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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by rahsaan
    lol you just can't help yourself
    I thought I’d be good
    i wanted to be good
    but I wasn’t :-(

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I thought I’d be good
    i wanted to be good
    but I wasn’t :-(
    I hate it too. Not because there's not probably some good information there, but because the people who are probably going to seek it out are the ones (like me) where it's going to set them back 5 months in unnecessary confusion.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by sully75
    I hate it too. Not because there's not probably some good information there, but because the people who are probably going to seek it out are the ones (like me) where it's going to set them back 5 months in unnecessary confusion.
    Yup. Or several years in certain cases.

    Rintin’s story just emphasises the problems that the market in education materials has caused for educators. Of course JTB is just the tip of the iceberg now.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Rintin’s story just emphasises the problems that the market in education materials has caused for educators. Of course JTB is just the tip of the iceberg now.
    I've never read Mark's book but I've heard some stuff about it and a lot of the criticism resonates with me. In my own education I feel like worrying about modes and chord scales (which I did early on) generally set me back. I didn't really start playing well until I started singing charlie christian and lester young solos, I remember playing a gig (in college) after I had started doing this, and all the other musicians asking me what exactly I'd done to change my playing so much. Not that I was playing particularly well, mind you, but it was a lot better than before I started singing those solos.

    I think we are indeed responding to the marketing here, I'm sure plenty of people order this book in an attempt to learn to play jazz and it never would have occurred to them to listen to a count basie or john coltrane record first. The prevailing notion I've gleaned from musicians that don't play much jazz is that jazz requires a lot of theoretical knowledge, equivalent to advanced math, so of course you'd want a textbook for that. We all know different, but, most people here probably aren't the target audience for this book.

    Plus, there's no money in telling people that all they ever need is on the records, right there waiting for them.

  6. #55

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    Yeah, I mean how did Mark Levine learn right? How did Jamie Aebersold, he wrote the Omnibook. You want to be those dudes, not the dude who reads the book.

  7. #56

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    Marxist critique of Chord Scale Theory
    At last, a political dimension. I have bought and read - AND done on piano - the Jazz Piano Book. I have objected to the Theory book as it was clearly an opportunistic inflation of the original concept and probably driven by the publisher sidling up to Levine and muttering about a 'nice little earner' etc. Naturally, I haven't read the new one on political grounds. But I bet it's a bit pianoey.

  8. #57

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    You want to be those dudes, not the dude who reads the book.
    I still maintain, those dudes listened to recordings at 16rpm and tried to cop the lines. They learned lyrics in foreign languages phonetically without understanding what they were singing. Passion will have its way, intellectual compulsion always needs to be directed and any book is a port in a storm on the journey...to...whatever.... The End.

  9. #58

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    I rather like that

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I promise not to spam messages saying how much I hate the Levine theory book haha.

    Well, I don’t HATE it. It is a fact of jazz education life.

    As it’s such a standard text, maybe it would be for me good to revisit, go chapter to chapter and thoroughly examine and critique it where I feel necessary, and rather than being negative suggest other avenues to look into.

    There’s also probs loads of good stuff I’ve forgotten about.
    I've had a few drinks this evening, so please forgive me. What makes you the authority on all things jazz? I find you people to be totally full of it. Most of what I read here is BS. I don't know why I keep returning to this site. I've never learned anything useful here. You all think you know what the jazz masters were thinking. They don't even know what they were thinking.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnatola
    I've had a few drinks this evening, so please forgive me. What makes you the authority on all things jazz? I find you people to be totally full of it. Most of what I read here is BS. I don't know why I keep returning to this site. I've never learned anything useful here. You all think you know what the jazz masters were thinking. They don't even know what they were thinking.
    he's actually a particularly excellent teacher, I imagine most people here have learned something from his lessons. At least I have, anyway.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Would you though? Would you really? I have to haha.

    Adorno hated jazz of course; however this paper is actually quite interesting, if this is your sort of thing. It’s a little deeper than just talking about CST and he makes some really good general points, not least how critical pedagogy/theory types get completely the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the music. I like Louth, he gets jazz.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...08.2012.657163
    Thank you. It has been four years since I completed my PhD (architectural history) and I find I am out of practice in reading academic papers; but other people’s disciplines are more interesting than one’s own. I throughly support anyone who is critical of critical theory; the only Frankfurter I liked was Habermas.

