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  1. #1

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    How does Goodrick’s methods tie in with Barry Harris’ theories? Is there any overlap?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I've done a fair amount of work with Mick, never studied with Barry so I don't know if I have a balanced perspective. From what I've gleaned of the Barry Harris method second hand, the 6th-diminished/bebop scale is about putting some order on tonic-dominant material to get things to 'come out right' when playing jazz eighth notes. I feel Mick's material is better described as 'concepts' , 'suggestions' or 'philosophies' than 'theories', ways of thinking, organizing and practicing that don't start with a particular stylistic goal in mind.

    PK

  4. #3
    I think of Barry Harris as a more practical set of guidelines to get a certain kind of sound and proficiency in a specific genre base. Mick's ideas are philosophical perspectives that strive towards an open ended inclusiveness. The two are by no means mutually exclusive, or even incompatible, but I do think they do represent a gravitational tendency for what might appeal to different personality types and they ways they seem to come at the vastness of possibilities.
    Watching Barry Harris' videos, he has very specific suggestions of how notes and harmony are ordered. They are a very consistent system. He offers very solid lifesavers to the drowning swimmer in a deep pool.
    Watching Mick teach, he tries to give as many possibilities to questions of form and function, and given many options at one's disposal he throws you into the pool and lets you decide whether a note should be avoided or not, whether to play or become a house painter.
    I will say that Mick considers the music he played as bebop. He saw no distinction between the methods of ordering that guided Monk, Mingus, Parker, Miles and Shorter and the music he made. It's just a version of bebop that fit the way he heard.

  5. #4

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    Ha, so Mick is playing what he feels is bebop? Laughable.

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    I've also studied with Goodrick for a few semesters. He does have a deep spirituality about guitar and guitar studying, but also an extremely thorough and organized approach to any concept he approached.

    Whatever the concept, chords, comping, motifs, percussive playing on the guitar, voice leading, ear training, theory, composition.. whatever would come up, he always had detailed and very analytical notes on everything, and also clearly had put the hours to practice and play it all. I had never met, nor have met since, anyone remotely as organized and methodical as Mick. I feel that is one of his biggest strengths as a player and a teacher. He was great to study with.

    He was all about finding ones voice, never endorsed transcription, nor necessarily committing to a specific kind and sound of jazz.

    I never studied with Barry Harris, but have spent some time with his stuff, which I also love. I see it as straight ahead jazz studies, from someone who is very good and very real about it. Mick's stuff, for me, is more modern and open, different style.

    It comes down to what one wants to learn and play, and also to what one is missing. There's a loving life long road of studying in either direction, and they only supplement each other..

  7. #6

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    There’s lots of roads that lead to Rome as the saying goes. Goodrick and Harris are very different branches, but the tree is quite similar, I think.

    On the one hand we shouldn’t reduce Barry Harris to his dim/Major or dim/minor scales. He is a really sophisticated player, listen to him playing Monk tunes. Goes way beyond his dim-scales...

    on the other hand we shouldn’t reduce Mick Goodrick to the Advancing Guitarist book or the Mr Goodchord books. Mick is much more bebop than we often think. But Goodrick translated the modern harmonies of Coltrane, Hancock and Shorter to guitar and this influenced a whole new generation like Scofield and Metheny.

    Lastly, Barry Harris makes no secret of being more traditionally oriented. He does not really dig Coltrane or Shorter and has often expressed himself rather negatively about these players and their harmonic innovations. But, even there, Barry is more modern than he would admit. He’s very much the one to help us remember the genius of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk...
    Goodrick is an innovator. And a damn good one.

  8. #7

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    Practicing fretboard mapping is as much about mastering a process as it is about memorising a bunch of grips and progressions.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    He was all about finding ones voice, never endorsed transcription
    OK I’m interpreting this sentence a little uncharitably and I don’t think this is what you are actually meaning, but I want to be clear about this.

    I often hear this idea that transcription is about copying someone else’s style, in effect. I wish to terminate this notion with EXTREME prejudice.

    This is to misunderstand what it is actually for - which is actually modelling the process of playing and improvising by ear, especially if you don’t happen to be a Gary Burton in the godlike ears department. As Hal Galper points out - everyone plays how they hear (esp. rhythmically) Doesn’t matter how many scales you know.

    You practice the process; you hear / you play, you hear / you play, in real time as much as possible, puzzling out the unfamiliar bits as necessary. It’s not fundamentally about stealing licks or learning a solo so you can play it along with the record on YouTube to impress fellow jazz dweebs, although that can be fun. (This could anything btw; Django or Cory Henry. Doesn’t matter.) it’s not even about getting it perfect necessarily; it’s about practicing the process.

    For instance, professional musicians in NYC learn music VERY quickly. It’s what they’ve practiced. A LOT.

    This is also fundamentally what Barry’s workshops are about - putting together improv materials at tempo by ear. He’s trying to prepare students for the bandstand, by playing it at you at speed and getting the class to play it back. Slowly you get more confident and better at it.

