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OT Jazz education by former bass player w Bill Evans


I-missRichardTee

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I hope it is acceptable to put the article here, DB?

 

AN UNPOPULAR PERSPECTIVE ON JAZZ EDUCATION

Monday, 13 January 2014 08:43

"Over the years, as I have assumed the role of Jazz Educator, both within and outside of institutions of higher learning, I have often been approached by students seeking help along the path of learning to be a jazz musician. In order to understand the students direction and to gain some perspective about the background that stimulates their desire, I have learned to ask a revealing question. Who is your favorite musician?

 

It is remarkable that more often than not, I get no clear answer. There is sometimes a period of uncomfortable silence broken by occasional throat clearing noises, while the prospective student searches for a name or perhaps tries to guess what name might create the most effective impression. Sometimes an embarrassed silence yields nothing and occasionally there is an equally uncommitted claim to have listened to and liked everything.

 

How different this is from the response one might expect from a budding athlete. Can you imagine similar vagueness and evasion from a budding young ballplayer? Well, gee I just like the game. What game? Whose game? The game as played by your school contemporaries; by some older players in your neighborhood; by the local semi-pro team; by a major league team; by players or a particular player of a major league team? Have you seen that player on television; in person? How does that player hold the bat; run; throw; catch; pitch? What characteristics make up that players style and what about that style attracts your attention?

 

These would seem a straightforward and simple series of questions for any ambitious young athlete to answer and could, with appropriate modifications of course, be applied to any sport. The ability to answer such questions easily would seem to provide a minimum standard by which to establish a young athletes genuine interest in the pursuit of a chosen sport.

 

How then, are we to assess the student musicians inability to answer? Perhaps the students desire comes from an idea of the potential pleasures of performing with and for other people, with the attendant rewards of attention and shared activity. These are certainly worthwhile values and have served as a part of the motivation of many artists. But this is a broad image which is insufficiently concrete to serve as a focus for attainment. There is no clear place to begin and the mentor is reduced to helping the applicant to find something to love. Get a model. Find a prototype. Without this there is no image and no passion.

 

A poor model is better than none. The budding saxophone player whose listening experience is so under developed that Kenny Gorelick can be a hero, can be expected to trade Kenny in for some reasonably sophisticated model as listening experience deepens. Get a grip, any grip; then move on to a firmer one.

 

This acquisition of personal prototypes is an essential first step in the learning process. Without it, there is no foundation on which to build technique. A student can only be helped to learn to emulate an art for which the student has a clearly held image. Attempts to assimilate a more abstract process of technical practice without a sufficiently ingrained model are likely to prove frustrating, if not futile. Imitation is primary. The more highly developed the model and the more exact the imitation, the more successful will be the results.

 

In general, jazz educators tend to underestimate the length of time that needs to be spent in imitation order for a student to assimilate traditional techniques. It is an intuitive process of incorporation; literally putting it into the body. This requires admitting music in through intense listening and a long process of practice and comparison until what comes out of the student begins to resemble what has gone in. Outside guidance in this activity can be helpful, but it is essentially the students intuition which must propel and energize it.

 

There are some cultures in which this process of unabashed imitation is traditionally carried on for 20 or 30 years before an artist is encouraged to attempt a conscious effort at a more personal expression. This would be excessive in the training of a jazz musician but interestingly, personal expression will emerge unbidden and of its own volition in all but the most exceptional cases of great talent for mimicry.

 

Excessive reverence for the romantic illusion of original thought is the most fraudulent and destructive element in the institutionalized process of jazz education. Students are encouraged, sometimes even forced to engage in a frenzied real time search for what to play, resulting in frustration for the student and the audience. The usual result is awful gibberish which ought to be embarrassing to all parties but which seems to be not only condoned but encouraged by those jazz educators who misunderstand the process of improvisation.

 

Under prepared students are rewarded for incoherent public attempts at improvisation at officially sanctioned contests and festivals with the result that the students are reinforced in the expression of anxiety and insecurity. Memorization of solo passages is discouraged by unwise educators who never heard or realized how often the appropriate solos were repeated by Ellington band members in successive performances of his compositions. Members of the audience have no way of knowing whether or not a solo is improvised or memorized, they only know if it sounds good or not and thats the only thing that should matter to them.

