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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformancePerformance(Moderator: BGuttman) Some of my jazz improvisation. Feel free to comment.
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Max Acree
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« on: Feb 05, 2017, 01:46AM »

Hi Guys,

Some clips of my solo playing with my own group at a gig we do weekly at Wallys Jazz Cafe here in Boston. Ive also recorded a solo album with Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone in a group lead by Boston pianist Fernando Michelin that will be released this coming June. I was also a long time student of trombonist Hal Crook at Berklee who has influenced me a lot. Please feel free to give your thoughts. Thanks!

Max Acree


https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/vaapad
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/dont-mind-me
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/i-remember-you-wallys
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/solar-wallys
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 05, 2017, 07:47AM »

Very cool.  The Hal Crook influence is obviously there.  I love that kind of fluent fluidity all over the horn.

My only comment would be to make sure the outside stuff is related to something and not just out to be out.
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Max Acree
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 05, 2017, 07:10PM »

Very cool.  The Hal Crook influence is obviously there.  I love that kind of fluent fluidity all over the horn.

My only comment would be to make sure the outside stuff is related to something and not just out to be out.

Hi Doug!

 It is great to hear from you. Thanks so much for the advice, I really appreciate your feedback. I would tend to agree, for me finding a balance between standard and extended playing is a tough path to walk. However, the lines when I play " out " are deliberately constructed to be this way and are somewhat atonal by choice. Its really a form of what I call chromatic sequencing. I take a cell that spans a certain range, come up with a line within that cell, and then shift up in half steps, each time trying to come up with a different melodic shape for each cell. This can be done with a multitude of different intervals, for example tritones ... C-F#,G-C#-D-G#.... Major or minor thirds C-E,F-A,Bb-D,Eb-G .... C-Eb,E-G etc.... 4ths F-Bb , B-E , F-Bb. This can also be done with differing intervals, for example it doesn't always have to be in a patterns of major 3rds, 4ths, tritones etc... each cell can have a unique interval range that it encompasses IE C-E,F-Bb-B-F... the idea is that they are always displaced by a half step. The main goal is to really come up with a unique shape in each cell which can also mean hovering around the notes within that range for more than one complete rotation or choosing to move on. By choosing to either mimic the interval range of your previous cell , or expand/collapse upon that , you can generate non linear chromatic lines that either grow in range, shrink in range, or hover around the same range each time you shift. It does have a method, but you would be absolutely right that it doesn't really relate to the harmony of the song. Here in Boston I do a lot of Free Improvisational Music, its kind of rubbed of as a result of that and doing a lot of studying at Berklee with a saxophonist named George Garzone who has a free group in Boston called "The Fringe". I am actually in the middle of securing a deal with Berklee to write a book of licks based on these ideas I have come up with over the last couple of years , thanks mostly to George.  The idea would be to explain how the line is constructed and show a few examples of each before moving onto a different interval set that the cell encompasses. The trick for me is being able to blend these lines with more standard vocabulary in a cohesive way. Its always been my greatest weakness because I approached those two types of playing with such radically different mindset. Bebop I learned very by the book, this type of playing I approached more from the perspective of what sounded good to my ears and a lot of trial and error. I would try out different intervallic rules and apply them to a line , rinse and repeat a few million times, I would listen for shapes that were appealing to my ears and figure out how to recreate it. I was also greatly influenced by 20th century classical composers like Schoenberg, Bartok and Stravinsky. Once again, thanks so much for the advice Doug, it got me thinking and definitely made my day!

-Max
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 05, 2017, 07:24PM »

Thanks for the explanation, it totally makes sense.  I was sort of hearing that but I don't (or can't) really think that way myself, I just never learned to approach playing from that kind of intellectual perspective.  But I love hearing it and you really blend the two styles in a great way.  I don't think it's a "weakness" at all.

