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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have you heard anyone talk about their process of copying, assimilating, or cloning another player's style?

If so, what did they say about that process???

What did they do?

What did they focus on?

Nonessential Background:

I remember the first time I heard Javon Jackson in the early 1990's. He was doing a very convincing impersonation of Joe Henderson. It was clear that it was two different people, but at the same time, it was also fairly obvious Javon was copying Joe. :) (Hear this recording.)

Then I heard Eric Alexander who was either copying and/or heavily "influenced" by Dexter Gordon. (Example: An Oscar for Tredwell.)

I could give more examples, but you get the idea. :)

Again, any insight on how one player copied another player would be helpful!
 

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I really don't hink that there is one way to do this.

I suppose that some people just listen and interiorize while others transcribe and analyze

If you want to sound like Trane here's what you do. LISTEN to Trane all the time. You should listen to him so much that when you walk down the street, you hear Trane in your head. Then, transcribe as many Trane solos as you can. Then worry about setup. Sometimes I lurk these forums and people want to change their setup to get that 'Trane Sound'. This is not the key. A descent setup should give a very good start. After you have shedded Trane for years then worry about setup for fine tuning.
I'm with gary on the this one.

So, to answer the original question, here's my small change. All the usual disclaimers apply. :)

One of the key things I've read about Getz, that I can also hear in his playing, is that he wanted to take the reed out of the sound.

So, keep listening to Getz...and Prez...and whoever else you like. And keep playing, trying to get as close as you can. Personally, I'm working on Ben Webster, but Getz is a close second.

If I could possibly ever sound like these masters, I would be thrilled. More than likely, in my better moments, I'll sound like me trying to sound like them. That's OK with me, too!
I really think LISTENING is the most important thing...I'm sure you already do that, but I think listening to Getz, and then soloing yourself and trying to copy the same spirit in which he played is the best method.

For example, I really wanted a Sonny Stitt type of sound on alto. I listened and listened and listened to him, and tried to play with the same kind of style as him...not playing the same notes or licks, but emphasizing the same things he does, swinging as hard as him, or just imagining what he might have been thinking when he played. And the more I listened, the more his sound got ingrained in my head, so when I played my own alto, his sound just started coming out because that's what my brain was hearing. Soon I was able to achieve not an exact replica of his sound (that's just dumb, in my opinion, but oh well) but a model that was reminiscent and had the same quality and character. Very wordy explanation I know, but it worked!

Since then, I've moved away from the Stitt sound and developed my own tone that's more unique to me. I still retain certain elements of Stitt in my tone, but now the sound coming out of my horn is a Matt Bailey sound, rather than a Sonny Stitt impersonation, which I think fits into what Razzy is saying. So when you try and sound like Getz, use Getz as a building block, or a foundation, where you can transform that sound into something more personal, but hanging onto the qualities that make you love Getz's sound. Yeah.
 

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You really have to listen harder. I don鈥檛 think Javon Jackson sounds anything like Joe Henderson. Joe had a great time feel and articulation.
If you鈥檙e going to copy the masters you really have to be a virtuoso. Joe and Getz were both very precise in their playing.
It鈥檚 really all about immersion just like learning a language.
 

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While it sounds like a tawdry thing to 'clone' or copy a great player's style/sound, it really is the way in which jazz and other forms of music with improvisation have progressed. First, in doing or attempting this, you learn how to produce different sounds and styles, so you have more things in your 'bag' to use. Second, you learn different ways of approaching the music which broadens your perception. Finally, the end result will be that you never will really be able to sound/play exactly like the original, but in the process you usually will come out of it a better player but with your own sound/style which will be heavily influenced by the one/ones you have studied so fervently.
You could say that transcription is half of it. When you add actually mimicking the sound and style, it completes the process.
The one thing you should never do is to base your career on this 'tribute' to one great player. An excellent alto player in my area did this - he studied Bird for years and even had the exact Super 20 alto and mouthpiece. I saw him playing a solo gig one time and he was just standing there belting out Bird and doing an incredible job of it - but nobody ever mentions him around here and I don't know what happened to him - maybe he 'went to New York' like so many others and managed to deepen his obscurity.
However, learning from other players how to do things and sound a certain way is normal and expected - you just don't hang your whole life on that peg.
 

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Don't we all try to copy something from all sorts of players? I can't be a clone of anyone, but I can try to steal as many licks, subtleties, articulations, phrasing, etc. from all sorts of people. Listen to Sanborn who everyone says has such a unique sound. I hear Hank Crawford all over Sanborn's sound. But I think he still manages to stand on his own and not be a Crawford clone. I think you listen, listen, and listen again to people who you really dig. Play along with them. Stop it and try do the same thing they are doing. Do that a hundred times. Try to sound like them, you won't, not exactly, but you might pick up your own "thing" along the way.
 

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Listen, listen, listen, analyse, listen, analyse, try to play it yourself and than start again.

