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The Arrested Development of the Jazz Standard


Adan

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Read and play through John Mehegan's books and get back to me.

 

I swear those books were a life changer for me in the early 70s. Mehgan's books were 2nd only to my study with Charlie Banacos to shaping my approach to jazz.

 

 

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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So now if you don't care for jazz, it's because you are somehow retarded (your mind isn't ready for it)?

 

I've heard a lot of elitist bullshit in my day, but missRT takes the cake.

Not dropping the gauntlet on you, Griff. This post is for any to whom it applies, because it's an easily misunderstood point. missRT's comments sound harsh, so... what if I said there was a time when I wasn't ready for jazz? That wouldn't make me "retarded", it just means I couldn't appreciate the music. So I admit it...

 

When I was 8 or 9 yrs old, a neighbor laid a Cannonball Adderley record on me. I listened closely but couldn't figure it out at all. Fast, harsh lines that didn't compute, a scratchy, unpleasant recording quality, etc. My thoughts were: music from another planet what are these people playing and why would they even want to?

 

Because of my age, I sensed that I "wasn't ready for it". I kept the record "for later" because it was so alien to me. (I knew something was there, and it bothered me not knowing what it was.) What I didn't do was outright dismiss it as crap or insult the neighbor's tastes because I didn't like it.

 

Then I played in rock, R&B, soul and blues bands before 'discovering' the greater freedom of less limited improvisation. Some of us who got into jazz feel like we discovered it for ourselves, after playing other music without full satisfaction. It's not a suddenly acquired taste, it's an evolving work in progress.

 

Much later on, I actually went back to that Cannonball record and realized how great it was. All the previous confusion finally made sense. I wasn't ready before, and I knew it wasn't MY fault. Even back then, there wasn't enough public exposure to jazz, so I had no reference point to understand the language. I felt like I had been deprived of this music by society. It's for that reason that I don't blame anyone for not liking something or not getting something, because I couldn't get it at first either.

 

Now about dissing genres: Most people on this forum don't go onto other music threads to trash them. All music styles have something good in them/all tastes are different. Dissing a genre because you don't like it and insulting musicians who play it comes across as a lack of understanding and etiquette. (Like walking into a room where everyone speaks a foreign language, not understanding or enjoying what's being said, and telling everyone else THEY'RE the ones not making sense.) Cursory exposure to a foreign language isn't enough to understand it or speak it... it takes time.

 

Music talk: I'm usually very general when I talk music since a lot of different people read here. Music goes beyond verbal expression anyway. Sometimes in music discussions, the verbalizing becomes the elephant in the room.

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So now if you don't care for jazz, it's because you are somehow retarded (your mind isn't ready for it)?

 

I've heard a lot of elitist bullshit in my day, but missRT takes the cake.

missRT's comments sound harsh, so... what if I said there was a time when I wasn't ready for jazz?

 

When I was 8 or 9 yrs old.....

 

Therein lies the difference, SK - it's perfectly understandable that, unless your name is Mozart,

 

an 8 or 9-yr-old kid isn't 'ready' to get jazz (or any other style of music, for that matter).

 

The problem with missRT is that he is not 'ready' to understand the way this forum works -

 

and the people who populate it.

 

He doesn't 'get it'.

 

A large percentage of the folks here have many years of experience in a wide

 

variety of music and associated arts (composing, arranging, producing, engineering etc etc) -

 

and discuss rationally their likes/dislikes, technical issues & so-on...

 

with a bit of humour thrown in for good measure.

 

Yet he seems to be on a one-man crusade to re-inforce many people's perception

 

that jazz is an exclusive club of elitists, and is talking as if we're all

 

a bunch of idiots who are not intellectual enough to understand him.

 

 

To paraphrase - "I'm up here, you're down there.

 

If you want to join me at the high table, tough.

 

You are not on my level of understanding, or open-minded enough,

 

so stay where you are amongst the riff-raff". (followed by patronising pat on the head)

 

"Now go back to the hole you crawled from".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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No, JpScoey, I guess it wasn't clear. It's not that simple - I first heard jazz at age 9. I didn't start to "get" jazz until I was 18. I thought by saying I was in a lot of bands during that period would indicate a passage of time.

 

So from age 9 until 18, I was working on other stuff, with no awareness of deeper improvisation. I was probably 23 before I went back to that BlueNote Cannonball record and could finally understand it, and that was my point.