 

It is not only unimportant that the selection of notes and patterns in a given improvised solo passage be new, it borders on the impossible. What is essential is that in the performance of controlled and familiar passages, an emotional process of rediscovery of the beauty and excitement inherent in the performers experience of that music communicates itself to the audience, imbuing the music with those spontaneous elements of expression that give it its life and breath. This vitality bears no relation to the frantic groping that passes for most beginning jazz solos, which communicate only the sense that the performer is careening out of control. Being on the edge is exciting only when one rarely goes over it.

 

Students need to be taught to listen to how great jazz musicians perform their improvisations before their attention is directed at the improvisers choices ofwhat to play. What to play needs to be a given so that the anxiety created by the challenge of that more sophisticated element of the creative process is temporarily removed. Then the young musician can focus on developing reliable performance habits which will not be disturbed by the additional problems involved in selecting what to play. This part of the learning curve is necessarily a long one and ignoring or underestimating it can lead to discouraging and sometimes disastrous results.

 

There is a well known and successful classical instrumentalist whose performances of Mozart, Schubert, Weber and Bartok rank among the best, but who loses control of those elements that give his music its communicative beauty when he performs what he considers to be jazz. He becomes so preoccupied with the under prepared process of selecting appropriate things to play that there is no room in his otherwise sensitive musical consciousness for dealing with the elements of beautiful jazz interpretation and performance values. Even his normally liquid and expressive sound becomes unrelentingly strident and strained as he relinquishes control of it in his anxiety ridden effort to find what to play. No other explanation justifies the difference in the quality of performance of such a fine musician in jazz and classical music. It can only be attributed to an inability to deal with the selection of un-predetermined passages.

 

All this suggests that the problems of note selection be minimized in the early stages of learning to improvise. In this way, deeply ingrained performance habits can be developed which will withstand the added strain of the real time problem of choosing what to play. A separation of elements may be necessary in order to gain control of all that must eventually be integrated into the highest level of the improvisers art. Nothing is so well prepared as a great spontaneous performance."

 

Chuck Israels

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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Having read this, John, you would be the greatest advocate in California of students learning music theory (tools of analysis), playing scales, chords, arpeggios, studying articulation and control exercises, aural training, lab bands, etc etc, wouldn't you?

 

By the way, did you ever catch up with Bob Florence, playing with a guitarist and drummer in Los Angeles area, about 2005. Very interesting musician, Bob: he would help anybody, and he was genuine class.

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I sadly have a jaded view of students having the correct attitude towards the objective aspects of music. As a "kid" , I would fight it a bit ( with my teachers )BUT I would listen. Something deeper within me knew when they made statements about

eg this chord progression is weaker than this one.. it peeked my interest.

eg parallel fifths and octaves is another one

It is sad to me that students do not take early counterpoint seriously, thinking that's old fashioned. Big mistake.

What the little I did with counterpoint ( I never stuck with it, and miss it actually ) did for me, amazes me in retrospect. it sensitizes one to the notes you choose.

All of those many many restrictions, turn out to HELP one make distinctions about note choices, one would not likely unveil had they not been very willing to take on the so called restrictions. HAving a great teacher who embodied the thing he taught was invaluable.. I would take 30 45 minutes to write something. and he would IMPROVE it in a minute or two. THAT blows my mind.

I miss my counterpoint lol

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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I think Chuck's article is spot on with everything except perhaps his instance of a prototype, hero. I had favorites but not one single guy I idolized ....... well maybe Oscar I guess. It was a toss up between Bill Evans and Oscar. Later it was Tatum.

 

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Thanks CEB I thought the have an idol idea, was his point. Maybe I am missing it. I had an idol, and this creates the interest fueled by emotion, to propel one to do the hard mental physical concentration to mimic the idol. It is the imitative stage. I think he believes people should remain in that stage longer.

Late for a gig.. Thanks Trapper and CEB.

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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He is definitly right about staying in the mimic phase longer. Not just music but in the education process in general, promoting your students to become free thinkers when they are NOT well grounded in fundemental elements and principles is a mistake..... IMO.

 

You have to know the principles before you can learn how not to be bound by them.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I hated the mimic phase. I did a good amount of it early and I didn't feel like I was learning. Sometimes you have to fail, and fail often to really learn.

 

Like gigs. I've sounded bad at so many gigs in the past that after listening to each recording and changing something each time, I'm actually improving. But it's in the failure that I learn.

 

Why is Israels afraid for people to fail?

 

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

 

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Jazzwee Are you now projecting your thinking onto Chuck? I do not know what Israels fears with a student!

