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swing eighths of jazz masters


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There is another thread that is discussing swing eighths on the other forum:

 

http://www.learnjazzpiano.com/citadel/scotcit.mvc?intro_off=1&action=forum&sub=display_thread&id=31805&bid=&room_id=1

 

Posted by Jazzwee

"If the eight note on the On beat is very long and the eight note on the offbeat is very short, then you will have an extreme swing style like Wynton Kelly.

 

Or you can make your eight notes more evenly sized instead of the heavy triplet feel, then accent the offbeat. The style will be more along the lines of Herbie Hancock.

 

Or you can play the lines marcato (detached) -- in other words non-legato, add the accents on the offbeat and you will sound like Chick Corea."

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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I would like an analysis of subtle differences of the swing eighths, and their relation to the beat, of the players Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly, Red Garland and Horace Silver.

 

I would also like to discuss the swing eighths of Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett.

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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I really have to thank my teacher for spending so much time working on this with me in the past. Sometimes it is not 100% clear, especially to a beginner, what these differences are. But he played this all for me, noting all the differences and had me practice it. Technically speaking, Chick Corea's marcato style is very difficult for me. Hiromi and Rubalcaba does it perfectly. Maybe that's why they play duo with Chick.

 

In any case, to add to the above, I paid a lot of attention to Bill Evans. On Nardis, he plays swing eights. On Gloria's Step, he plays straight eights. Bill seemed to me, and I could be wrong, but this is my sense from listening to him, that he went through an evolution in his swing style, from the heavy swing of earlier periods to the straight eights playing more attributable to modern artists.

 

Keith Jarrett, from what I hear, never really did a heavy swing style. He was more accent focused like Herbie. I hear that this may have been one of the reasons he feels was ignored by the black masters. Maybe this was the beginning of "white people's jazz", because he did not swing triplet style. But today, his swing playing style is something to emulate.

 

Of all the artists, it seems to me that Herbie is heavily accented. I don't see it in all his playing (certainly no in solo piano) but his accents on the offbeat are more pronounced than most.

 

Mehldau, I can't categorize well. He plays straight eights. But it is where he places his notes on the beats that make it swing. It is very interesting because it is different. This one I have to study more in relation to swing feel.

 

This is kind of an interesting topic to me because when you read books about swing, they all talk about Triplet feel and such. Yet in practice in modern jazz, swing feel is done with mostly straight eights and more accents even on medium tempos.

 

I'm going to make a guess that Dave Horne plays a triplet feel along the lines of original swing music (Please confirm Dave). This would be interesting to note. I only make this guess based on Dave's influences.

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

 

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Bill Evans playing "Gloria's Step"

 

 

Bill Evans playing "Nardis"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdHstJt9jNk

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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Bill Evans playing "Gloria's Step"

 

 

Bill Evans playing "Nardis"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdHstJt9jNk

 

Keith Jarrett playing "Autumn Leaves"

 

Herbie Hancock "So What"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIVh2o9yKcs&search=Miles%20Davis%20Quintet%20Live%20In%20Stockholm%20Sweden%20Jazz

 

Wynton Kelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBwrv6RtvtA

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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.

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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EXAMPLES

 

Wynton Kelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBwrv6RtvtA

 

Bill Evans playing "Nardis" (swinging)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdHstJt9jNk

 

Bill Evans playing "Gloria's Step" (more even eighths)

 

Keith Jarrett playing "Autumn Leaves"

 

Herbie Hancock "So What"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIVh2o9yKcs&search=Miles%20Davis%20Quintet%20Live%20In%20Stockholm%20Sweden%20Jazz

 

Brad Mehldau "I'll Be Seeing You"

http://www.bradmehldau.com/media/index.html

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at 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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Strange comments. I suppose swing feel just comes naturally to everyone. And everyone has the exact same feel. :rolleyes:

 

The discussion started because apparently someone did not understand how to swing.

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

 

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Jazzwee,

 

I think what some folks are saying is,(and I agree):

 

When you're discussing something as intricate as analyzing gradations of swing, something this subtle is not going to be able to be conveyed in words beyond the aforementioned broad generalities. It has to be heard and felt in order to be communicated properly. I don't see how you can expect to "zoom in" on this any closer than this conversation already has. From here on, one needs to listen and play (experimenting) to go any further.

 

Addtionally, since the amount of swing one chooses to use is a subjective personal expression, once you get the beginning player past the difference between completely straight eighths and dotted-eighth-sixteenths, only experimentation and practice will allow them to find their own personal swing feel.

 

I know that for me, it was never something that I gave any conscious thought or analysis to, it was just something that came naturally over time. I also find that the amount of swing I use will vary depending on those I'm playing with at the time; again completely unconciously.

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Do you think the masters sat down and said, "I'm going to swing like this"? Or do you think they developed their feel from years of playing with and listening to their elders, contemporaries, etc.?

Probably a mixture of both, same as today?

 

It seems that Jazz has always been a tight-knit community so I think its reasonable to conclude that people "copped licks" off of one other, including perhaps the swing feel.

 

Of course they couldn't do so in near real time as today but after shows, in jam sessions, listening to recordings...

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Do you think the masters sat down and said, "I'm going to swing like this"? Or do you think they developed their feel from years of playing with and listening to their elders, contemporaries, etc.?

Perhaps the bigger question is how does music theory analysis affect the musicians approach to performance?

 

It's possible I think for some players to have their swing be a natural part of their style, but then in discussion they can break down the components in theortical terms.

