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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    It's authors taught in the Harmony department.
    Like they teach Communism, Christianity, or the thoughts of Chairman Mao.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Anyway hopefully we can agree (mostly) on the statement that CST is introduced in the wrong way and far too early for many students.

    It is (despite my misgivings) an essential area of study for any musician wishing to understand post-modal jazz, because that's how many of those musicians themselves were trained. One of my fellow musicians pointed out that despite all my misgivings about CST I certainly knew all the modes and how to use them.

    However - here's something else quite interesting from the paper:

    'Kernfeld’s (1981) analysis of the three horn players in Miles Davis’ celebrated 1958 sextet investigates not only each player’s individual formulaic vocabulary but also their collective approach to formulaic interplay. Through this approach, Kernfeld arrives at a clearer understanding of "Modal" improvising, a technique largely pioneered and disseminated by Davis’ sextet." He concludes that our present methods of teaching "Modal Jazz", where melodic improvisation is conceived as a series of overlapping modes or scales, is essentially flawed and that Davis’ practice of chord "vamping" better accounts for the spacious music of this style. In the light of these findings, educators may well have to rethink the "classic" categorisation of modes (similar to those used by Medieval composers) to which Davis’ sextet rarely literally adhered.'

    The source cited is Kernfeld, B. (1981). Adderley, Coltrane and Davis at the Twilight of Bebop: The Search for Melodic Coherence (Volumes I and II). Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University.

    I have to say from my limited work on Kind of Blue etc, this seems to be the case.
    In still kind of surprised that you haven't picked up the Bert Ligon theory books. I think he may actually be your spirit animal or something. :-) in simplistic terms, he's largely the antidote for Levine's approach. Modes are WAY back in the second volume, and he doesn't even call them that ... actually quite balanced presentation. He doesn't talk in a superstitious way about moods either, the way that a lot of players do who are anti-...

    Anyway he has very detailed analysis of solos from kind of blue from all the players, especially so what. Davis's solo is presented as being primarily motivic development and not typical scale-based or chord-tone-based language. None of his analysis is based much in simple chord scale labels. It's a very good read.

  4. #103

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    Nah Christian. Think of it this way,


    1. Jazz music has applied harmony differently than the common practice period composers. That means in some cases/situations - but not all.

    2. Correspondingly, jazz music makes use of different related "scale sources" in harmonic progressions than the common practice period composers. These different scale sources are evident in the improvisation, arranging, and compositions produced by jazz practitioners.

    3. The instructors at The Berklee College of Music formulated and advanced their version of jazz and contemporary harmony, and while doing so illuminated the use of these different scale sources. That was helpful because a typical classically trained musician or scholar might understand the idiom's applications theoretically, but they would not have assumed/expected them. Some called the theory CST as a way to contrast/illuminate the difference in practice.



    AND THEN:

    a bunch of uninformed and intellectually lazy guitarists who wanted to get into more advanced jamming thought that they could learn some more scales and noodle away like they did with their pentatonics, major and minor "boxes". And when they hit a wall they blamed "CST", lol.

    OK, this last part is slightly made up. Other dipsh!t instrumentalists are guilty too.

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    In still kind of surprised that you haven't picked up the Bert Ligon theory books. I think he may actually be your spirit animal or something. :-) in simplistic terms, he's largely the antidote for Levine's approach. Modes are WAY back in the second volume, and he doesn't even call them that ... actually quite balanced presentation. He doesn't talk in a superstitious way about moods either, the way that a lot of players do who are anti-...

    Anyway he has very detailed analysis of solos from kind of blue from all the players, especially so what. Davis's solo is presented as being primarily motivic development and not typical scale-based or chord-tone-based language. None of his analysis is based much in simple chord scale labels. It's a very good read.
    From what little I know of Ligon, it does sound that way.... I just don't have much use for method books ATM as I think I've found something that works for me, and I am currently working on and refining with students, but obviously if all the stuff is in a book already it saves me having to write one.

    BTW this paper in the OP does a pretty good survey of the main approaches towards jazz analysis... It's worth v
    checking out.

