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Tenorocity, well said on all counts.

Saxplayer67, that's not the put. The point is to have a deep understanding of what's going on in the music. Plus, it just looks bad.

Andrewbowie, my response to you is to learn more tunes! Just study a couple each week intently and you'll know hundreds before you know it. I try to study a tune each day if I can, learning by ear first and then looking at a lead sheet, going to the piano to work out the harmony and substitutions, etc. I learn by ear to really ingrain it in my mind. I read very well and memorize that way as well, but my playing on those tunes seems forced.
 

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odsum25 said:
Tenorocity, well said on all counts.

Saxplayer67, that's not the put. The point is to have a deep understanding of what's going on in the music. Plus, it just looks bad.

Andrewbowie, my response to you is to learn more tunes! Just study a couple each week intently and you'll know hundreds before you know it. I try to study a tune each day if I can, learning by ear first and then looking at a lead sheet, going to the piano to work out the harmony and substitutions, etc. I learn by ear to really ingrain it in my mind. I read very well and memorize that way as well, but my playing on those tunes seems forced.
'It looks bad'. So all those dudes in a big band should throw their music out? One gets the same amount of applause whether reading from manuscript or not, my man - I do both. Throwing your sax around a little and looking like you're really into it (I do a genuine amount of this) makes it look good too. Many dudes out there MAKE it look like they're doing something amazing but in truth, they're not. Not trying to start another argument but that's what I FEEL and one can't argue with someone's feelings.
 

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I'm not talking about ensembles. I'm a pianist as well and have played lots of music classical and jazz. Solo piano, you never play with music. Accompanying and chamber music you do. Concertos you do not, while the orchestra does. I use charts in big bands.

And I'm not saying looks good in a showy sense. But if someone shows up on stage in a combo, no matter who they are (and I've seen name players use music,) it just doesn't look professional and makes the audience feel that this person didn't do their homework enough to learn the tunes cold. This is especially important to the lead voice at the front of the stage.
 

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odsum25 said:
I'm not talking about ensembles. I'm a pianist as well and have played lots of music classical and jazz. Solo piano, you never play with music. Accompanying and chamber music you do. Concertos you do not, while the orchestra does. I use charts in big bands.

And I'm not saying looks good in a showy sense. But if someone shows up on stage in a combo, no matter who they are (and I've seen name players use music,) it just doesn't look professional and makes the audience feel that this person didn't do their homework enough to learn the tunes cold. This is especially important to the lead voice at the front of the stage.
Who am I to challenge an ages-old tradition?:D
 

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I know the tunes I play from the book: I've been playing some of them for thirty years, and I play them in other keys for practice. All this moralising stuff gets up my nose, to be honest. Some people just haven't got the time to memorise things, but they can still play. If I feel better playing from the book (and I sound better), why the hell shouldn't I, just because someone thinks it 'looks bad'? I think that is silly: I get the same line from the amiable drunk in the pub, as it happens.
 

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Using a fake book and playing from memory aren't mutually exclusive. Having a fake book at the gig is handy, because there are always tunes you don't know. If you never need a fake book, more power to you; but life is about choices. I always bring fake books to the weekly restuarant duet gigs I do; we'll try a tune we've not played ocassionally. We read the head then I close my eyes and blow. I can solo over written changes, but don't need too; I don't want to think about chords and scales, I can hear them just fine. I'd rather focus on making music. We also will call a tune neither of us have played and don't have the music for----kind of the opposite of needing a fake book, eh?
If using a fake book keeps you reading off the page and not listening and interacting musically, then you shouldn't use one. And for obvious reasons memorizing is extremely important. When you memorize, you make music your own, and even overplayed tunes can mean something. As for whether having music on stage looks bad or not, that depends on the gig. If you are on a big stage playing high energy music, it looks pretty lame, but in the corner in a lounge or country club, it's fine by me..........daryl
 

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blackfrancis said:
... When do you put aside the props and play the music, rather than the music playing you?
Short answer: Today!

Honestly, the 'book' for me is a bit of a crutch, or security blanket. Although I could sing most tunes I play, I don't always know which button on my horn corresponds to the sound(s) I am singing. That goes for not only the melody, but the harmony!

During a solo, it helps a bit to be able to look at the chords and know where you are and where you're going next -- even if I can hear it in my head, I can't always find it cleanly and quickly enough on my instrument. The chords and dots do help me find my way.
 

