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Can yesterday's jazz pianists make their mark today?


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There was time not long ago when there were many jazz pianists who learned their craft on the job like Red Garland, Horace Silver, Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly, and even Bud Powell. They're all my favorites just as much as today's greats. They swing and and all are master blues players.

 

Today's players play in unusual key signatures, are more complex with harmony, solo with both hands at same time, have flawless technique, etc...

 

I'm just wondering if we'll ever see the day where the more one dimensional players of the past will still crop up, get record deals from major labels and take back the day when jazz piano moved people's hearts in a more basic approach to swinging?

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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I think you'll see plenty of these more "one demensional" players (to use your description) come onto the scene or to continue doing what they are doing in that more traditional vein, but will record companies and critics pay attention to those players? Perhaps not ... Attention seems to be more focused on players who are evolving jazz beyond what you describe. My perception is that "accessible" jazz is the domain of singers. But hasn't it always been that way? When the players you mention were doing their thing back in the day, was it considered accessible, or "out there?"

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"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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I'm just wondering if we'll ever see the day where the more one dimensional players of the past will still crop up, get record deals from major labels. and take back the day when jazz piano moved people's hearts in a more basic approach to swinging?

I edited your question to better reflect the times, i.e., Brian Culbertson.

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If you think the old masters are "one dimensional", you're not listening closely enough.

 

However, we all have our tastes and certainly the styles of jazz in each decade are a little different so we may gravitate to some players more than others.

 

Heck, to me even the same players today sounded better when they were young. I listen to Herbie play Dolphin Dance in the original recording and the delicate melody he played then has not existed in newer versions to this day.

 

So I would actually say "additional dimensions" have been lost. Not added.

 

 

 

 

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Jazzwee,

 

I don't think Herbie is really one of the old masters, but is perhaps the first of the new breed. He had a formal musical education, played classical music, etc.

 

But I certainly agree with you about the way he played "Dolphin Dance".

 

 

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The Jazz scene in which yesterday's pianists came up was different. They had the support of clubs, venues, promoters, record companies, etc.

 

That was several decades ago. Since then, the audience for Jazz has been diluted by competition from other genres/styles and forms of entertainment.

 

Nowadays, with the information superhighway and mass media, musicians of all genres have to be creative in order to be heard let alone leave a mark. :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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If you think the old masters are "one dimensional", you're not listening closely enough.

 

However, we all have our tastes and certainly the styles of jazz in each decade are a little different so we may gravitate to some players more than others.

 

Heck, to me even the same players today sounded better when they were young. I listen to Herbie play Dolphin Dance in the original recording and the delicate melody he played then has not existed in newer versions to this day.

 

So I would actually say "additional dimensions" have been lost. Not added.

 

 

 

 

I agree

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!

 

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Jazzwee,

 

I don't think Herbie is really one of the old masters...

 

 

Have to disagree. Anyway lots of the "old masters" had classical training, this is nothing new. In fact, most of them had formal training. Jazz education is a relatively new thing and a different box of frogs. Herbie did not have the formal jazz education that say Brad Mehldau did for example, rather he learnt by listening to and playing with the greats...

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!

 

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Jazzwee,

 

I don't think Herbie is really one of the old masters, but is perhaps the first of the new breed. He had a formal musical education, played classical music, etc.

 

But I certainly agree with you about the way he played "Dolphin Dance".

 

 

You mean he's a young master? :)

 

On that definition, then Bill Evans would fall in the same category since he also did classical, which would be an interesting commentary since he would be a contemporary of Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, etc.

 

But I understand what you mean. I've been frequently hammered here by some because I prefer the "newer" masters to the older ones (i.e. Bill Evans and newer).

 

However, the OP was comparing to the current breed of Odd-Meter, Chop-masters of today. So on that basis, I presume it included all the big players in jazz to the 60's.

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

 

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Going back to the original post though, I was talking to my teacher about his making new records of standards and he says the record companies don't want it.

 

Unless you self-publish, you have to cater to what they want. So he did a fusion album instead for a recording company. Which is sad because the music should speak on its own merit. Whatever the jazz style is, if it's good, it's good.

 

So they ended up self-publishing a standards album. And lo and behold, it was a Grammy finalist. Just goes to show, the record companies don't always know.

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

 

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Keith Jarrett seems to release album after album of standards. That indicates that some record company people are not against standards.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."    Facebook Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

 

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If you think the old masters are "one dimensional", you're not listening closely enough.
I might of generalized that statement a little bit but I listen pretty closely to those guys I mentioned. As many new artists, like Brad, Keith, Chick (not Herbie) I always end up gravitating back to Red, Wynton, (always Herbie...) There is so damn much to learn from them. My favorite albums from the Brad clan are usually their first few. Take Brad for example. Give me Art of the trio one and Introducing BM. I have 5 or 6 after that, and except for listening to a few favorite tracks like Moon river, I don't find myself spending the time listening.

 

Lately, I've been overwhelmed with Brad's teacher - Fred Hersch. I've been listening to everything on Spotify of him.

 

I started this thread after watching the video of Basie and Oscar. It makes me think of how much music can be played with so few notes and so much space and with a living pallet of the blues.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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Fixed.

 

Keith Jarrett seems to release album after album of standards. That indicates that some record company people are not against standards Keith Jarrett.

 

Seriously, couldn't Keith Jarrett could like get an album of "Japanese Klezmer Hip Hop piano tone poems" released through his label if he really wanted to. ;)

 

Ahh, to have clout.

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Keith Jarrett seems to release album after album of standards. That indicates that some record company people are not against standards.

 

I would say that they're also "not against Jarrett", knowing the fact that he's still selling a lot. BTW, this company is ECM, one of the most (if not "the most") open minded record companies out there.

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