  6. #105

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    This will never be resolved because there's nothing to resolve. It's just one idea against another and it'll go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever

  7. #106

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    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    what is the alternative for CST?
    Intelligence?

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    You were doing well but then you crossed over.

    Just think of CST as jazz harmony and theory. The alternatives? Different people's takes on jazz harmony - not everyone sees it the same you know (same with classical BTW).

    But when you switched to Ligon you touched on application (improvisation study). That is theory too IF you are studying it in that context, but the primary reason people study the DNA of jazz melody at that level is to apply it to their instrument. In other words, its "Improv class" - whether that entails a formal classroom or playing off the end of your bed at Mom's house.

    It's a grey area between theory and practice, and that is where people get confused. You could call Improv class Improvisation Theory, and some people do. But when you study Improv as a standalone topic you have to go way, way way beyond scales (and arpeggios for that matter).

  10. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    Yeah. Just all of that. :-)

    I view much of this stuff as kind of a tessellation . So, there are things which are kind of necessary lower levels which you can begin to view in a way which may help you later on with bigger stuff.

    A #11 can be just that and nothing more. It can be an embellishment, and there are plenty of great players who just see it that way. you can also view it as Lydian dominant or something , whether that is a momentary or very brief sound/feeling or something that has an actual harmonic context ... or could have. I personally like the option of seeing both at the same time , but that's one area in which my Myers-Briggs tells me that I'm a weirdo.

    I Personally like the very physical/kinesthetic organization that some of these modes give to fingering patterns etc. It helps with diatonically transposing things up-and-down the fretboard and being able to see embellished notes /blue notes etc. in different places. Turns the fretboard into a big slide rule.

    I think the biggest problem with CS T discussion is the idea that it's mostly about an abstract analysis or theoretical construct. ...like it's something you think while playing in words/symbols etc.

    It's really not, and it's not talked about that way by players who don't seem to have a hang up with it. Sharp 11 feels like a chromatic lower neighbor to five. It feels like that and it sounds like that without thought, once you learn to play it. When you learn Lydian Dom to that same kind subconscious level, it's the same thing.

    Every time you play that sharp 4 embellishment, you begin to hear and feel and see its potential As would be-Lydian Dom as well, with all of the associated chords, patterns, licks etc. up and down the neck. It's not really a conscious verbal/symbolic thought process. It's not a "have to". It's an unconscious, unintentional association you make which isn't limiting. It's additive. People who talk about this thought process as being restrictive or limiting don't understand it or have never experienced this.

    The ironic part is that this kinesthetic and aural association with possibilities are heightened much more by actually increasing the possibilities. My awareness of this didn't really happen until I started shedding Mel minor. Melodic minor has so many connective points to the diatonic chords of functional major, (though not functional in that sense), that you can't help but start to see things in multiple ways. But it does require shedding them from the same chord shape/starting points with somewhat consistent layout. otherwise, I'd imagine that it takes too long and is too much in the cognitive/verbal/symbolic/thought-process headspace.

    I had always assumed that Reg was talking theory and head knowledge. I actually think that's about 5% of the understanding , when you approach the fretboard's way. It's mostly kinesthetic and aural. The labels in the theory part are descriptive not prescriptive. There are enhanced layers of understanding rather than limiting crotches by which you have to think in order to play.

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    You were doing well but then you crossed over.

    Just think of CST as jazz harmony and theory. The alternatives? Different people's takes on jazz harmony - not everyone sees it the same you know (same with classical BTW).

    But when you switched to Ligon you touched on application (improvisation study). That is theory too IF you are studying it in that context, but the primary reason people study the DNA of jazz melody at that level is to apply it to their instrument. In other words, its "Improv class" - whether that entails a formal classroom or playing off the end of your bed at Mom's house.

    It's a grey area between theory and practice, and that is where people get confused. You could call Improv class Improvisation Theory, and some people do. But when you study Improv as a standalone topic you have to go way, way way beyond scales (and arpeggios for that matter).
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?

