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This question popped into my mind as I was reading a response on the Coltrane vs. Kenny Garret thread.

When I listen to jazz, I try to listen for the forming of melodic ideas and what the artist does with it. Maybe its just that my ear isn't very developed, but i can't just say, "Wow, that diminished run fits really well over that minor seven chord" or whatever.

So when your listening to Coltrane or someone else rip through chord change, what do you listen for? Individual notes, tonality centers, ideas, moods, what?
 

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I listen to see if I enjoy it.

If I enjoy someones solo then it is good one (for me).

Now and then I recognise certain phrases from my own playing and listening
experience, but that is not the reason why I listened in the first place.

I listen because I am a fan of this style of music. Sometimes I listen outside
my comfort zone and that particular music will gradually grow on me. And
thus my range of music, that I enjoy, expands.
 

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Fish,

Over time, I've tried to develop different kinds of listening habits based upon what I'm doing at the time. If I'm listening to Coltrane, for example, for the pure emotional enjoyment of his music, I let the music wash over me and evoke in me an emotional response.......... in his music, at an emotional level, I hear "big city", "loneliness", etc., at a purely emotional level.......... simply the tremendous emotional impact his music has on me. I couldn't begin to figure out how he actually does what he does, I just appreciate it.........

At the other extreme, if I'm listening to become a better jazz player, I visualize it as if I'm taking a lesson from the master. Right now, I'm working on developing a solo over "What is This Thing Called Love"....... I know the tune and the changes........... my model is Art Pepper's solo on this tune from the album "Modern Art"........... when I listen to his solo, I really focus on the music and try to learn lessons that I can apply to my own playing. And there are so many lessons to learn!! Pepper is a very deceptive player, in the sense that he sounds so relaxed, it's easy to believe that what he does is easy......... that's an illusion!! Just his articulation (he uses a LOT of legato tonguing) requires real command of articulation techniques....... so I've been doing daily articulation practice, and it's made a huge difference..... that's just one example. Another is the way he effortlessly mixes "inside" playing with bebop-style chromaticism and enclosures......... still another is the way his melodies relate to the underlying harmony, sometimes directly, sometimes by implication, etc.......... it's fascinating......... in that one solo, there are many, many lessons.........

Al
 

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I do both. But I have had the experience more than once that the more I listen to a piece, the more the beauty behind the first impression appears to me. And that has to do with both the initial emotion as with the musical structure and ideas in it.

btw, I can't name any scale or any chord when I hear it, but I hear what they're doing.
 

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I tend to associate licks with different chord changes I hear in my head. For example, the Edim scale run that Phil Woods uses all the time just pops out of my horn whenever I hear that certain minor change. By doing that I don't have to always delve into theoretical stuff. As for picking out things to listen to in order to improve myself, I tend to do two things:

1. Nit pick and listen to articulation, timing, phrasing, harmonic composure, and melodic ideas.

2. Listen to Certain licks and phrases that just "Slay" me. In other words "emotional" licks (what I like to call them). If you listen to Nguyen Le's guitar playing for example, he always manages to sneak in those emotional licks that you just get a complete orgasm from listening to over and over. And especially soloists that can play melodically amazing and phrase things well (robben ford is a great example).
 

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hard to say, but i guess i listen to, or try to hear the progression of the piece as a whole. along with that i listen for "emotional integrity" because for me pyrotechnics that aren't based in genuine expression but rather showy for the sake of it, i tend to ignore and that detracts from the piece for me.
 

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I feel sorry for people who can't listen to music without "nit-picking" or pulling apart technical aspects of it. I hope I never lose the ability to just let the music move me when I am listening. That's not to say that I don't sometimes listen for ideas, but most times I listen to jazz for the emotional impact. If it doesn't move me, I'm not interested.
 
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