 

Others perhaps go into the song thinking in those analytical terms and then perform it accordingly.

 

I think this touches on the separation between feel and theory and possible interactions between the two.

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Originally posted by cnegrad:

When you're discussing something as intricate as analyzing gradations of swing, something this subtle is not going to be able to be conveyed in words beyond the aforementioned broad generalities. It has to be heard and felt in order to be communicated properly. I don't see how you can expect to "zoom in" on this any closer than this conversation already has. From here on, one needs to listen and play (experimenting) to go any further.

Exactly. The easiest way to learn how to swing is by listening. Honestly Jazzwee, it's not something that *should* be analyzed - jazz is becoming chamber music as it is, and spending time analyzing swing feels intellectually like this takes all the personality out of the music.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Originally posted by cnegrad:

Jazzwee,

 

I think what some folks are saying is,(and I agree):

 

When you're discussing something as intricate as analyzing gradations of swing, something this subtle is not going to be able to be conveyed in words beyond the aforementioned broad generalities. It has to be heard and felt in order to be communicated properly. I don't see how you can expect to "zoom in" on this any closer than this conversation already has. From here on, one needs to listen and play (experimenting) to go any further.

 

Addtionally, since the amount of swing one chooses to use is a subjective personal expression, once you get the beginning player past the difference between completely straight eighths and dotted-eighth-sixteenths, only experimentation and practice will allow them to find their own personal swing feel.

 

I know that for me, it was never something that I gave any conscious thought or analysis to, it was just something that came naturally over time. I also find that the amount of swing I use will vary depending on those I'm playing with at the time; again completely unconciously.

I didn't expect anyone to be saying that such and such master swings 60/40. Oh, and such and such swings 70/30, and that guy swings 66/33. The point to mentioning the musicians is in fact to make a decision based on listening.

 

Besides, the original thread was based on accents. That's a pretty specific question.

 

To argue that swing feel is to sacred for discussion deprives beginners of a chance to compare and know that there are differences. And the differences CAN be learned.

 

As I have already mentioned, Bill Evans does not swing the same way each time, and not even in the same song. There's a youtube video of Chick swinging heavier than usual. If one doesn't sit down and compare, I think someone learning this is missing something. Some of this is pretty subtle unless brought up, and then the ear can focus on it and listen. I think there is a lot of joy to be found in analyzing this because the artistry in this (especially in the original masters) deserve focus beyond just saying -- "just figure it out yourself." That turns this into something like a religion. It's too much like Delirium's "feeling". This isn't a religion.

 

With practice, one can play like Herbie, or Chick. But you've got to know, stylistically where they accent and how much they lean their swing. One could have focused on a specific video and described a little section to point out a specific action. This is no different than transcription. We copy.

 

After we copy, we can integrate whatever we want into our own style and capabilities.

 

And there's a historical element here that I brought up too. Over time, the swing feel moved to straighter eights and just accent focused. Even with one musician (Bill Evans). Anyone disagree with that?

 

Or do we say copying is bad too? We should all be original? I'm no Chick Corea, so I think I'll copy.

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

 

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Originally posted by linwood:

If I'm at say 105 bpm's, I swing maybe 63%.

No I heard you play man. It was 62.5%. Although you were inconsistent. You started the line at 58.7%.

 

;)

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

 

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Originally posted by linwood:

Was the 4th 1/16th hittin' maybe 389?

You see that's were you are wrong. You didn't listen closely enough. Now go back to those youtube videos and try to do better. Pay attention to that line at 1:26. Those sixteenth notes had a little accent in an unusual spot. That's because his finger slipped.

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

 

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How a jazz musicians comes up with the rhythmic content of their note choices at any given time/day depends on a multitude of factors i.e. mood, band personnel, instrument, etc.

 

It is evident from the youtube clips and listening to alternative takes of their recordings. It also explains why cats play differently from one gig, day or decade to the next.

 

IMO, jazz masters and musicians in general are in a constant state of evolution. Their status and style are achieved by digging (playing) the music moreso than a clinical study of it. :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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Just concentrate on putting your notes "in" against the time and you'll figure out how your feel is that day!

 

When those things become to codified, it can suck the life out of you, and the life out of the whole genre of music (which some argue has happened with jazz stating it has become to cerebral). . . .

 

It's worth alittle analysis I think but at some point you have to play. It's like sex.

 

That's how Berklee sells degrees (analysis)! Jazz is refined music but it was spawned in the streets and in the hearts of the players - in the moment!

 

lb

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Originally posted by cnegrad:

When you're discussing something as intricate as analyzing gradations of swing, something this subtle is not going to be able to be conveyed in words beyond the aforementioned broad generalities. It has to be heard and felt in order to be communicated properly. I don't see how you can expect to "zoom in" on this any closer than this conversation already has. From here on, one needs to listen and play (experimenting) to go any further.

Quite so. It's not really very much like transcribing, in that while it's possible to notate extremely subtle rhythmic things, it's just not done in this context (nor in the context of most Western classical music).

 

That said, there's a lot to be said for simply saying, "Check out this Jimmy McGriff cut -- he knew how to tap on this one," or similar. The historical remarks I'm a bit more skeptical about -- while probably true in the most general terms, it sounds like something that belongs in a Mehegan-ish primer full of some other kinda-sorta-true-but-basically-trivial statements.

 

I'm all for the discussion -- and after I check out the youtube clips, I'll certainly weigh in -- but it's best to keep a little bit grounded in the reality of how musicians learn, practice, notate, and especially *play* the music.

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