I just think there is a tradition of Master apprentice, that is missing in education lately.

 

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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Too much failure makes people give up.

 

Having one hero is just having a point of steadiness, a North Star, and "you" should limit yourself to one focus, for analysis and learning, before trying to be all things.

 

Even in arranging, write five arrangements in one style before you try to arrange in another style. A long time ago I was lucky enough to be asked to write five arrangements of jazz-rock charts, and then I moved on to latin, and other styles. It consolidates learning, this "five" thing (repetition in a limited or bounded set of requirements).

 

Counterpoint in a modern style can be learned from William Russo (Jazz Composition and Orchestration, University of Chicago Press, 1968, Chapter 5, (80 pages)). But let's not be too over-awed by what we don't know.

 

Very seriously, to analyse music well, the person at work must have great tools, and these come as part of your growth in learning theory.

 

Many years ago I discovered Jerry Coker's book, Listening to Jazz, which is all about learning to hear, analyse and so understand jazz.

 

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Having a hero, is even more than that. it forces one to get very very close to the music he wishes to mimic. This process, takes a lot of work, and in that same process, makes you a much better player.

It means not just getting the notes, but the notes in the right place, and with the right tone and expression. No, easy task.

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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I had heros. Several. One of them happened to be my teacher.

 

So there was direct instruction and emulation was on the spot. Many of the lessons I still can't implement but I carry it still and even years later.

 

A prior teacher was MOSTLY into mimicing. Lessons were about playing fixed licks and playing transcribed solos. Frankly I hated it and didn't develop as fast. My brain was rejecting it because it forced a certain structure on me that wasn't natural.

 

Later on, the fact that I didn't like the mimic approach translated into a lack of vocabulary, or a vocabulary that was non-traditional. But my latter teacher didn't worry about it and never voiced concern. However, lots of people, including many on the internet would make comments about it.

 

Fast forward to now and I'm understanding that my voice is a little different. i don't sound like traditional jazzers. I have a different sense of melody that doesn't have any licks in it. And it approaches more of what my latter teacher does. If you listen to him, you will find also the absence of traditional vocabulary. He's a significant voice in modern jazz.

 

So no. I don't buy Israels approach. In fact, I don't think it's an "unpopular" perspective. In my mind, IT IS the popular perspective. He's just saying "do more of it".

 

The approach I experienced is totally different. My road is a little different, I grant. The vocabulary issue still haunts me because the lack of bebop in my style irks some. But as I listen to my own failures (pr what I perceive them to be) gig after gig, I'm refining what I do to the point that I'm liking what I hear now.

 

Rather than memorizing a lick, what I learned is more analytical. I can critique myself because it was more about understanding tension and release.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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Yes, more than one or two ways to learn, isn't it?

Since you don't buy Chuck's approach, maybe you don't understand it as well as you think. When we don't buy something... it could mean we don't truly get it. What I think you really mean is, it is not for Jazzwee.. you said you resisted it from the very inception. But in my case, it was not at all forced upon me, quite the opposite, It was a spontaneous embracing of a wonderful , but barely comprehended sound. Just that psychological factor alone explains something to you, no? One forced, the other, the polar opposite....WILLING ! from the inception.

To be forced to learn a lick, sounds like "work", in the pejorative sense.

You sound more individualistic than I am. I love the language of Freddie and Herbie, Louie, Coltrane, Getz, Jamal, Carter, Brown, Jaco, Wes... on and on.

So to emulate it, is natural. But this emulation had a beginning.. it occurred for me naturally, at the INCEPTION, Not from a teachers prodding. Big difference.

 

One other distinction.. Chuck is talking about having ONE guy, not ten guys.

When it is one person, and you are young and impressionable, naive to new music, you in a sense fall in love... the blinders go on, and you one pointedly focus great attention to details, that if you were focussed on ten or twenty would be less likely to happen.

 

Then there is the lineage of players in jazz, who so to speak, pass the baton to one another, certainly via emulation. I believe eg Parker emulated Young. Trane emulated them both, and Dexter as well.

But there ARE players who go their own way from the INCEPTION. That is you.

They say all roads lead to Rome.. as long as you are ( as am I by the way ) liking more and more your melodic expression.. that's all that counts.

 

As far as you differing with Israels on the poor student he was making uncomfortable with simple question about who is your idol. I can totally relate to his experience. I have had that conversation with others, many times. And I get the same, vagueness that Chuck related.