  13. #62

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    I don’t think he’s critical of critical theory - in fact he uses it; it’s more that he points out that music education academics assume jazz is all praxis and no aesthetic. Which is quite rude actually.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnatola
    I've had a few drinks this evening, so please forgive me. What makes you the authority on all things jazz?
    Good question! No really, go to the source. Don’t take this schlub’s word for it.

    Ive always put my cards on the table. If you listen to my playing and find it laughable you can move on.

    What I can say for my part is: I know what I think and I have reasons for thinking it that I try to explain so that others can follow my train of thought. Sometimes I think people are wrong on a subject and I try to explain my reasons for thinking that too

    You all think you know what the jazz masters were thinking. They don't even know what they were thinking.
    Having had the opportunity to learn with a few actual jazz masters I can say that quite a few of them know exactly what they are thinking, have highly systemised their knowledge. it has given me a little of an idea of how some of them seem to think.

    I try to pass on what I learned from them. What I’m actually more interested in is how they learned...

    (And some times I waste my time talking shit online, I DO spend too much time on this forum, and can understand if people are getting sick of the sight of me.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-21-2020 at 08:48 AM.

  15. #64

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    (sound of tumbleweed)

  16. #65

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    No, no!! Joking! I enjoy your knowledge and humour. Keep it up. You might think about the less often aspect, but even that's OK too really.

  17. #66

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    saying that’ll probably just make me post MORE out of spite.

  18. #67

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    So yea... personally most books by musicians are great. It's always great to get their perspectives about musicianship and understandings of what makes the music work etc...I love the stuff.

    But if you can't really cover, by that I'm implying you haven't developed your musicianship, your playing to the level that you can perform jazz, like in real time, live.... just seems ??? I mean at some point in your studies, your going to get it, you'll understand how notes work and all the possibilities etc... Like Mark, I studied with herb P. his teachings were just guidelines, possibilities of what to do. Voicing rules, Non-diatonic voicings above Diatonic Bass, (including triad applications). His Sound Techniques.... how to arrange etc... Then the 29 line writing obvious rules... and Duke goodies. And yea... CST... the possible interrelationships between chords and scales with functioning relation to a tonal center... and of course basic Functional Maj/Min harmony. At some point the possibilities become the obvious...

    And then you'll actually be able to use these guidelines.... expand and develop them to create your voice and hear and understand other voices... Anyway, sometimes there needs to be a goal, an end result, not just memic or copy etc... I know and have worked with many musicians who have know idea what I was just talking about... but can cover, they can play well, great etc... They have there technical skills together....

    Much of the material in Marks book isn't needed to become a great player. But if part of your goal or end result is to be able to pop out an arrangement or new composition in an hour or two... his book will help.

    Hell, if one can just understand the Glossary in the front, the Terms, Lingo, Musicians nicknames... you'll be a better musician....

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Having had the opportunity to learn with a few actual jazz masters I can say that quite a few of them know exactly what they are thinking, have highly systemised their knowledge. it has given me a little of an idea of how some of them seem to think.
    .)
    I've asked a few masters that question, about specific passages. In every case, they couldn't answer it. They were just blowing. OTOH, they were all perfectly capable of playing a solo based entirely on a specific scale or rule. So, for example, they could demonstrate an alt scale against a V7, to take one simple example. But, if you asked them what they played over a V7 during a solo they just completed, they couldn't answer the question.

    I'm no master, but that's exactly what would happen if a novice asked me. I can demonstrate a particular application, but I don't think that way when I solo.

    And, if you asked them what they practiced to get to their skill level, there was nothing remotely like a simple answer.

    I can't answer that question about my own playing and my path has been much simple and limited than a master.

  20. #69

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    I got the book a long time ago, before the turn of the century and I have no regrets.

    I think it was the first time I had seen a list of recommended jazz tunes.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've asked a few masters that question, about specific passages. In every case, they couldn't answer it. They were just blowing. OTOH, they were all perfectly capable of playing a solo based entirely on a specific scale or rule. So, for example, they could demonstrate an alt scale against a V7, to take one simple example. But, if you asked them what they played over a V7 during a solo they just completed, they couldn't answer the question.

    I'm no master, but that's exactly what would happen if a novice asked me. I can demonstrate a particular application, but I don't think that way when I solo.

    And, if you asked them what they practiced to get to their skill level, there was nothing remotely like a simple answer.

    I can't answer that question about my own playing and my path has been much simple and limited than a master.
    Whoops! Rereading what I posted I can see that you may have thought I was making the contrary point - that wasn't my intention.

