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  1. #1

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    ?!?
    Last edited by md54; 12-24-2020 at 12:11 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Probably big-band horn section arrangers. For them it was a practical system, not some theoretical ivory tower stuff.

    Voicing (music) - Wikipedia

  4. #3

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    There's a Jimmy Bruno video where he's asked to explain Drop 2 chords. His response, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."

  5. #4

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    It drops the second note from the top.

    So for a 1357 major 7 chord, a drop 2 voicing is 5137.

    There's nothing magical about them other than that they are playable.

  6. #5

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    The term confuses me too, but it makes sense if you look at it as a horn arranger. Say they are playing seventh chords in close voicing. Number the voices starting from the top. Drop 2 simply means to drop the second voice from the top by one octave. When they are playing a root position chord, the second voice is obviously the 5th of the chord. If the chord is the first inversion, the second voice is the 7th.

    Part of what makes the concept confusing is that the voices are counted from top to bottom while the chord tones are counted from root to top. I think it’s easier to visualize drop voicings on a piano keyboard than on a fretboard.

  7. #6

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    It’s top-down because the big-band arrangers were concerned with keeping a melody on top. Makes sense for them.

    On the guitar most chords have to be ‘drop’ voicings anyway just to be playable, so it doesn’t seem that obvious a terminology for the guitar. I learned all the ‘drop’ chords years before I even heard the term.

  8. #7

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    I think it comes from the practice of arranging horn sections on the fly. there’s wasn’t always a chart; sax sections got good at harmonising melodies in block chords; it’s just a skill they had. (This is back in the 40s when they had gigs.)

    It makes sense if the 2nd sax put their line down an octave etc. on sax it’s the same fingerings even.

    On guitar it’s bloody confusing.

  9. #8

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    It seems like unnecessary categorization for guitar comping.

    I just don't see what difference it makes whether you know the chord or you know both the chord and its drop-n category.

    Some have posted to the effect that it may be helpful for learning chords or constructing chords without consulting a chord book but I don't see that either.

    If I'm a newbie trying to figure out how to voice a chord, say a Gmaj7, I can simply pick a spot and find ways to play those notes.

    It doesn't help me to first figure out a close voicing and then drop 2s and 3s. Oh, and then move each note up the arpeggio on the same string, I guess.

    In fact, it seems like a convoluted way to find chords. Say I play Gmaj7 xx5432. That's the most obvious close voicing for Gmaj7 on the guitar. Now I drop 2. I now have x554x2. That's not a great way to play it, but you can move the F# and derive x5547x. If I need an F# on top of a Gmaj7 I would rarely use it. xx543x would be more likely. In solo guitar, the low D would have be considered. With a bassist, it has to be considered carefully and, probably, omitting it will often be the best way.

    How do I discover 3x443x using this approach? Looks like drop 1 in a spread voicing.

    Even the player I mentioned who said I don't play drop-2, in fact, sometimes does play drop 2. So, he's really making the decision for each chord he needs based on the sound, I suspect.

    For arranging horns, I guess I can see it. You can decide you want a certain thickness of sound that you associate with drop-n. But, in reality, everybody arranging horns that I know (including the little bit I've done) plays the horn voicings on piano and adjusts them until they sound good. Nowadays you even get playback from Sibelius in horn sounds.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-24-2020 at 01:58 AM.

  10. #9

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    From what I’ve read, I believe one reason to drop one voice down an octave is to create a bigger sound in the overall arrangement.

  11. #10
    I learned "Chord grabs" when I started guitar. My introduction to arrangement type chords came much later and they provided me with a broader way of exhaustively cataloging all possible combinations of 4 part chords where no voices are doubled.
    I didn't need them to play and many of them were unknown to the the jazz community I had at the time, but once I realized the sonic potential of different combinations, it was exciting to know there was so much variety and there was actually a system by which they could be organized.
    Not necessary for most guitarists apparently, but when a guitarist is looking for new sounds, the drop system is like a little room in the library where somebody has covered possibilities I would've missed by counting on randomly stumbling on them.
    Drop 2 is a very small corner of a expansively large chord lexicon. As a chord melody player, knowledge of other more unusual voice arrangements allows me to get melodic facility with familiar voice leading harmony.

