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  #16  
Old 01-12-2020, 04:59 AM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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Hi everyone,

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Ultimately, it sounds like music by maths to my ear ó anyone else feel the same.
As others have pointed out, some harmonies are harder for some people to enjoy than others. I tend not to enjoy most any kind of complexity when it seems like it's meant to sound clever or surprising or whatever. A flash of technique or convoluted rhythm is fine for a bit of excitement, but twisting melody/harmony in new directions is another matter, IMO. Very often, the weird harmonies in jazz are things that are not happening in the melody or accompanying chords, and some people are going to have better developed brains/ears to enjoy those things.

That said, I don't think Coltrane is a logical starting point for ear training. It would make more sense to start with blues and ragtime, then swing and then bop, assuming you enjoy those styles. I guess they wouldn't be necessary if you like and understand bop right from the start, but that's not what the OP is referring to.

This is a guitar forum, so I'll suggest Joe Pass (lots of great videos of him nowadays), Lenny Breau, Wes Montgomery ("Here's That Rainy Day" has been haunting my head for the last few days), and just look at what Oscar Moore does in this video with Nat King Cole:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq0XJCJ1Srw
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:12 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Originally Posted by Mojo21 View Post
Over the years Iíve dabbled with Jazz guitar but itís always been a love hate relationship. The love part is that I got to understand some cool theory and learn a whole load of chords etc but the hate part is that no matter how hard or many times I try I cannot bring myself to enjoy the sound and complex harmony.

Ultimately, it sounds like music by maths to my ear ó anyone else feel the same.
I've listened many times to Joe Pass and have to say that despite my respect for him as a player I just can't connect with the genre. Everyone migrates to musical styles that attract them to the exclusion of others. And, yes, jazz does ask for genre-blueprinting on the staff but no less so than any other genre. Otherwise they couldn't be categorized as such. I've spun them all off in a search for musical identity, which is a lot more fun that slaving oneself to a genre, and can say it's been a better journey.
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:31 AM
MCP850 MCP850 is offline
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Default Grant Green

Grant Green stills sound fresh, I love that groove. I loved it when Joni Mitchell moved her brilliant folk on to more sophisticated stuff whitch included Metheny. Pistorius, Mingus. Max Benett and the LA Express weren't bad either. I think part of what made SteelyDan so great was there willingness to use some jazz inspired stuff.
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:39 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by RalphH View Post
Jazz always sounds like instruments falling downstairs to me.
I like the description of Dixieland jazz as "a fire in a pet shop".

As for "falling down stairs", I love the drum fill at 1:00 in this, which is obviously a wardrobe falling down the stairs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDQskReNjbw
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  #20  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:42 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by Mojo21 View Post
Over the years I’ve dabbled with Jazz guitar but it’s always been a love hate relationship. The love part is that I got to understand some cool theory and learn a whole load of chords etc but the hate part is that no matter how hard or many times I try I cannot bring myself to enjoy the sound and complex harmony.

Ultimately, it sounds like music by maths to my ear — anyone else feel the same.
Jazz doesn't have to have complex harmony.
Here's my favourite jazz guitarist - this tune uses all of two chords, both plain 6ths:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlnpBTVAcVc
If you don't like that, I suggest calling a doctor. You may be clinically dead.

I do also like a few other guitarists, by the way, but nobody has to like everything. I like some jazz - from many different styles and periods - but there's a whole lot I don't like. Why is that a problem?
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  #21  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:46 AM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is offline
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Grant Green did an album called ďFeelin the Spirit.Ē I think itís a great place to start listening to jazz guitar if you mainly like rootsier styles. Itís all old gospel jazzed up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBp-...&feature=share
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:56 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Some other jazz guitar you may not have heard, with very simple harmony. No math involved:

(Takes him a while to get going, give it a chance.)
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  #23  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:46 AM
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min7b5 min7b5 is offline
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Obviously for some people it’s just not gonna be their thing aesthetically. There’s certainly styles of music like that for me, pop/country comes to mind, gangsta rap.. But I would say, like the rock bin at a record store, (remember those?) It’s a pretty big tent, with many different eras and sub-categories.. So if there’s a little crack in the wall and you still want to explore, there is a lot to check out. For example if much for jazz being blues-based rubs you the wrong way, definitely look at all the amazing jazz coming out of Europe these days. Anything on the ECM label is a little universe onto itself… But I digress.