    It is certainly true that quite a few jazz masters have systematised that knowledge. The obvious example is of course Barry Harris. Barry will TELL you, step by step, how to construct a bop line from raw materials. Of course on a gig, he won't be thinking any of this because he is just playing.

    BH is an example of someone whose teaching practice might actually resemble the way he learned, because he was teaching almost from day 1 AFAIK. Needless to say not everyone does this.

    It's a fairly fundamental and obvious expression of being able to play an instrument that you go from:
    Conscious practice --> unconscious mastery

    Rather than a linear process this takes place again and again as a cycle as we learn over the years. We start with mastering strumming patterns and open position scales and go on to; who knows? Jazz voicings? Bop lines? Chord scale patterns? eventually more and more abstract ideas.

    Good teachers are those that can break down the conscious bits and explain them to the student and map out a course of study. They also know their limits.

    What can't be stated enough, and I'll say it again in case anyone thinks I was saying something else: the process of playing music should be unconscious.

    Which is to say it has a great many processes that have been internalised to the point of mastery.

    Hope that means we don't have to talk past each other for 200 posts again lol.

  22. #71

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    Hey RP... yea whatever works seems to be the obvious answer. We've play together.... casually. But I tend to enjoy talking at gigs. I have no problem breaking down music in between tunes and even during. Like I posted above if you at least understand Mark's Glossary of terms... it's simple and easy to verbally make analysis and head arrangements while performing. It's funny how there are terms that actually imply what would take 20 mins to explain using non musical terms.

    The whole unconscious thing.... well maybe during the 60's, maybe even into the 70's... and that was really just the drugs. It's just a job, work... I'd like to think my driver is conscious, maybe even my doctor or nurse. Just because you understand what your doing.... doesn't mean your in the zone, or some magical state.

    I think broturtel already has what he needs.... the thread is off and running. Isn't this the point.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Hey RP... yea whatever works seems to be the obvious answer. We've play together.... casually. But I tend to enjoy talking at gigs. I have no problem breaking down music in between tunes and even during. Like I posted above if you at least understand Mark's Glossary of terms... it's simple and easy to verbally make analysis and head arrangements while performing. It's funny how there are terms that actually imply what would take 20 mins to explain using non musical terms.
    The glossary is another bit I like.

    The whole unconscious thing.... well maybe during the 60's, maybe even into the 70's... and that was really just the drugs. It's just a job, work... I'd like to think my driver is conscious, maybe even my doctor or nurse. Just because you understand what your doing.... doesn't mean your in the zone, or some magical state.

    I think broturtel already has what he needs.... the thread is off and running. Isn't this the point.
    I would hope so!

    Yeah the unconscious/conscious thing... It's not like you aren't aware of what's going on - it's just - you are out of the way? It's hard to describe.

    What I mean is that the low level processes of the music making - technique, note choices, reading pitches off the page etc - are unconscious, in the same way as using the clutch to change gear in a manual gearbox car is unconscious (Americans, this does happen.)

    You aren't literally unconscious, although I did almost pass out playing a gig once.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-21-2020 at 05:20 PM.

  24. #73

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    LOL... yea I've been out there on gigs also. So I was a little different, went from classical to Jazz, then in the later 60's... the SF thing just happened. So I got into the rock jam and funk thing... anyway, definitely been out of body at gigs.
    But the jazz or being unconscious and in the moment thing....

    So the better the musicians, the easier it is to relax, but the level of interaction also reaches higher levels of organization. The more you know and can hear... consciously, the easier it is to be ahead. By that I mean you know where the music is going, or are at least aware of most possibilities and because you've been there and personally I understand what's going on musically, the use of musical terms thing etc... So maybe that is your unconscious feeling. Being able to be ahead and behind the moment from being pre-aware of what's being performed. Or you can just be performing written out music, or rehearsed music and finally get it right or to a level where it LOCKs in. I don't know, I remember playing HS dances in bands.... I was still in elementary school, and the music would lock some times, and I would be thinking... hey we're finally getting something right.

    I mean... playing gigs, part of the fun is the music within the music.... having multiple layers going on so everyone has something etc...

    I've worked in way too many rhythm sections... which means I'm aware of how different players approach and perform music, different tunes. there are just only so many melodies and chord patterns. Kind of like a simple... well maybe complex matrix. There are just only so many plug and plays. The rest is just ornamentation or camouflage. There is always a tonal reference.... and then relationships with that tonal reference... yada yada.

    Yea I'm boring myself....

