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Gonzalo Rubalcaba


kad

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I saw him with his trio 3-4 years ago, I went expecting to be blown away by his pyrotechnics, instead, I was deeply moved by the sensitivity and musicality. Amazing show, my wife loved it as well.

 

That's just how I felt when I saw him. Hey,as I type I've got Charlie Haden's Land of The Sun playing. GR doing Fuiste Tu at this moment at my house. Beautiful.

 

 

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Noah..

 

My wife read your post and said I can totally relate to what he's saying. It took a REALLY LONG time for her to "hear" it.

She said, I think it's an acquired taste. In her case more like..YOU WILL LIKE JAZZ, YOU WILL LIKE JAZZ...that was coming from me, haha.

She has heard or suffered through, depending on your point of view, over 30 yrs. of be-bop solos, runs, lines, penatonics, diminished clusters, innversions, tunes, uptempo blowing, ballads, bossas, Giant Steps, Moments Notice, Donna Lee, Confirmation...ETC!!!! And that's just me playing/practicing 4-6 hours a day. Oh yeah...this is excluding practicing the Chopin Etudes until you want to scream. She is a saint!

 

I don't listen to as much music these days as I did when I was coming up. In the day though, she could not get in the car with me without either one of my tapes (pre cd) or the local jazz radio station blasting away.

 

Typical conversation in the car or house..."Isn't it a beautiful day today? Aren't we so lucky to live out here?"...me...Shhhhsh!! Listen to Herbie's solo coming up, wow, check that out, unf..ingbelievable!

Yes dear, but could you turn it down a bit....Shhhh, wait...check this part out, listen to Wynton's comping behind Miles's solo, this is my favorite part, when Trane enters, Shhhsh, I'm missing it!....it's really an act God I'm still married.

It was literally playing 24-7 everywhere! It pretty much consumed my life.

 

She eventually started "kind of hearing it". Now, she appreciates it...that might be a good way to put it. If it gets too out she doesn't dig it.

 

I guess it shows why jazz has never really been that popular with most people. It's not for everyone.

You should give yourself credit though for putting forth the effort to understand the music.

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Is there any jazz pianist faster than Rubalcaba with the same level of clarity? McCoy was fast but a lot sloppier.

 Find 675 of my jazz piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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NoahZark, do you not like Vince Guaraldi? He's pretty friendly to listen to.

 Find 675 of my jazz piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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In fact, my reaction to jazz is much like my parents' reaction to heavy metal: It's just noise.

 

I can't hear melody. I can't hear song structure. I can't hear/feel emotion.

 

I just hear these crazy runs and lightning fast, complex chord progressions, and that's it.

If you haven't done so already, start with an artist i.e. Billy Holiday, Duke Ellington or Bill Evans and go from there. Off the top of my head, these folks come to mind especially in terms of song structure, emotion, etc.

 

All of which suggests to me that I simply lack a fundamental understanding of the art form itself (or that I am, in fact, a musical neanderthal despite my protestations to the contrary).

Nah man, you are not one of the "Children of the Damned". Jazz is an acquired taste for both listeners and musicians too. It has never gotten similar exposure as Pop music i.e. pounded into our heads. ;)

 

Anyway, I guess I'll go bang my head listening to some Iron Maiden. It may be far less intellectual than jazz, but that music speaks to me!

 

Peace to all my musical brothers,

Noah

Just because you mentioned it, now I'm gonna "Run to the Hills". :D:cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Ever seen this?

How to be a jazz snob

 

Hey Dan, you aren't really expecting us to read all that stuff, are you?! :):freak:

 

Btw, I hate jazz snobs. There's no correlation between being a genuine jazzer and being a snob. In fact, meeting one of those is one of the few things in life that gives me a feeling of physical violence. :evil:

 

 

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Thanks for the sympathetic ears, everyone. Off I go to hunt down some Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi. I may not have gotten there yet ("there" being an appreciation of the musicality of jazz music as opposed to the virtuosity of jazz musicians), but there's no sense in giving up! After all, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again . . .

