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Most of boomers grew up on Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop. edit - Oh and don't' forget John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Some of their stuff got kind of jazzy in a fusion sort of way. Wow, Mayall is 85 now. Still rockin'. We still like that kind of music and will go out for an evening to see a good show.

https://www.johnmayall.com/
 

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I like blues. Jazz is just playing blues feel over different changes, right?
Something like that. But also the 12 bar blues form and I-IV-V changes feature heavily in the jazz repertoire. Sure, ii-V is often substituted for V-VI, and other chords can be added, but the basic form is retained. And the form has been altered (to 8 bar or 16 or 24 bar blues, minor blues, slightly different changes, etc) on occasion by 'down home blues players' in what most would consider 'basic' blues as well.
 

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Most of boomers grew up on Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop. edit - Oh and don't' forget John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Some of their stuff got kind of jazzy in a fusion sort of way. Wow, Mayall is 85 now. Still rockin'. We still like that kind of music and will go out for an evening to see a good show.
+1. Don't forget Albert King, BB King, Albert Collins, Bobby Blue Bland, Dr John, Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, and the list goes on... I grew up listening to all those guys, most of them in live performances. And a lot of them had horns in their bands.
 

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Something like that. But also the 12 bar blues form and I-IV-V changes feature heavily in the jazz repertoire. Sure, ii-V is often substituted for V-VI, and other chords can be added, but the basic form is retained. And the form has been altered (to 8 bar or 16 or 24 bar blues, minor blues, slightly different changes, etc) on occasion by 'down home blues players' in what most would consider 'basic' blues as well.
Nearly ever other tune on most jazz albums at least 50s through 70s and probably beyond is some version of 12 bar blues, or 12 bars with an interlude. And then into the 60s/70s and beyond most rock and funk and pretty much all pop music is blues. I'm particularly fond of jump blues and blues & rhythm bands from the late 40s, into the 50s ala tbone walker et al and pretty much everything else. As a boomer, sad to say, my introduction was via british and American rock acts of the late 60s, plus some late night AM radio. Peter Green really got my attention. Stones too. Bill Graham would feature bliues acts like BB King and Albert Collins in his venues, and I was hooked for life. I"ve played every configuration there is, probably, on either my precision or my Kay.
 

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Well, no time working on the blues is wasted. "You know it's in him. It's got to come out."

As for the long tones, I do not agree with your statement on Pollack's video. His title was completely misleading. The title says that we should "stop playing long tones" but then the video content is all about how important they are in order to play musically.

[His machine gun speaking delivery is unfortunate and needs work. This video is not as bad as some, but has rocky spots. He tends to lose control of his tempo, rushing his delivery and tripping over his words, once he is engaged on a point he is excited about, thereby damaging his ability to communicate effectively. This is just as harmful in a speaking situation as in a playing situation, and deserves the same attention. But otherwise the content of these videos contain lots of good solid advice and suggestions. And great playing, as well.]

I heard him saying that many people do not practice long tones properly. That focusing upon one isolated note without considering movement from that note to the next note is a bad investment of our practice time.

Indeed, the first point he makes in the video is that every one of the points people use for why they practice long tones [improve intonation, stamina, and tone] is crucially important. The rest of the video is about how those crucially important aspects should be integrated into our playing.

His concern is that too many players play one long note at a time in practice, and "if you never incorporate that wind moving around" to other notes while focusing on those three crucial parts of long tone playing development, you will be running up a dead end one way street.

I do not work with young players, so for all I know maybe he is right. I have to take his word for it that players work on playing good, solid, in tune, great tone long notes for as long as possible as an end in itself. But I never heard of anyone, before this video, who thought that long tones were anything more than a tool. Kind of like saying, "Learning those blues notes in the key signature is a complete waste of time if you do not consider them in context and incorporate them as part of the moving structure of a musical statement." I would be just as surprised to learn that people treat blues note study that way. I suppose some people do, but it would be news to me.

It seemed to me that his titles 'stop playing long tones' and 'long tones are overrated' were deliberately provocative to draw attention, rather than descriptive of the message he sends in the body.

And absolutely ... play more blues. That advice cannot be wrong.
+1 to everything here.

Long tones are ESSENTIAL. You just have to practice them right. Playing a long note and holding it while not paying attention to timbre, dynamic, intonation or a number of other things you could choose to focus on is not the right way. Have to practice them diligently with a purpose of why you are doing them and what you are trying to achieve.

Playing through the blues aimlessly with no goal in mind or concept your working on is just bad practice, but we aren't saying "practicing blues is pointless".