  25. #74
    Is there any way that I can get this thread taken down (deleted) by a moderator? It's just gotten way too off topic. I appreciate everyone's input though! Thanks a lot guys. I'm enjoying the book thoroughly.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    LOL... yea I've been out there on gigs also. So I was a little different, went from classical to Jazz, then in the later 60's... the SF thing just happened. So I got into the rock jam and funk thing... anyway, definitely been out of body at gigs.
    But the jazz or being unconscious and in the moment thing....

    So the better the musicians, the easier it is to relax, but the level of interaction also reaches higher levels of organization. The more you know and can hear... consciously, the easier it is to be ahead. By that I mean you know where the music is going, or are at least aware of most possibilities and because you've been there and personally I understand what's going on musically, the use of musical terms thing etc... So maybe that is your unconscious feeling. Being able to be ahead and behind the moment from being pre-aware of what's being performed. Or you can just be performing written out music, or rehearsed music and finally get it right or to a level where it LOCKs in. I don't know, I remember playing HS dances in bands.... I was still in elementary school, and the music would lock some times, and I would be thinking... hey we're finally getting something right.

    I mean... playing gigs, part of the fun is the music within the music.... having multiple layers going on so everyone has something etc...

    I've worked in way too many rhythm sections... which means I'm aware of how different players approach and perform music, different tunes. there are just only so many melodies and chord patterns. Kind of like a simple... well maybe complex matrix. There are just only so many plug and plays. The rest is just ornamentation or camouflage. There is always a tonal reference.... and then relationships with that tonal reference... yada yada.

    Yea I'm boring myself....
    No, I think that's a good way of putting it. It's actually really hard to put into words (and the tendency is to use a lot of words in the attempt, I cut out a few hundred words out of my post when I realised I wasn't saying anything haha), but we all sort of recognise it?

    I think we do anyway....

    Anyway, I've been reading William Blake today (I know, avoiding work) and seems to me like he has a lot to say on the subject of Jazz education.

    It's certainly more fun than reading critical theory papers about bullshit no-one cares about.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel
    Is there any way that I can get this thread taken down (deleted) by a moderator? It's just gotten way too off topic. I appreciate everyone's input though! Thanks a lot guys. I'm enjoying the book thoroughly.
    Hey, no fair! You don't get to CONTROL what people choose to say, the course of your threads. I know it's frustrating (I've got a bit pissy in the same situation) in the moment if you have something in mind, but that's the way it is. On reflection you might find something someone said helpful later on when you aren't thinking specifically about the topic at hand.

    And that's also a lesson in how to approach for improvised music, BTW, things that can piss you off in the moment end up being your favourite bits on recordings you make, and so on.

    (I'm really going to have to get rintin's full account of his time with Mark Levine when he's less pissed off with me haha. That's something I've taken away from this thread...)

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel
    Is there any way that I can get this thread taken down (deleted) by a moderator? It's just gotten way too off topic. I appreciate everyone's input though! Thanks a lot guys. I'm enjoying the book thoroughly.
    Starting a thread in the Theory section is at your own risk.

  29. #78

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    He's inexperienced, go easy on him haha. Maybe with any luck he'll get pissed off an alienated and go and do something useful with his time instead.

  30. #79

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    Further on in the thread with Litterick... (This may end up in some godawful essay haha.)

    Re: Chord Scale Theory: Levine's personal experience with the publishers as related by rintin could be understood from the perspective of Marxism in that Capitalism inevitably caused the Reification of the ideas of Chord Scale Theory.

    Put simply: something that started as a human invention ('hey! try this scale on this chord!') becomes presented as a law of nature ('the Db melodic minor parents the C7 altered chord') and aesthetic judgements ('good sounding notes'); even moral ones ('lazy musicians don't use VIm7'). The JTB is highly inconsistent with regard to its language. So, Levine seesaws between saying 'this is not the Jazz Truth book' and making exactly the kind of statements that suggest, it is indeed the Jazz Truth Book.

    (As you don't have Mark there in body to teach you, you have to go from the basis of what he actually wrote, or at least what got published.)

    Reification (Marxism) - Wikipedia

    Contrast this to Reg's understanding (And Levine's) which sees CST as fundamentally Praxial.

    What rintin said earlier is based on that pre-reification understanding of what Levine was teaching. My understanding is based on the post reification understanding.

    I'm really torn, myself. I'm not a Marxist, but I find Marxist ideas have an interesting perspective when applied to cultural matters.

