Question about jazz

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  1. Din
    Member

    Hi guys
    First of all, I want to say that i'm not trolling, not trying to bother anyone at all, I just need to ask this
    I'm a musician, big fan of Kurt, and I'm studying jazz since 2005
    I know a lot of theory (really a lot), harmony, and have studied 4 years of ear training
    However, there is still a lot of jazz music I can't really apreciate, not from sound, neither from the theory
    I dig (and I really mean it) most of Kurt's music (I love most of his albums) and modern jazz more than bebop and other "styles".
    I know what's going on when a standard is played, I know how to play arpeggios, scales, chromatics, subs, etc. However, I like when a standard is played the same way the head of it is played. That's why I really like Reflections for example, all the solos are melodic and there isn't any note that doesn't make sense (to my ears).
    But when that doesn't happen in jazz, and it doesn't even attracts to me by it's theory of "what is going on" (time signature, arrangement or whatever), it bores me to death, I can't avoid it.
    Another thing I can't understand is when the music has an harmony that's like really dense and really outside, with things not resolving, etc.
    I'm not trying to be arrogant. I suposse there is something I'm missing, and I hope anyone of you guys can explain to me what I'm doing wrong in my listening.
    Oh, by the way, I know that interaction is supossed to be a big part of jazz, but there's plenty of times when I don't hear it neither, so that aspect sometimes seems to be out of the equation.

    Thanks a lot, really.

  2. Gia5
    Member

    Hi Din.
    I remember when i was younger, I loved Jazz and practiced with a teacher. I saw in a store Song X, Pat Metheny, Ornette Coleman, Jack DeJohnette...wow, what a personnell. I istantly decided to buy it. And when I listened at it at home, well, that was a disappointing experience. I just didn't like it...maybe I had expectations, Pat Metheny meaned a different musical world, more melodical in a tonal/modal fashion, Ornette Coleman, I knew his name and fame, that he was a legend, but never approached his music. So the week after, at my lesson of music ensemble with my teacher and other students, I went out loud: "I just bought the new Metheny/Coleman cd, I hate it, and i sell it to whoever of you wants it, new and almost virgin, at a good price". My teacher told me "I'll take it if you want, but take my advice. Keep it to yourself for a year and listen at it once more next year." Useless to say he was damn right. I loved that cd, don't know if one or two years later, but my ears changes...And I wasn't exactly a 16 year old kid, but maybe 23 or 24, and a decent listener, not a total newbie...I couldn't play good jazz but I was on my way learning.

    Same way, a more mature me, let's say the actual me, listened one day to Allan Holdsworth, because i was curious, always hearing everyone saying what a genius he is. And I didn't liked it.
    Later on, I read various interviews by my favourite musicians, Kurt included, talkin'about what a huge influence Holdsworth was for them, and how much they loved it. So I said to myself "Ok, you must be dumb or something, maybe you listened to the wrong things, maybe too distracted, no way you cannot like a musician loved by ALL great musicians. So i gave it another shot. I provided more albums, the most famous and talked about, listened carefully, where possible with charts ahead. BUT. I didn't liked it still. Exeption made for some old Lifetime recordings, i didn't liked it. I admit he is a genius, a great composer, an innovator and an instrumentalist with no equal, but there are some qualities in the music I like wich I cannot find in his. So, I put my soul to rest, still thinking that maybe i am an incompetent, but still not enjoying Holdsworth's music.

    Just my experience. I think ear grows.
    Even if you describe your level, theorically speaking, as a good one, I can't say if the fact that you don't like the things you describe is just a matter of taste or of maturity.
    But the fact that you suspect that there could be "something missing" let me think that you are curious and want to learn more and more.
    I just could say stick with it, integrating your practice maybe with some reading on jazz history and on some particular musician's biography, it could help you to figure out that some particular kind of music (included the actual scene) is child of sociologic, historic and local issues.
    Just be patient. You don't have to like everything.
    You're not arrogant at all to me.
    All the best,
    G.

  3. Din
    Member

    Yes, I know how history explains a lot why jazz is what it is, and I know the background of it... but still, that to me is part of the intellectual side of jazz, and a lot of times I'm not interested in it, because that wasn't what I like about music.
    Thanks a lot Gia, that was a good post.

    Edit: the funny thing is I still don't undertand Coleman but love Holdsworth.

  4. jazznan
    Member

    Sometimes you feel like potatoes, sometimes like a salad. Sometimes you eat a lot of meat, sometimes you want pancakes for dinner. Most people will at some point try fast-food, and hopefully at some point, out grow it, eat more fruits and vegetables and good whole foods that are grown with care and prepared with love.

  5. Sandemose
    Member

    jazznan: I was hungry even before I read your post. Dammit!

  6. Gia5
    Member

    Edit to your edit: the funny thing is that i believe that Holdsworth is part of the intellectual side of jazz, while Coleman rapresents, to me, a total emotional approach to Improvisation. :-)

  7. Din
    Member

    Gia:
    What I like about Allan first of all is his tone (the single most important thing for any musician I think). Some albums sound better than others. Maybe if that aspect of his music doesn't appeal you, the rest of it doesn't matter? Maybe that happens to me also with other musicians...?