Hal played at one of the ITF's a few years ago.  After one tune a few people got up and left.. Hal said "Wait, I can play straight ahead too....  I just don't want to.". 
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uncle duke
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 05, 2017, 08:17PM »

Hal said "wait, I can play straight ahead too......I just don't want to".   After listening to Mr. Acree's samples I have to be honest with myself firstly- I would be one of the people walking out the door. 
  During listening there are times when I thought to myself "could I sit through an hour of listening to this?  It would be hard to, I think.  I hear a drummer cutting up whenever he feels the need to, does the bass wonder away farther than he should?  The trombone.  Mr. Acree does make some fine sound, other times it's sink or swim {swing}  Could a piano be used for melody?  Just an idea though it would be another mouth to feed.

  OTOH, there are times when all three of you guys are really working well as one unit - impressive.  Forgive/forget my thoughts if they are of no help.
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 05, 2017, 09:21PM »

Hal said "wait, I can play straight ahead too......I just don't want to".   After listening to Mr. Acree's samples I have to be honest with myself firstly- I would be one of the people walking out the door. 
  During listening there are times when I thought to myself "could I sit through an hour of listening to this?  It would be hard to, I think.  I hear a drummer cutting up whenever he feels the need to, does the bass wonder away farther than he should?  The trombone.  Mr. Acree does make some fine sound, other times it's sink or swim {swing}  Could a piano be used for melody?  Just an idea though it would be another mouth to feed.

  OTOH, there are times when all three of you guys are really working well as one unit - impressive.  Forgive/forget my thoughts if they are of no help.

I totally get where you are coming from, for some people, jazz as it is presented in these recordings can be an acquired taste...but, I dig it, and would stay for another set. Three musicians going for it, taking risks, and exploring musical/improvisational ideas (such as Max' example mentioned above). 

...and I certainly wouldn't expect any piano melodies at a trombone trio gig :)


Max, I reckon you'll dig Scott Tinkler - check him out!
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 05, 2017, 09:23PM »

It's fun and useful to explore how far you can go with things, but not everybody wants to hear that.  
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 06, 2017, 01:29AM »

It's fun and useful to explore how far you can go with things, but not everybody wants to hear that.  

Totally
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 06, 2017, 03:23AM »

Maybe it's down to the destination of the student, and that could could be teaching jazz specifically. But there's also a danger that playing so outside on YouTube for example, that it could be counterproductive in the long term.
Someone looking for a trombone to add some overdubs or play commercial type gigs may bulk at this skill set, it may indicate too strongly about where the players true interests lie.

I'd be careful how you use this undoubted ability, and make sure that you're not neglecting the the more pluralistic skills that will get the paying gigs. (Should that be the aim.)
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 06, 2017, 04:41AM »

Nice stuff To be in the bag of tricks. But remember the listeners are paying the bill for this. If they can't walk away recalling some of the lines you played or Whistling some of the tunes they won't walk back a second time. Plenty of music out there requires zero intellect to appreciate or remember And that is what you're competing with like it or not.
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 06, 2017, 04:43AM »

Nice stuff To be in the bag of tricks. But remember the listeners are paying the bill for this. If they can't walk away recalling some of the lines you played or Whistling some of the tunes they won't walk back a second time. Plenty of music out there requires zero intellect to appreciate or remember And that is what you're competing with like it or not.

I would have walked out as well, but as an amateur on this Forum, I didn't want to be the first one to post this. However, now that others have, it's okay to agree.

...Geezer
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Max Acree
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2017, 05:11AM »

Nice stuff To be in the bag of tricks. But remember the listeners are paying the bill for this. If they can't walk away recalling some of the lines you played or Whistling some of the tunes they won't walk back a second time. Plenty of music out there requires zero intellect to appreciate or remember And that is what you're competing with like it or not.

 Just to make everything clear. I make my living as a jazz trombonist and improviser in Boston, and have for some years now. I am plenty aware of bills, the reality of making it as a musician and catching an audiences attention. It just seems like the problem is that you're not into this style to begin with. I was really posting to get feedback from people who have something valid to say about this style. Just saying "Oh well thats just a bag of tricks"  doesn't really accomplish anything or add anything to the discussion in my book, although I do totally believe you are totally justified and welcome to have the opinion.