 

Peace,

Noah

 

 

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How to get it? It's an exhilarating high speed chase... a downhill skier going faster than anybody has ever seen before...it's like driving a race car faster than the speed of sound...or a jet soaring straight up and out of earth's atmosphere...exciting stuff. All executed with amazing clarity and gracefulness.

 

Now go and transpose it!

 

pretty good description! you mean transcribe it?

 

 

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Is there any jazz pianist faster than Rubalcaba with the same level of clarity? McCoy was fast but a lot sloppier.

 

Well, there's Chucho Valdez, he's kind of in the same league

 

I don't like to only compare pianists on the basis of their speed and clarity, but it's one way to compare, for sure. McCoy created a unique style, and was an excellent foil for Coltrane, and was certainly no slouch in the speed/clarity department!

 

 

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Y'all bring up a fascinating topic. I've often wondered what jazz fans that aren't musicians "hear" when they listen to non-commercial jazz. And there are A LOT of them! It's completely beyond me. I can't imagine what attracts them other than the emotion of it, or perhaps the perceived "coolness" of the hype surrounding it. I liken it to wanting to surround yourself with people that speak Swahili for a few hours, and having no idea what they're saying; yet just enjoying the aesthetic "vibe" of it, I guess. I mean, if non-jazz playing musicians can't enjoy it, what the heck are non-musicians getting out of it?
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Tete was a monster as well. I loved his playing...loosely a cross between OP and Mcoy Tyner.

 

Unfortunately he passed away a few years back.

 

Matter of fact, he recorded a version of Giant Steps w/ Neils-Henning Orsted Pederson and Albert "Tootie" Heath. The title is simply "Tete!"

(Recorded in Copenhagen, 1974 LP Inner City IC2029...good luck finding this one)

Yes, Id describe him that way...I didnt know he passed...thats a great lp u have..

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Is there any jazz pianist faster than Rubalcaba with the same level of clarity? McCoy was fast but a lot sloppier.

 

McCoy is sloppy?

I really like a lot of the older McCoy stuff...I think his 1st lp is called Inception? Am I right on that? As a leader...Killer playing...I just cant find a cd of it anywhere...n I need one...

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I mean, if non-jazz playing musicians can't enjoy it, what the heck are non-musicians getting out of it?

 

Interesting question - I've often wondered that myself...

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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Yeah; y'know back when I used to tour a bit, I used to run into guys who are known as "jazz impresarios" and "jazz aficionados" that have never played an instrument in their lives, and yet have a devotion to the genre. I can't imagine what they're hearing....
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Here's my take on that....

A lot of the non-musician devotees of jazz are 50 maybe 60 and up.

When they were growing up, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, George Shearing, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Chet Baker, etc. were all a part of "popular" music landscape. Jazz clubs proliferated on college campuses as well as in most medium-large cities much more than today. You could go into a record store (what a concept) and see a Perry Como LP on Columbia right next to a Miles Davis record on the same label...they both might doing the same tune like "It Could Happen to You".

The music has simply been "a part of their lives" from a very young age. The "sh..t changed", as one older bebop drummer here in town used to say, "when those 4 mf'ers with the long hair came over from England".

Now that was a running joke around town among us younger guys, but in reality it really did change the scene.

 

When you do run into someone "younger" that's into it, more than likely they grew up listening to their parents play the stuff or

their parents might have been friends with a jazz musician.

 

Basically it mirrors my long time theory of we reap what we sow in this country as far as the arts are concerned.

Look at Europe and Japan, how many young people are into jazz and 20th century classical music as well as hip-hop.

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For perspective, rock music is to today's youth what jazz music was to those of us entering our middle age years. I can't relate at all to the new music; nor can they relate to rock... or jazz.