 

I understand what you're saying about the posts, and I also saw where missRT made some insightful points too. I haven't followed every post in this thread, but I won't join in attacking him, nor do I need to defend him. He can do that himself if he wants.

 

What I can say is this is a distraction from some good discussion that occurred earlier. I know you felt a strong need to come in and voice disapproval of jazz. If the purpose of doing that was mainly in response to missRT's strong posting style, which may seem abrasive... he wasn't on the forum when you attacked jazz threads in the past with similar posts. I'm sure you realized that attacking a musical style would eventually elicit a strong response from someone. Nobody likes opinions to be forced on them from any direction.

 

I believe those are the facts, and truthfully, thanks for the cordial response to me. I respect any and everyone's tastes, even your dislike for jazz, so please try to respect others who like it. I can't discuss it further though - I could, but it isn't productive beyond this point.

 

 

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JpScoey I appreciate you not throwing out the baby with the bathwater and not judging/labeling all the jazzers on this forum by the haughty words of a few.

 

Plenty of people don't dig jazz. Plenty of great players that I know, and plenty of great people on this forum don't play jazz, aren't into jazz, jazz isn't their thing. It doesn't necessarily mean that they don't 'get' jazz. No big thing.

 

I especially know quite a few Brits that don't really love jazz. All my friends from my days living in Scotland don't like jazz. The great novelist Ian Rankine admits to not really liking jazz, even though he writes that his character Rebus does. And in the movie 'The Commitments', when the sax player starts to play a bop line in his improvisation, the rest of the band gives him a dirty look and calls it 'musical wanking'. Maybe it's the fact that jazz is American music and to all other places it is an import that causes this.

 

Either way, if you don't like jazz, all good. But SK has a point, why constantly comment on jazz threads if it's not your thing?

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

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No, JpScoey, I guess it wasn't clear. It's not that simple - I first heard jazz at age 9. I didn't start to "get" jazz until I was 18. I thought by saying I was in a lot of bands during that period would indicate a passage of time.

 

So from age 9 until 18, I was working on other stuff, with no awareness of deeper improvisation. I was probably 23 before I went back to that BlueNote Cannonball record and could finally understand it, and that was my point.

 

I understand what you're saying about the posts, and I also saw where missRT made some insightful points too. I haven't followed every post in this thread, but I won't join in attacking him, nor do I need to defend him. He can do that himself if he wants.

 

What I can say is this is a distraction from some good discussion that occurred earlier. I know you felt a strong need to come in and voice disapproval of jazz. If the purpose of doing that was mainly in response to missRT's strong posting style, which may seem abrasive... he wasn't on the forum when you attacked jazz threads in the past with similar posts. I'm sure you realized that attacking a musical style would eventually elicit a strong response from someone. Nobody likes opinions to be forced on them from any direction.

 

I believe those are the facts, and truthfully, thanks for the cordial response to me. I respect any and everyone's tastes, even your dislike for jazz, so please try to respect others who like it. I can't discuss it further though - I could, but it isn't productive beyond this point.

 

 

You are offering an explanation which is rooted in the idea that a mind that has not developed even fundamental cognitive reasoning skills (8 or 9 years old all the way through 22 years old) cannot understand jazz.

 

Except the people on this forum aren't 8, or 9, or even 22 years old, and to suggest that they somehow do not possess the cognitive reasoning skills necessary to get jazz is to suggest that they are mentally retarded (i.e. they have cognitive reasoning skills of someone much younger than they are).

 

So your excusing of MissRT's statement really doesn't excuse it, nor does it make my interpretation of it less valid. Quite the contrary, your anecdote reinforces the suggestion that MissRT believes anyone who does not like jazz is mentally retarded (unless they are under the age of 23)

 

I was listening to abstract rock like Zappa, King Crimson, and Mr. Bungle at age 18. I was mildly interested in jazz at that point, predominantly stuff also of the abstract vein, because I found it challenging to my musical mind. I have no interest whatsoever in big-band style jazz, although I can appreciate the musicianship involved. I used to own a couple of Louis Armstrong records, including the live European double-record. I was really excited when I first picked them up, but after a few listens I found myself being bored by the style, despite my fascination with his skill level.

 

I "get" jazz, I just don't care for it. For someone to tell me haughtily on a forum that if I don't like it, then my "mind isn't ready" - i.e. I'm mentally retarded - I do very much take offense to such an outrageous assertion.