 Remember my lines? I know plenty of people who can remember my lines. Like Jerry Bergonzi, or George Garzone, or Greg Hopkins or any of the dozens of world class musicians I have recorded and performed with over the years around the world who have asked me to play with their groups.  Your proposition of "keeping an audience" has really already been solved from my perspective or is solved for me before I even arrive to the performance, since a large part of what I do is largely being a soloist in a group lead by another person. As far as the Wallys gig (the gig that these recordings were made at), I've always had a pretty reasonable success with it. It is on Saturday which I think helps, but I've never really lost an audience and usually pack it in. To your credit, Wallys is a pretty cramped place in general haha. I think what we are forgetting though is that a lot of people that come to these types of gigs are musicians themselves who are willing to pay to listen and in general will have a better appreciation for the music.  Point is , someone listens to it and someone enjoys it , or else I wouldn't be in the position I am today!
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 06, 2017, 06:29AM »

Max,

Demographics, intelectual level, music taste and tradition can be very different from place to place. Of which I am sure you are aware of. If your public enjoys this style and you enjoy doing it - than you are a happy fellow.

Whether some virtually unknown guys on the internet approve it, is unsignificant.

Even if I was able to improvise like you, I wouldn't do it, as I will fail to communicate with drunken tourists, mostly russians, germans and turkish (who are basically my listeners) this way.

If I was playing in a NYC jazz venue, I would probably need a different approach, yours can be a possibility.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 06, 2017, 07:24AM »

.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #14 on: Feb 06, 2017, 07:29AM »

Hi Guys,

Some clips of my solo playing with my own group at a gig we do weekly at Wallys Jazz Cafe here in Boston. Ive also recorded a solo album with Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone in a group lead by Boston pianist Fernando Michelin that will be released this coming June. I was also a long time student of trombonist Hal Crook at Berklee who has influenced me a lot. Please feel free to give your thoughts. Thanks!

Max Acree


https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/vaapad
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/dont-mind-me
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/i-remember-you-wallys
https://soundcloud.com/maxwell-acree/solar-wallys


We did.

You never stated that if we didn't like it, to be tacit.

...Geezer
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 06, 2017, 08:08AM »

Max, I suppose the moral of this is, don't ask a question that you don't want to hear the answer to. But in fairness there's been favourable comments about your abilities, and you have a scene that's working for you, now. It may not always be that way, people move on, venues close, tastes change. The criticism that you've received may have been from older players, like myself, who don't get it.

I play the sort of music (professionally) of which the only complement is, "please don't think that we're not enjoying your music". Criticism is par for the course, and often the result of making a statement. Better to be criticised than simply ignored..
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 06, 2017, 08:47AM »

Max, I suppose the moral of this is, don't ask a question that you don't want to hear the answer to. But in fairness there's been favourable comments about your abilities, and you have scene that's working for you, now. It may not always be that way, people move on, venues close, tastes change. The criticism that you've received may have been from older players, like myself, who don't get it.

I play the sort of music (professionally) of which the only complement is, "please don't think that we're not enjoying your music". Criticism is par for the course, and often the result of making a statement. Better to be criticised than simply ignored..

+1

I feel I can open up more now. To be fair, there were many elements I liked. I thought your tone was terrific - except when you blasted directly into the mic. I thought your intonation was terrific. I thought your articulation was terrific. I admire your mastery of your chosen instrument and your equal mastery of music theory.

For some who fear to post selections of their playing - that is on them. Others have posted sound clips and have taken both the praise and the criticism.

...Geezer - one of the "Virtually Unknown Guys On The Internet"
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 06, 2017, 08:54AM »

...Geezer - one of the "Virtually Unknown Guys On The Internet"

Do not take that as an offence, that was not my intention  :/
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #18 on: Feb 06, 2017, 09:04AM »

Do not take that as an offence, that was not my intention  :/

I didn't. I knew at the time it was very tongue-in-cheek. Lol Sorry if it seemed like that comment rankled me. I couldn't resist a little poke. lol

...Geezer
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 06, 2017, 09:12AM »

Max, I think you sound great. You can come on my bandstand anytime. Seriously - if you're ever in OKC let me know. You'd fit right in.

I wouldn't worry about some guys not digging it (as I'm sure you don't). Some people don't like Duke Ellington either.
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