The other thing I’ll say about jazz -and the sort of applies to classical music too- is in a lot of ways it’s more of a verb than a noun. It’s really about the longer thread, the journey. Beethoven’s Fifth is a good example; if you think of that simple little main theme at the beginning, and stick with the melodic thread all the way to the end, through every little possible variation on that theme, every twist and turn, only to come out the other end with that simple theme again. Now again that’s a long journey, and more and more people aren’t willing stick with that these days, but that’s what it’s all about. You have to follow themes and parts over minutes, not seconds like in most rock or pop. Again, it’s a verb.

Now sometimes things are disjointed, and have a cut and paste quality to them, going from one random "hot lick" to another just trying to "make the changes..." I hate that too, and unfortunately there's a lot of it -prolly no shortage of examples of me going there sometimes too But in my opinion jazz was somewhat ruined by jazz musicians themselves making this the main thing. It seems to be a style where a lot of opinionated, competitive, nerdy musicians have decided to keep upping the ante on chops and complexity, sometimes for ego reasons, and less about the journey through a melodic and rhythmic variation. But there’s a lot of great stuff out there.

It’s a clichť choice, but maybe grab some headphones, lay down with eyes closed, and listen to Miles Davis‘s solo on So What, or anything on that Kind Of Blue Album. And remember when listening it’s not necessarily about the totality of overall aesthetic of the moment, but rather pick a thread and follow it intensely over time -just stick with it no matter what. It can honestly be like a mediation practice, in that every time your mind wanders -and it will everytime- you have to catch it and remind yourself to come back back to, say, the trumpet. It’s like when reading a book and suddenly realizing you weren’t paying attention to the last few sentences and you need to rewind a bit to fully understand where you are now.. And the great thing about many great jazz recordings is you can play the whole track again and focus on another instrument and it becomes like a Gus Van Zant film, where you see appreciate the same story being told from several perspectives. But some effort is required, and you might be rewarded. Or not, and that’s okay too.
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  #24  
Old 01-12-2020, 01:06 PM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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...thatís a swell post Eric....I like to say that listening to ďKind of BlueĒ is like going to church and school at the same time...no matter how many times I listen to it itís always enlightening, inspiring, and musically as close to perfection as I can imagine...
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  #25  
Old 01-12-2020, 03:54 PM
rwhitney rwhitney is offline
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I’ve gotten as far as enjoying to play Bossa Nova, but I think that’s anathema to a lot of boppers. I play my own arrangement of the standard Autumn Leaves, but I wouldn’t call it jazz. I do love listening occasionally to Wes Montgomery, Basie, and others of early jazz, and much of Miles (Milestones), for some reason, and absolutely Bill Evans (Waltz for Debbie); I even had A Love Supreme epiphany one Martin Luther King Jr. Day some years ago. Maybe there’s some hope for me after all, but I can’t play it worth a durn.

I think an appreciation of jazz is aided by learning about its history and major figures. Then, learning the theory of it can be engrossing, and developing your ear to recognize the scales, chords, and rhythms serves understanding and appreciation, if there’s any motivation there to do so. As jazz is considered by many to be one of the great musical art forms, I think it’s worth looking into.
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  #26  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:25 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
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Originally Posted by RalphH View Post
Jazz always sounds like instruments falling downstairs to me. Sorry jazz fans. You are very welcome not to like Slipknot and Slayer
permission accepted
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  #27  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:06 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo21 View Post
Over the years I’ve dabbled with Jazz guitar but it’s always been a love hate relationship. The love part is that I got to understand some cool theory and learn a whole load of chords etc but the hate part is that no matter how hard or many times I try I cannot bring myself to enjoy the sound and complex harmony.

Ultimately, it sounds like music by maths to my ear — anyone else feel the same.
I like jazz and I have a pretty decent collection of jazz music, but I too cannot take very much jazz guitar. I can listen to some guys for hours... Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Vince Guaraldi, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, etc... but jazz guitar just leaves me flat for some reason. I appreciate the talent; it's just not a sound that resonates with me.

But if we all enjoyed the same things, what a dull world this would be.

If bossa nova counts as jazz, that would be the exception.
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  #28  
Old 01-13-2020, 03:35 AM
icuker icuker is offline
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It's been said but to the point that jazz has gone on long enough that there are lots of variations. I like the early jazz a lot, and also some modern jazz. I do wish there were more songs sung though. (not meaning skat) Too much of instrumental solo'ing and I start to lose interest.