===================================================

Just saw in another thread a nice video of classical musician Michael Lowenstern, explaining what his method is to play like somebody else.

in the first video he starts playing Coltrane's Giant Steps on Bass Clarinet (incredibly good!) and from 3:00 onwards he explains his method:


In the second video he's doing the same by playing Coleman Hawkins "Body And Soul" on Bass Clarinet. Also here he starts explaining his method from 3:00 onwards:

 

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Have you heard anyone talk about their process of copying, assimilating, or cloning another player's style?

If so, what did they say about that process???

What did they do?

What did they focus on?

Nonessential Background:

I remember the first time I heard Javon Jackson in the early 1990's. He was doing a very convincing impersonation of Joe Henderson. It was clear that it was two different people, but at the same time, it was also fairly obvious Javon was copying Joe. :) (Hear this recording.)

Then I heard Eric Alexander who was either copying and/or heavily "influenced" by Dexter Gordon. (Example: An Oscar for Tredwell.)

I could give more examples, but you get the idea. :)

Again, any insight on how one player copied another player would be helpful!
It's not complicated. You listen to a player a lot. Ideally, even just one solo over and over again. You play along with it and try to copy everything you hear. The tone, the dynamics, the ornamentation, the articulation. Everything! Every time you play a phrase or line you ask yourself, "Do I sound exactly like "blank"?" If the answer is no then you try again, and again, and again, and again. For hours, for days, for weeks, for months....... Through this time you try everything you can think of. You try different things with your embouchure, your tonguing, with your air, with your reeds, etc...... Each change either gets you closer, farther away , or no difference. You are shooting for closer. That is the process. Doing it takes focus, determination and passion to want to sound like that.
 

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Not sure I can understand wanting to sound like "X" so badly I'd go through those gyrations. But I'm old, and I came up listening to even older people, and the point was to have one's own sound and concept. Who was more influential, Lester Young, or Paul Quinichette?
 

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My jazz teacher told me to turn on a recording of the player I want to sound like, turn up the volume, and play along over and over again trying to blend with the sounds on the recording. I have done this while reading transcriptions of solos. The notes, rhythms, time and even tone quality are easy to pick up on. The real challenge is the subtle inflections and overall articulation. Those take the most work for me. I have come to believe that it is primarily the "style" and "articulation" that gives a player their individual and distinctive sound.
 

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Not sure I can understand wanting to sound like "X" so badly I'd go through those gyrations. But I'm old, and I came up listening to even older people, and the point was to have one's own sound and concept. Who was more influential, Lester Young, or Paul Quinichette?
Every kid I knew wanted that! When I was in high school I went through a Dave Sanborn stage wanting to sound like him. Then I wanted to sound exactly like Phil Woods. In college I wanted to sound like my classical sax teacher for classical music while at the same time wanting to sound like Brecker on tenor sax. Many of my friends weren't musicians but I remember they wanted to play baseball like "blank". Wanted to be rich like "blank". etc...... I even wanted to have superpowers like Spiderman or a suit like Ironman when I was younger. Your statement is a bit of a foreign concept for me that I don't really get. Even in lesson I teach now, I play something and multiple times a day I hear "I wish I could play like that!" That's human nature. Did you start the saxophone as an adult by chance?
 

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Every kid I knew wanted that! When I was in high school I went through a Dave Sanborn stage wanting to sound like him. Then I wanted to sound exactly like Phil Woods. In college I wanted to sound like my classical sax teacher for classical music while at the same time wanting to sound like Brecker on tenor sax. Many of my friends weren't musicians but I remember they wanted to play baseball like "blank". Wanted to be rich like "blank". etc...... I even wanted to have superpowers like Spiderman or a suit like Ironman when I was younger. Your statement is a bit of a foreign concept for me that I don't really get. Even in lesson I teach now, I play something and multiple times a day I hear "I wish I could play like that!" That's human nature. Did you start the saxophone as an adult by chance?
Well, I started saxophone at about 16. So not really an adult, no. But not a little kid. I played flute (classical lessons and school band) and piano (classical lessons) for several years before that.

My whole interest in playing saxophone was to play improvised music like I couldn't do on flute or piano. Once I got the basic scales under my fingers the first thing I was doing was playing along with records and the radio, improvising. Within a year I was playing gigs and I've stayed pretty much on the bandstand ever since. Maybe the need to be able to come up with 12 or 24 or 32 bars of solo RIGHT NOW superseded the whole emulation-of-famous-players process for me.

Also, I was doing a lot of rock stuff, especially prog type (as they call it now) and as a sax player in that genre you were kind of on your own anyway. At any rate, though, all the bands I was in except school bands our objective was to create something new and different through improvisation. A lot of it really really stank - don't get me wrong - but we were all basically hippie jazzers and no one could tell us anything. (This had negative effects, too.) So, again, emulating was something we did a bit of, but we had other priorities. Getting high and jamming for two hours on one chord isn't really something you can come at from an emulation perspective, I don't think.