  12. #111

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    To me, learning to play from a book is where most players go wrong.

    To me, you learn with your ears, music is about sounds and being able to hear and respond to these sounds.

    Books are great for improving your knowledge, they can make you an expert in written knowledge, but not being able to play music.

  13. #112
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?
    If all people do is play a scale up and down, that's somewhat their own fault. I honestly don't think they're getting that from Jamie Aebersold. Maybe someone else. This is Aebersold: http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/download/FQBK-handbook.pdf

    check out pages 5–6, 9–10, it's how to play scales , but notice it's not just up-and-down. it's a very similar to the way Barry Harris presents playing the records in the beginning. Barry Harris begins with straight scales up-and-down . That's a starting point, the very first thing he lays out.

    if players choose to stop after doing a little bit of those scales Harris style, and then want to say that that's ALL that Harris is about and that it "doesn't work", that's fine, but it's simply not true. You can't take the entirety of what someone is about out of some isolated view which is incorrect and incomplete. If you're going to call it Barry Harris, you have to do all the things he's talking about doing in a more complete way.

    I would ask people to do something similar with Jamie Aebersold. Look at what he's actually laying out and not just the unintended consequence of a court list. His actual process is very very similar to Barry Harris. Harris is much more specifically bebop oriented and that's cool, but Aebersold is not simply scales up and down. It's an unfair characterization, and it's a very wide spread misrepresentation.

  14. #113

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    I never went to music college, thank god. Consequently I was never trained in CST. In fact I'd never heard of it. I just read a bit, listened a bit, and played a lot.

    Then along came threads like these, many many years later. I've no idea whether what I've learned is CST or not. And, thank god, I don't care. As far as I'm concerned it's just a theory like any other.

    To my mind, the word 'theory' automatically dismisses it as anything worthwhile. Life is not a theory, music isn't a theory, people aren't a theory, nature isn't a theory. And when things are interpreted through a theory they become not what they really are.

    So I play what works. If It doesn't I change it. I don't give a tuppenny toss whether it's theoretically correct according to the theorists or not. Thank god.

    And neither should you. And I mean that most sincerely.

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Well, no.

    CST is a collegiate study of Theory/Harmony. It's authors taught in the Harmony department.

    Jazz Improvisation is a different set of classes, with different materials. But , like all Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition classes - it relies on foundations described in Theory and Harmony.

    CST does not "tell you what to play" any more than any other Harmony and Theory book tells you what to improvise, arrange/orchestrate, or write/compose. All of that is up to the individual, who is strongly advised to study those other topics in depth.

    There is theory and there is application. CST is theory, not application.
    very well, then if CST is Harmony we may as well refer to it as; Harmony.
    Since no one could have any reasonable objections to Harmony as a subject, criticism is wrong and there's nothing to discuss. Still, here we are. Probably because of the application. And for some reason the headline "CST" evokes mixed feelings...maybe because it's a hard subject in school, or maybe because it's been abused. On internet and elsewhere.

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    It's very problematic that Lavine has become more or less the standard for CST, because he's a few degrees removed from the apparent originators of the idea (who were more about arranging etc.?)... and because his presentation is so obviously contentious among players and teachers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Well it's been a while since I reviewed his book but from what I recall I guess one could say that Levine's theory book may represent "Levine's brand of CST", or "Levine's brand of Harmony/Theory", which is probably preferable.
    Guys, what's the fuzz about regarding Levine?

    I've found the book useful. No Bible or anything, just a well structured reference. Like I said, "Harmony with a Jazz bias".

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    I love threads like these :P.

    Okay, I'm playing devils advocate for a bit but what is the alternative for CST? When I look through most jazz books they all talk about CST as a way to select the proper scale for a chord. What is the alternative? A key centric approach? Or the Barry Harris approach? Bert Ligon's focus on triads /arps and neighbor tones etc is also interesting. What more?

    EDIT: forgot the most popular one: learning lines... so vocabulary...
    There is also learning tunes. (That is, learning and playing tunes as the main way to learn to play jazz.)