    Ultimately I think I am more a conservative on these matters, many of my views are actually quite similar to Jonah's, even though I debate often from the opposite point of view: I am drawn to the aesthetics of jazz. I would hardly play the way I do if I wasn't. I value tradition and beauty defined within that tradition. But once, the music I love was very new and unfamiliar, just as the modal sounds opened up by CST may have been back in the 70s and 80s.

    (See also: why I moan about playing Gypsy Jazz. Society is to blame!)
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-22-2020 at 08:16 AM.

  31. #80

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    Yea... sorry broturtel... Have you got to the reharmonization sections yea..13 & 14. They're good. Standard material but very useful for actually playing. Great approach for becoming aware of standard Chord Patterns and where they're created from. What many Jazz players use when performing standards, what they actually play... when playing a tune with vanilla changes etc... I don't remember if Mark got into the Tonal Targets and how to expand changes and have tunes within tunes going on, but that's where it's going.

  32. #81

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    Having a look through it now. This is the guts of the book, maybe? Maybe this is the book he wanted to write?

    Ah yes - the V locrian chord...I remember taking this to the bank. It's a great sound.

    So V locrian - well this is another example of the category of chords I've come to call 'softened dominants.'

    Some have a #9, some have no b7, ALL have no 3. The main effect is you lose the resolving tritone.

    Very often they can be thought a modal interchange subdominant chord resolving straight to tonic. OTOH,

    So a softened dominant is any chord functioning as a dominant which does not include the leading tone (7 of the key, 3rd of the V chord). This goes - way back... Lester Young, Charlie Christian. So, for instance:

    Fmaj7/G (which of course is the church dominant)
    Fm(maj)7/G

    Jordan likes this sound (as do I)

    Eb/G
    for
    G7#9b13

    I particularly like this as it doesn't have the seventh in either. (See Iris by Wayne Shorter)

    McCoy Tyner uses these sounds a lot.. Db6/9/G is common as well.

    (And of course we have Wes's example of the B/G as a G7 sub. Barry Harris talks about that too. That's not technically a soft dominant, but it is sort of cool with it's F# haha.)

    You'll often see melody lines ignoring the major 3rd of the dominant chord. A good example is Blue Bossa, also Kind Folk by Kenny Wheeler, but it goes right back to Prez etc.

    IN FACT - and this is a point I keep repeating because I actually think it's sort of a big deal, the Altered Scale/Super Locrian is no longer played that much as a source of harmony in contemporary jazz. Why do I say this?

    Because the leading tone (B for instance in a G7b9b13) sounds very conventional. It just isn't COOL. It's too hot under the collar. All those tritones, it's just so sweaty.

    Take those notes out and modally, things often end up just as a diatonic or pentatonic mode of some type, even if they think they are playing altered. It's very interesting. Lage Lund is an excellent example.

    Perhaps I should call them cool dominants, or chilled dominants, as opposed to hot dominants with the 3 in?

  33. #82

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    yea... it's basically just how we played back in the 70's and 80's. The only change I've noticed in the last 30 years is the expanded use of harm. Maj. and the use of more complex Tonics and Functional references, where Chord patterns have become expanded references as compared to camouflage. EX.... a II V chord pattern use to still have a single diatonic harmonic target.... the II-, the V7 or the implied target, I or whatever one wants. Where as now... well 20 years ago we started actually combining references... expanding the harmonic reference.... so the Tonic could be the actual chord pattern, nothing new, but from grooves or vamps, function isn't just simple voice leading or single note resolutions.... think expanded Function. Again this isn't new... but as the masses begin to hear and use yada yada..

  34. #83

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    Although the originals thing has moved on, in terms of playing on standards? Maybe you’re right.

    I think some jazz common practice has stagnated. As I say 60 years of post modal. That’s longer than the whole prior existence of jazz.


    There’s probably many forces driving this, but I wonder if one them isn’t the way we teach now

    by and large standards playing jazz guitarists are a pretty homogenous bunch with similar influences and approaches, myself included.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-22-2020 at 02:16 PM.

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    by and large standards playing jazz guitarists are a pretty homogenous bunch with similar influences and approaches, myself included.
    A distinctive voice is not the most common thing among jazz guitarists I've heard recently.

    I often hear a lot of the same vocabulary and harmonic concepts. And, most often, great chops.

    I am reminded of one definition of individuality: your mother can recognize your playing on the radio.

    In recent years, I've been increasingly drawn to the player's time-feel even more than harmonic sophistication. The players with great time-feel (and I consider Reg one of them) are very distinctive to me.

