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  1. #1

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    The road to artistry is long and, for most, uncertain. However, there has been one litmus test for arrival: the ballad. The ballad brings together the entire array of a musician's skills and sensibilities. I have always believed that it is more difficult to play one note well than a flurry of notes in succession. Every note must count, every breath, every lingering and nuance. Here's the great ballad master talking about the ballad in the intro of his interview.


    And, here's Dexter speaking through his music in the classic "I'm A Fool to Want You."


    What do you think?

    Play live . . . Marinero
    Last edited by Marinero; 12-27-2020 at 06:55 PM. Reason: spelling

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I have to agree with you on this. I think it's especially true on the guitar.

  4. #3

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  5. #4

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    Well if I have any idea how to tackle a ballad, it’s probably thanks to Dexter because I used to spend hours listening to his records, and especially the ballads, he was a total master.

    Somehow you have to make every note and phrase count, I just go by instinct and rely on everything I’ve hopefully absorbed by listening to the greats. Sometimes all they play is the melody but that’s enough, e.g. Ben Webster.

    Singers are good to listen to as well, e.g. Sinatra.

    I agree that it’s hard on the guitar, you have to really think yourself into the right place somehow.

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    Did that barman put on dextors hat...lol

  8. #7

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    I was lucky to see Dexter Gordon at a jazz festival in 1981 and then again for 2 whole sets at Ronnie Scotts in 1982, an unforgettable experience.

  9. #8

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  10. #9

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    while i certainly agree that ballads can reveal much about the player, dexter could also blow hard & fast...here's the track that put him on the map..a frenetic duo with the great wardell gray

    the chase



    for ballads i also like stan getz, paul desmond and chet baker...

    cheers

  11. #10

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    a beautiful chet...gentle trio with nylon string guitar and bass

    on green dolphin street



    cheers

  12. #11

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    Another ballad album on guitar:

    -Jim Hall-Ballad Essentials

  13. #12

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    The fantastic record version of Round about Midnight by Baden Powell, plus a double bass. Wes didn't do any better ... just different


    Also saw him to play it for 20mn in Paris, no accompanying band, not too long before his death. Concert by him alone was planned to be 1h, he played 3h !! Will never forget that incredible concert, the speed at which he played some tunes (most in fact !), a cigarette always in hands !!

  14. #13

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    I can't agree it's the supreme test.
    On a ballad a musician can demonstrate certain skills that he couldn't demonstrate on a more uptempo song and vice versa.

  15. #14

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    Medium tempo is the acid test for swing imo

  16. #15

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    That's why I do all those standards every month. Again and again, usually. But I don't think ballads are the only thing in life.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by voxsss
    Yeah - Dexter's the man, not a coincidence that he's thinking about the lyrics,

    This guy could play a ballad too...


  18. #17

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    Well, the general rhythm's slow but you know what Coltrane's like :-)

  19. #18

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    Tomasz Szukalski-the best Polish ballad player.


  20. #19

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    I love how Herb Ellis played "It Could Happen To You."


  21. #20

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    Ballads are cool, but not as a main attraction for me. One per set is ok, more is pushing it. Singers love them though. Playing a ballad on jam session could be tedious, if everyone wants to take a solo. Oh man, I remember one in NYC for the singers where five of them in a row called a ballad tune. I think the host had to interfere and say "no ballads please'' after the 4th one haha. It's unbearable!

    The one ballad I've heard recently that really got me is Angel Eyes by Sting from Leaving The Las Vegas soundtrack. Even my gf who knows nothing about jazz got hooked. Too lazy to look for it now... But yea, that's a fact, chicks dig ballads.

  22. #21

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    Being able to comfortably play a ballad without reverb is sure a technique breakthrough on the guitar!

  23. #22

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  24. #23

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    "God Bless The Child" on "The Bridge" (Rollins/Hall) kills me every time...

  25. #24

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    One of my all time fav ballad performances.

    I can't help it
    If that doggone moon above..


  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I love how Herb Ellis played "It Could Happen To You."
    I love that tune. And Herb Ellis's version makes me nod off in a wistful daze.