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Cool Jazz anyone?


michael saulnier

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At work all day, I listen to my local "cool jazz" station. I find I can push the music to the background easily when needed, but there's enough interesting tunes that when I want to listen... I enjoy it.

 

It seems to be one area where decent guitarists can play. I like guys like Jeff Golub, Russ Freeman, Ottmar Liebert, Jessie Cook, and lots of others... most of these guys have very nice clean tone and above average chops. They also get to solo, (much of the music is instrumental), so there's an opportunity to improvise.

 

I haven't seen much discussion here about this music genre.

 

What do you think of this music? Do you have a "cool jazz" station where you are? Do you play this music? Do you appreciate any of the guitarists?

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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to me "cool jazz" is a commercial buzz term that really has no meaning(to me). i dont believe true jazz can ever be 'background music'. it demands things of the listener, you have to bring something to it,and wants active participation. i have heard the guitar guys you mention and they do have chops, but to me they are slumming in a grey area of pop music.
AMPSSOUNDBETTERLOUDER
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I agree 100%, guitplayer; the "cool jazz" thing works for me also, although "adult instrumental pop" or something similar might be a more accurate term.

 

After a hard day at work, the last thing I want from the music I hear is to be "challenged", or to have to "participate", or to have an abstruse intellectual task demanded of me.

 

I LIKE pretty melodies and toe-tapping light-funk rhythms. How could pleasant, melodic music that makes you feel relaxed ever be considered a bad thing? Why is "easy listening" a dirty word (two words)?

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I don't know if this is the case where you guys are located, but the station in my area calls itself "smooth jazz". My wife got into it, then I did, but now, niether of us can listen anymore. It was alright at first playing the artists guitplayer mentioned, but it seemed that the rhythms these cats were laying their chops on seemed kind of generic. Then the parameters seemed to change...the last time I listened they were playing a Hall + Oates song. Hall + Oates??!!! Smooth jazz?? I don't think so.

Then, as usual, you have the screaming car dealer ads between songs. Yuch!!

Now I only listen to the local public radio station, WXPN, out of the University of Pennsylvania. Check it out online.(wxpn.org)

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Originally posted by stanner:

to me "cool jazz" is a commercial buzz term that really has no meaning(to me). I dont believe true jazz can ever be 'background music'. it demands things of the listener, you have to bring something to it,and wants active participation. i have heard the guitar guys you mention and they do have chops, but to me they are slumming in a grey area of pop music.

 

I hear you stanner, but I'm not comparing this genre to "true jazz" (whatever you subjectively think that is)...

 

But compared to all the "classic rock", "new music", "hits radio", and other commercial stations I could have on during the day, I find this music is pretty easy to take... and when I actually listen, not bad from a music standpoint. The playing is the focus, melody is king, guitars have a prominent place, (although typically non-distortion electrics or acoustics), and generally speaking I LIKE most of the tunes...

 

I've been thinking about forming a local band around this style of music... it seems to be acceptable for most venues, people can typically dance to it, and yet it retains a decent level of musicianship. I think it could be kinda fun to play.

 

I'd bet there's probably a lot more ex-music majors playing this music than you'll find in your typical rock setting...

 

Ironically, this music has pretty much pushed "true jazz" into the background. In our area, the only place you can still hear classic jazz tunes is from the local college stations, and even then only at certain times.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Originally posted by fet:

I agree 100%, guitplayer; the "cool jazz" thing works for me also, although "adult instrumental pop" or something similar might be a more accurate term.

 

Blah! Can we move this to the "puke" thread? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

After a hard day at work, the last thing I want from the music I hear is to be "challenged", or to have to "participate", or to have an abstruse intellectual task demanded of me.

 

Me either! That's what AC/DC and the Ramones are for! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif Or if I want something more relaxing, some nice chamber music or maybe Celtic ballads or something of that ilk. And there's a lot of "real" jazz that is nice too... Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday, anyone?

 

I LIKE pretty melodies and toe-tapping light-funk rhythms. How could pleasant, melodic music that makes you feel relaxed ever be considered a bad thing? Why is "easy listening" a dirty word (two words)?

 

'Cause uh.... it sucks? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif Seriously, that stuff gives me the creeps, it doesn't relax me at all. I never got the "musical wallpaper" thing. Either I really want to listen to something (and I don't mean necessarily be "challenged" by it, but just really get into it) or I'd rather not hear any music at all. All that "easy listening" stuff sounds calculated and sterile and plastic to me, no soul at all, just sounds like too many ex music majors with too much time on their hands. Just listening to somebody with "chops" has never impressed me at all.