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    A distinctive voice is not the most common thing among jazz guitarists I've heard recently.

    I often hear a lot of the same vocabulary and harmonic concepts. And, most often, great chops.

    I am reminded of one definition of individuality: your mother can recognize your playing on the radio.

    In recent years, I've been increasingly drawn to the player's time-feel even more than harmonic sophistication. The players with great time-feel (and I consider Reg one of them) are very distinctive to me.
    Well my missus recognises my playing cold. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing per se, but I'll take it haha.

    So despite what I said above - actually I think there's lots of strikingly original voices in jazz guitar now. It's great.

    Kurt, for instance, is utterly unmistakeable to me, I know him cold, anywhere, no-one sounds like him try as they might. Julian Lage, yes. Lage Lund, yes, Nir Felder too, Reiner Baas, no one sounds like him, Wayne Krantz, are you fucking kidding me? Campilongo? Can't miss him. But perhaps many of these guys aren't 'striaghtahead players' per se, although Kurt, Lage and Lund all do the straightahead thing. (Mind you, Julian Lage on archtop sounds less identifiable to me than on solid body.)

    There are some slightly generic players, too who are also great. They are more like character actors.

    I don't think the education system promotes that as well as it could, but some people are just always going to have their own voice. There's a lot of jobbing jazz guitarists who sound very alike and basically have the same approach, dark sound, soft attack, bit of reverb, lots of eight notes. There's safety in sounding generic though. And gigs....

    TBH often I find older players harder to place, in fact. I often find myself thinking - 'who is that 1950's MF on guitar, what a great guitar player who is it?' and it's always Johnny Smith.

    The great individual geniuses of course; Wes or Grant Green, or CC, or Benson for that matter, I'd recognise, although Barney gets super close to CC on his early recordings.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-22-2020 at 05:35 PM.

  37. #86

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    Mark Levine's 'Jazz Piano Book' is a must read. I read it in the early 90's, applying everything to piano. It's not the end of piano study, but a very good beginning. If you desire to study keyboard, I heartedly recommend it first over any other book.

  38. #87

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    I must have a proper look at the Piano Book; seems very highly recommended on this thread... Could a non pianist hack through it on a keyboard do you think?

  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I must have a proper look at the Piano Book; seems very highly recommended on this thread... Could a non pianist hack through it on a keyboard do you think?
    Sure you could. Take your time. It begins with 3 note voicings. You can play 3 notes can't you?!

  40. #89

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    OK I started reading the Piano Book. It's the same stuff, but tighter. But I can't help it, there's so many teeth grinding generalisations and inaccuracies in it, even if you buy what it's trying to do... It's probably a good read when you don't know anything about the music.

    For instance, I really wish people would stop talking about early jazz when they haven't checked it out. So Levine says that pre war jazz musicians played the 4th on a dominant purely as a passing tone. (This relates to those 'soft dominants' I was talking about above, but no-one gives a shit about.)

    Again, below is the Lady be Good solo by Lester Young, look at bar 7.

    In fact you know what, he plays that G while avoiding the F# on D7 EVERY TIME in the first chorus. In fact he does it across multiple versions.

    I choose this because if you only know one pre war solo, it's probably this one. I could have chosen a dozen more going back to the 20s. Charlie Christian has loads of examples, Django and Louis too. And later, Parker and so on.

    So, some people will say - ah but that's not his focus, he is teaching post-bop harmony. To which I say, yes that's true, so why EVEN MENTION THE HISTORY AT ALL?

    So it's a small thing really, but it does betray a cavalier something you see a lot in material of this vintage when talking about the older music. And I don't do this to discredit Levine in particular. But people will believe you because it's in a book, and that's a problem.

    Know the limits of your knowledge, be honest about them.

    And may I have the wisdom to know that for myself. That's what I learned from Mark Levine. (And people correcting me on YouTube.)

    THE TEXTBOOKS ARE THE RECORDS. Check everything.
    Attached Images Attached Images The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-jazz-solo-transcription-jpg 

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    OK I started reading the Piano Book. It's the same stuff, but tighter. But I can't help it, there's so many teeth grinding generalisations and inaccuracies in it, even if you buy what it's trying to do...
    Hesitate to give advice...for a fool won't heed it, and a wise man won't need it.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Hesitate to give advice...for a fool won't heed it, and a wise man won't need it.
    Huh, that's not wrong :-)

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Huh, that's not wrong :-)
    Christian, one gets the sense from your posts that your cup is completely full. You're so full of your own stuff that you've no room to take anything else in...from anyone, let alone Mark Levine. There's an old saying "Absorb what is useful, discard that which is not." Perhaps this could be applied to how one should interpret The Jazz Theory Book. Well, it's just a thought...

