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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been obsessed with Dexter Gordon's playing for about the past year, and have obtained 11 or 12 albums of his that I have been constantly listening to. I know I'm not alone in this obsession, but lately I've noticed that I now have troubles playing up on the beat, I'm always behind and lazy, like Dex. I don't have a problem with this, I love the style, but my instructor gets a bit annoyed when he wants me to play a solo done by Coltrane or some other, and I'm 1/2 a beat behind the recording. :( Is this a bad thing? Should I throw out my albums and start intensive training to correct this mishap? Or do I just have to learn how to play on the beat when I have to?
 

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No, just play on top of the beat in practice, and in sax sections, or on the head, and play laid back on your solos.

Just make sure you know WHERE the pulse is.
 

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and just to be pedantic about it, while I understand your use of the term 'lazy' in this context, make no mistake about it...Dexter knew EXACTLY what he was doing. There was nothing 'lazy' about it....

bigtiny
 

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Can you ever listen to "enough" Dex?











I didn't think so....... and it ain't going to do anything to you in a bad way either.
 

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If your ending up a half a beat behind its because your dragging not dex ;)

The reason those jazz greats play so behind the beat is because they are actually playing perfectly on the beat. making it sound so easy and laid back.

A beat is diveded into 3 parts Ti-I-ck. You can practice timming by playing on th -I- portion of the beat. If you can nail that solidly every time you shouldnt hear a beat and you'll sound so cool you'll freeze Mount Saint Helens.

on the other hand if you practice on the other two sections of the beet -ck you'll get a very ahead kinda bebop thing and with Ti- it just sounds funny. sorta like a flam.
 

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Dexter is definitely not a bad influence....

I believe that the problem with imitating Dexter's swing feel and jazz articulation is that it is not the model which most modern saxophonists use, whether it be jazz, pop, or RandB. Most current jazz saxophonists play in a style that is mostly derived from that of Coltrane's. I understand that not every saxophonist today sounds like Trane. However, their concept of where to play in the pocket is still reminiscent of Trane, or Coltrane by way of Brecker.

I think it is important to keep in mind that the expectations of the modern professional saxophonist require we be able to perform in various styles. So, if you can imitate Dexter, all the better. But I recommend you adopt a "chameleon" approach if you wish to be successful professionally. Strive for a style that will easily adapt to whatever kind of music you are playing. Good luck!
 

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In this discussion about Dexter's time feel vs. Trane's, it's probably good to remember that Dexter was a HUGE influence on Trane. There are some early Trane records where he sounds very Dexter-ous. :D

Dexter was also a big influence on how Trane would tongue almost all of the 8th notes at more relaxed swing tempos.

Bottom line for me: Listen to Dexter, and learn how to swing and lay back, but listen to some other guys too (Stitt, Gene Ammons, Hank Mobley, etc.) and internalize thier time feels.

AND, when practicing with a metronome, try to play right in the middle of the beat. If you're REALLY playing right with the metronome, the click will disappear inside the notes you play on the beat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
littlewailer said:
If your ending up a half a beat behind its because your dragging not dex ;)

The reason those jazz greats play so behind the beat is because they are actually playing perfectly on the beat. making it sound so easy and laid back.

A beat is diveded into 3 parts Ti-I-ck. You can practice timming by playing on th -I- portion of the beat. If you can nail that solidly every time you shouldnt hear a beat and you'll sound so cool you'll freeze Mount Saint Helens.

on the other hand if you practice on the other two sections of the beet -ck you'll get a very ahead kinda bebop thing and with Ti- it just sounds funny. sorta like a flam.
I don't think I'm understanding you with this 'Ti-I-ck' thing... :? And, what's a 'flam'?
 
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