  8. david6strings
    Member

    4 me there are two things happening at the same same time, "the ear grows thing" gi5 said, and another that tells you, for example: you wanna love miles' music or you are not a true jazzman, things like that, you can't say things like mozart is boring to me. is just like sometimes you thinking freedom is not allowed. don't fight. i don't hate miles but i don't love him, then i listen to his music with curiosity but nothing else. nobody is qualified to say you what you like. don't worry. i bought zero tolerance for silence and i survive that...lol

    Admin
  9. arewolfe
    Member

    Hi Din. I'm in the exact same boat as you! Jazz is my main passion in life, but I really hate most of the jazz that exists. It doesn't make much sense, I've given up trying to understand it. I'm obsessed with jazz and the history of it and I love reading autobiographies of all the old heavies. I'm seriously infatuated with life in NY in the 50's. I almost wish I could have experienced what it was like to see Bird and Gillespie or Monk or Bill Evans or Coltrane. But in general I'm VERY picky about what jazz I will listen to. Most jazz is completely uninteresting to me. I appreciate the passion and dedication and progression that Bird brought, but I don't really like his music. I mean, I can get really amped up listening to how sick he was, but in general it doesn't appeal to me emotionally.

    There are very few jazz recordings that affect my soul. For example I connect with most of Kurt's stuff on a very deep level. East Coast Love Affair is the record that got me interested in jazz. "All or Nothing at All" is probably the single most influential song on the direction that my guitar playing has taken since I heard it in 2003. A buddy who lived in the dorms with me played it for me and was like "check this out, this guy comps himself." The shit blew my mind at the time. It was one of those freak-out moments where your whole perspective shifts. For the next 3 or 4 years I spent a great deal of time working on incorporating harmony into my lines.

    Yet as much as I love ECLA, I can't stand Intuit because of his tone on that record. But even though I don't like listening to Intuit, it still had a big effect on me because it made me love Darn That Dream and it became one of my favorite songs to play as a trio. It's this weird contrasting thing... when I listen to Intuit I'm blown away that a guy in his early 20's was playing bebop at such a sick level on guitar... and his swing 8ths notes are so goddamn perfect it kills me! But again, it goes back to that Charlie Parker thing: major appreciation for such an incredible musician, but an inability to connect with the music emotionally... Intuit doesn't move me. Kurt's tone plays a very big part in my attraction to his sound, but also his music just stands out and grabs me.

    Aaron Parks' record is one of the very few jazz records I find extremely powerful. It just takes me to another universe. It's a shame he didn't get Kurt to play on the record (no offense to Moreno, he is sick, but some of those tunes were just made for KR... at least there are some nice recordings of Aaron w/ Kurt as a quarter playing Nemesis and Peaceful Warrior).

    Bill Evans is the only other jazz musician that makes me feel like "god damn, Bill. I feel you." When I listen to him playing My Foolish Heart at the Vanguard, it's just extremely depressing and sad but soothing at the same time. He completely exposed himself in that tune. I feel a huge gratitude to him for that song. Like, "damn man, thank you so much for saying that, because I've felt the same way before and it's nice to know you've been through it, too. You really helped me work through some shit with that one." I'm so thankful for some of the music that guy created that I sometimes well up with tears thinking about it.

    Sorry, that was way too long. I always agreed with the saying '"talking about music is like dancing about architecture," but I just had to chime in because I feel a very similar disconnect with the music played by many of the artists who created the music I've based my life on.

  10. Din
    Member

    Nice post! Thanks a lot man.

  11. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Well, one thing is musical complexity, which our ear hopefully understands better with time and study, and other much different thing is aesthetics. And both can change over time. But, you can't really change your aesthetic preferences, so you'll love some music, and hate some music, no matter what.

    I used to like Frank Gambale, but now I find it bland and uninspiring, both musical and tonewise. That may change in the future, who knows. But don't be worried about that, in the end is what we play, not what we hear.

  12. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yeah you don't have to like everything.. I am not a fan of almost all historic guitar players like Grant Green, Joe Pass, Barney Kessell, Herb Ellis.. I have tried and I cant. I don't even like Martino or Gambale. But as Jorge said that might change in the future, my taste has changed a lot over the years - I used to love Mike Stern and know its just ok. (oh and there are guys that I can recognize they are phenomenal, which I don't for the guitar players I mentioned, but I still cant enjoy listening to them. Joe Lovano is the first that comes into my mind)

  13. Matt
    Member

    arewolf. you nailed that.

  14. thoeller
    Member

    Another thing on top of what you guys have all been talking about is having room in your self to connect with the music. When I hear new music mostly I'm just not ready to connect with it. It's very interesting to me that we have to kind of unknowingly set up a great musical experience. To have just the perfect amount and type of preconception to connect with the music happens to me very rarely but is something that I am working on so that I can enjoy all the music that is out there.

  15. david6strings
    Member

    For me music is like the language and in a way like humor. Say you meet new people and one guy tells a joke, but you don't get it, maybe other guy told one joke days before, it was funny, then other person make a joke based on the first one and so, until the last guy who tell the funny thing we don't get and it's supposed to be funny. In music, all that happens, does it in a context, and after previous things/music happened. songs, succes albums, and years of melodic lines working well that are public domain. so i guess it's all about what you are hearing and what you know...then what you expect to hear. it's imposible to hear music in xactly the same way that other person. In my case i can't hear music that in a way or another is based in musical concepts i still don't know well


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