    Barry’s most diligent students are notable for their ability to inhabit the bop language without playing blatant licks... that’s not just copying, even if that creativity takes place within a historic style.

    Of course you can take licks out of the process, and some greats learned whole solos, but most of the masters - bop, modern whatever - actively discourage students from merely copying; at least after the rudiments have been acquired. But that’s not to say you get a free pass not to learn music by ear, and records are a central resource for learning music.

    According to Paul Berliner there are players who can ‘shadow’ what you are doing a millisecond behind you. Think about how important it is to hear what is going on on the bandstand, and then consider different ways to improve your perception.

    Again the notion of transcription is something that has been distorted as jazz moved into the educational establishment and moved towards things you could mark, assess and put into a syllabus. ‘Ear learning’ is all important and IIRC Mick has some fun suggestions to work on this.

    Honestly I don’t think it matters how you want to play. The process of how you learn stuff is actually the thing that you are working on. Which is why learning bebop can be useful for learning other music, and so on.

    Not saying that’s what you meant Alter... and I doubt this is news to experienced/pro players on the forum... I just wanted to kill a potential misapprehension that I had for too long...
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-17-2020 at 03:30 PM.

  10. #9

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    Mick was very favorable towards learing by ear, i believe he considers it the ultimate point one tries to reach, to be able to hear everything. As in everything else , he had a very long and detailed work course to present, in order for a student to work on ear and hearing things. He talked about his journey through that, i believe he doesn't have perfect pitch, but he could hear everything, scales, chords, intervals, progressions, demonstrated that many times. Story was, when younger and working through that, he was on a Dave Liebman concert when he realized he could hear and make sense of it all..

    I think him not endorsing transcription has to do with the choice of material, not the listening part. His work is about detailed voice leading, fretboard knowledge, intervallic approach.. a lot of modern concepts that lend themselves to a non traditional jazz style. Then again, often players that say that don't really need to do transcription, because they already know the language (and Mick does know it and play it). He does prioritize the ear over anything else, and often would use it as a tool in lessons and workshops.

    I feel his Advancing guitarist book is different than the rest of his books. It is very abstract and theoretical, whereas the style of work we did in lessons (and his other books) were very concise and applied. Here's the concept, learn it, play it. The only thing i wish he did more on his lessons was play more (which he did, but not that much), but of course the things he'd say, in retrospect, were equally beneficial to me.

  11. #10

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    Thanks for elucidating that. It’s easy to get caught up in the considerations of this or that style.

    There’s often a false dichotomy at play; players either seem to play ‘conceptually’, thinking that to be modern, or seem to be lick libraries of the 1950s, thinking that to be traditional.

    The players I really like seem to fit into neither category. To me (and I might be mistaken) that seems a primary aspect of the NYC scene; that you must find your own thing and do so through deep knowledge of the music, something strongly encouraged by the elders of the scene.

    So incidentally, learning to play bop by ear is not an infinite task. In fact go through the recordings of the 1950s and you will hear a lot of the same lines and licks recycled into different players vocabulary... that all these players are easily recognisable because of the way they play this specific vocabulary, and for generations this has been a stepping stone for learning jazz players.

    In the end I find it helpful divide things into two broad, but linked categories. There’s learning to play your instrument, and learning to play music. The former can be more pedagogy oriented and measurable, while the latter is obviously much more open ended and creative.

    In the latter case you have to encourage the student in their own personal journey (which is not the same as indulging them, but knowing what they will need.)

    One thing is rarely discussed about Barry’s approach is how he actually teaches - it’s about ‘stolen knowledge’ - when he was learning he literally sat behind the pianist at gigs and tried to copy what they doing... You take what you want from his workshops and move on when you wish. This is a more natural fit I think for jazz than a prescribed course of study; jazz has always been for self directed learners....

    In terms of concepts for jazz, such as MG’s voice leading formulae of BH’s eight note scales there’s obvious overlap, but I would say if you are comfortable with one you have a better chance of being comfortable with the other. Other fretboard mapping exercise such as Allan Holdsworth style intervallic voicings through the modes can also be helpful.

    I’d also say, BH’s protestations aside, that there’s no particular reason to learn either other than because you want to. Plenty of great jazz guitarists out there using bog standard grips and sounding amazing with it. Jazz is not about harmony, but the door is open for those interested.

    To move beyond the mere worship of facility (this cult is everywhere online) it’s good to cultivate aesthetic preferences. Be specific. For instance there are situations where to me the standard textbook choices sound like dogshit and other situations where they sound great. Sometimes I hear players doing things I personally think sounds ugly and sometimes pretty. Sometimes I prefer the ugly to the pretty. That’s a personal taste thing.... it’s good to know what it is you respond to.

    I’m not saying my aesthetic opinion is ‘correct’ but I feel getting to the point where you make aesthetic decisions based on what you like rather than what you were told to do is a vitally important part of being a musician. (Hal Galper identifies transcription as an important way to explore that in fact.) This is is most important thing that stops everyone from sounding the same.