It's no different than rock and roll. The fifties stuff is very different than what came later. Folks like certain era's of rock n roll better than others.
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  #29  
Old 01-13-2020, 06:05 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by icuker View Post
It's been said but to the point that jazz has gone on long enough that there are lots of variations. I like the early jazz a lot, and also some modern jazz. I do wish there were more songs sung though. (not meaning skat) Too much of instrumental solo'ing and I start to lose interest.

It's no different than rock and roll. The fifties stuff is very different than what came later. Folks like certain era's of rock n roll better than others.
The thing about jazz is that it's really about improvisation, and always was. That's why scat singing counts, which began as singers trying to copy improvising instruments.

Naturally music that is largely improvised is not going to appeal to everyone. Non-jazz fans tend to regard jazz performances as a tune at the beginning and end, and a whole load of meaningless made-up stuff in the middle. But for jazz musicians and fans alike, that "stuff in the middle" is the whole point. Without that, it just isn't "jazz". "Jazz" isn't just some band with horns and a double bass. It's not a particular kind of song either. "Jazz" could be any kind of instrument, playing (almost) any kind of song - but it has to feature improvisation as a central element.

It was bebop that marked the retreat of jazz from the popular sphere into the private world of aficionados. Before bebop, "jazz" and "popular music" were synonymous. The pop music of the 1920s and 30s was jazz. But that's because it was dance music, and usually did have a strong lead vocal element.

The parallel with rock'n'roll is when rock split off into prog rock in the late 1960s, and bands like Led Zep decided to deliberately step away from the "hit parade" of singles - and create music for the "head" rather than for the "feet". After that point, no self-respecting rock musician or rock fan would call their music "pop". Like jazz fans, they rather enjoyed the fact that their favourite music was not broadly popular. To be popular was to "sell out", to lower one's standards. In rock (as in jazz) vocals still have a role, but the main focus is on the instruments, specifically the electric guitar. There is less improvisation in rock than in jazz, but virtuosity still counts.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
The other thing I’ll say about jazz -and the sort of applies to classical music too- is in a lot of ways it’s more of a verb than a noun. It’s really about the longer thread, the journey. Beethoven’s Fifth is a good example; if you think of that simple little main theme at the beginning, and stick with the melodic thread all the way to the end, through every little possible variation on that theme, every twist and turn, only to come out the other end with that simple theme again. Now again that’s a long journey, and more and more people aren’t willing stick with that these days, but that’s what it’s all about. You have to follow themes and parts over minutes, not seconds like in most rock or pop. Again, it’s a verb.
Really good points here Eric.

I've had this similar discussion with visual artists. Think about the parallels - early jazz started with a melody and a rhythm - it was easy to comprehend. Similarly, for centuries, visual art strove for realism.

With both, over time, we began to see abstractions. For example: what is the essence of the music, the idea behind it? So, as Eric beautifully states, "What's the journey?" Or, if you re-iterate a theme enough, where does it go?

In art, we see the evolution from realism to impressionists to Picasso - all attempting to find the essence of the idea. Today, art has even gone beyond the visual paradigm and 'performance art' is a very real thing. *

So, I think it's an evolution. Artists will continue to push the boundaries, try new techniques, use new tools - anything to be different from what came before.

One thought. Every artist begins with the basics and they take it from there. This past holiday season, one of the over-played recordings was of Bing Crosby and David Bowie doing the "Little Drummer Boy". It occurred to me, that Bowie probably started his journey in his school or church choir - he had probably sung "The Little Drummer Boy" hundreds of times. It was a part of him. And I guess that somewhere in "Ziggy Stardust", there is a germ of "The Little Drummer Boy". John Coltrane makes "My Favorite Things" unrecognizable, but somewhere in the mix, he is re-iterating the theme (and no, I could never figure it out).

The great thing about this musical train is that you can jump into any car. You don't have to be constrained by the chordal structure of modern jazz. Yo can take whatever elements of it that you like and incorporate them into your own essence.

best,

Rick

* My niece is a recognized performance artist. She has performed all over the world. To my eyes, it's really weird, but I understand what she is trying to do. She is making a statement about our being and trying to evoke an emotion. Perhaps, evoking an emotion is the essence of what we have been trying to do in music since the beginning of time.
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