Maybe some of it has to do with who I was listening to heavily during the first few years I was playing. First of all a lot of it wasn't saxophone at all: Hendrix, King Crimson (yeah, they had a little saxophone playing but not really important), Zeppelin, Cream, Allman Brothers, early Pink Floyd, and so on. And then the two main saxophonists I listened to heavily were Coltrane and Rahsaan - good luck trying to emulate either of those guys as a new saxophonist! So for me I think it was a lot more about soaking up atmosphere and approach to improvising, than trying to duplicate someone else's sound.

I don't want to overstate my skills and experience, as I've basically nibbled at the very bottom edge of professional perfomance my whole life and I've always had a day gig. But I do feel that I have a distinguishable personal sound and concept on my two main instruments - baritone and alto - and I've had people tell me that my playing is recognizable. I took that to mean "in a positive way" - although I guess it could be taken the other way - ha ha.
 

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<schnipp happens>

Then I heard Eric Alexander who was either copying and/or heavily "influenced" by Dexter Gordon. (Example: An Oscar for Tredwell.)
As someone who's chased LTD around the practice room, off and on, for years,
I don't hear much Dexter in EA's playing, I hear a lot more Hank Mobley .
Ironic , given your username. Your ears may vary, of course &#55357;&#56841;
 

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It's a very natural process that nearly every player goes through. There are no secrets or shortcuts. When I was a kid, I started with very simple pop/rock/r&b solos that I could easily pick out by ear. As Nef says, mimic everything you hear until it's identical. When I got into more complex bebop stuff, I couldn't pick out the individual notes, but I could fake the shapes of the lines and get the tones and inflections. So my lines sounded pretty good, even though a good bit wasn't correct. It was like a child learning to speak like an adult, they get the tone and inflections, but it's not perfect and they don't comprehend the meaning of a lot of things. But with experience, they eventually get it. So with experience, and persistence, you'll probably eventually get it.

Having said that, some have a knack and some don't, just like some impressionists can do very good imitations and others can't. But all is not lost. You learn many different elements through the process and develop your own style and sound anyway. So it's really the journey that counts, not necessarily the destination. As others have said, most of us go through stages where we try to copy one player, then another and another. The result ends up being an amalgamation of all your favorite bits which ends up being unique.
 

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As someone who's chased LTD around the practice room, off and on, for years,
I don't hear much Dexter in EA's playing, I hear a lot more Hank Mobley .
Ironic , given your username. Your ears may vary, of course 锟斤拷
I also heard a lot of Dexter in Eric's playing in the early 1990s when he first came on the scene. He also acknowledges it here:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-chat-with-eric-alexander-eric-alexander-by-c-andrew-hovan.php

In those early days he sounded like a hybrid of George Coleman and Dexter Gordon to me, not a Dexter clone. But the way he hangs on certain notes is all Dexter. But this is off-topic relative to the original poster's question.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As someone who's chased LTD around the practice room, off and on, for years,
I don't hear much Dexter in EA's playing, I hear a lot more Hank Mobley .
Ironic , given your username. Your ears may vary, of course 锟斤拷
In the specific example I gave that was recorded on August 21-22, 1992, I personally hear more Dexter influence than Mobley. If I cared enough, I would highlight several Dexter quotes in Eric's solo. I don't care enough to argue and in my personal opinion, I'm a horrible musician. I would defer to you or others to make sense of it as I totally suck, hence my original question.
 

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apologies, I see the forum ate my smiling / winking emojis, and I'm in no position to preach about Eric's influences - perhaps I do hear a couple of long lines over the III VI II V sections which are very Dexterish, but tonally, I hear Mobley and, yes, G Coleman. (I also hear Harold Mayburn on piano, who made a couple of LPs I can think of with Hank M, maybe that's biasing me ).

Here's a tenorman I think has studied Dexter and, for me, it shows: like Mobley, a one-time jazz-messenger, Dave Schnitter:

 

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apologies, I see the forum ate my smiling / winking emojis,
you can only use the emojis from the forum itself ( go advanced) , it will recognize some , if you know the keyboard combinations ( :), :( ) but it won't necessarily take them in other ways

Right hand side click on " more" another window opens :whistle::lol::cheers::dontknow: and so forth

That's how you add emojis or emoticons
 

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Can't believe no one has quoted the Branford example yet...when he was with Art Blakey as a teen and told him he wanted to sound like Coltrane, and that's why he was listening to him so much, Blakey said, "well if you want to sound like Trane you need to listen to who HE listened to..."
 

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As someone who's chased LTD around the practice room, off and on, for years,
I don't hear much Dexter in EA's playing, I hear a lot more Hank Mobley .
Ironic , given your username. Your ears may vary, of course 锟斤拷
The player that Eric Alexander sounds the most like is George Coleman!! I heard George once and I thought it was Eric. I think Eric studied with him for a long time.
 
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