Your take on what Israels eloquently spoke to, is very different from mine.

That is why you believe Israels is mistaken. He is talking about STUDENT generated desire to emulate a single person, as opposed to teacher shoving it down the throat. And Israels does not see what he saw in himself ( my guess ) when he was a budding student. Kids are not doing what he did ( or what I did - emulating spontaneously a hero ).

My experience is the same as Chuck's. so I respectfully disagree with you.

The good thing, is you and I are on the road to greater expression.

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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I'm acknowledging that my experience is different. And partly it was also why I was drawn to my teacher because he sounded different.

 

I didn't grow up with jazz. I was a Rock guy playing lead guitar. About the closest thing I appreciated in jazz when I was young was George Benson. I did mimic his solos on guitar but I had no theoretical background to understand what's happening.

 

(Much) later in life when I started piano, I was drawn to many heros (Herbie, etc.). But when I say I have many heros, I didn't try to emulate them because it was too difficult. In reality, for a long time, I only emulated one. My teacher. Except he was difficult to emulate as well. There's no real roadmap. I had no transcriptions of him I could follow. However, I could watch him live and see what he's doing and ask questions.

 

There's the danger in some forms of teaching of creating "clones". I think it was Kanker on this forum that criticized the newly minted graduates of jazz as all sounding the same.

 

Clearly, learning pre-written solos and licks from your hero will create an easy way to learn but the end result may be duplication.

 

My way, I grant is a little harder because I have to search on my own. Today I listen to every solo with more of a big picture idea of what's going on. I'm not trying to copy with exactness. I hope it results in a more invidualized voice.

 

Copying is promoted in jazz. "Quoting" someone's lick is de rigueur.

 

But my teacher had his own style and he declared to me that he would feel embarassed if he had a recognizable lick. He may do some in a class setting but when deep in concentration in a concert, he clearly makes an effort to NOT do any licks.

 

I think this develops a different melodic sense in the brain because you're forcing yourself to pay attention to this constantly vs. someone who has licks to draw from. It's likely a more difficult method but in the long run, I think it pays back more.

 

In summary, there are different ways of learning. I quite agree. And hopefully, it creates different sounds.

 

 

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

 

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Pressure from a gig today.. I will be back.. but I never looked at a transcription nor transcribed... I simply listened intently for endless hours, and absorbed whatever degree of the music by osmosis!

I was extremely willing, extremely turned on to, my mentor, Coltrane,, and Getz too.

It's an emotional thing, not a college cookie cutter!

And the mystery teacher is Alan P? If so, you were very fortunate.

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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Of course I do the osmosis thing mainly as well. So it that sense we're not that different. It's just that the alternative approach is to mimic an entire solo.

 

Now there's a point to that (mimicing) when learning swing and articulation. But, yes Alan just honed down on the articulation issue directly and early on. Good thing because it's one of the hardest things to do -- making yourself sound authentic just from touch and tone. I think I'm only getting there now (I mean like very recently).

 

I think of the two sides a student has to learn is (a) the note choices, (b) perfecting articulation (which includes time, tone, swing, touch).

 

I've had a few other teachers and I noticed a general deficiency in (b). I guess that's primarily picked up by the mimicing. In my case, this was worked on specifically.

 

Just to illustrate, I had to learn to recognize the different articulation styles of different players like Herbie, Chick, Bill Evans, etc.

 

Unfortunately, although you know it in your head, it takes so many years to actually have the capacity to duplicate the sound because the limiting factor is perfection in time. And you know that takes awhile to develop.

 

 

EDIT - BTW - if you recall, you were criticizing me and Jazz+ for getting into a discussion about the specifics of swing. And this is a bias I developed (the analytical side of jazz) from how I was taught. What I learned was that to get that special sound that world class players can boast of requires some special work.

 

 

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

 

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I wonder if age is a factor. Maybe Chuck I. is talking about younger students. No offense Jazzwee, but I know you came into this as an older student of jazz. Maybe for those of us approaching the genre later like that, we have more of an idea what we sound like or what we want to. We've already absorbed quite a bit of music so we don't have specific idols we want to sound like.

 

Does that make sense?

"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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Joe, I'm sure no one could possibly start older than me :)

 

But in hindsight, remember that I started from scratch with both piano and jazz. I had very little jazz exposure previously.

