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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Rufus, Dec 13, 2020.
Aren't all things complex just a matter of paying attention? I'm sorry I don't get your point here.
I am so relieved that in 7 pages of comments this thread rarely devolved down the ubiquitous subjectivity and tautology rabbit holes.
"I don't like it because I don't like it." This may be a valid statement for some people, but does that tautology really mean anything? Do such statements advance any actual exchange of ideas?
Some art takes effort to understand. It challenges you, forces your perspective to change just trying to understand the forms it takes, or the feelings it may create. This is not always easy or immediate. Sometimes it isn't even pleasant. But this experience has value. Not getting something immediately is OK. Exploring why some art doesn't appeal to us has great value. This is how we grow as artists and people.
Again, in a Tool song the beat is simple, the count is technical.
In a James Brown song the beat is technical, the count is simple.
When Elvin Jones backed Coltrane the beat was technical, often the count simple, the polyrhythms very technical.
The tendency in "Math Rock" is to take something fundamentally (simple riff, simple beat and by simple I mean a straight ahead European 1-e-2-e marching feel) simple and give it technical counts. There are exceptions.
I still don't understand your point I'm afraid. Everything you list requires a combination of a skillful person and paying attention. I know quite a few drummers, some very good ones, and they all think Danny Carey's playing is suburb.
Also I don't understand how a "simple beat with a technical count" is somehow "less" than the other things you list. Following that logic you could also argue that "jazz is just noodling around over some standard chord progressions. People that just get into jazz somehow think that is very special".
Not all Miles Davis stuff appeals to me, but he did bring some amazing guitar players into popular view. For me, Miles had specific role in jazz. Probably would have been more influential. But..the drugs...
I recommend listening to Kind of Blue. Great musicianship & production. If you don't like it, then you are good to go and don't worry about it. But if you do like it, you may not like the other records so much or find them too similar. So, if it doesn't click for you, then consider the trail cold and go listen to some Jim Campilongo who is not a trumpet player.
It's very simple..
If you take a drum beat, let's say the average Tool song, and snip out the one or two parts that make the count in 9/11 or whatever you find the beat and song are incredibly simple, not technical at all.
Only that little snippet of odd signature makes it "Math Rock."
That's the problem with the term Math Rock, so many syncopations in 4/4 music are way the hell more technical than the average "Math Rock" song. Yet, people/fans make "Math Rock" into this highly evolved technical thing because there's an odd measure here or there.
I'm not getting into the Tool fandom thing though, lol, that's a different debate whether some folks affiliated with Jazz appear to like Tool or not.
I think at this point we just have to agree to disagree. To me your argument sounds like: "Picasso wasn't a very good painter, in fact his paintings are very simple. It's all just cubes next to each other". Of course there's much, much more to it. The fact that Carey is often doing something completely different than the rest of the band, for example. Not JUST in terms of time signature, but also in terms of accents. Pay attention to his use of the toms and hi-hat, for example. Nothing "simple" about that.
Now we're equating Tool with Picasso?
While Tool’s rhythms may not be that hard to play, the point is that those rhythms are harder for most people to enjoy listening to.
I reckon nearly all kids rebel or push back against their parents in some way to establish their own identity. It might not be music. It could be culture, more generally, or politics or religion, or their choice of study and career.
My parent liked polkas and such. Pretty easy to rebel against
I think your definition of simple versus complex is different than mine.
I don't think hard on the ears or atonal or whatever is necessarily complex on it's own, only when you make it so. For instance, if you HEAR a tune and the time signature is in 11 the pocket will likely be so deep you won't notice the funky time. Whereas, if you take a 4/4 riff and make into 11/8 on paper? Then you're going to have something that is usually in-your-face odd time.
I don't think anyone ever listened to Dave Brubeck and thought "I just can't take these funky time signatures" because he wrote such digestible riffs that fit in the time signature. The same goes for so many composers going way back right up to today.
I'd say a ****load of popular music has underlying complex features that many don't notice, but that's the point...if you're writing to make things seem complicated that's a different avenue than being able to make complex forms digestible. Or, as the old saying goes..."Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex, it takes a touch of genius to go in the other direction."
I don't disagree. My original post with Hank Mobley showed how you can present fairly dense jazz in a much more digestible, enjoyable form. Take Five is a great example of a 5/4 rhythm that feels natural.
People aren't stupid when it comes to what feels comfortable to their ears vs. what doesn't. And most people aren't interested in expanding their horizons by listening to a genre that makes them uncomfortable and studying it until they can develop an appreciation for it. The vast majority just want to hear something that they like almost right away. Those songs are known as hits.
And so going back to my original point-- jazz is the least popular form of music in the USA today. Why? Because as you say, it's often leaning towards making things complicated instead of digestible. Also going back to Miles Davis, one of the beauties of Kind of Blue is that it actually makes jazz WAY more digestible than the bebop and hard bop that were its immediate predecessors.
I lived in Brazil and one of the interesting things about Brazilian music-- not just bossa nova but even folk songs-- is that they are harmonically a lot more complex than 1-4-5. Their "country music" has chord changes more like a jazz standard. But the melodies and rhythms are so catchy and organic that you don't really notice the harmonic complexity if you're a casual listener. But you sure as heck notice if you start trying to play them.