I've said it a handful of times but you really should stop saying that long tones are a waste of time. It's only if you don't do them right that it's a waste of time and the same could be said of any thing you practice.

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Here's an example where a great blues player (Albert King) borrows from a great jazz composer (Horace Silver). Note the use of Horace's "Cookin' at the Continental" as a head arrangement to start this blues tune. Very tasty horn work!


p.s. Just an aside, but I wonder why this thread is under misc styles?? Nothing miscellaneous about the blues! Then again, we don't have a separate blues sub forum, I guess because the blues is the foundation for both jazz and R&R...so hard to separate it out.
 

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Perhaps one of Hendrix's greatest live performances, this blues protest song is complete with the evocation of gunfire, air raid sirens, along with the incredible ability to sing and follow a very liquid solo line in unison, note for note. Regardless of taste one may have in music, it is clear that Jimi transcended all styles of music he absorbed, as an eclectic creative spirit to say the least. This song is a clear nod to the modern as well as an homage to Robert Johnson himself...

 

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It is my observation that the blues scene in most places is a lot hipper and more friendly than the jazz scene.

They know how to party and have a good time.
Sometimes jazzers get snobby about their art. I like the Count Basie approach better - jazz (and every other genre) should be fun.

The 12 bar blues progression plaid by 'Trane or Dexter isn't the blues, it's jazz.

A lot of great blues artists have been mentioned in the previous posts. Listen to the singing, Muddy, Bobby Bland, B.B., Buddy, and so on. Listen to their singing and they will show you how to play blues on your sax. Forget the bop scales and exotic church modes. Instead concentrate on melody, phrasing, building a solo, creating tensions, releasing those tensions, and keep a lot of vox humana in your playing.

It's more emotional and less cerebral than bop playing. Someone said forget long tones? I respectfully disagree. You can get a lot of expression out of long tones. Hold a flat 5 with some throat growl, slowly lip it up a bit and then play a natural 5 in the right place of a solo and you can get the hair to stand up on the neck of a listener (this is just one example, that like anything, can be overused).

I've heard a sax player playing one note rhythmically on a jump blues song, changing rhythm, accents, mouth shape for tonal shifts, scoop ups, and whatever for long time then gliss to a higher note that proved to me you can play a one-note solo and if you do it right, even speak to another musician.

In other words, it's all how you play that limited palette of notes.

And you can do a lot of that in classic rock music too.

And since the blues are often done with guitar players, be fluent in these concert keys E, A, D, and G. I've played with guitarists most of my life, and have grown to prefer the sharp keys on my tenor.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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My favorite horn players in the genre are not saxophone players, but are very saxophone-influenced. George Smith, William Clark...
 

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I play in/with blues/rock bands mostly but when I sit in with some jazz groups they will try to placate me with a "blues in Bb" or whatever, no song, just jam at 220 bpm. It's nuts.
 

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I think the more frustrating I hear when listening to a blues band whose sax player clearly feels blues is somehow "slumming" from their usual jazz idiom, which I think is essentially what Pete was pointing out, is that the blues isn't waiting for someone to start throwing down ALT or extended harmonies and faster licks, nor is it merely a subset of jazz from a language perspective. They have some shared concepts, and there are blues sub-styles that live in a kind of grayish region between blues and jazz, but if you listen to the old records, the players understood they weren't the same thing. Budd Johnson is a guy who could play swing or bebop, but when he's backing Joe Turner or Ruth Brown, he's playing a different style. You can hear it's Budd, but the commonalities have more to do with it being the same player playing a different style, than it does with commonalities in musical form. Likewise, Lockjaw Davis with T-Bone. These guys are doing something different than they do on their jazz recordings because the understand they have a different job, and they ain't "slumming" by any means.

The other general frustration is the assumption that blues is somehow monolithic. To be a good blues sax player, you need to understand what you need to do and sound like is very different on "I'll Play the Blues for You" vs. "Fruit Boots" vs. "Adam Bit the Apple" vs. "Glamour Girl" vs. some blues-rock tune vs. some funky version of "Big Legged Woman" vs. "Let the Four Winds Blow" etc etc etc.

Also, if it's a real blues gig with real blues guys (like actual pros, not SRV wannabe weekend warrior types), then you best be prepared to be concise. Two choruses if you're lucky, if you push for three, you're likely to get pulled aside for over-playing. Playing this style correct is no less demanding than any other style if you're being respectful and authentic. If you can't play I-IV-V without forcing the ii-V on the turnaround, sit down, because yeah, on a Muddy tune, you're going to sound like a jerk.
 