  12. #11

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    Musicians create variety through the reordering of and the spacing of the same note content (inversions and voicings).

    The drop voicing language is one established codification of this content.
    Don't like the name, suggest a better one.
    1357 // 1375 // 1573 // 1537 // 1735 // 1753 //
    I don't worry much about these names but I have learned a lot
    exploring these variants and their inversions on guitar and beyond.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    Musicians create variety through the reordering of and the spacing of the same note content (inversions and voicings).

    The drop voicing language is one established codification of this content.
    Don't like the name, suggest a better one.
    1357 // 1375 // 1573 // 1537 // 1735 // 1753 //
    I don't worry much about these names but I have learned a lot
    exploring these variants and their inversions on guitar and beyond.
    For me, calling them by the four digit number works. Tells me everything I need to know in fewer characters.

    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great. And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.

  14. #13

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    The confusion is in the using of the number 2. I didn’t know horn arrangement counts the top down voice as 1. That kinda explains it however it’s not clever. Soprano Alto Tenor Bass. =drop Alto =drop2
    At least you can visualise/hear this.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    For me, calling them by the four digit number works. Tells me everything I need to know in fewer characters.

    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great. And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.
    5 is raised to the 6 or 13 when you raise it
    3 becomes 9 when you lower it

    Chords derived from the same family of drop groupings, and their inversions, combine very neatly and voice lead very efficiently in almost canon like flow. The drop system is merely one part of an exhaustive system that does include triads over bass notes, spread clusters, chords built on 4ths, etc.
    This system can take any 4 note combination possible and voice lead them into a usable system of melodic harmony. It's merely a matter of how deep you want to go into exploring intervallic permutations. Most guitarists don't consider it worth their time to think about these possibilities, but they can be systemized and the drop system offers a consistent way in which a chord grouping can be used with inversions and smoothly voice led.
    There are complete lexicons for exploring chords and harmony this way, and pianists find them more friendly, but they can be found on guitar too.

  16. #15

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    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great.
    True, but some things awkward at first become playable through exposure.
    Voicings that don't sound great unto themselves might work well in transition.

    And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.
    Drop voicings can include all of which you speak. It is an organization system,
    not a magical panacea to heal every musical ailment.
    The choice to actively engage with tunes is available to anyone.
    Finding a good balance of activity to make progress towards our goals
    is an evolving challenge for many musicians.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    The confusion is in the using of the number 2. I didn’t know horn arrangement counts the top down voice as 1. That kinda explains it however it’s not clever. Soprano Alto Tenor Bass. =drop Alto =drop2
    At least you can visualise/hear this.
    When you harmonise a melody the melody is typically the top voice. Also explains why there is no drop 1. (And why sopranos can’t sing harmonies.)

    Makes sense from that perspective.

    Listen to 40s big band music and you’ll hear it. Saxes play harmonised melody by and large. Four Brothers is the classic showcase, but it’s all over old school big band section playing. As I say I don’t think they scored a lot of it.

  18. #17

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    It's a good way of voicing chords for a sax section. I used it a lot in a sax soli for a big band I play with and arrange for, and the bandleader went nuts over the chart. It usually results in the baritone sax doubling the alto melody, and he must have liked the reinforcement of the octave doubling of the melody.
    On guitar, it's meaningless, unless you're Johnny Smith..

  19. #18

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    The only time I think of the terms drop 2 or drop 3 is when I’m practicing. I found it useful to learn all the drop 2 and drop 3 voicings of each chord type on each applicable string set in a methodical way. And it’s useful to do exercises like “harmonize a major scale using drop 2 voicings.” But in everyday playing I’m just trying to grab a chord that’s in the vicinity of the melody and bass notes I want to play, and I’m not concerned with what the voicing is called.