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I never even owned a 'real' real book. I was given a CDR with about a dozen fake/real books as PDF files a while back but don't really look at it much. When I do solo, it's not to live musicians and I don't even think of the chord sequence, I just play it as I hear it. Maybe I'd think differently if getting a band together but in my neck of the woods, there don't appear to be any musicians up for forming a little band or even a duo (which is what I'm after, as previously mentioned)! Except of course for the ensembles such as the Kent Youth Jazz Orchestra and Invicta Jazz.
 

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andrewbowie, I just wanted to say that I did not intend to insult your playing in any way.

Daryl, I can see your point on the restaurant type gigs, though I personally wouldn't use music.

I should say this also, I don't mind so much if it's one of the rhythm section players using it, it's the lead voice I get most annoyed with. I'd prefer not to have them use music, but if they needed it on a couple of tunes, whatever.
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
Who am I to challenge an ages-old tradition?:D
That certainly plays into part of it. I must admit I never understood why some violinists I've accompanied played Mozart Sonatas with the music, other than tradition.

It was explained to me that it goes back to the salons where informal concerts were given for a few friends with little rehearsal, so music was necessary. Also the fact that some of the salon owners and aristocracy liked to join in with the professionals. It must have sucked for Haydn (I think it was Haydn anyway) to have to play string quartets with his royal patron, who was apparently less than stellar.
 

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Every method to reach a result is a valid method as log as it gets you there where you want to be and sometimes there are many ways to skin a cat even for the same person, let alone so many people as all the participants to this discussion, so you may use one of these methods or all of them, it doesn't really matter.

Hgiles mentioned this "..Although I could sing most tunes I play, I don't always know which button on my horn corresponds to the sound(s) I am singing...".

Just to come back to the intuitive method developed and followed by the " Oktopedians" , this impro group in Amsterdam which I already mentioned before, their approach is exactly to develop your ear-finger co-ordination rather than the eye-ear-finger one.

If you concentrate in the listening and accordingly tuning your sound emission you will develop better intonation and when you hear a sound your hand will know where it is on the horn you play, moreover you will " think" a note and be able to produce it as you thoght, never asking yourself if the tone is where you are going to be playing because your body will know it is there.

In the same way you learned to sing (or speak for that matter), you just got used to this process, in the formative learning years of your infancy, to do exactly that, which is a process of imitation and association (the sound I hear is the sound I will produce when I use this muscles or this position of my throat and when I want to produce that sound I do that automatically, not having to think about it).

It sounds dead simple but it isn't, especially at an adult age. However is not impossible.

My teacher there, Arthur Heuwekemeyer, is a very fine sax and clarinet player. He has been classically trained and plays without any problems also the piano and his reading skills are exceptional, let alone his deep knowledge of armonic structures (you can tell I am fond of his music:) ).

Arthur once said that most players were musician who were only reacting to the music they heard but only some players were actually " thinking" the music in their minds as an integral part of the music they were playing together with others but not as a simple reaction to it but as a creation in armony with what the others were doing.

I am not sure I have been able to convey this concept but again the best analogy is with talking: of course when you participate to a conversation you need to be " in tune" with the others but if you want to express your own ideas you need to be able to produce the words and the ideas not only as a reaction to what the others are saying but as a creation of your own mind.

It became apparent to me that this is what the great improvisers of the less tonal music are exactly doing. They "talk" within the scheme but they say their own things.

Did I makew myself as obscure as I believe I did?:cool: :twisted:

Seriously, listen to a great solo of the great musicians of your choice peple like Coltrane, Parker, Brecker......how do you think the music appears in their mind and is there any time to think of any harmonies or anything that technical like that in order to do what they are doing? They know this things, more or less consciously, but they let the devil in them completely loose and their devil is a bloody good sax player!
 

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milandro said:
Seriously, listen to a great solo of the great musicians of your choice peple like Coltrane, Parker, Brecker......how do you think the music appears in their mind and is there any time to think of any harmonies or anything that technical like that in order to do what they are doing? They know this things, more or less consciously, but they let the devil in them completely loose and their devil is a bloody good sax player!
I can't believe that someone like Bird was thinking of chords/changes and so on, whilst playing lightning fast solos. He would no doubt have had a greater knowledge than I do of such things and had that knowledge internalised and in his 'muscle memory' but I think many of today's players are boring for the very reason that they ARE thinking of chords and so on.

