Jazz. Help me - what am I missing!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by marc2211, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    Jazz. I have tried, I am trying, but, meh, I don't seem to get it. :(

    My wife's father played Clarinet in his spare time, and was held in pretty high regard in the regional Jazz scene. As such, my wife has listened to all types of Jazz from a young age... and loves it. (She is amazing well schooled in all forms of music from Classical through to most modern bands).

    I like the 'big band/swing'type of Jazz like Benny Goodman, and often listen to it. But the deeper I get into more freeform Jazz, the less I seem to 'get it'. I get that the musicians are highly talented and gifted - almost psychic in how they play together... but I don't understand it musically.

    Today I spent hours listening to Miles Davis, Coltrane, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk - and I really appreciate it as music, but it doesn't seem to move me.

    I then moved on to people like Don Cherry, who my wife loves (as an aside, his son Eagle-Eye Cherry is awesome!), and I seriously don't get it at all.

    Is it just me? an acquired taste? or something you can never pick up if you don't listen to it at a young age?

    Help!
     
  2. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    Acquired taste if you ask me.

    If you like the Benny Goodman stuff with Charlie Christian then next step would be something like Wes Montgomery. Try the Smooking at the half note album
     
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  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think everyone's tastes are their own. It sounds like you tried, but it's not for you. There's lots of music that doesn't matter to me.
     
  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Your wife has great taste. You do not. That's all you need to know. ;)
     
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  5. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    A few mins in and I like this a lot already! Thanks for the recommendation!
     
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  6. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    LOL that is very true! :D
     
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  7. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

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    Acquired taste, is possibly one way of putting it. If you didn't find anything to float your boat from the list you gave .... Cheer yourself up with some Bix Beiderbecke :)
     
  8. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's

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    My only suggestion would be not to over-think it. Just listen to a nice assortment at your leisure and over time at some point something will "speak to your ears" then just explore that artist or music made during same time period, etc. Once a style, a period or a musician appeals to you, you can read up on it so as to put it into context compared to other styles, periods, etc.
     
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  9. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's

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    Definitely.
     
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  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I've given up on using how much music moves me as a standard. I can be moved by some of the sappiest, syrupy crapola known to humans. My standard for enjoyment is really just how interesting I find something. More importantly, what can I steal. All of the music that I like, is music that I did, would, or wanted to make my own. I don't necessarily like/not like someone's playing, but if I find it interesting, good enough for me. I don't use music as a mood setting, the exception being workout music. The tunes can be pretty cheesy, but some of them get me going anyway.

    Here's something odd. I seem to enjoy most blues guitar solos, even amateur, almost-beginner level playing. As long as it is original and not recycled licks. For those, I stick with the greats. But I love being brought into the mind of the soloist, who is thinking/feeling on their feet. Playing that is incompetent and stumbling is not for me (or most people, I assume). But once someone can stand up there and actually play some solos from their heart, I'm all in. Players not yet at the top of their game have a lot to say to me, if they are playing honestly, by ear and heart. Again, licks played by imitators usually don't move me, unless it comes from the soul. So-so music from the soul is waaay better than competent music from ambition or whatever.

    As for the OP, it is interesting that you have mildly guilty feelings about not following the freeform crowd. I'll bet that that feeling is transitional. Sometimes we like a certain approach and sound, but sometimes the life we lead isn't always complemented by the music we listen to.
     
  11. Stratohacker

    Stratohacker Tele-Afflicted

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    Everyone is not going to like everything.

    If you are a guitarist you might want to sample some guitar centric jazz







     
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  12. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    I’d say, that’s fine. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. It’s not out of ignorance.

    Having said that, ‘jazz’ is pretty broad. There’s probably something in there that will speak to you.

    Or, it may be that there is some part in there that will become an acquired taste. I just bought a Nels Cline and Julian Lage album. After having poo pooed them a bit on this very forum maybe six months or so ago. :oops:

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  13. dented

    dented Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are so many types of jazz and instrument groups. Piano jazz, guitar jazz, brass jazz and then the type of genre jazz...New Orleans, Big Band and so on. You have to move around a bit and listen to as many jazz types as possible and I bet all of a sudden one will dawn on you that you're likely to gain interest. I started listening to Herbie Hancock in the 70s and I was hooked. My favorite these days is Chloe Feoranzo a clarinetist from New Orleans. I'm going to see her over the holidays in California. You'll like jazz. You just have to find out where.
     