This is similar to how the original show tunes that became jazz standards also have a lot of changes in them, but because the melody and lyrics are totally natural and memorable, the underlying greater harmonic complexity isn't hitting you in the face.
I think what got lost in Jazz even having a chance of being popular are two critical points:
1. Jazz Ears.
...By that I mean going way back to the turn of the century lots of popular music had swing, extended chords, et cetera. You know, the broadway stuff and early swing blues and ragtime..all that. If you grew up with that, most traditional Jazz is neither particularly foreign in feel or in form, same for western swing. As in, you don't have to know **** to appreciate it. Yet, if you...like me, grew up on AC/DC the first time you listened to real Jazz was a rough experience.
...It seems, today folks only dance or go out to dance if it's DJ/Clubbin' stuff. But, before the 60's everyone danced to the big band groups and even B-Bop gigs were at dance halls. Today, even if you see Joey DeFrancesco lightin' up an organ grind in downtown Chicago you'll be lucky to see 1 person dance.
This is kind of the same for Blues, as in deep blues with deep pocket players isn't as popular as monster vibrato/tone/sound "Bluesy Sounds" that seem to catch ears better.
I agree with the premise that therefore much of Jazz went to straight "screw the pocket" and "how many altered tones can I stack to make a good tone" formulas for many artists. I think that was as much a reaction to the culture (stadium gigs, bigger scenes, small clubs closing, neighborhoods turning into suburbs) as it was an invention by the musicians, Miles being one of the first to hop on that train but he still always had that pocket in his playing. After that generation came some of the artists where it's like "sir, where is the pocket in all these notes?"
That's the thing about these discussions, no matter your opinion of Miles Davis or his music the music itself is crazy digestible (at least up 'til BB) if you're the least bit exposed to Jazz. Hence he sold records by the truckload.
I could listen to just the drum tracks on damn near every Miles album for the sake of the great players he had swingin' back there...always, even through the 70's.
I was listening to Andy Timmons on the Guitar Player Magazine podcast, "No Guitar is Safe". He said two things that were very interesting to me.
1) He said he really admired Chet Baker's playing as a jazz trumpet musician because in his view Chet generally didn't take a lick-based approach to his playing. Rather, in Andy's opinion, Chet was always looking to play a nice, flowing melody that worked well over the changes and rarely if ever resorted to canned licks.
2) The way Andy works on his chops is he plays along with backing tracks to jazz standards every day, and solos over them, consciously avoiding licks as much as possible and trying to build nice solo melody lines over the changes that sound really good. I think this is a great idea and have decided I'm going start trying this, too.
Chet Baker had the nickname of "The Prince of Cool", so he was considered a "cool jazz" proponent, I guess.
Gil is//was one of the greatest orchestrators in the World of Jazz - preceded by Duke.
I'm a HUGE fan of Miles (although I don't dig various eras of output), and while Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue and the albums of 'The 60's Quartet' are among my very favorite - Mile's cover of Lauper's Time After Time kills.
However, I think my very favorite recording of his is Dingo with Michel Legrand. Even though Findley blows his head off (irritating), there is something sweet about the story and the music MD plays. A lion in Winter.
I don't think that documentary did his music justice. Listen to Kind of Blue, which some think is the greatest jazz album ever made, or at least in the top 5. If you don't dig it. it's just not your genre.
perhaps this is more to your liking then. it’s a shame that “math rock” mostly refers to a subset of Midwest emo now.
picasso is an interesting case actually. he was hated by traditionalists but now the academy is more in the dada through conceptual art tradition and find him to be a dullard. i don’t think anyone in art has been alternately trashed and rehabilitated over the 20th century more than him. is he an innovating genius? or is he a regressive expressionist?
I totally sympathize with you about this having been there myself back in my 20's. Besides suggesting what artists to listen to or what albums are the best, our brethren and sistren, I felt, sort of missed the point.
It's not what but how you listen to this music. It is, like you said, about improvisation but they're not just playing their own thing. It sounds like it I know.
What's going on is that during the 'head' (the tune itself) and after when the soloing starts, most of the musicians, especially the rhythm section, are playing the tune but not in the way it may be written. There are embellishments to the chordal structure, punctuations from the drums and the bass will add notes to the chordal structure. Not how it is in your basic rock tune or any pop tune. But there's a different result the jazz players are after.
The problem for new listeners is that it sounds busy, busier than a pop or rock tune fer sure.
During the soloing, this adventure in embellishment is taken to new heights. They are not playing a different song I assure you. They are listening to each other and trying to add to the harmonic or rhythmic possibilities to enhance the soloists experience and each others.
The ideas blend, clash, find new direction in the melodic ideas or harmony and the rhythm can go anywhere. The players drive each other to new places musically. The dynamics happening in the music can be incredible to hear. Amazing things can happen. Its all about listening to each other.
If you check out some of the older blues bands and even some of the older rock bands this kind of thing would happen. Allman Brothers, Cream, Hendrix, Santana, live stuff. That would be an introduction to the phenomenon. Then go back and listen to all those artists that were suggested up thread.
If you're interested anyway. I hope none of this sounded condescending in any way. And I hope it helps.
In the meantime, enjoy your Elvis. He was great.