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I "get" jazz, I just don't care for it. For someone to tell me haughtily on a forum that if I don't like it, then my "mind isn't ready" - i.e. I'm mentally retarded - I do very much take offense to such an outrageous assertion.

 

And THAT was MY point. It ain't for everyone. You can get it. You can respect it, you can think what you will of it, but it doesn't have to be your thing. Just like any music. Just because somebody doesn't like jazz doesn't mean that he or she lacks the ability to 'understand' it or get it.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Why play one note, when 30 will do ?

 

One of the many reasons jazz does absolutely nothing for me.

 

Seriously guys, is this JpScoey quote that is causing all the stir?

 

I don't see anything inflammatory here. Not that John needs anyone to come to his aid, but there's nothing here to suggest that he is bad mouthing jazz. He simply states that it does absolutely nothing for him. Fair enough. He certainly didn't take the low road like another poster that is widely on "ignore" by many, because of his blatant anti-jazz bias.

 

All in all, he's a pretty balanced fellow and frankly his response to the suggestion that "his mind wasn't ready to understand jazz" was reasonable.

 

Any attempt to paint either side of this with a broad brush is going to rankle someone. I got jazz at an early age and started playing it at 10. So what? Someone else got it at 23. Some never get it, but NOT because they're not smart enough, but because it simply doesn't speak to them.

 

Example: My oldest and dearest friend is a drummer. He's a killer first call session and pit player, well versed in all styles and is a pocket and groove machine if there ever was one. He can play most jazz styles with a greater competency than many "so called jazz drummers', but he hates playing it. He has so much respect for Elvin Jones or Tony Williams, as players, but gets no enjoyment from listening to them, or playing in that style.

 

Try as I may to "enlighten him" (and I'm being tongue in cheek here) and bring him into the light (and he's been a willing listener) but after 36 years of trying, I've simply acquiesced and accept that he doesn't dig it the way I do.

 

Is his primitive drummer's brain just not ready to understand jazz? Not even close. He chooses to reject it on his own personal musical aesthetic.

 

The longest running joke we have is I continue to give him jazz vinyl for christmas every year and he responds by giving me KISS memorabilia. Ahhhh, good times, good times!!

 

 

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Meisenhower, good post. Jpscoey's comments were minor, and if that's all there was to it, I'd ignore it too - but there's been a long pattern of comments over several jazz threads. For some reason, some guys start fights in jazz discussions.

 

Griff, for the record, in no way did I think anyone who doesn't get a certain style of music is "retarded" - I can't even imagine implying such a thing. "Retarded" is your word, and missRT can explain for himself what he meant. I can't even think in those terms. If that's what missRT was saying, then of course I disagree with it. I didn't read everything said - I don't have time to go through this whole thread.

 

I didn't come in to defend missRT. I was trying to stop the OT disruptions. My story was just to say there can be different reasons why people don't get something, and besides that, I don't care if someone doesn't get something.

 

The main thing is, if the disruption hadn't occurred, none of this would have happened. missRT was apparently reacting to an attack on a jazz discussion, and now these disrupting posts have pushed it past the point of derailment. End result - a good thread turned into a waste of time. That's happened so many times on the forum, I tried to stop another good thread from being ruined. My mistake.

 

 

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I wasn't applying missRT's assertions to you, SK, just pointing out that your attempt to explain the position merely reinforced my interpretation of her statement.
missRT has previously explained that his username means he misses Richard Tee. You're not the first to interpret the "miss" incorrectly.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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You're still predicating "getting" it on "liking" it. This is your fallacy.

 

I "get" Louis Armstrong just fine. I completely understand what he's doing, and I respect his playing ability. I just don't particularly like the style of music. It's not fun for me to listen to it for extended periods of time.

 

Lots of people around here don't like John Petrucci (guitarist, Dream Theater). Doesn't mean they don't "get" the kind of music he plays, or that they don't respect his technical abilities or his musicianship. It just means it's not their bag.

 

Why is it that you seem to feel compelled to equate "liking" a style of music with "understanding" that style of music?

 

This is what is so offensive about your position.

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I find it funny that I, a person who grew up on rock and roll, back when AOR radio meant something, who even at times had a distaste for Stairway to Heaven for being too sappy, enjoy listening to and playing old standards. I've grown quite a fondness for melody. Even though my jazz improv skills are pretty rudimentary, I really enjoy playing around with these old tunes. As I hinted before with my post about Trio of OZ, I also enjoy where people are finding melody in current tunes, D-Bon be damned. ;):D

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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As I hinted before with my post about Trio of OZ, I also enjoy where people are finding melody in current tunes, D-Bon be damned. ;):D

I didn't say there isn't melody there. I said what they're doing is fucking boring. :D

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I don't know a lot about what Oz is doing, they sound pretty good to me. But how can Rachel Z and Omar Hakim playing together be boring?