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  14. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    These jazz guys practice together many hours, and they go out of their way to create non-melodic melodies, if one even exists. Improvisation is the word. I think jazz is definitely an acquired taste. It’s definitely not my go-to music, but when I’m in the mood, it sounds cool.
     
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  15. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I feel your pain. I played big band music in high school and bass in a jazz combo one year in college. Playing written music was relatively easy. Improvisation was either easy or difficult depending on the number. It was easier if the number used a major key or a minor pentatonic scale. Improvisation was almost impossible for me if the number was in an unfamiliar mode. I think I drifted away from it because rock and folk spoke to me more than jazz. I gave up on guitar for about 30 years after college and came back to it playing country. Country is mostly major scale stuff and rockabilly often just substitutes a b7 into a major scale.

    There was a thread on the forum a few months back about playing blues using the Dorian mode. I learned the scale and learned to improvise on it and put together a short jazz number based on my improvisations. I think the "don't get it" part of your frustration may come from not knowing or recognizing the scales. Harmonization is different in the Dorian mode than when playing minor pentatonic blues. The mode doesn't resolve the same way and where it uses chords, the progressions can be unfamiliar. It took a couple of weeks before I could "hear" the mode. I began to end phrases on landing notes rather than chords. I found myself looping rather than playing a 12 bar blues. If you want to try what I did, use the "A" Dorian scale. It used the same notes as a G major scale except it starts on A. The scale has a decidedly minor flavor and it can be difficult to play properly in the mode without slipping back into A minor. Improvise using scale notes only at first. Use F# as a landing note. Then you can find off scale notes to use as passing notes. Once you learn to "hear" the mode you'll really enjoy using it. As for myself, I'm about ready to explore the Locrian mode. Honestly, this is work. It just doesn't happen from casual listening.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like it more and more as I age. Not all of it. It's less predictable music that all instruments don't overwhelm each other on. After listening to songs based on 3-4 chord progressions for 60 years I guess that is why. Still like those other songs though too.
    Not so much a fan of big band jazz though, although I have heard some Benny soloing that absolutely blew me away!
     
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  17. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic

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    Every so often I have times when only jazz will do and I binge on Coltrane, Monk, Rollins, Davis, but also listen to some of the jazz programmes on BBC radio. Usually find something new to enjoy there - recently jazz guitarists, like Jim Hall, Martin Taylor and especially Bill Frisell. They might be worth trying?

    Try and hear some live jazz too.

    Also a very useful little book is by Jerry Coker - How to listen to jazz.

    It's worth keeping on and just letting your ears lead you.
     
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  18. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    If you stack up enough 3rds anything will fit. :twisted:
     
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  19. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    This is great. It’s accessible, the soloing is smart and engaging



    whole album is great
     
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  20. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

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    Nothing wrong with not liking it or feeling guilty that you don’t.

    There are a lot of different time periods and stylistic movements and you may like some more than others.

    Personally sometimes busy bebop like bird and dizzy is so busy it makes me anxious if I’m not in the mood for it.

    Something from the later 50s like kind of blue would be the easiest starting point, mellow and easy for the ear to follow.

    Starting with that lead me to Coltrane, Bill Evans(fav), and I was able to branch out from there.

    I was able to work forwards and backwards from the late 50s and the more I learned about it and understood what was going on in the time periods the more I was able to tell what jazz I liked and what jazz I wasn’t very into.

    Some cool ones that I think are really accessible are :

    Lee Morgan - search for new land
    Miles Davis - flamenco sketches
    John Coltrane - Naima
    Bill Evans - peace piece
    Jazz messengers - moanin’
    Duke Ellington

    Those are generic picks but those were what I liked first and lead me down other roads in the jazz world.
     
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