 

So my learning experience was like a clean slate and probably the same as the younger college students learning from the same teacher. I can't imagine a different approach was being taken because of age.

 

It's just an example of different teaching styles. Israels' process likely works for others.

 

I didn't like the mimicing approach so I changed teachers. I'm sure that that prior teacher of mine had successful students doing that approach. Just didn't work for me.

 

Maybe Israels was influenced by the fact that Bill Evans would pre-write some of his solos.

 

 

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

 

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Is learning basic melodic embellishment copying? The final set of advanced chromatic embellishments sound like Lee Konitz (triple chromatic enclosures).

 

[video:youtube]

 

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

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Jazzwee and iMiss certainly have time on their hands ;)

 

I like what Chuck Israels had to say but I also believe in the "learning by failing," although I don't think you fail if you play something that you didn't mean to play.

 

Looking back and forward pertaining to myself I think it's important to add that the more knowledge you have, the better you can learn from listening to your performances. Without a basic knowledge of forward motion, guide tones, strong beat/weak beat, motive development, etc., you'll fail more and not know how to correct yourself, but with the proper tools, you can tweak areas and really move yourself forward.

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

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Is learning basic melodic embellishment copying? The final set of advanced chromatic embellishments sound like Lee Konitz (triple chromatic enclosures).

 

 

Not to me. This is just a basic toolkit. It's stuff you can pick up by osmosis as well.

 

But let's face it, playing an entire solo, pre-written as Chuck says, is a whole different matter. When you play a pre-written piece, I think the mind hibernates in its improvisory mode.

 

For example an alternate style of learning is to try to expand on a motif. And build unexpected things from it.

 

One my other teachers, Bill Cunliffe, promoted the use of copied vocabulary at least partially. His argument was it freed up your mind for a moment since your fingers can go automatically to play a line without thought.

 

Things like enclosures, arpeggios and such is a more building-block level though that everyone just needs to learn. In my mind, vocabulary in the context of Bebop is a much longer phrase and very recognizable.

 

4-8 note snippets are not. At this microscopic level, everything has been done before.

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

 

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Looking back and forward pertaining to myself I think it's important to add that the more knowledge you have, the better you can learn from listening to your performances. Without a basic knowledge of forward motion, guide tones, strong beat/weak beat, motive development, etc., you'll fail more and not know how to correct yourself, but with the proper tools, you can tweak areas and really move yourself forward.

 

Absolutely agree here. This is just basic education. You forgot modes though :D

 

So maybe Israels is right on his method being unpopular. I don't see anyone here claiming they did a lot of playing of pre-written solos.

 

And as much as Bill Evans did it (and Tee claims Herbie did it as well), one ought to realize that they wrote it themselves. It's not someone else's solo.

 

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

 

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Joe, I'm sure no one could possibly start older than me :)

 

But in hindsight, remember that I started from scratch with both piano and jazz. I had very little jazz exposure previously.

 

So my learning experience was like a clean slate and probably the same as the younger college students learning from the same teacher. I can't imagine a different approach was being taken because of age.

 

It's just an example of different teaching styles. Israels' process likely works for others.

 

I didn't like the mimicing approach so I changed teachers. I'm sure that that prior teacher of mine had successful students doing that approach. Just didn't work for me.

 

Maybe Israels was influenced by the fact that Bill Evans would pre-write some of his solos.[/b

 

 

I am not sure which criticism I made, if you could possibly direct me to the quote, I would explain/apologize if need be.

We are all in this together

 

As far as Evans pre writing... he was not the only one. Herbie did too, as well as Chick to whatever extent. And listening to Trane on the same tune, you hear a lot of the same lines.

 

I personally do not do this.. I am a seat of the pants guy.

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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Jazzwee and iMiss certainly have time on their hands ;)

 

I like what Chuck Israels had to say but I also believe in the "learning by failing," although I don't think you fail if you play something that you didn't mean to play.

 

I gigged Wednesday, Thurs Friday, twice tomorrow ( Sat ) and one gig Sunday.

And You?

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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I was joking, my friend. Let's face it though, typing and thinking of your thoughts takes time. I mean it takes me a long time just to read you and Jazzwee's post in this and a few other columns, but I'm not complaining. I think hearing different viewpoints is the best way to evaluate and update your own thought processes.

 

BTW - I work fulltime as CSR. I used to do that in addition to busy GB bands. In 2009, after a medical issue, I gave up playing pop, but I'm up every weekday at 5:30. My latest ventures in music is thinking/listening more and practicing less. I'm finding the essence of jazz although my technique has lost a little. It's now more of a beautiful ride and less of a monkey on my shoulder.

