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Ever encounter the jazz police?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SwitchGear, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    What I mean is someone who is a jazz purist that will critique a player or band for playing a standard not exactly the same as an original recording.

    A gentlemen told our guitar player recently that he played "a lick in the 5th measure" of a Miles song wrong.

    Isnt there no right or wrong way in jazz? To me it is a thing of improvisation. As long as the head is recognizable and sounds good, what the hey?
  2. CanadianBass48


    May 8, 2005
    Ont, Can
    I don't know. Sometimes I find myself critiquing people on how they play somebody else's original song but most of the time those veriations are not good for the song, just my opinion. When people change the beat or tempo or something else, then I am just turned off. If they however throw in their own improv. at the begining or the end to put their own twist into the song, then I am up for that. Generally though, I would say that the call is up to the band of wether or not to change something. If a band is playing an original but they have found a new way or a new twist to play the song then I would say go with it. It is your music and it is how you want to express it. If they don't like it then... well, who cares. If you are trying to play originals for your audience, like, if your band is an AC-DC band, then give them AC-DC. If you guys have your own groove, then play your own shizzle.
  3. lefty


    Sep 25, 2004
    was his name john? we had a guy come out and sit in for our drummer and he was a PURIST alright! pure you know what! he was told that we were green at jazz but he would not let it go. i do not know how this guy could have any fun playing music. i just laughed it off though. you meet all kinds. i guess that" what makes it fun.
  4. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I actually play in a jazz big band and we do just that. Play songs exactly as they were recorded. We get a chart arranged exactly like an original recording, usually 40's or 50's big band swing, then we listen to that recording and we try to make it sound as close to that as we can. Obviously there are some limitations, we don't usually change up instrumentation to match a track, and we usually leave the solo's up to interpretation, unless it's a really recognizable solo. It's actually one of the funnest bands I've ever played, and a real learning experience.
  5. When I attended Berklee many musicians were critical in a very conniving way. I found it to be most evident with the Jazz scene. When it came to improvisation, I would hear my peers debating minutiae such as the choice of chord voicing a given musician made when soloing over a standard. It nearly drove me mad to see that people that were supposedly friends were so brutal when spectating, especially over note choice, technique, hair style, so on, so forth...
  6. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I've met someone like that, thankfully only in passing. He was briefly a guitar teacher at my school, and was incredibly critical. His problem seemed to be when people improvised and put their own stamp on what he considered to be the "definitive article".

    In that, I thought he had kind of lost sight of what jazz was meant to be about, I certainly think he had lost sight of the bigger picture. Listening to him play, he was clean and precise to the point of sounding mechanical. His notes did not seem to breath at all and each phrase sounded forced, as if he was pulling them from a "trickbag" of pre-approved phrases.

    Oddly, he left quite quickly, not because the students hated them but because all of the guitar students were more interested in learning rock and such.
  7. billjr


    Jul 25, 2006
    Darlington, SC
    I played in my high school and college jazz bands, and we pretty much played a wide variety of jazz songs. Even with the old "standards," the improv sections were written with just the chord progression so the player was free to improvise to his/her own liking. Isn't that what improvisation is? We listened to the recordings to get a feel for the song and gain a perspective about it, but no one ever expected us to play to the original note for note. I think these "purists" should just buy a CD of the original and stay at home.
  8. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    You should have told him that every cover Miles played was wrong. ;)
  9. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Yea, the old jazz cats played their stuff different everytime they performed.

    I am fairly new to the "jazz scene" and am finding these purists to be very comical in their reasoning. :)

    Live music would be so boring if we couldnt improv. The suggestion that they go home and put the album on is good advice. ;)
  10. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Was that a big band in the Lafayette Area?

    take it easy.
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I've met them.

    Ever meet a bluegrass Nazi?

    In a cage match the bluegrass Nazi will win every time.

    Try taking a 5 string electric to a bluegrass gig.
  12. bobalu

    bobalu Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    You know, from my casual reading of jazz history and the few jazz documentaries that I've seen, the original jazzers were, in fact, all about the music. I never got the impression about any of the greats that they were music "snobs" fixated on the technical construction of a piece and its "play to perfection" approach. Upon criticism from one of the jazz snob types mentioned here, I think I would belch out loud, and break into a riff from Hells Bells. :spit: Which is probably why I'm not in a jazz band. ;)
  13. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Reduction of meaning by overuse, people. Stop doing it. It's an insult to the dead.
  14. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Yeah, Mo took over American Music Review when Bill Kissinger retired, and now it's the "American Music Reperatory Ensemble" as described above.
  15. Perhaps that gentleman just wanted to look wiser than he is in fact =)
    Anyway, i'm not inclined to consider that purism to be a good thing.
    It is all up to the musician.
  16. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
  17. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina

    You are right. Jazz fizzled in popularity as it became more and more music for musicians. Now unfortunately it is innundated with lots of elitists determined to suck any joy out of the music. I once got a chance to talk with Bob Crenshaw who was playing with Sonny Rollins. He was great and enthusiastic and encouraging when talking to us nobody squares. :) He was playing electric bass and made the comment that he knew how it goes when you show up with the electric and the other guys go "ohh S#$@!" :D

    I also talked with a guy who played trumpet with Buddy Rich for a short while (I don't think very many people in BR's band played longer than a short while. :)). I remember his comment like it was yesterday: "Don't worry about how they do it on the record. F%$@ the record!"

    Bottom line: Just as you find jerks in rock gigs, you find them everywhere else as well. Just avoid and ignore them.

    For a great example of departing from the record, check out McCoy Tyner's version of "Blue Bossa", which blows away the original in my opinion.
  18. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    I presume he means the use of the term Nazi. He's right in that overuse will eventually rob the word of any meaning. But I think that is its fate anyway because it is one of those things that can't be controlled. "Language is fossil poetry" as one author put it.

  19. Similarly for the Blues, a lot of people only consider "Blues" a 180 year-old black man sitting in a chair with an acoustic guitar in his hands, don't knowing how to play it further than 3 chords, and yelling that his woman had left him...
    IMO, AC/DC could also be considered blues...
  20. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Haha true.

    Early metal like Black Sabbath could be considere blues, too.

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