 

Your mileage may vary, of course, but since you asked... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--Lee

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The older I get - I will be 50 in less than two years - the more I like slow, soft, gentle, easy music. Sinatra and Crosby and Kaempfert and Mancini and Nat King Cole speak to me now in a way they never did before - not to mention J.S. Bach, and Chopin's Nocturnes...

 

I dug the Ramones in 1977, but I was a different person then.

 

Life seems to beat me up on a regular basis these days; more and more I want music that comforts, soothes, relaxes, even sedates...

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Lee,

 

While I'm writing this, they just played Larry Coryell and Steely Dan on my "smooth jazz" station. These are not "musical wallpaper" players, but they do make cool music that fits this format.

 

I disagree that all music of this genre sucks... just like I wouldn't say all rap sucks or all country, or all bebop jazz or even all disco...

 

OK... I've been known to say disco sucks...

 

But I think the music from this genre is far from disco, it uses real players who can actually play, they make music that's full of improvisation, and some of it is really quite good...

 

I like Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Santana, Acoustic Alchemy, Peter White, Craig Chaquiso, and many of the other guitarists who play this stuff... I also like the sax players like Richard Elliot and Boney James, and the trumpet player Rick Braun... BTW, where do you get to hear ANY trumpet playing these days except in this genre?

 

So, while I respect and would gladly defend your right to never hear a "cool jazz" song, I'm not sure that your stated reasons for not liking it are completely accurate. (Lee, I know you're a Napster user... check out Jeff Golub and Avenue Blue... listen to "funky is as funky does" from his "naked city" release. He's got awesome tone and really tasty chops.)

 

I know it won't make you a convert... but... who knows?

 

Love ya anyway! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Well I'm sure there are individual songs in this genre that I would like or at least think are OK... then again, call me sacreligious but I don't like Steely Dan either. That kind of thing just bores me to tears, sorry.

 

I also dislike the genre in part because of what you said above: that it has displaced "real jazz" in many ways and in fact, when people now refer to "jazz" that is often what they're really talking about! This pisses me off and I usually go running to NPR or the college station so I can hear some real jazz. And yes, people still do play it - even trumpets! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

I don't mind "relaxing" music, I think it's the "smooth" part that turns me off. No matter what kind of music I listen to, I prefer it in a pretty raw form. When it starts getting too "polished" it loses me. Whether it's rock, jazz, folk, classical, country, R&B, "world music", whatever - I love 'em all but I like 'em to be a little ragged around the edges!

 

But hey, I love ya anyway too! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--Lee

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 04-17-2001 at 05:50 PM

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guitplayer-

 

I live in San Diego too, so I know what station you are referring to. "Smooth jazz" is there mantra.

 

When I moved to S.D. in 1985 it was a very hip station, and they played things like Alan Holdsworth, T Lavitz, as well as "real" jazz. Late at night they would really throw out the setlist and venture into 70's and 80's adventurous stuff. Then some Kenny G album sold lots of records and the station changed over night to "lite" jazz. I don't think there is a lot of passion behind the music. I guess I want to hear some sweat, some sexuality, some aggression. It all seems too gentle to me. Maybe that's a by-product of growing up on a steady diet of rock-and-roll.

 

 

 

This message has been edited by SteveRB on 04-20-2001 at 02:47 PM

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I appreciate the musicianship but for the most part it's like listening to music for androids. Perfect, pretty, digital, and for the most part non threatening. This is why they play it in elevators and shopping malls.

 

I like Steely Dan but these stations usally play things from Gaucho as oppoesed to Can't buy a Thrill. That early stuff had an earthy analog warmth, bite, and clever lyrics.

 

The stuff by The Rippingtons, Craig Chaquiso, and Bob James has no edge. I like to mellow out and not be mentally challenged at times. But this stuff gets annoying. When I mellow out I sometimes either turn on the real Jazz station or put something on by Joni Mitchell from her Jazz period. Particularly the live album with Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius.

 

That wave music is just to pretty and sweet. Throazine for your ears.

 

------------------

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/144/oscar_jordan.html

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I go through periods when I listen to a lot of jazz. To me this stuff called "Cool or Smooth Jazz" itn't jazz. I call it elevator jazz. My favs are probably Chick Corea Akoustic band and Oscar Peterson. I've always liked Piano Jazz more than Guitar Jazz. Sometime I get a hankerin' for some Big Band stuff. Yep, bebop for me.
So Many Drummers. So Little Time...
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I'm not REALLY saying I LOVE "smooth jazz"... I'm just saying that given the options, during the work day, compared to all the other radio that sucks... smooth jazz sucks a little less!

 

Remember, I WANT this music to exist in the background for the most part. I know Lee said she would prefer no music, but I for one get a little jittery with nothing on...

 

So, if it's the "Thorazine of the Air", I guess you can consider my prescription filled.