When I hear Sonny Rollins, maybe moreso live than in the studio, he sounds like it's (and it IS) coming out spontaneously, which is why I prefer him to any number of today's players.
 

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I believe that no great artist of the past (and I do not speak only of the Jazz world) had too much conscious knowledge of the music they played (surely not in the moment they played) but they must have had a oneness with their music ability wich came from enormous talent, immense determination and being focused without any distraction in order to make their inner being be their outer voice without any dicotomy between the two.

I have been fortunate enough to see some great players at work from very close by and you can see the flow of the emotions in some while some others are clearly rationalizing what they do. I prefer the first ones to the second ones, that doesn't mean you can't play incredibly well both ways.

I wish I had a little bit of this illumination.......
 

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Anybody read David Baker's preface to Aebersold #76 How to Learn Tunes?

He quotes Barry Harris, who says "there's no fake book worth s**t", and then he devotes several paragraphs to explaining why (he thinks) this is true. Basically he's talking about professional musicians, and he doesn't see very much good about Fake books. This has little to do, as far as I can tell, with personal expression etc.; rather, he thinks gigging musicians should be very very adept at learning tunes.

One more reason I never make the mistake of thinking I'm a pro!

Rory.
 

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I am a relative newbie to jazz and almost completely inept at improvisation for having spent too little time playing without music in front of me. I have a decent sound and style - just haven't developed the vocabulary. I can write a pretty darn good solo and "fake it" well at an amateur level.

I have an ever-expanding collection of play alongs and fake books which are useful in helping me get familiar with more tunes. But my true voice and expression doesn't really come out until I've internalized the music/the melody and converted the translative steps from print to eye to brain to fingers - to ear to brain to fingers.

I am envious of those who can play by ear and glide through the transitions like buttah. You guys rock.:salute:

Saxplayer67 hits it when he talks about spontaneity - which to me is the most transparent and frightening (for me) concept in jazz.

Music is a crutch that keeps me walking but prevents me from running.
 

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I was told by a veteran player when I was first trying to solo, that it was seriously lame to read charts on a gig and unhip even at a jam. I thought this for years until I saw Phil Woods group.

I lived in the SF Bay Area and frequented Yoshi's Nite Spot. They lost their lease and the mayor of Oakland thought that as a cultural icon, the community needed a Yoshi's and worked a deal where a few million bucks were found to build a new club from the groud up. The new Yoshi's at Jack London Square is a superb room for listening to music. On the one year aniversary they booked Phil Woods with Brian Lynch on Trumpet, Bill Charlap on Piano, Steve Gilmore, bass and Bill Goodwin on drums. They decided to play the weeks gig with no PA or sound reinforcement, just an acoustic gig. It was a fantastic to say the least.

Both Phil and Brian Lynch had two or three music stands lined up for each of them. They had a big 'ol thick book of charts. Some of the charts were like ten pages and were draped over the stands hanging half way to the floor. There were some great arrangments and lot's of open sections for blowing. There were intro's, outro's, shout choruses and backgrounds for solos. Each tune, they would fold up the charts and unravel a new one. After a couple of tunes, I realized that neither Phil or Brian were reading any part of the charts. They didn't look at the changes when they soloed and even the written out shout choruses were played with their eyes closed, blowing for all they were worth.

I never thought about the fact that they didn't have mics or a PA system. I wonder why they even bothered with the charts except to use them as road maps to the sections in the arrangement. It seemed like they all knew exactly what was going on. They seemed to spend more time getting the charts and putting them away than looking at them at all.


So what is the deal? It is unhip to have to read charts? Maybe it's unhip to have charts but totally hip to have pages of charts, get them out, but not look at them.

If I play tunes all the time, I have a mental picture of the form and the way the changes work, but I forget stuff so fast that I can't remember the one note in One Note Samba. I have had to memorize tons of materials for certian gigs, but a week later I can't remember any of it.
 

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I don't think it's having the music, or not having a music in front of you. What I find unhip and really irritating is when a tune is called, and it takes two or three minutes of wrestling with the stand, music, reading glasses (for us old folks), and finally everybody's ready to play.
 

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hakukani said:
I don't think it's having the music, or not having a music in front of you. What I find unhip and really irritating is when a tune is called, and it takes two or three minutes of wrestling with the stand, music, reading glasses (for us old folks), and finally everybody's ready to play.
+10,000!
 
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