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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformancePerformance(Moderator: BGuttman) Why Do Jazz Artists Always Play The Same Old Stuff?
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #140 on: Mar 10, 2017, 02:45PM »

Thank you. Worth delving into.

...Geezer

Thank you. Worth delving into.

...Geezer
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ddickerson

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« Reply #141 on: Mar 10, 2017, 03:52PM »

Okay. That's actually the best guidance I've seen yet on this particular art form. So I can go through a typical "how to" book and mark in the root tones for all the listed chords, even though I guess the root tones are pretty much self-evident. It will still give me a written place in which to "walk".

I wonder if there any merit in playing a "walking" trombone part as fond in "trad jazz" as a bass line for a pop "_____" arrangement.

Thanks!

...Geezer

You can if you want to. It's all a matter of taste. I would say that in Bebop the role of the trombone is not as rigid as in Trad, so you have more freedom. (Ensemble playing or playing the head)

Finding counter point lines that connect the chords is another technique when not doing the root line in ensemble playing.

For instance:

I've Found a New Baby - Key of F

Chord progression for the A,A section only:

|dm7///|em7/A7/|dm7///|D7/// |
|G7/// |C7///  |FM7///|em7///|
dm7/// |em7/A7/|dm7///|D7/// |
G7///  |C7///  |FM7///|fm7///|

The counter point line connecting the chords (at least one version):
|F ----|E------|D-----|C-----|
B------|Bb-----|A-----|G-----|
|F ----|E------|D-----|C-----|
B------|Bb-----|A-----|You can choose F,A,C,or E, whatever you like sounds best|

This is a very simple illustration, not anything spectacular.

 

 
 
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Pre59

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« Reply #142 on: Mar 11, 2017, 12:56AM »

It's worth getting to know about "Fewest notes least movement or FNLM", which is 3rds becoming Dom 7th, Dom 7th becoming 3ds, as in Sweet Georgia Brown. I don't know if this taught now.
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sabutin

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« Reply #143 on: Mar 11, 2017, 05:19AM »

I have watched this thread for quite a while, hoping that someone would say something that made some real sense. Today I have given up waiting.

Title question: Why Do Jazz Artists Always Play The Same Old Stuff?

Title answer: If they are playing the same old stuff, they are not jazz "artists."

End of story.

S.
P.S. And..if you think that they are "jazz artists"...those people who you think are truly playing the same old stuff...then you either don't understand the difference between an artist and an imitator or you have no idea what "jazz" is.

End of postscript.

P.P.S. Eyewitness account, early '60s: Charles Mingus in Ithaca after a concert at Cornell to a young fan from the music school at Ithaca College:

Mingus: Do you play jazz?

Student: Yes.

Mingus (loudly): NO, YOU DON'T!!!

P.P.P.S. That student...no, it wasn't me...had his life changed by that confrontation and eventually became a truly wonderful player and teacher.

P.P.P.P.S. There are people...real artists, real creators...in NYC who have chosen to make "art"...to be truly creative...in some very old jazz idioms. There are others who do the same sort of thing in the mainstream/bebop/standards styles, and of course others who have grown through the John Coltrane/Miles Davis/Wayne Sorter-dominated "avant garde" to create their own styles. And there are also (regrettably) any number of players who are playing totally new music that is...quite objectively speaking...terrible!!!

i offer a Zen koan that goes to the heart of this common misconception about "new" and "old," style and content.

Quote
What are you drinking, the cup or the water?

Think on it.
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Pre59

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« Reply #144 on: Mar 11, 2017, 07:24AM »


Title question: Why Do Jazz Artists Always Play The Same Old Stuff?

Title answer: If they are playing the same old stuff, they are not jazz "artists."

There are people...real artists, real creators...in NYC who have chosen to make "art"...to be truly creative...in some very old jazz idioms.

Sabutin, could clarify this?
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sabutin

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« Reply #145 on: Mar 11, 2017, 08:47AM »


Quote
Title question: Why Do Jazz Artists Always Play The Same Old Stuff?

Title answer: If they are playing the same old stuff, they are not jazz "artists."

There are people...real artists, real creators...in NYC who have chosen to make "art"...to be truly creative...in some very old jazz idioms.
Sabutin, could clarify this?

I am not sure. How do you mean, exactly? I'll give it a try, though.

If someone is playing say an arrangement of a Louis Armstrong or Fletcher Henderson piece, being true to the idiom in which they were originally played and yet playing something "new"...something from their own heart, not just a bunch of cobbled-together, stolen licks...then they are making art as far as I am concerned.

"Art" doesn't have to be new to be art. If it was, there would be no reason to play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and all of the other grandmasters of the Western European concert tradition. Denis Brain playing the Mozart Horn Concerti or Jascha Heifetz playing anything are "art." So is the great Northern Indian musicians playing centuries-old idioms, just for one example.

Ditto with jazz.