    Perhaps in the past people maybe cultivated and aesthetic through their limitations; I can think of Grant Green, Charlie Christian, maybe Jim Hall, as fitting that category.... today when everyone is technically at a high level and most people learn the same stuff, it’s perhaps important to be selective.

    Creativity it seems to me is as much a process of rejection of materials as it is of anything else. An obvious example are Miles Davis’s snippets of advice to players which were often about rejecting resources. But to get to the point where can be selective, you have to have stuff to select.

    And if I hadn’t experienced a few different harmonic approaches I don’t think I’d have that emotional connection. So yeah, look at a few different things?
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-18-2020 at 06:53 AM.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Mick was very favorable towards learning by ear, i believe he considers it the ultimate point one tries to reach, to be able to hear everything. As in everything else , he had a very long and detailed work course to present, in order for a student to work on ear and hearing things. He talked about his journey through that, i believe he doesn't have perfect pitch, but he could hear everything, scales, chords, intervals, progressions, demonstrated that many times. Story was, when younger and working through that, he was on a Dave Liebman concert when he realized he could hear and make sense of it all..

    .
    He often saw his relation to Leibs as a polar one, but one that had at its core the deepest respect for the other camp: Transcribe or not. Mick said "In our old age, we've really come around. I see his side and he sees mine. These days, I tell a student 'if you want to transcribe, do it because it's something YOU want to do, not because anyone else says to', and if you do transcribe, understand why the player played what they did, and then transmute that passage into something that's uniquely your own. Never play something until you've made it your own." I think he tried to instill this last part onto all his students.
    And yeah, Alter, his ear was uncanny. It came only from having this attitude and living by it day after day for years. It allowed him to listen, hear, understand and contribute to any situation instantly. He didn't transcribe, but he could "see inside" the player's mind in the moment. Transcribe in real time, and be the player who could add the spice that is needed to make the soup stand out.
    That's why he was always so in demand as a sideman.

  13. #12

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    Yes, that’s precisely what I mean; transcribe in real time. Find your own voice in the music of others. Have artistic agency; don’t simply do as you are told.... That’s the aim. Not collecting butterflies.

    The YouTube generation need to be reminded of that. Everybody gets it right! That’s not the point.

    Bruce Forman talks about the sometimes accidental nature of this process.... I think of it like evolution; the DNA mutates and life evolves into new forms. (In fact aren’t they actually called ‘transcription errors?’) If you don’t have change, mutation and flux you have another form of death.

    BTW if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Bruce Forman’s interview with Henry Kaiser, really interesting (GuitarWank podcast) - they touch on that subject alongside life the universe and everything.

  14. #13

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    Transcribing does have that stylistic copycat appeal for many, and they fall into the habit of aping their hero. Some go as far as becoming a player who sounds like a cheap copy of the original, for the duration of their careers.

    But - there is also a more down-to-earth side of transcription, or at least performing transcriptions - and that is playing your instrument, and playing it in a certain way that did not occur to you in a very precise or accurate way. This is critical for developing players.

    The process involves hearing and re-creating the sound, articulation and execution of what a master produced - and feeling exactly what it takes to do that. One doesn't have to transcribe and play forever, but until you do a few you don't really know what it takes to play "that great solo, phrase or lick". You may think you know, but you don't. In that sense it's not unlike going through the process of learning to successfully perform masterful classical music - it's just that jazz isn't written.

    One could spend a very long time coming up with great stuff, if left to their own devices. (maybe forever )

  15. #14
    I visited Mick yesterday. We had a nice conversation and talked about this very thing. He talked about the time before people had the technology to record everything, even before there was the access to watching music online or on other media, it was an absolute necessity for musicians to be able to hear music, live music and take something real, tangible and memorable from every encounter with music; it was a skillset. We talked about now, and some people streaming live (like the Vanguard streams) and how maybe some bright side would come of the pandemic in that perhaps watching live music at home might reignite the tradition of going out to see live music when all this was over.
    There's a broad landscape in his vision. This does very much include the teachings and sensibilities of Barry Harris (we talked about the traditions of bebop, and the evolutionary bridge at occurred at the time of Gary Burton with the expansion of harmonic vocabulary) and from his perspective, there's the greatest respect for those who devote their lives to that, if that's their taste.
    He's a modern thinker, but he came from an era when all there was, was what we think of as "old school". His approach was born of the need to keep the exploratory spirit of jazz alive and living, and developing your abilities to take advantage of the ever expanding vocabulary of the times.
    Oh yeah, if any of you have studied with Mick, or played with him, could you PM me? I have a question for you.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 09-19-2020 at 09:58 AM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Ha, so Mick is playing what he feels is bebop? Laughable.
    Thanks for reminding me to get offline, to get away from senseless, miserable people who have no other outlet for their venom.... can't even avoid toxic people on a jazz guitar site... wow