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Christian, one gets the sense from your posts that your cup is completely full. You're so full of your own stuff that you've no room to take anything else in...from anyone, let alone Mark Levine.
    Yeah don’t try that zen thing on me baby haha.

    I learn stuff all the time. I’m constantly learning stuff about music and teaching.

    Let me be clear: none of this stuff is mine. I can tell you where I learned all of it and from whom.

    Look, I’m not the target audience for Levine’s books. I read them when I was 21. I thought I’d get something out of rereading them... there is info in them for sure... But now I just find them annoying, and I need to go read other things. And listen to more music.

    I was reading a fascinating paper about the links between the harmonic systems of African music and jazz today. It might take me a long time to assimilate that info. I’m going to need to immerse myself in African music to get an idea. That’s not a journey of a few days....

    Or Paul Berliners Thinking in Jazz which is just the most revelatory book about jazz. Do read it if you haven’t checked it out.

    There's an old saying "Absorb what is useful, discard that which is not." Perhaps this could be applied to how one should interpret The Jazz Theory Book. Well, it's just a thought...
    I think that’s what he intended. That’s not what he wrote.

    I think at the end of the day, I got and get more out of listening to the music directly than any book.

    In this sense my journey has been a steady realisation that most of the jazz theory I learned when I was 21 is a work of fantasy. That’s where I’m coming from really.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    In this sense my journey has been a steady realisation that most of the jazz theory I learned when I was 21 is a work of fantasy. That’s where I’m coming from really.
    I don't think we come from the same perspective, but I've continually wondered something similar.

    But, I can't tell if you're dismissing only the books you read at age 21, or the whole idea of a useful theory(ies) of jazz.

    I have heard, in an entirely different context, the notion of "scraps of theory" which may be helpful in a particular situation. I've heard some master players talk about using theory -- and I've heard at least one other dismiss the notion that theory, as it is taught, has any value. I've had others simply ignore it, even though they may have known some things about it. So, in my small corner of the world, the expert players are all over the map.

    I vacillate. I am at least equally likely to think of it as an abyss one enters at risk vs. something that can help one be a better player.

    What I end up working on is being able to play what I scat-sing to myself and trying to improve my time-feel. I will occasionally think about theory, but that time spent is rarely profitable. I say "rarely" because there have been a few significant exceptions. Just a few times, a theoretic notion has changed the way I play, in one case, more or less overnight. That was moving 4th stacks through a scale and using them interchangeably within a tonal center.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    I was reading a fascinating paper about the links between the harmonic systems of African music and jazz today. It might take me a long time to assimilate that info. I’m going to need to immerse myself in African music to get an idea. That’s not a journey of a few days....

    Or Paul Berliners Thinking in Jazz which is just the most revelatory book about jazz. Do read it if you haven’t checked it out.

    Christian, Derek Gripper is doing African guitar classes on a somewhat daily basis (tomorrow there's 2 + a bach class) on zoom. The price is stupidly reasonable and he's an amazing teacher. It's a lot of his Kora transcriptions and some Ali Farka Toure. I've been at it since March with him. I've learned a ton. It's sort of proto-guitar music.

    Anyway, highly recommended.

  47. #96

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    I've decided to go back and read the book...after I can play well enough that I don't need to read it.

    Seriously though. I think at some point it might be valuable. I think it would be better titled "A Jazz Theory" book. In fact I think all of these books should say specifically who they are geared to, what you should have together before you approach it, and what the end goal is. It's not everyone's jazz theory book.

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by sully75
    Christian, Derek Gripper is doing African guitar classes on a somewhat daily basis (tomorrow there's 2 + a bach class) on zoom. The price is stupidly reasonable and he's an amazing teacher. It's a lot of his Kora transcriptions and some Ali Farka Toure. I've been at it since March with him. I've learned a ton. It's sort of proto-guitar music.

    Anyway, highly recommended.
    Thanks! Time is limited, but I've been meaning to get into this stuff for a long time.

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by sully75
    I've decided to go back and read the book...after I can play well enough that I don't need to read it.