I understand the complaint...the so-called "jazz industry" is making recordings of third-rate imitators and then flogging them out there on their so-called "jazz" radio stations and in their mags/websites to be used as background music in automobiles and dining establishments. Anybody who can do a barely passable Miles Davis imitation can get nationwide coverage if he or she is in some other way "identifiable." A haircut, an outfit and a bunch of nonsense about their "art" is all it takes. Meanwhile, honest musicians continue their quest. Get outta your house and away from your digital media...they're all over the place. Where do you live?

S.

P.S. I see you live in the UK. I can't speak for the UK, but in the U.S. real, creative jazz musicians are all over the place. Not just in the big cities, either. They are teaching at universities, working at other jobs, teaching at pre-university levels. They are simply not being hyped, mostly because they don't want to waste the time and make the compromises that said hype requires.

Probably something quite similar is going on in the UK...
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #146 on: Mar 11, 2017, 09:52AM »

Sam,

Imagine this scenario. Say there is an elderly acclaimed musician who is all but retired; only taking an occasional gig - more for the social outlet than anything - or to give some others some work. Say he has stopped accepting or otherwise making up arrangements on popular tunes for the past - oh - 15 years or so. He has an immense rep of music from the 40's on through the mid-80's or so. In a gig, he will perform those same old songs. And yet, you really don't know what is going to come out of his instrument because he will play what he feels in the given song in the moment. Tomorrow, it will most likely be different. Is he an artist? By your statements, I would say a resounding YES!

That's a different take on my original question. But I think it's a very keen point.

Thanks,

...Geezer
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Pre59

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« Reply #147 on: Mar 11, 2017, 12:31PM »

I am not sure. How do you mean, exactly? I'll give it a try, though.

If someone is playing say an arrangement of a Louis Armstrong or Fletcher Henderson piece, being true to the idiom in which they were originally played and yet playing something "new"...something from their own heart, not just a bunch of cobbled-together, stolen licks...then they are making art as far as I am concerned.

"Art" doesn't have to be new to be art. If it was, there would be no reason to play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and all of the other grandmasters of the Western European concert tradition. Denis Brain playing the Mozart Horn Concerti or Jascha Heifetz playing anything are "art." So is the great Northern Indian musicians playing centuries-old idioms, just for one example.

Ditto with jazz.

I understand the complaint...the so-called "jazz industry" is making recordings of third-rate imitators and then flogging them out there on their so-called "jazz" radio stations and in their mags/websites to be used as background music in automobiles and dining establishments. Anybody who can do a barely passable Miles Davis imitation can get nationwide coverage if he or she is in some other way "identifiable." A haircut, an outfit and a bunch of nonsense about their "art" is all it takes. Meanwhile, honest musicians continue their quest. Get outta your house and away from your digital media...they're all over the place. Where do you live?

S.


Sam,

I can't disagree with any of this post, but it seem at odds with your previous one. There are many musicians I know who are serious about playing well but in a GASB and modern mainstream manner. Isn't jazz about owning your own voice? And isn't it contrived to play in a manner because you should. Been there on the Bass Gtr.

In a few days time I'll be arriving at UK retirement age, and looking back it's always paid me to have a skill set that could be seen as old fashioned. I now play in 2 regular bands where the guests are usually eating, i.e. hotel lunches and "canapé" music at weddings and family events. My role as I see it, is to support the other horn player, and I get as much solo space as anyone wish hope for, melodic and improvised. Very often if a request comes up from the floor, it's usually me that has to lead on it (by ear), while the rest of the band get the chords from their phones.

Am I an artist? More of craftsman some might say, but I'm always trying to play my best, and now even that I don't need to play gigs, I certainly don't intent to let my standard drop without a fight..
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« Reply #148 on: Mar 11, 2017, 12:51PM »

Back when Miles recorded 'Time After Time' (the Lauper song, not the Great American one), he caught some flak for playing a pop tune and pointed out that jazz players mostly played over pop tunes--just older ones.

But most people still play the older ones--either old pop and show tunes, or original jazz based on similar changes.

A couple of reasons for this:
1) The jazz vocabulary was set to this style of pop tune, and is to some extent set in amber by much of jazz instruction. At least at an early and intermediate level, people are taught to play scales over ii-V7-I progressions. This simply works better with older tunes.

2) The economics of music have changed to where there is less money and more unrehearsed bands. I've been on many gigs where the phrase 'It's time to introduce the band' meant to introduce them to one another. You're going to call "Autumn Leaves" and "Time After Time" (the Great American Song, not the Lauper one).

3) As Sam points out, there are people making real jazz that's fresh rather than imitative, but it's more challenging for listeners. It's easier to regurgitate a pre-chewed version of Miles, now that it's no longer surprising, than to ask people to be surprised again.

I don't think the distinction between the fresh stuff and the stale rests entirely on the material, anyway. I can listen to Ahmad Jamal take apart 'Wave' and put it back together again without feeling like I'm at a dinner dance. And as Pre59 said, I can enjoy the heck out of listening to people play the 'same old thing' as long as they play well, and as long as it doesn't sound like it's the 'same old thing' to them. Call it 'art' or call it 'craft', but skilled, inspired playing is still enjoyable.
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