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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Alex, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Our school jazz band is going to be playing with a guest at our next concert in a week. His name is Mark Colby. He plays tenor sax. He is a total badass. That said, I noticed something about his playing, and about guys that get to be as good as him in general. When these guys get up to solo, it is like they completely disregard the style, tempo, dynamics, rhythm, etc of the song. They just get up and start spewing out notes. Granted, they are in the right chord, etc., but there is absolutely no rhythm to their solos whatsoever. It also seems like they don't pay attention to the style of the piece.

    Here's an example: One of the songs that Mark is playing with us is called "Cherry Point". It's a laid back blues at about 95 bpm. Midway through the song, he steps up for his solo and just starts tearing it up as if he was playing to some swing piece at 205. I couldn't even listen to the solo because he would throw me off beat. It was simply dreadful. Sure, it was an incredible display of chops, but I don't care how good your chops are if you can't groove. I have no tolerance for music that doesn't groove.

    Even when I see big bands play live on uptempo swing songs where 16th note triplets are not out of the ordinary, almost every soloist I see is completely out of the rhythm. Perhaps they are trying to be edgy and play in front of or behind the beat, but it just ends up sounding like crap, to me, at least.

    I think that these guys are just so full of their technical abilities that they forget that the solo is for the audience's listening pleasure, not a contest to see how many notes you can play in 24 bars or how technical and complicated you can make your solo. I don't even really mind people showing off chops in their solos, but for the love of god at least play in time.

    Anyone agree with me on this?
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    anybody who is doing what you describe is not a total badass. Listen to Marcus Miller or Jaco solo, they play what is right for the song, not show off.
  3. I guess what I mean by badass is having a lot of technical ability, chops, and knowledge. I agree, though, there are badasses out there that aren't like this. This mostly applies to jazz soloists on soloing instruments (eg sax, trumpet, guitar, etc.).
  4. I've noticed that same thing in alot of jazz solos. I thought I just didn't understand jazz or they were playing in some weird time that I wasn't familiar with. :confused:
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, "badass" can describe a bunch of different elements. I agree with Cheese, playing a lot of notes really fast does not = badass IMO. Badass, to me, is when the one older guy gets a solo, and he lays down one note and holds it there, with perfect tone and timing, then waits a couple of beats, and does it again.

    OTOH, I'm into polyrhythms, and that has caused a few "straight" jazzers to think I was way off, playing all kinds of wrong beats "too fast"; when in MY reality I was just laying it down in 6/8.
  6. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    that sounds more like an issue with your playing than his if a soloist can throw you off.
  7. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Perhaps your soloist has a more inclusive view of rhythm and time than other players. If we can accept notes that are harmonically 'outside' the chord, why not except time that is outside the meter. I mean if we're thinking about 'tension and release' as a major part of composing (or improvising) shouldn't that be a part of time as well has harmony?

    Some people consider all the sounds of the world to be music... traffic, people, electronic sounds, natures sounds. If those people were to hear your jazz band, they might think it just a tad usual and curious that you were confining yourselfs to just 12 notes.
  8. Headroom


    Apr 5, 2002
  9. Yes, that's him! True, maybe he was just doing that to show off in rehearsal, but if he does it on concert night it will be embarrassing (to me, at least).
  10. Play "In a Sentimental Mood" or a similar song on your CD player. Now start randomly banging crap all over the place quickly.

    Being "inclusive" with time that is outside of the meter sounds nice on paper, but in reality it just doesn't work.

    I would also like to mention that it wasn't like he was doing all this strange stuff, but the solo still sounded cool. The solo was painful to listen to, and that's really my only problem with it.

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