of things I can do with this! I'm excited, anybody else play along with this? I gotta admit Im unable to keep to the tempo that a lot of songs are played in but I became very familiar with that option button, LOL
    I love it.
    I have been using it for years.
    I use it learn songs, teach songs, and practice.
    I have it as a backing track, a writing tool, an arranging tool, a rehearsal tool.
    It is all that !!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #89

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    I used it to make all the chord sheets for my Amy Winehouse tribute band and everybody loved it. Very practical that you’ll find most songs in thru their forum which saved you work (but I almost always edit those).