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Are you talking about playing the blues in a jazz idiom or 'the blues' as seperate genre?

Many of the jazz greats where tremendous blues players. Lester Young, Ben Webster & Charlie Parker come to mind.

Ben Webster playing the blues is a particular favourite of mine:


 

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Are you talking about playing the blues in a jazz idiom or 'the blues' as a seperate genre?
Is that question for me or the OP?

In my case, I'm talking about blues as a discrete genre, not as a song form in jazz. My read of the OP is they are as well. Otherwise, I assume this thread would be in the Jazz and Improvisation sub-forum. i.e. Mannish Boy, not Blues for Alice.
 

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I can hear some alt sounds between chords or on the turnaround in blues the genre and not have a problem, I like it. Maybe not Muddy Waters but just slightly more contemporary.
 

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I can hear some alt sounds between chords or on the turnaround in blues the genre and not have a problem, I like it. Maybe not Muddy Waters but just slightly more contemporary.
+1. You could certainly argue that the b5 and b3, used a lot in almost every (I'll call it basic or 'down home') blues tune are altered notes of a dominant chord, which is exactly what they are!

I agree with just about everything in all of the above posts, even where some of what is said sounds contradictory. The problem comes with 'slicing and dicing' too much, trying to slot the blues into one small category or another. Sure Charlie Parker or Coltrane took the blues to some places Muddy Waters never went, but I'd also argue that the blues Charlie played was very different from what Coltrane did with it. And when you compare a Lightning Hawkins or Muddy Waters style to Albert King, you'll hear some very different things. Or Louis Jordon, Wynonnie Harris, and the jump blues players. Not to mention some of the British blues players, and on and on. But when done well, in the hands of good musicians, there is a common thread that runs through it all that you can hear as "the blues!"

Where I definitely agree is that you have to play in the appropriate (blues) style that the situation, the type and style of tune, calls for. IMO there is no such thing as 'slumming' when it comes to the blues. To play well throughout the full blues spectrum requires musicianship of the highest quality. As grubbery pointed out, there is a difference between "I'll Play the Blues For You" and a funky version of "Big Legged Woman." I've played both those tunes many times (often in the same set) and they are very different styles, requiring a different approach, but they are both solid blues tunes. I could list dozens more, all different yet all blues. That's what keeps it interesting.
 

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When jazz players look down their noses at blues players, it reminds me of when the classical musicians used to look down their noses at jazz players.

I lose respect for people who try to elevate their own art form by looking down at what they consider beneath them.

It's like musicians cutting down other bands to try to elevate themselves.

I play different genres, and when I do, I try to put on the proverbial hat of that genre and play true to it. Playing the blues for me is not extending the art form with bop scales, that just turns it into jazz, which is another genre. Play jazz like jazz, play blues like blues, play rock like rock, play funk like funk, play fusion like fusion, play country like country, play salsa like salsa, or anything else you do. Personally I find it fun to get my head around different ways to express myself in different genres.

Like I said earlier, the blues are deceptively simple. They seem simple but to get it right isn't so simple. It's about getting expression out of a limited set of notes. The expression is more about how you play those notes.

If you want to go about playing jazz in a blues setting, go ahead, but be aware you aren't playing the blues anymore but jazz.

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Y'all are overthinking the blues. There's a world of difference between jazz tunes that happen to be on 12-bar form and playing THE BLUES. I think the OP threw some people off the scent by making the long tones joke. I can hang at most jazz jams, but I laugh my *** off when the cats who can burn through the changes with all the hot patterns show up at the blues jams and get frustrated and sputter out of context hobble gobble on three dominant chords because they never learned to sing. I dig it though, a gig with an average blues band that these guys are too good for pays a lot better and is often more fun for me than trying to get people to have fun listening to jazz...if you can even find someone to pay you.
 

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Did someone say the blues ...... ??? Check this out .... I don't think it gets any better ..... for one thing the blues rhythm is a driving rhythm as opposed to a swinging rhythm, and I like driving better, and there is no harmonic limit to what you can play on the blues .... as J. Collins and K. Brooks demonstrate ...




There are lots of JC and KB solos on YouTube, and whenever they are 'on' ... its a great solo.
 

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Did someone say the blues ...... ??? Check this out .... I don't think it gets any better ..... for one thing the blues rhythm is a driving rhythm as opposed to a swinging rhythm, and I like driving better, and there is no harmonic limit to what you can play on the blues .... as J. Collins and K. Brooks demonstrate ...

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The blues can't swing? Excuse me?

 
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