    --Carol Kaye takes a dim view of scales (esp for beginners) and she's a world-class player as well as a teacher of many pro players. She's big on patterns and cycles, starting with triads and learning how to substitute. ("Abminor9 IS G7!")
    --Willie Thomas (trumpet) is not anti-scale but he starts with pentatonic pairs (the 5-6-1-2 of a chord, with the 5 & 6 below the 1 & 2 as leading tones) and builds out from there. He's big on vocabulary
    --Joe Pass puts scales in his books but his focus is on three chord types (major, minor, and dominant, with augmented and diminished chords falling under the umbrella of dominant) and getting the
    --Herb Ellis taught playing out of simple shapes. There's almost no theory in his books.
    --Pat Martino has an approach that (early on) was akin to Wes': "convert to minor". (Wes didn't call it that but a lot of Pat's early playing was heavily influenced by Wes.)
    --Dave Stryker---who like Martino spent time as a sideman to organ players and horn players who emphasized groove and had a strong blues feel--starts his improv method book with the "minor sub approach".
    --Mickey Baker, whose stuff is 60 years old but still used, was certainly not a "CST" guy. One of the things he stressed is how good jazz lines often go *against* the chord.
    --Henry Johnson, in a recently released TrueFire course, says jazz is "phrases, not scales." (Scales are the alphabet; we don't recite the alphabet to each other, we use words, and for him, phrases are the words of jazz.)

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I never went to music college, thank god. Consequently I was never trained in CST. In fact I'd never heard of it. I just read a bit, listened a bit, and played a lot.

    Then along came threads like these, many many years later. I've no idea whether what I've learned is CST or not. And, thank god, I don't care. As far as I'm concerned it's just a theory like any other.

    To my mind, the word 'theory' automatically dismisses it as anything worthwhile. Life is not a theory, music isn't a theory, people aren't a theory, nature isn't a theory. And when things are interpreted through a theory they become not what they really are.

    So I play what works. If It doesn't I change it. I don't give a tuppenny toss whether it's theoretically correct according to the theorists or not. Thank god.

    And neither should you. And I mean that most sincerely.
    Haha. I think you do, and with more things than music. Medicine has theories too, and hopefully one's doctor knows them before cutting one open.

    But what CST is or was, CAN be solved, if not for everyone, at least you. Break down and spend 25 bucks on Nettles book and find out. Problem solved.

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    Very good point! You say CST is a way to analyze stuff not a tool for improv, or to "construct" language correct? (English is not my first language so sometimes I have trouble completely understanding the discussions here, sorry).

    The thing is IMO that it is often promoted that way. As a way to playing changes. However, there is nothing about how to actually construct jazz language out of those scales. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in learning all those scales but still can't play a nice line over a I vi ii V progression. The question is how to overcome this? Transcribe (stealing vocab basically) or what else?
    That's one very important part (Imitation) but there are so many "jazz pattern" books on the market you don't have to rely 100% on that method anymore.

    Try "Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony", for one example, and a very good example.

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden
    To me, learning to play from a book is where most players go wrong.

    To me, you learn with your ears, music is about sounds and being able to hear and respond to these sounds.

    Books are great for improving your knowledge, they can make you an expert in written knowledge, but not being able to play music.

    Yep, a lot of truth in that but not absolute truth. This falls into the either/or argument that the jazz guitar forumites often engage in.

    Playing some fancy blues is one thing, but how did one learn to play the virtuoso repertoire of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. before recordings existed? Just went and listened to their friendly neighborhood virtuoso every day?

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Break down and spend 25 bucks on Nettles book and find out. Problem solved.
    Well, I probably won't. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't get anything from it. I'm bound to, there's something in everything.

    Trouble is, what if I spend the $25 and find there's nothing new in it? Or only one thing? Because, after all these years, that's a distinct possibility.

  22. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Intelligence?
    Yeah, maybe it's best to rely on CST after all....

  23. #122

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    Nettles and Graf is a theory book.

    Levine, OTOH, includes hundreds of examples from recordings to illustrate his theoretical points. I'd call it a theory and practice book.