 

I was brought up on jazz, as my parents were into it in college and thus had an extended collection of 10" and 7" records (12" records were rare until the 60's). It is hard to know if I would be into it if I had not been exposed from the crib onwards.

 

McCoy is very sloppy. I prefer him in a big band context, as it mutes some of his repetitive aggressive playing. I saw him three times in Boston in the 80's, with a trio, and walked out after the first set each time as it was all the same intensity level and I had had my fill. But I love his big band material.

 

There;'s no reason to feel guilty about not liking a genre, but I think it is good to keep an open mind and ask yourself, as you have done, whether it is a matter of easing into it and exposure, to pick up the vocabulary so to speak. For me this was the case with country, which I now deeply admire and respect (though I still don't like to listen to it very long due to the relative monotony of allowable singing styles).

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There;'s no reason to feel guilty about not liking a genre, but I think it is good to keep an open mind and ask yourself, as you have done, whether it is a matter of easing into it and exposure, to pick up the vocabulary so to speak.

 

Or whether it really is like banging small nails into the sides of your temples.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Non musicians can hear the same notes that the musicians hear, it's not like Swahili. But I think that it takes a person with liberal "ears" (not bound by traditional forms) and fast tracking "ears" to keep up with and enjoy Rubacalba.

 Find 675 of my jazz piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Cnegrad - I think you are underestimating the power of the listeners. As Jazz+ said, they are hearing exactly the same notes that musicians hear. They are just accustomed to 'deep' listening experiences.

 

I think it would be tragic if all music of a certain depth could be only understood by musicians - don't you agree? Artists are there to commnicate something to an audience, not to other artists. Can you imagine if a painter would only paint for his colleagues?!

 

In jazz, in particular, there's a whole tradition behind it, and that's part of an even bigger slice of history; it's not based on void, or the lonely lucubrations of some individual. So it's easier for the audience to put what they're hearing in a known context. :)

 

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Both Cnegrad and Marino are right, and audiences are different in Europe and the US. Jazz is a universal language that anyone can enjoy on many levels, and a complex vocabulary that requires some effort from the listener. Communication is a two way street.

 

In Bill Evans' last interview in 1980, he said about 15% of the people "get it." He felt there would always be about 15% of the listening public who are willing to give some effort for deeper riches. I'd say it's less than 15% today in the US (an instant gratification society), but there are always people who appreciate it.

 

People will respond to the energy, creativity and virtuosity first, before they understand the language. So it's possible for anyone to enjoy something about it, once they get the chance to hear to it.

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Jazz+ and Carlo,

 

(I'm not fighting with you here; I'm just exploring this "non-musician-listener-experience" with you.)

 

Jazz+ and Carlo said:

Non musicians can hear the same notes that the musicians hear, it's not like Swahili.

I respectfully disagree. I can listen to a soloist and hear all the choices that he makes with regards to his choices in altered chord tones, substitutions, etc, and a non-musician cannot. In a case like this, I can "speak the language", and the non-musician can't. He may be touched by how emotional or energetic the solo is, but if he doesn't "speak the language", then his experience is very different than mine. Not necessarily better or worse, but very different, and that's intriguing to me.

 

Carlo said:

Cnegrad - I think you are underestimating the power of the listeners.

Perhaps, I really don't know. We'll never know the true answer, since we can't put ourselves in the place of the non-musician-listener or vice versa. On it's most simplistic level yes, they are hearing the same notes that we are. But I think that from the moment that the notes are played, that there's a BIG fork in the road from that point on. Let me elaborate:

 

When I hear a progressive non-commercial jazz soloist (for example, let's say Mike Brecker) really pushing the envelope, I'm automatically (without any conscious effort) hearing his solo as it relates to the chord changes that he's playing over, the possible harmonic implications of his note choices, his rhythmic choices and superimpositions, any harmonic substitutions that he creates with his lines, how those substitutions resolve themselves back to the original changes, his emotional content, the overall "story" that he's telling, the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic alterations that he makes as a result of his give-and-take with the rest of the band, and more. Now again, this is NOT a conscious analysis on my part. I'm not thinking about all the rules that I learned in school and deconstructing his solo in a clinical way. When I listen to a soloist, I just hear all this stuff instantaneously in my head. To the experienced jazzers reading this: Do you experience the same thing when you listen? I'd really like to know.