 

I admit that I also have a 5 CD player at the office and more often than not, I've got some decent tunes in there... and with random mode on... it's almost like my own station and no commercials!

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

BTW, where do you get to hear ANY trumpet playing these days except in this genre?

 

Listen to a ska song or a nuevo-swing song for some pretty good horn playing. Also, your local latin station is a great source for great horns. I really do agree with the people who say you local college station and NPR. I listen to the local college station here every morning for my fill of some great jazz! If you don't mind the sound of MP3s, try this website:

www.jamesmorrison.com.au

This guy absolutely rocks and is, IMHO, the best trumpet player out there at the moment in the jazz world.

 

Later,

 

Jason J

 

P.S. "cool jazz" - look up like chet baker and those guys back in the 50's!

"smooth jazz"- the crap you find on the radio nowadays!

Jazz Director for WNHU, West Haven, CT 88.7FM
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repeat after me...MUZAK MUZAK MUZAK PROZAC PROZAC PROZAC

 

<>

 

well son of sam's dog might as well be speaking to ya in my town ,'cause none of those artists get played on the "uncool jazz station" here in new york city. WBGO public radio in Newark is a different story...

 

i'm still trying to figure out what makes it 'cool' jazz. is it the psuedo hip-hop beats? the parent approved, almost funky, but not quite chorused guitar? or the phone sex operator voiced female dj? if miles were alive he'd being buying an uzi about now and heading for the control room...

 

louis armstrong is "cool"...kenny g-string is ...well...not.

 

-d. gauss

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I`ve been listening to that music for quite some time, notably on WCZX in New York. Hard to get upstate cause of the mountains...

It`s definitely palatable music, for all the reasons mentioned. What gets up my nose is when someone plays an insipid instrumental version of some pop song. Wynton Marsalis dissed Miles D. big time on his jazz radio series, by playing a pop instrumental Miles did late in his career.

Fet man, I know life can knock you senseless sometimes. I think it`s great to relax, but not to get conventional and predictable. There`s lots of great meditative music out there-a lot of keyboard stuff but some guitar music-that`s totally different from the usual radio-friendly repetition.

Steve roach, Brian Eno, Alio Dea (sp?) are all doing really interesting stuff-check it out.

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this brought up a fond memory...

One of the best times I`ve ever had playing live was doing a song called `Dr. J` by Grover Washington jr. Everything fell right into place, and we hadn`t even rehearsed it as a group. It`s a classic cool jazz tune.

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About two out of every ten songs is really good. The guitars and horns always sound good. Its the soft and swishy out of phase drum machine sound that turns my stomach. It sounds like an old 8 track tape that had beer spilt on it. I would rather hear real drums and guitar machine if there was such a thing.I love playing just the drum, bass, and vocal tracks on my mixes, just for fun. Do these artists think drum machines sound good or are they too cheap to hire a real drummer.
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cool jazz, smooth jazz, jazz lite, weather channel jazz, 2% skim jazz,

de-boned, partially hydrogenated, MIDI battered, processed cheese food with artficial jazz flavor added.

Not a significant source of vitamins J, A or Z.

 

Yes, it makes ok ambient/background music and many of the guitarists have some chops. I keep hoping it will be a door to allow people more appreciation for ALL the the types of jazz, but so far it doesn't seem to be working that way. "Real?" jazz (what defines that?) takes a certain degree of mental energy to appreciate fully, so it isn't generally as useful for background music.

 

If you enjoy it that's all that really matters. Different strokes for different folks, it keeps life interesting.

 

This message has been edited by cerebralborealis on 05-10-2001 at 02:20 AM

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Is it just me, or when you hear this music do you immediately expect an infomercial announcer to give you directions to the seminar for "How to make MONEY fast, in real estate, with no investment" or "Sell other people's stuff from your home for beaucoup bucks!" http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

There are some songs in this genre I can appreciate, and it does make great mindless background music (hence it's inordinate amount of use for "telephone - on hold" music). But I just can't dive in, head first, into this.

 

d Gauss - Kenny G-string.. beautiful! ROTFLMAO

 

Neil

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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BTW

 

Why is "easy listening" a dirty word (two words)?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

'Cause uh.... it sucks? Seriously, that stuff gives me the creeps, it doesn't relax me at all. I never got the "musical wallpaper" thing.

 

C'mon Lee... Open up... Tell us how you really feel... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

I think I heard a hit off the riccochet on that one http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

Neil

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Cool Jazz or Smooth Jazz are the equivalent of Muzak to me. Sorry, but I don't really consider it jazz at all. For good background music I'd rather listen to Acid Jazz, Afro Cuban, Cuban or African jazz any day.

 

REal Jazz to me is still 'Trane, Monk, Mingus, Miles, etc.

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