  20. #19

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    Look at all the closed, normal voicings. Then take the second note from the top and drop it one octave! Drop 2 voicings! Or take the third note from the top and drop it one octave. Drop 3 voicings! How else would you name them instead?

    They became popular because of their sound and easy application, and especially on the guitar because they fit the instrument well.

    They are also the most common base for building chord scales and playing chord solos on the guitar, extremely useful! The following two pages might just be the most condensed study material I've ever come across, it takes months to learn to play and hear two pages!

    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111734-png
    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111800-png
    Last edited by Alter; 12-24-2020 at 05:20 AM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Look at all the closed, normal voicings. Then take the second note from the top and drop it one octave! Drop 2 voicings! Or take the third note from the top and drop it one octave. Drop 3 voicings! How else would you name them instead?

    They became popular because of their sound and easy application, and especially on the guitar because they fit the instrument well.

    They are also the most common base for building chord scales and playing chord solos on the guitar, extremely useful! The following two pages might just be the most condensed study material I've ever come across, it takes months to learn to play and hear two pages!


    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111734-png
    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111800-png

    Because there’s no other terminology that counts down from the top In music that I know of. It’s upside down and it’s using numbers. Identical to the numbers we use to name the scale tones going up! So according to this system the drop 2nd = the drop 5th = nonsense.
    I have no problem with the concept and how useful it can be. It’s just using the number 2 is idiotically confusing for many. I come from a science background and no scientist would use this daft terminology.

  22. #21

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    All you had to do was google it, not sure why a scientist would be unable to do that when dealing with a musical term they do not understand.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Because there’s no other terminology that counts down from the top In music that I know of.
    Numbering of the strings on a guitar?

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    I come from a science background and no scientist would use this daft terminology.
    It's a question of a terminology that can exhaustively cover all 4 voice permutations. I also came from a science background and I also come from an engineering background where appreciation of the application (the SATB arrangement of voices) is the original application.
    As a scientist, I might say there are more elegant ways of listing permutations, but as an engineer there are definite (voice leading) applications that show its utility.
    You must know this one. What's the difference between a scientist and an engineer? A scientist spends his life measuring half the distance to the wall. An engineer says We've got what we need, let's use it and move on.

  25. #24

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    I come from a science background as well.

    Music is not science.

    Besides which as Jimmy blue note says; application is king. Musical physics is a rabbit hole best left to people who aren’t too concerned about actually learning to play any time soon.

  26. #25

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    And then a Technician comes along to make the thing work the way the Scientist and Engineer thought it would.
    (seriously, jimmy, could i resist that?)

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    All you had to do was google it, not sure why a scientist would be unable to do that when dealing with a musical term they do not understand.

    You’re the one who clearly doesn’t understand. You’re also ill mannered.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    And then a Technician comes along to make the thing work the way the Scientist and Engineer thought it would.
    (seriously, jimmy, could i resist that?)
    Somewhere there’s a mathematician complaining about the formalism.

  29. #28

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    See also chord symbols; why doesn’t C9 chord symbol mean C major 9th?

    For that matter; why are there black notes and white notes? Why not just 12 equal notes?

    why isn’t the guitar tuned in fourths?

    Etc etc.

    in general my appreciation of the rich historical answers to these questions are more interesting to me than a desire to rationalise and reform...

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    You’re the one who clearly doesn’t understand. You’re also ill mannered.
    Merry Christmas!

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    See also chord symbols; why doesn’t C9 chord symbol mean C major 9th?

    For that matter; why are there black notes and white notes? Why not just 12 equal notes?

    why isn’t the guitar tuned in fourths?

    Etc etc.

    in general my appreciation of the rich historical answers to these questions are more interesting to me than a desire to rationalise and reform...
    Half diminished? Isn't it more like 3/4 diminished?