 

What does the non-musician-listener hear?

 

SK said:

People will respond to the energy, creativity and virtuosity first, before they understand the language.

Good points! An emotional solo will always connect with most listeners; no question about it. But let's explore the implications of the non-musician's criteria with regards to creativity and virtuosity. If the non-musician listener doesn't comprehend the aforementioned components of what the soloist is communicating to the extent that I do, upon what criteria is he making a judgment on how creative a soloist is, (unless the soloist is making a point of keeping it really simple)? If a non-musician is watching a virtuoso soloist playing blazing fast on his instrument, how can he determine quality from "wanking off"? At one time or another (even when referring to Gonzalo in this thread), so many of you have expressed how those who play blazingly fast don't "speak" to them. How many threads have said, "it's just showing off", or "just because he can, doesn't mean he should", and things of that nature? Just because Eddie van Halen popularized fast triadic hammer-ons doesn't make it a virtuosic performance. No matter how fast he plays it it's just a simple three note arpeggiated triad, and nothing more. If you play the exact same notes on the keyboard, does it have any real musical depth, or is it still just a fast triad arpeggiation? How can the non-musician make that distinction? Or is he just blown away with "impressive" flash and pyrotechnics, regardless of content?

 

So that's why I make my "Swahili analogy". The non-musician listener and I may be hearing the same notes in the same jazz club, but I think that the shared experience ends there. I think that what we get out of it are two very different things, and given that the beauty and complexity of what a soloist plays is so remarkable, I really can't comprehend what a non-musician gets out of the same solo. Maybe color-blindness might work as a similar analogy. Two people looking at the very same thing, and using very different criteria in their decision making processes.

 

And in this very thread we have actual musicians of varying levels listening to an incredible monster of a musician in Gonzalo, and even amongst musicians there is a disagreement as to whether this is quality music or not. It's a fascinating thing...

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I love this. Listen to GR's touch,how he handles melody, then where he places time, and then consider the harmony. Damn, that's efficient playin'. Must be nice sittin' up there all handsome Latin lover looking and dressed with a keen sense of fashion and that in touch.

solamente

 

 

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It was like hearing someone play the Chopin op. 10 #4 C#m Etude at 175=quarter note.

175? Try this... :D

 

 

Carlo, this Richter's Chopin is absurd!!! It's way faster than Pollini's (wich, IMO, is rhe reference to Chopin's etudes)

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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cnegrad,

 

Why does a non-muso have to evaluate a performance based on any preset/learned criteria at all?

Do I need to be an eonologist to enjoy a glass of wine?

I think my head would explode if I ran a performance I was watching through all your filters.

 

When you remove the space between the notes, the ears don't breathe.

There's plenty of wanking going on in jazz, or if you prefer, 'showboating'

Pretty much every act I've ever seen does it at some point during the night.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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This is a very interesting discussion...

 

I "get" what Gonzalo is doing in the Giant Steps video, and it is very musical to me (that sure as hell doesn't mean I can DO what he's doing :freak:). As a musician I also get what, say, Brian Wilson is doing in "Caroline No" with respect to chord progression, melodic flow, etc. The difference is that I would still love Caroline No if I were not a musician. I doubt the same is true for the Gonzalo performance. With that in mind, I understand where Mark is coming from...

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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cnegrad,

 

Why does a non-muso have to evaluate a performance based on any preset/learned criteria at all?

 

Dan,

 

We all use criteria, whether it's conscious or unconscious. When you walk out of a movie theatre, and I ask you whether you liked it or not, you make your decision based on your own personal criteria.

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