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Hi guys,
I play for some years now as a hobby player and lately had a gig with my band. We palyed 2 of my compositions and had a nice cam+sound-recording.

Usually when listening to my playing I'am surprised initially that it sounds nice. But after listening like a listener and not like a narcisst, I often realise that I don't really make a point/a statement in my solos. There's no real shape to the solo. I don't feel that problem coming up when I'm actually soloing. What can I do? Making more repetitions? Then, I often feel as if I'd bore the audience. More simple melodies? I've got Jerry Bergonzi's book on rhythmic melodies but so far I did not find anything in it on "give your whole solo a shape" ;)

I would really appreciate your tipps/tricks/feedback/critique!

 

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Why would repetitions bore the audience? I think in this style it's important to be able to develop an idea or a motif which helps make sense to listeners and connect with the rhythm section...repetition plays a big role in that. Building an idea can drive the music, build energy, which will set you up for all the fast or high notes...right now it seems you are extremely anxious to jump in and burn, when the music hasn't reached that point yet. Just curious, do you have anyone in mind when you're playing this music? Who do you listen to?
 

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"But after listening like a listener and not like a narcisst, I often realise that I don't really make a point/a statement in my solos. There's no real shape to the solo. I don't feel that problem coming up when I'm actually soloing."

1st and foremeost, i think the place a musician must reach in performance is where they are not questioning themselves as they are playing. that allows the true creative musicianship to be expressed. your statement, "I don't feel that problem coming up when I'm actually soloing" sounds like that's where you might be. besides that, the artist should be performing as the music creator from his mind, versus creating just by pushing buttons on the instrument and hoping for the best. which one you are doing, i don't know, but it is not clear - it doesn't sound like mindless instrument manipulation to me.
... so, imo, if you are creating/playing what you want to creat/play during performance, that is supreme. retrospective evaluation should be taken with a grain of salt, as even yourself will be in a different frame-of-mind later. you will be using your brain differently when listening and critiquing, so you will probably not 'hear' the same way/things you did when you were performing. so who do you listen to? well, if you can play the way you want to at the moment, THAT is you. trying to form a "shape" for the sake of someone else's critique or comparison is becoming a recording rather than an artist. now if YOU want to 'hear' a shape as you are performing, then that is art - your mind.
... as you know, it never hurts to add vocabulary and expand your skills if you want to pick up and learn from others, but don't sell yourself short. you sound pretty good to me. your music did not sound like it was missing something (ie: "shape"). you will always be developing and growing, and maybe your internal performing ear will desire other "shapes" as you go along. if you practice something enough, your brain will use it - but try to remember not to suffocate your own idea for the sake of what someone else 'hears'.
.... for my personal tastes, music does NOT always need or benefit from some rigid idea of melodic "shape". for example, consider picasso's art... he went outside of conventional "shape". a contemporary evaluating his work would be judging based on his frame-of-mind which would have been conditioned to think of rigid rules which picasso obviously violated. should he have picked up lessons and tried to learn how to paint in conventional shapes? i say "only if he wanted to". as it is, he created what he wanted to, and it is great. regarding your music, i do not feel like it is void of "shape". it paints a nice mood/picture, and sounds (to me) like it is creative expression.
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btw, one method i've heard of for working on phrasing is to purposely/thoughtfully limit your (ideas)playing to shorter runs. maybe even stop playing before you are done, and let the rythm section finish up for ya.
.. also, it was said that your musical inner 'ear' will develop a more clear and loud voice over time (as you mature). cheack out hal galper's website.

i'm not an experienced sax player, but i know that my mind/brain simply doesn't have that creative energy when i've practiced/learned/played a lot (day or weeks) beforehand. i think physical stamina is involved in that recipe, but a weary mind seems to go silent on me. if/when i try to play something, it lacks "shape".
 

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The saxophone is very habit forming with licks and phrases. Music is in general. You'll always gravitate to certain isms but some things I have practiced in the past to improve phrasing is to practice 1 2 3 4 etc bar phrases over a blues rc standard. Then once I've done that id practice running lines that started and ended on different beats. You'd be amazed how much pushing the same lick ahead or behind ny an 8th can make the tonality sound different. Hope this helps some
 

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First of all I like your tone and phrasing alot. You have alot of chops and I get you wanting to "say something" rather than just run scales and arppegios up and down the horn. You did a good job of building the intensity on the second cut. Then back down. But I hear what you hear, it does kind of wander. I'd do some anchor licks and then develop them or come back and refer to them in your solo. But you have lots of chops. Just some weeding out of the things that you don't want. K
 
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