    Seriously though. I think at some point it might be valuable. I think it would be better titled "A Jazz Theory" book. In fact I think all of these books should say specifically who they are geared to, what you should have together before you approach it, and what the end goal is. It's not everyone's jazz theory book.
    Ah, but it is everyone's jazz theory book - at least everyone under 40ish - because jazz education is now a basic fact of life, and I've seen so many jazz educators teach chapter and verse out of these books - the 3-9 voicings, the II-V analysis style and so on. It was true when I was starting, and it's still true now. That's what I mean.

    It's 100% not what the author intended, but there's a whole generation that's grown up on them. You get the JTB, the Real Book and a copy of the Omnibook and that's how you learn jazz.

    I don't think older people not in jazz education quite get this... It's not like you see the book in the shop, pick it up on a whim and maybe get stuff out of it. This thing has become a bit of a monster. This probably tells us much more about how knowledge gets sort of frozen and stereotyped within formal education, more than anything about the book itself, of course.

    If someone says pre war jazz musicians don't play 4ths in some crappy book no-one's read, fine, but this book is 1) not crappy and 2) has such widespread circulation that I think these myths and factoids need to be addressed pretty clearly so that people realise what they are: bits of bad information.

    OTOH, that many in that generation are also rejecting the books, sometimes angrily, when they get in contact with the actual music. I'm a case in point I suppose. don_oz too, although he's much younger than me. I can think of many more in my own circles.

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I don't think we come from the same perspective, but I've continually wondered something similar.

    But, I can't tell if you're dismissing only the books you read at age 21, or the whole idea of a useful theory(ies) of jazz.

    I have heard, in an entirely different context, the notion of "scraps of theory" which may be helpful in a particular situation. I've heard some master players talk about using theory -- and I've heard at least one other dismiss the notion that theory, as it is taught, has any value. I've had others simply ignore it, even though they may have known some things about it. So, in my small corner of the world, the expert players are all over the map.
    Ooh, can I do my Blake quote again:"To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit"?

    So yeah, I am dismissing the idea of there being a useful theory of jazz.

    I could do well to remember that, as the impulse to theorise is so strong for me. To be a Horse of Instruction, as Blake would put it.


    • In that vein Levine's books are at their best when they are particular; breaking down a voicing or a reharmonisation.
    • They are at their absolute worst and just plain wrong when they attempt to encapsulate the music and explain its historical development. (BTW he does this even in the Piano book.)

    So 'scraps of theory'; yes, I like that. Useful rules of thumb, ideas that can be applied - this is the important stuff. It's hardly even theory in a sense, more like practical advice. The theory seems like it's important, but actually the learning is in the thorough application of specific ideas. There is a system to it, but it's not an attempt to explain music or frame its aesthetic in theoretic terms...

    I vacillate. I am at least equally likely to think of it as an abyss one enters at risk vs. something that can help one be a better player.

    What I end up working on is being able to play what I scat-sing to myself and trying to improve my time-feel. I will occasionally think about theory, but that time spent is rarely profitable. I say "rarely" because there have been a few significant exceptions. Just a few times, a theoretic notion has changed the way I play, in one case, more or less overnight. That was moving 4th stacks through a scale and using them interchangeably within a tonal center.
    So this is what I think of as the 'resources' approach to theory. You have a resource and you use it. It can actually take a long time to apply a resource fully, to get everything out of it, or it can change your playing instantly. Most of the top jazz musicians I've been in contact with seem to have this approach, actually.

    In my view, CST should be considered in this vein.

    Anyway, that's a framing change. Levine's framing is consistently - "this is what it is; this is how jazz developed; this is a rule; the Db melodic minor parents the C7alt." That's when he's on shaky ground, because the text of the Introduction is quickly forgotten.

    Better framing would be 'this is how I understand it; this was a fashionable sound in the 60s; here's a guideline; see how C7alt relates to the notes of Db melodic minor' and so on. None of the actual information has to change...

    Maybe something about writing a book makes you adopt that authoritative tone? But - the editor could have changed this...

    Or, perhaps they already did, the other way? Hmmmm.

    It's good to be aware of as reader and writer.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-23-2020 at 05:56 AM.

  51. #100

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    Berkman’s theory book is better at ‘framing’ and at illustrating alternative approaches than Levine’s. There is no comprehensive unified theory of jazz, though. There probably could not be such a thing and if there were it would not be useful to the practicing musician. Observational accounts like Berliner’s and practical approaches like Barry Harris’s are more immediately useful (in my opinion). It does help to have a common language with which to discuss what we are doing, but discussing is not doing. If it was I would be a better musician!