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    And then a Technician comes along to make the thing work the way the Scientist and Engineer thought it would.
    (seriously, jimmy, could i resist that?)
    Then the musician comes along and says "Why am I on this stupid thread when I complain there's never enough time to practice?" (hypothetical question, not to be applied to present company...ahem)

  33. #32

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    It’s probably about time we dropped this topic...

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Half diminished? Isn't it more like 3/4 diminished?
    Haha i hadn’t thought of that one

  35. #34

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    Then the musician comes along and says "Why am I on this stupid thread when I complain there's never enough time to practice?" (hypothetical question, not to be applied to present company...ahem)

    Practice is afternoon work. Mrs Jazzkritter and I are keeping warm, with tea and scones, watching the Internet parade go by.
    (Full disclosure it’s 50F on 12/24 on the Jersey Shore. WTF!)

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Then the musician comes along and says "Why am I on this stupid thread when I complain there's never enough time to practice?" (hypothetical question, not to be applied to present company...ahem)
    Well, if I actually had an opportunity to do the thing I supposedly do for a living I’d be doing that.

    Not happening at the moment.

    At the moment my brain is being reduced to soup via childcare... this forum might not exactly keep me sane, but it is a distraction from the general preschool chunter.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I come from a science background as well.

    Music is not science.

    Besides which as Jimmy blue note says; application is king. Musical physics is a rabbit hole best left to people who aren’t too concerned about actually learning to play any time soon.
    Who said music was science? Who said I was pursuing physics? Big and silly over reaction guys.
    Music is full of odd conventions handed down from history. (The drop n convention takes the biscuit). The music colleges have introduced a system of intelligent chord symbols and by and large it’s actually a lot better than it used to be in my lifetime. So clearly convention can be changed even in the mad world of art music. However this particular term is rubbish wether applied to voice /horn arrangement or especially guitar chords.
    What’s the big deal about asking for a clear logical uncomplicated term to help those struggling with harmony? What is so sacred about the idiot term that you all jump in to defend it?
    Example, Ami7b5 is the second chord of G minor with a flattened second note (Bb) with a drop second voicing where actually you drop the fifth voice not the second voice because the fifth voice is the second voice from the top counting downwards even though the convention for counting scales and intervals is to always count upwards.

    Can’t think of anything better to put people off learning harmony.

  38. #37

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    TBH the childcare is starting to look more interesting than having this boring ass discussion. It is a bit of a silly system, but hopefully you have see there’s some context to it. I don’t know what else I can add.

  39. #38

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    If it makes it stop, I can say that you are right and have won the debate.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    ... I have no problem with the concept and how useful it can be. ...
    Don't worry. This forum is not a place where people care to read and understand the question, before spilling the knowledge.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Don't worry. This forum is not a place where people care to read and understand the question, before spilling the knowledge.
    That is for sure.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Don't worry. This forum is not a place where people care to read and understand the question, before spilling the knowledge.
    What question? It has now disappeared (see post no. 1).

  43. #42

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    Huh. It was all a bad dream.

    Maybe it’s really “drop TO chord” and everyone’s been down a non existent path.


  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Example, Ami7b5 is the second chord of G minor with a flattened second note (Bb) with a drop second voicing where actually you drop the fifth voice not the second voice because the fifth voice is the second voice from the top counting downwards even though the convention for counting scales and intervals is to always count upwards.
    I don’t think any of this makes any sense at all, not sure you’ve really grasped it (you seem to be confusing ‘drop 2’ with flattening an interval, it has no relation to that).

    You can just ignore the whole drop chords thing, I don’t ever think about it really. Just learn the standard jazz guitar chord forms, know what notes and intervals they consist of, and you’ll be ok (that’s what I did).

    The forum ‘lessons’ section probably has most of the jazz chords you’ll ever need.
    Last edited by grahambop; 12-24-2020 at 01:23 PM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue
    There's a Jimmy Bruno video where he's asked to explain Drop 2 chords. His response, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."
    I kind of get where he's coming from, but I also think it's unnecessarily dismissive. It's a way of organizing a particular kind of chord voicing. It allows you to talk about it without having to say, "See, here, like this...oh wait, you can't see because you are on a computer 3,000 miles away." I don't believe that he's never heard of drop 2 chords before: I actually asked Jimmy Bruno a question in person at a talk he gave last year, and because my question included the words "drop 2 and drop 3" he made some Bruno-ish crack about "I never heard about that" and then ignored the meat of my question.