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Okay I listened to more Oz and I notice myself maybe becoming a little too conscious of their technique rather than what they are expressing. I don't know...

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Yes, I got bored too after a minute or two.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Do you think the boredom is due to the band or the material?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I didn't know Trio of Oz. Sounded good. I just listened to a couple of tracks. Though nothing stood out to me. Maybe the material.

 

I am a fan of Joanne Brackeen, RachelZ's teacher.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I think it's not the material. It's more the purely technical playing, it's not melodic enough in my opinion. That's why Rachel Z, that's who we are talking about, is not as famous as a Mehldau or a Hiromi.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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I am a fan of Joanne Brackeen, RachelZ's teacher.

 

There's a big difference in style and approach there: a vast jazz player vs a fusion player with chops.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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I didn't get enough of a sampling here in any case. The material I clicked on wasn't that interesting to begin with.

 

There's so many jazz players with chops here in L.A. that don't get attention and I think it's because they don't have anything that stands out.

 

Mehldau has figured out a niche at least and his music is recognizble instantly. Whereas many just play bebop and nothing makes them unique. They have the chops like I said, but there's no 'branding'.

 

I don't consider Hiromi, personally, to be as musically comprehensive but with her chops and unique music, she's managed to carve out a good brand. And having seen her play live, there's so much energy in the performance that I really had a good time.

 

 

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I have annoyed many here.

Perhaps these words maybe will lift some misunderstanding. It does not please me to annoy people.

 

I speak from my long experience - I seemed to have been offensive because there APPEARS to be less give and take with my posts. I am accused of "me me me" attitudes in my approach here. That charge HAS some truth, but is overdone- cut me some slack, by reading on, please.

That is due to a few reasons

I feel I am more of an old school type guide to jazz than a student- at least in this forum. I am sorry, but I do not feel all men are created equally in terms of grasp of a subject like eg jazz music- if you hate that attitude, then we are at an impasse, regretablly.

Because of my posting style, the contents of my ideas get derailed into "who do I think I am" type of thing. I just admitted my bias, ok? So a vicious cycle is going on here, that COULD be broken IF the content of my words were addressed.

I was accused of talking about me.. well, I am being attacked, so I bother to explain "me" a bit, and I guess that will open me to the charge of " missRT is an egomaniac ". It can all be stopped IF we discuss my unusual controversial ideas, themselves, not ME.

Please attack, if you must, the idea, not the member expressing it.

 

The big idea that started "the fire" in this thread was about my odd concept of "getting it".

My concept of "getting" music, is at odds with most musicians, I suspect.

But that does not cause me to feel I am wrong. Let's DISCUSS it civilly please?

 

I can only go by my experience I used to not like a famous artist, then I suddenly "got it". I heard the same notes, tones, phrases rhythms before, but suddenly something clicks that I cannot explain.. I call that "getting it". It was not intellectual understanding, but an x factor, I call gettimg it. I am sure there is a better descriptive for it.

 

But NOT getting it, in no way shape form suggests retardation nor inferiority. I never said this, nor thought it, nor believe it.

I am perhaps a little elitist I suppose, but only a little. And if each of you are honest don't you feel a little superior in your knowledge, no, never? Ok fine!

Eg, I do NOT get Mozart.. I KNOW he is a giant, no doubt. I also know that someday, Moazrt will hit me like a ton of bricks. It's not understanding in my opinon... maybe it comes donw to semantics- but understanding seems too intellectual... and getting it, is almost a spiritual transformative experience.

 

I don't care if people like jazz or rock or classical or reggae or funk.. I am only slightly puffed up about my musicalness not enough to put anyone who is a musician and tries to improve, down with the disgusting word "retarded".

I was nearly forced to define myself, so please don't attack me saying I am talking about myself.. what I wish to discuss is musical ideas, principles, not personalities!

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Perhaps there is a better word phrasing, maybe you could say "connecting with it" rather than "getting it".

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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You don't dig Mozart? I could understand if you said you don't dig Wagner, Brahms or Tchaikovsky, but Mozart? I believe Mozart wrote some of the greatest music ever.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find over 750 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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