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Thread: Jazz, anybody?

  1. #1
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Jazz, anybody?

    With all the time I get to spend at home due to the coronavirus these days, I've been doing a lot of guitar playing and learning new songs. Since I can just sit and noodle, for great lengths of time even, I've started going back to some of the older stuff I haven't looked at in years.

    Back story made brief: Years ago, I broke my left elbow and stopped playing. Weeks turned into months turned into years. Prior to the event, I had immersed myself into playing jazz guitar. Mostly rhythm, but using Mickey Baker's chord studies, developing my own chops. I had then -- and still have -- a subscription to a jazz guitar site, and on occasion get a piece of music from it. The latest was Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," so I printed it out and have been working on it most of the day.

    Jazz is an interesting (I hate that word) form of music. But just working on this piece today has given me some new insights into my own playing.

    Does anyone here play jazz? My recent guitar teacher was a jazz player (he studied under Pat Martino), but I still think I'm more of a 60s-folk-rock type of guitar player. If so, what do you find interesting, and where do you go for inspiration?

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    I do.

    I attended a music conservatory for college. Although my major was ultimately what they then called "Commercial Music" (recording engineering, production, etc.), my major instrument was jazz guitar.

    Although the courses of study focused on players of all instruments, for the guitar-specific stuff, we started with Charlie Christian, then Wes Montgomery, then players like Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel, and Joe Pass. At that time, I was really into Pat Metheny as well, eventually moving onto Mike Stern and John Scofield.

    I still play occasionally in a jazz trio, and the main wedding band I work with almost always does a full set of straight-ahead jazz while the guests seat dinner, before the regular dance/pop/rock stuff starts up.

    "Jazz" is obviously a pretty wide spectrum of styles, but my personal favorite stuff is bebop. From Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie onward, I particularly love how guys like Martino and Stern moved it onto the fretboard. Stern especially, because he did so with a cranked-up, overdriven sound, surrounding himself with drummers who have serious slam.

    For inspiration I usually listen to Michael Brecker (tenor sax), who took the transformation of bebop by John Coltrane to its nth degree. I'll never be able to play lines like Brecker did, but when I hear the chord substitutions he makes, effortlessly and blisteringly fast, it makes me happier than almost anything else on earth.

    [Chord substitutions = things like, instead of one bar of C major, a player could outline the chords Em7b5 A7b9 Dm7 G7. That's a really basic example; Brecker and people like him are miles and miles beyond that.]

    TFF member NTBluesGuitar is also a huge jazz lover, and I know there are a few others here as well!

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    That is really cool, PC. I consider myself more a "tinkerer" than anything serious. Of course, that pretty much describes all my playing, not just my forays into jazz. Ultimately, what give me the most satisfaction, puts a smile on my face, is when something "comes together." For me, that's what it's all about!

    (P.S. Barney Kessel and Joe Pass were/are for me, kiiler guitar players!)

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    Ultimately, what give me the most satisfaction, puts a smile on my face, is when something "comes together." For me, that's what it's all about!

    Truth! Totally agree with that.

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Not dissimilar to you OldStrummer - a number of years ago I realized that I was getting kind of bored just playing classic rock, blues, country and soul. So started to immerse myself in jazz (on bass). My daughter was taking piano lessons and there was a guitar teacher who had an open slot at the same time. So I signed up with him. He wasn’t much of a bass player but he got me going in the jazz idiom and he and I were able to play together- him comping and me with the walking bass lines. He introduced me to chord theory which really opened my eyes after a few decades as a hack guitarist and bassist.

    So by spring of 2013, I signed up for a weekly jazz group workshop and got introduced to playing in a beginner/intermediate jazz ensemble, introduced to the Real Book and introduced to soloing on bass. My goal was to be a competent walker on bass so I was well on my way.

    late summer 2013, I accidentally sliced my left index finger open and needed surgery. Actually a couple of surgeries to reattach the tendon and nerve and close the whole thing up. Yikes! My guitar and bass playing stopped dead. I had to bow out of two country bands and I stopped attending the jazz workshop. It was over a year before I could play bass again and close to two years to get my chording skills back on guitar. In the interim, I started playing pedal steel, console steel, lap steel and dobro - largely since I could hold the steel in my left hand even when it was wrapped up in bandages. I’ve kept up with that, returned to playing bass (country and rock) but never got back into the jazz. Incidentally, all the chord theory I learned helped me to become pretty competent fairly quickly on pedal steel. I was gigging within three months of acquiring the PSG.

    given the current situation, I’ve been thinking of pulling out the ol Real Book, firing up BIAB and giving it a whirl again.
    Last edited by dirtdog; 04-13-2020 at 03:39 PM.