  46. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue
    There's a Jimmy Bruno video where he's asked to explain Drop 2 chords. His response, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."
    I lived in Philly. I got a chance to know many sides of Jimmy Bruno and his dismissal of things outside of his sphere of knowledge was part of his charm, and sometimes part of an attitude that caused him sidemen. We'll leave it at that.
    He's got a lot of followers and worshippers but I don't like seeing people who elevate his own personal filters into shortcomings that justify dismissal of other points of view.
    This is jazz. The way I learned it, it's a personal statement of personal exploration. When Cab Calloway first heard bebop, he exclaimed "What is this? Chinese music?" and it was considered funny. I can't see the humour, but then again I guess I'm not an insider to that kind of attitude.

  47. #46

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    See if you can pick out all the drop-2 and drop-3 chords being played.

    If you can't, go back to playing just the blues.


  48. #47

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    I guess, my casual observer's opinion, if we are strict about nomenclature, maybe there really are no "drop ... chords". There are voicings, made of voices counted from higher down, like in children choir. So Bruno might be playing smartass on that card.

    My Band camp

  49. #48

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    hi to all..this is why some/many/most come to this kind of forum...

    to explore/discuss music and its endless mysteries and try to apply them to an instrument..in our case an illogical one...

    lets all try and remember when we "discovered" how to harmonize the major scale in close voiced triads - on just one string set..it was as if the sky opened
    and the stairway to heaven appeared...(10 cent royalty to Mr Page)

    music is science??..depends on a point of view and of course terminology...there was a guy who wrote a book called "Chord Chemistry"..does that count ?

    some here may have met a musician playing a chord melody..and asked..hey..what is that third chord you used?..and the player replies "..well..I really dont know..it just sounds good.."

    I have not used the term "drop" in any of my teaching and cannot recall any working date where the term was used..verbal or written..
    and if you asked me to voice a drop chord..I would require some time to figure out how to play one..although I may know it well by another name like (C7/Bb)

    I see it this way .. if it works for you and you can communicate it to other musicians then it seems no harm no foul...

    If it works for you BUT you cant communicate it to someone like me...if you said ..its a DMA7 drop 2...I would really be lost..

    there are many things to learn musically..I try and study things I can understand..by sound/site/feel/thinking and finally playing

    I would choose to study "the diminished scale explored" over the D Major Scale harmonized in Drop 2 Voicing..but thats just me

    stay safe and enjoy the holidays

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    See if you can pick out all the drop-2 and drop-3 chords being played.

    If you can't, go back to playing just the blues.
    and if you can't play the blues go back to playing drop 2 and drop 3 chords

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    I lived in Philly. I got a chance to know many sides of Jimmy Bruno and his dismissal of things outside of his sphere of knowledge was part of his charm, and sometimes part of an attitude that caused him sidemen. We'll leave it at that.
    He's got a lot of followers and worshippers but I don't like seeing people who elevate his own personal filters into shortcomings that justify dismissal of other points of view.
    This is jazz. The way I learned it, it's a personal statement of personal exploration. When Cab Calloway first heard bebop, he exclaimed "What is this? Chinese music?" and it was considered funny. I can't see the humour, but then again I guess I'm not an insider to that kind of attitude.
    100%

    one thing I’ve learned is that it’s good to take what you want from gurus and famous teachers. Some are both big personalities and great musicians. I enjoy a good rant from guys like this lol. (So many people now are so bland, afraid to voice their thoughts... the old guys were full of opinions on this or that.)

    But to hang on every word of this or that teacher, take what they say as gospel; I don’t think that’s ever a good idea.