    These examples are hard to play on guitar, but if you can read and pick out notes on the piano, you can hear them.

    Probably somebody has posted recordings of all the examples someplace. If anybody knows of that, please post!

    Early in the book Levine writes that chords and scales are the same thing, but it's easier to think about scales.

    All the basic scale stuff is early in the book.

    Chapter 6 is "From Scales to Music". The rest of the book is about tips, tricks and techniques used in jazz, with copious examples.

    One last point. Levine's book is better written and better laid out than Nettles or the Berklee harmony book. Those other books could have used Levine's editor.

    I think that Levine does a terrific job in explaining what jazz musicians have learned, have practiced and regularly do.

    Nettles and Graf didn't try to do that. N&G is a book about theory of harmony with some related information about actual practice in the jazz world.

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, I probably won't. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't get anything from it. I'm bound to, there's something in everything.

    Trouble is, what if I spend the $25 and find there's nothing new in it? Or only one thing? Because, after all these years, that's a distinct possibility.
    Yeah I read it. It was OK.

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Nettles and Graf is a theory book.

    Levine, OTOH, includes hundreds of examples from recordings to illustrate his theoretical points. I'd call it a theory and practice book.

    These examples are hard to play on guitar, but if you can read and pick out notes on the piano, you can hear them.

    Probably somebody has posted recordings of all the examples someplace. If anybody knows of that, please post!

    Early in the book Levine writes that chords and scales are the same thing, but it's easier to think about scales.

    All the basic scale stuff is early in the book.

    Chapter 6 is "From Scales to Music". The rest of the book is about tips, tricks and techniques used in jazz, with copious examples.

    One last point. Levine's book is better written and better laid out than Nettles or the Berklee harmony book. Those other books could have used Levine's editor.

    I think that Levine does a terrific job in explaining what jazz musicians have learned, have practiced and regularly do.

    Nettles and Graf didn't try to do that. N&G is a book about theory of harmony with some related information about actual practice in the jazz world.
    Agreed...

    Levine is a great book, apart from the fact that I disagree with most of it, and don't recommend it. But you can't dispute it's a top quality product.

    And one that does in fact present itself as the bible. Not Levine's fault. But '*The* Jazz Theory Book.'

    Excuse me?

    Anyway, here's Ethan Iverson getting his claws into the type of CST teaching.....

    Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and One Night in New York City | The New Yorker

    I particularly like this:

    Lead sheets generally offer mildly complex added-note harmonies that imply a sequence of chord scales. A novice can start cheaply rhapsodizing scales through pastel harmony instantly, summoning a basic imitation of modern jazz in the Evans mold. The great pianist and provocateur Paul Bley joked that every European jazz promoter, after first relaxing with a drink post-gig, would inevitably sit down at Bley’s instrument and play just like Evans.

    This is not to say that Evans himself wasn’t a devout master of harmony. He certainly was, with a strong claim to having done the most to integrate the polymodality and impressionism of Russian and French composers from fifty years earlier into jazz. To name just three obvious living examples, the work of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett stands squarely on Evans’s shoulders.

    The problem is the influence of scalar thought at a introductory level. Some of jazz education has been excellent. Any time an actual master like Barry Harris is willing to talk nuts and bolts, a wise student will listen. However, much of jazz education— especially when it exploded in the nineteen-seventies—simply lacked depth. Many teachers and method books were inadvertently offering a way to sound like a European promoter, not like an American master.

    -------

    Ouch!

    Still, Jazzstdnt says it's a strawman, so hey.

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Agreed...

    Levine is a great book, apart from the fact that I disagree with most of it, and don't recommend it. But you can't dispute it's a top quality product.
    .
    It seems to me that the hundreds of examples from recordings by significant artists prove some of his points.

    But, I'll keep an open mind. Is there a book with a contrasting approach that contains this type of evidence?

    In the article you quoted, the author seems to be complaining that amateur musicians can sound like Bill Evans. So? Does he think that giving them better books/lessons will make them sound like an American Master?