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

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Jazzee... You mentioned much time spent with articulation and how this study was the avenue to copping A Bill Evans or Chick etc

Might you go into that in a little detail? I have no idea how to sound like Corea or other great pianists. My hero was Coltrane and Getz! But I have always played piano in my own way! I merely mimicked as a teenager. but I never did Garner, or garland, Evans etc. And I keep repeating, I never would learn a solo from a transcription. You keep saying that. Did Chuck say that?

I DO think though that copping emulating a part of a top players style is very very helpful.. it gets you to a place of understanding that words cannot transmit. You have to do it, to get its significance.

try playing like Erroll Garner, just try it... it won't kill you.. lol

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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I was joking, my friend. Let's face it though, typing and thinking of your thoughts takes time. I mean it takes me a long time just to read you and Jazzwee's post in this and a few other columns, but I'm not complaining. I think hearing different viewpoints is the best way to evaluate and update your own thought processes.

 

BTW - I work fulltime as CSR. I used to do that in addition to busy GB bands. In 2009, after a medical issue, I gave up playing pop, but I'm up every weekday at 5:30. My latest ventures in music is thinking/listening more and practicing less. I'm finding the essence of jazz although my technique has lost a little. It's now more of a beautiful ride and less of a monkey on my shoulder.

 

Sorry for being peevish, touchy. Does everyone now use cryptic, yet in Abbrev for things? Like all know what CSR is, all but I ! And GB would be...let me guess GB would be Garage band., ok garage. CSR is a late night forensics show with a lot of folks eating other folks as in Night of the Living Dead?

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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Tee, there was no criticism from you. It was a teasing reference from Joe because he knows I'm a VERY late starter with Jazz. And I was at gigs too. :)

 

On articulation: Teacher gave me (and apparently all of his students) the assignment to study several players of their choice and to understand their articulation style.

 

You could choose whoever you wanted to emulate. But the task after that was to try to sound like that player. And he helped with it by duplicating it himself. Then we discussed some of the features of the articulation, like attack, position on the beat, legato/detached, etc.

 

Of course what could not be duplicated was the tone. I struggle to understand how Keith Jarrett can make that piano sing. And no one is at KJ's level when it comes to tone. But at AP's level, it is clear that they can make that piano sound like a horn. Almost imperceptible attack and a long sustain.

 

And the idea that you can maintain that constantly with no variation implies constant control of the instrument that is mind boggling. Anyway, figuring this out is a long term project.

 

But back specifically to articulation, there was specific focus on recognizing the accenting, the position on the beat, straight vs. hard swing and moving back and forth.

 

We listened to recordings, analyzed some Herbie lines where he showed how Herbie would change his swing style/articulation in particular places. Checked out Chick and his percussive style. Stuff like that.

 

But it probably took YEARS after that series of lessons before I can accurately hear what actually is going on. And I don't have the chops to execute it constantly. It is a pleasure though to listen to recordings and be able to hear those slight changes in articulation because they appear to be devices as well for tension and release.

 

BTW - I recorded these sessions and later on I was able to study the waveforms and understand more fully what is happening. The ear plays tricks on the mind.

 

This is a great example though of where mimicking is necessary. It's a technical thing so it has to be learned and practiced as such.

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

 

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Jasswee Glad I did not say anything dumb to you!

So I live in the in between state between left and right, up and down, hot and cold, yin and yang... knowing this about me... I ask: You said you were not for emulation, but you also just said you did emulate. You obviously are aware of this, unless you are older than Methuselah!

Can you show the distinction here?

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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I did not like mimicking entire solos or even licks as a tool to make note choices. Because when I did it like that, I couldn't connect ideas together (it felt foreign to me).

 

Having said this though, I would observe smaller structures (4-8 notes) as well as a general flow.

 

I said though that I spent time emulating articulation.

 

My own take is that one is "creative" and the other is "technical".

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

 

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Is learning basic melodic embellishment copying? The final set of advanced chromatic embellishments sound like Lee Konitz (triple chromatic enclosures).

 

[video:youtube]

 

I think, as in earlier cited Charlie Banacos exercise, this above exercise is very good, and has nothing to do with pre planned solos. And a pre planned solo is ok too, depending on how much feeling is put into it

Thanks

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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