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by pc View Post
    [Chord substitutions = things like, instead of one bar of C major, a player could outline the chords Em7b5 A7b9 Dm7 G7. That's a really basic example; Brecker and people like him are miles and miles beyond that.]
    THIS!!!

    Jazz up your blues, for example, which will give you a familiar way of looking at a simple song, in a brand new way... I remember Larry Coryell saying this years ago, and it stuck in my head, because it makes sense... It plugs the "tonality" into your ears, if that makes any sense...

    This message brought to you by a guy, who's still climbing that endless ladder and loving it...

    "...put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying theme."
    Neil Peart (September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020)

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by KennyF View Post
    THIS!!!

    Jazz up your blues, for example, which will give you a familiar way of looking at a simple song, in a brand new way... I remember Larry Coryell saying this years ago, and it stuck in my head, because it makes sense... It plugs the "tonality" into your ears, if that makes any sense...

    This message brought to you by a guy, who's still climbing that endless ladder and loving it...
    Exactly. I remember when I first got to Columbus as a freshman in college, we went and saw a local blues band one night. The guitar player was playing these crazy lines every so often, interspersed with the usual blues licks. I had no idea what he was doing, but it sounded killer. (Basically, think Robben Ford).

    A few years later, after a couple years of conservatory classes, etc., when I heard the same band again, it clicked in my head, I could actually hear him making these chord changes in his soloing, and the realization was like a bolt of lightning. Same now when I hear Coltrane or Brecker; I can visualize the substitutions they're making in my head as they go by. I can't play anywhere near that well, but... yeah, the endless ladder is always worth the climb for me too.

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    I came across an online lesson series, completely free (no subscription required, nothing to buy, etc.) launched by an Italian jazz guitarist named Francesco Lo Castro. (Side note: his choice of guitars is quite interesting). Like many of us, he's getting antsy being cooped up by this virus thingy, so he's created this lesson plan. It's on YouTube with downloadable PDFs. His introductory video is quite long, but he promises the rest will be more lesson and less talk. What I find interesting about it is his approach is (to me) different -- it's not the just CAGED system, rather he takes a form (his first lessons are all using the "E" shape) and dissects it into notes, intervals, chords, etc.

    Maybe since we're all hunkered down, I'm finding things like this more interesting than I would have in the past. My singular problem with learning guitar these days is trying to stay focused on one particular lesson plan. Back when I was teaching myself to play, my resources were spinning and re-spinning vinyl records and buying song books at the music store. These days, there's an overwhelming flood of lessons, videos, how-tos, etc.

    I should stop spending so much time online.



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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Jazz can be an all encompassing term. Did you have something particular in mind? Wes Montgomery? George Benson? John McClaughlin? Larry Coryell? Astor Piazzola? John Pizzarelli?

    My favorite? "old style" George Barnes. "Newer style" John Scofield.

    Regardless, thanks for a great thread.
    Regards,
    Bill

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Good question, @vinyl! I listen to them all. Most of them are way out of my reach as a guitar player, but I can appreciate the depth of artistry they all demonstrate. I guess my personal playing taste runs more to the Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson model (although I preferred Benson more before he chose to become a vocalist over being a guitar player). John McClaughlin, Pat Metheny, and even Jeff Beck during his fusion period were just mind-bendingly stupendous, but way too "energetic" for me.

    For your listening pleasure, John McClaughlin, Al De Meola and Paco De Lucia performing Mediterranean Sundance live...



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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Typed up a fairly long reply. Now I have no interest in replying.

    Adios, that's it for me.

    Fenderforums.com was a better place, I have no further interest.

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinyl View Post
    Typed up a fairly long reply. Now I have no interest in replying.

    Adios, that's it for me.

    Fenderforums.com was a better place, I have no further interest.
    Did somebody forget their medication this morning???

    "...put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying theme."
    Neil Peart (September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020)

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinyl View Post
    Typed up a fairly long reply. Now I have no interest in replying.

    Adios, that's it for me.

    Fenderforums.com was a better place, I have no further interest.
    I'm sorry you feel that way. I've enjoyed your posts in which you've shared valuable information and analyses of gear.

    There was no reason to insult the forum. I know you're frustrated with the site's structure and workings, but we all feel that way sometimes Of course, if you're talking about the members of the forum, then goodbye, my friend; I wish you well.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinyl View Post
    Fenderforums.com was a better place, I have no further interest.
    And now you have nowhere left to go.

    Happy Trails

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Now I feel like I've let vinyl down by not posting more often, & more interesting stuff

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    I was just going to let this die, but I wondered: In one post, he said it was a great thread, thank you. The next, he lost interest and bailed.

    I wonder if there's something like bipolar disorder going on? NOTE: I am not a therapist, trained psychologist, or even play one on TV.

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    I don't think it's right to make a diagnosis like that, OS, with limited experience you have in medicine. Bipolar is a word that people throw around to describe someone in a bad mood, someone who has an emotional outburst, and that's unfair to those of us who suffer from the condition. That's not what it is at all, and it's insulting to people who struggle everyday with the disease and then have to face those kinds of misunderstandings. I don't think you intended to be insulting, and I'm not just being sensitive. Sometimes it's just better not to throw around terms like that.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    I don't think it's right to make a diagnosis like that, OS, with limited experience you have in medicine. Bipolar is a word that people throw around to describe someone in a bad mood, someone who has an emotional outburst, and that's unfair to those of us who suffer from the condition. That's not what it is at all, and it's insulting to people who struggle everyday with the disease and then have to face those kinds of misunderstandings. I don't think you intended to be insulting, and I'm not just being sensitive. Sometimes it's just better not to throw around terms like that.

    You're correct, Willie, although I did indicate I'm not qualified to make a diagnosis. Or at least I included a disclaimer meant to indicate such. Perhaps my recent viewing of the TV series Homeland had some impact on this, as the protagonist is bipolar, and she's shown often going through severe mood swings. Back in the day, we used to call it "manic depression" (remember Jimi's song?). My late wife had a personality disorder too, and so maybe I'm too quick to judge others' behavior. I apologize.

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    it's okay, OS, I know you didn't mean to offend. I guess it just touched a button because I struggle with it. It's not the mood swings so much; I keep those under control with medicine. It's the anxiety that won't leave. I do what I'm supposed to do--exercise, watch caffeine, practice "mindfulness", a little meditation. And things are better these days.

    No worries, my friend. I enjoy your posts and will continue to do so.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Could be he was just a difficult person

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogs View Post
    Could be he was just a difficult person
    I think that's as good an answer as any.

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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinyl View Post
    Typed up a fairly long reply. Now I have no interest in replying.

    Adios, that's it for me.

    Fenderforums.com was a better place, I have no further interest.
    My intention was to never reply again.


    So you might think I'm bipolar.

    I'm on no meds for that, it's just that I'm an old fart, and I want to contribute to the forum here. I get pissed when I type a reply, and it ends up being timed out because I took to long to type that reply.

    I think many of us have provided valuable experience that applies here, but we also suffer from health issues like cancer, which also means we have to deal with issues like radiation and chemo therapy or other things that can't be explained here.

    I don't give a rat's ass about that.
    My only interest is trying to help those people.

    There are people here who have more to contribute than me.

    I know of no other than phantoman that has that to offer. He's the only one I I've known who has the most knowledge of all things Fender.

    For what it's worth , I also have no interest in people that can play machine gun fast. I might admire them to be able to do that, but I don't think that is makes you a better player.

    I apologize, I didn't mean to "insult" anyone here, I was just looking for a place to try and fit in. I'm not really sure that I can do that here.

    JMO,
    Bill

  23. #23
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    Re: Jazz, anybody?

    Hey, Bill, it's okay. People blow off steam in a lot of ways. I've enjoyed reading your posts and learning from them. Hell, I left for about 5 months once. Shit happens. Don't sweat it.

    I've noticed the other fora I'm on are sometimes difficult to navigate. We have some good mods, and they do the best they can with the technology we have for the site.

    If you ever have something that's frustrating, shoot me a message and maybe I can help or I"ll know who can help. I'm glad you've come back to give it another go.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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